Monday, May 02, 2016


PCs are never fast enough.

Other people's PCs have too much junk on them, and are hard to use.

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Liatening to the jokes told by Obama and Wilmore at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, I have to conclude that my sense of humor is either atrophied or attuned to something completely different.  Obama seemed tired, and Wilmore - whom I gather is a professional - seemed to be relying on the idea that he's a professional funny man, hence what he says must be funny.

I'd rather listen to Obama talk about ecomomics, or politics.  This was just sad. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016


This is the first sentence of this excellent presentation.

"J’ai appris une nouvelle incroyable il y a peu de temps."

Took me 5 tries to hear that "il y a". When I tried, the words would just vanish into the background. Finally, I listened to the audio with Audacity, and, seeing the waveforms, I realized that there really WERE sounds there. Only then did I hear just a hint, a whisper, of that first word. And the second, and the third.

Once again, the conclusion occurs to me: with French, I cannot try to hear and understand individual words. They have to exist just as suggestions as they flicker by. If they don't make sense immediately, move on. Quickly.

I am SO grateful that TED talks tend to have transcripts.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Tivo just got bought by a company called Rovi which, among other things, says that they can increase the value of your audience, and better position your advertising.

Look forward to non-skippable ads and possibly notices that Sorry, but your old Tivo won't work with this service any more.

At which point, I guess we'll look back at Netflix.  Or Hulu.  Or, you know, books.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Uncanny Valley

A depressing look at what its like to be in your 20s, surrounded by wealthy, successful people - and you're not.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016


While jumping from site to site, I came across this headline on Alternet:

Gutless Democrats Fear Fights: Why Triangulating 

Neoliberal Clintonites Back Big Business Over People

when it suddenly occurred to me:  sites which use characterizations such as "Gutless Democrats" and "Neoliberal Clintonites" to describe people or groups deal in hieroglyphics - in images, not nuance.  It suggests that they've given up thinking; 'My mind is made up, and that's that'. 

There are treehouses, and then there are ....

Monday, April 25, 2016


Garmin has decent GPS maps but their download process feels like it was designed in the Soviet Union, circa 1950....


In the grand scheme of things, its not that big a deal when someone writes a book, you like it, and then they write a sequel which -- well, sucks, more or less.  Like Oh, crap, I have to write another one? Um, let's see, what did the first one have, lets do more of that, only like MORE, lots more.  And maybe no one will notice how thin the plot is.

Then again, perhaps it just happened.  Certainly, for the first, things went reasonably well for about 75% of the book, and then the lead character, who always had these semi-magical gifts, now had MORE of them, and was stronger, faster, smarter....  so maybe it was just hey, thats the trend.  And if I write a third book, the character will be able to fly, and to bend steel in her bare hands.

Whatever.  It's depressing.  Because I liked that first one.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


I don't like that many people.  I don't dislike people, its just that there are not all that many people about whom I care, whom, if something goes wrong for them, I will want to help, on the high end of the scale, or at least be willing to help without misgivings, at the low end.

As it happens, most of the people about whom I feel that way are French.  One is Canadian.  And two are American.  You can probably guess who those two are.

I am surprised that the people I like tend to be people I've met through Conversation Exchange.  That's not meant to imply that all of the connections there are without fault; I've met people there with whom there's been no emotional connection, no I like these people feeling.  But for several of them, right now -- one living in Lille, three living in Paris, one living in Toulouse,  one in Aix-en-Provence, one in Nice, one in Villelaure , and one in Lyon, plus one in Montreal -- I really like them.

Which is unusual for me.