Recently in Geekdom Category

Welcome to 1.0 - Brave Browser

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Been using the Brave Browser for the last six months or so and really really like it. A spin-off from Chrome but with a lot of privacy enhancements. It has been fast and very secure.

They just announced Version 1.0 today - they are officially out of Beta test.

Give it a try - I certainly like it.

Ho. Li. Crap - normally, I will use a 1/8" or 3/32" rod (7018) at 30-45 amps.

Red Beard from weld.com teams up with the WeldTube Squad welding with some 3/4" Cor-Met F25 stick electrode. The rod is 4 feet long and weighs approximately 20 pounds. Extreme to the max.

Very clever idea

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Harbor Freight makes some very cheap clamps like this if you do not have an old one to repurpose.

Running an old version of Windows?

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Get it offline NOW unless you want to get malware. From Slashdot:

A Widespread BlueKeep 'Exploit' Is Targetting Unpatched Windows 7/XP Computers
When Microsoft issued the first patch in years for Windows XP in May 2019, you knew that something big was brewing. That something was a wormable Windows vulnerability that security experts warned could have a similar impact as the WannaCry worm from 2017. The BlueKeep vulnerability exists in unpatched versions of Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2: and it's now been confirmed that a BlueKeep exploit attack is currently ongoing...

Security researchers, including Kevin Beaumont who originally named the vulnerability and Marcus Hutchins (also known as MalwareTech) who was responsible for hitting the kill switch that stopped the WannaCry, have confirmed that a widespread BlueKeep exploit attack is now currently underway. Hutchins told Wired that "BlueKeep has been out there for a while now. But this is the first instance where I've seen it being used on a mass scale." It would appear that rather than a wormable threat, where the BlueKeep exploit could spread itself from one machine to another, the attackers are searching for vulnerable unpatched Windows systems that have Remote Desktop Services (RDP) 3389 ports exposed to the internet. This dampens the panic that there could be another WannaCry about to happen, although the potential for such a scenario, albeit on a much smaller scale, certainly remains. For now though, this looks like being an attack campaign with a cryptocurrency miner payload.

These systems are all about 15-20 years old and are well past their service life. If you do not want to upgrade, get them off the internet or else your system will get infected with malware.

So true - screen time

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From Randall:

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Quite the journey - Miss Vicky

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I posted about the beginning of her journey back on April 3rd of this year. Miss Vicky is a 1931 Model A Ford Victoria and was embarking on a 10,000 mile journey from Peking, China to Paris, France.

She did it and is now back on Camano Island - from the Stanwood Camano News:

Driving Miss Vicky
Miss Vicky, a 1931 Model A Ford Victoria, recently returned home to Camano Island, victorious and perhaps a bit disheveled from the 10,000-mile Peking to Paris Rally. The drivers flew home in July, but Miss Vicky took her time, cruising by ship through the Panama Canal.

Her owner, Lee Harman of Camano Island and his buddy Bill Ward of Olympia and Arizona, checked this punishing cross-continent trip off their bucket list. They call themselves the “Co-conspirators.” They’ve been great friends for 40 years as owners of British cars. They are both competent drivers and fixers.

They had two goals: to finish under their own power and arrive in Paris still friends.

All they had to do was drive 10,000 miles cross country, find their way with obscure directions, outwit disaster and persevere harrowing ordeals.

After 36 trying days — every day a challenge — the Co-conspirators are still friends.

And Miss Vicky? She could use a new axle, but she did it.

Of 120 entrants that started the Peking to Paris Endurance Rally in Beijing, China, 103 made it to Paris. Of those, Miss Vicky was one of only 21 vintage vehicles that made the entire trip under their own power. That means she was never disabled, towed or given a lift on a flatbed truck.

Two photos:

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Miss Vicky splashes through water and dirt, her engine laboring on two cylinders
after mud shorted out two spark plugs.

20191030-vick02.jpgMiss Vicky crosses the finish line in Paris.

More story and photos at the site. Sounds like a grand time and looking forward to seeing her on the island.

Some grinding disks

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These had to have been made for a trade show somewhere and the phone numbers look European but DAMN - I want some of these. Really cute:

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From Popular Mechanics:

The 50 Most Important Websites of All Time
Charles Kline’s first attempt to send a message over ARPANET, the early computer network that would birth the internet as we know it, was a bit of a bust.

Sitting at his massive mainframe computer at the University of California, Los Angeles, the grad student sent an “L” to another apartment-sized machine at Stanford University. Then an “O.” But before Kline could get to the “G” in his attempt to send the word “LOGIN,” the system crashed. He would revive the connection later that night and successfully transmit all five letters, but it wouldn’t matter if he hadn’t. He had already made history.

On October 29, 1969, “LO” was the first message successfully sent over a computer-to-computer network.

It would be another decade before ARPANET gave way to the internet, and another decade after that before the World Wide Web was born. Before those revolutions could be realized, two major questions had to be answered: How could ARPANET expand, and what the hell were people supposed to do with it, anyway?

The first problem was addressed by internet icons like Vinton Cerf, who developed the protocols that would allow different networks to connect to one another and form a larger network of networks. (In other words, an “internet.”)

Much more at the site - a fascinating story well told. Here is the recreation of the original web page at CERN. We have come a long long way.

Fifty Years ago Today

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From Fast Company:

50 years ago today, the internet was born in Room 3420
When I visited UCLA’s Boelter Hall last Wednesday, I took the stairs to the third floor, looking for Room 3420. And then I walked right by it. From the hallway, it’s a pretty unassuming place.

But something monumental happened there 50 years ago today. A graduate student named Charley Kline sat at an ITT Teletype terminal and sent the first digital data transmission to Bill Duvall, a scientist who was sitting at another computer at the Stanford Research Institute (now known as SRI International) on the other side of California. It was the beginning of ARPANET, the small network of academic computers that was the precursor to the internet.

At the time, this brief act of data transfer wasn’t anything like a shot heard round the world. Even Kline and Duvall didn’t appreciate the full significance of what they’d accomplished: “I don’t remember anything specifically memorable about that night, and I certainly didn’t realize that what we had done was anything special at the time,” says Kline. But their communications link was proof of the feasibility of the concepts that eventually enabled the distribution of virtually all the world’s information to anybody with a computer.

Today, everything from our smartphones to our garage door openers are nodes on the network that descended from the one Kline and Duvall tested that day. How they and others established the original rules for shuttling bytes around the world is a tale worth sharing—especially when they tell it themselves.

And they restored the room as a museum:

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Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

I might actually buy this book

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Instead of borrowing it from the library. From Amazon:

UNIX: A History and a Memoir
by Brian W Kernighan

The fascinating story of how Unix began and how it took over the world. Brian Kernighan was a member of the original group of Unix developers, the creator of several fundamental Unix programs, and the co-author of classic books like "The C Programming Language" and "The Unix Programming Environment."

Learned C from his book many many years ago. He is one very interesting person and an excellent communicator. SHould be a great read.

Congratulations Microsoft

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From the U. S. Department of Defense:

WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS SERVICE
Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, has been awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling value of $10,000,000,000 over a period of 10 years, if all options are exercised. The JEDI Cloud contract will provide enterprise level, commercial Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to support Department of Defense business and mission operations. Work performance will take place at the awardee's place of performance. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,000,000 are being obligated on a task order against this award to cover the minimum guarantee. The expected completion date is Oct. 24, 2029, if all options are exercised. Washington Headquarters Services, Alexandria, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HQ0034-20-D-0001). Task Order HQ0034-20-F-0009 was awarded for the minimum guarantee of $1,000,000. Task Order HQ0034-20-F-0010 was awarded for $0.00 for Cloud Computing Program Office (CCPO) Program Management (PM) Support.

You read that correctly - ten billion dollars. Amazon Web Services was also bidding but they lost out.

Good training session

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I am now a card-carrying Junior Weather spotter with my secret decoder ring and special phone number.

Actually, this is a very serious deal. Perfect example was last Friday, October 18 when an EF-1 tornado touched down in Shelton, WA. Because weather conditions are different here than in "tornado alley", weather radar does not show the classic hook echo formation that indicates active tornadoes and it was not until a Shelton resident took a video on her cellphone and sent it to Seattle station KIRO that the National Weather Service knew about it.

Camano Island is located in an active convergence zone. That produces some intense but very localized weather and the more eyes to the skies, the better climate models the NWS is able to make and the more timely watches and warnings they can issue.

A fun get together too as about half of the people there were from various Island and County emergency management groups or radio amateurs. Getting to know a lot of people here and the level of professionalism is wonderful.

Great news item from Diogenes' Middle Finger:

Troll Level 11 : Trump Campaign Scoops Up Biden's Latino Voter Outreach Web Address & Tweeter

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ABC - It didn't take long for the Trump campaign to figure out how to troll Joe Biden moments after the former vice president's campaign announced a Latino voter outreach program on Wednesday. Biden, who spent the day campaigning across Pennsylvania and Iowa, announced "Todos Con Biden," a "national network of Latino supporters" working to help elect the former vice president. But there's one problem.

The Biden campaign failed to purchase www.todosconbiden.com, or even lock down the @TodosConBiden Twitter handle before announcing the new effort -- prompting the president's reelection team to do what it does best: troll.  Now, the Trump campaign is using www.todosconbiden.com to mock the former vice president, with a landing page that says in both English and Spanish, "Oops, Joe forgot about Latinos."

Comedy gold - whenever you think about doing a domain, you lock it down first before anything else. For them not to do this shows that their campaign staff is simply not that smart.

Are machines getting smarter?

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Or are we just getting dumber and dumber - I could go either way. From IT Web:

Singularity is a decade closer than predicted
The technological singularity, an age when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence, is now expected to take place in 2035, 10 years earlier than initially predicted.

A bit of a puff-piece but an interesting thought.

There is nothing wrong with your speakers - there is no audio:

And it gets more interesting - from BoingBoing:

Design fiction, politicized: the wearable face projector
In 2017, a group of Dutch design students created some fictional anonymity "products" that they displayed under the name "Group Anonymous" at Milan Design Week.

One of these design fiction pieces was Group Anonymous member Jing-cai Liu's "wearable face projector" -- a hat with a built-in LCD projector that skinned your face with an ever-shifting series of projection-mapped faces.

At the time, the group expressed its hope that their "designs should provoke debates about the emerging future."

But the wearable face projector has gone viral in the wake of Hong Kong's unconstitutional "mask ban" that prohibits protesters from using masks or makeup to confound the facial recognition cameras being used by Hong Kong to exact terrible physical retribution upon people who take part in public calls for respect for their human rights.

In response, Jing-cai Liu has published a statement disavowing any "political intentions...not then, not now" (all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding) and demanding that their work not be associated with the Hong Kong protests: "The copyright of the product/concepts stays in the hands of those designers. They kindly ask to put their works in the right context and always refer back to their websites or named above sources when their concepts are shared. Don’t use their works in any political statement."

It's a genuinely weird statement from the "Group Anonymous" who set out to "provoke debate" with an exhibition called "Dystopian Future." I mean, be careful what you wish for, my dudes. I can empathize with not wanting to be dragged into someone else's fight, but this is literally what design fiction is for.

Indeed - the group pulled the website that the link in the first paragraph used to point to. It is even missing from The Internet Archive and they have most of the internet. Great idea though.

People's passwords

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Seems like the gurus are just as bad as us mere mortals when it comes to password security. From BoingBoing:

Computer historians crack passwords of Unix's early pioneers
Early versions of the free/open Unix variant BSD came with password files that included hashed passwords for such Unix luminaries as Dennis Ritchie, Stephen R. Bourne, Eric Schmidt, Brian W. Kernighan and Stuart Feldman.

Leah Neukirchen recovered an BSD version 3 source tree and posted about it on the Unix Heritage Society mailing list, revealing that she was able to crack many of the weak passwords used by the equally weak hashing algorithm from those bygone days.

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie's was "dmac", Bourne's was "bourne", Schmidt's was "wendy!!!" (his wife's name), Feldman's was "axlotl", and Kernighan's was "/.,/.,".

Four more passwords were cracked by Arthur Krewat: Özalp Babaoğlu's was "12ucdort", Howard Katseff's was "graduat;", Tom London's was "..pnn521", Bob Fabry's was "561cml.." and Ken Thompson's was "p/q2-q4!" (chess notation for a common opening move).

Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie were the people who codified the C Programming Language which was what Unix was written in and became the default programming language for all other operating systems and computers.

Paying for electricity

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You think that with all the deferred maintenance and decaying infrastructure issues that California is having, they probably have really cheap electricity costs. Not the case. They are the fifth most expensive state for power with Hawaii, Alaska and the People's Republics of Connecticut and Massachusetts leading the way. Hi and Ak are understandable given their remoteness but sheesh. Take some of that money and spend it on maintenance for cryin' out loud...

A good website for the numbers: The Choose Energy Rate Report

WA state is the cheapest at 9.72 cents per kWh (July 2019 data for all states), Hawaii is 31.42 and California is 19.96.

We are blessed with a lot of hydroelectricity. All of the expensive states are either remote or shoveling $$$ down the alt.energy rathole with little to show for it. Nuclear anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Fun times - California winds

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I had posted a link to Cliff Mass talking about the forecast windstorms in California. A reader commented with a link to an excellent checklist for preparedness. From the San Francisco CBS affiliate:

Bay Area Power Outage Survival Guide
We all take the modern convenience of electricity for granted until the lights go out.

And for as many as 250,000 Bay Area residents those light may be going out as early as Wednesday morning. A wind advisory and red flag warning have Pacific Gas & Electric officials considering cutting the power to about 250,000 Bay Area customers as a safety precaution. The utility estimates total of 800,000 customers in Northern and Central California will have their power shut off.

And those outages may last for several days so now is the time to get prepared.

Here are some tips to help you and your family survive a power outage.

    • Sign up for PG&E alerts so you can be quickly informed if a power outage is about to begin in your neighborhood. It is also a good idea to sign up for alerts with your county.
    • On Tuesday evening before going to bed, make sure to have all your electronic devices fully charged.
    • Fill up your gas tank on your way home from work — most gas pumps are electronic and will not work in an outage.
    • Stop by the ATM and withdraw cash — grocery store cash registers are electrically powered.
    • Stock up on seven days of food, water, and flashlights and batteries. If you are still using old incandescent bulbs, this might be a good time to upgrade. LED bulbs last much longer.
    • If you have an automatic garage door opener make sure you know how to disengage it and open the door manually.
    • If you have solar panels, they will not power your house. Only those with a home battery or special converter can get power from their panels.
    • Prepare yourself for slow driving — traffic lights will not be functioning in the neighborhood impacted by the power outage.
    • Be a good neighbor — if you have elderly or infirm neighbors check on their well being
    • If you use a generator — make sure it is at least 20 feet from your home with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.
    • Talk with your building manager if you live or work in a building that has elevators or electronic key card access to understand how they will deal with a possible multi-day outage.
    • Break out your earthquake survival kit to use.

A well thought-out list and a lot more at the site including a list of things to buy now before the stores get wiped out.

This is one situation where an amateur radio license would be a very good thing. Most cell sites have backup power for only three to five days. You can get a decent basic setup for well under $100 and it is an enjoyable hobby as well as a life-saver in an emergency situation. Whenever I travel to a new city, I will have looked up the local frequencies and can call out for driving directions or restaurant recomendations.

I posted about this video October 2nd

Nice to find out that it was just a misunderstanding.

This video is 44 minutes long but they get into the meat of the issues early on:

Early evening

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Doing the Western Washington emergency radio network tomorrow morning. Been doing this once/month for about a year. Lots of fun and a great drill for when the feces actually hit the air mover. All of Western Washington is linked with a fairly comprehensive radio network and there are a lot of licensed operaters out there capable of taking over when the cell phone network stops working (most cell towers have about three days of backup power should the grid go down).

Surf for a bit first...

From the Experimental Aircraft Association:

An Inside Look at Microsoft’s Newest Flight Simulator
There’s no way I can write about the return of Flight Simulator without sharing just a little bit of my own story for context, as there are deep intersections. Not only did I start using version 1.0 of the product when I was about 12 years old (nearly 40 years ago, if you must know), but I worked on it at Microsoft for more than 10 years before it was canceled in 2009. The shutdown was a blow not just to those of us who relied on the product to pay our mortgages, but to millions of pilots and aviation enthusiasts around the world.

In the Meantime
The last major release was Flight Simulator X (FSX) in 2006, followed by an expansion pack the following year. After the shutdown, variations of the product lived on here and there, including the enterprise edition, which Lockheed Martin now develops and publishes as Prepar3D, and a version that was licensed by Dovetail Games in the United Kingdom and sold on the Steam marketplace. Dovetail pursued further development with a product called Flight Sim World, and Microsoft itself briefly returned to the genre in 2012 with a limited product called Flight. But it was the community of hardcore simmers and add-on developers who truly kept the product alive for the past 10 years. Then, in May of 2019, Microsoft surprised almost everybody with a bombshell announcement: Flight Simulator, the oldest franchise in Microsoft’s history (Windows and Office weren’t even a gleam in Bill’s eye back then), is coming back in a big way, first to the PC, then to the Xbox console.

Very very cool - I generally do not like computer games. Never have. That being said, I have spent a lot of time on flight simulator even buying a good joystick to enhance my flights. Looking forward to this upgrade.

A lot more at the site - positively drool-worthy

From Slashdot reader hackingbear:

Alibaba's OceanBase Tops TPC-C Benchmark, Doubling That of Oracle Database
The TPC organization reported on October 5 that OceanBase, an open-source relational database from Ant Financial, a business unit of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, has topped the TPC-C benchmark, more than doubling the score achieved by Oracle Corp. which had held the world record for the past 9 years. OceanBase v2.2 Enterprise Edition with Partitioning scored at 60,880,800, while Oracle Database 11g R2 Enterprise Edition w/RAC and Partitioning achieved 30,249,688.TPC Benchmark C is industrial standard OLTP benchmark, measuring on-line transactions per minute (tpmC).

Yikes - a free and open source database running on a free and open source operating system trounces an expensive database running on a kind-of expensive operating system. Tony Stark Larry Ellison is going to have a melt-down and yes, there is a link: here, here, here and here.

The thing that I really love is that the database software is at version 0.4 - they have not even released 1.0 and already it is kicking serious ass.

The FORTH programming language

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I used to do a lot of work in FORTH - loved it. Here is one programmers reminiscences. From Proper Fixation:

This is from 2010 - ran into it looking for something else. Have always had a soft spot for interesting programming languages - currently having to learn Python (everyone uses it because everyone uses it) but really love Lua

My history with Forth & stack machines

My VLSI tools take a chip from conception through testing. Perhaps 500 lines of source code. Cadence, Mentor Graphics do the same, more or less. With how much source/object code?
– Chuck Moore, the inventor of Forth

This is a personal account of my experience implementing and using the Forth programming language and the stack machine architecture. "Implementing and using" – in that order, pretty much; a somewhat typical order, as will become apparent.

It will also become clear why, having defined the instruction set of a processor designed to run Forth that went into production, I don't consider myself a competent Forth programmer (now is the time to warn that my understanding of Forth is just that – my own understanding; wouldn't count on it too much.)

Why the epigraph about Chuck Moore's VLSI tools? Because Forth is very radical. Black Square kind of radical. An approach to programming seemingly leaving out most if not all of programming:

…Forth does it differently. There is no syntax, no redundancy, no typing. There are no errors that can be detected. …there are no parentheses. No indentation. No hooks, no compatibility. …No files. No operating system.

Much more at the site - actually a really good definition of the language.

Interested? Check out pFORTH

Now this is a grinding disk

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Actually, looks like a diamond saw (slots along the circumference) for cutting concrete (using a much larger machine).
Still... A fun prank.

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Unreal - California and Amateur Radio

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MAJOR UPDATE - see this post for the full story.

Ms. Pisi needs to get a clue - she is legislating by executive fiat. She was not elected.

In WA State, the Department of Emergency Services and the various county agencies love amateur radio operators. We are trained and are often the "last mile" in communications.

According to the comments at the video's home page, some other states are suffering from the same stupidity.

Awww cute - cake

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From Canadian baker Kake by Darci:

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29 more photos at Bored Panda

An interesting look at scientific writing

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From Nature:

Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper
For the past two decades, Cormac McCarthy — whose ten novels include The RoadNo Country for Old Men and Blood Meridian — has provided extensive editing to numerous faculty members and postdocs at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) in New Mexico. He has helped to edit works by scientists such as Harvard University’s first tenured female theoretical physicist, Lisa Randall, and physicist Geoffrey West, who authored the popular-science book Scale.

Interesting cross-pollination here. The paper lists the tips and they are excellent for any kind of writing.

Now this looks good - War of the Worlds

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Set in the period - looks gorgeous:

Two weeks in - a big thumbs up

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Earlier this month, I posted about the AmazonBasics Keyboard getting a good review. I ordered two of them and have been using them on my two main computers for the last couple of weeks. I have been generally very happy with the AmazonBasics line of products - they are my go-to for cables and I have some of the CD Drives. Really solid quality and inexpensive prices.

The keyboard is solid and has a nice feel to it. The stroke length is not as long as I like but then, I learned to type on an IBM Selectric typewriter so these are the (very high) standard by which I judge. I still think that the $45 Walmart gaming keyboard is better and there are some elite keyboards out there costing a couple hundred bucks but overall, the Amazon keyboard is a great unit. I am going back to my gaming keyboard on the media machine but keeping the amazon keyboard for my other computer. The other keyboard I bought will be put on my eBay machine downstairs.

Here is the link to the keyboard: AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard

The WalMart gaming keyboard: SteelSeries Apex 150 Gaming Keyboard, Black

Very cool - robots

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Boston Dynamics is doing some really great work - here is the latest from Atlas:

And somwhere, Skynet is smiling.

But that's raaacisssss

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Stupid humans:

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Out for coffee and stuff

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Wishing everyone in the shire a wonderful Hobbit Day.

Tops - the movie

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A delightful seven minute film of tops spinning:

Filmed by Charles and Ray Eames. Soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein. From the Eames Office:

TOPS
Tops had its genesis in an earlier film produced for the Stars of Jazz television program in 1957.  The Eameses decided to make a longer, color version in 1966, which they worked on in spare moments between other projects.

The film is a celebration of the ancient art and craft of top-making and spinning.  One hundred and twenty-three tops spin to the accompaniment of a score by Elmer Bernstein.  Using close-up, live-action photography, the film shows tops, old and new, from various countries, including China, Japan, India, the United States, France, and England.

Charles’s fascination with spinning tops went back to his childhood; in this film he found a perfect vehicle for demonstrating their beauty in motion and for making visual points about the universality of tops, the physics of motion (MIT physics professor, Philip Morrison, often showed the film to students and colleagues), and the intimate relationship between toys and science.

I used to have tops when I was a kid. I loved Gyroscopes. My Dad taught at University of Pittsburgh and in the lecture hall, they had a great gyro. It was a bicycle wheel with handles fastened to the axle bolt. You would sit in a chair that could spin, rev up the wheel with a motor and then, whenever you tried to tilt the gyro, you would precess around in the chair. If I was wood turning, a bunch of tops would make great Christmas gifts.

Charles and Ray Eames where amazing polymaths. Their film Powers of Ten is a stunning visualization.

An "art" theft

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Interesting - from The Beeb:

Gold toilet stolen in Blenheim Palace burglary
An 18-carat solid gold toilet has been stolen in a burglary overnight at Blenheim Palace.

A gang broke into the Oxfordshire palace at about 04:50 BST and stole the artwork, Thames Valley Police said.

The working toilet - entitled America, which visitors had been invited to use - has not been found but a 66-year-old man has been arrested.

The burglary caused "significant damage and flooding" because the toilet was plumbed into the building, police said.

It was part of an exhibition by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan that opened on Thursday.

The 18th Century stately home is a World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It is currently closed while investigations continue.

I hope they retrieve it before it is melted down for scrap. Fun piece. Not my taste in art but still, a fun cultural prank.

Brilliant design - corner cabinet

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Remodeling my kitchen and just saw this - outstanding idea for what is usually wasted space:

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An interesting copyright loophole - books

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From Motherboard:

Libraries and Archivists Are Scanning and Uploading Books That Are Secretly in the Public Domain
A coalition of archivists, activists, and libraries are working overtime to make it easier to identify the many books that are secretly in the public domain, digitize them, and make them freely available online to everyone. The people behind the effort are now hoping to upload these books to the Internet Archive, one of the largest digital archives on the internet.

As it currently stands, all books published in the U.S. before 1924 are in the public domain, meaning they’re publicly owned and can be freely used and copied. Books published in 1964 and after are still in copyright, and by law will be for 95 years from their publication date.

But a copyright loophole means that up to 75 percent of books published between 1923 to 1964 are secretly in the public domain, meaning they are free to read and copy. The problem is determining which books these are, due to archaic copyright registration systems and convoluted and shifting copyright law.

As such, a coalition of libraries, volunteers, and archivists have been working overtime to identify which titles are in the public domain, digitize them, then upload them to the internet. At the heart of the effort has been the New York Public Library, which recently documented why the entire process is important, but a bit of a pain.

Very cool. Information wants to be free.

Cute idea for a cat bed

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From the US Patent Office #10,398,125

Laptop or keyboard simulating pet bed
A bed for a pet comprises a computer keyboard simulating enclosure having a top side having a plurality of simulated computer keys, a bottom side adapted for laying on a horizontal surface, and a peripheral edge. A heating element is fixed within the enclosure and is adapted to heat at least the top side of the enclosure. A power conduit traversing the enclosure is adapted for connecting the heating element with a power source. The bed further includes pressure-activated switch for activating the heating element, a keyboard sound simulating device, an illumination device, a vibration device, and/or a simulated laptop display projecting away from a rear side of the enclosure.

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I do not know what it is about cats and keyboards but there is an affinity.

Cute: Microsoft the Musical

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Some of the 2019 summer interns produced this video:

From the YouTube listing::

You Can, You Should, You Will
"Microsoft the Musical" was dreamt up and led by interns spending the summer of 2019 at Microsoft. This Tony Awards-style musical theater opening number is just one of many passion projects that came to life because we were encouraged to bring our whole selves to work. And that’s what we did: 150 interns and employees came in on mornings, weekends, and nights to create this outside of (and in addition to) their day jobs.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We hope that this speaks to every person who dreams of being part of something big—and especially to those who’ve been wrongly told they can’t be. At some point, we were all in your shoes. You CAN, you SHOULD, and you WILL.

Spent five years working there - loved it. Got to play with some incredible hardware.

Party like it's 1992

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Microsoft just released an update to WINFILE.EXE - the Windows 3.1 File Manager application. Runs fine on Win10

MSFT Company Store or GitHub

Talk about coming a long long way...

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Gets a great review at Slashdot:

Why the Amazon Basics Keyboard Is My Favorite Keyboard
Full stack developer and teacher, Nick Janetakis, says the Amazon Basics keyboard is one of his favorite general purpose/programming keyboards. "It hits all the major points that make a keyboard good and it also happens to be only $14," he writes.

Amazon also lists the option to by quantity 10 of them for $81.65. Ordering one to try and see how it performs. I type reasonably well and am fussy about my keyboards. The one I am using on my media machine is a Walmart house-brand gaming keyboard for $45. The thing has a great feel and is bulletproof. It is a monster.

November 2019

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Environment and Climate
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