Holiday Electrical Successes and Failures
December 28, 2013
As I’m rattling around the house the past few days recovering from a really poorly-timed evil cold/cough, not feeling well enough to actually go out and do anything but not so bad that I’m flat-out in bed, I figured I’d catch up on some projects.
December 3, 2013
I’m really sorry for not reacting more maturely to your nearly killing me with your car.
I’m sure that you didn’t intentionally make a right turn into your driveway so close to me that, had I not braked and swerved, I would surely have been crushed under the wheels of your automobile. Probably my suggestion of a creative but improbable use of your presumed anatomical features was uncalled for, and for that I apologize. I was incited to this level of reaction by your assertion that you “didn’t believe you came very close” and that “in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal” to be nearly run over and killed.
The Decline and Fall of the Cell Phone
December 3, 2013
(Another post from the Wayback machine, found stuck in the blogpost “drafts” - this from two years ago, around this time of year.)
My daughter was cleaning out some of her old toys and stuff (in anticipation, I guess, of the forthcoming Christmas arrival of new toys and stuff) and decided it was time to part with this.
I gave her this old phone a few years ago; it had been sitting in my parts bin, and I thought it would make a great “play phone” – and it did, until this year it was outgrown and replaced with a desire for a real cell phone (no, Santa’s definitely not bringing a nine-year-old a cell phone for Christmas…)
Looking at the phone, which represented the state-of-the-art when I bought it back in the early 1990s, I found myself musing on what had happened to cell phones since then.
Oh The Crushing Banality
December 3, 2013
(I originally wrote this a couple years ago, and stumbled across the draft. It’s still an accurate account; there’s been some improvement but not enough to invalidate the observations.)
I’ve noticed a couple of trends at work lately, and they aren’t ones I like.
The Fallacy of Saving Cost by Reducing Support Staff
As in so many companies and gov’t agencies, we’ve gradually reduced support staff to a bare minimum over the last several decades. Where we once would have had several secretaries and other administrative professionals supporting our 200-person department, we have one. Where we once would have had a team of technical writers and graphic arts professionals available as a resource, we have none. The consequence of these “cost saving measures” has been to push secretarial duties and assorted skills that normally demand considerable education and experience, onto the technical staff.
The logic is dubious.
An interesting comparison
September 10, 2011
A friend sent me an article in the New York Times, in which the author uses the data from his GPS bike computer to fill in the gaps in his memory following a crash. The Times’ illustrator Johnathan Corum created an infographic depicting the rider’s route, and the data from the bike computer. It’s a nice figure, but it’s gratuitously similar to the classic Minard depiction of Napoleon’s 1918 march to Moscow (often cited as one of the best infographics ever, and available as a poster from Edward Tufte.)