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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dubai on Wait-Wait

Listening to a game on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me where the call-in listener attempts to determine which news story is the true one. Two of three are made up, though usually quite clever. Today's stories were about the crazy things rich folks in Dubai there are quite a few they tell me do to show off the fact they have too much money and not enough time to waste it all.

The episode is from January, you can go find it. My only observation was, that all three stories were pretty crazy. And all of them were quite plausible.

Which says something about Dubai, and says something about our perceptions of rich people. Well, okay, my perceptions. The rich, they are not like us.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 29, 2019


So, spent about a week doing something vaguely resembling a vacation. Didn't travel out of town, so the term I kinda hate, "staycation," fits I guess.

Mainly, I didn't have to do the Dayjob. Which was very good. My dayjob makes me intensely unhappy after 17 years doing the same thing for two different companies. I shouldn't have tried being clever starting with my current employers. Got out of media studies & production school and these nice folks were catching calls for a public radio fundraiser, and I thought it'd be a good place to start for a little while. Twelve years later...

Anyway, whining-about-dayjob isn't terribly interesting, so, moving on.

Did get to do some things I like. The week started out looking very bad. Saturday morning the weather thing on my phone was claiming it was going to rain basically all week. Boy was I down at that point. By a couple days out, though, started getting a few sunny days, with occasional rain. Even had a couple days at 80 degrees F or higher a little excessive but for northern Minnesota, the sort of problem you want to have. It's not snowing, it's great weather. ;-)

I take great enjoyment from going to rummage sales. I don't feel compelled to buy more Rummage, our house is plenty full of Rummage already. But rummage sales give me a place to go, and when I get there, generally speaking, is still out in the sun. Might well buy nothing at all. But from time to time I find that one small thing that is unique-ish and serves a purpose for me -- even if the purpose is me staring at the thing while it sits on a shelf and I do nothing with it.

I use an app on my phone called Garage Sales Everywhere. It filters through the appropriate listings in Craigslist, and sends them through Google Maps giving me a map that (usually) shows where those events are relative to where I live. Sometimes I walk to the sale, sometimes I might ride my bike, and very rarely I might take a bus. The busses now have bike racks on the front so I could bus near and bike around an area. I get a bit of exercise and maybe I actually buy something, maybe not.

Last couple days I walked up the hill to Piedmont Heights. It's up a pretty steep hill, way to steep to bike up or down for me, and not easy to walk for that matter. But I feel like I've accomplished something when I get there, even if I don't end up buying stuff.

(Why yes, this is the exciting part of my RL life...)

Far as SL goes, I've done a bit of that, too. In fact, I picked this particular week off because it's also the time of SL16B, the Second Life 16th Birthday event. I originally intended to do what I'd done in the past, a couple of events DJing and a couple singing. Yes I do sing in Second Life. There's significant tech involved, but bottom line it's still me in front of a microphone.

Just did the DJing so far this year. I've been an SL DJ for 10 years, so I'm pretty good. I'm always a bit anxious about singing in comparison. Got in touch with a friend who'd been in charge of some of that stuff at previous SLBs. Turns out Linden Labs, our Glorious Leaders, may their tribe increase, decided to run the event themselves this year instead of having user volunteers manage it. This may be perfectly fine. But without the comfort of working with someone I know, I didn't feel up for singing this year.

So the main vacation thing I did was not work, but I also did some Non-Work Stuff. A small vacation, but adequate to its purpose. Couldn't get the week of Independence Day off, but the week after I'm out again for a few days
couldn't get that Monday off, those are busy on the Dayjob.

I think I'm going to be unhappy having to go back to day after day of Dayjob. (sigh)

Friday, June 28, 2019


So, checked my MegaMillions ticket tonight. Looked at the numbers on the website, and noticed the megaball was one digit different from last time's and recalled that my ticket was one different last week it was 18, and mine was a 19. Yay!

Turned out this time's was one digit different from last time. It was 17. So, no, I didn't win the MegaMillions. Again.

I'm thinking perhaps I'd have done better to have some other sort of retirement plan. Maybe that 401K thing they have for work. Teensy bit late, though.

If I'd taken the money I'd put into MegaMillions and put it in my 401K instead... I'd still be broke. But a boy can dream.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thanks for the help

Trying to puzzle out what should be a simple question in LSL, the Linden Scripting Language used in Second Life.  I want to read one small patch of data off one small web page so I can use it in my script.

Went through several groups that purport to offer help on scripting.  I'm fairly good with the bits I've done before, but llHTTPRequest I have used vanishingly little, though with some success.

Found exactly one person who helped a bit.  He couldn't stay long.

Other than him, what did I get for asking?  Asked in a couple of different "Support" groups.  Got answers that translate to "See, I'm smarter than you, nyah nyah nyah?"  This they call help.

The LSL Wiki is like most references.  It will answer all your questions, if you already know the answers.

What an utterly poisonous experience.  I'd like to believe there are better folks out there somewhere.  But maybe they all left Second Life, as they all appear to have left Washington DC.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Well,So Much for That Plan..

So, I had this lovely idea. Use my Amazon Fire, an app called Bloggeeroid, GBorard and Google speech-to-text to do my blogposts from my porch. You will note I hardly ever do blogposts, and when I do they're mostly "simulcast" from my podcast page anyway. Thought a change of technique would encourage me to prodcue more. Well...

Google Voice to Randomly Selected Words That Are Almost What You Wanted To Say doesn't work very well. But you knew that. It might be that my porch is 15 feet or so away from a busy street, and there's just too much traffic noise. Maybe.

This is another alternative. I have a little Bluetooth keyboard, barely usable for touch-typing in size. I could type posts using this, and it has the advantage of being typing. I've been typing badly since the 1970s, and well since the 1990s, back when people actually typed letters on paper and put them in envelopes with stamps on them. You know, like writing. English. Whole words, sentences, all that effete snobbery.

This speeds me up because I'm a quick typist, and slows me down because I'm a careful typist. This also adds errors, because I'm mostly an out-of-practrice typist. The current Dayjob mostly doesn't call for typing, just data entry. If you're my age, you know the difference. If you're not, you're likely convinced UR typing LOL!

Voice to text is another of those Science Fiction technologies that never got as good as it was supposed to. If I were to go all crochety-old-guy I might say all technology turns out like that. I won't, but I wouldn't be far wrong if I did. (he said with a smile)

Mature technology is boring. A telephone I mean the black Bakelite brick on the wall with the coily thing going to the handset you have to pick up and put down does what a telephone does. You can talk to and listen to someone at a distance, sometimes a very long distance. Does exactly that and nothing more. Works reliably. Boring.

That piece of glass in your pocket you call a phone may be capable of making a call, but if it wasn't, you might never know, because you probably haven't used that in years. It does a thousand other things, barely adequately or unreliably or both. And maybe makes phone calls.

A television shows you moving images of stuff happening a long way away. You may have a large flat black thing you call a television. You use it as a monitor for your computer or your game system or that camera inside your doorbell, and when you watch moving images it's often movies from back when people talked on telephones on their desk or stuck on the wall.

I recall noticing in an old Bogart movie (like there's another kind) that much of the plot was driven by where phones were. They're at the isolated house, no phone there. If someone gets in the car they can drive to that place down the road where there's a phone, and so on. The old Lou Grant TV show, at the time an edgy example of modernity (such as it was) had plots often driven by whether a reporter could get to the nearest payphone before the other reporters.

Payphones. You put in a quarter to call someone. Ask your grandmother.

Computers were gonna be so cool. I was thoroughly chuffed (ask a Brit) to get my first computers of my very own. Programming was magical, and by typing in the right stuff I could get my very own Personal Computer to do what I wanted it do do, limited by the very few things it actually could do. Computers were amazing and magical. And now you have a computer in your microwave to beep at you when your popcorn has started producing smoke, probably more powerful than the ones I bought as a kid.

So does your smoke detector, you know that thing that lets out one beep every 20 minutes to remind you that you didn't replace the battery. If you'd replaced the battery, it'd be beeping louder because of the popcorn smoke.

Self-driving cars. We seem to be having trouble producing self-driving cars, possibly because we've kinda sucked at producing self-driving people. And then there are the meta-issues. We produce more and more technologies to (supposedly) do all the jobs we don't want to do. But the people who don't want to do those jobs are the people who program the tech and the people who own the companies who sell the tech. And we're approaching a world where they won't be selling the tech, because the people who used to buy the tech no longer have jobs and can't afford it.

Apple makes 84 billion dollars instead of 89 billion dollars... and that couldn't possibly be because $1000 is a hell of a lot of money for a phone, could it?

So, yeah, I could use this setup to do blogposts... but they'd still be old-man rants. You may even have decided I'm a Luddite, though you have no idea what a Luddite actually was. Just remember, 30 years ago, I was you.

posted from Bloggeroid

Episode Zero -- A Minor Local Celebrity

With "Meditation Impromptu" by Kevin MacLeod Originally posted to Libsyn under my original setup around 02/2007.  When I ran out ...