Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bugatti Veyron review (the best one)

Youtuber saabkyle is the best automotive reviewer on the internet -- better than well-funded car magazines. Here's his Veyron review. In Kyle's words, "It was unlike anything I have ever felt, the thrust was incredible!"

Friday, April 04, 2014

Walking backwards through Tokyo -- you will like this

Film played in reverse; link because I can't find the Vimeo embed (maybe it's no longer offered).


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Bob Metcalfe does another Reddit AMA

Metcalfe, along with David Boggs, invented Ethernet. Link to new Reddit AMA here.

Good stuff from Metcalfe:

"Ethernet had back-off for flow/congestion control, which then migrated up into TCP/IP also. Got the idea from the Santa Monica Freeway traffic lights. Moves from 10G to 40G to 100G to 400G to TE are part of the Ethernet ethic, which says built it and they will come (eventually)."


Q: What's your view on Chipotle charging extra for guacamole?

Metcalf: Pay it.


Q: What are your thoughts on connecting little widgets and devices to the internet? Wireless or hard-wired? Does my toaster really need to be connected to the internet?

Metcalf: Yes, your toaster needs to be connected to the Internet.

Another one from M: "Protocol design is an art. It's important to leave things open for unexpected uses -- generality. TCP/IP/Ethernet were invented in 1973, and along came the web in 1989. Whoa! Also, mutual suspicion among protocol parties adds robustness."

Here's why he invented Ethernet:

"Was lucky to be given a problem that nobody had ever had before: How to network a building full of personal computers, one on every desk, if you can imagine that."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best internet video of 2014 (so far)

Remember the pic of a rock that rolled through a house in Italy? News article here. There's HD drone footage of the aftermath.

President Obama's State of the Union Address

Last night Our Little President™ said on live national media that he will be ruling by decree from now on, whenever he can't get what he wants from the legislature. Let's review other leaders who have done the same thing:

Joseph Stalin
Fidel Castro
Pol Pot
Kim Jong-il (and his chubby papa and chubby son)
Hugo Chavez
Saddam Hussein
Adolph Hitler

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pogue is AWOL

A few months ago tech writer David Pogue made (tech) headlines around the nation when he jumped from the New York Times to Yahoo. The move was part of Mayer's attempt to make Yahoo relevant again. I thought it was a smart move. I'm a nobody, relatively speaking, and I've been reading Pogue for years at NYT, and planned to follow him to Yahoo. That was Mayer's point.

So, WHERE THE HELL IS HE? The move was announced months ago and I can find no sign of the guy. His website still has the same stale post about the move. Bing and Google show nothing of him at Yahoo or anywhere else. Is he taking a year off or something? I haven't seen anything about him at NYT since October 2013, when the paper did a story on his leaving. Since then, ditched its technology section, at least it's not at the top of the page, as it has been for many years. There's the all-important Fashion & Style, but no Technology.

None of this is terribly important, but I need to do something now that I no longer follow politics (much). Now that we have a president who can only claim the presidency in the sense that he's presiding over the demise of America, there's really no point. The far-left K-12 system is churning out Commiekids who believe "income inequality" is a bad thing. We should all be paid the same, right? The high school dropout flipping burgers and smoking pot should get the same money as the guy who gets a PhD and works at NASA, right? The Commiekids are too young to know about Stalin and Marx, so they don't recognize the same product, repackaged with new marketing. The First Lady said yesterday that she loves Jane Fonda -- a communist and traitor to the nation. If I had been president in the 1970s, Fonda would have been imprisoned on treason charges, and she'd still be languishing there today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Michael Schumacher in a coma

After a skiing crash, the greatest motor racing driver of all time is in a coma. Apparently he hit his head on a rock. Now, I never get sad when a famous person falls, but I'm making an exception for Schumacher (actually Schuey isn't the first; I was also sad when Steve Jobs died, even though I don't like Apple). Schuey is the reason I became a fan of F1. Critics said he was the Iceman and a dirty racer, but those are just lies cooked up by the jealous. To make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs. Critics also said he made F1 boring, and I admit that was true because when he was at his best, with Ferrari, the only question when the green flag dropped was, "What will his margin of victory be?"

Boring racing or not, the man's greatness was evident, even to people who didn't know anything about racing. Like Jeff Gordon in the 1990s for NASCAR, F1 had to change rules to make the sport more competitive -- all because of one driver's talent.

I used to have endless arguments with a Brazilian friend about whether Senna or Schumacher was the best. Neither could move the other. The closest my friend got me to admit that Senna may be better was when he showed me some rain races. Rain being the great equalizer in racing, Senna in the rain made me sit up on the edge of my seat. Nobody could touch him. Some of his laptimes were close to the others in dry conditions. Our debates yielded the following: Senna was emotional and seat-of-the-pants, Schumacher was technical. Senna felt his way around a racetrack while Schumacher analyzed each element for maximum advantage. Senna was Steve Jobs, Schumacher was Bill Gates. Senna was analog, Schumacher was digital. You get the idea. None of the discussions resolved the issue. We agreed only that the two are the best two drivers ever.

With Schuey's accident, my guess is Kimi Raikonen or Juan Pablo Montoya placed the rock beside the ski run.

A 'treasonous' act bears fruit

Snowden is more-or-less branded a traitor by the White House, but libertarians everywhere call him a hero. I don't know how I feel about him and his disclosures. First, because while it's nice to finally see fairly reliable evidence of government surveillance, all of this was assumed, if not known, for a very long time. Most people I know have discussed NSA activities for years, even making jokes on the phone that "the NSA is listening." Hollywood movies have been made about this topic. And yet, when Snowden went on the run and his dox kept landing in the media, the population of the world acted shocked. Could they have been so uninformed? Sadly, the answer is probably "Yes!".

The second reason I don't know how I feel about Snowden and the info-dump is that the secrets he's revealing are state secrets -- my state, and I'm generally against anything that weakens my country. Hence, my cunundrum. In government there has always been a balance between security and liberty, and even though I usually despise people want to harm the USA, I prefer the pendulum to swing to the side of liberty. It's a real bitch of an issue for me.

Regardless of where I or anyone else comes out on the Snowden situation, it has born fruit, and some of it is good. Case in point, a new effort to audit TrueCrypt and even parts of Windows. It seems a lot of people want to know how secure our software really is, and they're putting their money and time and talent where their mouths are. Details here.

A few years ago I installed TrueCrypt on my primary partition on one of my laptops, just to see what's up. It's everything they say it is -- easy to use and fast. People also say it's unbreakable, but how do we really know that? It has been speculated for a long time (decades) that the NSA has backdoors or some method of breaking any encryption scheme available to the public. Maybe now we can finally learn the truth of this. Then again, putting on the Hat of Conspiracy, maybe the people driving the work to audit TrueCrypt are secretly on the payroll of the NSA? I'm sure the people doing the work would be upset to hear that, but I think it's a legitimate question.

As much as I enjoyed having "unbreakable" encryption for my data, I uninstalled TrueCrypt for a simple reason: I don't do anything illegal with my computers (nor in my private life). People who knew me 20 years ago would probably scoff at that, but things (and people) change... I didn't see the point of encrypting my unimaginative collection of short stories or aborted attempts at novels or my collection of WWII battle photography. If the NSA wants to enter my computer and steal one of my novels and finish it, making it a bestseller and funding their next round of blackops, I'm OK with that!!!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The state of American culture

This is what it comes down to, what we've all been working so diligently towards. It may just be the ultimate evolution of humankind. A reporter asked an artist / musician this question:

Do you remember the first time you paired Velvet Underground songs with pizza lyrics?

Learn more about American "culture" here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Senator Elbert Guillory gets it

I can't believe I've never heard of this Louisiana senator. I attempted to discuss the same issues here, but fell well short of this guy's video. He mentioned Frederick Douglass, which is timely for me because I just finished Douglass's first memoir, which is a must-read. It's fascinating more than heartbreaking. It's also free at Amazon.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jimmy Page plays Ramble On

"Dynamics. Light and shade. Whisper to the thunder. Sort of invite you in, to intoxicate it."

Page in studio -- guitar track 1 for Ramble On:

Page in studio -- guitar track 2 for Ramble On:

Herbivores mounted on the wall

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The face of liberalism

This lefty Prius broad is divorced from reality, just like most of them. Disputes the speed limit (wrong) and thinks people need her permission to record her in public (wrong again).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Best headline in history = 'So, arrest us'

South African media immediately began publishing pictures of President Zuma's private residence after they were warned not to by security ministers. The 'So, arrest us' headline is the best I've ever laid eyes on. Story in question is here.

The BBC article about the mess is here. As I expected, the BBC missed the real reason Zuma needs so much public money for his private residence. He has four wives and at least 21 children. How does he have time to run a country and keep all those women and children in line? The guy must be responsible for half of all Advil purchases in the world, not to mention Viagra.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Music and politics

Politics -- well? After Obama got re-elected, I lost my mojo. The commies control K-12, universities, nearly all media and Hollywood / TV, and an open Marxist has been elected twice in a row. My personal whining on the WWW seems futile. What's the point if the war is lost? The people of America seem to be enamored of collectivism, and I'm not, so bitching into the void doesn't feel purposeful anymore. Who's on the horizon as a savior for common sense, freedom, and fiscal responsibility? Chris Christie??? WTF? The frontrunner for the next prez election is busy losing weight to improve his chances. I think that says all that needs to be said.

So what to do? Listen to some music.

Here's what I'm listening to these days -- mostly guitar, with an emphasis on acoustic / folk. Forgive the spelling errors; I don't feel like looking anything up right now.

Bert Jansch
Jon Renbourn
Davy Graham
Jimmy Page
Rory Gallagher
Leo Kotke
Augustin Amigo

My favorite album at the moment is Bert and John, a joint venture with Bert Jansch and Jon Renbourn from the mid-1960s. Davy Graham, who I think is the class of the field, died recently, but not before releasing a new album. For anyone who wants to go farther, try Graham's album Folk, Blues and Beyond. Also, some of the names mentioned above became members of the bands Fairport Convention and Pentangle. Another name that should probably make the list is Roy Harper. Jimmy Page was friends with and was influenced by several of the names on the list. If you listen to Page's White Summer or Black Mountainside, then swim upstream a bit, you find Davy Graham's She Moved Through the Fair and Mustapha.

Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, East Wind:

Davy Graham, She Moved Through the Fair:

Davy Graham, Mustapha:

Jimmy Page, White Summer (acoustic 1989):

Jimmy Page / Led Zeppelin, White Summer (electric) is below. I couldn't find a good quality version, so I had to upload this myself. My YouTube account says the upload was banned globally on copyright grounds. If it's gone -- oops.

Leo Kottke, Easter:

Here is Led Zeppelin performing Bon Yr Aur Stomp live. Watch Jimmy Page closely, not just the guitar work, but his face. Knowing one's purpose in life must be a relief:

Bron-Yr-Stomp album version, Led Zeppelin III:

An incredibly rare cover of Black Mountain Side:

Same guy, YouTuber tonuslocus1, doing a fantastic cover of Bron-Yr-Stomp:

Bank robbery, artificial intelligence, and AOL

A small collection of good articles from around the web, via

How architecture made LA a paradise for bank robbers

The man who would teach machines to think

This is what happens when a tech entrepreneur buys the Chicago Sun-Times

Being fooled is easy -- from a commencement address by Richard Feynman in the early 1970s

Code-breaking the brain

The man who was chosen to save AOL

A jeweler examines the origins of the universe

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) examines Obama's unprecedented crackdown on reporters

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The two-man con and the lemmings who support it

A few years back, a friend tied things together for me in a single sentence. It was something I knew, but hearing a concise description often helps clarify. I had complained that Democrats and Republicans are mostly doing the same things, and things I disagree with, but the various supporters of these parties support the positions when their people are in power, then speak against these things when the other guys are in power -- even though the "things" are identical! My friend said, "It's a two-man con." He's exactly right.

And I found a great example of the con, although there are literally thousands of examples. Glenn Greenwald, the foremost journalist covering the Snowden / NSA leaks, said the following in yesterday's Reddit AMA:

Question for Glenn: Do you see the US Democratic Party as hopelessly corrupt in terms of orchestrating progressive change?

Glenn's answer:

"When I first began writing in 2005, I was focused primarily on the Bush NSA program, and I was able to build a large readership quickly because so many Democrats, progressives, liberal bloggers, etc, were so supportive of the work I was doing. That continued to be true through 2008.

Now, a mere four [years] later, Democrats have become the most vehement defenders of the NSA and the most vicious attackers of my work on the NSA - often, some of the very same people cheering so loudly in 2006 and 2007 are the ones protesting most loudly and viciously now.

Gee, I wonder what changed? In the answer lies all you need to know about the Democratic Party."

It's safe to say I don't agree with everything Greenwald says and does, but in this, I agree completely. In part, I latched onto the above quote because it slams the Democratic party, which I have always viewed as the greater of two evils. However, I loathe the Republican party, too. It's Libertarian or nothing from now on, and I'll feel pity for the chorus of voices who mindlessly chirp, "But it's a wasted vote."