Critical Section

Archive: June 30, 2016


Archive: June 30, 2015

QE filter pass

Tuesday,  06/30/15  09:11 PM

Wow, Q2 is done!  Whew.  And onward ... spent the day coding, riding, and bitcoin-ing.  And now blogging...

It's quite fun glancing through a Flight of past quarter end posts ... many of them report I'm getting ready to watch the Tour.  Which I am!  Cannot wait, this year should be a good one.

Apple Music - is iTunes dead?Slate says The iTunes Era is Over.  "Apple Music is here, and you might never buy a song again."  That might be true, but it might not be because of Apple Music, it might be because of Slacker, Pandora, Spotify, etc.  So I installed IOS 8.4 immediately, and tried Apple Music immediately.  And got pretty confused immediately.  Could not figure out the difference between My Music, For You, New, and Radio (which has my music, including new stuff, for me ...).  Will need to experiment a little.  I did try listening to Beats1, a button for which takes up most of the initial screen.  Not bad, until it was, and then I immediately looked for Next.  Ha!  Radio ... oh yeah, no Next button. 

My first impression has been reinforced.  Back to Slacker for me (the Machine Head channel :)

Arctic Sea Ice 2010-2014Gerald Vanderleun: The Eight Stages of Scam.  References the Great Cholesterol Scam 1955-2015, and compares it to the Great Global Warming Scam.  The core observation is that those pushing the scam are not interested in truth, they are interested in profiting from a crisis.

An interesting note from Justice Thomas, in his dissent on the Obergefell Supreme Court case: "The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built.  Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits."  I'm entirely in favor of LGBT Marriages, but they should be construed as contracts between consenting adults, not licenses issued by the state.

Related: Love Among the Ruins.  "The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter.  It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face."

I'm equally guilty; today's big news was Greece defaulting on a €245B IMF loan, and I'm posting about a new music service.  (I did build a Bitcoin client from scratch today, does that count?)

Voyager 1Interesting question: Why didn't Voyager visit Pluto?  "Astronomers decided that in order to optimize their science at Saturn, they'd need an orbit that brought Voyager 1 up close with Titan.  But that flyby also would put Pluto out of reach after the spacecraft lifted out of our solar system’s ecliptic plane."  Hence New Horizons, a new spacecraft which is visiting Pluto ... in a couple of weeks!

Brad Feld: Oracle's Java API suit against Google - Five Years Later.  "It’s not as messy as the Greek debt crisis but directionally similar. And it’s far from over."

Mark Suster:  Do Less.  More.  Okay.  This seems like a good variation on "focus", with which I entirely agree.

Cory Doctorow:  Why I'm Leaving London.  "The short version is that we want to live in a city that's a livable place to work, where we can raise our family, and where we can run our respective small businesses."  How interesting...  He's moving to LA!  Welcome :)


Archive: June 29, 2014

road trip report

Sunday,  06/29/14  10:05 PM

Tahoe barn on the Emigrant TrailI'm baack after a great road trip, yay.  I did ride the Alta Alpina Double Century, and I did not finish, but I did ride 160 miles and climb 17,000 feet, so I did feel good about it.  And the trip up and back was interesting and wonderful.

This is an old barn I passed while riding the Emigrant Trail near Markleeville.  Wonder if the people who built it 100 years ago envisioned a stream of lycra-clad riders passing by... :) 

And in the meantime, it's all happening...

Andrew TalanskyCongratulations to Andrew Talansky for winning the Criterium du Dauphine.  Any time you beat Chris Froome, Roberto Contador, and Vincenzo Nibali in a stage race, you have to feel pretty good about it :)  We'll be watching him closely at Le Tour - which starts next weekend!

Also warming up for the Tour: World Champion Rui Costa wins the Tour de Suisse.  Was a pretty interesting race, Tony Martin would have won if he'd had any kind of time to help him.  Clearly Costa and Martin are ready for July.

Tour de France 2014 - the routeBTW here is a nice overview of Le Tour, by the numbers.  It starts in the UK this year, and features a lot of climbing.  Should be most excellent.  (I'm rooting for Wilco Kelderman ...)

Please click on the thumbnail at right to enbiggen...

One more pre-Tour note: What are the most memorable Tour stages of all time?  For me, I'd go with Floyd Landis stage 17 of the 2006 TDF.  It was definitely the most dramatic victory ever, even if it was subsequently tainted by doping.

Virgin Galactic's spaceship twoCool: Inside Virgin Galactic's newest passenger spaceship.  Now you, too, can go into space ... defined as about 18 miles up.  Of course this is nowhere near actual space ... as in geocentric orbit,which is 22,000 miles up.  But still, what a time to be alive!

Chris Dixon: The next twenty years is going to make this last twenty years just pale:

If we were sent back with a time machine, even 20 years, and reported to people what we have right now and describe what we were going to get in this device in our pocket - we'd have this free encyclopedia, and we'd have street maps to most of the cities of the world, and we'd have box scores in real time and stock quotes and weather reports, PDFs for every manual in the world - we'd make this very, very, very long list of things that we would say we would have and we get on this device in our pocket, and then we would tell them that most of this content was free. You would simply be declared insane. They would say there is no economic model to make this. What is the economics of this? It doesn't make any sense, and it seems far-fetched and nearly impossible.

But the next twenty years are going to make this last twenty years just pale. We're just at the beginning of the beginning of all these kind of changes. There’s a sense that all the big things have happened, but relatively speaking, nothing big has happened yet.


Marc Andreessen: What will it take to create the next great silicon valleys?

the new Jaguar F-type coupeCar and Driver: Review of the new Jaguar F-type coupe.  "The best part is that the coupe is the first Jaguar since the original E-type to look like rolling sex. And that, combined with a righteous perform­ance-per-dollar ratio, places the S at the F coupe’s sweet spot."  I find it hard to get excited about any gas-powered cars anymore, but this certainly is a beautiful machine.

Harley Davidson electric motorcycleSpeaking of beautiful machines: Harley Davidson unveils their very first electric motorcycle.  I find it fascinating that they went to the trouble of creating a sound for it ... which is actually generated by a sound system, not the engine.  Here's a test drive report...

So, can there be such a thing as a three-sided die?  Yes!  Interestingly the same technique can be used to create an any-sided die.

Myo armbandSo this is cool: Myo, a gesture control armband.  It measures your finger and wrist movements by the muscles in your forearm.  Excellent.  But I wonder, will it be useful?  The Leap Motion is cool too, but has had trouble finding real world applications.

Google I/O: Android everywhereLast week featured Google's I/O conference, and by most accounts the keynote was too long and didn't offer much in the way of surprises.  Mat Honan has a nice overview.  Aside from Google's ambition to power everything with Android (your phone, your car, your TV, and all your wearable devices), the big news was Google's increased push into cloud services, competing with Amazon (and to a lesser extent, Rackspace et al).  For me there were two dogs that didn't bark in the night: Google Glass, conspicuously missing, and Google+.

And meanwhile, the long awaited switch to Android-first development hasn't happened yet.

Google CardboardI was most interested to see Google Cardboard, a tongue-in-cheek but functional way to turn an Android phone into a VR device.  The line between actual Reality and virtual Reality is blurring rapidly.

In case you're wondering, Facebook is still a big hit among teens.  Yeah, various messaging services like Instagram might command their attention, but no Facebook-killer has yet appeared.

Through the Phone - pictures of iPhones taking picturesAnd this is cool: Through the Phone, a series of picture-in-picture photos of iPhones taking photos.  Next up, iPhones taking pictures of mirrors :)


Archive: June 30, 2013


Archive: June 30, 2012


Archive: June 30, 2011

Rocky the Squirrel rides again!

Thursday,  06/30/11  09:16 PM

Rocky the SquirrelHey guess what?  I'm riding the Furnace Creek 508 again!  Rocky the Squirrel rides again!

Everyone in the 508 has to pick an animal mascot as their "totem"; mine is Rocky the Squirrel :)

You may remember, two years ago I did this, a 508 mile cycling race through Death Valley, and while I gave it my best shot there was no joy in Badwater as I dropped out after 300 miles.

Well not this year.

I have applied to race again this year, and have been accepted (!), and this year I am going to finish.  I'll be physically ready but more importantly mentally ready...  having done it one before will help immeasureably; I know [sort of] what I'm up against.  The hardest part is Sunday morning, from Furnace Creek to Baker, that's when everyone drops out (historically about half of the people who start as solo racers actually finish).  After I make it to Baker, well, it isn't easy from that point, but I'll manage to finish.

So ... stay tuned!  It is still a ways off - October 8-10 - but I'll be giving you regular updates.  To give you a flavor of the ride, here's me two years ago, after about 150 miles, with my ace crew Joani...

Rocky rides the 508

Oh yeah, and that reminds me; I am looking for people who are interested in crewing.  If you or anyone you know wants to drive around the desert following a guy on a bike for two days straight, let me know.  It will be awesome :)


QE2, too

Thursday,  06/30/11  09:52 PM

QE2!Wrapping up the quarter, a quick filter pass...

I can't believe this; diet soda makes you fat.  Sigh.  Apparently the fake sugar makes you hungry, and you eat other stuff, and increase your caloric intake.  Maybe I'll just drink gallons of coffee :)

Boeing 787 windows - 65% larger, and with adjustable dimmersDoc Searles on the joy of flying, specifically, looking out the window while flying.  I agree.  Apparently the new Boeing 787 is designed with larger windows which you can darken electronically, how cool is that?  Doc also praises United, and I would agree; despite their historical bad rap due to bad service, I find them to be much improved.

Scoble: why yo mamma won't use Google+.  So far I'm not planning to use it either.  This is such a network effect; since all of my friends are already on Facebook, why would I switch to Google+?  It would have to be massively better, and all my friends would have to think so.  Having two different networks would be worse yet.  (You can remind me I said this after Google+ rules the world, I've been wrong before :)

Winer: why Google's Circles are likely to fail.  "You might feel a rush to organize your friends into categories when you start to use it. But you'll give up after a dozen or so, as soon as you hit one that defies categorization. You'll say to yourself 'I'll come back to this later.' You won't."  As he would say, bing.

John Gruber links Clayton Miller: own a shape.  Can you identify with the shapes below?

cell companies own a shape



Archive: June 30, 2010

addiction confession

Wednesday,  06/30/10  10:13 PM

Hi, I'm Ole, and I am addicted to M&Ms...

... perhaps now that I have found the courage to confess my weakness publicly, I can start to deal with it.
M&Ms are definitely a performance detracting drug - the more I eat them, the worse I blog.



Archive: June 30, 2009

Hi, Bo

Tuesday,  06/30/09  10:08 PM

Today we adopted a new baby guinea pig, please say hello to Bo:

hi, Bo!

Man, there is nothing cuter than a baby guinea pig.

He is quite cuddly and [of course] a little scared in his new surroundings which include two very interested dogs (what's that?) and a very interested cat (it's dinner!).  We are attempting to communicate and so far he seems to appreciate the attention.  I look forward to watching sports with him, the Tour de France is coming up of course, and then it is baseball season.  We'll see if Bo knows baseball :)


Tuesday,  06/30/09  10:28 PM

Quarter end!  Gak, already!!  I had the most delightful day today, it began with the fact that I didn't go down to Vista, slept in and had a nice commute downstairs to work.  Then I was able to do some actual programming, which is always a treat, while watching a steady stream of new order bulletins flowing through my inbox (yay sales team).  Later I did a great Rock Store / Encinal Canyon ride with the CVC Red Group; they are fast and just keeping up with them in the flats is a challenge.  And finally we adopted Bo, our new little guinea pig.  I could go for Groundhog Day on this one.

So let's make a filter pass, shall we?

share the road!Absolutely the saddest story: Father and Son Grand Tour Dream ends with tragedy.  A father and son riding in the same Grand Tour I rode last Saturday, hit by a drunk driver on PCH.  The father was killed, the 14-year old son hospitalized with multiple broken bones and no father.  That could have been me.  It could have been anyone.  Just horrible...

Thar be pirates over yonder...No idea what to make of this: Swedish software firm acquires the Pirate Bay.  This feels like Napster going legit all over again.  Business model, anyone?  Cory Doctorow is confused too.  Anyway it will be interesting to watch, in all senses...

Remember I commented on Alaska Airlines' "north of expected" motto?  I flew Alaska and their service was indeed unexpectedly good, and significantly improved from my previous experience.  Turns out JDPower just found Alaska was airline flyers' favorite airline.  Wow.  Shows the power of a motto...

An interview with Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital:

Q: Opentable is one of the first 'silicon valley' initial public offerings (IPO) since the economic downturn.  Why do you think the company was able to get public and was received so well?

A: I actually believe that the buy-side has ample demand for IPOs. The key problem is a supply problem – most companies either don’t want to be public or aren’t willing to make the tough choices it takes to get public (healthy margins, sarbox implementation, etc).

Huh, interesting...  Bill is one of the most astute VCs out there (and before that he was one of the most astute analysts).

amazing papercraft castleCheck this out - an unbelievably awesome papercraft castle.  As you look at these pictures remind yourself that everything is made of paper.  Wow.  Some people clearly have too much time on their hands, and I'm glad they do!  [ via Boing Boing ]

Well this is good news: LiveScience reports Getting old is better than expected.  "Good memory, good health, good sex. It's enough to make the grandkids cringe!"  Of course my expectations for getting old are pretty low...

Now serving... Firefox 3.5Firefox 3.5 was released today, and apparently set all kinds of download records.  At this point they've served over three million downloads and at one point were averaging about 100 per second.  I don't know what's more impressive, that the servers stayed up or that their monitoring application :)

So what, right?  Well, it you're already a Firefox user, 3.5 is going to be faster, and perhaps enable compatibility with a few new websites.  And if you're not, this is your perfect chance to switch to a browser which is faster and more secure and supports extensions - like Adblock...

ZooBorns: baby otters!Finally our ZooBorns of the day: baby Otters!

(Almost as cute as Bo.  Almost.)


Archive: June 30, 2008


Monday,  06/30/08  01:21 AM






(found this on my phone, forgot I took it; must have been from Mulholland on one of my rockstore rides... 
I like it)




Monday,  06/30/08  10:30 PM

Wow, half the year is gone!  Where did it go?

So it has now been six months since I've been blogging again, so far, so good.  I hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.  I get a fair number of emails saying "thank you" and "I like your blog" so my ego is duly gratified :)

Yesterday I noted receiving an AARP card in the mail, and how turning 50 is looming unpleasantly.  Perhaps all this riding I've been doing this year is a response; like if I can just ride enough, I won't get older :)  Seriously it does give me pause, not that I have a lot of regret for these 50 years, but just that, well, it is probably the halfway point, at best.  Makes me think about making the most of each day...

Speaking of which, June 26 was the two year anniversary of Rob Smith's death, aka the acidman.  I still hope he's secretly in Costa Rica.

Floyd LandisSo Floyd Landis lost his appeal before the Committee for the Arbitration of Sport.  In fact in addition to denying his appeal they went out of their way to insult him and his legal team.  Bunk!  I still say he's innocent.  No GC rider would take testosterone in the middle of a grand tour.  At this point we'd have to say it is unlikely we'll ever see him riding again, very sad.  Trust but Verify has a lot more...

BTW Le Tour is starting this weekend!  Are you ready!!  I am, and I will be rooting for Denis Menchov, or course.  Go Oranje Rabobank!

The Economist: the future of energy.  "Since the industrial revolution 200 years ago, mankind has depended on fossil fuel. The notion that this might change is hard to contemplate. Greens may hector. Consciences may nag. The central heating's thermostat may turn down a notch or two. A less thirsty car may sit in the drive. But actually stop using the stuff? Impossible to imagine: surely there isn't a serious alternative?"  Nuclear power, baby.  That is the alternative.

Not pretty: Yahoo reorg, a view from the ranks.  "As for the Google deal, HOORRAY! Now, you might be thinking that we employees - particularly those in Search - who have spent most of our waking hours trying to do battle with Google might in some way be disappointed that we are now getting into bed with the enemy. Au contraire! We love it! Nothing indicates a job well done better than outsourcing your own job to the competition. Am I right, or am I right?"  Ouch.

Wall*E + EveI keep reading good things about Wall*E, I really want to see it.  Pete Mortensen notes all the apple tie-ins.  "Lots of people have remarked that Apple Design Chief Jonathan Ive was involved in designing EVE, the sleek, white, glossy robot that WALL*E falls in love with. As much as she resembles an older iPod, however, the cleverest thing about EVE is that she appears to have no seams in her surface, though they appear when she lifts her arms."

Do you use regular expressions?  Jeff Atwood loves them.  To me they're a good tool, but not the greatest things since sliced bread; I do like this quote from Jamie Zawinski: "Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use regular expressions.'  Now they have two problems."  Indeed :)

"real" IBM keyboard from UnicompSo I can find it later: Unicomp keyboards.  These guys make the real IBM-style buckling spring action keyboards, just like in the old days.  I am strongly tempted.  Maybe my ten-year-old Micron keyboard will die soon and I can get one.

man hugs [sedated] bearWould you call this a bear hug?  Biologist Jumps in Gulf of Mexico to Rescue Sedated Bear.  "A 375-pound male black bear was seen roaming a residential neighborhood near Alligator Point, officials said. The bear was hit with a tranquilizer dart, but he managed to bolt into the Gulf of Mexico before he was sedated.  As the tranquilizer drugs took effect, FWC biologist Adam Warwick jumped in to keep the bear from drowning."  Whoa.  Nice work.

fake speed bumpsHere we have fake speed bumps.  Wow.  I'd happily slow down for these.  I find myself speeding up over real speed bumps, a weird passive resistance to authority :)






Archive: June 30, 2007


Archive: June 30, 2006


Archive: June 25, 2005

Thanks, Bill!

Saturday,  06/25/05  09:14 PM

Man, do I have a backlog of stuff to post.  Soon to come.

In the meantime I am sick as a [small] dog, with my wife out of town at a conference, and my kids each sleeping over at friend's houses.  So here I am, all alone.  Yeah, I was coding if you must know.

15GB iPodMichael ShenkerSo my friend Bill Smith comes over, and gives me a spiffy 15GB iPod!  Filled with music.  Excellent music.  Rockin', wonderful, amazing music.  I am listening to Michael Shenker right now and it has completely changed my mood.  Steve Vai will be next.  Then Bill Sheehan. 

Best of all, my productivity has jumped.  I've been working on this new feature for Aperio's WebViewer which I'm really excited about, and suddenly the parts are fitting together.  If you can't code to Michael Shenker's Three Fish Dancing, then you can't code :)

Thanks, Bill!


Archive: June 17, 2004

(new yorker, 6/13/04)

Thursday,  06/17/04  01:07 AM



C++ method pointers

Thursday,  06/17/04  08:57 AM

Have you ever wanted to use a pointer to a class method?  This might be basic C++ but I couldn’t remember how to do it, and spent some time Googling and messing around to figure it out.  So here’s the way:

To define a pointer to a class method:

returnval (myclass::*method)(parameters…)

For example:

char *(myclass::*pmethod)(int parm);

This defines a pointer named pmethod to a method of the myclass class.  The method has a single int parameter and returns a char*.

To assign a value to the pointer:

pmethod = &myclass::method;

For example:

pmethod = &myclass::mymethod;

This sets pmethod to point to mymethod.

To call the class method:


For example:

mychar = (myobject.*pmethod)(myint);

This calls the method pointed to by pmethod.

The pointer can itself be in a struct or class as well.  For example:

struct {                      // processing table

char  *name;

char  *(myclass::*pmethod)(int parm);

} proctbl[] = {

{ “text”,  &myclass::mymethod},

{ “text2”,&myclass::anothermethod}


This defines a table of structures with two entries, each of which has a method pointer.  The function can then be called as follows:

mychar = (myobject.*proctbl[index].pmethod)(myint);

In this example, the pointer proctbl[index].pmethod identifies the method to be called.

Note that “::*” and “.*” are actually separate operators in C++.  There is also a “->*” operator.

You might never need this, but just in case you do…


Archive: June 30, 2003

Monday,  06/30/03  11:21 PM

Hey, it's my six month blogiversary!  I've now been blogging for 187 days, during which time I've made 233 posts, and written 33 articles.  We've served 44,251 visitors, of whom 5,106 have come back at least three times.  Amazing, this is really cool.  Thank you all for coming by...

The official capacity of Dodger Stadium is 56,000, but most games the attendence is pretty close to 44,000, so that's an easy number for me to visualize.  That is a lot of people.  Blogging is so excellent, how else could I possibly communicate with that many people!

spraypaint inkjetThis is cool - an "inkjet printer" for walls, made from a can of spray paint.  When you click through, be sure to check out the movie of the printer in action.  [ via Boing Boing ]

Windows smartphoneYou know how people always say Microsoft never gets it right the first time, but they always get it right eventually?  Here's further evidence: BW describes Microsoft's Second Assault on Smartphones.  I guess when you have $46B in the bank you can afford to try more than once.  You have to give them credit, they see a big market, they want it, and they don't give up until they get it.

Netscape 7.1 released.  Yawn.
Mozilla 1.4 released.  Yawn.

Astrobiology has posted NASA's timeline of the top 75 events in planetary exploration.  You can see from the dates that we had a good head of steam for a while, but the last decade nothing much has happened.  A short-sighted reallocation of resources, in my humble opinion.  My father was in charge of software simulation at JPL for the Pioneer missions...

P.S. How cool is it that there is such a thing as Astrobiology Magazine?

Adam Curry reports that whenever he is asked for an interview by a Dutch magazine, he insists that an audio transcript be available to post on his weblog!  (Adam is an ex-MTV VJ now living in Amsterdam.)

Gary Wolf: Louis Rossetto vs. Dave Winer.  The founder of Wired took on the scion of weblogs back in 1994.

Are you a coder, or a coder manager (aka "cat herder")?  Do you and/or your team use dual monitors?  If you don't, please check out this JoelOnSoftware thread.  Every seems to agree it helps - I'm going to try it with my team.  I have a dual monitor setup myself - I use my laptop and my external monitor as separate windows to my desktop - and it is great for debugging GUIs.

Marc Cantor: The Go Game.  I don't get it, but it looks fun anyway.


flight   About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?