1 year Ago

The 40-car pileup that is the UPC Horizon Box

Published by marco on in Technology

Background

We’ve been subscribed to UPC Cablecom for almost 15 years now.

In Switzerland, you have two parts of a cable package: a fixed price that pays for the cable company to get cable into your apartment, and a content package for services over that cable.

Until recently, the fixed price had been included in our rent and we’d had a pretty good deal on services for TV/Landline/Internet. This year, the cooperative where we live decided to stop including the fixed price in the rent. This... [More]

Mark Blyth on the Jimmy Dore show

Published by marco on in Finance & Economy

I last wrote about Mark Blyth about two months ago in the article Mark Blyth on Global Trumpism. I recently saw another interview with him on the Jimmy Dore show that I can recommend watching.

If you’ve watched Blythe before, he doesn’t cover a lot of new ground, but he does have a wonderful way with words and for getting right to the point. Often he can shut down an entire line of reasoning with a single, giant point that makes other arguments pale into insignificance.

The interview is split... [More]

The weird world of type-compatibility in TypeScript

Published by marco on in Programming

I recently fixed a bug in some TypeScript code that compiled just fine—but it looked for all the world like it shouldn’t have.

tl;dr: there is no TypeScript compiler bug, but my faith in the TypeScript language’s type model is badly shaken.

A simple example

The following code compiles—and well it should.

interface IB {
  name: string;
}

interface IA {
  f(action: (p: IB) => void): IA;
}

class A implements IA {
  f = (action: (p: IB) => void): IA => {
    return this;
  }
}

Some... [More]

More odd design in iOS battery-management

Published by marco on in Design

When I snapped the screenshot shown below, I wanted the answer to one question:

I had actively used the phone for only about 2 minutes that day. Which application used the phone for the other 3 hr and 56 min?[1]

Apple’s design makes finding an answer frustrating, at best—and infuriating, at worst. Here’s what you see when you look at the battery settings.

 Who's responsible for this?

The batter control panel tells me that “[b]attery information will be available after using iPhone for a few minutes.”

Some questions:

Some comedy videos to soothe the exhausted leftie

Published by marco on in Fun

A friend on Facebook published a giant list of political-news links, one more stress-inducing and hyperbolic than the next. His friends commented about their existential angst and hair-pulling in response to the worst onslaught that the worst has had to offer to any group of people ever. To soothe the souls of these benighted individuals, I offer some distraction.

During dinner last night, we entertained ourselves instead with the following rabbit-hole of YouTube videos, starring Robin... [More]

George W. Bush’s newest book

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

 Portraits of courageIt could have been better-timed—April 1st is still almost a month away—but George W. Bush has published yet another book, this one called Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.[1]

This is a book of Mr. Bush’s paintings. His subjects are American soldiers. Just their faces, if the cover is any indication. To be honest, I think he’s gotten better over time. He’s definitely found his own style. We’re a long way from those odd bathtub and shower paintings.

 Bush inception showerAs... [More]

My Impressions and Notes from VoxxedDays 2017

Published by marco on in Programming

Encodo presented a short talk at Voxxed Days 2017 this year, called The truth about code reviews. Sebastian and I also attended the rest of the conference. The following is a list of notes and reactions to the talks.


Engineering You

Martin ThompsonVideo

The keynote was about our place in the history of software engineering. Martin described us more as alchemists than engineers right now, a sentiment with which I can only agree. There is too little precision, too little... [More]

Lee Camp > John Oliver

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I’m still watching John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, but I feel he’s slipping. He’s retreating to the safety of slagging on Trump almost exclusively which is both not very funny and not very helpful. Oliver is fading into the same vanilla and safe faux-leftism that characterized his ideological predecessors Jon Stewart and, to a lesser degree, Stephen Colbert.

Both Stewart and Colbert loved the military. By the end of their respective runs, their opposition to military adventures was not no... [More]

Russian Naval Attack (j/k)

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

CNN is fake news. CNN is pure government propaganda. They may not be stumping for the current administration, but they’re definitely pushing somebody’s war-hawk agenda. Remember, CNN was born in the cauldron of the first U.S. Gulf War: it knows where the money is. It would be only too happy to make a ton of money reporting a juicy war with Russia. Don’t believe for a minute that CNN has any scruples.

I will prove this with a single article I found as the top search result for “Russian boat... [More]

Snubbing the New York Times

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

As it appears, the New York Times, The LA Times, CNN and other august news-gathering organizations like Politico and Buzzfeed have been barred from a press briefing. Clearly the republic teeters. When The Gray Lady is snubbed, can internment camps be far behind? As you would expect, this immediately became a first-amendment, nay, a constitutional issue for the faux-Left, with the NYT at the forefront, hoisting its own banner high.

I don’t think press briefings are in the Constitution, though,... [More]

iOS Battery Drain

Published by marco on in Technology

I’m just going to leave this here. I used the stopwatch during a workout.
It was on for about 8 minutes total, and stopped about 5 or 6 times. I’m not sure whether I remembered to stop it or whether the stopwatch kept running in the background.

 The Clock? Really?

At any rate, this seems an inordinately large amount of battery usage for a stopwatch. Whoever wrote a smartphone clock app that can use 41% of the battery should be ashamed of themselves.

Voting with your feet, not your mind

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

It would seem that the country is ripe for revolution, given the coverage of protests and unrest since the inauguration of The Donald. But the title of the article Incumbent Reelection Rates Higher Than Average in 2016 by Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley (UVA Center for Politics) reveals the sad truth. Whereas Americans have learned how to march again, they still don’t know how to to use their civic tools to get what they want.

“This election cycle, 393 of 435 House representatives, 29 of 34 senators, and five of 12 governors sought reelection (several of... [More]”

Redacted Tonight continues to do a great job

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

[135] The REAL Reason the U.S. Wants War with Iran, Standing Rock News, Capitalism Failing (27m) by Lee Camp (YouTube)

This is yet another well-written, darkly comic and information-packed show by Lee Camp and his crew at Redacted Tonight on RT.[1] In this show, we hear that a bipartisan resolution easily passed the Congress, authorizing the executive to do anything in its power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I thought it was Trump that trying to dismantle the hard-won treaty with Iran? Apparently, it’s the entire government.

This was passed on January 3rd, 2017, when Obama was still in power and... [More]

Airport Atmosphere

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

These are notes that I took in June of 2016 as I was sitting around the airports of New York City, trying to get to Baltimore on the same day that a giant thunderstorm was visiting that area. I started taking notes after savoring the dining experience in the LaGuardia airport.

If you thought airports of old were inhospitable, you’re in for a treat. The old food courts have been replaced by faux-upscale eateries. Before each diner stands a tablet with a menu and gambling games. Generic pop... [More]

Identity Politics: Is Jordan Peterson saying anything interesting?

Published by marco on in Philosophy

I read the article ‘We’re teaching university students lies’ – An interview with Dr Jordan Peterson by Jason Tucker & Jason VandenBeukel (C2C Journal) with interest. I’d never heard of Jordan Peterson. He was eminently quotable and I highlighted the following passages.

“Part of the reason I got embroiled in this [gender identity] controversy was because of what I know about how things went wrong in the Soviet Union. Many of the doctrines that underlie the legislation that I’ve been objecting to share structural similarities with the Marxist... [More]

SQL Server Express Windows Authentication error

Published by marco on in Tips & Tricks

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been plagued by an intermittent error while connecting to SQL Server Express with default Windows authentication:

“Login failed. The login is from an untrusted domain and cannot be used with Windows authentication. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 18452)”

The first time I encountered it, I was only able to fix it by logging out of Windows and logging back on. The second time, it went away the next morning after I’d logged back in after hibernation. I recently... [More]

Publishing Note (Off-topic)

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve been approached by some loyal fans of the blog as to when I will react to the cavalcade—the tumult—of events that most definitely qualify as public policy & politics. President Trump and his flying monkeys have been very busy indeed.

It’s not that I haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been reading a lot. I publish my reading list on Instapaper and you can see the list of articles I’ve liked (RSS newsfeed) as well the firehose of all articles I’ve read (also an RSS newsfeed). I also... [More]

A technocratic solution

Published by marco on in Quotes

“Were I asked to fix the world, I would approach the problem as a software engineer. I would take my best guess at the likely cause of most of the problems, comment out the “USA” module…and see if it runs just fine without it.”

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2017.3

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Ip Man 3 (2015) — 8/10
This is the third in a pretty satisfying... [More]

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1850) (read in 2017)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Mac...y Michael Lewis (2010) (read in 2017)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The evolving Swift string API and implementation

Published by marco on in Programming

As Microsoft did a couple of years ago, Apple’s language designers are also designing the next version of Swift in public.[1] One example of the new design is the discussion of String Processing For Swift 4 (GitHub). If you read through the relatively long document, you can at least see that they’re giving the API design a tremendous amount of thought.

API Considerations for Strings

There are so many factors to weigh when building the API, especially for a low-level construct like String.

  • As they state... [More]

A tuple-inference bug in the Swift 3.0.1 compiler

Published by marco on in Programming

I encountered some curious behavior while writing a service-locator interface (_protocol_) in Swift. I’ve reproduced the issue in a stripped-down playground[1] and am almost certain I’ve found a bug in the Swift 3.0.1 compiler included in XCode 8.2.1.

Update: At the suggestion of a reader, I searched and found Apple’s Jira for Swift[2] and reported this issue as A possible tuple-inference/parameter-resolution bug in Swift 3.0.1

A Simple, Generic Function

We’ll start off with a very basic example,... [More]

The Swift Programming Language (Swift ...1) by Apple Inc (2016) (read in 2017)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

PSA: The past tense of lead is not lead

Published by marco on in Miscellaneous

The article Office-Droned Out by Amber A'Lee Frost (The Baffler) is interesting enough and by one of my favorite writers at The Baffler, but she, too, makes the mistake of writing lead as the past tense of lead.

“My inability to pay attention to details or engage in repetitive work ledlead to (or perhaps only exacerbated; it’s a chicken-and-egg thing) an anxious, grinding depression, and the sneaking suspicion I was actually totally unemployable.”

Please stop doing this. It’s confusing. I can put up with other... [More]

Letting go

Published by marco on in Quotes

“I used to be snow white, but I drifted.”
Mae West

The TPP is dead

Published by marco on in Finance & Economy

The article US pulls out of Trans-Pacific Partnership by David Kravets (Ars Technica) isn’t very long or filled with detail, but it looks like the TPP is dead. Trump made good on the one promise of his that I actually approved of.

The TPP was a deal negotiated in secret, encompassed over 2000 pages and was written (and probably read) almost exclusively by lobbyists for giant multinationals and patent/copyright holders. The former were hoping to be able to extract rent from signers that passed laws that could be shown to... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2017.2

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

South Park: Season 20 (2016) — 9/10
This season follows a single... [More]

Lee Camp and Dean Baker cover the news the way it ought to be (covered)

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

Lee Camp is definitely in the lead when it comes to incisive coverage of politics with a humorous edge, as pioneered by The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Unlike those two shows, he goes farther while staying on-point and not being partisan: his hate is pure and in sufficient supply for all responsible parties alike. For example, there’s his recent show on the inauguration and the march, which was really, really good.

Be Awake to All Evil

[132] The First Orange President, Obama Left Dictator's Toolkit, Women's March by Lee Camp (YouTube)

Trigger Warning: show is broadcast by RT, the... [More]

Untrained Pilots

Published by marco on in Quotes

“We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers. The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are... [More]”