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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
Description

The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2310 Articles
93 Comments

Yesterday

Joker (2019)

Published on in Books & Movies

This is a fantastic and realistic super-villain origin story. It was beautifully crafted with a great soundtrack.

Hopelessness personified

Think of the simplest object in your apartment that gives you joy. Arthur Fleck didn’t have a single thing like that. His life was a misery at home, a dingy apartment filled with his mother’s madness and sadness.

When I got home from the movie, I dumped my remaining peanut M&M’s into a ceramic pumpkin. It made me think that Fleck didn’t have anything that... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2019.12

Published 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 around 1400 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 and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

IT (2017) — 7/10
This... [More]

CO2 output per year continues to increase

Published on in Science & Nature

The article Here’s how much global carbon emission increased this year by Scott K. Johnson (Ars Technica) includes some sobering, if utterly unsurprising charts.

Not Even Close

This first chart is the most sobering one: it shows that we’ve most likely[1] slowed our CO2 production from 2018 to 2019. But we’re still increasing. That is, it’s a positive development, but not nearly enough.

 % increase in fossil-fuel usage

We need to get to zero CO2 emissions by 2050 (or maybe even 2040) in order to avoid completely nightmarish scenarios. With the CO2 we’ve... [More]

Deleting GarageBand files

Published on in Technology

In the Storage Manager[1] on MacOS, there are several categories on the left-hand side, each showing the amount of space used for that category. I noticed that, for whatever reason, I still had the GarageBand base files installed. I haven’t ever used this application, so I had no qualms about deleting these files to recover 2GB of space on my SSD.

When I clicked “Remove GarageBand Sound Library”, the system asked for administrator credentials.

I entered my credentials but the credentials prompt... [More]

1 week Ago

Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny (2016) (read in 2019)

Published 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]

Cumulus by Eliot Peper (2016) (read in 2019)

Published 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]

2 weeks Ago

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Wa...d Wallace-Wells (2019) (read in 2019)

Published 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 Rich are not Better

Published on in Finance & Economy

The article Mark Zuckerberg is a Rich Jerk by Dean Baker (Beat the Press) takes issue with the media’s love affair with plumbing the depths of billionaires’ minds.[1]

“It is bizarre that so many people look to the country’s billionaires to tell us how the world should be constructed or think that these people have any great insight into such matters. Being a billionaire means that you were successful at getting very rich. There is no reason to believe that billionaires have any more insight into major policy issues than anyone... [More]”

Framework Design: Programming Paradigms and Idioms

Published on in Programming

The discussion React in concurrent mode: 2000 state-connected comps re-rendered at 60FPS (YCombinator) is illuminating mostly in that it shows how ego can impede productivity.

Ego-driven design

Ego can also be that thing that drives a talented programmer to create something of use to the rest of us, but that’s honestly a very rare case. More often than not, the best case is that a developer improves their skills—and perhaps learns to be more humble instead of shooting of their mouth about how “easy” it... [More]

3 weeks Ago

Thoughts on Atomic/Utility CSS

Published on in Programming

The article In Defense of Utility-First CSS by Sarah Dayan on January 15th, 2018 (Frontstuff) is very long[1], so I’ve summarized a bit with notes and thoughts.[2]

I don’t really care about being pedantic without first knowing some facts. What are the requirements?

Requirements

  • Can I quickly make a precise change to a single component?
  • Can I make a global, thematic change?
  • How quickly can I make changes?
  • How maintainable is the result?

If atomic/utility CSS can deliver these things, then it’s probably a fine tool. But—spoiler alert—it... [More]

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente (2011) (read in 2019)

Published 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 Heat: Earth on the Brink by Je...nd Joshua Frank (2018) (read in 2019)

Published 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]

1 month Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2019.11

Published 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 around 1400 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 and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Rotten S02 E01 (2019)... [More]

Solipsist Invaders

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The article Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure by Jesse Jackson (CounterPunch) makes good points that are summarized in the title.

It also cites very specific numbers for war dead on the U.S. side in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

“VA data reveals that almost two Afghan and Iraq veterans die by suicide each day on average. That adds to an estimated 7,300 veterans who have killed themselves since just 2009, after coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq, a number greater than the 7,012... [More]”

News: You Get What You Pay For

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The article Thousands flock to Wikipedia founder’s ‘Facebook rival’ (BBC) briefly outlines Jimmy Wales’s new social network for sharing news, which “[…] will empower you to make your own choices about what content you are served, and to directly edit misleading headlines, or flag problem posts.” The article doesn’t contain nearly enough information to determine whether it has a hope of succeeding—or how it differs from RSS newsfeeds—though it mentions that it’s a subscription model.

At the end,... [More]

Beats Thinkin’

Published on in Quotes

“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labour of thinking.”
Sir Joshua Reynolds

Fanaticism

Published on in Quotes

“Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”
George Santayana

2016 Election Night Special with Bill Burr et. al.

Published on in Fun

On the evening of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Joe Rogan held his podcast with a dozen of his friends to discuss the incoming results for four hours. I’d listened to the podcast at the time, but found the following video, which includes only highlights, mostly of Bill Burr working his unique magic.

Bill Burr on Election Day − ALL best moments by Joe Rogan Podcast (YouTube)

My favorite part is at the 7:00 mark, where Bill Burr described the magnitude of Trump’s accomplishments relative to other sporting victories:

“I gotta tell you something. Dude, if Trump... [More]”

The Real Reason

Published on in Finance & Economy

The article America’s largest milk producer files for bankruptcy (CNN) spends a few useless paragraphs discussing America’s growing predilection for “milk alternatives” before finishing with the following paragraph:

“That’s not the only problem Dean Foods has faced. Walmart (WMT), which was one of Dean Food’s biggest customers, dropped them last year after building its own dairy plant.”

So, oat-milk sales being up is the lede and the world’s largest company having dropped Dean as a vendor is just an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2019.10

Published 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 around 1400 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 and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

El Camino: A Breaking... [More]

Allen!

Published on in Fun

The Photo of Fox Scaring Marmot Wins Wildlife Photographer [sic] of the Year 2019 is really wonderful and must have taken so much time and preparation. I can’t help but think, though, every time I see it, that it should be captioned “Allen!”, as shown below.

 Allen!

Why (You might perhaps be asking yourself)?

Because of this video:

The 'Alan Alan Alan' Marmot on the BBC! (YouTube)

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2019.9

Published 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 around 1400 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 and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Bill Burr: Paper Tiger... [More]

2 months Ago

If Wishes were Mutexes

Published on in Quotes

Text Editing Hates You Too (Lord.io)

“Although holding a lock across process boundaries may sound questionable to you, most other platforms try to use imperfect heuristics to fix concurrency issues. Or they just hope race conditions don’t happen. In my experience, prayers are not a very effective concurrency primitive.

England is killing Julian Assange for America

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

They are killing him on purpose. They are killing him either actively or through neglect. They are not concerned that he be able to stand trial in compos mentis. They are not concerned that whatever the hell they are doing to him in prison is destroying his mind and body even faster than having been locked in the Ecuadoran embassy for over 7 years did.

From Assange in Court: What I Saw by Craig Murray (Antiwar.com):

“Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of... [More]”

Azure Linked Accounts and SSH Keys

Published on in Programming

Azure DevOps allows you to link multiple accounts.

Our concrete use case was:

  • User U1 was registered with an Azure DevOps organization O1
  • Microsoft did some internal management and gave our partner account a new organization O2, complete with new accounts for all users. Now I have user U2 as well, registered with O2.
  • U2 was unable to take tests to qualify for partner benefits, so I had to use U1 but link the accounts so that those test results accrued to O2 as well as O1.
  • We want to start... [More]

Using Git efficiently: SmartGit + BeyondCompare

Published on in Programming

I’ve written about using SmartGit (SG) before[1][2] and I still strongly recommend that developers who manage projects use a UI for Git.

If you’re just developing a single issue at a time and can branch, commit changes and make pull requests with your IDE tools, then more power to you. For this kind of limited workflow, you can get away with a limited tool-set without too big of a safety or efficiency penalty.

However, if you need an overview or need to more management, then you’re going to... [More]

Multi-language web sites

Published on in Technology

Why are multi-language web sites so hard to make? Even large companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple regularly send content with mixed-language content.

This is probably due to several factors:

  1. Large web sites pull data for myriad sources, including CDNs and caching services. Each source needs to respect the requested language, If a source doesn’t have support for a requested language, then just that piece of content will be delivered in the fallback format.
  2. Any proxies have to pass the... [More]

Visual Studio 2019 Survey

Published on in Programming

Visual Studio 2019 (VS) asked me this morning if I was interested in taking a survey to convey my level of satisfaction with the IDE.

VS displays the survey in an embedded window using IE11.[1] I captured the screen of the first thing I saw when I agreed to take the survey.

 Visual Studio 2019 Survey error

I know it’s the SurveyMonkey script that’s failing, but it’s still not an auspicious start.


[1] I’d just upgraded to Windows 10 build 1903, which includes IE 11.418.18362.0. I can’t imagine that they didn’t test this... [More]

MasterCard SecureCode web dialog

Published on in Design

I just can’t believe that this gruesome thing is still a thing.[1] In an age where we are supposed to have been sensitized to phishing sites, this thing is still an integral part of the online credit-card purchasing chain. It is generally called up with a completely different URL than the store where you started and it looks terrible and untrustworthy.

 SecureCode Dialog

It’s probably a combination of:

  1. not being able to change a running system because people are used to it now
  2. not being able to change a running... [More]

Strava Data-caching

Published on in Sports

Strava makes for strange conversations: I’ve had discussions with nearly non-technical cycling colleagues about “eventual consistency” and caching and shared servers and data regions. It’s a funny old world.

In the two shots below, Strava is telling me that I got my second-best time[1] but the time for each activity is clearly lower than the time that it’s indicating as a PR. Even after recalculation, Strava is adamant. I’m not sure what could cause this as it’s pretty basic math. Maybe the... [More]