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White Male Penance

This is my penance for being a 30 something white male in America who's never been generalized or discriminated against:

I'm riding to work and a truck buzzes me in my lane by barely sticking a tire on the center line to pass me, because there was oncoming traffic. He does this, because he's in a big hurry to get to the next stop sign, which is half a block away. So I (probably stupidly) get into a shouting match with him when I find myself waiting on him at that stop sign.

Anti-Bike Bias Lunacy

What's wrong with this article?:

“A bicycle can ride on the roadway and they do have all the rights a car would have,” he said. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t on the roadway, he was on a gravel shoulder. And even more unfortunate, there was a brand new sidewalk just installed about 15 feet from where he was riding.”

iOS hardware limitations discourage long tail innovation

CSU recently hosted an iOS app development seminar with a couple apple representatives. One was clearly a sales guy, the other was the guy who spoke code.

It was interesting. I learned quite a bit about building a basic 'Hello World' application. In the end, the tech is no different than any other I've learned. (though objective-c syntax is a bit unusual compared to the other c based languages I've met.)

So, all that is fine, but I started to get a crappy feeling in my stomach when I asked this question:

1. Make the content harder to get. 2. ??? 3. Profit!

Book publishers have started establishing arbitrary delays in book releases to digital formats. Their hope is that maybe someone who doesn't want a hardcover of their stupid book and would prefer a 0 tree, 0 clutter version will run out and pay 60% more for a hardback so they can read Dan Brown's latest crap RIGHT THIS SECOND!

Want to make cycling safer? Start with the brains behind the wheel.

How old are you and where were you when you got your driver's license?

I'm 31 years old and I grew up in a small town on the plains of Colorado. I got my drivers license after taking driver's ed in high school and passing a DMV test.

It was 1993. At the time, I only knew one or two people who had a cellphone. They hardly ever used them because minutes were very expensive. There was no such thing as texting. The town I lived in had no bike lanes, no roundabouts and GPS didn't exist. My first car with Anti-lock brakes was a 2001.

In the 16 years since I've had my license, I've never had another test. I've never had a refresh of the information I was taught in that one high school class. Most of my driver education since then has been handed to me as a carbon copy of a ticket from a cop.

Every year in America, 43,000 people die in automobile crashes. So on average, 118 people will die today. 1 or 2 will be a cyclist, and 11 of them will be pedestrians.

There are freak accidents, but I don't believe 43,000 people per year are dying in 'freak' accidents.

The cycling community is seeing a revolution in utility cycling. People are commuting more and more. Injuries and accidents are also on the rise. The motivation of the cycling community is to increase cyclist education and to encourage more people to ride. Every day my city planners are making more and more efforts to facilitate cycling. The problem is that the people they are educating don't have the ability to kill or injure others with their mistakes.

I have yet to hear a single proposal to continue the education of the people behind the wheel.

In this country you can go from 16 to 72, and take exactly one driving test. America had 48 states when your average 70 year old took his last driver's test.

My healthcare rant. v.0.8

What follows is a small back and forth triggered by an email forward from my family. (which means if you want the timeline read it from bottom to top.)
I reposted it here because I want my friends to fact/sanity check my assertions and provide feedback.



I attached the resolution for ya all if you want to see it. Not much there, just that he wants congress critters to forgo their benefits program and instead enroll in the public option. To me, as Michelle and Thomas said, it kind of misses the point of the public option.

Dell Sucks

I ordered a Dell Mini 9 online on 3 March 2009. I won't bother linking to Dell; don't bother going there.

See, they don't have any.

This didn't stop them from putting a huge "back to school" banner on the Japan website (school starts in April here), complete with a "Hurry! Sale ends tomorrow!" tagline.

Having read a lot about how easy it is to install MacOS on them, I thought it would be nice to have a tiny, low-powered, cheap laptop to carry around campus and take to conferences. Like the MacBook Air, but not a million billion dollars and requiring a dongle for ethernet and a dongle for video out (what good is an ultraportable laptop that requires you to carry a bunch of junk in order to use it???). And, reading that back just now, yeah, that would be cool.

For this reason, I ponied up my $400 or so (fully loaded--the most RAM and the biggest SSD drive) and prepared the materials needed to effect its transformation. The full amount was promptly deducted from my credit card.

Then it turned out that I wouldn't be getting the computer until after moving to my new place here in Kanagawa, so I needed to give them that address for shipping. But no worries. School didn't start until 8 April, and if I hadn't quite gotten all the Hackintosh bugs worked out yet by then, I could just use my MacBook.

Then the ship date was updated to 20 April.

...Ummm... Okay. This is not what I had in mind, but shortly after that is Golden Week, so I will have time to fix it up then and I can really start using it day-to-day after that, when the school year finally gets reallty underway and you don't have a public holiday every week (this sounds nice, but it's awful to try to plan a class like that).

The 20th came and went with no laptop. I checked the website.

15 May was the new date.

The iPhone in Japan, Part 1: Why Academics are Better than Journalists

You may have read this damning piece about Wired's coverage of Japan's "hatred" for the iPhone. If you haven't, go read it now. I'll wait.

(Playing Sol Free on the iPhone... Operating my iTunes library from the iPhone... Checking mail on the iPhone...)

You done?


Basically, here's the thing: In academia, when we write a claim--any claim--we have to either back that claim up with data we've collected and analyzed, or we have to cite some other available source written by someone who did. This is to ensure that we aren't just pulling things out of our butts and lying to people.

And that, my friend, is why academics are better than journalists.

"Yeah, but, who cares?"--I hear you thinking aloud, "it's just a stupid puff piece about a phone."

Wel, in this case, yeah, it's not the end of the world if it's wrong. It isn't going to get anyone killed, but it could have a negative impact on Apple's stock price, which could mean lost jobs, which could add to the unemployment problem in the US where the company is based, which could add to the overall economic downturn...

Everything is connected, and in the information age, putting out bad information from a position of authority, whether it be deliberate or negligent, is serious business. Wired is supposedly a respected and respectable technology magazine. In this case, a writer abused that reputation to try to get away with just throwing some crap on paper and cashing his paycheck.

And that's not right.


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