Based on this logic, Why Can’t Canada Win the Stanley Cup? – NYTimes.com (and Nate Silver, 2013), the answer is No. Not only is the argument convincing, it is depressing if you are a Canadian, since as the post also shows, Canadians are avid hockey fans.
Anyone who loves hockey, the NHL or the Stanley Cup playoffs will enjoy this piece of writing.
Are low-wage workers going to replaced by robots? There are cases to be made for that happening, both here: The Shift From Low-Wage Worker to Robot Worker from FiveThirtyEight and from the recent book, The Second Machine age (pictured above). Indeed, some have argued that fast food restaurants are a form of manufacturing, and this makes the notion of replacing works with machines more plausible to me.
It is important not just to look at the future, but also the past, in particular, the history of the automat.
The automat was once the future too, and there are still vestiges of them around, but mainly they have died off. There were a number of reasons for this (see Automat – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), but inflexibility was one of them. Right now fast food establishments thrive on inflexibility and low cost.That is also the way to compete with them. I can see how people can compete with that and win, and the way to do that is portable food (e.g., food trucks, food stalls). Barring bureaucratic costs, portable food is cheaper to deliver than traditional bricks and mortar establishments (even fast food ones). And portable food vendors can be much more flexible than fast food places can ever be.
The other way to compete with them is by being human and offering better service. No robot in the next century will be able to do that.
For more on the book, check out: Amazon.com: The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (9780393239355): Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee: Books
I’ve been seeing this showing up on Twitter alot lately:
And so I had two questions: 1) is this new? 2) and can Dropbox do this? I found the answers here: About that Dropbox DMCA thing … | Android Central. The short answers are 1) no 2) yes. (Click through the link for the details.)
Dropbox is a great tool for sharing files, provided they are yours. Always remember: the Dropbox folder is not “yours”, even if the files you place there are. (And if they are not your files, then you have another set of problems.)
If your files are important, I recommend you don’t make Dropbox your one and only place to store them. The more important files are to you, the more backups you should have.
It is easy to feel stupid if you are trying to learn how to use github and you are not a software developer. Many of the github tutorials are aimed at people who are software developers and who have used similar tools. What can seem obvious to them can seem bafflingly to you when you are trying to understand the workings of github. (e.g., if you are not used to source control, then getting your mind around what state your file can be in at any given time in the process can be confusing.)
Despite that, if you are committed to learn how to use Github and git (the basis for Github), I recommend you take the next four steps:
- Start with this two part tutorial: GitHub For Beginners: Don’t Get Scared, Get Started – ReadWrite (part 1) and GitHub For Beginners: Commit, Push And Go – ReadWrite. I really liked this series. It assumes that you aren’t a software developer and that you may have tried using github and gave up. I highly recommend you take an hour and walk through both parts of this tutorial. When you are done, you will have feel that you have a good start on being able to use git.
- If you still feel like you want some more practice and you want to try some new things with git in a safe environment, try this interactive tutorial: Code School – Try Git. It will also teach you some additional things that you will find useful that you didn’t learn in step 1.
- Now that you are more comfortable with git and github, this Git Reference site walks you some of the same material, but goes into detail and explains it more. By the time you go through this, you should be alot more confident about what you are doing with git and github.
- Lastly, I like this site: git – the simple guide – no deep s–t! (It’s where the graphic at the top of this post comes from). It’s a great summary of the things that you’ve learned, and it has an excellent cheat sheet on the top left of the page that you will want to keep handy.
Some additional thoughts: your use of git and github can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You could have a simple repo on github with one or more files that only you use. Later, you could start cloning other people’s repos, making changes, and making them into your own repo. From there you could get into working with teams of people, branching and merging your files as you go. During that time, you are learning as you go. Don’t be afraid to a) make backups and then b) make mistakes. Eventually you will gain mastery of it and be able to use it to your full advantage. Better still, the material you share can be used by others, and that’s a great thing.
Posted in IT
Tagged git, github, IT, tutorial
My former colleague and all around great person, Annie English, has a book and a blog on how to retire young. The Toronto Star has reviewed it here: Here’s how this couple retired at 48 in expensive Toronto: Roseman | Toronto Star. Annie and her husband, Rich, were disciplined before retirement, and that discipline has paid off. If you want to learn how they did it, check out the Star article, or their blog, Retired At 48. If this is something you want to achieve, buy the book, too.
Microsoft is providing Office for the iPad, starting today (See this for some of the highlights: Microsoft Office For iPad Launches Today).
This is one of those milestone events in the history of Microsoft and Apple, and the computing industry in general. Back in 1997, after Steve Jobs returned to Apple, there was the big news of Microsoft investing $150 million in Apple (CNET News). And not just money…
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said today that the software giant will invest $150 million in Apple and will develop and ship future versions of its Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and development tools for the Macintosh
Back in 1997, Microsoft was dominant and Apple was dramatically regrouping. Apple needed Microsoft, especially their software. Now Microsoft is trying to pivot from the PC market (which is rapidly declining) to the future, which is mobile and cloud based. A future where Apple is currently one of the dominant players, and Microsoft is struggling. Microsoft needs Apple’s hardware, just like once Apple needed Microsoft’s software.
It is hard to say if this is going to change things around for Microsoft. I never count them out, ever. In the meantime, this is another sign that their transition is still a work in progress.
If you want to get it, you can get it here: Buy Office 365 Home Premium – Microsoft Store
Over at Operating Partner, DFJ, Heide Roizen has a great case study of how to negotiate with someone as tough to deal with as Steve Jobs. You may not be in IT, and you may never have to negotiate with someone as demanding and smart as Jobs, but check it out: you can learn something useful and read a great story too.
…then try the One Magic Mile approach, featured in this Runner’s World article. As Jeff Galloway shows:
Running a timed mile provides a reality check on your current goals, helps you determine a safe long-run pace, and gives you a tangible way to track your progress during the season.
Some runners enjoy complex training approaches. Me, I prefer simple ones. If you do too, then I recommend the One Magic Mile approach.
Posted in new!, running
As mentioned on Kottke, it appears that the entire documentary Eyes On The Prize is now on YouTube. You can find it here: Eyes On The Prize – YouTube.
For those of you unfamiliar with this documentary, it was, to quote Wikipedia, “… an American television series and 14-hour documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States….”. That’s an understatement. It’s a great production about a great event in world history.
I am a fan of Michael Ruhlman in general, so I am happy to recommend this recipe of his: Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs. Three comments:
- This recipe is dead simple, but it delivers alot of flavour
- It smartly replaces boneless chicken breasts, which are overpriced and underflavoured, with chicken thighs, which are just the opposite. (BTW, you could easily replace chicken thighs with turkey thighs if they are on sale. Just make sure you flatten them to roughly the same thickness as you see here.)
- It replaces buttermilk (which often just goes to waste and takes up room in my fridge) for a more common yet better set of ingredients.
Ruhlman keeps it simple here, but you could easily add dry flavourings (i.e. herbs and spices) to the flour, or wet flavouring (e.g., hot sauces) to the dairy mix. Once you start doing that, you can vary this recipe in all kinds of ways.
Specifically, start here, with Microsoft Security Essentials for Microsoft Windows.
I haven’t downloaded this, but it comes from Microsoft and you will be much better off getting this from them then from some other vendor (or worse, from some site you aren’t sure of.)
I recommend this especially for people who are nervous about such things but don’t know what to do next.
Posted in IT, new!
Are low-wage workers going to replaced by robots? There are cases being made for that happening, both here: The Shift From Low-Wage Worker to Robot Worker from FiveThirtyEight and from the recent book, The Second Machine age (pictured above). As well, some bloggers like Matt Yglesias have argued that fast food restaurants are a form of manufacturing, and this makes the notion of replacing fast food workers with machines more plausible to me.
However, in considering this, it is important to look not just to the future, but also to look to the past. In particular, the past that contained the automat.
The automat was once the future too. There are still vestiges of them around, but mainly they have died off. They collapsed for a number of reasons (see Automat – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), but the chief reason was inflexibility.
Today’s fast food establishments thrive on inflexibility and low cost. One way people can compete with that and win is with portable food (e.g., food trucks, food stalls). Barring bureaucratic costs, portable food is cheaper to deliver than when it is delivered by traditional bricks and mortar establishments (even fast food ones) and portable food vendors can be much more flexible than fast food places can ever be. There might still be robots delivering portable food, just like there are vending machines that provide food. But they won’t have flexibility of humans, and they won’t be as cheap. Additionally, humans can offer human interaction: no robot in the near future will be able to imitate that.
I believe eating is a social act and a human act, and buying and selling food should be a social and human activity. We humans need to think about it in ways to provide it that doesn’t dehumanize ourselves.
For more on the book, check out: Amazon.com: The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (9780393239355): Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee: Books. It’s really great.
I am encouraged by organizations like code.org and the work they are doing to help kids (and adults) learn how to write code using an approach that is condusive to fast learning. You can see their work here: Learn | Code.org. A somewhat differing point of view is here: Thread: Why you should learn to code. I say “somewhat” because while Winer agrees with the notion of more people coding, he disagrees with how this is being promoted by code.org.
I think there are lots of reasons to learn to code: it’s a creative activity, it helps you understand technology better, it can help you get ahead in life, and it can be fun. I don’t think everyone has to learn to code, just like everyone doesn’t have to learn to sing or draw or other creative tasks. People may be anxious about their kids being computer illerate, but that fear has been around since the early days of personal computers and it was always an overblown fear. Learn to code for the goodness it brings, not because you fear something if you don’t learn.
Posted in IT, new!
Thank you for registering with us.
Activation code 70751
Please click the link below to access the video that shows how the system work.
Below is a link that I don’t recognize. Not surprising, because I have never heard of the organization sending it, never mind asked for an activation code.
Just a reminder: whenever you get email like that, delete it right away.
This icon is pretty common:
I wonder how many people know it comes from something like this:
This great article, The Floppy Disk means Save, and 14 other old people Icons that don’t make sense anymore by Scott Hanselman, has 13 more examples of this. Fun to read.
I personally think you can make bacon any time of the day, but for many of you bacon lovers, the time to make it is in the morning, not at night. Regardless of when you have it, this guide on How To Make Perfect Bacon in the Oven Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn is something you should review before you break out the frying pan for your next batch.
Posted in food
Tagged bacon, food
Right now, Namecheap.com has .us domains for $1.10 (Canadian) and .org.uk for $6.41.
I was tempted to get iAmSoFabulo.us, but I may get something just for test purposes. (I am testing using cloud sites, and it is helpful to have a domain name, vs going with the full domain name that some of the cloud sites provide).
If you are Canadian or want a .ca domain, then netfirms.ca is a better choice (NameCheap.com has .ca domains for $13.03, vs $9.99 at netfirms.ca).
Finally, from what I hear, namecheap.com has deals all the time. It is worth visiting them from time to time to see what is available.
Posted in advice, IT
Tagged DNS, domainnames, IT
Well, not exactly. But this website: Programming, M—–f—– – Do you speak it? is a very expletive laden and funny site for any of you programmers out there, from n00bie to experienced. Click on this especially for some great links to help you with your programming skills.
Also not your average software development T shirts are on sale there, if you are so inclined.
Posted in IT, new!
Some days you just want a simple meal for dinner. This soup with some bread, cheese and a salad could be just the thing. Make it even easier by picking up some roasted peppers and using them instead of roasting your own. You can deepen the flavour with some garlic or make it hotter with pepper sauce or even sriracha added in. Lots of ways to change this up and still make it delicious.
You can find the recipe here: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup recipe, from the good folks at Style At Home
It’s not news that Facebook has been running a modified version of PHP for some time. What is news is that now so can you.
You can get a copy of it at this website:Hack. It installs on most OSs (or will, soon), and even runs in the Cloud (on Heroku).
According to this, Facebook Introduces ‘Hack,’ the Programming Language of the Future | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com, what you get is a high performing version of PHP with very little you have to change to get the performance gains.
It will be interesting to see if this helps to drive up usage in PHP. There are lots of new technologies to build web site with these days: this could make PHP a desirable option.
There are a number of devices out there to tracking your movement, sleep and other things. But you may own such a device already: it’s your mobile phone. If you combine this with this: Moves – Activity Tracker for iPhone and Android, then that may be all you need to get started.
If you are going to get it, look at the comments here, first: Swissmiss | Moves App. As you can see, there are some limitations to it. My recommendation: try this app first. If you find it useful, consider getting a standalone tracker from someone like Fitbit or Nike.
Anything that helps get people moving, fitter, and healthier is a good thing.
Posted in fitness, new!
This NYTimes.com article is older (2010), but that just means that these places may be easier to get into now: Budget Boutiques in New York City – Interactive Map – NYTimes.com. (It could also mean that some of these places have come and gone.)
Boutique hotels have a feel of the city that you are in: it’s a feeling that large scale hotels rarely have. I’d recommend checking out this list if you are thinking of heading to New York. Any money you save on accommodation can easily be spent elsewhere. 🙂
This is remarkable:
In this FiveThirtyEight | Why Gretzky Had It Easy, Neil Paine tries and I think succeeds in explaining why the save percentage has gone up year after year. The reason is: Patrick Roy. I have been watching young goalies since my son started playing hockey, and I am amazed at how different they play to when I played in the era of Dryden. Back then, the butterfly was somewhat controversial still, and goalies who played that way and were beat up high were criticized for that style. Not only that, but we were trained to get back up again fast. Now, goalies are going down and staying down. Where once we tried to stop low shots with the stick or the blade (both relatively small), now goalies have both pads (relatively big) on the ice most of the time. Roy brought that on, or is credited with it, and now all the young goalies (and older ones) play that way.
Paine is right to credit the gear too, for it is alot better. The chest and arm protectors are much better than the old ones, and even the top of the knees and the neck are protected now (not so when I was younger). It makes it a bit easier for the goalie to use more of his or her body to stop the shot. I even think the pads make it much easier to slide around than the old pads ever could. But gear alone isn’t the reason: it is the new style and the training to do it that makes a difference.
I disagree with the title: Gretzky had it easy. Watch the video that Paine shows. Watch how patient Gretzky is with the puck, and how he find the opening, no matter how small. I think he would still be doing the same thing with today’s goaltenders. Other than that, a great piece.
Posted in new!
Tagged hockey, sports
The folks at RealSimple.com have put together an On-the-Go-Workout that can be done anywhere. Obviously good for road warriors, but good for those that stay close to home, too.
This post does an interesting analysis of changes happening in Ulster and what might become of it. As the Catholic populations grows and the Protestant population declines, there are a number of scenarios of what might come next, all thoughtfully explored in the piece liked to at Bigthink.com.
As progress was made in Ireland and Northern Ireland, it is easy to imagine it forget about it and assume it is stable. Perhaps it will remain stable, but change is coming, one birth at a time.
(Map shows the areas in Ulster with a majority of Catholics (green) and a majority of Protestants (Yellow).)
From Colossal, is this: A Miniature City Built with Metal Typography. Go to the links to see more images. Remarkable.
For people who work in software development, I recommend this article: The End of Agile: Death by Over-Simplification | Effective Software Design. It pushes back against what Agile is becoming. It also has some great links to others complaining about what Agile has become, including this, which I really like: The Anti Agile Manifesto | On the obfuscation of common sense in the software development community.
My belief is that there is a wide range of people using the term “agile”. Some of those people have alot of experience doing software development and can use it to create much better software. And then there are other people who use the term vaguely in order to sound intelligent and flexible. If you want to be more like the former and would like to know more about Agile, here’s a good place to start: Agile software development – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I don’t think it is dead: but I do think it needs resuscitation.
Posted in IT, new!
It’s a common problem: your iOS 7 phone doesn’t have the juice you need to get you through the day. If you want to tackle this problem, this article may be just thing you need: How to stop iOS 7 from destroying your iPhone’s battery life. Getting rid of things like background refreshes, 3D features, location based services can all go some way to making your power last longer. Worth reviewing.
If you are struggling with managing multiple email user accounts, or having difficulty with the user interfaces of web based email accounts, then you should consider using Thunderbird. (Plus, frankly, the ads that Yahoo! puts on their web site are awful and embarrassing.)
Thunderbird comes from Mozilla, the same people that bring us Firefox. I tried using it years ago, but the integration with Yahoo! mail and Gmail seemed more difficult at that time. This time, it was fairly simple.
You download and install Thunderbird from here. Once you do, select the option to create new accounts. I wanted to set it up with my Yahoo! and Gmail accounts, and to do this all I needed to do was provide my name, userid and password, and Thunderbird set up the rest. (If I recall, one time you needed to have the SMTP/POP settings, etc., but now Thunderbird figures out all that at least for Gmail and Yahoo! You may need to do more work if your email comes from your ISP, but that should be straightforward information to acquire.)
I would like to hear your feedback, but it was a simple process for me. Two problems I did have, though, that you should be aware of:
- Spam! With Yahoo! mail, if you have a free account, it will download your spam as well as your regular mail. This is something I discovered as I clicked on Get Mail. I went and cleared my spam (which was being downloaded) and then it was fine. If you have a paid account, there is apparently an option to prevent this from happening. (More information on this here.)
- 2 factor authentication. With Gmail, I had two factor authentication turned on. If you do too, you will need to generate a special password in order for Thunderbird. (More information on that here.)
If you have a new SD card, using the tool SDFormatter makes sense.
However, if you are having a problem with an old SD card or USB drive, it also can help you.
I was trying to install Chrome OS on my SD drive and USB drives using tools unetbootin and win32diskimager. These tools would burn the files to the drive without difficulty. But later, when I wanted to use them, Windows 7 would only recognize 1 GB of space, despite them both being much bigger (4 GB and 8 GB). Typical Windows formatting didn’t help.
I tried SDFormatter on the SD drive first. That worked great. I decided to try it on the USB drive. That worked too! Very quick, and the drives were reformatted and restored to their proper size! Whew. I successfully tested putting a file on each one as well.
It’s a great little tool. I recommend it to help you deal with flash memory.
The web is 25 years old, and I have been using it since the very beginning. For those of you that haven’t — and those feeling nostalgic — here are some fun facts about the early days of the World Wide Web:
- Before the web, there was just the Internet. And the Internet consisted of various services, from e-mail (of course) to Gopher to ftp to WAIS to news groups/Usenet, etc. It was all great, but then the World Wide Web sprung into action and the browser quickly became THE tool for using the Internet (save email). I wonder if anyone under 30 has even heard of any of those other services, let along use any of them?
- In the beginning, most people couldn’t access the Web or even the Internet. Most people’s PCs had Windows, and Windows didn’t come with software to connect to the Internet. I was using OS/2 at the time – Really! – and OS/2 did provide a “TCP/IP stack” that allowed you to connect. You could buy a Stack and install it on your Windows machine, and eventually Microsoft bundled it with Windows. When that happened, Internet access took off.
- To access the Internet, everyone had a dial up modem, with U.S. Robotics making some of the finest ones at the time. Web pages had to be designed to be very small, because every byte delivered by modem had to count.
- The mid to late 90s was an exciting time to be on the Internet. The web, access to the Internet via new software, ISPs, and email all hit most people at about the same time. Things changed so quickly, the notion of a “web year” (3 months) came about.
- In the early days, there were a range of browsers, from Mosaic to Viola to the one from IBM called Web Explorer. Then came Netscape and then Internet Explorer. It was along time before Firefox and Safari came along to challenge IE.
- The “www.” part was important at first when you were using the Web. You could type “www.ibm.com” or “ftp.ibm.com” or “some other protocol.ibm.com” and your browser and the server would figure out what you wanted. It wasn’t assumed you were going to a web site Likewise, you could type “ibm.com:80” to go the web server. Eventually , the only thing that people wanted was their browser to talk to the web server, and the “www.” and the “:80” became superflous.
- Server technology was very expensive at first. Netscape’s web server came with nice bells and whistles and cost about $10,000 for some form of that. Then Apache came along with their web server and essentially obliterated the web server software market.
- Yahoo! was a big thing in the beginning. I actually tried to do a Canadian version of it. FYI: you cannot hand craft your own Yahoo! It’s like an artisanal Google. Needless to say, I abandoned that idea soon and left it to the professionals. I was involved with the early development of IBM’s global presence on the web.
- Early web pages seem ugly now, but at the time they were amazing. You didn’t have to type in a bunch of commands to access information, like you did with FTP. You could type in one thing and just point and click, and each click brought up new information or played audio files or played video files! All of that was simply amazing.
- The moment I thought the web was going to be big was when paintings from the Louvre went online. I thought: this isn’t just for technical people: any one can do this.
- In the early days of the Web, there were two big concerns. One was doing commerce on the web. Companies were cautioned to be very discreet about selling things: otherwise the hard core Internet people would make a big stink and make life difficult for you. The second big concern was that the Internet backbone in the United States would get broken up or underfunded or somehow messed up and that this would inhibit the health of the Internet. This was a really big concern. The Internet has always been in various states of precariousness, and the recent threats to net neutrality are part of an ongoing story.
- Speaking of net neutrality, there have always been special connections between major sites and major ISPs. In the early days it was from big sites like AOL connecting directly to big ISPs. Now it is Netflix who is making the deals. The more things change… 🙂
Happy birthday, World Wide Web, you great information superhighway! May you be around for 25 more!
The problem with small difficulties is that if you get too close to them, they seem large. Like mosquitoes, even though they are small, with enough of them pestering you, you can find yourself entirely taken up with dealing with them.
With mosquitoes, you might endure them, and this is one way to deal with them if you have to. You can also endure your small problems and fight through them as if they were a swarm of mosquitoes. Or you might step back inside to a sheltered place. Stepping back is also a good way to deal with small problems. Step back and gain some perspective and see the small problems for what they are: small and insignificant in the bigger frame you view them from. You will still deal with them, but regaining that perspective reduces the irritation that they bring on, and helps you deal with them with great patience and equanimity.
(Via my iphone)
Posted in new!
Tagged advice, essays