Monthly Archives: November 2015

The rock, the attendant and the vanishing soul: how fathers progress

When I first started off as a father, I was like a climbing rock: durable, constant,  capable of bearing heavy loads.

As my children mature, I find I am more the attendant. I watch their events, I monitor their behavior, I whisk away what is unwanted, be it spiders, dirty dishes, tears, anxiety.

In time they will be independent. I will hover around, like a ghost, a memory, reminding them of what is good in them and their past. I will be there but not there.

This is the life of fathers.
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Written on my BlackBerry Handheld to my old Posterous blog, October 12 2011, 7:34 PM

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Why do Apple’s Macbook chargers cost so much?

Simple: they are a complex piece of technology. The photo above shows a Macbook charger from Apple on the left: the charger on the right is from another company. You can clearly see that the one from Apple has a lot more technology packed in there. And for good reasons. To understand what those reasons are, see this piece:  Macbook charger teardown: The surprising complexity inside Apple’s power adapter. It was surprisingly interesting, from an engineering and design perspective.

Thanks to Tom Plaskon for sharing this on Twitter!

A guide for millennials who bought the new Adele CD and don’t know how to play it.

Funny.

That story during the Paris attacks recently about a man named Zouheir, a Muslim, who saved thousands of lives? It’s mostly false.

As Snopes.com says:

An uplifting social media rumor about the purportedly heroic actions of a security guard named Zouheir during the Paris attacks was largely inaccurate.

For the details, see Zouheir: The MUSLIM Who Saved Thousands of Lives? : snopes.com.

More and more, whenever I see something viral, I check Snopes.com.

A short defense of Drake’s dancing in Hotline Bling

It’s well known that Drake has suffered alot of mockery for his dancing in the video for Hotline Bling. This is too bad, because for whatever criticism you can raise for Drake’s dancing, he is no worse than most major pop stars when it comes to dancing. So what’s the problem?

The problem, I see it, is in the directing. Here is the Hotline Bling video. Count the length of the average shot. When I did it, it was in the 5 to 10 second range.

Compare that to Ariana Grande’s Focus video.

Count the length of each shot. The longest is usually no more than 3 seconds: the rest are 1 to 2 seconds. Is she a good dancer? It’s hard to tell. If you go to around the 3 minute mark, you seen alot of dancing, but the shots are still short and the camera is constantly moving. Any short coming in the dancing can be made up for in the editing room. And I’d argue that the Focus video is typical of most videos: very short cuts with lots of camera movement.

Now, it’s possible the director wanted the longer shots due to the changing nature of the lighting. But there is a similar use of dramatic lighting in Justin Timberlake’s Let Me Talk To You/My Love and he comes across well with no loss to the lighting effect

And like Ariana Grande’s video, this video has the performer do well defined step in a 1-4 second shot and then cuts away. This is typical of many music videos. (Yes, JT does have an extended dance routine at the end of My Love, but most of the video is all quick cuts….also, he has been dancing since his early days as a Mouseketeer :))

Drake would have been better off with shorter cuts and simpler dance moves, the kind of thing you find in most other videos.

A good article: Why I Am Not a Maker. With one comment by me.

If you hang around with or are involved in some way with IT people, you will come across individuals extolling the virtues of being a “Maker”. Making things (typically software or IT systems) is seen as a virtue, in some case one of the highest virtues, and the implication is that makers are virtuous people.

A well written critique of that is here: Why I Am Not a Maker – The Atlantic. If you consider yourself  a maker or aspire to be considered one, you should read it. A key point is this:

When tech culture only celebrates creation, it risks ignoring those who teach, criticize, and take care of others.

This is true: tech culture sometimes places little or no value on other activities, such as the ones that the article mentions.

My main criticism of the article is that it has a blind spot for the middle ground. I know plenty of creative people whom I consider makers that also take care of others, teach, manage, administer…you name it. Often time the things they make are superior to those of people who devote themselves to being makers.

Being a maker is a virtuous thing, for the most part. But so is teaching, providing care, managing, cleaning, coaching and many other positive activities. Find the thing you are good at and contribute positively in your own way.  If you can make some things along the way, all the better.

Blade Runner 2 tidbits!

Over at the Guardian is a piece revealing some details from the new Blade Runner 2 movie. It still has a way to go before showing up in theatres, but if you are a BR fan like me, you must see this: Ridley Scott reveals details of opening scene of Blade Runner sequel | Film | The Guardian