It’s iconic and feels like it’s been around forever, but the UPC is a fairly new invention. The inventor, George Laurer, worked for IBM and invented it in the 1970s. There’s a good write up on him and his invention, here: Universal Product Code Designer George Laurer Dies At 94 : NPR.
While IBM has been associated with many IT innovations, this one particular one likely touches more people’s lives than any other.
For more on how to read UPCs, and to appreciate just how much information is packed into one, go here.
Years ago (2011, 2012) I used to post music links every Friday night (as well as other days and nights). On December, I would focus on Christmas music. These are some of my favourites.
Enjoy! And joy to the world….
Then you need this article in the New York Times:
It has a wide range of gift ideas but more importantly, it will help you better think about what to get someone.
Don’t panic, you still have time!
According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…
Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.
That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.
I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.
No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.
This is a fascinating article on the use of tiny homes to help those without a place to call their own: In Detroit, Tiny Homes Are More Than a Lifestyle Trend – POLITICO Magazine
I think for many cities, apartment buildings are the way to go. More importantly, I think cities need to wake up to the problem of unaffordable housing and strive to make living in the city achievable and satisying for those that live there. If that means high rises in one city and tiny homes in another, then what works best is what should be aimed for. Here’s to livable and affordable places to live.
(Image from the article. It’s a nice place. Very IKEA, but that’s ok.)
I know, everyone says you can’t buy happiness. I think this piece does a good job of showing how money can enable you to find happiness. Now you don’t need money for this, but money helps.
What does the article say you should do?
- Buy experiences
- Make it a treat
- Buy time
- Pay now, consume later
- Invest in others
- Make it a treat
If you read the piece, you’ll get a taste of what they are getting at: Shopping for Happiness – Put A Number On It!
Of course, you can have lots happy moments without spending any money, and lots more spending a fraction of what some people spend. Perhaps the real goal is to find as many ways as you can to be happy, and aim for those with the least amount of spending.
Regardless of what you do, aim to be happy and pursue it.
I can’t vouch for everything on this list, but over the years I’ve acquired a three of the items on it and they are all good:
- Grado headphones
- Tivoli radios
- Sonos One speakers
Some are even on sale!
For more details, go here: Gift Ideas Under $200 | Bay Bloor Radio Toronto | Bay Bloor Radio Toronto Canada
Posted on December 11, 2019 in ideas, new!
Tagged audio, BayBloorRadio, Christ, gifts, grado, sound, tivoli, Toronto, Xmas
Anselm Kiefer had a big show in England this year, and that lead me down a rabbit hole reading pieces in the Guardian on him. Never boring in his art work or his interviewers, anyone interested in knowing more about this great German artist can learn more here:
Lloyd Alter makes the case here: Boosting Buffalo as a climate change haven | TreeHugger
I have to admit that Buffalo is primed for people who will try to escape both the effects of climate change and do so in a way that doesn’t cost them a fortune. Buffalo will offer all of that. But so do other Rust Belt cities. It will be interesting to see which if any of them truly do see a resurgence as climatic problems plague other cities. I’m hopeful for Buffalo that it is one of them.
I’ve seen many instances where a sudden outrage occurs because some ecommerce site like Amazon or some T shirt store ends up selling some product which an outrageous message on it. People will howl: how could they choose to do something so stupid? This article gives a good explanation of just how such stupidity occurs: How Amazon Ended Up With Auschwitz Christmas Ornaments for Sale | WIRED
In a nutshell, things are automated to the point that many of these platforms take on products with little if no review. The cost of review would be much much higher than the occasional cost of having to deal with these exceptions. Given that, expect more and more of this to occur until some legislation comes into play.
A simple way of determining if an email is a phishing attempt is to move your mouse over the link(s) in it to see if they match what is on your screen. For example, if you get an email from Apple that says:
Use this link https://applid.apple.com to verify your account
You might move your mouse over the URL and see that the link is to company https://phishingRUs.com/ or something else.
But what if the URL is a URL shortening site, like http://bit.ly or http://dlvr.it/?
My advice: assume it is a phishing attack. It could be the real company, but most large organizations will not do this. (And if they do, they need to at least be explicit about it in the URL).
My general advice: if you are not sure or uncomfortable, assume it is spam or phishing and delete it.
Then consider this idea from Apartment Therapy: Fresh Christmas Garland Home Decor Idea.
Basically just get some garland (and a tree) and keep it simple. If you have a bit more energy, candles are a good idea. Or small LED light chains in a vase with some Christmas balls.
But the garland (and the tree) signify the holiday season quite nicely.
Then read this: How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight – The New York Times.
It’s a year old, but I highly doubt the problem has gone away. You may want to consider at least not buying from the brands listed. You may even go as far as having your TV unplugged when not watching it. For more tips, see this.
Alex Vermeer has a poster that might be the thing you need: How to Get Motivated: A Guide for Defeating Procrastination
I have long ranted against people who confuse the Internet with the (World Wide) Web or social media or basically the part of the Internet they are familiar with.
Well now I no longer have to rant. I can just point people to this: The internet, explained – Vox.
The writers are Vox have done a fine job of explaining what the Internet is. Take a few minutes and read it. I’ve been on the Internet since the late 80s (email was the main use back then). While it is constantly evolving, the fundamental aspects of the Internet don’t change much. Read that piece and you will be good for a few decades.
I hesitate to echo Barron’s here: Kubernetes Is the Future of Computing. Everything You Should Know. – Barron’s because computing is vast, and there is more to computing than Kubernetes. (AI, for one thing.) But Kubernetes is one of the main drivers of change in IT, and more and more people are moving towards it. If you don’t know much about it and you subscribe to Barron’s, I recommend you read their piece. Otherwise Google “kubernetes for business leaders” or “Kubernetes 101” and you’ll find quite a few good pieces on it.
To me, it’s this one:
Image via the great blog Lottie + Doof. Go see it. They have a great gift giving guide too. (Top of the blog.)