I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Archive for 2012:

Hey Employer, Show Me Yours And I’ll Show You Mine

Senator Blumenthal is working on a bill that would prevent employers from asking potential employees for their Facebook passwords. It’s a great start, provided it passes (which is anything but a given for our corporate-owned Senate). Now let’s do something about pre-employment credit checks.

Annoying Updates

Does anyone find it annoying when Apple’s “Software Update” pushes RAW camera support updates to all users, whether relevant or not to all users? I don’t (currently) use a camera to which these updates might apply. And even if I did, I likely wouldn’t have this exact camera. Irritating.




I’d just like to mention my new Twitter account, which is meant to align with the content of this blog more cogently than did my other, primary account. Follow. Thanks.

Musical Tesla Coils

However impressive this musical Tesla coil setup may be, I would have hoped that anyone dorky enough to get something like this working would have better taste in music.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbLshnfu0wY&w=560&h=315]

via Dangerous Minds.

Poor Little Billion-Dollar Crybabies

Jean-Louis Gassée brings an applause-worthy smackdown to U.S. wireless carriers via an exhaustive rebuttal of a blatantly biased Wall Street Journal article:

You walk into an AT&T or Verizon store with a fully-paid unlocked phone. Will you get a lower monthly deal? I asked and, in both cases, the answer is a polite no.

Repairing an Old Alarm Clock


Because even I like the occasional analog gadget.

Buy Our Product, But Please Don’t Use It

Newsflash: a 2GB data plan lasts about ten minutes over a fast connection. Can you imagine any company other than a wireless carrier getting away with this sort of thing? Imagine a milk company which:

  • charges you $30 per month for one cup of milk;
  • makes you sign a contract which stipulates that you’ll owe them $600 if you buy milk from anyone else over the next two years;
  • forces you to use their own crappy bottle with a leaky mouth;
  • etc.

Why do we put up with it? Because the biggest two of the four major carriers in this country have conspired to use this insane business model (though T-Mobile throttles after 2GB, and Sprint still has unlimited plans–for now). We really have no other choice. So enjoy your cup of milk and shut up.

I’ll leave the excoriation of the Wall Street Journal for conflating this issue with Apple to others.

Abortionplex – Topeka, KS

This is fantastic. Is it a hoaxy hack? A massive crowdsourced joke?

These folks really brought the kid out of my girlfriend.

Once the loud, slightly messy procedure was done we were given moist towelettes and a $5-off coupon to The Sizzler, where we had hamburgers and I got two refills on my soda. […] All in all I recommend the Abortionplex for your post-conception life termination needs. The restrooms were clean and we got a coupon to The Sizzler.

Thanks, Vahe.

UPDATE: It looks like, predictably, a bunch of “yelpers” faked this page out of enjoyment for an article from The Onion.

It Turns Out That Sausage Is Mostly Wholesome Meat

This American Life has just issued a retraction of its popular episode “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory,” in which monologist Mike Daisey recounts horror stories about working conditions at Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen, China. While I’m not surprised to learn that Daisey modified the truth a little bit, I am a little bit disappointed in TAL for presenting the story as fact.

Anyway, let’s not forget that even if these factories aren’t quite as hellish as they’ve been painted to be, working in them is still not quite the same as working in an American factory. And let’s remember that every single object we buy is made in factories like these–not just our gadgets, which we are apparently fixated upon because of some kind of guilt.

No Time For Logic

Sean Hollister has a great rant over at The Verge on the subject of how easy it would be for Verizon and AT&T to make all our lives simpler by simply providing us with a single bucket of bits to be shared among all of our devices–instead of the current maddening practice of selling us different plans for our phones, mifis, and tablets. One of Sean’s really great points is that these carriers sell us all kinds of hype about how great ubiquitous data is, but seem to go out of their way to keep us from downloading anything.

The problem I have with articles like this one (despite the fact that they’re completely in the right) is the notion that somehow large corporations will change their behavior in the face of rightness. Corporations don’t care about logic and common sense; they care about money, and that’s all they care about. And they have no incentive to make things better for consumers when there are no competitive pressures around to make them worry about the bottom line. Verizon and AT&T compete with each other, practically speaking, about as much as these guys do.