Count to ten

Where conspiracy theories cross poor interface design:

This was the “bad old days” of computers and the only way to reset her station was from my central console. On this day, I highlighted her workstation and hit the F6 key to reset.  But my screen went temporarily black and then seemed to be starting again.  I realized that I had mistakenly hit F7 and reset all the workstations in the embassy.   This realization didn’t bother me much, because no one except the Agriculture section secretary was usually on the computer system this early in the morning.

It was only weeks later that I began to comprehend the effects of this single keystroke mistake.

F6, restart one workstation, F7, restart all, and the implications multiply. This is a perfect butterfly effect example.


This … 14 year old? How old is a freshman? Anyway, this kid in high school who is only 6’2″ has the most insane hops I’ve ever seen – and the kid can dunk:

Short form

Fish Dreams:

Her mother drops her at five and tells me what she likes to eat now. There are times I look at this woman and feel an echo of affection. But not today. She won’t eat peas any more, apparently. I am to encourage her to eat peas.

And she’s had nightmares, says her mother. Two.


Bad dreams. It’s common at this age.

Dreams about what?

Fish, she says. Don’t make a big deal out of it.

I say, How would I make a big deal out of it?

I need to start writing again.


All mobile OS roads lead back to WebOS:

While WebOS is dead, the cards interface has flourished. Windows Phone, Android, and iOS all adopted a very similar multitasking view. In addition, safari and chrome replaced their tab view to a cards view with the same gestures as well. Frankly, it would be a lie to say that these OS’s were not influenced by WebOS.

I really wish the Palm devices had been available in Australia, because I thought it looked years ahead of any competition. That the design choices have made it into iOS, Android and Windows Mobile is testament to the fact that – much like Xerox’s OS that influenced Mac OS and Windows on the PC – some ideas are too good to die. Just a shame Palm got swallowed by HP and then booted into the ether.


Leonardo da Vinci, applying for a job with the ruler of Milan:

My Most Illustrious Lord, 

1. I have plans for very light, strong and easily portable bridges with which to pursue and, on some occasions, flee the enemy, and others, sturdy and indestructible either by fire or in battle, easy and convenient to lift and place in position. Also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy. 

5. Also, I have means of arriving at a designated spot through mines and secret winding passages constructed completely without noise, even if it should be necessary to pass underneath moats or any river.

[and the kicker...]

Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be. 

That’s the kind of cover letter I’d love to have one day. Oh to be a Renaissance man…


Beyonce and Solange, after the elevator ride with Jay:

“Look,” Beyoncé said, gently. “I love you and I appreciate you. I know what you were trying to do. I appreciate that you were trying to defend me. I’m not mad at you for tearing into him.”

“Oh you’re not mad?”

“—Let me finish, Solange. I’m not mad at you for tearing into him. I am mad at you for not sticking to the plan.”

Beautiful. Must-read.

Budget 2014

Budget 2014

Good write-up from Greg Jericho on the Guardian:

So all up in percentage of GDP terms, revenue will continue to rise over the next four years from 23.0% in 2013-14 to 24.9% of GDP by 2017-18. It’s worth noting that the ALP governments never had a revenue take of more than 23.2% of GDP…

Expenditure in 2014-15 is expected to decline in real terms by 1.7%, which is among the biggest cuts in the past 40 years. But it’s worth remembering that that cut is in comparison to spending in 2013-14 – which includes the extra $11.9bn Joe Hockey spent in the Myefo – including nearly $9bn on the RBA. So that alone made reducing expenditure in this year an easier job.

Overall, it’s actually not a bad budget, and while it makes some dumb cuts, opens the gate for high fee universities in an effort to “get Australian universities in to the top 20″ (like money alone solves that!) and establishes a $20bn “Medical Research Future Fund” that no-one except the pharmaceutical companies would have asked for while charging for doctor visits and lifting the costs of medicines… it’s nothing you wouldn’t have expected from a Liberal government.

If they had retained the carbon pricing scheme, I would have even said it was a respectable budget. I actually do like the fact that increased fuel excise revenue is tied to infrastructure spending, even if the bias towards roads over rail is stupid and very backwards looking. I’d even have respected Hockey more if he’d gone on the media afterwards and owned up to the fact that these were new taxes introduced – breaking a promise and then trying to spin your way out of it always seems to get things into farcical situations, rather than actually having people buy the spin.