Monochromatic Outlook employees must wash hands after contact with Washington Post

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

For the record, I am in favor of handwashing, especially prior to the preparation and/or handling of food.

I’m also good with laws that require restaurants to post signs declaring that employees must wash their hands.

That said, those are not the same two things. Which makes the teaser for the Washington Post article Senator says maybe restaurants shouldn’t make employees wash their hands a falsehood. Frankly, I find it more offensive than any of the remarks attributed to Senator Tillis in the article. Maybe there’s room for a sensational spin in a headline or teaser, but an outright fib is unacceptable.1

A kilobyte of comments

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

I’m not sure which fact is more hilarious (or sad): that I have a three-line function with twenty-eight lines of comments, or that the function exists at all.

At some point I was instructed not to use public variables and to create getters and setters for everything. Encapsulation is a good thing, but for values that just need to be accessed it makes just as much sense to make the variable public and not waste a function call to return the variable.

But what if someone sets a value they shouldn’t? Well, sometimes that’s a problem but frankly often it isn’t. Since this is part of an object that only I or someone I might be supervising will ever use, there is a limit to the effort I’m willing to put into idiotproofing my code. Never mind the limit to how much money my client is willing to spend on me idiotproofing my code.

Apple sneakily thwarts own attempt to serve users

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

The headline is misleading, inasmuch as it is difficult to believe that this was either accidental or an attempt to serve users. «Sneakily» is sort of misleading too. «Brilliantly deceptive» fits better. Makes for a really awkward headline, though.

One of the contentious aspects of Apple’s App Store (both the iOS and OS X flavors) is the lack of support for application upgrade paths. This has some short-term customer benefits; for example, app upgrades are usually free. When a developer thinks it is time to get paid for a new version said developer must create a whole new app, which customers have to buy all over again. Therefore people who purchased WhizBangApp version 5.7 and want to continue to have supported software, must buy WhizBangApp 2 version 1.0.

Crowdfunding can be beautiful

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

I’ve seen some interesting kickstarter-style campaigns; it’s always nice to see what kinds of goodies someone will come up with to enroll people in their projects. These kinds of pre-funding drives are an opportunity to get people excited about a project and put on display one’s passion. A dry investment prospectus might get the big backing, but one really has to have a compelling and accessible idea in order to get a lot of people to throw in $10 or $20.

I enjoyed thinking about pledging to SkyCube and wondering what kinds of photographs I could get from low orbit for $20. That was an opportunity to directly benefit from the project at a pretty low entry point.


Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

If twenty-five years and a day ago you had asked me whether a seismic event measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale would change my life, I am sure the answer would have been «of course.»

Two days later, I would have laughed and said it was silly, that it was just an earthquake. While a little exciting it wasn’t something that changed me. There were other people whose lives were really and directly affected by the Loma Prieta ‘quake, and you should be more concerned about them. I was fine, nothing to see here, move on, thanks for asking.

Ayn Rand

(Because I feel that I didn’t have much to say about this novel, it has singlehandedly stalled all the reports for the books I’ve read since. So please forgive the cursory glance. There are other books I actually want to say something about.)

Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem is a quick read. By my estimate the book comes in around 26,000 words.

Another run before the soreness kicks in


After a hard run, or any sufficiently intense workout, I can sometimes be sore for a few days. That’s not uncommon but it is sometimes surprising to me how the soreness doesn’t set in until the second day.

After last Sunday’s run I wasn’t recovered enough to run again until Saturday. Saturday’s run was harder than that one. I was looking at the likelihood that it could be several days before my next run.


I don't want to pay my PG&E bill

Holes in the wall
Wedge District Alameda , CA

A little over three months ago there was supposedly a gas leak somewhere in the neighborhood. A Pacific Gas & Electric technician came in to my apartment and turned the gas off, and then over the next couple of weeks there were workers (not from PG&E) around the building. At one point they tore a hole in my bedroom wall and left it there for days.

Eventually an inspector came in and signed off that the system was safely fixed. The workers came back and patched up the hole in my bedroom wall. And no one ever turned the gas back on in my apartment. I’ve confirmed this by turning the thermostat up to 90° when it’s 60° inside. Nothing happens.


Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

As the United States celebrates 238 years of independence from Britain, Scotland is approaching the important decision whether to no longer be a part of the United Kingdom. On the 18th of September, Scots will go to the polls to vote on a referendum on independence.

I cannot pretend to have enough knowledge of politics in Scotland to know whether becoming a neighbor to rather than a member of the United Kingdom is good for Scotland or good for Britain, or any of that. But this is, after all, the point. I don’t know what’s best for Scotland better than the Scots do. I can’t and neither can anyone else. A free people must rule themselves or have the power to choose their own leaders. In the end, these amount to the same thing.

How to celebrate Independence Day

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

There are of course a number of ways in which Americans traditionally spend the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, many of which have nothing to do with the significance of the founding of this nation, or for which the significance has been forgotten along the way.

Now, a day off is a day off, and I don’t want to be the one to spoil anyone’s barbecue. You can’t really go wrong in my book by spending the day with friends and/or family enjoying one another’s company and some tasty grillables and beverages. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.


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