Blockbuster burnout, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the subtitles

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

I remember enjoying the Mad Max movies from the 80s,1 though truth to tell I don’t remember actually caring about them very much. I don’t think I ever saw the Thunderdome one, which I’m not bothering to even look up the actual title of.

Still, post-apocalyptic desert, guns, and explosions, and Charlize Theron all add up to a movie that was made for me. Yesterday the new rebooted Mad Max film arrived in theaters and it’s all over my social media and RSS feeds. Most of the reviews are favorable, surprising me with words like «brilliant». Is it possible that this sci-fi action flick has transcended genre and come in to life as an amazing film?

I just failed civics

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

In a recent Facebook conversation I bemoaned the fact that most United States residents cannot name even one of their State’s senators, and less than a third can name two.1 That got me thinking about whether my own knowledge of our political landscape is any good. So I gave myself a simple test: to write a list of all fifty states, and identify the junior and senior senators from as many states as I could.

I didn’t do very well. If you want to try it yourself, you should probably stop reading now, because I’m going to start naming names soon and that will prime your memory.

First embarrassing fact: I could only name forty-nine states without looking at a map.2

You can't punish the… oh, right. Actually, you can.

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

@TheDemocrats1 are trying to discredit Rand Paul by tweeting a picture of him next to what appears to be an out-of-context quote: «You can’t punish rich people.»

«You can't punish rich people.»

The troubling aspects to this are almost too many to count. But I’ll give it a try.

First, it looks like the Democratic Party now openly considers having wealth a crime. Otherwise, «punishment» wouldn’t be warranted, and defending the rich from being punished wouldn’t itself be any kind of indictment of character.

I blame Microsoft

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

All right, it’s only sort of Microsoft’s fault. But right now you really ought to be reading a great article about how the Portage County, Indiana Sheriff’s Office is a disgrace to the law enforcement profession, and how the District Attorney for that same county ought to be fired without delay. The article was researched and footnoted. I had timelines and even a link to confirm that 3 April 2015 was a state holiday in Indiana.1

It was literally all gone in a single keystroke. There was no backup, no undo, no cache: no way of retrieving the time and energy spent in the now-vain pursuit of providing the slice of brilliant editorial journalism Monochromatic Outlook readers have come not to expect.

For fifty bucks I could probably make this go away

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

Note: an unfinished version of this note was presented to Cynthia (whose surname I’m still not sure of) at about 9:15 AM on April 7th 2015, along with money orders in the full regular amount of rent for my apartment for April ($1,250.00). I did not give her the additionally-demanded fifty dollars, and I received no receipts for the money orders, as had been given last month. (This fact does not worry me, as I have the serial numbers and proof of purchase.) Cynthia also received copies of California Civil Code Section 2-21 and a copy of the Court’s decision in Orozco v Casimiro, referenced here.

I have been informed that without the demanded $50.00, my rent is unpaid.

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.

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