90 minutes without my phone

Scott Berkun retweeted a challenge suggested by Mike Davidson today: to see how long one could go without one’s phone. The idea intrigued me — conventional wisdom says that these devices are distracting and corrosive to sanity. Also, I didn’t want to admit that I was too chicken to try. I soon found that it is not quite as simple a proposition as it sounds. Just figuring out how to do it raises questions about the different kinds of dependence that electronic devices might come with.

«Unlimited» is fraud

Part one in a series of two or more of topics relevant to the Network Neutrality debate

Imagine a pizzeria. Let’s call it Monochromatic Pizza because that’s a terrible name for a pizza joint1 and with luck I won’t anger the proprietors of any actual pizza places. Let’s say Monochromatic Pizza makes pretty good pizza. Maybe it isn’t the best in town, but you’ve been there before and you like their pizza.

Agendum

A thing to be done.

Yes, you guessed it. This is the singular of agenda. And yes, its use is somewhat archaic. OED calls it «now rare» and Chambers doesn’t list it at all. Agenda’s modern usage is clearly singular; one looks at the agenda before beginning a meeting, and someone promoting political views is said to have an agenda.

But it is at least useful to understand agenda as a list, as opposed to simply «that which someone wants done». It’s a list, a set. And this is why it is grating (though not incorrect) to hear references to «agendas», especially when these agendas belong to a single person.

Listen, snowflake. Star Trek has always leaned hard to port

There’s a new Star Trek series premiering tonight on CBS. Already Twitter is awash1 with critics complaining that Star Trek is no longer Star Trek, that it has turned into a propaganda vehicle for the «social justice warriors» who are pushing an anti-American, pro-globalist, diversity-loving agenda. See the IMDB reviews, too.

Six hours with iOS 11

Today is release day for iOS 11, Apple’s newest version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads. This is not news. As of about 1pm Eastern time, the update is available for download and installation on supported devices. Monochromatic Outlook sacrificed an iPhone1 for the glory of being your guinea pig.2

Drupal, maybe we should just be friends

Recently I finished reading a book and went to put the book in my blog. I don’t have the book report written but wanted to at least get a placeholder in the database with the vital statistics: title, author, word count, my rating, and so on. After entering the information, I hit submit and was greeted with the less-than-useful message, The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.

Frankly, this sort of thing is the reason I don’t write. I used to joke that maintaining a blog was more work than writing it. The joke has stopped being funny.

Perk

Short for perquisite. A casual or secondary benefit.

I hate being wrong. Probably no one likes it very much. I know that being wrong is part of the scientific process and that many scientists delight in being wrong. I can relate to that. I tend to love new discoveries. But new discoveries also tend to be something I’ve intentionally questioned, perhaps even knew I did not know. I get frustrated when I discover that something I was absolutely certain was true simply is not so.

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