You might have heard the phrase “sound track of your life.” One of the earliest songs on my sound track is Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, which for some reason my mind associates with the first dance I went to in middle school. Not that I danced at all, but that was one of the songs played. The memory comes back today due to learning that Meat Loaf has passed away.

A Simple Plan to Solve All of America’s Problems suggests America’s problems are due to manufactured scarcity. I agree, but unfortunately scarcity is what makes some Americans very rich, and America is all about making a scarce group of people very rich.

I write many of my blog posts on this site using the Drafts app on my iPad, and I can do that because micro.blog supports an open API that provides the ability to integrate any editor to it. In this manner micro.blog is the most open platform that I have used. In fact that means I can even use Drummer to write and publish a post to this site. The irony is, I cannot do the reverse as there is no way for me to write a post in Drafts to be published to my Daynotes. The cause in my opinion is that Dave is focused on a file format rather than an API.

This summary about Matter makes the app sound appealing, but I am pretty happy with my current reading flow that uses River5, Radio3, IFFT, Pocket, Kindle Readwise, Roam and Evernote. The flow enables me to review and consume a high amount of information across every computer operating system that I may use.

Microsoft now has a Notion clone, while I don’t really get Notion. Every time I have checked Notion out I just think it has too much.

I read these stories of Manchin in the middle of all the current politics and I can’t help but think about how much of an ego trip that must be. Right now he has all the attention and power, Trump must be envious.

Sir Sinclair and I

British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair died yesterday, September 16. I, of course, never met this man who had an impact on the direction of my life.

My chosen field of study in college, computer science, led to the career that caused me to move to metropolitan Detroit, ultimately meet and marry my wife, and have the life I now live. How I came to chose to study computer science was influenced by three events during my high school years: the arrival of the Apple II in my high school, taking an after school BASIC programming class, and being gifted the Timex Sinclair 1000. Sir Sinclair invented the ZX80, the predecessor to the ZX8, in Britian, and that same computer was later sold as the Timex Sinclair 1000 in the United States.

I was raised by my grandmother and we lived off social security along with some savings. The personal computers sold at the time cost well beyond our means, but the Timex Sinclair only cost $100, though you needed the nearly $40 additional cost of the 16 KB storage for it to be useful. The nearly $150 total cost made it the most expensive gift my grandmother ever bought me, and I don’t doubt she made sacrifices to buy it, but she felt it important for my future. Turns out my grandmother was right.

Even by the standards of the time, the Timex Sinclair was a bit of a joke for a computer. Frogger was one of the games available for the Timex Sinclair that my friend called “woodtick” because of how the large block pixel graphics of the frog took over the entire TV screen when it got run over by a car.

Back then the common display for personal computers were TV screens. Programs were stored on cassete tapes. As I said, the Timex Sinclair only had 16 kilobytes of RAM. It had a membrane keyboard rather than a real keyboard that had most of the BASIC functions assigned. When writing a program you “typed” PRINT by pressing a combination of a function key and they key that had the command printed on it. I don’t recall whether I ever connected the Timex Sinclair to a printer or did anything like word processing.

Despite the limits Sinclair’s invention made a brand new world of personal computing accessible to me in the comfort of my bedroom floor. Hours of typing in pre-printed programs from magazines and hours of experimenting with little BASIC programs sparked the interest that as I said led to the life I now have.

Reading tributes and stories of Sinclair, I know that I am just one of hundreds of thousands of people around the world that share the same story. What a wonderful legacy. Thank you Sir Sinclair, rest in peace.

To the half of the U.S. population who actually cares about things like what our government does in our name, while we must do everything to rescue refugees that WE created, we must also works towards breaking the chain of violence that has existed since the end of World War II. What should we do? This…

“We should start by finally listening to Barbara Lee. First, we should pass her bill to repeal the two post-9/11 AUMFs that launched our 20-year fiasco in Afghanistan and other wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Then we should  pass her bill to redirect $350 billionper year from the U.S. military budget (roughly a 50% cut) to ‘increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer.’” source

I’ve lived in Michigan all of my life, the last 30+ years in southeast Michigan, and I can’t remember a summer with so many thunderstorms. It seems like since July we have had storms several days each week, many with high winds and lots of rain to blow down trees, take out power lines, and cause flooding. Last night there were near constant storms from midnight to 7 AM.

The most important civics lesson, most important history lesson, and the most important sociology lesson about the United States is that the United States is only 245 years old. In comparison to the World, we are two years old. In comparison to the Universe, we have just been conceived. Not acknowledging our youth, thinking we know it all, that we are “great” is our downfall. It is our undoing, and nothing is permanent.

My reaction to the Google Pixel 6 news today is simple, I can’t imagine spending nearly or north of $1,000 for a smartphone. I’ve not had a single performance issue with the $349 Pixel 4a that I am currently using.

The big question Google is facing is, does the smartphone market have room for a third luxury, high priced, smartphone? Seems to me that people who buy for status buy iPhones or Samsung and I am not convinced they are going to choose Pixel 6 over either.

IoT Is An Oxymoron

What made local area and wireless networks happen are industry standards that enable different vendor products to work with each other. The Internet Of Things is nearly the exact opposite, in my home is a case in point. I have Hue lights that require a Hue hub for management and I have a number of sensors and smart switches that use Zigbee that I manage with Samsung’s SmartThings hub.

The SmartThings hub can control the Hue lights, but the Hue hub only knows Hue products. I started first with the Hue lights and the hub, but if I had could have seen in the future I might have just bought the SmartThings hub. On the other hand, one big thing I get with the Hue hub is the use of a catalog of scenes that combine different colors to make for some pretty nice lighting in our basement.

I recently bought two cheaper Sylvania color smartlights when recent heavy rains suggested it might be nice to have a color smartlight in our living room, right now we have a non-color Hue light in the living room. We have a moisture sensor in the sump pump pit that works with the SmartThings hub and an automation in SmartThings that turns on all of the lights when moisture is detected. The automation sets the color lights to purple (homage to Prince) but obviously cannot do that with non-color lights. It happened the automation was recently triggered during the evening when the living room light might normally come on so I realize it just turning on might not be enough notification. Thus the idea to buy a color light, thus the purpose of the Sylvania light because the Hue light costs $50.

Before putting the new Sylvania light in the living room I decided to test it in the basement, where I have the color Hue lights, and here exposes the problem. The Hue lights are controlled by the Hue hub that knows nothing about the Sylvania light, this the Sylvania light cannot be part of the any of the Hue scenes. Perhaps I can find a “third party” app that works with SmartThings to replace Hue scenes, but I have not yet done the research.

Better, yet, would be an industry standard for controlling these color lights that would enable me to fully control them, with scenes, from one hub or “smart device.” Of course, this is a known problem and industy leaders appear to be working together to address it by developing a protocol called Matter. Hopefully, there will be a day when all I need is one controlling device, technically right now I have three: Hue hub, SmartThings hub, Amazon Echo, and Google Home.

P.S. I really hope the Matter protocol addresses how smartlights handle resumption of power after a power outage. Hue added the ability to enforce the last known state, if a light was off when the power went off then it is supposed to stay off when power is restored. However, I’ve found that doesn’t work well with multiple successive short power loses. Worse, is the fact that the Sylvania light appears to not have such a setting. When power is restored the light turns on, regardless of its prior state.

I am disappointed with the final episode of Loki. For me, because episode five was so good it felt as though the final episode closed the first season too abruptly. It felt like you are reading a six chapter book, get to chapter six and find it is only three pages that basically says, “buy the next book.” What we know is that there will be a second season of Loki (thanks to the end credit scene) and it appears that we got introduced to Kang the Conqueror and the set up for the Multiverse of Madness. But now what?

I wish someone would point out to Dave Winer that because micro.blog uses Micropub, one can use a number of different editors, perhaps even one of their choice like the the Ulysses that his correspondent is using, to publish their writing to their blog. I personally use Drafts on my iPad and Omnibear whereever I use Chrome to write my blog posts.

Someday I want to work with writing some Javascript to post to my blog and see if I could get that to work with Roam to publish a block of text via Micropub.

Be Careful What You Ask For

What’s ironic is that every person arrested for the insurrection on the U.S. Capital on January 6, 2021 will expect, and demand, that everyone provide, the presumption of innocence, which requires the accuser to prove by providing evidence in court that the accused commited a crime. Yet, these people wanted state legislatures, the Supreme Court, or Congress to nullify the election results based on their accusuation of voter fraud.

The point being, the people storming the Capital really weren’t defending the Constitution nor do they really want to live in the world they think they are fighting for. Presumption of innocence means they have the possibility of not being put in jail by a force greater than themselves and that same presumption of innocence might be the only thing that saved the Republic, this time.

Tommy Lasorda, legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager, has died - CNN

Among my oldest memories are from the seventies watching the World Series, which seemed to always be the New York Yankees versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, with my grandfather and grandmother. Even though my grandfather had strokes that left him speechless he was my father figure and so these are fond memories. My grandfather grew up in Milwaukee and so a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers but the Yankees were the villain and the Dodgers the hero for us during these games. Of course Lasorda was the manager of the Dodgers during those games, so news of his passing brought back these memories today.

We Found Where Is The Republican Line

It’s amusing and sad to finally see so many Republicans jump off the sinking ship after it hit the iceberg. All through the last four years my question to Republicans has been, what is your line that Trump could not cross? We found the line was literaly no less than an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. And these are people who call themselves patriots? If they really want to do the right thing they should resign.

The thing is, it doesn’t really matter now. What’s going to matter is when in four years and the Republican Presidential primaries start does the party push back against Trump and any who follow his playbook, or do they do all the same things again? It already started when Congress finally reviewed and accpeted the Electoral College results.

At this point I think the lust for supremacy is what Republicans are all about. They could not take a principaled stand until literally forced to by an attempted coup. I for one right now cannot imagine how I can ever trust anyone who is Republican and desires the power of federal office. We cannot let Republicans re-frame the story in a way that does not make them culpable in what happened on January 6, 2021, for they built the platform upon which Trump and his followers spoke and acted, starting with birtherism.

What ought to be clear to Congress, the DOJ, to the Armed Forces, and anyone in power that is not associated with Trump is that IF Trump is NOT removed from office now then at a minimum they must prepare to act swiftly to respond to the actions of this rogue President. Anything less is at best negligence. Trump is a hostile and the threat he poses needs to be taken seriously. No more “what harm can he do” attitude from anyone in power. Up to this point not enough people have accepted nor acted on the threat Trump presents.

And for the world’s sake, find some way to get the football away from him!

I believe that those willing to step out of the forest are seeing the thrashing of the withdrawal symptoms of a society deeply addicted to itself.

I do not take comfort in SCOTUS deciding to not take up Texas’ lawsuit against the four swing states. First, SCOTUS simply hid behind procedure and thus were not the adults in the room standing against tyranny. What is even more troubling to me is that I am sure President Trump fully expected “his” SCOTUS justices to keep him in office, I am sure in his mind that is what they owed him for seating them. The fact that any person considers any judges to be “his,” particularly Justices is frightening.

What we must learn from this episode of U.S. history is that it matters how anyone who would be President views the powers and responsibilities of the office. The U.S. Constitution is not intended to give anyone extreme powers, its intention is exactly the opposite. The fact that people think elections are all about power shows how much we have strayed from the founding principles of the United States.

If we don’t learn from this year and make meaningful changes then all we have done is prevent the end of the U.S. for the time being and increased the likelihood that it will not see its tricentennial. It takes more to preserve freedom than waving a flag and standing for the national anthem.

Tim Wu makes a good case that the vaunted “checks and balances” of the U.S. constitution has not really shown to be reality. The only thing that has prevented democracy in the U.S. from being overthrown has been the integrity of a frighteningly small number of people.

In my opinion we must not allow Republicans to paint a picture that this threat has only been because of Donald Trump. None of what we have endured is due to just Trump, in fact a case can be made that none of it is on Trump, instead it has all been on the Republican Party. Never forget, Trump won the Republican Party nomination for President, and if he had not then we would have not had four years of a Trump presidency and who knows how many fewer lives would have been saved from the pandemic.

We can’t be patting ourselves on the back thinking democracy prevailed. All that we really have is possibly a victory of one battle, but Republicans have been waging war on the United States since the 1940s and will continue fighting that war in to the future. As long as there is no consequence on Republicans they will remain to be a clear and present danger.

I am still bumming since learning on Friday that Len Kasper is leaving the Chicago Cubs to be the lead radio announcer for the White Sox. What I like about Len is that he is a genuine baseball guy, he isn’t a broadcaster who also does baseball, so moving from TV to radio makes sense. Of all sports baseball is best for radio.

My life experience with the Chicago Cubs has always been narrated by TV play-by-play guys: Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Chip Caray, and Len Kasper. There have been a few others who have been briefly behind the mike, but these are the voices that replay in my head.

The first words are Jack’s calling another Dave Kingman home run. Most of the words are spoken by Harry, who was with me from teenager to adult. Chip is sentimental following his grandfathers death, where Len will always be part of the Cubs finally making it to and winning the World Series in 2016.

White Sox fans are getting a great baseball guy to tell them the White Sox story when baseball starts in 2021. I might try to listen to a few games, particularly when the White Sox come to Detroit and Len sits closer to Ernie Harwell’s seat. In the meantime I’ll watch for who will be next at broadcasting for the Cubs.

What To Do With Ideas

I’ve responded to this question about “what does one do with ideas” with my wish for how products like Roam could be even better for me. In summary, I want an app like Roam that recognizes a string of text as the same as the title of an already existing page and automactically converts it to a link to that page without my having to specify it as such with square brackets.

I think the challenge is putting the “new idea” in a place that is connected/related in a way that easily re-surfaces. A common practice is to put all ideas in to one bucket/tickler file and then continually reviewing that bucket/tickler file, which itself requires discipline.

Roam has a nice feature that enables me to easily associate text to a future date so when that date arrives the app automatically displays that item. Roam isn’t unique in this feature and associating to dates is probably an easy problem to solve, but what I would like would be an automated way associate an idea to a topic that can re-surface whenever I search for or write about the topic.

The closest example I can think of is glossary function in Fargo or wiki links in Roam but even those require remembering special functions, quotes for glossary, square brackets for wiki links. What I would love is to be able to tell software, whenever I write this string of text automatically convert the text to a hyperlink to this page of more information about it. For software to just do it for me it would have to constantly monitor my writing, like MS Word’s spell/grammar check.

If memory serves, the closest experience I had to this was VoodooPad and WikiWikiWeb were you wrote in wikiwords like WhereIPutIdeas, that the software automatically converted to links, but that is flawed by the fact that one has to write in an unnatural way.

I guess what I want is some form of natural language processing of all text I write that queries against a collection of previously written pages and automatically links to matches. Even the backlinking in Roam requires some thinking/recollection on my part, unless there is something in Roam I have not yet discovered.

Outlines, Wikis, and Wisdom

I have a great deal of respect for the people who layed the foundation of the computer technology I use today, people like Steve Wozniak, Dan Bricklin, Ward Cunningham, and Dave Winer. I follow Ward and Dave the closest because they actively write and because I use their work every day.

I am struck by the similarities and differences between Ward and Dave’s work. Ward created wiki, which is a tool he created to write and share pattern languages. Wiki’s emphasis is on easy writing and hyperlinking, which I think was the intended purpose of the Web. Dave also created writing tools, the outliner and blogs, that simplify publishing of writing on the Internet and he also created RSS to make it easier for one to keep up with the writing on the Internet. Dave’s original work is the conceptual basis for my stream while Ward’s original work provides the tools for my garden.

I like outlines and find that I really like Federated Wiki and today I realized that the similarity between them is that both provide context to writing but in different ways. Outlines are hiearchical while Federated Wiki has a lineup that shows context between source and destination links in a horizontal and linear fashion. I think this ability to easily see context and connections is also why I like Roam and use it for my private notes.

I am not sure that this matters much to others, but I think there is a relationship between context and history. History is the context of our lives and I think a great deal of our problems come from a failure to see meaning or to see what is really happening because we fail to know the context. Part of the problem may be that it’s too difficult to find the context of history, that’s where tools like oultliners might help, and because it is so difficult few people really take the time to seek out and understand context.

Context is needed for true understanding, knowledge, and thus wisdom and today there is a huge deficiency of wisdom.

Kevin Tofel’s review of the Microsoft Duo is worth reading because it might be the most optimistic, if not down to earth, of the reviews I’ve read. A reason might be that not once did he refer to the price and thus didn’t get in to the “for this price one should not have these problems” trope. IMHO any gadget priced north of $1K is too expensive even if it works perfectly!

So, if price is an issue, save the time and the pixels and just write, “it’s too expensive” and move on. Because Kevin is not on a mission to drive home the point that the device is too expensive, he focuses more on the actual problems and frankly, what he writes about seem to be something that Microsoft could address in software updates.

The most important point that Kevin makes, though, is about the biases toward what the Duo is, even though Microsoft has emphasized it is not a phone or a tablet.

I think people are calling the Duo a phone because that’s the closest device comparison they can make. And I get that. But the Duo truly is something different and, along with other folding or swivel screen devices, early in the trend of a new device class.

And I like this thought…

And although Microsoft dubbed it the Duo over a year ago, I think the company should have said that “Duo” is just an internal product code name. A better, more descriptive name would have been Surface Booklet because that’s really what it is: A connected book-like tablet.

To be fair, I noted before that Brad Sams also took effort to emphasize the Duo being a class on its own, although he used device classification of Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).