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This personal blog comprises whatever I feel like saying on any given day, which often involves topics like new media, journalism, Web technologies, Racket/Scheme/Lisp, Free and open source software, societal issues, cinema film, Boston, frugality, and humor. Many things noted here are solely for the benefit of future Web searchers trying to solve particular esoteric problems, and are not of general interest. This blog is largely insulated from my professional life, and vice-versa. I attempt to provide full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. Last time I checked analytics, my site was getting over 1000 unique visitors a day.

Net Neutrality

This video by Vihart is a great way to explain to non-techies what Net Neutrality is, and why it's so important:

Vihart, "Net Neutrality in the US: Now What?," YouTube video, 2014-50-07

Yes, it's long (11 minutes), but it's well done.

2001 and 2010

 [composite image of 2010 film promotional image and great white shark] The other day, I made a "monolith" reference, and then realized that I don't recall much of the films 2001 and 2010, so I rented these films from the library, and watched them in order.

2001 should be watched because it was so significant. However, I had to watch many plodding parts at 1.5x to 10x speed. I think a lot of the problem was that it was filmed in the 1960s, when spaceflight and computers were in the public imagination, which could explain why we were treated to numerous glacially-paced tangents on the wonder of this-or-that of the imminent future. Although Kubrick's primate scenes at the beginning also seem slow; so perhaps that's because the ideas are more familiar now, or because we have shorter attention spans, or simply because it's Kubrick.

2010, on the other hand, was a very different film, not as navel-gazing, but message-heavy on the Cold War situation of the time, with a little fashionable environmentalism thrown in. Rather than playing the Heywood Floyd from 2001 only nine years later, Roy Scheider's version is all "We're gonna need a bigger boat." And when the Russian crew is handling a situation, he's repeatedly Jack Ryan know-it-all backseat driver -- in this case, perhaps oddly sending a message of cowboy American superiority over the Russians at the same time that the film's ostensible message is that we can all get along. Which leads us to one interesting thing about this film: had I screened 2010 in the year 2010, I might've said something like, "Ha. In 1984, the filmmakers thought that the Cold War would still be going on in 2010, and that there would escalating conflict over some border incursion. Kinda dated." Watching at the end of April 2014, however, my thinking was more like, "OK, that's not funny." Also, the film depicts the Americans being dependent on Russian spacecraft. cough, cough It's still an eye-roller of a film.

Public Libraries

I'm fond of my local public library (am even a card-carrying Friends Of, which I guess means it's mutual?), but try living in Cambridge and requesting Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century:

267 holds on first copy returned of 13 copies

Call me a cheapskate for not simply buying the book, but apparently I'm in good company. I used to buy books, even when I was sleeping on the carpet of my apartment because I didn't own a bed, but then I got rid of almost all of them (2003-08-24). Since then, haven't thought that the 21st century is a good time to rebuild a personal paper library. And I've always avoided Amazon-controlled e-books (2009-07-17).

Earlier to... 2014-03-25

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