of Frank McPherson
I wonder how well the Pixel Fold has sold?#
Feeds All Around provides a way to discover RSS feeds related to a mastodon account. The app appears to be able to dig out the RSS feed from a site. Because it uses Mastodon it provides a way to drill down to followers of followers, and therefore is a bit of a rabbit hole. I plugged in my Mastodon handle and did some exploring. #
AT&T wants to get rid of their traditional landline service. They have been sending me offers to conver to AT&T Phone - Advanced, which is a VoIP solution that primarily uses their cellular network and fails over to broadband. The service is cheaper and would allow us to keep our home phone number, but the problem is that we only get one bar of cellular service at our condo. We have a microcell that we use to strengthen/enable our cellular connectivity. What would work for us, I think, is if the broadband VoIP was the primary connection then I would just put the device in the basement. What I really wish we could so is have our home phone number forwarded to both of our cellular phones, which enable us to preserve the number while decreasing our cost.#
I am using Joplin as a documentation, notes, and tasks repository and I use it with my Debian 12 desktop and my Macbook Air and iPads. Today I ran Joplin on the Macbook and received a notification about an update (2.14.21) to download and install, which I did. Unfortunately, this version has a problem such that it never fully loads and one has to Force Quit. I see others have reported this problem on the Joplin Forums and there was instruction to revert to 2.14.20, which I did and after re-entering the Master Password I the app successfully loaded. #
I checked in today on the status of Gemini for Android and found that it still cannot start a Home Routine and so is still a no go for me.#
Wasn't Microsoft designing their own chips for the Surface Pro? Did they give that up to partner with Qualcomm? #
Dave is all in on current and future of AI, and I find it useful to observe as he writes from a user's perspective. In my own experience I find myself using Copilot on my iPad when looking for information rather than Google Search, which I used in the past. #
  • I was mostly offline the last week as I on the road visiting family and friends. Catching up on my feeds, I see the reactions to the reviews of the new iPads that are predictable because they have been the same for the last five years or so now. All new iPad hardware is fantastic but hampered by the operating system software. The real problem with these observations is that they are redundant and pointless unless one is reviewing a new release of iPad OS. #
  • All technical reviews are opinion pieces. Ultimately, the author of the review is expressing an opinion about whether the product being reviewed is good or bad and whether the reader should buy the product or not, and I think it is the later point some people are reacting to. Two types of readers/potential buyers exist, a small group of whom have never owned an iPad and another group that will considering upgrading from an older model to a new model. #
  • The decision to upgrade is the tougher one because there are really few reasons to upgrade. The iPad Air I bought in 2020 runs everything I need it to run and will get the latest version of iPad OS when it is released. When I read in a review that iPad OS does not take full advantage of the hardware capability my simple translation is, it's not worth the money to upgrade. (Ironic side note, the iPad seems to be opposite of planned obsolescence and there seems to be a negative reaction, which makes me wonder whether we are too condition for planned obsolescence. ) #
  • Should a person who does not own an IPad buy the latest one? The answer to that question is easier, if they have a need or desire for an iPad they should buy whichever model they can afford. None of the reviews I have read even consider recommending their readers buy an Android, Chrome OS, or Windows (Surface) tablet because it is generally accepted that the iPad is best tablet on the market. #
  • Finally, some of the reviews are really not reviews but instead editorials expressing ways in which Apple could improve the iPad or iPad OS. Editorials usually invite disagreement and so it is surprising when the authors of these articles are surprised by the disagreement as if they don't know they wrote an editorial rather than a review. If the same story is being written after every release of a new iPad, perhaps it's time for a different story.#
More thoughts about the new iPads announced yesterday, and thinking that if I were to buy a new, "larger" iPad that I might prefer the 13-inch model given that I would want to use it for something other than how I use my existing iPads.#
iMore points out the irony that the new iPad Air is actually heavier than the new iPad Pro, thanks to the OLED screen of the Pro. I guess the idea that a model with the name "Air" in it should be the lightest one available is lost on Apple. Perhaps Apple re-brand the Air, Pro, and the current Pro, Max, then they would have iPads from Mini to Max.#
  • Seemingly to steel some thunder from Apple, today Google made the Pixel 8A available for pre-order and it ships next week. Normally Google waits for their annual developer conference to announce and ship the A-series phone, so the timing is curious. The Pixel 8a costs $499 and Google provides $200 on trade-in of the Pixel 7a that I bought last year. At the moment I have no plans to replace the 7a thought I bought last year, even though the 8a has the Tensor G3 chip.#
  • Google also announced that they are now selling the Pixel Tablet without the charging speaker dock for $399, which is $100 less with the dock included. Previously Google did not sell the tablet without the dock. #
  • Today Apple announced new models of the iPad Air and iPad Pro with associated new Magic Keyboards and a third generation Apple Pencil. Over the years my tablet usage has transitioned between Android, starting with the Nexus 7, and the original iPad, and recently back to Android with the Boox Note Air 3C. I bought the first iPad Pro that I ultimately replaced with the fourth generation iPad Air in 2020. I also have the iPad Mini 6 that I bought in 2022. #
  • The main use case of the iPad Air has been for work, particularly writing notes in OneNote. The secondary use case for my iPad Air is watching video. Earlier this year I bought the Boox Note Air 3C that is a much better writing experience than the iPad + Apple Pencil so today I pretty much only use the Air for watching video. One other intermittent use case is for reading sheet music when I am asked to play at church, but that may only happen a couple times per year. Right now it is hard to find a reason to replace my current iPad Air with another "large" iPad model. #
  • The iPad Mini is the most used of my personal computing devices. Prior to buying the Note Air 3C I did all reading on the iPad Mini, but even now I still occasionally read on it, and of course, if I needed to, I could write on it with the Apple Pencil. The Mini is good enough for video but it is not best suited for reading sheet music due to the small screen. #
  • Apple did not announce a new iPad Mini, obviously they feel that given it is only two years old there is not a real need to upgrade the Mini. Frankly, I think Mini is the most intriguing of Apple's products in terms of what it will do in the future. Today the Mini and the current iPad use the A-series chips like the iPhone, in fact the current 10-th gen iPad uses the exact same A14 Bionic chip that is in my iPad Air. Does Apple want to continue with two chip series or consolidate to one? #
  • Beyond spec upgrades like display types and processors, what else can Apple do to the iPad Mini? Perhaps make it thinner, but that too seems incremental. What seems most likely is a future Apple foldable that is about the same size as the Mini when folded, but I wonder whether the folding screen technology is good enough and affordable enough for that size of a screen? #
  • Two constraints of the existing iPad Mini 6, the operating system and storage, would force me to replace my current Mini with a new model. My current Mini has 256 GB of storage of which I am only using 88 GB, so that is not close to being an issue. At some point Apple will stop supporting the Mini 6 in the latest version of iPadOS, but that isn't likely to happen for 3 to 5 years from now. #
  • The Boox Note Air 3C has confirmed that my primary tablet use case is reading and writing, for which eInk displays are much better suited than the iPad. I could read sheet music on the Note Air 3C, I just haven't needed to try given I have the iPad Air. If I buy another IPad, it is more likely going to be whatever replaces the iPad Mini 6 or perhaps the current generation of the regular iPad. #
I have built a new Proxmox VM using Fedora 40 KDE with XRDP for remote access. The Speedometer browser benchmark shows Firefox performs a little better than Chrome, so I will be using Firefox on this desktop. #
At some point I must have configured Fedora 38 workstation for remote access because I am able to connect to it from my Mac.#
The Declaration is about revolution over government, the Constitution establishes a government.#
Is the Rabbit R1 intended to replace a smartphone or be an accessory it, like watches?#
  • Today Dave Winer wrote that we in the United States are already living in an authoritarian state. He cites as evidence the probability that SCOTUS will say the President of the United States is in fact above the law and notes that the Supreme Court has always been above the law. If one takes a honest look back at the history of the United States you will see that it has always been an oligarchy rather than a democracy. #
  • The founders intended our government to be a republic, a representative democracy, rather than a pure democracy, that would prevent tyranny, but their intentions were thwarted as soon as political parties arose to control/influence our representatives. Go back and look at the definition of oligarchy and consider whether political parties are nothing but classes of people who see the power of government vested in themselves.#
  • Political parties are to democracy what monopolies are to capitalism, both corrupt the founding principles of their institutions, and those who enjoy the privileges of the power these oligarchies provide do everything they can to preserve those privileges. #
  • Consider the wealth of the founding fathers, most of whom were white, male, property owners. Washington and Jefferson owned plantations. When they wrote that all men were created equal, they assumed it understood that meant white, male, property owners and not others. The American Revolution was a war for white, male property owners to keep their wealth from the King of England.#
  • The Federalists vs Anti-Federalists debates, the Three-Fifths Compromise and associated Electoral College, the Civil War, Women's Suffrage, and the Jim Crow Laws were all moments when the true nature of the founding of the Unites States was exposed. What we are experiencing in the United States today is a continuation of how it has always been in the United States, the difference now is that the oligarchs have become so confident that they no longer care to continue pretending that there is actual democracy. The oligarchs have been able to convince a majority of the citizens of the United States that their aims align with the oligarchs, it is the realization of the "trickle down" ideology that Ronald Reagan preached.#
  • The Declaration of Independence has always hidden the prime question of civilization in plain sight. When Jefferson wrote:#
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    #
  • The question is, liberty for whom? #
  • Truth is, the norm of civilization on the Earth, which over time has been called different things but which can be simply stated as empire, has never allowed for liberty of everyone. Over the course of history different forms of government have existed and even those that claim to be democracies institute class hierarchies that provide liberty for some at the expense of others. Governments are institutions of humans and reflect our human dualistic view of the world. Governments are necessary and not particularly bad, but humans need to be self aware of our instincts and vigilant at guarding against them. #
  • I believe the form of democracy in the United States as intended to exist through purpose, not the literal words, of the U.S. Constitution is as good a government that can provide liberty for everyone as any in the world, so long as citizens push back against our habit of seeing ourselves as better than and apart from our neighbor. I think such vigilance takes the form of placing core values above all others. #
  • One such core value is what does liberty mean? You can look up the word liberty in a dictionary and you will find several descriptions of what one may think of as freedom, but for me liberty boils down to my control over my body, which is exercised in many different ways such as to do as I please, to be free from restraint, and to decide what does and does not happen to my body. A Supreme Court that is unwilling to recognize that liberty, which is intended to be enshrined by our founding documents, extends to women's right to decide what happens to their body is violating the core value of liberty. #
  • The Bill of Rights defines other core values, but perhaps one most overlooked but closely related to liberty is the Ninth Amendment that states that it is the citizens who claim our rights and not only the Constitution. #
  • The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    #
  • The Constitution does not deny the rights retained by the people. Is a Supreme Court, or for that matter any member of Congress or President of the United States, that does not seem to know the definition of liberty or seeks to deny rights retained by the people acting in the best interests of the people as their representatives or are they acting in the best interests of their oligarch class? #
  • It is true that the founders, like Plato, were not fond of pure democracy and thus created a republic as a representative form of democracy. The founders were also not fond of the authority of the monarchy they just fought a war against, and so they created a system of government intended to preserve the best features of democracy while preventing against tyrannies be they of individuals or classes. Among but not limited to these features are the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Note the similarity between the Declaration and the Ninth Amendment) Beware of attempts to throw out democracy in the bathwater for that is language the political party oligarchs use to claim liberty for themselves at the expense of others. Let us be vigilant for that more perfect union that Madison wrote in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution.#
A change to the theme I use for my blog broke the summary blog post plugin I was using to create summary entries on the main page for titled posts. I now have to manually enter the tag that tells the CMS to generate the summary post and link. To make this easier I created a simple script in Drummer to insert that tag in the next line, therefore I don't have to remember the syntax of the tag. Here in lies the power of using an editor like Drummer that supports scripts and the power of being able to use the editor of my choice to write blog posts. #
Yesterday Dave wrote about search and it reminds me about how much I miss Daytona, which died when Twitter killed their API. Some times I feel like I am the only person other than Dave who uses his stuff. When one writes daynotes like this to narrate one's work it is very useful to be able to search one's writing. I agree in principal with what Dave is thinking in regards to the usefulness of LLMs to query one's own writing. #
  • If one does not read the instructions, is it obvious how to get to a site in the blogroll to the right? #
  • Now that I added a blogroll page to my main blog I notice that one what I would consider main features of a blog roll, which is getting to the sites on the list, is not obvious. No obvious hyperlinks exist in the blogroll, to get to post of a site you need to click the date or time that is to the right of the entry. I personally do not think that this is obvious to a user who has never seen this function where as the simply list version produced by micro.blog provides an obvious hyperlink. #
  • I added a blogroll page, Other Bloggers, to my main blog that is hosted on micro.blog. The blogroll uses a new Recommendations feature recently added to micro.blog, which is inspired by Dave's work on blogrolls but not exactly the same. You see that the blogroll on the right of this page knows when a site has been updated and sorts the list in that chronological order. Dave's blogroll "widget" is connected to Feedland. Micro.blog recommendations is not connected to FeedLand and is a simple list of sites, although one can upload an OPML file to generate the site list. I have to add or remove sites via the Recommendations section of microblog design. #
  • One of the most powerful features of Drummer is the glossary. In summary, the glossary searches for defined strings and replaces that string with something else. I primarily use the glossary to have Old School create hyperlinks to sites I frequent refer to such as my blog.#
  • The glossary is an OPML file and I associate it to my blog by populating the OPML header urlGlossary with of the URL to the OPML file. I don't know how the glossary functionality works exactly but it appears to occur during the publishing process, but I pretty sure it is triggered via Build my blog. #
  • What I wish I could do is access the Glossary functionality from within Drummer. I imagine it working similar to a manually triggered spell check, select a menu option or trigger a script to "Run Glossary Check" and it would scan the contents of a node for any matching strings and replace them within the OPML file itself. So for example, it would change a string "my blog" with a markdown link using my blog as the link text, which when published to micro.blog will render as a hyperlink. #
  • Perhaps all I need is a glossary verb that would scan the text of a current node against a provided glossary file URL and converted any matches. The key difference here I think is initiating the scan from within Drummer and having the results affected OPML file in the open tab in Drummer. I wonder, can I write a script that does something like Find and Replace? #
I fear that Google's PIxel 9 series phones may mark the end of the lower cost "A" series Pixels that I use. Reports indicate the Pixel 9 series will have three models rather than just the two, with the base Pixel 9 sound much like an "A" series phone. I am probably not going out on a limb by saying that the Pixel 8a, which we will likely see announced at Google I/O may be the last of the "A" series line. Now, if the price of the Pixel 9 is similar previous "A" series phones then this might not mean more than different branding and different launch times, but until that is announced we will not know for sure.#
I've added more feeds to my feedland.org blogger category so that they appear in the blogroll. The feeds in this category are personal blogs rather than corporate/for profit blogs. I find the process in FeedLand for going through a large list of feeds and adding them to a category is cumbersome. It would be easier if I could easily/quickly select a group of feeds and specify them all to be set to a category rather than having to go into each one individually. By the way, this type of categorization would be useful task for an AI.#
I didn't have a chance to note this, but over the weekend Dave resolved an issue that was preventing all of the blogger feeds I selected to appear on the blogroll to the right. He also made changes to the appearance of the blogroll so that it doesn't draw as much attention and I think this helps with reading the content on the page.#
First day back at work after a four day weekend. #
Previously set up the blogroll using the blogger category of my account on feedland.org but not all of the feeds I have in the category are appearing, so I have decided to switch the blogroll to feedland.com. Let's see how this works. #
That didn't make a difference. Not all of the feeds are appearing. I am going to remove the category value and see whether that makes a difference. #
When I remove the category then all feeds appear. Looks like something unexpected is going on with blogrollCategory. #
I wish that Biden would incorporate basic civics lessons in to his campaign because we need clear reminders about what is exactly at stake. #
Dave has published information about how connect Old School blogs edited using Drummer to a category in FeedLand that is rendered as a blogroll. I created a new category in feedland.org that I call bloggers and assigned feeds of weblog sites I follow. Finally, I added the head level attributes as Dave describes and built the blog, with the result appear to the right on this page. I notice that only the sites updated in the last 24 hours appear in the list. #
Decided that I wanted to provision a local instance of River5 in a lxc container running on my Proxmox host. I downloaded the Turnkey lxc template for nodejs and then built a new container with 1 vCPU and 2 GB of RAM. Cloned the River5 repo from Github and confirmed that it runs as described. To simplify access I switched the port from the default of 1337 to 80 but before that will run I had to stop, and ultimately disable, nginx, which is provisioned by default in the template. #
I did some editing of my RSS feeds today, using feedland.org. I went to my feed list and scrolled down to the bottom of the page, and unticked all of the feeds that have not been updated since 2022. I've also added feeds for some new blogs that I have just found and are interesting to me. The feed OPML file I manage using FeedLand is included in my River5 site, which I am thinking of moving to a local server and taking off the public Internet.#
Updated the header graphic here to a spring time picture.#
Reading the Google post regarding the first release of the public beta for Android 15 and the App archiving section lead me to check the storage used of my Pixel 7a. The Pixel 7a has 128 GB of storage and I am using 62 GB, most of that storage is used by apps (35 GB) and the system (22 GB). Only 3.3 GB is used by pictures, suggesting that I am probably not the normal smartphone user.#
We don't live in the path of totality, but did get 99% coverage and that was cool too. #
It's eclipse day! The sun is shining and it is a beautiful morning. We won't really start seeing the eclipse here until around 2:30 PM and we have our eclipse glasses ready. #
  • I don't think it controversial to say that much of what ills the government of the United States is caused by money. What may be controversial is that I do not think giving money is an expression of free speech, rather I think the act of giving money is an emolument. Limiting the amount of money a corporation, committee, or individual gives to an elected official is not an infringement on free speech. Common sense tells us this and yet in 1990 SCOTUS in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission said otherwise. In order to make a more perfect union, as Madison wrote in the preamble to the Constitution, I think we need clear definition that giving of money to elected officials in our republic is an emolument rather than an express of free speech.#
  • The difference between money and speech lies in how much the person receiving either needs what is offered. Today elected officials, particularly federal officials, need a lot of money. The amounts of money needed by a person to be elected to office makes it something more than speech because it enables a smaller number of people to influence the person elected. One's need of money and the receipt of that money is a quid pro quo; the giver of the money expects something in return and that expectation makes the giving of money an emolument. #
  • In Federalist 39 James Madison wrote, "If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is ESSENTIAL to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic."
    #
  • The founders knew how emoluments could lead to corruption because they lived in a time when it was common practice for foreign countries to gain favor from monarchs by gift giving. Emoluments are not given as an act of generosity, they are given with the expectation of something in return. If you think about it, you could say that emoluments, the giving of gifts of large sums of money, is simply capitalism at work, and here in lies the circumstances we find ourselves in today. #
  • We in the United States, so accustomed to our highly capitalistic society, have become numb to the corrosive nature of money and thus think little of emoluments. If we were to write the Constitution today we might not even include emolument clauses in it because they have become such a part of everyday life. The other side of that coin, however, is that everyone in our capitalistic society knows full well that when one person or one committee or one corporation writes a check for thousands, hundreds of thousands or more dollars to a politician it is done with the expectation of something in return. Enough money from a small group of people gains more influence than a citizen could ever hope to gain through exercising their right to free speech. Isn't this how elected officials pretty much ignore what their constituents say?#
  • Why is it that emoluments from "any King, Prince, or foreign State" is worse than emoluments from citizens, corporations, or Political Action Committees?
    #
  • Today, like many things, many tend to take a literal view of corruption and emoluments. Huge election donations and lobbying come with expectations that effectively buy votes, but we don't think of this as corruption, at least not legally. However, I don't know how anyone can deny that huge part of our lack of trust in the institutions of government, or media (journalism), or medicine, is not due in large part to an awareness of how much influence on decisions is being bought. The growing lack of trust in government is the corrosion (corruption) of the Republic in plain sight. (Further, if you think about it, much of the lack of trust in Biden or Trump is due to money!)#
  • The founders of the United States knew full well the affect emoluments can have on a republic, which is why they included clauses in the Constitution to limit that affect. Unfortunately, the ideology of originalism says that literal words, not the meaning or intent, only matters. (Taken to its logical conclusion, originalism can mean that Supreme Court Justices could be replaced by AI.) Originalists will say, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 only has the words "from any King, Prince, or foreign State" and there is no such prohibition of emoluments given from citizens of the United States, even if the very thing that clause was intended to prevent, which is the corruption of the government through quid pro quo, is what is happening.#
  • Over the course of history we have accepted precedent that limits can be placed on free speech when it does harm to others. In my opinion, the SCOTUS Citizens United decision makes that precedent murkier because it expands speech to spending money. #
  • The problem with equating money to speech is that money corrupts. Consider, why is it that there is such lack in trust with news organizations? We know that all of the major news organizations are owned by corporations and we know that corporations primary objective is to make their owners money. Consequently most people expect news organizations to bias their reporting toward what makes money; whether or not this true doesn't matter, the widely held perception corrupts trust in news organizations. #
  • Every institution and its participants in the United States uses money, and perception exists that the institutions and participants will do anything for more money. A good amount of the lack of trust with institutions is caused by money, and the lack of trust in government is corroding democracy. Nearly everyone knows that lobbyists give money to politicians to get something back, this is a quid pro quo that common sense tells us is corrosive. Like rusty pipes, corrosion left unchecked leads to failure, in this cause failure of democracy.#
  • The founders of the United States knew of the corrosive nature of purchasing favor from elected officials, although they appeared most concerned about quid pro quo with foreign governments. The Constitution has three emoluments clauses: foreign, domestic, and ineligibility. Originalists will avoid the purpose behind these clauses and therefore not see how money spent by lobbyists is an emolument, rather they will relate lobby money to free speech. #
  • Lobby money is quid pro quo of the same type as the founders feared at the time they wrote the constitution and I think they would expect us to recognize this and prevent it from happening, but alas nothing will be done because it requires action from the people who benefit from the status quou. SCOTUS upheld the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946 in United States v. Harriss (1954); the act enables Congress to know "who is being hired, who is putting up the money, and how much." Rather than prevent lobby money the act only shines light on who is giving money to whom. I wonder whether the founders would consider that sufficient in the spirit of the emoluments clauses they put in to the Constitution?#
  • Democracy in the United States is on the brink because rather than protecting it as defined in the Constitution, which means knowing and upholding its meaning, Presidents, members of Congress, and Supreme Court justices use original words to get away with as much as possible. The later is an ideology that leads a candidate for President (later elected President) to claim that Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President great power while the very purpose of the Constitution is to limit power. #
  • The Chicago Cubs have completed the 2024 Cactus League spring training "season" and will start the 2024 MLB season tomorrow at the Texas Rangers. As many questions exist about the 2024 team as did for the 2023 team, so it is hard for me to expect them to be too much better than last year. Will Greg Counsell as the new manager make a difference? Perhaps that is the main question going in to this season. #
  • One cannot read much into what happens at spring training, although I attended spring training games in 2016, which is when the Cubs won the World Series, and have not attended a spring training game since nor have the Cubs returned to the World Series. Read in to that what you will.#
  • For me what stood out most during spring training is that Seiya Suzuki continued hitting as well as he did in the second half of the 2023 season, and hopefully that will translate to a hot start for him in this season. Most Cub fans will say that Suzuki has not yet lived up to his potential, but we saw signs of that at the end of last year. I think it interesting that Suzuki may be hitting second to start the season so that he and Bellinger get as many at bats as possible during games. (Bellinger must bat no lower than third all season so he gets as many at bats as possible, something that David Ross refused to do last year.)#
  • The two biggest (or three biggest depending on how you count) questions for the Cubs going in to this season are, will Morel and Busch succeed at third and first base and how will the starting pitching perform? Morel will get his best chance to prove he can be a reliable third baseman and Busch will get a chance to prove that he can produce at the plate. The Cubs have been searching for the next players at third and first ever since they traded away Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, and from fans' perspective that search has taken too long.#
  • Many more questions exist about the pitching staff, but I think they start with will Jameson Taillon live up to expectations? Taillon was the Cubs big pitching pick up before the 2023 season and he did not pitch well and had several injuries. The fact that Taillon is starting the 2024 season on the injury list does not bode well. I think the Cubs need Taillon to meet expectations for them to have a chance to win the N.L. Central.#
  • Will Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks repeat their performances in 2023? We will find out soon given that Steele will pitch against the defending World Series champions on Thursday night and then Hendricks will follow him on Saturday. Finally, will Shota Imanaga meet expectations in his first season or falter as many players do when moving from Japan to the United States?#
  • Finally will the youngsters, Jordan Wicks and Javier Assad, improve upon their performances in 2023? The long term view for the Cubs relies heavily on their ability to promote pitching from within, and while Steele is a success story the MLB teams most successful over long periods of time have nearly their entire pitching staff come up from their farm system. #
  • The 2016 World Series team had an established pitching staff so going in to that season there were more questions about their hitting and fielding than pitching. The 2024 team has significant questions in all three areas, which means the probability for them to have playoff success, if they make the playoffs, is lower than in 2016. Given that the Cubs have a new manager it might be more fair to compare this team to the 2015 team that made it to the NL championship, which is the first year Joe Maddon managed the team. #
  • Despite the first year manager comparisons, I think it might be better to compare this team, or rather the entire Cubs organization, to the 2014 team. Back in 2014 many of their future stars were still in the minor leagues but on the brink of making it to the majors. During the 2024 spring training we saw many of the Cubs' future stars like Matt Shaw and Pete Crow-Armstrong perform well but sent back to the minors for further development. We probably will see some of those young players this season, but expect them to really push to start the 2025 season with the big team. #
  • The 2014 team finished with a 73-89 record but the 2024 team has better players and a better manager, so I do expect them to compete for the NL Central division championship in September. On paper the Cubs should take control of the division, but I am not confident the Cubs have enough consistent batters to prevent the team from having long losing streaks. I therefore expect the 2024 team to be about the same as last year's team. The main problem with how David Ross managed the team last year is that he kept players who were not hitting in the line up too long. I am not sure whether Counsell will have less patience than Ross had, but his impatience may be what leads the team to win the division. What I do know is that I am going to have fun watching to see how they do. Let's play ball!#
I can't help but wonder about how much of the DOJ lawsuit against Apple is driven by Apple's refusal to cooperate with the government in providing back door access to the iPhone and encrypted messages. Apple has been continually making it more difficult for government to gain access to iPhones. #
It's hard for me to imagine how anyone can think Apple has a monopoly on a legitimate market. What I mean is, Apple does have a monopoly on the market of people who want and use iPhones because Apple is the only company that provides iPhones and Apple controls the applications that can be bought and installed on those iPhones. But, does an 'iPhone Market" really exist? It seems to me that this is the key question, and if the answer to that question is no then the government's case falls apart.#
The Atlantic has an interesting article (subscription required) about Computer Science degrees in U.S. universities. The article raises a concern that the elevation of computer science to the college level at universities may lead to students not gaining a broad education. I have a B.S. degree in Computer Science that I earned from Michigan Technological University in 1989. Back when I was in school Computer Science was a department under Mathematics. Michigan Tech now has a College of Computing that offers 12 undergraduate degrees, so basically the change described in the Atlantic article occurred at Tech since I left. When I was in college Tech only had 2 computer related undergrad degrees, Computer Science and Management Information Systems. #
One of the big challenges we have in the United States is that our founding documents that were written more than 200 years ago do not, because they could not, take in to account technological and society changes. Back when the Constitution was written there really was not a concept of "national security" in the manner as it exists today. Consequently, the founders never considered the risks of allowing a person to run for President who is deeply in debt and therefore could be tempted accept gifts from adversaries for access or favoritism. #
Well, that is not entirely true because while there is actually very few qualifications for POTUS the constitution does have emoluments clauses because the founders were aware of how external influences affect government. One ought to think about the spirit of the emoluments clauses is it relates to lobbying and election funding. The foreign emolument clause is particularly important...#
The purpose of the Foreign Emoluments Clause is to prevent corruption and limit foreign influence on federal officers. The Clause grew out of the Framers’ experience with the European custom of gift-giving to foreign diplomats, which the Articles of Confederation prohibited. Following that precedent, the Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits federal officers from accepting foreign emoluments without congressional consent.
#
  • From "The Problem with Defining Antisemitism" by the New Yorker#
  • Stern tells this story in “The Conflict Over the Conflict,” a work that is unlikely to please partisans. The book makes the case for bridging differences and recognizing nuance. It also describes Israeli-Palestinian history as an “ideal subject” to teach at universities, precisely because it is so divisive. At the West End Temple, Stern reiterated this belief. “On college campuses, students have an absolute right to expect they’re not going to be harassed, they’re not going to be bullied,” he said. “But to be disturbed by ideas is O.K.: we want students to be disturbed by ideas and to figure out how to think about them.”
    #
  • When I read what is written about campuses today I find it hard to relate to my own experience between 1984 and 1989. I think an in-depth study of what has happened to U.S. universities since the mid-80s may be illuminating. One aspect that I recall from my experience that may be related is a focus on getting a degree in order to get a job. Even back then going to college was becoming less about growing up and becoming a more complete person but rather most students I knew were focused on the goal of obtaining a high paying job. In such a climate I can see where college not being a place where one is disturbed by ideas might be expected because that climate put no value on such a thing.#
I don't think the blogroll on the right side of Scripting News is visually appealing. To my eyes the page is now cluttered and that affects readability, and for me the reason to go to a blog is to read what the author has written and published. I like that both of my blogs just display my writing with no other distractions. If memory serves me right, blogrolls came before RSS, and for me RSS feed readers replaced the need for blogrolls. If you want to see what blogs I am reading or advocating look at the content of my RSS subscriptions.#
After reading an article about setting up Proxmox Backup Server I decided to try and set one up for myself. I provisioned a VM in Amazon Lightsail with Debian 12 and followed the steps in the article. I can't figure out how to login as the install process doesn't provide any steps for creating a new ID and the root ID of the VM doesn't have a password. #
  • Any day now we should see Apple announce new models to their iPad line of tablets and the announcement is highly anticipated because it was unusual of Apple to not announce new models during 2023. Even though the iPad has existed for more than a decade, there are still debates of its usefulness, mostly when framed in the context of replacing legacy personal computing devices that have keyboards, mice, and large monitors. #
  • Twelve years ago I wrote about the tablet style of personal computing and its emphasis on simplicity and mobility, and I think what I wrote then still holds up. I've been a tablet user ever since Apple started selling the iPad, buying several models of iPads through the years along with Android and Chrome OS tablets. For a period of time I even owned a Windows Tablet PC "convertable." #
  • In recent years I've mostly used two tablets, the iPad Mini (fourth through sixth generations), and the iPad Air (second and fourth generations). I am not typical in my ability and willingness to buy and use multiple models. The iPad Air is used for work related notetaking using OneNote and the Apple Pencil and for watching video, but I use the iPad Mini the most every day for reading eBooks and RSS feeds, reviewing email, and social networking. #
  • Over the years I've thought about what I would do if I only could afford one iPad, and given how often it used, that answer is the iPad Mini. I could write notes on it with OneNote if wanted and it certainly can play video. The one use case in which the Mini is not good is for sheet music, and for that alone I imagine hanging on to my current iPad Air for some time, but if I am to buy another iPad, which one? #
  • Right now the most likely answer is another iPad Mini, but I honestly find nothing wrong with the sixth generation that I am currently using and so I doubt I will be buying a replacement soon, except for one reason, which is that I could get enough trade in value on the iPad Mini 6 to make the replacement nearly a no brainer. Replacement value of iPads decrease as they age so it is reasonable to think how much Apple would pay today is greater than how much they will pay next year. #
  • Even still, given that the iPad Mini 6 is only two years old, I am wondering whether a new model will have enough changes to make it worthwhile. I honestly don't think an improvement in the screen is enough to entice me and I double that Apple will ever produce a Mini with an M-series chip, I expect Apple will also pair the iPad Mini with the higher end iPhone, A-series chips. Most likely the new iPad Mini will come with the A16 BIonic chip that is used in the iPhone 14 and 15. #

© 2024 Frank McPherson

Last update: Wednesday May 22, 2024; 2:25 PM EDT.