Category Archives: Other Stuff

2 Disparate But Essential Skills

In the 1880s, as the world was getting ready for electricity, there was a tremendous technological battle going on. Should direct current be used as a standard, or alternating current?

Just saw a good movie detailing this battle, called The Current War. With hindsight, it seems obvious who the winner should have been, and it was the eventual winner – alternating current (for reasons brought out in the movie).

But the movie highlights the battle between direct current’s proponent, Thomas Edison, and alternating current, championed by both George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

From what I know of the rivalry it was factual so what I didn’t know I will assume to be factual.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Other Stuff, Outside the Box

Software Testing

Ever since I got an iPhone 5S, I have been enamored with Apple products. The fit and finish, and ergonomics seems to be well thought out.

Heard about the new iOS 13 and I “upgraded” it for my SE the first hours it was available.

Now my reminder app, which I relied upon so heavily, is in shambles.

Over the years it has amazed me at how little so much software seems to have been tested before public release.  And in many instances, that which has been sufficiently tested was not used in the “real world” by the people actually needing it, but some programmer’s idea of how things should be.

Heck, look at the mess involving the 737 Max. Not much thought was put into the “what if’s”.

I think we can all relate to software like that.

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Filed under Other Stuff, Uncategorized

What Killed Off the Dinosaurs

What occasionally amazes me is how little we know about many things in the world’s past.

When I was in Egypt years ago, every guide had a different story as to how the pyramids were built.

My late father had to me a rather profound observation years ago: “Other than electricity we’ve been been pretty much the same since the ancient times.”

Think about every modern conveyance that requires electricity. Just about everything.

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Filed under Good Stuff, History, Other Stuff

Lucille Ball and Star Trek

In addition to being a comedienne whose work is still appreciated over 60 years later, Lucy had quite an influence in television. It could be said that I Love Lucy, started in 1951 with the dawn of television, became the template for the modern sitcom.

I had heard it said years ago that this show pioneered the 3 Camera Approach in filming. But others are saying not so fast – it was invented 4 years earlier, in 1947. Perhaps because the show was so groundbreaking and popular – it is still in syndication today – it got the credit.

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Filed under Hollywood, Media, Other Stuff

Check Engine Light

CheckEngineLight

This condition activated the Check Engine Light while driving down the mountain from Sequoia.

It seems that I have one more thing to milk tell about my recent 3 day trip, and this may help you in the near – or distant – future.

Despite taking obvious preventative measures, when you have a car that is 23 years old….things can happen. That is, unless one is willing to replace every electronic or moving component in the car. Even then, brand new cars have been known to break down on the road. Because while the engineers know what MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) each component may have, there are statistical deviations between the norm.

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Filed under Car Pr0n, Other Stuff, Small Stuff, Travel

Sierra Snows

SierraSnows

An old section of Hwy 40 from Soda Springs to Truckee – maybe 15-20 miles – was kept open to show drivers this beautiful view of Donner Lake. In 1846 things were a lot more dire.

Some years ago,  I worked for Cessna Aircraft in Wichita KS.

I mention Kansas because when I was there, for some reason, outsiders always confused it with Wichita Falls, TX.

Go figure.

On a lot of levels it was very different from San Diego, where I left after studying computer programming * for almost a year. For one, after coming home to work and ready for a swim on a hot, muggy afternoon, I discovered the pool to be …..empty of water. Because they always drained the pool on September 1st.

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Filed under History, Other Stuff, Travel

Bankruptcy

bankruptcy

The town of Paradise, CA being engulfed by fire

Funny that I just wrote about visiting the epicenter of the Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history, and all the news today in Northern California is about the impending announcement of declaring bankruptcy by the utility that covers most of Northern California, PG & E (Pacific Gas and Electric).

“Under California law, utilities are exposed to liability from wildfires regardless of their negligence.” 

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Filed under Other Stuff