Commodore International declared bankruptcy on April 29, 1994, and pretty much sealed the fate of the Amiga. I couldn’t care less about Commodore, but I think we lost something special when Amiga died.
My parents bought an Amiga 1000 shortly after it launched (and then, begrudgingly, a 256KB RAM expansion a month later because otherwise you couldn’t do much with it). It was a magical machine with true preemptive multitasking at a time when DOS was normal, and years before Macs could decently run multiple programs at once. I exclusively used it and its successors into the late 90s, until it became obvious to me — probably years after it was obvious to everyone else — that I was past the end of the road and well off into the weeds. The most frustrating thing about owning one of those clearly superior machines was the bragging of PC and Mac owners when their clearly inferior systems added features I’d enjoyed for years. High-res color graphics! Speech synthesis! Sampled sound! A usable GUI! Shared libraries! An object-oriented plugin system! Cross-application scripting! And most importantly, that gorgeous multitasking! Yes, yes, that’s great; I’d had those for a decade before they became popular on other personal computers.
Other people have written better than I possibly could, and at great length, about the many ways that Commodore managed to screw up their golden child. I was only peripherally aware of all that at the time. But I know that they had something amazingly special that earned a fiercely loyal cult following, and I truly believe we lost something good when they died.
RIP, Amiga. You were loved.
Software authors are increasingly switching to subscription models to make their work “sustainable”. Too often they’re forgetting to make a value proposition that helps their customers. Here’s a hint: if you have to write a Medium post explaining why I should support your new business model, you’re doing it wrong.
Continue reading “App subscriptions must offer value”
In computing, metric-sounding prefixes almost universally refer to sizes expressed as powers of two:
- kilo = 2^10 = 1024
- mega = 2^20 = 1,048,576
- giga = 2^30 = 1,073,741,824
- …and so on.
In 1998, the IEC incorrectly voted to change that, and it’s time to fix this mistake.
Continue reading “Introducing metric quantity units for computing”
I don’t travel a lot, so when I do I invariably find that I’ve forgotten something important (9 PM the night before: “say, dear, where are we boarding the dogs?” “I thought you were doing that!”). I wrote an AppleScript to copy items from an OmniOutliner document to an OmniFocus project so that I never have to forget again.
Continue reading “Traveling with OmniFocus and OmniOutliner”
I’ve been blogging for years using one system or another:
At first, there was writing HTML in vim and using FTP to upload it.
Then there was a self-written system that pulled content out of MySQL and stuffed it into a template.
Next came WordPress, the first time. It was great in a lot of ways, but it was frankly kind of a security nightmare and not a lot better than the system I made.
Continue reading “Back home to WordPress”
She was half-heartedly poking at the keyboard when the car started to move. Oh. “I guess I’m rolling. Coverage is sketch here so I might cut out.”
“Oh my God. You’re still shielding her? I thought we paid you better than that.” His voice lifted when he disapproved. She rolled her eyes. “Her husband gives me six bucks a mile. She probably just wants ice cream or fries or something.”
She didn’t mention the time when it wasn’t just ice cream or fries, but shopping down in the Long Beach Autonomous Zone. That had covered her rent for two months. There aren’t good drugs in Little Utah, though, and she had been bored out of her mind, barely leaving the car. He was still pissy that she’d left without telling him first. She didn’t care. They chose her more often because she was willing to roll on a moment’s notice.
“I worry, you know.” His tone softened. He probably did worry. “I know. You shouldn’t. Nothing ever happens. As long as a rock doesn’t fall on the highway or something, it’s free money.” If it did, well, that would be different. As coordinated with the AIs steering the cars around them, her own would wedge its way between the road hazard and the cargo she was protecting, absorbing the damage so that her employer’s car didn’t have to. US West law didn’t allow hiring unoccupied vehicles, so she hung out and napped her way through riding shotgun. Lots of shields walked away from events. Sometimes they didn’t. For six bucks a mile, she was ready to take that chance.
“Look, I’ve gotta go. I need more insulin and they pay up hourly. I wanna top off my playlist while I still have data. I’ll hit you up when I get back.”
“If. If you get back.”
“When,” her voice shaking. She didn’t have time for this.
I am pro-military. I think having a strong military means we’re unlikely to have to use it to protect ourselves. But how strong does it actually need to be?
For the sake of argument, I’ll assume that spending corresponds to strength. That is, America spending $1 million gives us roughly as much military power as China or Russia spending $1 million. If this is not true, then we’re spending money poorly and should re-evaluate our budget before increasing it. But that whole line of argument frankly disrespects our world’s finest soldiers and sailors, so let’s agree to set that aside for now.
Continue reading “America’s military versus the world”
Over-eager airport security has recently taken to making travelers unlock their phones and tables for examination. This is both unforgivably invasive and trivially easy to defeat. Here’s how to protect your data1 on your iPhone or iPad2 when traveling.
Continue reading “Search-proof your devices when traveling”
I started this blog twelve years ago. I always meant to update it regularly, but… life intervenes. After recently coming back to it, I decided it was due for a good cleaning. There were lots of old articles about things I no longer care about but that people on the Internet keep visiting and linking to. I kept them. But there were also a lot of opinion pieces that I no longer agree with. Their disposition was a harder decision. The possibility of deleting them felt dishonest, like I was denying ever holding those beliefs. Conversely, this blog isn’t a diary (I have a separate one of those) or a public record (I just write stuff every now and then).
Continue reading “Rebooting”
There are about 1.5 billion reasons to want to cancel your Yahoo account. Don’t do that!
According to Yahoo’s account deletion page, they “may allow other users to sign up for and use your current Yahoo! ID and profile names after your account has been deleted”:
Continue reading “Purge your Yahoo account”