Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Terminator is a wordsmith

October 13, 2019

Sweetheart, give me rewrite … and an oil change.

Ho boy. There goes the neighborhood. The Poindexters are building the next Billy Shakespeare out of 1s and 0s.

In this piece for The New Yorker, John Seabrook wonders:

Could the machine learn to write well enough for The New Yorker? Could it write this article for me? The fate of civilization may not hang on the answer to that question, but mine might.

Sigh. Remember the good old days, when automatic writing was limited to the spirits or subconscious? I have a feeling this new breed of writer will rely on a different solvent than did its human predecessors.

“Gimme a benzene. Make it a double. I’m stalled on this goddamn novel.”

Powerless

October 9, 2019

“Who turned out the lights? Strike a match, Betty Lou, I can’t see shit.”

Remember the good ol’ days, when you could make magic just by flipping a switch? Communication, refrigeration, information, even transportation, all delivered with a wave of one hand. One finger, actually. No, not that one.

And without burning down half the county, too.

As is often the case, our brethren and sisthren in California are getting a sneak peek at the future this week as PG&E returns them to the Dark Ages, that they may not be barbecued by their desires for communication, refrigeration, information, even transportation.

I wonder how much safer everyone will be with a few million generators busily chugging along next to the woodpiles.

“Crank up the Honda, hon’, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is coming on!”

• Extra Bonus Snark: Good timing, awarding the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists behind the lithium-ion battery. We’re gonna need a bigger one, dudes.

‘Revel in your time.’

June 17, 2019

Having more fun than you. Especially if you work in the bike biz.
Photo “shared” from Revel

Ho boy. “Like biking without the work.” Thanks so much, Revel.

I’ll just put the bicycle industry over here, shall I? Next to the buggy whips, Linotypes and rotary-dial phones?

Anybody seen any journalism on what we do with the batteries in all this lovely “green” e-shit when they fail, as batteries do? Can they be recycled? Do they wind up down in WIPP? Or do we just launch them into space?

e-DWI

May 31, 2019

The operator of this gas-powered scooter was appallingly sober.

In less than a week after rentable electric scooters hit the mean streets of Albuquerque, we’ve collected our first e-DWI. ¡Salud!

I suppose we could look on the bright side here. Had our early adopter not gotten popped for allegedly e-scooting under the influence — the cops say she got all beered up at Marble Brewery and had planned to hit at least one more grog shop downtown — she probably would’ve clambered into her land yacht and driven home to Belen, an hour or so to the south, depending on how many ditches and medians one inspects en route.

Or tried to, anyway. ¿Quien sabes? Having had some small experience in these matters I expect it’s a lot easier to hide one’s impairment from the John Laws behind the tinted windows of a four-wheeled Ford than on one of their two-wheeled throwaways.

Stock options

May 4, 2019

“Stock” art. That’s a publishing joke, son!

What can society do with some well-heeled, ne’er-do-well swell like Mark Zuckerberg, who persists in skullduggery, but unlike your corner dime-store hood has a fine-proof wallet and thinks a cell is something the rubes use to check Facebook?

How about a stint in the stocks? If we can’t shame him, or slammer him, let’s slime him. Food for thought, que no?

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another exciting episode of Radio Free Dogpatch. Grab a basket of rotten eggs, warm up your pitching arm, and take your place in line.

Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry, step right this way! It’s showtime!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited using Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro. The music is some medieval Viking ditty from Kyster at Freesound.org. It may have been performed by these dudes here. Other sounds liberated from Apple’s iMovie library. Tim Cook will probably have me put in the stocks for that, if Pøbel doesn’t beat him to it, but they’ll have to catch me first.

Get bent

February 26, 2019

From February 1968, when bending a phone took a little more than
a bored engineer and/or an attitude problem.

I’ve wanted to bend my phone a time or two. But the urge usually passes.

Polishing the Apple

January 9, 2019

The “new” iPhone 5.

I may be smashing the State today, but yesterday I was helping Tim Cook turn Apple around.

No, I didn’t buy one of the new Minis, or even a new-used iPhone.

I had the battery replaced in the old iPhone 5. Set me back all of fiddy magic beans.

You’re welcome, Timmy old hoss. Don’t spend it all in one place.

I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

January 3, 2019

No wonder the Chinese aren’t wasting their money on iPhones. They’ve been saving their pennies to debut a Pink Floyd space opera.

‘Rubbish is money’

December 30, 2018

From malaise to Malaysia? Let’s hope not.

The 2009 iMac is heading for the Last Roundup.

Its fans have cranked up to 11 for no discernible reason for the final time. No more will its internal not-so-SuperDrive refuse to read a disc, its USB 2.0 ports decline to recognize the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, or its attempts to record and play back sound through same bring back memories of trying to tune in distant FM stations at 2 a.m. while piloting a ’74 Datsun pickup along U.S. 50 in Nevada, with a sixer of tallboys between the knees and rings of marching powder around the nostrils.

This iMac ran $1,200 new, but 10 years later Apple considers it worthless for any purpose beyond recycling, and frankly, so do I. P’raps Tim Cook will make a new MacBook Air or Mini out of the auld beastie and try to sell it back to me (at top dollar, it goes without saying).

That will be a tough sell, Timmy old scout. We already own a 2012 MacBook Air and a 2010 Mini. Both remain functional yet underemployed, like me, and so I think we can struggle along for a while before deploying the Visa card in the direction of Cupertino yet again.

I just hope this goddamn thing doesn’t wind up in Malaysia, where all the rest of our old crap seems to be piling up, when it’s not being buried in landfills or mysteriously catching fire.

Housekeeping notice

December 5, 2018

Here’s your head, there’s the keyboard, what’s your hurry?

The Wizards of WordPress are preparing a switch to “a new, modern publishing experience” called Gutenberg.

Having been through a number of new, modern publishing experiences during my association with WordPress in self-hosted, custom, and WP-hosted iterations, I anticipate a few hitches in the ol’ gitalong here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut.

I’ve been pretending this is not happening, the way a cat does with anything it deems out of order, but the guys at DrunkCyclist tell me that the bomb could drop this week. If you’re so inclined you can read more about the grand-do and foofaraw at MarTech Today (thanks and a tip of the Mad Dog propeller beanie to Nick W. for the head’s-up).

The bigshots are supposed to have access to a plug-in that lets them revert to the classic editor, but I’m not sure that option will be available to those of us slumped in the cheap seats.

So if for some reason you can’t find me here, look for me at my old Blogger bunker, which I’ve dusted off for this oh-so-special occasion.