Blade Runner 2049 – Movies with Mikey

Movies with Mikey is unequivocally my favorite movie review channel. His reviews are more like deep-dives than reviews, but that’s more of what I’m looking for anyway. I don’t suggest watching his videos until you’ve watched the movies as spoilers run very deep. That’s true for his review of Blade Runner 2049 as well. So, if for some reason you haven’t watched that already, go do that first, then come back to this review for greater understanding.

xkcd: Voting Software

XKCD - web comic - Voting Software

Source: xkcd: Voting Software

CHVRCHES cover Kendrick Lamar ‘LOVE.’ for Like A Version

How did Google get so big?—60 Minutes

Daring Fireball linked to an excellent 60 Minutes report yesterday, covering how Google got so big, and the likelihood that there’s a lot of anti-competition going on there.

In addition to 60 Minutes’ excellent report, I’d like to point out that Google makes most of the products that people use to interact with the internet on a daily bases. Here are the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

  • Google Search: the most used search engine in the world.
  • Android: the operating system of choice for 80% of the world’s population. This gives access to phone calls, SMS texts, what apps and games are installed, and the location of everyone who uses it.
  • Chrome: the web browser that most people use most of the time.
  • YouTube: by far the biggest social video service.
  • Google Maps: the most used mapping service in the world.
  • Gmail: one of, if not the most used email system in the world.
  • Hangouts, Chat, etc: huge communications platforms. I’ve lost track of all the different apps they have like this.
  • Doubleclick & Adwords: probably the first and second biggest ad platforms in the world (besides maybe Facebook).
  • Adsense: a service for putting ads on web sites other than Google’s.
  • Google Analytics: the most used web traffic statistics and analysis framework.

Google has access to every endpoint on the internet and a whole lot more. I’ve been moving further and further from using their services and software for personal activity, but as a web developer, I can’t avoid it professionally. If I can make one recommendation, try DuckDuckGo for search. I use it for everything and am quite happy with it. DuckDuckGo famously don’t track people and their searches, and still manage to get great search results. With the recent breaches from Facebook and their Cambridge Analytica fiasco, I shouldn’t have to explain how our online activity and personal information can be used in nefarious ways.

Note: I don’t use Google Analytics (or any other analytics on my personal websites), but I am fully aware that the YouTube videos embedded on this site report back to Google. I try to avoid that kind of thing, but it’s nearly impossible right now.

Harbor no hate

I had a dream last night that I ran into my ex-wife. She kissed me on the cheek, told me that I looked good and that she loved me in a sincere but not romantic tone. Then she went on her way. Later, I met another woman. She was lovely in every way. We went on a date and kissed. Then she said that she was just glad that she finally met her husband. She laughed and mocked the surprise in my eyes. We kissed some more.

I woke up and worked for a while with those sweet, dreamt memories circling in my mind. Lunchtime rolled around so I took my dog, Vesper, for a walk. She sniffed at every tree and was happy to feel the cool spring wind on her ears while I listened to music. Jon Hopkins’ song Immunity followed by Sleeping At Last’s Turning Page came on to highlight the perfect start of the day. And for the first time in what seems like an eternity, I let everything roll off, if only for a while. And I’m happy. Right now, I’m happy.

Playlist for my perfect morning:

  • Beyoncé – XO
  • Ryn Weaver – Pierre
  • Jon Hopkins – Immunity
  • Sleeping At Last – Turning Page
  • Bootstraps – FortyFive
  • Joseph – Sweet Dreams
  • Martin Luke Brown – Into Yellow
  • Jamie xx – Gosh
  • Blind Pilot – Umpqua Rushing
  • Ben Howard – Promise
  • The Ballroom Thieves – Bury Me Smiling

Simone Giertz: Why you should make useless things

Simone Giertz makes a delightful YouTube channel wherein she designs and builds self-proclaimed “shitty robots.” Earlier today, TED Talks posted her talk from April of this year. It’s wonderful example of her work and enthusiasm, and explains why we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. As per the TED standard, it’s heartfelt, inspirational, and a lot of fun.

It’s hard to talk about Ms. Giertz now without also mentioning that since her TED talk, she has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. And her surgery is planned for the end of this month. Despite her diagnosis she’s quite positive, which only further endears her in my heart—and there aren’t a lot of YouTuber’s that I feel that way about. Now is probably a good time to join her Patreon.

“The easiest way to be at the top of your field, is to choose a very small field.”

Human, Dog, Crow

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve launched a fun, new project. It’s an all new web comic called Human, Dog, Crow. I should have written this article yesterday, since that’s when I launched it, but it turns out that launching a fun little web comic takes as much work as launching any other website, and I ran out of time.

I’ll be posting new comics every Tuesday. Stay tuned there to see what kind of of antics Human, Dog, and Crow get up to.

I made the website from scratch (programmed in PHP for the curious coders out there). I will probably open source the site code eventually as it’s pretty simple system to use for making a web comic site. And I think it would be fun to see what other people can do with it. I still have some more work I want to do on the system before I open source it, but I hope to get it all done within the year. I also need to come up with a good name for the comic system.

CHVRCHES – Live on the Honda Stage

Anyone who knows me has undoubtedly heard me go on and on about CHVRCHES at some point. They have long been one of my absolute favorite bands. They recently performed an acoustic set on the Honda Stage at Power Station and in short, they nailed it. From their breakout hit Mother We Share, to a cover of Beyoncé’s XO, to two tracks from their forthcoming album Love Is Dead (Get Out and Never Say Die), every one of them is perfect.

It’s always exciting for me to see a stripped down version of songs I know and love come from such a talented band like CHVRCHES. If you only enjoy these half as much as I do, you’ll still be enthralled.

While you’re at it, get Love Is Dead on iTunes or Apple Music now.

Sorry, I’ll try to keep my gushing to a minimum next time.

Beautiful pixel art from Gustavo Viselner

Gustavo Viselner has created some beautiful pixel art of scenes from TV shows and posted it over on his Behance page. I posted a couple of samples below, but you’ll want to see it all.

Pixel art from the Stranger Things TV show. Caption: Yeah, that's right! You better run!

Pixel art from the Game of Thrones TV Show. Caption: My reign has just begun.


Thoughts On Guns

Warning: this will probably make you uncomfortable. It should make you uncomfortable.

17 people were killed in a school today, and at least 16 others injured. Most, of them were children. This is the 18th school shooting this year. I’ll now remind you it’s February 14th.

If you own a gun, you are complicit. This includes those who are safe and legal gun owners. You still gave money to the companies and organizations who perpetuate this madness.

If you voted for politicians who support very loose, weak, or nonexistent gun legislation, you are complicit.

Every time there’s a mass shooting, I hear politicians saying that their hopes and prayers are with the victims and their families. I’ll spoil the ending for you, it’s not working. We have to work for our safety. Hopes and prayers are not getting us anywhere in this regard.

We are the United States of America. We vote for our politicians. We allow them to be bought by the NRA and other lobbyists, and we just keep voting them back in.

Don’t tell me about how people will use knives, or cars, or planes, or anything else if they don’t have access to guns. Guns are purpose built to kill. That’s all that they do. They serve no other purpose and they are very efficient at killing.

Is your right to own guns more important than our children’s right to a safe and prosperous education?

Does your right to own bump-stocks help the dozens of parents that got a knock on the door today, and told that their child won’t be coming home?

There is no argument anymore. You either support VERY strong gun reform, or you’re wrong. Many of you won’t like hearing that, but there’s no other place in the world like America when it comes to guns and the murders they’re associated with.