Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Changing minds

Guns again

In wake of the latest and so far worst mass shooting, some interesting notes about the NRA's lack of response and stats on gun ownership in the US.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lock him up?

In one of those moments that makes up a gaping chasm of a double-standard, a top official used a private email server.  Some really astonishing hypocrisy and/or stupidity right here.

Does this mean we start calling the guy "Crooked Jared"?

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Oracle UPK users

I was surprised by the lack of information available for the very mature Oracle UPK software package.  I may dig into this more in the future but a few quick tips about that program:
  1. I strongly recommend exploring the PowerPoint export and edit function.  There are a number of oddities with this program, but it drastically sped up minor changes to the UPK file edit process.  If your company has not enabled this feature, make a BIG fuss about making it available.  This can save a huge amount of time both editing and re-recording UPK sequences.
  2. There were a few places where LibreOffice Impress was able to do some things that Microsoft PowerPoint couldn't, especially around creating precise, full screen presentations to import individual frames into.  Having that program handy can compliment PowerPoint in a few areas.
  3. If you haven't checked it out yet, definitely look into the excellent ActivePresenter program, which has quite a bit of overlap with the Oracle program.  Additionally, there may be areas where the two are compatible by using ActivePresenter export to PowerPoint and then importing to Oracle.  This is especially useful if your version of the program was as slow and problematic as ours.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Why I went to Auschwitz

I really enjoyed this: a short, very clear article that made me feel a lot better about the world around me.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Printer tracking dots


I've always wondered about tracking dots - here's a really cool breakdown.  Always thought they'd be on the edge of the paper, but turns out they're in the middle.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Recent places (Win7 trick)

This is an old trick that I'm sure has been highlighted elsewhere at length, but to me felt like a new discovery.  There's a place on your computer where the machine automatically saves things you've been doing.  It works like a browser history and is helpful if you just can't find what you were working on yesterday.

On Win7, you can find this here:


If I remember correctly, this had a standard presence on your start menu back on Win2k and before, but somehow got pushed out, and I had a hard time finding it.  Right now I'm working day to day on any one of a hundred different files on my machine so this has become increasingly important.

Note that unlike browser history, if you want additional privacy, just clearing this folder is not the answer.  Definitely look into disk encryption and programs like CCleaner and BleachBit.

Monday, August 14, 2017

John Oliver on Charlotte

I was really disappointed by the US President's response to the violence this weekend.  I struggled with some kind of response to that and didn't want to stare blankly at ugly events in my country.  I'm still at a loss but meanwhile, someone else was very disappointed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fear at the heart of the American experience

It's an admittedly left-leaning analysis but I think many of the concepts of an ongoing national paranoia are hard to ignore.  More than anything it helps underline that fear is undoubtedly a kind of commodity.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Decoding the warning signs

A very well written, sad, and beautiful story from the NYT about addition and loss.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

How wolves change rivers

I've heard several stories around how ecosystems work and how interconnected they are.  I never had a clear understanding until I saw how wolves impacted their world.  A short version and a longer (video) one.

Politics near and far

Related articles: Analysis of the rather strange psychology of a very strange situation.  Also, someone may just not be having fun.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How to be sick (part 2)

Part 1: How to get over the flu
  • Listen to your body. Certainly this isn't everyone but for me, if I'm not doing well, I've got to remember to take the hint.
  • Immediately get warm. Turn on the heater, put on a jacket or extra layers even if you're not cold. Early moves in this can save hours of misery. 
  • Don’t trust a mild cold - too often I’ve had something that looked very temporary that turned into a bunch of unpleasant symptoms on day 2.  Take time off, lay down, and watch movies.  Turn up the heat and wrap yourself in blankets.  Take no chances.  Speaking from a moment where I didn’t do that, it really didn’t end well. 
  • Real drugs.  If you have any medication to knock you out, make sure you drink a lot of water.  As always, whatever you take, make sure you take half first.

Emotionally stunted

This is something a lot of my friends who are girls run into even a decade outside of high school when that kind of behavior should have died.  Summed up by the first comment: "I'm a nice guy ... you bitch."