milktree: (WTF?)
Today FacePage put the following two posts next to each other:

milktree: (Mr. Yuk)
I've been cross posting from Dreamwidth to livejournal for a while now.

This will be my last post that gets crossposted.

From the next post on (inclusive) dreamwidth only.

(assuming I get the settings right)
milktree: (Default)
I bought a gas powered leaf blower yesterday.

O'Connor hardware will rent them, but buying pays for itself in six uses, which is probably by next spring at the latest. There's my rationalization.
milktree: (Mr. Yuk)
This came from a friend of mine on a mailing list. I'm copy-pasting it here because I think it deserves a wider audience:

I think uBlock origin (the "origin" is important) is perhaps better than AdBlockPlus, since ABP takes money from advertisers to let through certain "approved" ads. But that doesn't mean it's terrible.

Also note that Facebook treats "" as a malware site, and won't let you post it in facebook. That should tell you something.


Today I happened to be talking to a few people on FB about ads and ad
blocking. The context was about whether it is "stealing" content to run ad
blocking. Of course, it's all really gray. Are you stealing if you leave
the room during a commercial? What about fast-forwarding the DVR? What if
you talk to people and don't pay attention, aren't you stealing? I suppose
just watching less TV because of the ad annoyance is stealing too.

At the same time, I needed to completely blow out all of my Chrome
settings, plugins, everything. I've been having a few serious issues in
Chrome, and assume it's my settings, not major bugs in Chrome. So I did
the painstaking hour of work to get rid of every file on every device and
the server, then get them all logged back in and set up with the links and
logins I use 100% of the time.

During all this, I've been using the web without Adblock Plus, Flashblock,
and FB purity. Let me tell you, the web is a horrifying and unusable place
without those. We all know the obvious problem with ads, which is just
being distracting, annoying, and in the way. However there were a number
of things I had never considered that I've discovered today.

Power usage
This was most obvious on my MacBook 12, which is designed to need little
power and has no fans. It is tiny and light. Heavy power usage heats it
up and really abuses the battery life. Normally I get 12-14 hours from it,
but without ad blocking and just normal web surfing it looked like I was
going to lose 20-30% of the battery life. Ridiculous. We all pay more to
get more battery life, and advertisers are stealing this from us.

On the desktop, my new average power consumption is 174 watts. My normal
usage with all of the blockers is 135 watts. Holy shit. The difference is
more than all the LED lighting for the office, and more than my laptop uses
altogether. That's 40 watts wasted so I can see some ads, and another 40
watts of heat for my AC to remove.

CPU speed and screen space
The other things we pay for are CPU speed, more memory, and more screen
space. Once again, the advertisers are stealing a little (or a lot) of
each of these from you. Since my CPU usage is way up, I have much less
left for productive tasks. On my desktop (i7 quad-core 3.5, SSD, 32GB
memory) the CPU usage seems to be up around 20-80%, depending on what pages
are loading or playing their garbage. Even just leaving a bunch of tabs in
the background has raised CPU usage. The visible result is that many pages
stutter when scrolled or have a long delay when pressing page-up/down
keys. That's pretty insane on a modern, fast desktop with lots of memory.
And the ads eat up screen space. I recently upgraded to 4k because screen
space improves productivity so much. The advertisers are stealing some of
the cost of that upgrade from me.

Productivity and efficiency
A very loud ad started playing in a background tab. I didn't know which
one, so I'm flying through them all to see which one it is. Wonderful for
an office environment, eh? The obvious productivity costs are the slow UI
response, which when multiplied across many hours, days, months....really
adds up to some real time wasted. But then there's also the distraction
cost, and the cost of just feeling anxious when the computer doesn't
respond. Did I click that? Should I wait or click again? Oh, it moved.
Repeat a thousand times a day, and your brain will be frazzled.

My fans are running. They never do that unless I'm doing video
editing/compression. We all know how I feel about fan noise.

Now multiply all these costs across all of society, both the workplace and
home usage. The productivity cost is simply staggering. And also the
electricity cost. If every computer wasted only 10 watts on ads, do the

Advertisers must be opposed. Evangelize ad blocking and related
technologies. We can take back the internet by force.

I'm linking to some Chrome add-ons here, but all of these can run on
Firefox too (different versions obviously).
milktree: (Default)
So... since our last episode:

I met a girl (actually a little over a year ago)
we like each other
we went to France
we bought a house (not in France)
father's still alive and well (amazing)
so is my mother (less amazing)
brother is in a different far away place from last year, still doing important stuff

I still love y'all, it's just the medium. (which actually doesn't suck, I just fell out of the habbit)


Jul. 13th, 2015 11:54 am
milktree: (Default)

I knew what this was about before I started reading, I wasn't surprised at all by the subject matter or intensity.

However, I was surprised at how much I'm part of the problem. I'm white, middle class, male, blah blah blah... I started at the front of the line, I'm playing level 0, and know it. Knowing it doesn't make me fully aware. This part especially:

    There's a headline from The Independent that sums this up quite nicely: "Charleston shooting: Black and Muslim killers are 'terrorists' and 'thugs'. Why are white shooters called 'mentally ill'?"

    I'm gonna read that again: "Black and Muslim killers are 'terrorists' and 'thugs'. Why are white shooters called 'mentally ill'?"

    Did you catch that? It's beautifully subtle. This is an article talking specifically about the different way we treat people of color in this nation and even in this article's headline, the white people are "shooters" and the Black and Muslim people are "killers."
milktree: (Default)
I just got a new TV. It's freakin' huge (42"), remarkably inexpensive, and it came in a remarkably thin box (4")

It came with an energy-guide sticker.

It claims $13/year energy cost.



Now, that's assuming $0.11/kWh, and I pay ~ $0.23/kWh.

But it's also assuming *FIVE* hours use per day. Five. Hours.

I like TV and movies and being entertained by a shiny box, but I'm pretty sure my brain would leak out of my ears if I watched five hours of TV a day.
milktree: (Brain science)
I've known for years that additive (light) and subtractive (paint) primary colors were different; the former are red, green, and blue; while the latter are red, yellow, and blue.

It never really made any sense to me that red and blue would be the same but green would be swapped with yellow. I assumed it had something to do with the oddities of the way retinas worked or something.

Today I finally got it. I was reading a book about how to draw birds which has a section on color and color mixing.

The problem (the answer?) is that it's *not* red, green, and blue for paints. That's wrong, and has always been wrong. For subtractive color the primaries are cyan, magenta, and yellow. Red and blue are wrong!

This should be obvious if you look at *any color printer ever*, which all use CMYK inks (+K,'cuz black is hard to do simply/practically without it)

The short form is that you *can* mix to get both blue and red (magenta & cyan, and magenta & yellow respectively) and you *can't* mix red, yellow, and blue to get a good green, or thin out red to get pink, and violet is problematic, too. Plus, you know, cyan and magenta are impossible.

However, if you use CMY for paint and RGB for light, then magic happens: The secondary colors for one are the primary colors for the other. When you lay the two wheels out next to each other, it's obvious:

(click for bigger)

The money quote:

    If cyan, magenta, and yellow are the true primary colors for pigment, the relationship with the light color wheel also makes more sense. Televisions and computer monitors mix beams of red, blue, and green light to make all of the colors you see on your screen. The secondary colors that result from mixing light are cyan, magenta, and yellow. The color wheel for light has the same colors as the color wheel for pigment.

I'm sure this is old hat for those of you who actually deal with color with any enthusiasm, but it was a neat "Oh! Neat!" moment for me.

Here are the two pages of the book, if'n you want to you read them. They basically say the same thing as above, but better, and with more words:


I took the pictures with a cell phone, in a less than photographically ideally lit room, so they're a little grainy.

Actually, let me rephrase that: Holy shit! I took those perfectly reasonable pictures in a dim room with my *phone*! My fucking *telephone*! I love the future.
milktree: (Mr. Yuk)
The other day I was driving on the highway with the top down; I was listening to NPR; I was wearing a hat; I was in the left lane; and my blinker was on.

Oh, for shame!
milktree: (Default)
Tonight on my way home from work I literally, (and I know what "literally" means) saw a kitchen sink in the middle of an off ramp.


May. 3rd, 2014 01:24 pm
milktree: (Full Gas gauge)
Water is a good solvent.

We knew that though.

Nothing more than water and an old washcloth made a huge difference. I half cleaned the trunk and the driver's door to show the difference. Plus I found a vacated mouse house.

It also turns out you can put a front plate on a Miata without it looking totally stupid. I made the bracket from some aluminum "L" extrusion and flat plate and pop rivets I had in my basement.

I still maintain that front plate requirements are even stupider.

Unsurprisingly, the hood still looks like ass. Lack of clearcoat will do that.

Sat May 3 12:43:20 2014
original - 2390 kB

Sat May 3 12:44:41 2014
original - 1972 kB

Sat May 3 12:42:21 2014
original - 1837 kB

Sat May 3 12:44:34 2014
original - 2414 kB

Sat May 3 12:48:39 2014
original - 2077 kB

Sat May 3 12:44:21 2014
original - 2227 kB


May. 2nd, 2014 10:45 am
milktree: (Full Gas gauge)
I got a new toy. It's imperfect and will require some work, but it's fun:

Mon Apr 28 15:09:00 2014
original - 2454 kB

first sight

Mon Apr 28 15:13:42 2014
original - 1876 kB

top still folds

Wed Apr 30 13:40:34 2014
original - 2302 kB

with the hard top, after 400 miles
and 6" of rain

Thu May 1 00:59:27 2014
original - 1366 kB

Yes, the clearcoat is toast

2001 Mazda Miata Special Edition (which means it has a special color combination and some bling over the LS trim)

It needs some stuff (like paint on the hood and fender) but is otherwise solid, never seen a England Winter!


Feb. 9th, 2014 12:21 pm
milktree: (Default)
I saw Her the other night.

In case you don't know, it's about a guy who falls in love with the OS on his computer.

It was written and directed by Spike Jonze, the same guy who did all the Jackass TV and movies. (To his credit - Jackass isn't a credit - he also directed Being John Malkovich, which I loved; but I didn't know that before yesterday.)

Needless to say, I went in with low expectations; I couldn't imagine how I was going to suspend my disbelief, or how such an absurd concept could work, or be interesting. But it won a bunch of awards and got great reviews, so I kept an open mind.

I was more than a little surprised at how really, really good it was.

Suspension of disbelief wasn't a problem at all. It's filled with subtlety and plausible characters with whom you can identify and like. There aren't any villains, or assholes, there's no violence, or explosions, or evil companies, or great physical obstacles to overcome. It's just some people with their own personalities and idiosyncrasies and inner demons to work through.

I never would have thought the dystopian future would be made by Ikea, and be so comfortable.

It's also very pretty to watch, so I'd recommend seeing it on a big screen. Both thumbs up
milktree: (Default)
This is exactly why I'm such a grouch around Christmas.

I love the parties, and the food, and the smells, and the seeing people and the getting together and the decoration (although I suck at actually doing it myself); but all the "you need to buy something" and the intellectually dishonest "it's the thought that counts" drives me batshit crazy and stresses me out.

What's really telling about it is how the list of real, actual crap that actually exists and is manufactured, sold, bought, and given away is not so far from the list of crazy stupid absurd things invented for this 2002 Car and Driver review of the Cadillac Escalade EXT:

 Cadillac's brand manager says, "Cadillac research showed that there was a real need for the EXT." A real need for a Cadillac pickup? Really? If so, then here are a few things that I really need: An air-conditioned front yard. Iguana-skin patio furniture. Stigmata. Mint-flavored Drano. Gold-plated roof gutters. A 190-hp MerCruiser SaladShooter. A dog with a collapsible tail. An office desk that converts into a Hovercraft. Chrome slacks. A lifetime subscription to Extreme Fidgeting. A third arm. A fourth wife. A smokeless Cuban Robusto. Reusable Kleenex.

The full review can be found here:
milktree: (Food!)
At the Market Basket in Nashua today I had two funny interactions:

1) I'm wandering around stopping at the head of each isle, studying the "what's in this isle" boards and looking at the stuff on the shelves, trying to figure out (remember) if I needed anything from that one. A guy in a blue uniform of some sort (what do they wear? Aprons? Shirts? How funny is it that I can't remember!) says, "Can I help you find something?" I respond, "Um.. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, I left my list at home." Without skipping a beat he says, "OK! I guess I'll see you tomorrow!"

2) At the checkout when I hand my green Citizens bank reusable shopping bag to the woman filling such things up with groceries I say, "it should all fit in there, I managed to get everything here with it, and I suspect you're better at this than I am."

After I'd paid and everything was packed, I saw that she did, in fact, do a spectacular job filling the bag with ruthless efficiency. "Wow! That's way better than I did!" I told her. "That's what working here for five years does to you." she responded, "I'm also really good at Tetris."

I gotta say, stuff like that makes me like Market Basket.

Yay $20!

Jul. 31st, 2013 11:43 pm
milktree: (Default)
On my way home from work today I stopped at an intersection with an unusually annoying amount of traffic. As I'm waiting for stuff to clear, I look down and see... something about the size of a playing card, but thicker, pink with green polka-dots.

"huh..." thinks I, "that looks like a cell phone case". Upon closer inspection, I thought, "wait, that's a whole cell phone!" I grabbed it and stuffed it in my tank bag and went home.

It turns out it's a nice one, Something something Galaxy something something. 4G on the display, didn't look abused, bright screen with lots of flashy stuff.

Being a fruit guy, not a robot guy (and, 'cuz, you know, not a shithead) I figure I'll call someone in the phone's addressbook and see who answers, that seemed like a pretty good way to find out who owns it so I can get it back to them. As I'm doing that, it rang!

The conversation went something like this:


Who's this?

Who'd you call? I picked up this phone I found on the road and I'd like to get it back to its owner.

Is it pink with green dots?

It surely is!


I'm in Waltham, about two miles from where I picked it up.

Meanwhile there was some verbal fussing in the car, I honestly couldn't tell if "Mom" was in her 40s or 90s, 'cuz the caller sounded like she could be in her teens or 50s.

I gave her my address, which, with the help of magical satellites and Einstein being right about relativity, got her to my house in somewhat longer than expected, but within reason, given she's from New Jersey and not familiar with the area.

She was gushing with thanks that I'd failed to simply sell it on eBay and had to tell me all about how she must have lost it when it fell off the bumper 'cuz she'd put it there when loading her son's (something) and then it fell off when she left the stop sign.

She insisted on giving me $20 for my troubles. I tried to refuse at least twice, maybe three times, then figured it was easier on both of us if I just accepted it.

If you haven't figured it out by now, the (grand)mother was in her 90s, the phone's owner in her 50s. :)
milktree: (Food!)
How to separate egg whites and yolks:

I had to watch it a few times 'cuz it's mesmerizing.
milktree: (Default)
I watched Stranger Than Fiction last night.

I got it through Netflix, I figured it probably wouldn't suck, after all, it has Emma Thompson in it; maybe she'd make up for Will Ferrell.

well, it was totally worth it. Will Ferrell played the roll very well, without any slapstick or clowning around, Emma Thompson was (as expected) fantastic, and Queen Latifah and Dustin Hoffman were enjoyable to watch. Maggie Gyllenhaal was a nice bonus.
milktree: (Police state)
This is from a guy on a local forum. He's not a tinfoil hat wearing anti government nut job, he's generally reasonable, thoughtful, and not particularly inflammatory.

    ... we don't have liberty. What we have is anonymity masquerading as freedom. When the lifeless eye of government falls on us we find out that we are just serfs absent an attentive master. In the recent gun control debates, Dick Durbin (D, IL) said "None of these rights are absolute, none of them." A right that is not absolute is just a privilege waiting to be taken away.

    Now you can say that everyone in Watertown complied willingly, that there was no order to stay inside, just a strong suggestion. But as a practical matter there is little difference. The man who flaunts the suggestion gets noticed. The anonymity falls, and rights go with them.

I realize it's a bit of a dramatic warning, but I really can't fault with it.

Dr. Who...

Apr. 4th, 2013 03:58 pm
milktree: (Default)

(click me)

Please tell me I'm not the only one to see that blue box as a Dr. Who's Tardis.
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