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Let's figure out how to use online systems to create some kind of useful collegial communication across red-state/blue-state lines.
Citizen-to-citizen. No professional politicians, no media, no campaigners. People who have different views about issues like abortion, the deficit, jobs, culture, even race and gender. The thing we have in common is the ability to listen, and appreciate that there are many valid points of view, and we are willing to compromise. We know that in a country that's so large and diverse, no one gets everything they feel they're entitled to. None of us are not trying to get everything for ourselves.
Maybe something like the UN after World War II. Right after you fight a war, plant the seeds to help lessen the chance of a new one at least for a few years. Learn the lessons of war. Take steps to foster discussion and listening.
There are people in red states and blue states who aren't trying to make a point, to prove something, to achieve total victory -- people who see a bigger picture, that we're one country, and that you have to practice to be one.
A status report on the rebooted Share Your OPML project.
I updated the feedlist.json file, but this is the last time that file will be updated, if you've built something that depends on it, you should transition to the next version, see below.
New file -- syo.json includes stats, when the file was generated, how many feeds are in the feed list, and a version number, so this file can be updated without breakage.
At this point the flow of new OPML files has slowed to a trickle. I'm going to leave this here for a while and see what happens.
If Trump doesn't respect the voters before he's in office, what's the chance he'd let an election vote him out.
I had dinner with John Hinderaker at a Harvard blogging conference in 2005. He seemed like a nice guy, and even though our politics at that time were opposite, I thought it was nice that we got along.
Over the years however he has gone more and more off the deep end. If he has any knowledge or intelligence, he's suppressing it. I guess it's a business model?
I let it slide, there are a lot of jerks in right wing blogging. But this howler on his site got me thinking. Like a lot of others in right wing media, he's comparing the recount in Florida in the 2000 election with the 2016 election.
There is no comparison. Gore didn't contest the results of the election, everyone did. I can say that with some authority because I voted Republican in that election. I wanted Bush to win. And I remember the torture leading up to the Supreme Court decision, which we all felt, not just Gore. And I applauded him when he conceded, saying he took one for the country.
That race hinged on which way Florida went, and it was a virtual tie. A few hundred votes either way made the difference. And there were enough voting irregularities in that election so that the outcome was in question.
Nothing like that has happened in this election. For crying out loud we haven't even had the election yet!
Where Gore showed grace, Trump is putting his own greed ahead of our democracy. He is the opposite of grace. He's not taking one for the country, he's forcing the country to take one for him. So what if we have a 240-year tradition of peaceful transfers of power. Anything to keep himself in the news. Even shitting on the continuity of our government.
I wonder what it will take to get the Hinderakers of the world to sober up. Do they get that Trump is a puppet for the Russian govt? If he wins we will be a toy for Putin to play with? We're the greater country John, by far. Why do you support such a midget of a man for president in his hour of maximum despair? What makes you so desperate?
Look I'm not saying you should support Clinton, but how can you support someone in his undermining of our democratic legacy? Is it really his to trash? Is that what you really want? Why?
Is there such a thing as a VR computer monitor?
If so it might solve a real problem for me.
It's a long story, but because one of my eyes has an artificial lens, I now have to wear a contact lens in the other eye.
I know there are progressive lenses but I haven't gotten a prescription that works for me.
As a result I have to wear glasses while I use the computer and to read.
But my vision when reading the computer screen is awful. Blurry, I see double at times. No matter how I turn my head I can't get a good look at what's on the screen. It's demoralizing. Makes writing harder. Reading is much harder.
On the other hand, my normal not-reading vision is much better.
I don't know if I'm ever going to get the right reading glasses or get a progressive contact lens that works.
All of this is preamble for the question.
Can I get a pair of goggles that can be hooked up to my Mac's video, and give me a clear, adjustable view of my computer screen? Adjustable in the sense that I can vary the correction, like switching between 1-strength reading glasses, to 2 or 2.5 or whatever.
If they weren't too cumbersome, I would use it to read on my iPad too.
Hopefully this question makes sense.
I've been following the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus number through the summer and into the fall. My mood goes up and down with the percentage chance that Hillary Clinton will win.
I've always wondered what exactly does the number mean?
Look at it this way. If the polls accurately measure people's votes, then there is zero probability that she will lose, because the votes add up to enough electoral votes to win the election.
So why is there a non-zero chance of her winning? What could happen that would cause her to lose if the chance of winning is accurate at approx 84 percent?
I gave this some thought and listened to Tuesday's edition of the Run-up podcast and came up with this way of expressing it.
The polls do not accurately measure people's votes.
Here are some ways errors are introduced.
- Pollsters don't weigh demographics accurately. They make assumptions about what percentage of voters will be white or black; Hispanic or Asian; college-educated or not; rural, urban or suburban; rich, middle-class or poor, etc. Those assumptions are wrong. That's a fact. How wrong? That's part of the uncertainty.
- People don't always tell the truth. The Bradley Effect. They tell the pollster something that makes them feel good about themselves (I'm voting for Mother Teresa) but in the end they vote for someone bad (Adolf Hitler).
- People change their minds. Something happens, a new leaked email shows that Hillary has a nasty habit that we think is awful and disqualifies her. Or Trump turns out to be a sexual predator (oops that's already factored in).
- Who is likely to vote? A poll respondent who isn't going to vote won't be part of the result, but they might be counted in the polling. You can't simply take them at their word. How should you weigh that?
The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight know about these errors, based on past experience with polling vs actual elections, and have theories about how much they affect the outcome. And that's weighed against how close it is. If 9 of every 10 respondents say they are going to vote for Clinton, no matter how big the errors are, they're going to say she's got a near-lock on the election. Not much chance the errors could be so big as to turn that kind of polling into a losing result. On the other hand if it's just 6 of 10 then the errors matter a lot and the election becomes a tossup, "within the margin of error," a pollster might say.
So when they say it's an 84 percent likely Clinton win, that means the numbers overwhelmingly say she's going to win, enough to give the statistician a lot of confidence in the prediction. How much? 84 percent. Heh.
Today, sad news that David Bunnell died yesterday at 69.
My thoughts.. When when he ran the PC and Mac news mags he was accessible. And he helped small developers like my company, Living Videotext. I got to know him better, personally, when I lived in Berkeley a few years back. He was of my generation in the tech industry. The milestones in his career correspond to milestones in mine. When the PC was new we read his PC Mag and PC World. The day the Mac came out there were copies of his MacWorld Magazine on every seat. It's a very sad day for those of us who knew Dave.
I have a small inkling of what it must be like to be a woman in a world of grabby entitled men, because of a near-miss I had on my bike last summer.
I was riding downhill on the west side of Manhattan, toward the Hudson River, which is one of my regular rides. A car weaves in and out of the bike lane in front of me and forces me to hit the brakes to avoid getting hit by him. This is a dangerous move, if you brake too hard you go over the handlebars. Not a good thing, it happened to me a couple of years ago and I was in bed for a week. Lots of blood.
But I didn't go down, and continued west till I came to a red light and I could see the car that cut me off waiting for the light. As I passed I tapped his window and said he cut me off, very loudly so he and everyone else could hear. This is the kind of loop-close you dream of. Usually the cars just speed away and you're left with all that anger and adrenaline in your blood and nothing to do with it.
So I pull up about four car lengths in front of him and wait for the light to change. I hear him getting out of the car, and I think oh shit what if he's a big guy, but I see he's not. He's a little creepy dude.
As he approaches, he pulls a familiar west coast passive-hostile line.
"Why all the aggression?"
Deep breath. I said firmly "Because you almost killed me."
"Oh I get it. I have all this metal around me, and your bumper is your skeleton, so I'm sorry I almost killed you." He gets back in the car and we're all okay.
But that isn't what happened.
He said "I want to give you a hug."
To which I thought, my god a hug is the absolute last thing I want from this piece of shit. I want him to implode and disappear from the face of the earth, or at least get back in his fucking car. But he comes and hugs me. What can I do? Strangle him? I'd go to jail. So I had to let this piece of shit do his thing. And the whole ride and the rest of the day I couldn't get this ugly feeling of having been invaded by something vile and corrupt.
And that was just an unwanted hug.
I don't want to even think what it would be like if it was more than that. And yes, I had the option at any time of snapping his neck, an option most women don't have.
So I have a small idea, a very small idea of how awful it can be.
Imagine that a big banking firm has a corporate event in Central Park. They not only trash the place, but they leave behind such a mess that the park isn't usable again for at least ten years. It's possible it may never recover.
Now no one told the bank they had to have their outing in the common space. They could have bought their own land and trashed that instead.
That's how Google used and then walked away from RSS. We're trying, slowly, to clean up after them, the best we can. And they keep digging out the foundation underneath us.
To create such a mess and then just leave as if it has no responsibility to clean up after itself, I think eventually we will understand that that is corporate narcissism in the spirit of Exxon and Enron. Goldman Sachs and AIG.
It seems so crazy for Google of all companies to trash open infrastructure on the net. It seems their whole business depends on it.
In the old days Steve Jobs used to talk about personal computers being like fractional horsepower motors.
The kind of thing you'd use to create an air conditioner or lawn mower, for example. A Mac was like that, but for computers.
We had much success a few years back with the idea of a fractional horsepower HTTP server.
And we can do the same for social media server.
They're interesting things!
I'm playing around with one such community at screen2.io. Join us there at 9PM Eastern tonight to watch the final presidential debate, share your observations in real time.
The technology is nothing revolutionary, but it is easy, both to use and to set up as a server. It may not be the final toolkit, but it's on the path. If there's a next one it will be even easier.
Facebook doesn't have an exclusive on easy-to-author content management. And the cool thing is, if I create my own we don't need to accept their limits on what we can do with it. I'm thinking of the basics of the web -- linking, styles, titles and podcasts. Essential features that Facebook refuses to support for users. Unacceptable.
And Twitter? Well the 140-char limit is, for me, also unacceptable. There are so many things I can't post to Twitter because I won't hack up my writing to fit into such a small space. You may be a better writer than I am, but I am me, and ideas coming out of my head have to flow through my writing interface. So I'm experiencing a long-term inability to communicate, thanks to Twitter. Again, unacceptable. Finally it's time to do something about it.
As I like to say..
PS: Summary: 9PM Eastern, screen2.io, debate watch party.