Saturday, August 11, 2018

I have some music for you to listen to..........

I have been compiling playlists on Spotify and sharing them with my Facebook friends. But why should I limit their exposure just to Facebook?

Disclaimer: You have to listen to them in Spotify. Just do it. DO IT!

Here's the first one from early July:

Here's the one from Late July:

Here's the one I just published. It's a sampler of electronic music (my fave so far):

Yes that's Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad

Computer musical accompaniment is now a thing

Olafur Arnalds, the Icelandic composer known for the title music in the UK TV series Broadchurch, did a Tiny Desk concert on NPR lately that is an amazing example of how technology can be leveraged to create music in an entirely new way.

At the 3:55 mark, he starts to play his synthesizer, but the two pianos behind him accompany him on their own, as if a ghost is playing the keys. In fact, he's using a system called Stratus, which listens to what he's playing, and responds by creating patterns that are musically in tune with the chord or notes Ólafur performed.

"Basically, it's a way to break out of the box musicians often fall back on as performers — the familiar responses that years of playing can reinforce. With that is the hope that the computer will create a response that is unfamiliar and, in some cases through speed of performance and the sheer number of notes played, impossible for a human to have made. So, it breathes new life into the music for the listener and the performer."

Small things 11 Aug

  • When you visit the doctor and they ask, "How are you?" and you say "Fine." Why don't they say "Well, I guess we're done here....."?
  • When I can smell your cologne from the next car at the red light....... you're wearing too much, okay?
  • Veni Vidi Wiki. I came, I saw, I edited collaboratively.....
  • Never tease a little person with a really high five.....
  • "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect." ~Mark Twain 

Dear pipeline protesters: You're too late

Somehow I think that people protesting pipelines haven't seen this map.

The purple lines are all the oil pipelines in Alberta. The orange lines are all the natural gas pipelines.

I tried to find an equivalent map of BC and failed, but I hope I made my point.

Model 3 sales not doing well? Fake news my friends......

Things I learned lately 11 Aug

  • There are still about 1000 homes without electricity in Puerto Rico one year after Hurricane Maria.
  • It takes Kylie Jenner just over 2 hours to make as much money as the average American makes in a year.
  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executed a man by crucifixion in Mecca on 8 August amid waging a public-relations battle with Canada over human rights. The man was accused of murder, theft, and attempted rape.
  • Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte will debut on August 28 this year, according to internal documents.
  • KFC announced on 6 August that the newest celebrity Colonel is Jason Alexander, best known for playing George Costanza on "Seinfeld."
  • Facebook has been in talks with banks about accessing users' financial data and integrating it into its platform. Facebook is reportedly considering showing users their bank balance or potential fraud alerts, as well as encouraging people to use its Messenger app more, if the partnerships ultimately go ahead. Needless to say, after what's been happening to user data, most people are not thrilled with this development.
  • McDonald's employees typically have a hard time getting the smell of fries out of their clothes.
  • In the new version of GMail, you can send messages in 'confidential mode', where the recipient won't be able to forward, copy/paste, download, or print your email. You can also enable an SMS pass-code requirement to open the email.
  • The Mercatus report on Bernie Sander's plan to extend Medicare to all Americans cost of $32.6 trillion from 2022 to 2031 doesn't take a few things into account. For one, it doesn't allow for the concept of lowered costs due to mass purchasing power. It doesn't allow for reduced insurance costs when profit isn't priority one. It doesn't take into account that one of the reasons healthcare costs are as high as they are is because uninsured people tend to wait until their illness is serious, which tends to cost more to cure. When people don't hesitate to go to their doctor, problems can usually be solved before they get out of control.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Small things 27 Jul

  • To think that when I was a kid, I thought nap time was a punishment........
  • There's no award for best wedding.
  • My mind is like my web browser. 10 tabs are open, 3 of them are frozen and I have no idea where the music is coming from.
  • The community pool. The original unisex bathroom.

A rare shot of an 8 bit cat

The 5 thoughts to think before engaging in an online debate

Listen before responding.
If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online.
No insults, meet anger with kindness.
Find the common ground and good in others.
Consider you might be wrong.

True facts: Carnivorous plants

Ze Frank (remember this guy?) is at it again, narrating a mini doc on plants that eat bugs.

It's good fun.

It's never 4:20 at work.......

Things I learned lately 27 Jul

  • The 23 countries with the fastest average internet speeds. No, Canada is NOT among them. Countries with speeds better than Canada: France; Madagascar; Slovakia; US; Hong Kong; Andorra; Lithuania; Spain; Estonia; Taiwan; Latvia; Japan; Switzerland; Jersey; Hungary; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Belgium; Romania; Norway; Denmark; Sweden; Singapore.
  • A hyperloop research team based in Munich (WARR Hyperloop, Technical University of Munich) shattered speed records and got their pod up to 467 km/h (290 mph).
  • Stalin sent hit squads (yes, plural) to try to take out John Wayne.
  • Remains of Homo sapiens have been discovered recently that are more than 300,000 years old. That updates the origin timeline by another 100,000 years. Neanderthals and Denisovans were around at least 400,000 years back.
  • Steve Bannon is now setting up a foundation called The Movement in Europe to promote far right wing political groups in Britain, France, Germany and Hungary.
  • If you press the 'j' key in Facebook (web page), you'll be taken directly to the next post in your newsfeed, no scrolling necessary.
  • Calgary has a bike path network over 1000 km long, the biggest in the world. This same city has some very vocal motorists who don't approve of separated bike lanes downtown.
  • Netflix penetration: US - 64.5%; Norway - 62.4%; Canada - 56.3%; Denmark - 54.9%; Sweden - 50.2%

Friday, July 13, 2018

Small things 13 Jul

  • A giant angry orange baby Trump effigy balloon floating over London made Trump feel unwelcome. You mean, like the illegal immigrants entering the US unwelcome feeling?
  • kijiji ad funnies: (for a tool kit) price is firm. worth way more. includes [lists stuff]. two batteries i think one doesn't hold much charge. Yeah, it's so barely used that one battery is already at the end of its life.
  • "Don't just teach your children to read...teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything." ~George Carlin
  • "If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to have selfish, ignorant leaders." ~George Carlin
  • Do militant feminists hate the word boycott?


"Oh my God!"

This was me the first time I looked through a telescope at Saturn and Jupiter.

It's one thing to see pictures of our solar system objects. It's quite another to see them with your own eyes, up close(r).

Cold, dead heart

Songs that are 50 years old this year (2018)

The Beatles - Hey Jude
Otis Redding - Sittin' on the dock of the bay
Cream - Sunshine of your love
Herb Alpert - This guy's in love with you
Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs Robinson
The Doors - Hello I love you
Sly & the Family Stone - Dance to the music
John Fred & His Playboy Band - Judy in Disguise (with glasses)
Steppenwolf - Born to be wild / Magic carpet ride
Ohio Express - Yummy Yummy Yummy
Mason Williams - Classical gas
Tom Jones - Delilah
Cream - White room
Dionne Warwick - Do you know the way to San Jose
Manfred Mann - The mighty Quinn
Aretha Franklin - Think

By the way, if you haven't heard Judy in Disguise, you must go listen.......

Things I learned lately 13 Jul

  • Streaming services now account for 75% of all music listening in the US, up from 50% in 2016 - just 2 years.
  • Billions of low-energy neutrinos from the sun pass through one of your thumbnails every second.
  • Virtually all things made from iron in the Bronze Age were made from metal that fell from the sky in the form of meteorites. As a result, iron was considered a gift from the gods.
  • Steel was first created by India around 400 BC.
  • Vacation perks: Airbnb gives $2000 in travel coupons per year; BambooHR gives $2000 for travel; Evernote gives unlimited vacation days plus $1000 for travel; Expedia gives up to $750 reimbursements plus discounts through their site; FullContact gives $7500 for travel per year; Moz gives 21 PTO days, 7 sick days, 10 vacation days and $3000 for expenses.
  • Statistically speaking, couples who spend more on their weddings are more likely to get divorced.
  • Brands owned by Amazon (US)
    : Arabella (lingerie); Basic Care (pain relief and antacids); Beauty Bar (cosmetics); Buttoned Down, and Goodthreads (men's clothing); Ella Moon, Lark & Ro, North Eleven, and James & Erin (women's clothing); Mae (underwear); Franklin & Freeman (men's shoes); Scout & Ro (kid's clothing); Happy Belly (fresh food); Mama Bear (baby products); Pike Street, Pinzon (linen); Presto (paper and cleaning supplies); NuPro (tech accessories); Small Parts (spare parts); Solimo (assorted goods); Strathwood (furniture); Wag (dog food); Wickedly Prime (groceries).
  • 800,000 ex-pats have left Saudi Arabia, creating a hiring crisis.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Small things 5 Jul

  • I don't know exactly what women are shaving in those women's leg shaving advertisements, because they don't have any visible hair to begin with. (except for one ad for Billie brand)
  • "We've become very focused in the world of sustainability about being 'less bad', less CO2 emissions, less water pollution, less waste. What we really need to do is turn that on its head and think about what does it mean to be a truly good company, where you leave the world every day better off than it was the day before." ~Jeffrey Hollender, CEO Seventh Generation
  • Why is it that tire stores insist on you coming back for a re-torque after a tire install / rotate, but when your car dealership does maintenance that involves removing the wheels, they don't ask you to come back for a re-torque?
  • Worst Tinder pickup line ever: "There's a black friday sale at my place. All clothes are 100% off."
  • You know what I don't get? The newspaper. I have never subscribed to the newspaper..... I used to deliver it when I was a kid though.
  • Ever been told that a well-prepared Portabello mushroom is as good as a steak? Vegetarian propaganda!

Soon to be deployed - all electric UPS delivery vans

Cat piano duo

This is so cute.

A guy plays piano with his cat.

The cat's just happy to be around him I think.

Did you notice one of the t-shirts? (around 3:23)

Seen during protests against mistreatment of illegal immigrants, weekend of July 1st in US.

Things I learned lately 5 Jul

  • Scientists have discovered that not only can some spiders spin long loose silk threads that can carry them through the air on a light breeze, but they can also ride electric fields. Great. Flying spiders.
  • The silicon valley housing crisis is so bad, that a 897 square foot home listed for $2,590,000.
  • Trump's trade wars could destroy 5% of the global economy.
  • A second Brexit referendum is being considered.
  • The Moog synthesizer company may move production overseas because of Trump's tariffs as well.
  • People who become prison guards in Norway have to study a mix of criminology, law, welfare, applied ethics, and social work at a special staff academy. They learn how to establish relationships and communicate with the person behind the offence. (pictured: a prisoner spends time with his family)
  • There are no studies at all indicating that illegal immigration increases crime. None. In fact, as illegal immigration has increased, violent crime has decreased.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Small things 23 Jun

  • There really is no such thing as a 'quick trip to the mall'.
  • Apocalypse down (pillow fight movie)
  • Where exactly did the phrase 'the cat's ass' come from? On a scale, is 'the cat's ass' better than 'the dog's bollocks'?
  • Imagine a world where grenades and mines are filled with hot fudge sauce....
  • Giving birth takes a lot out of you.
  • 'Down with' and 'Get down with'. Two entirely different things
  • 30 Helens agree: It's hard to get 30 people to agree on anything.
  • Glitter comes from clowns shaving
  • Only people who do nothing never make mistakes

Guess how I know it's not plugged in?

Phone spring cleanup

At some point, most phone users arrive at a very annoying, yet important milestone. Running out of storage space. Just as people often underestimate how much memory (RAM) their computers should have to keep them happy and productive, they often buy a phone with less storage capacity than they’ll realize they need after many months of use.

Part of the reason we tend to fill up our phones quickly is because of how easy it is to accumulate data. Apps are easy to get and in many cases, are free or very inexpensive. Having a camera in your phone means being able to take pictures of anything, at any time. As phone cameras get better, the pictures they create get bigger (in file size). But then videos take this storage requirement to a whole new level. So, at some point, if you’re a vigorous user, you’re going to run out of space and your phone is going to complain. What to do…….

You could back up your phone, but then you’ll need equivalent storage capacity in the cloud (if that’s the option you choose). Storage in the cloud isn’t always abundant, nor is it typically free beyond a certain base amount. There are exceptions to this of course – Google Photos lets you store pretty much unlimited photos in the cloud as long as you let them get a bit compressed. But that doesn’t let you back up apps, etc. I still am aware of many people who still don’t trust the cloud to store their stuff. You could back up to your computer, which programs like iTunes lets you do, but then you need to have your computer if you want to access anything that’s backed up and also deleted from your phone. So, is there another approach? I dare say yes. It’s called spring cleaning. It’s just a carryover from what I recommend to my clients who own computers.

Start with apps. Be stingy and ask the following about every app on your phone. "Have I used this in the last 6 months?" If the answer is ‘no’, and you know you probably won’t use it in the next 6 months either, delete it. You can always get it back later if you change your mind. But don’t stop with just the apps themselves. Some apps, especially those used to communicate, tend to keep a growing pile of past texts, messages, calls, etc. Find out where the apps store their stuff and delete it. Don’t assume that a deleted app will also delete its saved files. Sometimes an app will leave your past history intact, in case you change your mind about deleting it and reinstall in the future.

Next, move on to videos and photos. Look at every video you’ve stored with the eye of a ruthless movie critic. Will you really care about that clip next year? Yes? Then upload it to YouTube or Facebook and delete it from your phone. If your kids roll their eyes every time you show the clip, you may be fooling yourself about just how amazing it is. Delete. Moving on to photos. That picture of those amazing desserts you had at Cheesecake Factory might have looked good when you took them, but seriously. Do you think you’re the only person who has ever had the Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake? Nope. And I’m willing to bet there are pics on Google of that dessert that are much more professional. Even if you insist on keeping the dessert photos, you don’t need 10 different angles of cheesecake. Delete nine, keep the best one. Memories are great keepsakes, just don’t act like the Smithsonian Institute about it. One final note about pictures. Did sister really, really love that one pic of the two of you at Disneyland? Great. Send it to her and let her keep it. I know, I can be ruthless.

Music is another thing that can gobble up storage fast on a phone. It's nice to be able to store every song you own, but I know people with music collections topping 100GB and more. If you want to avoid using up a lot of space on your phone, consider paying for a music service like Spotify and let them store all your favourite songs for you. Yes, that means streaming data, but sometimes you have to choose what’s more important – a phone with a lot of storage (expensive), that may still not be enough, or a better data plan (or more use of wi-fi). I let my Spotify songs store on my phone so I can save data costs, but thanks to compression, my measly 1800 songs on Spotify use up 10GB of phone capacity.

If you drill into your phone’s settings, you can find out what’s using up all that space and start to weeding. I’m pretty good about spring cleaning and I’m using about 40GB in total. Half of that is apps and photos. Needless to say, I’d need to be even more ruthless to be able to use a phone with only 32GB of storage.

So if you’re getting low on phone storage, or even if you’re not, consider doing some spring cleaning. But maybe do it every season. Be ruthless. And leverage the cloud as much as you dare.

Band: Draculaz Album: Vampire Days

Totally fake of course.

Canadian pot names?

I decided to have some fun and try and come up with some new Canadian names for marijuana strains.

  • Calgary Stampweed
  • Rocky Mountain High
  • Great Lakes Bakes (edibles)
  • Laurentien Paper Co (papers)
  • Yonge Buds
  • Trans Canada High Way
  • Beaver Buds
  • Maple Buds
  • Pottawa
  • Canusa Clippings
  • Banff Blunt
  • Prairie Indica
  • Dartmouth Dank
  • 420 Train to Toronto
  • Hamilton Hookah
  • Kelowna Kush
  • Regina Roach
  • Yellowknife Yerba
  • Canadian Bogart Agency
  • Bongwater Springs
  • Shawinigan Shotgun
  • Royal Canadian Fade
  • Mooseweed

Things I learned lately 23 Jun

  • There are no bridges spanning the Amazon River.
  • The city of Brasilia was founded in 1960. It is now home to roughly 4.3 million people (metro area).
  • A service dog, while working, needs to be left alone. No barking or petting or talking to them. It distracts them and they just want to work and be left alone.
  • Although service dogs don't look like they're having a good time, they are working and get to be like normal dogs and play once work is over.
  • Had George Lucas kept the Star Wars franchise, the last 3 movies (episodes 7-9) would have been about the microbiol creatures the Whills, who feed off the Force and use the midi-chlorians to control the people. In other words, people who are 'strong with the force' are just folks who are being controlled more by (and are vehicles for) the Whills.
  • Most stars like our sun are born as twin stars. Astronomers want to know what happened to our probable twin.