ITHCWY: Robert Ellison's Blog

Host change

I'm switching hosts so there will be various DNS changes and some downtime today.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Summer Solstice 2017

Summer Solstice 2017

Summer starts now (or Winter for the Southern Hemisphere). Rendered in Catfood Earth.

(Previously, Previously, Previously, Previously)

Spherical Sunset

Spherical sunset timelapse 360 degree video

An experimental spherical timelapse of a sunset looking west over the Pacific from West Portal, San Francisco.

In your browser use w, a, s, d to tilt and pan. Best viewed in a VR headset.

Shot on the Richo Theta S, post processed with Lightroom, LRTimelapse and FFmpeg.

Book reviews for May 2017

Change Agent by Daniel Suarez

Change Agent by Daniel Suarez

5/5

Stonking near future bio thriller.

 

As a courtesy

As a courtesy to the next passenger

I'm on a recently built A340-600. This sign is about as useful as the ashtrays. This must be a weird tradition that gets handed down from airplane to airplane from one sign author who got grossed out by the thought of a moist sink but has never squelched around in piss on the lower deck stink fest that is installed on this particularly strange airbus.

It's like someone loved the whole elegant spiral staircase up to a bar motif of the 747 and thought wouldn't it be a giggle to do the exact opposite.

Real Time

Real Time

Real Time with Bill Maher is the most excruciatingly awkward show on TV.

The typical setup is that Bill has a first important guest, then three panelists and finally a second important guest. So it kind of sucks to be a panelist. Just by being there you're signalling that you're not important enough to negotiate the first or last slot.

It's not great for anyone though. After the first interview slot Bill is going to jump up and walk over to his desk for the panel session. And you have a horrible choice. Either you follow the stage directions and sit still, somehow emasculated, while Bill leaves you behind. Or you stand up too, asserting yourself but looking somehow awkward and presumably you don't get invited back in a hurry.

Next the panel gets to argue for a while before the second important guest is wheeled in. At this point Bill interviews the newcomer for a long time leaving the panel hanging. Just sat there.

Right when you're wondering if the panel has left the building Bill brings them back into the conversation and at this point they are so desperate to get a few points home that the second important guest is often frozen out.

It doesn't last long though because Bill then cuts to New Rules and ignores the second important guest and the three panelists for a few over-written jokes followed by a variable five minute diatribe.

I cannot believe how many politicians, journalists, comedians, commentators and authors are desperate enough for HBO sized chunks of publicity that they'd put themselves through this social wringer.

I love it.

(Image credit: screenshot from Real Time with Bill Maher opening credits)

Book reviews for April 2017

Palace of Treason (Red Sparrow Trilogy #2) by Jason  Matthews

Palace of Treason (Red Sparrow Trilogy #2) by Jason Matthews

3/5

 

Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1) by Jason  Matthews

Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1) by Jason Matthews

3/5

Reasonable spy thriller, strangely has a recipe at the end of each chapter which cuts through any tension. You end up wondering what snack in each chapter is going to be featured at the end. Ruins the pacing. Doesn't work as a cookbook either as the recipes omit quantities and cooking time and instead just touch on ingredients and rough technique.

 

Search Me!

It's a week of dealing with thrilling product deprecations for me. Over the weekend I abandoned CodePlex. Over the past couple of evenings I've ripped out Google Custom Search (they've discontinued their Site Search product and I've never liked Custom Search and I'm now worried that it will be next for the chop). I looked at various open source options but after a bit of poking around decided to just write my own search engine. After about two hours the first version is now live.

CodePlex Shutdown: Shapefile, Orb, StackHash and Blogger2BlogML Migration

CodePlex Shutdown: Shapefile, Orb, StackHash and Blogger2BlogML Migration

Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on CodePlex. I've hosted various projects there over the years and have just finished migrating everything over to GitHub which looks like it just might have a future:

  • blogger2blogml - Migrate blogger format blogs to BlogML.
  • orb - Controller library for Ambient Orb devices.
  • shapefile - parse the ESRI Shapefile format.
  • stackhash - full client for downloading and debugging Windows Error Reporting (WER) crash dumps.