Review: Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit

Another franchise reboot. Not terrible (I've enjoyed worse), but I'm not buying the DVD.



The quality of the text emitted by the IOS Blogger app is, without a doubt, terrible.  I wrote the previous article in the IOS app, then tried to polish it using the web interface and it looked (at risk of over using the word) terrible.  I eventually copy/pasted it into gVim, fixed it, then pasted it back into "HTML" mode.  Then trimmed it up.

Terrible.  There really is no other word for it.

This isn't entirely surprising, as Google would rather I had a stiff drink of the Android kool-aide, but we've addressed that already.

I'm gonna have to find a text editor for IOS and a sharing mechanism that works somehow.

Social Media Taxonomy

It occurs to me that social media is a continuum of offerings, with different services bringing different thighs to the table. What got me thinking about this was the sudden realization that Twitter is a terrible device for dealing with the past. A tweet's effective usefulness period is "now" and no longer; very few people will be interested in trolling through someone's history of tweets.

Blogging, on the other had, is different: it is about writing for the future, something that will have a longer period of usefulness. This is illustrated by the fact that most blogs have an index of posts readily available, usually already sorted by date, making it very easy to refer to the past. And this transmission into the future encourages most to write properly, in a very different from the txt-spk that can dominate tweets.

So with that obvious observation in hand, one can start classifying various services:

  • Twitter. Written for: now. History: useless. Very short form. User interaction is indistinguishable from user use of the service -- threads get lost very easily.
  • Tumblr. Written for: now. History: can be less useless, but not much. Longer form and mixed media formatting. Probably more of a long-form Twitter. Has more tools for Tumblr users to interact than does Twitter.
  • Facebook. Written for: now. History: slightly less useless than Tumblr, but has pretentious of permanence with its "timeline" way of organizing hints, although I bet most users never use it. Much better user interaction through the dreaded "like" and comment facilities. From a posting standpoint it is less flexible than Tumblr, but most users don't care.
  • Google Plus: closer to Tumblr (all about the now!) than Facebook. I think this is one reason why the Facebook crowd doesn't like G+ is the lack of Facebook's venir of the past.
  • Instagram: Twitter for pictures. Or at least it was, I bailed on it when Facebook bought them. Really is only about the now -- eg: show me your lunch. Nobody cares about the past. It has it's own sharing and following, but since it's origins was as a Twitter rider, I never used them.
  • Flickr: blogger for pictures. Stronger history tools.
  • Blogger: blogging is about writing things today that might be interesting in the future. Long form writing, strong history tools. Commenting is available, even if spammers have effectively broken it.

So what does all that mean?

Personally, I use Twitter for my short form/now microblogging. Also, my "audience" (such that it is) is there. That feeds a Facebook account, where the rest of my audience is. Google Plus is used only for a KSP group. And long form writing gets dropped into one of *cough* five Blogger blogs, from which I pollute Twitter (and therefore Facebook) with links when they get published. "Now" photos are tweets, more interesting things are usually Blogger posts. I've used G+ for photo albums, but I'm not really sold on it.

I think this is beause I am interested in history. I am the kind of person who will go back and read my own "back catalogue" periodically. Twitter makes this painful. Facebook makes it awkward. Blogger makes it easy.

Over all I am most attracted to G+ but I don't really understand why. Also there is no audience there so there isn't much point in dumping lots of content there. If I really want to write to no audience, I'll just use Blogger. I feel like I shouldn't trust Twitter, and Facebook gives me an uncomfortable feeling. But, audience.

Every so often I think it is a good idea to reconsider what I am doing, even if it doesn't result in any changes.



Possibly related to my previous post...

In the garage, we have four light bulbs.  Two are on the ceiling, and two are on the garage door opener machine.  Originally all four were incandescent bulbs, and in the previous house they were actually attached to motion sensors so that they only turned themselves on when there was movement in the garage.

Two problems arose: first, the motion detectors got lost and never replaced.  This meant that the lights were burning 24/7/365, the vast majority of the time with nobody in the garage.  So I decided to replace those with compact florescent (CF) bulbs.  This worked fine, sort-of, but you could tell in the winter that they were struggling -- they took forever to get bright, and they were very noticeably dimmer during the coldest parts of the year.

The second problem is that the garage door opener absolutely eats bulbs.  The bulbs need replacing every three to four months.  Along with the damage caused by the vibration every time the opener operates, the sockets seem to attract enough moisture that they rust -- causing connection issues between the sockets and the bulbs.  I couldn't put the original CF bulbs in there because the socket is flush-mounted beside the opener, and there just isn't room for the ballast mostly.  Modern CF bulbs fit, but they still suffer from a high mortality rate (several have physically broken the lighting elements) and from the rust connectivity issue.

So recently I bought some fancy LED lights (at $17 for two 40W equivalents -- that's a huge markup on the cost of CFs, especially now that they've come down in price -- and even that's cheap for LEDs, thank you WalMart).  LEDs work well in both locations, on the ceiling and in the opener.  I would expect that there are fewer fragile parts in the LED light so it would be more vibration resistant.  It starts instantly, even in the cold, and is fully bright no matter what the temperature.


Jenn was complaining that her garage door opener wasn't working correctly.  It would open the door, but not close it.  I figured that the batteries in the openers were done -- they've never been replaced in the 11 years we've had the opener.  So I replaced the batteries in both units.

And the problem persisted.  This caused much head scratching and dis assembly and reassembly of the two remotes.  I could open the garage door from the end of the driveway, but not close it.

So since I was only experimenting with the LED bulb in the opener, I had one old incandescent bulb in one side, and a LED in another.  I pulled the LED to try it somewhere else for some reason, and guess what, the remotes work again.

The only thing I can conclude is that the LED bulb is putting out some kind of radio interference that makes the opener not able to hear the remotes' signal.

So the plan for the garage is now to get a couple of motion detectors, maybe even those big security motion detectors, and fill them with LED bulbs.  That will give us the fast start as well as the low-energy consumption we are looking for in there.  I'll keep an incandescent bulb in the one working socket for now and once they all die just take the bulbs out of the door opener completely and run without them if possible.

But this all got me thinking.

I was explaining to visitors on New Years Eve about my wifi to apple tv problem, and said -- you tell me why it doesn't work, pointing at the separation.  And my guest said, because there are two CF bulbs in the path of the wireless signal?

That stopped me and made me wonder.  There's clearly radio interference from a LED bulb.

Is there any from a CF bulb?

Don't know the answer.  (Neither did my guest, he was just guessing.)

Maybe I'll have to try more experiments with the lights off as well as with the lights on.  I doubt it, since we've had trouble at all times of day with the Apple TV (although admittedly more at night, something we attributed to all the neighbours being home and blasting their WiFi networks).

Not that it really matters now, since we've resorted to the ethernet wire for connectivity.  But it is interesting to think about.