A question maybe no one has ever asked you

Posted on November 27th, 2013

Here's a question: At what point in your life did what you think become important?





Why I ask. Many people seem to think that what a kid thinks isn't important. After all, you're just a kid. Do what you're told. Be seen and not heard. It's totally understandable that adults react this way to kids, because they can be very irritating with all their questions, ideas, enthusiasm, energy and emotions. Kids are a handful. Adults like a little peace and quiet. Shut up! ;-)



We have to give the adults some understanding and love. But eventually the kids grow up, and did we ever stop and say, okay now that you're not a kid anymore, what you think is important? I know no one ever said that to me. And I think that's a bug, because the truth is this -- what you think matters as much as what anyone else thinks. If they matter, then so do you. If you don't matter, neither do they.



Once you get this, really feel it -- the reason to argue melts away. I don't need to convince you of anything, I just need to believe it myself. Or not. In other words, I'll make up my own mind, thank you very much.



Happy Thanksgiving! :-)


A podcast about Ada Louise Huxtable

Posted on November 25th, 2013

A link on Facebook got me nostalgic for the days when the local NY papers took an interest in future of the city and stood in the way of its business and political leaders. I was thinking about the old Penn Station, and Ada Louise Huxtable who was an architecture critic for the NYT.



It's an idea that's still alive. Nick Bilton used his pulpit at the Times to ask the FAA whether there was really a reason for turning off portable devices during takeoff and landing, or if it was just a matter of inertia and superstition. That resulted in the removal of the ban, and the airplanes aren't crashing because of it, as far as anyone knows. (Knock wood.)



We still do great things here in NY. For example bike lanes and CitiBikes. And we hold on to traditions and develop them. No one talks about putting freeways through the middle of Manhattan, and instead of talking about tearing down landmarks, we're thinking about holding on to the ones we have.



It's important not to see all change as good. The urban renewal advocates thought creating a sports arena on top of a train station that moves 650,000 people in and out of the city every day was the right thing to do. Why couldn't we have both a fantastic sports arena and a world class train station.



Ada Louise Huxtable, who died just this year, stood up for the station. She didn't prevail, but she helped start a movement that resulted in our city becoming a much more liveable place.



Anyway, I get excited about these things. We need to do more of them. ;-)


CBS coverage of JFK assassination

Posted on November 24th, 2013


My iPad stopped working with Twitter and Facebook

Posted on November 24th, 2013

1. Last night, on my fully updated iPad Air, Facebook said my login had expired and said I needed to re-enter my password. It took me to the Settings app, to the place where you enter your Facebook password. I entered it. It said it couldn't communicate with the server. I tried again. Same answer. No matter how I try, I can't access Facebook on the iPad. I use the Facebook app.



2. Same thing happened with Twitter this morning, except there I use the website, not the app. It asked for the password, I entered it. It said it couldn't communicate with the server, I tried again, same result.



I'm guessing since it's now happening with both Facebook and Twitter, that it's likely a problem with the iPad. Wondering if anyone else has seen this, and has a clue how to cure it. Thanks in advance. ;-)


Idea: CBS assassination story on Netflix

Posted on November 23rd, 2013

I've been watching the JFK Assassination coverage on the CBS website.



It's incredible television. I haven't been able to watch it all 24 hours, but I wish I could.



And this led me to the obvious answer. This programming should be made episodic and offered through Netflix. It would be as popular as Breaking Bad. And what a lesson in civics and history, and what an inspiring example for today's journalists to live up to.


What if Dropbox had app-based permissions?

Posted on November 23rd, 2013

Dropbox already has a very powerful ability to share files and folders among users.



Wouldn't it be great if Dropbox extended that ability to apps?



For example, I'd like to give access to one of my folders to a file-serving app, one of the many that we learned about when I posted a query about it yesterday?



That seems to be the stumbling block in a lot of places.


An experiment with BTSync

Posted on November 22nd, 2013

I've been finding more applications for BTSync, which is a peer-to-peer file sharing utility that works much like Dropbox, without storing the files on a central server.



I've been looking for a reliable way to back up the S3 bucket that serves the content for scripting.com. I want to maintain a copy on one of the my servers and on my desktop computer. I'm also working with a university library to create a permanent archive of scripting.com. That's an interesting project because the site is changing all the time, as I add new blog posts.



Chuck Shotton suggested using BT Sync, and I set it up and it's really nice the way it works. As an experiment, I want to offer to share this content with anyone who reads this site.



How to





Download and install BitTorrent Sync.


Click on the Folders tab in the BTS app.


Click the + icon in the lower left corner of the window.


A dialog opens.






History panel.


It takes about 50 minutes to download the full contents of the folder, which is 1.9GB with xxx files.



Idea: A simple Dropbox-based web service

Posted on November 22nd, 2013

The scenario





I use Dropbox, but this could work with any equivalent service.




index.html and hippieVan.gif.


The HTML file just displays the GIF.


But of course it could be a richer, complex website.


The hypothetical web service





I go to a website which I access with my Dropbox credentials.


A list of my folders shows up. I click on the checkbox next to the My Website folder.


At the bottom of the page, I click on the Make Public button.


A dialog appears, confirming that I want to give this folder a public URL.


Once confirmed, a dialog appears giving me the URL.


How it works





I'm not sure. It could be a server itself that does real-time caching of the contents of this folder. When a request comes in for an item in the folder, it does a HEAD request on the file, if it hasn't changed, it serves out of its cache.


Or it could keep the contents of the folder in synch with a folder in an Amazon S3 bucket, or some equivalent service that runs the server that accesses the content.


It could be a for-pay service. I would happily pay a few bucks for a year's worth of set-and-forget web access.


And for a few more bucks, a custom domain.


Positioning statement





It's like a super-lightweight WordPress.com.


The CMS lives elsewhere.


It just serves up the content.


Why I want it





I want to build on this feature in my software. ;-)


Let me know





If you know of a service that does this, please let me know.


If it doesn't exist, we have to create it. ;-)


I'd much rather use yours. And maybe invest in it.


"cheesecake"



A simple Dropbox-based web service

Posted on November 22nd, 2013

The scenario





I use Dropbox, but this could work with any equivalent software.














It contains two files: index.html and hippieVan.gif.


The HTML file just displays the GIF.


But of course it could be a richer, complex website.


They hypothetical web service





I go to a website which I access with my Dropbox credentials.


A list of my folders shows up. I click on the checkbox next to the My Website folder.


At the bottom of the page, I click on the Make Public button.


A dialog appears, confirming that I want to give this folder a public URL.


Once confirmed, a dialog appears giving me the URL.


How it works





I'm not sure. It could be a server itself that does real-time caching of the contents of this folder. When a request comes in for the folder, it does a HEAD request on the file, if it hasn't changed, it serves out of its cache.


Or it could keep the contents of the folder in synch with a folder in an Amazon S3 bucket, or some equivalent service that runs the server that accesses the content.


It could be a for-pay service. I would happily pay a few bucks for a year's worth of set-and-forget web access.


Why I want it





I want to build on this feature in my software. ;-)


Let me know





If you know of a service that does this, please let me know.


If it doesn't exist, we have to create it. ;-)


I'd much rather use yours.


"cheesecake"



I was alive when JFK died

Posted on November 22nd, 2013

I was eight years old, I think I was in third grade?





I remember my teacher crying in front of the class and saying we were all going home early. My mom came, and as we walked home she explained what had happened. I didn't understand. Kennedy had been the only president I was aware of. I had been too young when Eisenhower was president to even understand what a president was.



I asked who would be president now. She said "Johnson." He wasn't even a person to me. Who? I couldn't comprehend this. In my mind Kennedy was the president. It hadn't occurred to me that wasn't a permanent thing.





It's so weird, but I remember exactly where we were when this conversation took place.


We spent days watching TV. I remember tiny little bits of it but mostly I remember not understanding.