Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Wednesday 17 December 2014

After 38 years of publication, Dr. Dobbs is shutting down:

Why would a well-known site, dearly loved by its readers and coming off a year of record page views, be sunset by its owner?

In one word, revenue. Four years ago, when I came to Dr. Dobb's, we had healthy profits and revenue, almost all of it from advertising. Despite our excellent growth on the editorial side, our revenue declined such that today it's barely 30% of what it was when I started. While some of this drop is undoubtedly due to turnover in our sales staff, even if the staff had been stable and executed perfectly, revenue would be much the same and future prospects would surely point to upcoming losses. This is because in the last 18 months, there has been a marked shift in how vendors value website advertising. They've come to realize that website ads tend to be less effective than they once were.

So rather than continue with Dr. Dobb's until it actually loses money, [our owners] decided to sunset the site — a sudden end to remarkably robust and wondrous journey that began 38 years ago.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. Dobb's was the best source of information about C/C++ programming, bar none. I've read the magazine and the website off and on for about 30 years. I'm sad to see it go.

Wednesday 17 December 2014 11:49:50 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Software | Business#

Finally, after 50 years of stupidity:

The United States intends to open an official embassy in Cuba in the coming months, the White House announced Wednesday, part of a broader normalizing of diplomatic relations after the countries exchanged prisoners.

The White House said that Obama would order Secretary of State John Kerry to begin discussions with Cuban officials on re-establishing diplomatic relations and high-level discussions and visits between the countries are expected to follow. The opening of the embassy will happen "as soon as possible," an official said, noting that "the decision has been made" to normalize relations. The main issues to be resolved are logistical, the official said.

Other expected changes include increased travel permission for Americans to visit Cuba, an official review of Cuba's current designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and increased coordination between the United States and Cuba on issues like disaster response and drug trafficking.

As for the Cuban embargo, officials said that the White House supports efforts to end it, but knows congressional approval for lifting it is unlikely in the immediate future.

That bit about the embargo, including the Helms-Burton Act, means you won't have a vacation in Havana for a couple of years. But this change signals an end to one of the stupidest policies we've had for half a century.

Wednesday 17 December 2014 11:22:40 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US | World#
Tuesday 16 December 2014

What happens when you're a talking head and your mom calls into your show?

The Woodhouse brothers are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Brad is a Democratic operative who helps run the super PAC American Bridge and Dallas, by contrast, is a Republican who helps run the conservative Carolina Rising. The were on C-SPAN to talk about their documentary, Woodhouse Divided, when their mother called in.

Hilarity ensued:

Tuesday 16 December 2014 12:49:33 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US#

Very busy today; less so the rest of the week. So after I'm done with this deliverable today I'll read these:

Back to the mines...

Tuesday 16 December 2014 11:15:04 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | US | Astronomy#
Monday 15 December 2014

In the legislation passed over the weekend that will keep the U.S. government operating for another few months, the House had its cake and ate it with respect to marijuana. Slate's Josh Voorhees explains:

Among the myriad policy riders buried inside the 1,600-plus-page bill is one aimed at blocking the Washington, D.C., City Council from legalizing recreational marijuana, something voters in the district instructed them to do by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 last month.

That ban was inserted at the behest of a small band of anti-pot conservative hardliners led by Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, and ultimately neither the White House nor Democratic leaders were willing to make fighting it a priority.

But despite that symbolic victory, it’s a different pot-themed provision tucked deep inside the bill that offers a more accurate illustration of Washington’s evolving position on legal weed—the Capitol’s posture is quietly becoming much more supportive than the effort to block D.C.’s legalization effort might suggest.

That less-discussed provision stops the Justice Department from spending a dime to prosecute patients or medical marijuana dispensaries that are acting in accordance with state law but running afoul of federal ones. The policy change might not make for splashy headlines, but it promises to have a major impact on the medical marijuana movement around the nation.

In other words, medical marijuana is still illegal, but not really. Scott Adams scoffs at the inefficiency:

While I appreciate that the government is moving in the direction the citizens prefer, how much does it tell you about the effectiveness of our system that lawmakers couldn't change a law that nearly 100% of well-informed and honest (meaning not taking money from private prison lobbyists for example) folks prefer?

My point is not about weed. That fight is essentially over. We're just waiting for the referee to count to ten, although that might play out over several years. Full legalization for adults (in effect) is inevitable because the data will be so clear after a few states do their test runs.

My point is that if your government can't pass a law that has has nearly universal approval, do you really have a functioning government?

This is akin to the criminal adultery statutes that littered the states until 1991, when the state finally repealed it. This, after four half-hearted prosecutions in 1990 embarrassed the state.

Monday 15 December 2014 13:13:17 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US#
Sunday 14 December 2014

I was a bit overloaded yesterday, so I didn't have time to absorb these articles thoroughly:

Even though I thought the 10 km walk Parker and I took two weeks ago was going to be our last really long one of the year, I didn't predict today's 9°C temperature forecast, so off we go on another one.

Sunday 14 December 2014 08:40:57 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Parker | US#
Friday 12 December 2014

...if we weren't arming drug dealers?"—Aaron Sorkin

Alas, Americans increasingly want everyone to have guns:

For the first time since Pew began asking the question two decades ago, a majority of Americans now say that gun rights are more important than gun control — a striking shift in public opinion over both the last generation and just the last few years. As recently as December 2012, in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, 51 percent of people surveyed by Pew said it was more important to control gun ownership than protect the rights of gun owners.

What's most striking in Pew's new data is that views have shifted more in favor of gun rights since then among nearly every demographic group, including women, blacks, city-dwellers, parents, college graduates, millennials and independents. The two groups that haven't budged? Hispanics and liberal Democrats.

These numbers may capture the short memory of many Americans. But the long-term trend is undeniably grim for gun-control advocates, who seem to be losing ground even among their strongest traditional sympathizers.

The "short memory of many Americans?" Yup.

Friday 12 December 2014 10:26:58 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US#
Thursday 11 December 2014

Since the client on the Paris thing for some reason declined to spend $9,000 per person for us to fly business class, I decided to take American 90 to London and then take Eurostar under the Channel. The strategy worked; I got sleep on a real bed Sunday night, and was coherent and lucid Monday afternoon at the job site.

This time, I put a clock on the train. Here's what my phone GPS showed about 30 minutes outside London:

The screen shot above (click for full size) shows that about here the train was moving 281 km/h, which is how it gets from London to Paris with two stops in under two and a half hours. Flying from London City to Orly would take about that long, and I'd still have had to take the RER up to the job site. At one point I clocked it at 297 km/h, which is still not the fastest train in France. SNCF's TGV-320 goes—wait for it—320 km/h. (Then there's the Shanghai Maglev...)

This is why I love Europe.

Thursday 11 December 2014 17:05:46 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | London | Travel | Work#

They're interesting if you like, for example, airplanes:

That's it for now.

Thursday 11 December 2014 10:42:08 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#
Wednesday 10 December 2014

Because I stayed in the Airport Sheraton, had only carry-on bags, and got my boarding pass last night, I got on my flight home less than half an hour after leaving my hotel room this morning. Then, at O'Hare, because of the aforementioned lack of checked baggage, a New York-style walking speed, and Global Entry, I got from the airplane to my car in exactly half an hour. Parker was in the car half an hour after that.

Compare that to the trip out, when I left my house at 7, the plane finally left the gate at 10:30, and—oh, right, it only took me 55 minutes to get from the airplane to my hotel in London, including the ridiculously long walk from Terminal 3 to the Heathrow Express and flagging down a taxi at Paddington.

Anyway, dog and man are home, I've completed my deliverable for tomorrow, and I will now get a nap before Euchre Club meets at 7:30.

Wednesday 10 December 2014 16:51:40 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Geography | London | Travel | Work#

I had a pretty good blog entry to post a couple of hours ago, and I forgot it totally. This is because I was wrestling a virtual machine to the ground because it had gone somewhere HTTP requests could not follow. I'd have posted about that nonsense, too, except the VM hosts The Daily Parker, you see.

I am therefore reduced to a link round-up, though this time I will embed, rather than link to, two of the things that people have sent me in the past day and a half:

  • I had an excellent dinner tonight.
  • Science writer Michael Hanlon thinks innovation peaked in 1973. I disagree, but I haven't got a rebuttal yet.
  • People in L.A. suspect that arsonists burned down one of the most anti-urban development projects ever thrust upon Americans.
  • My flight Sunday got delayed in part because of de-icing. Patrick Smith explains why this happens.
  • Chicago steak houses are suffering because the price of wholesale beef has shot up in recent days. I feel for them, I really do, but I also want to have a Morton's steak before year's end. Anyone want to join me?
  • Talking Points Memo has a timeline of the New Republic's self-immolation. I still mourn.
  • I got some personal news today that will make Daily Parker headlines when it's officially announced next week.
  • I'm staying up until 3am CET (8pm Chicago time) because I don't want to fall asleep at Euchre tomorrow. Just remember: the left bower is trump, you idiot.
  • A propos of nothing, I'm posting one of the best speeches by one of the worst characters in all Shakespeare:
    There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.

You have been patient, and have earned your reward. Here are your two videos, hat tip to reader MG:

And this, but you have to skip ahead to 37m 53s to get the point:

Wednesday 10 December 2014 02:10:14 CET (UTC+01:00)  |  | Geography | Kitchen Sink | London | World | Travel | Work#
Tuesday 9 December 2014

It's 7:35, and pitch black outside. When people talk about permanent daylight saving time, because they don't want to switch clocks twice a year, they should consider that France is an hour ahead of the "correct" time zone for its longitude and therefore has sunrises at 8:30 in the morning this time of year.

If there were daylight right now, I'd upload a photo of all the airplanes taxiing past my hotel window. It's kind of cool. Tomorrow, when I can sleep in.

Tuesday 9 December 2014 07:37:50 CET (UTC+01:00)  |  | Travel | Astronomy | Work#
Search
On this page....
Sad day in software development
U.S. normalizing relations with Cuba
"Oh god, it's mom"
Noted for later
How to get away with decriminalizing pot while Republican
Stuff I put off reading because of the holidays
Perhaps it would be easier to fight a war on drugs
Train à grande vitesse
Three aviation stories
Fast trip home from Paris
I forgot what I was going to write about
What the latest sunrise of the year feels like in Paris
Countdowns
The Daily Parker +3321d 08h 58m
2015 14d 05h 15m
Parker's 9th birthday 180d 04h 15m
My next birthday 261d 08h 20m
Categories
Aviation (346) Baseball (110) Best Bars (7) Biking (44) Chicago (912) Cubs (197) Duke (132) Geography (336) Higher Ground (5) Jokes (284) Kitchen Sink (659) London (58) Parker (195) Daily (204) Photography (144) Politics (303) US (1096) World (257) Raleigh (21) Readings (8) Religion (66) San Francisco (88) Software (207) Blogs (77) Business (231) Cloud (90) Cool links (134) Security (98) Travel (227) Weather (700) Astronomy (88) Windows Azure (60) Work (82) Writing (9)
Links
Archive
<December 2014>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
30123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910
Full archive
Blogroll
About
David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
Legal
All content Copyright ©2014 David Braverman.
Creative Commons License
The Daily Parker by David Braverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License, excluding photographs, which may not be republished unless otherwise noted.
Admin Login
Sign In
Blog Stats
Total Posts: 4593
This Year: 491
This Month: 23
This Week: 6
Comments: 0