Via Hanselman, an explanation of straight, white, male privilege in terms a straight, white, male gamer might understand:
Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?
Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
Oh, and one other thing. Remember when I said that you could choose your difficulty setting in The Real World? Well, I lied. In fact, the computer chooses the difficulty setting for you. You don’t get a choice; you just get what gets given to you at the start of the game, and then you have to deal with it.
The Atlantic Cities blog has two nicely-juxtaposed stories today: "A brief history of Suburbia" and "If Your City Were Wrecked by Totalitarian Urban Planners."
[C]ity historian Graeme Davison of Monash University, in Australia...begins with the birth of modern suburb in the early-to-mid 19th century. By the 1830s, he writes, cities like London and new industrial towns like Manchester were beginning to expand outward, stretching the boundaries of the original cores. One observer in 1843 noted that unlike Paris (which was wilderness outside the city center) and Rome (which was desert), London was made of concentric sub-communities "like onions fifty on a rope."
Davison argues that it wasn't just "sheer pressure of population" that encouraged this early form of sprawl. Many factors played a role in the change, including improved rail transit that facilitated movement inside and outside town centers. Davison also points to four major ideologies—one each in the realms of religion, science, the arts, and social life—as critical sources of the shift....
Romanian authoritarian ruler Nicolae Ceauşescu infamously left a heavy mark on the capital city of Bucharest with a massive urban planning scheme known as the Centrul Civic. In the 1980s, the project displaced 40,000 people, demolished churches and monasteries in the way, and replaced it all with 8 square kilometers of communist-era concrete buildings and government complexes in the heart of what had been a historic city.
One of the new monuments, the 3.7 million square-foot Palace of the Parliament, is thought to be the largest administrative building in the world, and it anchors the Centrul Civic along a dramatic axis in much the same way that the U.S. Capitol does in Washington, D.C. To this day, the palace and the brutally rebuilt urban fabric around it remain “perhaps the most violent scar left by a totalitarian regime,” in the words of Bogdan Ilie and Dan Achim.
I will finish reading them...someday...
After four years or so, I've changed the Daily Parker's skin.
Looking back at my other, dead blog enticed me to play with the theme control for a few minutes. And then I decided, you know, Mads Simple looks really clean and elegant, but I'm kind of tired of it.
So? Blue enough for you?
Years ago, I had two blogs: one for work, and one for everything else. Eventually I stopped having two blogs because...well, laziness?
The old blog is back. I discovered I had dead links, and it was simple enough to drag the old blog out of archives and throw it onto my general-purpose VM.
Actually, I cheated. I only threw the content up there. I used The Daily Parker's blog engine with all its customization and just copied the old content up to the VM.
It's kind of interesting, looking back on the things I was working on seven years ago. I am particularly happy, given everything I did this past weekend, to link back to November 2006, when I built my last data center.
I'm paying 90% of my attention right now to a Windows Azure online training class. I already knew a lot of the material presented so far, but not all of it. It's like re-taking a class you took as an undergraduate; the 10% you didn't know is actually really helpful.
Like next week's class, which will go over Infrastructure as a service: a lot has changed in the last year, so it should be valuable.
Apparently, though, my homework is to build an Azure web site this week. Not a multi-tier application with a worker role. Just a web site. How adorable.
Early this morning, the city re-opened the Wells St. bridge to El traffic after replacing a 250 ton section of it.
Here's how it looked Thursday morning:
The old south half of the bridge, being dismantled:
This morning, from neighboring LaSalle St.:
The city started replacing the bridge in November, and aims to finish this year. They will close the bridge to El traffic again from April 26th to May 6th in order to replace the north leaf.
Via Sullivan, imagine if we could watch natural selection work on our ancestors:
Some amusing police work this week: Chicago cops arrested three men for stealing a dozen school buses for the simple reason that the buses had GPS devices:
The owner of a scrap company where the remains of several school buses were found after being stolen from the Far South Side has been charged with illegal possession of auto titles, police said.
Police searched the scrap dealer starting about 7 a.m. Thursday, and about 2:15 p.m., they found Quintero in the false ceiling of the parts yard's office, trying to hide from officers, Mirabelli said. Quintero, of the 4400 block of South Drake Avenue, was expected to appear in Cook County Central Bond Court today.
The 40-foot-long buses, capable of seating 75 people, were stolen sometime overnight Thursday from the bus company's yard in the 10000 block of South Torrence Avenue on the far South Side and were not discovered missing until the next morning, police said.
The buses were all equipped with GPS tracking devices, and police were able to track "their entire movement" to the scrap yard on the West Side, police said. Three of the buses were torn apart using heavy equipment, police said.
I'm always fascinated to learn about people who commit crimes because they're too stupid to do anything else.
The Inner Drive Technology International Data Center is no more.
This morning around 8:15 CDT I updated the master DNS records for Weather Now, and shut down the World Wide Web service on my Web server an hour later. All the databases are backed up and copied; all the logs are archived.
More to the point, all the servers (except my domain controller, which also acts as a storage device) are off. Not just off, but unplugged. The little vampires continue to draw tens of Watts of power even when they're off.
The timing works out, too. My electric meter got read Thursday or Friday, and my Azure billing month starts today. That means I have a clean break between running the IDTIDC and not running it,* and by the beginning of May I'll have more or less the exact figures on how much I saved by moving everything to the Cloud.
Meanwhile, my apartment is the quietest it's ever been.** The domain controller is a small, 1U server with only one cooling fan. Without the two monster 2U units and their four cooling fans (plus their 12 hard drives), I can suddenly hear the PDC...and now I want to shut it down as well.
* Except for the DSL and land-line, which should be down in a couple of weeks. I'll still have all the expense data by May.
** Except for the two blackouts. Now, of course, I never need worry about a blackout again—unless it hits the entire country at once, which would create new problems for me.
Weather Now is fully deployed to the Cloud. As soon as the Worker Role finishes parsing the last few hours of weather, I'll cut over the DNS change, and it will be live.
Actually, that's not entirely true; I'm going to cut over the DNS in the morning, after I know I fixed the bugs I found during this past week's shake-down cruise.* So if you want to see what a weather site looks like while it's back-filling its database, you can go to its alias, http://wx-now.cloudapp.net. (Because of how Azure works, this will remain its alias forever.)
Time to meet my friends, who are wondering where I am, no doubt.
* Bugs fixed: 13. Total time: 6.9 hours (including 2.4 to import and migrate the Gazetteer).