Friday went long, so yesterday was pretty quiet. The Apollo Chorus had its annual fund-raiser on Friday. As one of the volunteers, I tagged along to the official after-party, which turned into two subsequent unofficial after-parties, and a completely lazy day yesterday.
We should get preliminary results on the total fundraising take by tomorrow's rehearsal. We did get a pretty good haul at the door, and during our "Money Song," which included a challenge grant that got completely used. So, in all, great event, fun weekend, slept like a dog last night.
Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.
Via Chicagoist, astronaut Tim Kopra snapped this from aboard the International Space Station earlier this week:
The city's borders show up brilliantly because unlike most of the surrounding suburbs, Chicago uses sodium-vapor lamps, which glow yellow-orange. But that's changing (including right in my own alley):
The Chicago Infrastructure Trust will replace the city's 348,500 outdoor lights with energy-efficient LED technology, according to a statement from City Hall. The Smart Lighting Project is aimed at making the city's lighting more environmentally-friendly and save money.
The LED lights would be significantly more efficient than the current sodium-vapor lights and would produce the same amount of light while using a fraction of the electricity, according to TimeOut Chicago. However, the new lights will produce a white light instead of the famous orange glow.
I have say, the LEDs are much more pleasant than the old lights, and they use just a fraction of the energy. But someday the city's outline won't be as visible from above.
The Ph.D. psychologist at Deeply Trivial is participating in the A-Z Blog Challenge this month. She's six posts into a great primer on social psychology, starting with last Friday's Attribution through today's Festinger.
The Daily Parker is not doing the A-Z challenge this year because I'm not nearly as disciplined as Deeply Trivial. That, and I'm not clear on a topic that would interest anyone else. Maybe next year.
After a much-warmer-than-normal early March, we've had typical Chicago weather for the first week of April. The Climate Prediction Center still says April might be warmer and drier than normal, but the 6-10 day outlook is just cold.
Today it doesn't know what to do. Walking from the train I got sun, snow, pellets, and mist. And it's barely 3°C.
So, it really is spring in Chicago, but I'd very much like the week we get (usually in May) when it's warm and sunny. Like we had at the beginning of March.
The new computer has arrived, and I am now setting it up.
This used to be a total pain in the ass. Copy files, install from disks, copy more files, find passwords... And by "used to" I mean in 2012.
Today my working files are all in OneDrive, my frequently-used, unimportant Web passwords* are in Chrome, and my apps are all in the cloud. This pretty much means the only things I have to do are (a) log into my Microsoft account, (b) download Chrome, and (c) copy a portable hard disk onto my local. So much less babysitting.
And then there's this:
I mean, 40 GB. I feel like the first time I used a computer with 32 MB of RAM. I haven't even taken it out for a spin yet; that's after I install Lightroom, Visual Studio, and SQL Server.
Speaking of, I do have to install my development environment and make sure I can compile and deploy the important things. But I don't have to do that this second.
Over the last few days we've had ridiculous weather in Chicago. I will now ridicule it.
Friday it rained and didn't. All day. From moment to moment it was unclear whether we'd get rained on or not. Saturday was similar, but we walked from sun to snow and back, block for block.
Then Sunday it was 22°C at one point, and -3°C at another. The Tribune has a graphic about it. I walked around with, at one point, my jacket, sweater, and outer shirt in my backpack.
Yesterday? Snow, of course.
Today? Sunny and freezing right now, cloudy and freezing later.
At least today Parker will get some good walks—assuming it doesn't rain.
Bonus: Here's WGN-TV's time-lapse view of Saturday's wacky weather.
On Thursday I merged in the latest Github code from the BlogEngine.NET project and published it to Azure. I didn't realize at the time that the update contained a new widget called "newsletter" that let anyone sign up to receive a notification for each post on the blog.
By the time I got my weekly email report with its hundreds of bounces, apparently every robot from here to Vladivostok had signed up.
So annoying. Well, I now know the widget code a lot better, and I've killed the thing. I hope my bounce rate drops back to zero.
If you want to know when I post something, there's an RSS feed to which you're welcome to subscribe.
This little box here contains 32 gigabytes of RAM, and cost me $1 per 162,842,362 bytes. As I mentioned Thursday, this is considerably more RAM for considerably less money than the RAM I bought in January 1993 to upgrade my 4 MB ZEOS computer to an 8 MB computer. Those 4 megabytes cost about the same as these 32 gigabytes in total. But back then, I got only 20,972 bytes per dollar.
Put it another way: this RAM is approximately 8,000 times less expensive than the RAM I bought in 1993. It's also somewhere around 2,000 times faster, but that's a different metric. Oh, and it's more than 1,600 times more memory capacity than the total hard drive space on the first computer I owned that came with a hard drive.
I love living in the future.
Reddit recently published their 2015 Transparency Report, in which they tell how many times they received official requests for user information. However, NSA letters often require that the companies receiving them keep the letters themselves secret. So how to let the world know you've received one? Kill a canary:
At the bottom of its 2014 transparency report, the company wrote: "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed."
That language was conspicuously missing from the 2015 transparency report that was published Thursday morning.
Warrant canaries work like this: a company publishes anotice saying that a warrant has not been served as of a particular date. Should that notice be taken down, users are to surmise that the company has indeed been served with one. The theory is that while a court can compel someone to not speak (a gag order), it cannot compel someone to lie. The only problem is that warrant canaries have yet to be fully tested in court.
When users wondered if this meant the site had been subjected to a secret court order in the /announcements/ subreddit, CEO Steve Huffman, known on the site as "spez," wrote: "I've been advised not to say anything one way or the other."
Secret warrants are totalitarian instruments that have no place in an open democracy. We need to end the practice. I hope someone with the balls and bucks challenges one soon.
Again, the post Friday was not an April Fool's joke. And since then I've had non-stop things going on, including today going over the silent auction donations for our coming Apollo After Hours fundraiser.
Tomorrow should be a little calmer.