Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Thursday 6 December 2012

Via AVWeb: Boeing has put up a 787 Dreamliner simulator that allows you to (virtually) sit in the cockpit. You can check out any of the instruments, look out the windows, and listen to the cockpit crew.

Someday you might even fly in a real one.

Thursday 6 December 2012 08:48:32 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#
Wednesday 5 December 2012

It's finally happened.

After 13 years, my cousin has gotten to the top of the Cubs season ticket waiting list. Only a year ago, he was 10,000 away from the top, but for some reason the list got radically shorter this season.

He and I long ago made a pact to go in together. And today, we found out what that means. We have an appointment at Wrigley Field at 9am Saturday to pick seats. And to pay for them.

We can skip the appointment, of course, but that means going to the back of the line—which now has 115,000 names on it. In 12 years my cousin moved up 4,000 places; that makes the list something like 300 years long.

What to do, what to do. I'm not sure the Cubs will have a better season next year than they did this year, and I'm not sure I want to part with all that money. Oh, we'll probably have to put most of them on StubHub, of course, but that doesn't mean we'll sell them. Moreover, we're not doing this to sell the tickets, we're doing this to go to Wrigley Field a lot.

We thought we'd get there in 2015, 2020, even 2025. A couple of older guys, hanging out at Wrigley, watching baseball, you know?

Time to create a decision model...

(Here are the FAQs about Wrigley season tickets. And fortunately I don't have to cough up the money all at once: "Your first payment, due at the time of your seat selection to secure your seats, is based on 10% of the post-tax total for the seats that you select. The first payment is non-refundable.")

Wednesday 5 December 2012 15:35:01 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Cubs#
Tuesday 4 December 2012

Chicago's official weather station lived at Midway Airport from 1928 until 1958, when it moved up to O'Hare. As I mentioned yesterday, Chicago's record high temperature for December 3rd is 22°C. Yesterday's official temperature only got up to 21°C, so we didn't break the official record.

A funny thing happened, however. Yesterday's temperature broke Midway's record, tying the official record set at O'Hare in 1970:

The level of warmth observed across the Chicago area Monday ranked among the rarest of the rare in December. Temperatures at 21°C and higher are exceedingly rare in December---it's happened only twice before on Dec. 3, 1970 (21.6°C) and Dec. 2, 1982 (same).

Further underscoring the rarity of such unseasonable warmth is the fact that of the possible 4,405 December days that are part of the city’s 142 year observational record, there have now been just 3 days on the books with temperatures at or above 21°C!

Chicago’s temperature reached the 21°C mark at 2:14 pm at Midway Airport and at 2:44 pm at O’Hare.

Midway’s peak reading was to end up reaching 22°C, blowing past all of the South Side site’s previous highest December temperatures to become the month’s warmest on record since observations began there in 1928.

Put another way, that temperature is normal for September 22nd and May 23rd in Chicago, or December 3rd in Tampa, Fla.

Today the weather has felt more like the beginning of November or the first week of April: closer to normal, I suppose, but still remarkably warm for December.

Tuesday 4 December 2012 12:56:14 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

Last month, United Airlines and the Star Alliance held a multi-day outing for some frequent fliers that included a couple legs on a 787:

They were bankers, lawyers, programmers, film distributors, entrepreneurs and all-around aviation buffs or, as they lovingly call themselves, geeks. Most were men. All of them had signed up for a MegaDo, a retreat organized by and for travel fanatics who scour Web sites like Milepoint, particularly frequent fliers for whom it is a hobby to accrue miles and learn every last detail about their preferred airline.

The first MegaDo was in 2009. This one, Star Alliance MegaDo 4, had a European leg that wasn’t on a Dreamliner and a domestic leg, and sold out in two minutes. Tickets for the United States portion were $999 to $1,999 and included meals and behind-the-scenes talks and tours with airline and hotel executives. All the proceeds go to charity. Those who did manage to score a Star Alliance MegaDo 4 ticket would ultimately fly on a Dreamliner, party in an airplane hangar, learn how to de-ice a plane, visit United’s headquarters, barely sleep and consume copious amounts of alcohol.

The average traveler has probably never heard of MegaDos, but they have become so significant within the travel industry that, as one of the founders, Tommy Danielsen, put it: “United gives us this plane a week and a half after they introduce it.”

But even occasional fliers will find themselves on Dreamliners in the coming years as more airlines integrate them into their fleets. United, the first domestic carrier to receive the Dreamliner, has two so far and at least another 48 on the way. International carriers including Japan Airlines and Air India have been flying the planes for months.

Unfortunately, American Airlines won't receive any 787s for at least another 18 months or so, and I'm unlikely to fly on United before then. So I'll be patient and wait. Unless USAirways hurries up and buys American already...

Tuesday 4 December 2012 12:26:02 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#
Monday 3 December 2012

Children and authoritarians tend to react to clear evidence against them by doubling down. The current Israeli government has continued the tradition:

The Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to approve the construction of 3,000 new homes is widely seen as a response to the United Nations vote earlier this week that recognised a Palestinian bid to be a "non-member observer state".

The US, with Israel, strongly opposed that move, while Britain abstained in the vote. But now both countries have criticised the Israeli settlement decision, saying it hurts the chances of a two-state solution and the search for peace in the troubled region.

"Let me reiterate that this administration, like previous administrations, has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace," [US Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton said, in remarks delivered at the Saban Center think tank in Washington on Friday.

[British Foreign Secretary William] Hague said he was "extremely concerned" at the plans, which have been reported in the Israeli press as including a four-square-mile area just east of Jerusalem that is seen as vital to keeping open a viable land corridor between the city and any future Palestinian state.

The meta-message to Netanyahu is, "You cannot achieve your goals pursuing your current course of action." But just as it's difficult for 4-year-olds to understand this presented like that, so is it for Bibi and the right. In fact, I think the defining characteristic of any extremist is an inability to accept the basic fact that other points of view exist, let alone that policies predicated on their point of view will fail spectacularly, given enough time.

Full disclosure: I'm Jewish, as any but the most extreme Rabbis will agree. (By "most extreme" I mean any Rabbi who believes no one's mother can convert to Judaism.) I'm also atheist, as anyone who's read this blog knows. I also have an allergic reaction against anyone who claims that their ethnic/political/knitting group is the only ethnic/political/knitting group qualified to discuss matters that affect people beyond their group's boundaries.

Monday 3 December 2012 13:44:25 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | World#

Yesterday it was 17°C; today, so far, it's 19°C. (The record temperature for December 3rd is 22°C, set in 1970.)

But no, there's no global warming.

Monday 3 December 2012 13:32:53 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

Geologist James Powell points out that the peer-review process keeps finding in favor of climate change:

The most obvious criticsism—that this is an argumentum ad populum—only works if you misunderstand how science works. Every scientist has an implicit incentive to prove some other scientist wrong. You can make your career in science by showing that the received wisdom doesn't fit all the evidence. So the numbers in that pie chart have to raise eyebrows, even if the eyes under them have blinders on.

Since the planet has been hotter in the past, I don't worry that global climate change will kill everyone. In fact, Chicago will probably do fine, as will the Canadian plains and much of central Asia.

The problem with the American right wing, not to mention other governments worldwide, is that by refusing to believe the climate is changing—regardless of the cause—they're refusing to take simple actions against the predictable consequences of it. Ostriches don't stick their heads in the sand in real life, because if they were to do that, they'd be killed by the things they were hiding from. Of all earth's species, only humans can look at impending doom and ignore it. Or, to put it another way:

Sunday 2 December 2012 19:58:41 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Sunday 2 December 2012

No, I don't mean "will we have to endure another six weeks of an election." I mean that Chicago today hit 17°C, not a record (22°C in 1982), but also more normal for mid-October than for the second day of meteorological winter.

Tomorrow may be warmer. The Climate Prediction Center forecasts a warm December followed by more normal temperatures through March, so we might get a good Chicago winter anyway.

Remember, though, that warm winters lead to warm summers (though not necessarily the reverse), so I sincerely hope it cools off a bit before April. I'll take a couple of frigidly-cold months in exchange for a cool summer.

Sunday 2 December 2012 14:02:39 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Saturday 1 December 2012

I've just spent three hours debugging something caused by a single missing line in a configuration file.

At 10th Magnitude, we've recently upgraded our framework and reference applications to the latest Windows Azure SDK. Since I'd already done it once, it didn't take too desperately long to create the new versions of our stuff.

However, the fact that something works in an emulator does not mean it will actually work in production. So, last night, our CTO attempted to deploy the first application we built with the new stuff out to Azure. It failed.

First, all we got was a HttpException, which is what ASP.NET MVC throws when something fails on a Razor view. The offending line was this:

@{ 
   ViewBag.Title = Html.Resource("PageTitle");
}

This extension method indirectly calls our custom resource provider, cleverly obfuscated as SqlResourceProvider, which then looks up the string resource in a SQL database.

My first problem was to get to the actual exception being thrown. That required me to RDP into the running Web role, open a view (I chose About.cshtml because it was essentially empty), and replace the code above with this:

@using System.Globalization
@{
  try
  {
    var provider = new SqlResourceProvider("/Views/Home/About.cshtml");
    var title = provider.GetObject("PageTitle", CultureInfo.CurrentUICulture);
    ViewBag.Title = title;
  }
  catch (Exception ex)
  {
    ViewBag.Error = ex + Environment.NewLine + "Base:" + Environment.NewLine + ex.GetBaseException();
  }
}
<pre>@ViewBag.Error</pre>

That got me the real error stack, whose relevant lines were right at the top:

System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.WindowsAzure.ServiceRuntime, Version=1.7.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.
File name: 'Microsoft.WindowsAzure.ServiceRuntime, Version=1.7.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35'
at XM.UI.ResourceProviders.ResourceCache.LogDebug(String message)

Flash forward an hour of reading and testing things. I'll spare you. The solution is to add a second binding redirect in web.config:

<dependentAssembly>
  <assemblyIdentity name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.ServiceRuntime" 
    publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" culture="neutral" />
  <bindingRedirect oldVersion="0.0.0.0-1.0.0.0" newVersion="1.0.0.0" />
  <bindingRedirect oldVersion="1.1.0.0-1.8.0.0" newVersion="1.8.0.0" />
</dependentAssembly>

Notice the second line? That tells .NET to refer all requests for the service runtime to the 1.8 version.

Also, in the Web application, you have to set the assembly references for Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Configuration and Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage to avoid using specific versions. In Solution Explorer, under the References folder for the web app, find the assemblies in question, view Properties, and set Specific Version to false.

I hope I have saved you three hours of your life. I will now go back to my deployment, already in progress...

Update, an hour and a half later: It turns out, there's a difference in behavior between <compilation debug="true"> and <compilation> on Azure Guest OS 3 (Windows Server 2012) that did not exist in previous guest OS versions. When an application is in debug mode on Azure Guest OS 3, it ignores some errors. Specifically, it ignores the FileNotFoundException thrown when Bundle.JavaScript().Add() has the wrong version number for the script it's trying to add. In Release mode, it just barfs up a 500 response. That is maddening—especially when you're trying to debug something else. At least it let our app log the error, eventually.

Saturday 1 December 2012 15:36:31 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Cloud | Windows Azure | Work#
Friday 30 November 2012

Via Sullivan, a stunning and beautiful video comprising hundreds of still photos taken last fall:

Friday 30 November 2012 09:13:09 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#

A French appeals court has ruled that neither Continental nor mechanic John Taylor bears criminal responsibility for the 2000 Air France Concorde crash outside Paris:

According to the original ruling, mechanic John Taylor fitted the wrong metal strip on a Continental DC-10. The piece ultimately fell off on the runway in Paris, puncturing the Concorde's tire. The burst tire sent bits of rubber flying, puncturing the fuel tanks, which started the fire that brought down the plane.

On Thursday, Judge Michele Luga overturned the 2010 manslaughter conviction of Continental and the mechanic, saying their mistakes didn't make them criminally responsible for the deaths.

Even if Taylor knew that the metal strip could become detached, "he could never have imagined a scenario where this simple titanium blade could cause such a disaster," Luga said in court.

The French court that convicted Continental and the mechanic in 2010 for the crash imposed about €2 m in damages and fines on the carrier. The appeals court upheld Continental's civil responsibility and ordered it to pay Air France €1 m in damages and interests.

I'm not sure I understand how the trial court came to convict Taylor in the first place. One small piece of debris on a runway should not cause a transport-class airplane to burst into flames. I don't know enough about French law to speculate about the trial judge, however. I do know that in the French system the trial judge has a much more active role than in the Anglo-American system, and can even act as prosecutor.

Anyway, this has to be a relief for Taylor, and for United Continental. It also marks the end of the Concorde's story.

Friday 30 November 2012 09:11:08 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#
Wednesday 28 November 2012

Yes, another link round-up:

Back to designing software...

Wednesday 28 November 2012 14:04:12 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Business#
Search
On this page....
Fly a 787
Approach-Avoid Conflict
Semi-official record yesterday
Star Alliance Mega-Do on a 787
Israel's government throws a tantrum
Still unseasonably warm
We're still arguing about this?
Is it October again?
Debugging our first Azure 1.8 deployment
Fall in Central Park
French court ends Concorde lawsuit
Stuff to read later
Countdowns
The Daily Parker +3273d 13h 05m
Parker's 9th birthday 228d 00h 08m
My next birthday 309d 04h 13m
Categories
Aviation (339) Baseball (110) Best Bars (7) Biking (44) Chicago (894) Cubs (197) Duke (132) Geography (331) Higher Ground (5) Jokes (282) Kitchen Sink (641) London (53) Parker (190) Daily (204) Photography (143) Politics (303) US (1081) World (252) Raleigh (21) Readings (8) Religion (66) San Francisco (87) Software (201) Blogs (74) Business (225) Cloud (89) Cool links (132) Security (98) Travel (205) Weather (688) Astronomy (85) Windows Azure (59) Work (56) Writing (8)
Links
Archive
<December 2012>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2526272829301
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345
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: 4527
This Year: 425
This Month: 40
This Week: 8
Comments: 0