After a nearly two days with above-freezing temperatures, our sidewalks have become passable and our faces have stopped falling off from the cold. Consequently I've spent a good deal of time today walking places. Consequently, though it's just 3pm, I've gotten better Fitbit numbers (15,000 steps, 11 km) than on any day since January 3rd (16,800 steps, 12.1 km).
From January 3rd you have to go all the way back to November 30th (23,500 steps, 18 km) to find better results. I'm not going to do that today; but I am going to walk Parker more than he's been walked in a couple of weeks, and try to hit 18,000 steps or so.
I also discovered that Google knows everywhere I've been since I got my Android phone. (If you have an Android phone, go to https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0 to see your history.) That's creepy. And so interesting. For a while I've been outlining an app that would aggregate all of this kind of information and form a searchable tick-tock record going back as far as I have data. That might be cool—or it might be scary. Haven't decided yet.
There have been interesting developments in two stories I've mentioned recently:
Otherwise, it's just work work work. But fun work.
The Kickstarter campaign I mentioned Friday (and that I've backed) has become the most-backed campaign ever with 112,250 backers raising $4.4 million. Their original goal, mind you, was $10,000.
I think "Exploding Kittens" might succeed, y'know?
Interesting things to read:
Before reading all of those I need to get a production deployment ready for this weekend. It would help if I were completely certain what's in production right now...
Via Tech Cocktail, Jason Scott has added 2,388 MS-DOS video games to the Wayback Machine. Says Scott:
The Archive introduced v2, or “the Beta Interface” late last year. It was slow, stocky, and freaked people out. But folks got the idea, mostly – it was taking a site that had only incremental changes for 13 years, shaking the whole story up, and re-imagining the whole thing as a visual and browsing collection, as well as a way to dig deep into the materials.
Since last year, it’s gotten faster, slimmer, has added a bunch of features, and continues to become better to use. But it needs feedback, which is why I’m pushing you at it.
Enjoy the games, and check out all those beautiful screenshots! Play a few programs, note how you get around to things, and talk about what works and what doesn’t work for you. There’s a feedback button – use it. The goal is that you will be able to do everything you can do with the old interface with the new, but that you’ll have so much more happening on the new one. And remember, v2 works across all of the Archive… all the collections are out there, be they movies, books or audio, and the new interface has cool ways to interact with them as well.
Good thing I'm not working from home today where I'll be distracted by, say, Castle Wolfenstein...oh.
While we're getting ready to celebrate the birth of Baby X this Xmas, links are once again stacking up in my inbox. Like these:
That might be it for The Daily Parker today.
In a revealing post, Pomplamoose's Jack Conte says not much:
Being in an indie band is running a never-ending, rewarding, scary, low-margin small business. In order to plan and execute our Fall tour, we had to prepare for months, slowly gathering risk and debt before selling a single ticket. We had to rent lights. And book hotel rooms. And rent a van. And assemble a crew. And buy road cases for our instruments. And rent a trailer. And….
We built the tour budget ourselves and modeled projected revenue against expenses. Neither of us had experience with financial modeling, so we just did the best we could. With six figures of projected expenses, “the best we could” wasn’t super comforting.
Add it up, and that’s $135,983 in total income for our tour. And we had $147,802 in expenses.
We lost $11,819.
They currently earn $6,371 per song or video through Patreon, the artist-patronage site Conte himself created. So he's not starving. But he and Nataly Dawn work around the clock making music.
I'm glad Conte is so transparent about it. I'm also glad to support him and Nataly on Patreon.
The Redmond giant stunned the software development world this week by opening up several core technologies, including the entire .NET platform, to the public:
We are building a .NET Core CLR for Windows, Mac and Linux and it will be both open source and it will be supported by Microsoft. It'll all happen at https://github.com/dotnet.
Much of the .NET Core Framework 4.6 and its Reference Source source is going on GitHub. It's being relicensed under the MIT license, so Mono (and you!) can use that source code in their .NET implementations.
Dr. Dobbs is impressed (as am I):
Of these platforms, Linux is clearly the most important. Today, Microsoft earns much of its (record) profits from enterprise software packages (SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange, etc.). By running .NET on Linux, it now has the ability to run those apps on a significant majority of server platforms. Except for Solaris sites, all enterprises will be able to run the applications without having to add in the cost of Microsoft Server licenses.
But perhaps more important than the pure server benefit is the cloud aspect. VMs on the cloud, especially the public cloud, are principally Linux-based. Windows VMs are available, too, but at consistently higher pricing. With this move, .NET apps can now run anywhere on the cloud — or said another way, between servers and the cloud, the apps can run anywhere IT is operating.
The big winners of all this goodness are C# developers. In theory, .NET portability favors all .NET languages equally, but it's no secret that C# is the first among equals. (It is, in fact, the only language that Xamarin supports currently.) Microsoft has been an excellent steward of the language, evolving it intelligently and remarkably cleanly. Among developers who use it regularly, it is uniformly well liked, which distinguishes it from most of the other major development languages today, where an appreciation that borders on ambivalence is the more common experience.
The big loser is certainly Java. Java's stock in trade has been its longstanding ability to run without modification or recompilation on all major platforms. In this valuable trait, it has had no major competition. If Microsoft's port of .NET provides a multi-platform experience that is as smooth and seamless as Java, then the JVM will have some very serious competition.
Once I'm done with the deliverable that's due tomorrow, I may download the .NET Framework and take a look. I'll also spin up an Azure VM and play around with Visual Studio 2015 before the end of the week.
Microsoft's Scott Hanselman provides a list:
"Knowing computers" today is more than just knowing Office, or knowing how to attach a file. Today's connected world is way more complex than any of us realize. If you're a techie, you're very likely forgetting how far you've come!
The #1 thing you can do when working with a non-techie is to be empathetic. Put yourself in their shoes. Give them the tools and the base of knowledge they need.
- Backup everything. Is your entire company on your 10 year old computer’s desktop? Look for Backup options like CrashPlan, DropBox, OneDrive, etc. Literally ANYTHING is better than leaving documents on your computer’s desktop.
- Learn to use search to find your files. Press the Windows key and just start typing on Windows, or use Spotlight (Command-Spacebar) on Mac.
- Don’t CC more than 10 of your friends or neighbors. At that point, consider another way to talk to them. Some of your friends may not want their email given to the world. Perhaps this is a time to use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) so you don't expose everyone's email address to each other?
Techies should read this post to understand what their non-techie friends don't understand. Everyone else should just read it.
My new Android phone has a built in-GPS and a fairly large Google Maps cache. I'm sure this is true of other phones, but not of my old Windows phone, so until this past trip I couldn't do this:
And then, a few seconds later, I could do this:
I love this phone.