Taking Mars Edit 4 for a spin!

So I was sad the WordPress macOS “app” is just an Electron app that wraps the website with a few macOS menu items to jump to specific pages on the site. 

Thought I’d give MarsEdit a try.  But the Mac App Store glitched 😦

 

AppStore download error for MarsEdit

 

Worked after I quit and restarted the App Store.

So one thing I’m not seeing is how to have it post to Twitter when I post to my blog.  Maybe that’ll happen inside of WordPress?

It DOES!   Ok, that’s pretty cool.  This might work after all.

 

Hmm.  So maybe I’ve been using Pages & Numbers too much lately, and the WordPress site, but I find myself looking to the right side “Options” pane for formatting commands.  I often want to format some content as code (go figure!) and having that very handy is nice.

OH MY WOWZA!  You can add your own formatting macros to the Format menu with key command shortcuts.  Ok.  That is slick.

let foo = 12

Little bit of trouble getting out of code mode.. but not terrible.

— 

Wow. The feature where MarsEdit downloads my template from WordPress so that it can preview posts is very cool.

––

There are a few things that are tripping me up, but since I want to put more of the content I usually put on twitter onto a platform that I can keep if I bail on twitter, this seems like a good way to do it.  (I think about micro.blog also, but I just don’t ‘get’ it.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

I do wish MarsEdit would save out static blog posts and use FTP to upload them to a statically hosted blog/site.  But a WPXML roc adaptor to Jekyll or something has been sketched out by two different friends so maybe that’ll materialize somehow.

Implanted Medical Devices, OSS, Open Hardware , Right to Repair, … and Electric vehicles.

Implanted medical devices from companies that go under or discontinue them have a major impact on the humans those devices have been implanted into. How do we mange this as a society in ways that doesn’t inhibit innovation and progress?

Imagine you’ve got a high-tech implant in your retina that gives you a crude but effective form of vision. Now imagine the company that produced the implant suddenly goes out of business, and will no longer service or fix your implant

Glenn Zorpette, on twitter

He’s referencing this article:

THEIR BIONIC EYES ARE NOW OBSOLETE AND UNSUPPORTED
Second Sight left users of its retinal implants in the dark

spectrum.ieee.org, (article)

I read this article last night and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I don’t have an answer I’m convinced is complete yet, but it does seem like this situation represents a strong vote for FDA approval of medical implant requiring an implant meet the following standards:

  • Right to Repair requirements
  • Open Source Hardware
  • Open Source Software

But how do we do that in a way that doesn’t prevent companies making the massive R&D effort and incurring the corresponding expense to create these devices despite these requirements? Companies and investors will likely feel they’ll have insufficient time to earn back their investment, let alone the profit investors want, if their work can just be easily copied because it’s open source hardware/software.

I don’t have an answer, but the following come to mind as possibilities. I encourage you to add any practical ideas you have to the comments below.

  • Federal R&D grants for companies that are working on products that meet these guidelines (pre-launch funding).
  • R&D tax credits/incentives for companies that release products under this framework (pre- post-launch funding/incentives).
  • Have the technology held in an escrow system for hardware & software source that automatically becomes public 5 years (say) after shipping the approved device so companies have time to make their investment plus profit back.
  • Perhaps companies should be encouraged to patent what they create (discount the cost of that?) with a requirement that they also publish their hardware & software as open source restricted to non-commercial use only by others for as long as the company remain in business their patent is still in force (maybe limit patent duration to 10 years post product release or something)? They could still charge too much so as to make parts “available”, but not really available except to the super wealthy.
  • Maybe only non-profit entities can make implantable medical devices for approval and they will be required to follow the guidelines above. Investors don’t “invest” in these companies in a traditional sense, but perhaps they can ‘donate’ the loan of capital with a maximum interest return specified by statute (or something like that).

Curious what ideas others have.

Seems like something we need to solve – probably through legislation, but I’m open to other ideas. If done via legislation, we need that legislation crafted by people who actually understand the technological and business dynamics sufficiently well and who care about the people in whom these implants are placed sufficiently more than a desire for profit; we want good laws that actually work and don’t inhibit R&D and innovation so much we make no forward progress but also don’t risk leaving patients out in the cold, suddenly unable to see.

Postscript

I did also think about how this isn’t the first such device – I have at least two friends/colleagues with pacemakers that have been surgically implanted into their bodies. So this isn’t an entirely new thing.

I’ve also been thinking about this in the context of electric vehicles – how many of the new electric vehicles / companies are going to go out of business or decide it’s not worth it for them to keep maintaining or supporting early models that didn’t sell well?

Do all those vehicles prematurely become garbage because the battery controller software is closed source and so can’t be updated to work with new battery technology? Or because the inverter goes bad and the specifications for it aren’t available any more and so no one can create an aftermarket replacement? Or vehicles that had too few for it to make financial sense for a third market parts manufacturer to bother? (See man blows up Tesla Model S because replacement battery is too expensive to justify).

I don’t think we can afford to be making so much garbage. There’s a lot of embodied energy in an EV and a massive level of promotion for people to switch to EVs from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Those ICE vehicles can be kept running for 20, 30, 40, even 50 years if they were popular when they were released and so third party parts manufacturers have figured out how to make parts for them.

Batteries in electric vehicles aren’t going to last even half the lower end of that spectrum.

This seems like an issue that needs to be addressed. Not as individually impactful as having your medical implant “End of Life’d”, but still.

Life planning circa early 2001

Old life-planning image that Jaimee Jaimee’s Coffee With Jaimee – getting unstuck radio show made me think of.

Just started listening to the first couple of episodes of Jaimee Finney’s new live radio show Coffee With Jaimee – A Show About Getting Unstuck and have been enjoying it quite a bit.

In these first two episodes Jaimee talked about writing down what’s most important to you in your life in episode one, and then talked about writing down your big bulky desires or goals in episode two. This reminded me of something along these lines I did in early 2001 (?). Sharing it not because the content is particularly interesting, but to illustrate that “write down” doesn’t necessarily mean making a list in the usual way. My thought was that perhaps this might help someone feel free to diagram these things out in a way that organizes them by modality, or topic, or location, or whatever works best for them and to remind people that it doesn’t have to be a linear list.

Circle in the center containing core goals/values (Be a good dad; be a good mate; be healthy) and with "rays" of text coming out for various projects (software products, technologies to learn, house projects, and so on) and things to learn and do.

I redid this later and it got a bit more concentric circle oriented, but the shape is just whatever way helps you evaluate the relative importance of things to you, your life, those you care about, and so on, so I’d recommend not letting yourself be constrained by what I or anyone else has done.

(slight redaction to remove names of products and people as appropriate)

Blast from the past: “Bedtime conversations tend to be a little goofy when Dad’s doing lights out….”

Cleaning up an old family website (pre blog) for sharing stories with out-of-town family and found this bit of goofy-dad nonsense that made me laugh so I thought I’d share it:

—-

Bedtime conversations tend to be a little goofy when dad’s doing lights out….

A discussion of wavelengths of energy and radio astronomy leads to the following: 

Geek: How do you see things with xrays and radio waves?

Dad: Well you could look at the signals bouncing back. Where there is nothing you get no bounce-back, and where there’s a planets or moon or something you get a bounce back. How long it takes to bounce back tells you how far away it is. Longer wave lenghts show less detail than shorter wave lengths (long discussion of why).

One time there were these astronomers trying to discover new planets and they decided to create a gamma-wave telescope.

Geek: Did they find any?

Dad: Well, they thought they had, but things were kind of strange…. 

So then they sent gamma rays towards this one spot and they got ultraviolet waves back!

“That’s funny” the astronomers said to each other, “let’s try xrays.”

So they shot some xrays towards the same location… this time they got back radio waves! 

Geek: “They did?!”

Dad: “Yep!”

After trying to understand what kind of astronomical body could turn their xrays into radio waves of the frequency and waveforms they’d received back, someone got the idea to play the radio waves through a speaker. Boy were they surprised to hear “HEY! No Peeking!” coming out of the speaker!

(Geek breaks out in laughing!) 

“WHAT!??? said the astronomers. 

They sent back a radio signal on the same frequency saying, “Sorry, we didn’t know anyone was there!” 

They got a message back saying, “You didn’t? Didn’t you see my sign?”.

“What sign?” the astronomers sent back. 

“Check the ultraviolet signal we returned when you sent all those gamma rays,” was the reply. 

So the astronomers took the ultraviolet signal they’d gotten back and figured out it was a sign saying “Bob’s Spaceship Repair Shop.”

—-

The next several nights we’d hear “HEY! No Peeking!” coming from Geek’s room followed by lots of laughter so I guess it was a lasting laughable ™. 🙂

Aug. 2004. (Geek was 8)

Looking back and wishing I’d stuck this regular practice…

Looking back at the drawings Geek & I were doing as a daily practice during the summer of 2009 and wishing I’d kept up with it. Imagining how much better I’d be at drawing now if I’d continued to do a drawing a day for the last nearly 9 years (wow! time flies!). That’s roughly 3200 drawings…!

Good reminder that many things take regular, consistent practice.

Resolving to decide which things to fold back into my regular practices and do so.

I think Craig is right on track with his wearables & Apple

I think Craig Hockenberry @chockenberry is right on track with his Wearing Apple post.

I’ve been thinking and talking about a “personal secure network” among a collection of devices you are wearing or carrying for a while now and it seems like a no-brainer to me.  Seems totally silly to put all the battery, radios, antennas, storage and whatnot in a single device (google glass for example).

You need less battery in what I call the ‘motes’ if the LTE/WiFi radios and antennas are in the ‘core’ (“hub” in Craig’s post). What are ‘motes’ ? Think rings, earrings, necklace, bracelet, phone in pocket, flexible battery in belt, piezo generator in shoes, motion generator in umbrella/walking stick, bluetooth earpiece, display in glasses and/or contacts, high performance computing cube in our backpack, and sure, even a watch 🙂

What’s the problem with this vision? Lots really 🙂  Charging all these devices will be a pain.  Clearly you need something like a flat pad you set ‘motes’ on while you sleep and they charge inductively.  Better yet would be if they had small energy harvester chips with fractal antennas that harvested ambient energy (microwaves, cellular signals, AM, FM, etc) to extend their battery life.  Oh, yah, better batteries would be a big win and this may not get cool until that happens.

Want to get even more “out there?” Check this out:  Sugar-powered biobattery has 10 times the energy storage of lithium.  Pretty cool but one of the implications of this might be devices that could be powered from our body’s internal processes directly.  So to charge your devices you just eat more.  Be a boon for obesity.  Need to lose weight? Play more flappy birds!  😛

This then lets us surgically implant devices so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it at home.  You may think I’m being silly, but the convenience will win people over.  Also, note the long-time existence and surgical implantation of pacemakers & defibrillators.  Then look at how common tattoos and body piercing are in youth today (in parts of the USA anyway).  We are not that far from this.

Ok Geek’s hungry so leaving it at this quick “jot this down” for now.

A Conversation with our Cat

On a cold snowy day in Corbett…

Me: walking by cat on way to the house for lunch…

Cat: “Meow. Meow, Meow. Meow! MEOW!”

Me: “What?”

Cat: “Brrrr.  Inside cat?”

Me: “no”

Cat: “29 degrees!”

Me: “Fur!”

Cat: “SNOW + 29 degrees!”

Me: “5x pissing on bed == OUTSIDE CAT!”

Cat: “Surgery! Ow!”

Me: “Let you back in 2 years later & you beeline for a bed.  No!”

Cat: “meanie…”

Me:  walks away to write guilty blog post

😀

Snippy reply I made that I wanted to remember

Someone made a critical twitter statement that was based on a stereotype more than a cliche, but it was also kind of a cliche and couldn’t think of the word stereotype at that moment so I had to respond to the cliche aspect of it.  I kind of liked the way this came out so I’m saving it here in case I need it again 🙂

Enjoy that cliche all you want but only those with nothing better to say speak in cliche.

Why Twitter will never make a great twitter app

My reaction to the news today that Twitter today is changing their policies to further discourage 3rd party twitter clients (among several other things): according to The Next Web and the twitter developer’s blog itself.

I predict (and it’s certainly true so far) that Twitter will never make an Twitter client app that I like as much as I like Tweetbot and here’s why:  The official Twitter app must be appropriate for all users.  With a user population as high as Twitter has there is no single set of features or even UI/UX design that will be right for all users.  People are different.  They learn differently.  Their definition of what is “intuitive” is different.  They use Twitter in different ways and for different reasons. As a result the features needed and the way they are presented are different for various sub-populations of the Twitter user-base.  I assert that no single app can meet all these needs well.  Certainly Twitter has yet to produce such an app.

Further, I do not understand why “how we’re working to deliver a consistent Twitter experience” makes any sense at all.  Twitter has so many users that there IS no single experience that is appropriate for or that would be desirable for all users.  The statement above by Michael Sippey seems to clearly miss the power of an application/service that can support the wonderful diversity of the human race with all it’s varied needs and desires.

By effectively cutting off 3rd party client apps (yes, it’s not an instant cut-off, just a slow strangle; same medium-term effect), Twitter is going to make their service less appealing to many large groups of their users.  That’s the beginning of the end and their investors should be pressuring them to figure out a better way to make money because this is a mistake.

And yes, I do understand that Twitter needs to make money.  That said, surely there are other ways to do it.  App.net raising $500,000 at $50+ per supporter for a product that doesn’t even really exist yet is a pretty good indication that some users are willing to pay directly for the Twitter service.  I’m not saying app.net is going to succeed (they may or they may not), but this does tell us something about at least one segment of the market.  The number of ad-ridden apps in the iOS app store clearly suggests that for some users ads are fine (not for me!).

I’m sad about this because I’ve made quite a few friends via Twitter in the last few years but I can’t stand to use the twitter iOS client and don’t expect to ever like it for the reasons outlined above.  That means in time I will likely end up not using twitter any longer.  I prefer twitter over Facebook but even if twitter dies for me (seems likely at this point), I doubt I’ll switch to Facebook or Google+.  I wonder what will replace it? Possibly app.net, though I guess that’ll depend on how good the clients are for it and how many of my friends move there…

I wish I lived in SF and that I could sit down with the Twitter decision makers because I’d love to help them solve this problem in a way that doesn’t result in them becoming the MySpace of the this decade, which is what I suspect will happen.  Hopefully I’m wrong but…

 

 

Green Thing – Dad’s Dad sends along some humor

Dad’s dad sent this today, very funny and sad at the same time:

 

Subject: green thing
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my day”.

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.
Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced
By our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books.
But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the
Throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts –wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house –not a TV in every room.
And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in
Conservation from smartass young people.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off