Some of my daughter's diapers

Now that our daughter is nearly completely potty-trained, I've finally written down a list of why I love cloth diapers, from the dad's perspective.

I recently finished reading The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, and it easily makes the list of the top ten fiction books I've read, if not the top five, though I haven't yet made such a list.

Background: it's the future. The Moon has been colonized in a way similar to how Australia was: it is used as a penal colony, for states on Earth to send their criminals. By this point in the timeline, Earth's resources are strapped, and the Moon's society is flourishing. The majority of residents on the Moon are not criminals: they've either been born there, or their sentences have been served and they've decided to stay due to the fact that their bodies have adapted to the lesser gravity.

Live in Edmonton, and enjoy the northern lights? Some people at the University of Alberta set up a service that notifies you of times when the aurora is most visible, via email and Twitter. Both options are nice, but what about a way to get instant notifications? That's where IFTTT comes in.

Monument Valley screenshotEvery once in a while, I like to browse the the App Store for good casual games. I'm not much of a gamer in any sense, but I do really enjoy a good puzzle game every now and again.

Monument Valley is as close to the perfect puzzler that I've ever seen. At the beginning, I nearly gave up because it seemed a little too simple, but the beautiful visuals kept me playing, and it did get more difficult. The world that you control your character through is something of a 3D maze, but because it is isometric and has no perspective, various sections that seem to be at different heights end up matching up together. As the game becomes more complex, and twists like having the camera angle change can completely change the layout of the maze.

Autocorrect is only noticed when it fails

The Oatmeal sums it up nicely: autocorrect hates you because you don't give it any credit. We have all these sites full of screenshots of funny things that people have said, and blamed autocorrect for making it funny and making them "famous".

Autocorrect is like the sound engineer at a concert. No one really notices him, no one gives him any credit for his work, and no one cares about him, unless he messes up. The moment there's feedback or a mic cuts out, everyone shares their hate for the sound engineer.

It being "the holiday season", here's a podcast episode with some backstory on a common feature of our Western culture's festivities: the elf.

Homemade bread

Okay, it's not that secret. But it is one that my Dad came up with after much tinkering with recipes for breadmakers.

This recipe works with most breadmakers, and makes a 2lb loaf (the 1.5lb recipe follows). It works with any mix of whole wheat and white flour, though it's best with slightly more whole wheat than white.

People seem to think that the best way to get noticed on social media is to be active everywhere. It's not.

There are many variables when it comes to how fast a webpage will load, and most of them are out of the developer's hands. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to optimize how the page is delivered to the user, speed up the whole browsing process, and also use less bandwidth.

I'm frequently asked for TV series recommendations, and I frequently ask for recommendations myself, so I thought it'd make life simpler if I just listed my favourites here.


The IT Crowd

Here's a fun British comedy which accurately describes the terrors and triumphs of the corporate IT department, and on a wider spectrum, geekdom as a whole. Don't worry, it's written in a way that doesn't alienate non-nerd too much (to the point where my wife even enjoyed it).

  • Does not require watching sequentially, but does have an ongoing story arc
  • No longer in production

For me, and a lot of people that I've talked to, the most difficult part of waking up in the morning is getting out of bed. Being able to just reach over and snooze — or completely turn off — the alarm and fall back asleep is just too easy.

A very common solution to the issue is place one's alarm clock on the far side of the room, so they have to get out of bed to turn it off. This works rather well, as long as you have the self-control to not just climb back in bed. This is what I currently do, but I have a better plan (and it doesn't involve buying a clock that runs/flies/hides or something silly like that).

A glass of ginger beer

Here's a simple recipe for ginger beer, with no other flavour additives (I'm still experimenting with those). 

Ingredients

  • Fresh ginger root (I use one chunk, about the size of my palm)
  • Sugar (1 cup)
  • Yeast (½ teaspoon)
  • Water (2 litres)

We live in an age of striving for positive feedback from our peers, but also making it so easy for our peers to give positive feedback that the effect is diluted. One can show that they "Like" a Facebook post or "Favourite" a Tweet in just one tap. Instagram makes it even easier, and lets you double-tap an image to give it your love, so you don't have to take the time to find and tap the heart button.

I used to use Hootsuite for scheduling posts on Twitter and Facebook, but have recently switched over to Buffer. Here's why.

Update: I use neither now, and schedule the odd tweet with Tweetdeck. I still like Buffer more than Hootsuite, so I'll keep this up for posterity.

Andy Maxwell:

This week an Irish man was handed a four-year sentence for running a pirate linking site. The Court accepted that he led no lavish lifestyle. In contrast, a man who stole almost £9m from a bank and bought homes worth £1.4m, three Bentleys, three Aston Martins, a Porsche 911 and a Rolls Royce, was also jailed. He received just 3.5 years. Fair?

"Advertising is the very essence of democracy." — Anton Chekhov

I came across that quote because of my least-favourite form of marketing: using Twitter to follow individuals, then unfollowing them, hoping that they followed you back. (It's pretty much the equivalent of a pump-and-dump scheme, but that's for another blog post.) Trying to find the source, I also came across a more recent author who said the same thing, but I was unable to find the original context.

Here are some ideas for what to get me for Christmas, for my birthday — if you can remember what it is, because I probably didn't tell you — or for any other reason.

 

Leading up to Mother's Day, 2011, I had a couple small seizures, but no one noticed or witnessed them, so I didn't really realize what was happening. On Mother's Day, I was helping make brunch for my mom (of course), and had another seizure. This time, people noticed. I went on to have all sorts of tests to see what was triggering them.

Högertrafikomläggningen

Once, in round-table discussion with several people from various walks of life, we were discussing some large problem with society. (I don't remember which, but it's not important.) Knowing that, in that circle of friends, I tend to not have very popular views, I was quiet and just observed the discussion. After each person had shared their points of view, which were all similar and did not have a good chance of success, I was asked what my opinion was. I said, "Maybe what we need is some sort of end-of-world scenario, like a full-scale local war, major natural disaster, or some type of apocalyptic event. Then society could rebuild itself, learn from the mistakes of the past, and prevent them from happening."

…that's not in person, is email. Here's why:

  1. Distributed
    Email isn't based on a central system. If Facebook was to go down, or get hacked, no one using Facebook's messages as their main way to communicate could talk. Sure, Microsoft and Google (combined) run more than half of the active individual accounts (citation needed), but they don't have to be functional for one person to send a message to another.