Category Archives: tech

Lines, Lines, . . . or Not

There is a television ad for Galaxy S3 (I think) that is all about the iPhone lines, and the hours that people wait in them.  When you’re ad is mostly about the opponent, you’re losing.

Apple announces a new product, and there will be tens of thousands of people waiting in lines to get it.

Meanwhile, Microsoft pays to promote a tweet to convince a hundred people to show up for the release of the new surface.  $99 of Xbox Music Pass.  I guess that’s a thing; I haven’t heard of it.


Embeds – WordPress 3.4

I noticed that the new WordPress update automatically creates embedded content for several sites.  It actually started in 2.9, but Twitter was added with this version.  All you have to do is include the link by itself on a line.

Bill Coin

It will make it much easier to steal Jay Lee’s content.  (Actually, i’m sure it links back to the original, which is all he wishes for in a non-commercial setting.)

Also, you can include hyperbolic tweets and make fun of them while nicely formatted:


Kill the 2WIRE – Renaming your U-verse Router

AT&T U-verse modems all come pre-installed with default names (2WIRE123) and default passwords (10 digits).  That is boring, and not easy to remember.  Picking your router from all your sheep neighbors can be difficult if your urban density is high, and the 10 digits are not the ones you need.

If you connect your computer to the modem directly with an ethernet cable, you can manipulate these things.  There is a default IP address for ALL routers.  If they’ve politely implemented it, you can access it at – though there are other addresses used by different manufacturers.  The U-verse modems have a quite nice interface to manipulate the settings. (I’ve recently found that might get caught by the modem as well.)

Continue reading

NeXTSTEP, It’s on your iPhone

In the years between Apple and Apple, Steve Jobs created a company that created iOS.

That’s a gross summary.

Steve Jobs died last year. Most obituaries mentioned his hiatus company. Yet you still didn’t know what it was in the title of this post.  NeXT, the company, was founded in 1988.  I bought one (#16469) of their initial computers in 1990. I finally got a job that was using it in 1992. I loved it.

The Unix-underneath, Objective-C-on-top operating system with forward technologies and rich development tool sets was a wonder to work on, and a joy in many business custom development environments I found myself in the following years: WilTel (The Woodlands), Pan Canadian Petroleum (Calgary), Fannie Mae (Washington).

NeXTSTEP morphed into OpenStep, and the huge issue of cross-platform porting was mastered by NeXT.  Soon Apple hired Jobs back, and with him the OS.  I was personally injured when they skinned it and put on a Macintosh body suit, but it was the right business decision.

They convinced all the Macintosh “operating system” users (i’m a Unix/real OS bigot) to convert over to the Unix-OS, OpenStep became OS X.  I missed my pegged dock. I was annoyed by the constant main menu.  I wanted to tear off menus. But I could feel the soul of the Old Lady underneath.

Then they basically ported the operating system they run on 15 pound towers, whirring with fans to run on a tiny touch screen you could use as a phone.  It’s still mostly there. Most of it’s been rewritten more than once. (That’s what NeXT/Apple does so well!)

When the iPhone SDK was released I started working with it.  The user interface toolkit was reimplemented from scratch. Many of the issues we’d fed back to NeXT developers in the early 90s were reflected in design and implementation changes. (There were, of course, new issues.  That’s what happens with software.)

I have to touch many parts of technology. Most of them are less elegant than iOS. But you’ve got to do it.

I credit the elegance of design and implementation of NeXTSTEP with the fact that it is basically running on your phone. Welcome to my favorite operating system of the 90s.

Drive Me Home, Car

Wired Magazine had a very interesting article about the current activity in driving automation.  Written by Tom Vanderbilt, it reviews the large leaps that have been made in the field in the past decade.  It’s amazing that we really are so close, so much that it will be a legislative problem over the coming decade to catch up with the state of the technology.

On a week that my mother bought what she expects to be the last car she owns, not expecting to be allowed to drive (by me) after she’s 80, it looks like she might be able to buy a car that (mostly if not entirely) drives for her by that time.

Reading over the article, which is quite long, thorough, and awesome, I had several thoughts on the future of the technology and implications.

Stop n’ Go Traffic

I was reminded this week of an awesome example of the emergent nature of stop n’ go traffic in a non-bottleneck/accident environment.  A video of a circle of cars that begin equal spaced but because the nature of humans begins to undulate.

One would hope that the automation of driving would put an end to the annoying of such.  Prediction 1: I think it won’t (without legislative force or technical cooperation).  I suspect that the varying granulation of the differing softwares among cars, and also likely setting of comfortable follow distances will cause the same emergent fluctuation of speeds.  The best way to counter this, in my opinion, would be to recognize a stop n’ go situation and limit the allowed acceleration after a slow down.  Just a critical mass of cars taking that approach could cause the behavior to not manifest. Continue reading