Apple Makes Great Hardware

December 30, 2014

Their very own charger cable gets 1.5 stars out of 5 in the Apple store.

A charger.

1.5 stars.



Practical Algebra

December 30, 2014

From the NY Times:

“The Interview” generated roughly $15 million in online sales and rentals during its first four days of availability, Sony Pictures said on Sunday.

Sony did not say how much of that total represented $6 digital rentals versus $15 sales. The studio said there were about two million transactions over all.

Sony didn’t say, but the math is clear. Solve for X (number of digital rentals):

(6 * x) + (15 * (2,000,000 – x)) = 15,000,000

Not sure why the NY Times can’t do math, that would be about 1,666,667 rentals and 333,333 sales.

A Baby Journee Christmas

December 30, 2014

We had a very nice Christmas. Plenty of electronics, random flying things (Flutterbye and mini quadcopters) good food and family.

But our niece Journee was the main attraction:

With her cousin Alex:


Alex’s mom, Connie:


with Danielle (and her new GoPro):


Getting ready to walk:


and with Tori (in her new Giraffe PJs):


Journee’s first Christmas was a good one.


December 27, 2014

When Amazon first announced the Echo, it was invitation only, and Prime members got first shot. Of course I put my name in right away. So I was offered it for half price as a Prime member and it arrived almost a month ago.

I mainly wanted to check it out. For $99, it seemed interesting just for the technology. I decided to put it away and leave it as a Christmas present for the family.

My wife accused me of buying a present for myself (guilty) but I was pretty sure the kids would be into it. “Alexa, play Katy Perry”.

The speaker is quite good. It works as a single speaker for pretty much our entire living area. The voice recognition is excellent. If you are a Prime member, you have access to a ton of Prime music on top of whatever you have in your Amazon music library. It also integrates with iHeartRadio and can stream a ton of radio stations. It also does math and spelling and some other cloud based queries.

It also creates grocery and to do lists. It’s not hard to see where Amazon is going with this, given that they are getting into the grocery business. My daughters asked, “Alexa, play Fifth Harmony” (popular girl group, for those who don’t know them) and we got a playlist from Amazon Prime. But their most popular song wasn’t on the list. Tori said “Alexa, play Sledgehammer” (Tori loves to talk to Alexa). Echo replied, “playing an excerpt from Fifth Harmony Sledgehammer”. Thirty seconds later after the except ended, Echo said, “Sledgehammer is available for 99 cents. Buy now?”.

It’s a very cool device, but pretty obvious where they are going with this…

Why Were You in Fargo?

December 23, 2014

Not an unreasonable question. If you just won a Nobel Prize…

“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’
I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’
They said, ‘What’s in the box?’
I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.
So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’
I said, ‘gold.’
And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’
‘The King of Sweden.’
‘Why did he give this to you?’
‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’

‘Why were you in Fargo?’”

So Deep

December 23, 2014


Happy Holidays

December 22, 2014