Month: May 2016

NHL Conference Finals: My bracket is dead, and I’m really happy.

Last night the Sharks finished out the series with a blowout victory of the predators to win their way into the Western Conference finals. It was an impressive victory. This is great for the franchise and for Sharks fans, and the team looks to be on a roll and playing quite well. It also means that my playoff bracket is decimated and I’m completely dead moving into the conference finals. Oops. I started out well, going 5-3 in the first round, and now, I’ve gone 0-4, and I’m 5-7 and done since every team I picked is now golfing. I couldn’t be happier. With the possible exception of Washington/Pittsburgh, I think every team that won out clearly deserved to, and while I still think that the Capitals are a better team than the Penguins, Pittsburgh shows that experience under pressure matters and rallied around Matt Murray — great story there — to send the Capitals to the Shelf. I felt all of the series so far have been fun, well-played and very closely balanced. Parity is a thing, and honestly, I like the results. Conference Finals Predictions Since all my original picks are gone, now it’s time to make new picks. Here’s how I see the conference finals playing out: In the East, it’s Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is the veteran team that’s been there and done that,...

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Apple Links: iTunes is Broken, Apple, do something; disappointing Apple TV; and more

ITunes is broken. Apple, do something. In the last week a new kerfuffle broke out when someone posted a screed about how Apple Music deleted his music library. This allowed a lot of people to haul out the iTunes is a dumpster file and apple sucks blog posts they’ve been writing for years, while over voices looked deeper into the issue and tried to explain how it might have happened. And after some deep digging, Serenity Caldwell on iMore seems to have nailed it to a bug introduced in iTunes 12.3.3 that Apple hasn’t either confirmed or fixed. But… iTunes is a dumpster fire. There’s no way to gloss this over or rationalize this into something that’s not so bad. ITunes is a dumpster fire. The core of the problem is not just that iTunes is a huge, monolithic hunk of legacy code that goes back to the days when I worked at the company, although that’s a big issue — it’s way beyond it’s shelf date for needing a complete from the foundation rewrite. But Apple keeps making it do more things. And when they added Apple music on top of Apple Match on top of iTunes music buying on top of syncing music to your iPod or iPhone on top of… And lets not forget they’ve wedged Movies and Television and Podcasts and backing up your iPhone...

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Learned Aversions

The new Sofa As of yesterday, we have a new sofa in the living room. One of those things that has been on my long-term “one of these days” list for a while. The old sofa has done yeoman’s duty but was beyond tired. As it turns out the city we live in had an annual anti-blight cleanup campaign where once a year you can take all of your junk and stick it on the curb, and then we get to watch random strangers patrol the streets for a few days between doing that and having the city come and actually haul the stuff away. We call it the annual city rummage sale, and it’s quite useful. So I figured if I could time the delivery right, I could haul the old sofa out to the curb and it would magically disappear. And if not, there’s always 800-got-junk who’ll deal with it for me. As it turns out, I did time it right, and this weekend was the weekend for our neighborhood to drop stuff off at the curb, and Sunday was the day the sofa was delivered. The only problem… That sofa was ancient, and was in the house before we had the new (slightly narrower) front door put in. Which… Yup. You guessed it. The good news is that many problems are a lot easier to solve...

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Ten Years as a Birder

I realized the other day that I was about to celebrate an anniversary: May 16, 2006 was the day I stopped being a person who walked around with binoculars and started being a birder. The difference is purely a personal and semantical one. I am in fact still someone who walks around with binoculars, but is more than looking at birds. As a simple definition I’d say birding is about locating and identifying birds and in some way tracking those identifications, but “birding” is in many ways different for everyone who does it. I know many birders who travel widely in search of bird species they’ve never seen before (“lifers”) and keep extensive lists of what they’ve seen, where and when. I am very much more on the casual side of things: I keep my life list (280 species, a very small and casual number compared to many birders) and a year list, those birds I’ve seen this calendar year. My goal most years is 200 species, also a small number for many birders but one that works for me in the areas I’ve chosen to bird. Birding for me has opened doors into other things, though: a much wider and thoughtful interest in bird environments and how bird populations change across seasons and migration; I started going on trips with the local birding group (Silicon Valley Audubon )...

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