First Century

by wjw on April 26, 2017

Happy 100th birthday, Ella Fitzgerald!

(try to ignore all the advertising in the video.)


Bad Apple

by wjw on April 26, 2017

Since switching to the Apple universe a few years ago, I’ve been reasonably content with life here in the Village.  You can’t leave, but then there are lots of nasty things that can’t get in— Windows 10 being right at the top of the list.  The tech isn’t absolutely cutting-edge here (the funny little carts, the white weather-balloon thing that patrols the border), but what we’ve got is reliable, and my MacBook crashes maybe once every year, whereas with XP . . . well, let’s not count the ways.

Besides: Rounded corners.  Aren’t rounded corners nice?

(Just don’t think about all those suicides at the factory in China.  We’re assured their numbers are statistically insignificant.  Aren’t statistics wonderful?)

Life in the Village was fine until last week.  And now I’m frothing with anger, and I’m ready to march up to the Green Dome and turn in my blazer with its numbered lapel badge.

Last week my iPhone updated its OS.  And then it started forcing me to listen to U2.

You remember a while back Apple very thoughtfully gave its users the latest U2 album absolutely free?  It not only appeared on my iPhone, but also on my iPad and my MacBook.  Turns out a lot of people didn’t want it, and raised a stink, but I didn’t understand why people were upset.  After all, if they didn’t want it, they could delete it.  And in the meantime, Apple gave me a free album.  What’s wrong with that?

(I listened to it once, I think.  And it sounded very much like every other U2 album.  Didn’t hate it, just didn’t go back.)

I live in the country, and in the country it’s a long drive to get anywhere.  Rather than listen to local radio stations playing the same 20 tunes over and over, I loaded audio books and podcasts on my my iPhone, jack the iPhone into my car’s audio system, and listen while driving.

When I turned off the ignition, the iPhone automatically stopped playing, and when I turned the car on again, the audio file would start again at exactly the same place.  Perfect.

And then I updated to iOS 10.3.1.

Now, when I start the car, the iPhone and the car’s audio system first have a long discussion, and then the iPhone defaults, not to the audio file I was just listening to, but to whatever’s on the iPod.  Which turns out to be U2, because it’s the only music file on my phone.

Now because of the length of time it takes the phone and my sound system to come to any agreement, by the time I start hearing that “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba (Barbara-Ann)” that opens “The Miracle of Joey Ramone,” I’m already on the road, and probably in traffic.  So this means that while driving I have to find my phone, pick it up with one hand, press the start button, thumb in the password, call up the podcast (or audio book) app, find the file I actually want, then press Play.  (And the Play button on that podcast app is really tiny, like a couple millimeters square, so I generally have to jab at it several times.)

Now picture me doing this while driving one-handed on the highway and screaming instructions at Bono, such as “SHUT YOUR GOB YOU FAT IRISH FUCK!!!”

I think I can safely say that this is just a little bit distracting, particularly since I drive a car that can reach 85mph really fast, in a moment of inattention really.

After a few near-death experiences on the road, I deleted the U2 album, but that just means that I get no sound at all until I get out the iPhone and go through the whole startup procedure again.  (I try to find a place to park while I do this.)

But this latest time, even starting up the podcast program properly didn’t work.  I got no sound at all, even though I could look down at the iPhone screen and see the little bars jumping around to tell me that sound is supposed to be coming out.


On iOS 10.3.1 no one can hear you scream.


Gordon Ramsay vs. Twitter

by wjw on April 25, 2017

Gordon Ramsay dispenses cooking advice.   Pretty useful, actually.


Cocktails at the Cocteau

by wjw on April 20, 2017

This coming Sunday, 23 April, at 1pm, I will be participating in an Author Event at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

I’ll be there with fellow authors Ian Tregillis and EM Tippetts, for a joint interview followed by a signing.

It should be fun!  Come join us!

There will be cocktails! (I’m pretty sure.  There usually are.)  And if not cocktails, popcorn!

(And if you can’t come, the event will be live streamed on Facebook and Periscope.  But you’ll have to make your own cocktails, I’m afraid.)



Final Hours

by wjw on April 19, 2017

Just a note that if you want the Artificial Intelligence StoryBundle, featuring my novel Aristoi and nine other novel-length works, you have until 9pm EDT on Thursday.

For a full description of the bundle and its contents, check my post for April 12, just below.


Google Guy

April 19, 2017

What if Google were a person? Sometimes I feel like this guy.  But sometimes I’m also the guy asking about Bitcoin.

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Free! Free!

April 16, 2017

Here’s another chance to win a free AI StoryBundle, for details of which please see my previous post. Identify this object, and make sure I have your email.  

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Ten Books @ Zero $$$

April 12, 2017

Want to get a free copy of the AI StoryBundle?  Instructions below. But first, let me remind you that the StoryBundle features 10 novel-length works of science fiction, including: Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams Arachne by Lisa Mason The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan Rewired – The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly and […]

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E ∝ mv2

April 12, 2017

So have you ever wanted to know the physics for what happens when Thor hits the Hulk? Of course you do.

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April 11, 2017

Via GRRM, it’s the new United Airlines commercial!

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