Category: web

The A.T. Manual Of Style

This is A.T.’s long-overdue list of rules and recommendations for writing style in the 21st century. Specifically, for publishing online. The list is open-ended, and items are listed in no specific order.

  1. Use one space after a period. NEVER two spaces. (Unless you are , 88 or older, or both.)
  2. Never use . No exceptions. Not ironically, not as a joke, not to be cute. Just don’t do it.
  3. It’s OK to end a sentence with a preposition. If it’s good for , it’s good for you.
  4. There is no contradiction between items 1 and 3.
  5. It’s OK to split infinitives.
  6. To be continued…

I was into Mongolian folk metal before it was cool

My favorite Mongolian folk metal band is Nine Treasures, but you have probably never heard of them.

The folk elements of the band’s music mostly come from two instruments: the morin khuur, a traditional two-stringed ; and the balalaika, a triangular Russian folk instrument that sounds a bit like a mandolin and typically has three strings. –

 

Comcast to customer: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”

Why is Comcast like Hotel California? Because “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

Listen below to this pathetic, desperate Comcast service representative refusing to cancel a customer’s account. Which is why you should never, NEVER EVER become a Comcast customer in the first place.

There’s a bit of karmic irony in this story. Eight years ago (to the day!) a made the rounds, in which an AOL customer tried in vain to cancel his AOL account. In today’s call the customer is no other than .

 

Topics I will no longer argue about

This is a long-overdue list of Topics I Will No Longer Argue About. The list is far from complete, and I will almost certainly be adding stuff to it.

  • religion
  • politics
  • bike helmets
  • two spaces after a period
  • iOS vs. Android
  • Mac vs. PC
  • English spelling and grammar
  • what “football” is
  • what an “architect” is and does
  • the value of professional and trade certifications
  • the Oxford comma

Modular bike routes

[UPDATE June 14, 2014] I created a composite map of all five modules (loops). All loops are displayed with the same line symbol (red semi-transparent). Since some route segments are part of more than one loop, some segments appear darker than others. I hope this makes sense.

All routes begin and end at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park (blue point marker). Click on the map below for a higher-resolution image. I will add route descriptions soon.

All five loops bike route module map Start-Finish point
All five loops bike route module map Start-Finish point

Some tech info for the geonerds: I collected the route data using my Google Nexus 4 phone and the Google My Tracks app (thanks to for the app recommendation). The app’s KMZ files proved to be somewhat unyielding to work with (thanks to for helping with that), so I ended up exporting the data as GPX (another Terry Stigers suggestion).

Next I used QGIS 2.2.0-Valmiera (64-bit) with the OpenLayers plugin to display the “tracks” segments of my GPX files over a Google Physical layer base map.

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[UPDATE June 08, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Johnson Park (Loop 5) is 4.88 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, .

In the next few days I will publish a composite map of all five modules along with general description of each.

Johnson Park (Loop 5) bike route module map
Johnson Park (Loop 5) bike route module map

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[UPDATE June 01, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Busch – Golf Course (Loop 4) is 5.84 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Busch - Golf Course (Loop 4) bike route module map
Rutgers Busch – Golf Course (Loop 4) bike route module map

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[UPDATE May 31, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) is 3.86 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) bike route module map
Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) bike route module map

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[UPDATE May 26, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) is 4.11 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) bike route module map
Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) bike route module map

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Inspired by , who designs modular software and cooks modular meals, I decided to design a modular bike route and share it with my fellow cyclists in the New Brunswick/Highland Park area. The idea is to compile a number of short bike routes that begin and end at the same point, which will allow cyclists to combine different modules into a composite ride of their choice.

I just completed the first module — Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1). The route is 6.02 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, . More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1) bike route module map
Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1) bike route module map

 

Runaway Android apps

[UPDATE June 5, 2014] Multiple observations confirm: Instagram (which behaves (mostly) properly on Wi-Fi connections) becomes a CPU hog on carrier (cellular) connections. Not sure why, will report here if I find out more.

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[UPDATE June 2, 2014] In an effort to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside my Nexus 4, I installed two utility apps:  and . Lookout scans and monitors for malware, and offers a bunch of other security features; Watchdog alerts me when an app exceeds a certain CPU threshold.

First impressions are great. Phone runs cool. Interesting observation: When I kill Instagram — the worst offender — through Watchdog, it stays dead. By comparison, when I used to force-stop Instagram via the Android device (system) settings, it would often start up again right away by itself.

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My phone (Google Nexus 4) has been getting really hot lately, draining the battery in the process. I started monitoring running Android processes and services, and found out that several apps sometimes don’t close when I tell them to, but keep running and consuming CPU cycles and battery juice. The biggest offender is Instagram, followed by Facebook (which starts on boot and keeps running (and restarts itself after a force-stop, the nerve!)), Google Play Music (which seems to randomly start itself on a whim, or possibly gets launched by Google Drive), and MailDroid (as ).

[UPDATE May 17, 2014] Adding Snapchat to the list of runaway apps that must be force-stopped after every use.

My response:

  • Remove the Facebook app, which I have been threatening to do for a while. I am not leaving Facebook, just removing the app from my phone.
  • Scale back the use of the Instagram app, and force-stop the app after each use.
  • Scale back the use of the Google Drive app, and force-stop Google Play Music after each use (confirm cause-and-effect).
    • [UPDATE from a ]: “Google support told me to uncheck the box Settings > Accounts > Google > Accounts > [myemail]@gmail.com > Sync Google Play Music. I had sync checked before the update as well, but it caused no problems. In any event, this didn’t do all that much good. The app is like the freakin’ Terminator — force stops won’t kill it.”
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Disabled Google Play Music. Problem solved.
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Also wiped a ton of other Google shit off my phone. It felt great.
  • Stay away from the MailDroid app.
  • Monitor Android system activity regularly for runaway apps and force-stop them as needed.
  • Reboot my phone daily.

Grimmie is the new Aguilera

“The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie blows me away. Her  of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is currently , ahead of John Legend, Idina Menzel, and Justin Timberlake. Way ahead of coach Shakira (35) and the next closest contestant Audra McLaughlin (40).

I predict that Christina Grimmie will win The Voice, hands down.

Below is Christina’s rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” for the blind auditions.