Five Things

Ten days ago the spring equinox ushered in hope that the winter weather would not return until Christmas, but this didn’t stop a 5-minute bout of snow and hail from falling in the afternoon while I tried to enjoy a few moments of peace in a nearby park. Fortunately the unwelcome precipitation and colder temperatures did not interfere with my can of Kirin vodka.

One of the many things that I find interesting about the weather in this part of the world is it’s sheer unpredictability. When I moved to Japan in 2007 the forecasts were uncannily accurate right down to the hour. As technology got better, the forecasts became less accurate and often plain wrong. This culminated last summer when people started to joke that if the forecast was sun, you’d best carry an umbrella rather than a parasol. Last year I blamed this on the software, as it stands to reason that if things were better before the technology became more complicated, then clearly the technology is at fault. Turns out the actual issue was an unseasonably mild series of seasons between 2006 and 2009, making the weather much more predictabile than normal.

Oops.

That said, it’s time for another instalment of Five Things, so here we go!

The Kids Ain’t Happy

Today, March 31st, is the last day of vacation for kids across the country as tomorrow marks the official start of the new school year. Advertisements on TV and in the papers have been pushing hard all the things that kids will apparently need to succeed this year. Stationery, books, backpacks, clothes, computers, and even cell phone accessories have all been peddled at kids and their parents without a hint of shame from the resellers. Back when I lived in Canada I would often make use of the back to school sales1 to pick up pens, notebooks, and usually some new computer hardware. Fortunately I see little reason to buy into the false notion that sales at this time of year are any better than what one might find on a random Tuesday.

Companies are in business to make money, by sell things at darn near cost.

Blogging Daily is Really Hard …

… unless you talk to yourself (or your dog) a lot. One might be surprised by how many posts on here were the result of a “conversation” with Nozomi. Then again, maybe people wouldn’t be surprised by this in the least.

Unsubscribed

After yesterday’s post, I decided to unsubscribe from every news site that has perpetuated the false narratives and siren calls regarding politicians and mudslingers in the US and Europe. The loss of credibility has made it hard to take anything these sites have published recently with any seriousness unless it was clearly marked as “celebrity gossip”2. I’ll reassess this lack of attention in a couple of months time. Until then, I’ll use the extra time saved by not reading news sites for something more productive.

Ubuntu 19.04 Beta Is Out!

With just a few weeks to go before the official release, Canonical has pushed out a beta of their upcoming 19.04 operating system. There are a number of bug fixes, performance improvements, and general polishings that have made this update one that I’ve eagerly looked forward to, so getting the beta installed and tested will show me whether I’ll want to take the plunge and upgrade the work notebook on day one or wait a month for the first point release.

If you’re interested in kicking the beta tired, the ISO can be downloaded directly from Canonical here.

No More Electron “Apps”, Please

I understand that a lot of developers think that JavaScript and other web technologies can do anything, but I would like to respectfully ask for my RAM back. 2.6GB of physical memory3 consumed for a text editor with zero open documents is a little excessive, but not unique. Let’s go back to writing applications in the “less cool” languages.


  1. Back to school would have been in August, as the school year there runs from September to June.

  2. Nicholas Cage is in the news again? This can’t be good …

  3. Physical, not virtual memory.