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Category Archives: Technology

A stupid new book about Apple

Inside an Apple store First of all, I have not read this book, and I’m not going to read it. In fact, it won’t be released until two days from now. But this morning in the New York Times, the book’s author has an utterly stupid little collection of misleading anecdotes under the headline “How […]

Twitter, schmitter. And Musk, schmusk.

A breakdown of Twitter content. Source: Wikipedia. From its beginning, the whole idea of Twitter seemed ridiculous to me. How could 140 characters possibly convey anything useful or meaningful? Surely the contemporary attention span can handle at least 190 characters! And (glory be!) now we’re up to a breathtaking 280 characters, doubling the speed at […]

Oil: Why can’t we ever learn?

The 1935 Mercedes-Benz 770 that belonged to Emperor Hirohito. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Here we are once again in that most familiar of geopolitical pickles. The advocates of progress and democracy still have the oil leash tight around their necks, jerking them around and holding them back. The other end of the leash is held by […]

‘Typewriters are haunted’

Tom Hanks in California Typewriter ⬆︎ Twenty years ago, typewriters were headed toward extinction. No new typewriters of any quality were being made. The surviving typewriters were deteriorating, unused and unloved, and many were being junked. Around 2010, typewriters started making a comeback, particularly among young people who were born after the Golden Age of […]

Math education

A rare desktop scientific calculator (Victor Model 230), circa 1978. It works perfectly, though it resolves to only seven decimal places. If I had children or grandchildren (I don’t), I would take a very keen interest in math education. Things have changed since I was young, and for the better, I think. I was never […]

Bitcoin, schmitcoin

A very small, modest, home-size “mining” rig for bitcoin. Source: Wikimedia Commons. We are surrounded by crazy people and fanatics. Fanaticism, of course, is found in many varieties. Some varieties are much more dangerous than others. Here’s my list of the top three categories of crazy people and fanatics, ordered by the danger they pose […]

Some progress with the old calculator

There are a number of YouTube videos about the restoration of machines like this (a Monroe 8N-213) and comparable machines (such as the Friden STW10). The challenge to getting them fully operational is getting them to multiply and divide, operations that are much more mechanically complicated than addition and subtraction. So far, though, I have […]

Hidden Figures (the book)

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. Margot Lee Shetterly. HarperCollins, 2016. 348 pages. Margot Lee Shetterly writes that, when she was working on this book, people repeatedly asked her why they had never heard this story before. There is a related […]

Can this old machine be saved?

The eBay portrait of the machine I bought With apologies to non-nerds, this is a nerd post. I have written in the past about a quirk I have — empathy for mechanical things. Seeing a beautiful old machine (or any beautiful machine, for that matter) abused or falling into ruin is painful. Like abused or […]

Apple News+

There are two versions of Apple News. The free version, called just “Apple News,” is on all Macintosh computers, iPads, and iPhones. The subscription version, called “Apple News+”, costs $9.99 a month. For some years, I had casually used the free version on my iPhone, because it often showed me things that I had missed […]