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Category Archives: Technology

Guilt tripping at 41 mpg (or less)

My 2017 Fiat 500 Pop I am a tree hugger, and I confess a terrible moral failing. I love cars. It was back in the 1960s, as a teenager, when I developed a Jaguar fetish. Having one as the family car would have been as impossible as having the moon. But even in the American […]

Episcopic illumination

Two letters of the word “LIBERTY” on an American 25-cent piece, magnified 60x Two years ago, I wrote a post, with photos, about my Nikon Model S microscope. People who are Googling for this classic microscope often find my post, and it has been quite popular. In 2016, I did not have an “episcopic illuminator” […]

Apple’s 1987 “Knowledge Navigator,” and Alexa

My opinion is that Alexa and Siri are useless. Last week, I met my first Apple HomePod at a friend’s house. Siri was a total idiot who knew nothing and who kept getting things wrong. I feel sure that HomePod buyers shout “Siri, stop!” much more often than they say, “Hey, Siri.” It was like […]

Robots and inequality

Amazon’s new automated store in Seattle. Source: Wikipedia Trump voters and consumers of Fox News are having the time of their lives these days, glorying in how their big man is sticking it to liberals, immigrants, and brown-skinned people. They actually feel safer, now that a con man is in the White House who feeds […]

Analog photography, here we come

A portrait of the abbey’s new Mamiya RB67 single lens reflex camera. • Click here for high resolution version Sentimental as some of us may be about older, high-quality professional cameras, analog photography is not obsolete. There’s no longer a camera shop in every town. But good film is still made by companies like Kodak […]

High dynamic range photography

HDR photo, adjusted in Photoshop. Click here for high-res version. I am just beginning to experiment with high dynamic range photography. I won’t go into detail here about what that is, but the short version is that the camera shoots multiple versions of the exact same photo, at different exposure levels. Then, special tools in […]

HughesNet Gen5 satellite service: 6-month re-review

Dec. 18, 2016: HughesNet’s EchoStar 19 satellite aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, Cape Canaveral, Florida HughesNet Generation 5 satellite Internet service ★★★★★ After eight years of living in a crippled and slow Internet hell, for the past six months the abbey’s Internet has been the fastest I’ve ever used. I owe it all to rockets […]

Darn you, Apple

Normally, Apple product rollouts don’t phase me. I take note of Apple’s new stuff and carry on without the slightest trace of lust to buy. My old iPad works just fine, my iPhone 5 works great, my 27-inch iMac will last for many years, the Apple TV is old but still useful, and I have […]

Twitter

Library of Congress I have never used Twitter. I never will. If I take off my snark cap and put on my nice cap, and if I try to come up with a reason to justify Twitter’s existence, then this is the best I can do: Twitter is like texting, but it’s a broadcast rather […]

Informed delivery??

Back in April, the U.S. Postal Service rolled out a new feature called “Informed Delivery.” If you sign up for it, then each morning you’ll receive an email from the postal service with a scanned grayscale image of each piece of mail that is to be delivered to you that day. I wasn’t aware of […]