Dougist Notes

Quick posts from Douglas Barone
The piggy-back page to my main site, Dougist.com

March 15, 2013 at 4:00pm
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If you (like many of us at Engadget) are in a state of shock facing the end of Google Reader this summer, there may be an easy replacement. RSS app/service Feedly posts on its blog that it has been anticipating the shutdown of Google’s service for some time, and invested in building its own backend. Dubbed “Normandy” it is intended to be a clone of the Google API running on Google’s own App Engine, set to swap in on July 1st when the service ends. Even better, in the comments Feedly states it will open the API for other 3rd party clients once everything is stable. The only bad news?

— Feedly promises ‘seamless’ transition after Google Reader to its own backend

9:30am
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Last night, I went to meet a group of friends for dinner in San Francisco after work. As I sat down at the table, two of my dining companions asked in unison, with eye-opening looks on their faces, “Did you hear the news?” “Yes,” I replied as I shuffled my chair in and unfurled my napkin. “They picked a new pope, from Latin America.” “No, not that,” they responded. “Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1.”

— The End of Google Reader Sends Internet Into an Uproar - NYTimes.com

March 14, 2013 at 9:23am
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"I admit that on the night of December 30th 2012, I was beginning to feel the dizzying preliminary effects of influenza (A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like, perhaps, or A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like), and therefore was prone to have religious-like out-of-body thoughts, as well as shaking and sweats, and I admit that the friend who accompanied me went slightly crazy that night, too, because of the guy with the gigantic head who was sitting in front of us and who made it impossible to see the They Might Be Giants gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

But, whatever was the cause, by the time the band got to the last song that night I was in some kind of Tigris-Euphrates prophetic condition, which was the perfectly receptive condition for one of the band’s more recent compositions, namely “The Mesopotamians,” from The Else (2007).”
- Rick Moody

— Swinging Modern Sounds #42: Hey Man, I Thought That You Were Dead - The Rumpus.net by Rick Moody

March 13, 2013 at 4:55pm
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Yesterday…
Is done. Over. Finished.
Cannot be changed, unless you have a hot tub time machine or DeLorean.
Shouldn’t be forgotten, but learned from. What went right? What went wrong?
Was composed of all the habits and choices you’ve made in the past.
Might have been the best day of your life. Remember it fondly, but don’t live in the past.
Might have been the worst day of your life. Move on.

— Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today. | Nerd Fitness

4:41pm
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If Roman Catholicism was capable of learning Greek while it was speaking Aramaic, of learning Celtic while it was speaking Latin, now it either has to learn Chinese or ‘ciao,’

— Cardinals Elect Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as New Pope - NYTimes.com

February 20, 2013 at 3:53pm
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"Most of these kids are going to have a step down in lifestyle when they have to enter the working-world environment after they graduate," says John E. Vawter, principal of Capstone Collegiate Communities, which developed the Cottages.

— Resort Living Comes to Campus - WSJ.com

2:59pm
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When Clarence Thomas led the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, he fought to make it handicapped accessible. “I firmly believed, how can we talk about all these theoretical issues when there are people who can’t even get in the door of the building?” he explained to an audience at Harvard Law School, having been asked about the subject. “One of my best friends was a quadriplegic, and I watched how a two-inch curb was like The Great Wall of China for him.” Then a pause. “I think we do that with the opinions we write,” he said. “We write them in a way that they’re inaccessible to the average person.” With that fascinating segue, he explained the logic behind his writing: What I tell my law clerks is that we write these so that they are accessible to regular people. That doesn’t mean that there’s no law in it. But there are simple ways to put important things in language that’s accessible. As I say to them, the beauty, the genius is not to write a 5 cent idea in a ten dollar sentence. It’s to put a ten dollar idea in a 5 cent sentence. That’s beauty. That’s editing. That’s writing.

— Why Clarence Thomas Uses Simple Words in His Opinions - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

January 30, 2013 at 12:18pm
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Since taking office in 1999, Hugo Chavez has spread his socialist revolution in Venezuela by seizing more than 1,000 companies. For bondholders that stuck by him, he’s also delivered returns that are double the emerging- market average. The 681 percent advance, equal to 14.7 percent annually, has enriched investors from OppenheimerFunds Inc. to Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP that counted on Chavez’s willingness to siphon the country’s oil wealth to pay its creditors in the face of start-stop growth and falling reserves. While his policies drove away enough investors to keep Venezuela’s borrowing costs over 12 percent on average during his tenure, or 4 percentage points higher than those of developing nations, he’s never missed a bond payment.

— Chavez’s 681% Returns Mean Socialism Buoys Goldman: Andes Credit - Bloomberg

January 3, 2013 at 9:08am
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Dear Cable, How are you? Can you believe it’s been a year since we last saw each other? I remember handing the cable guy my set-top box like it was yesterday. So much has happened since then. The last of the remaining cool characters on “Boardwalk Empire” got offed. Zombies have officially overtaken vampires as the monster du jour thanks to “The Walking Dead.” And Carrie on “Homeland” has consumed about 10 gallons of Pinot Grigio. You see, Cable, breaking up with you didn’t mean the end of my entertainment universe. I wanted to let you know that I’m happy. Me and Internet TV? We’re getting along great. I spent 36 hours with her last weekend watching three seasons of “Damages,” and she didn’t mind that I never changed out of my sweatpants.

— A Year Without Cable - WSJ.com

December 30, 2012 at 6:58pm
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A year ago, when I first asked Les Dorr, a spokesman for the F.A.A., why the rule existed, he said the agency was being cautious because there was no proof that device use was completely safe. He also said it was because passengers needed to pay attention during takeoff. When I asked why I can read a printed book but not a digital one, the agency changed its reasoning. I was told by another F.A.A. representative that it was because an iPad or Kindle could put out enough electromagnetic emissions to disrupt the flight. Yet a few weeks later, the F.A.A. proudly announced that pilots could now use iPads in the cockpit instead of paper flight manuals.

— F.A.A. Rules Make Electronic Devices on Planes Hazardous - NYTimes.com

December 5, 2012 at 10:07am
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The iOS Text Editor roundup. This is a feature comparison of text editors on iOS. The information was compiled by the web community on an open Google spreadsheet.

— iTextEditors - iPhone and iPad text/code editors and writing tools compared

8:50am
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I have received a couple dozen emails this morning about missing notes with Simplenote sync in nvALT. Simplenote recently changed their API and nvALT hasn’t kept up. It’s not entirely Simplenote’s fault, but the combination of Simplenote and nvALT has become deadly and my interest in continuing to support it is waning. Please use Dropbox sync. It’s easy, free, and opens up the possibility of using any of dozens of iOS text editors for your notes. I especially recommend Elements, Notesy and Notely. For information on switching, see Michael Schechter’s post. Again, this is as much — if not more — nvALT’s fault as Simplenote’s, but I don’t see much of a future there. We have always made an effort to avoid modifying the basic data storage and sync mechanisms as much as possible, and it’s not an area I’m comfortably hacking around in right now.

— A warning: Simplenote, nvALT and deleted notes - Brett Terpstra

8:49am
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I wanted to offer up a basic starting point for bloggers and web workers who use a Mac and are looking to get started with plain text (if you’re not sure why you might want to do this, start here). This will not be a comprehensive dive into the myriad apps you can use. It will be a focused and targeted approach for:
Storing and Accessing Your Plain Text Files
Naming and Tagging Your Files
Formatting Your Files For The Web
Exporting HTML For The Web
Learning A Few Tricks

— Plain Text Primer: nvALT 101

November 13, 2012 at 11:25am
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As the water began to pour into lower Manhattan on Oct. 29, sliding under door frames and into basements, scientists who work in NYU’s Smilow Research Building began to realize that something horrible was happening — something entirely separate from the loss of human life and shelter that would soon follow. Because of the flooding, thousands of mice drowned in Smilow’s basement animal facility, which had lost power and seen its generators fail. Their loss wiped away years of careful breeding and meticulous experimental research on heart disease, schizophrenia and other diseases. Many of the mice that drowned represented critical scientific institutional memory. They carried specific genetic mutations that made them useful models for a range of diseases and disorders. Many of the lost animals represented years of hard work. It is difficult to overstate how fundamental research animals are to the work many scientists do, especially when those researchers are involved in developing new animal models of human disease. A friend of mine from graduate school spent six years developing a line of rats that could be used to study Parkinson’s disease; if her rodent colony had been wiped out, her thesis would have been too. So it went for some at NYU this past week.

— Thousands of mice die in NYU facility during Sandy - latimes.com

October 11, 2012 at 7:06am
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OK: Who are you going to vote for?

I am voting for the Green Party.

Oh, you are? I don’t even know who the Green candidate is. Who is it?

Jill Stein — a doctor from Massachusetts. Now, I wouldn’t be voting Green if Roseanne Barr had won the nomination, but Stein is a solid and sensible candidate. I don’t agree with everything the Green Party says, but I’m in tune with many of its basic positions. I’m remaining a registered Democrat because I still hope for the reform of my party. If the Republican candidate were Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, I would certainly not be voting Green; I would be voting for and contributing to Obama again, as I did in 2008. There are three people on the political landscape whom I absolutely loathe — Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Dick Cheney — that delusional and mendacious war-monger. But I think that Mitt Romney is a moderate — like Nelson Rockefeller, who as governor of New York poured money into the state university system that educated me. Romney is an affable, successful businessman whose skills seem well-suited to this particular moment of economic crisis. Hence I want to use my vote to make a statement about my unhappiness with the Democratic Party and the direction it has taken. The biggest issue for me is the Obama administration’s continuation of endless war, war, war. I denounced the Iraq incursion before it even happened.

— In “Glittering” return, Paglia lets loose - Salon.com