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PotD 20221211


PotD 20221210

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Cancel culture

I’ve had noise cancelling headphones for years now, mainly for use when flying [1]. I don’t particularly like in-ear buds though, as I have what are called ‘convoluted’ ear canals; in-ear buds tend to be painful after a while. And I also like to be able to hear a car about to run me down while I’m standing the crosswalk cutout “because the car is too low and they scrape otherwise”.

However, a friend of mine talked up the new AirPods Pro, and noise cancelling and transparency mode, so I got a pair when they were on sale.

And they are growing on me! Yes, I can still feel them in my ears hours after I take them out, but being able to walk down a busy street and not hear the Dodge Challengers blatting by, or the leaf blowers, is great! The former will probably kill me though.

The real use case for me though is the gym. I don’t have to listen to the loud crappy music and I don’t have to jack my music up to damaging levels to block it. They aren’t quite good enough to negate it without playing music, but it’s close. I didn’t have to listen to the woman next to me on the treadmill have an hour-long conversation [5].

They were a fucking lifesaver at the SFO airport during a three hour layover [6]. I’d still rather have the over-ear NC for the plane, as it’s more comfortable sitting there, but for trucking around the airport trying to find the unmarked Polaris lounge, the AirPods Pro 2 were amazing. Sanity-preserving.

This brings up the bigger question though. Now, instead of the world being quiet, and trying to make it that way, I’m just blocking out more of it. Judging from what I see, it’s not just me. People shouldn’t be talking on the phone in the gym [7]. It’s rude. The gym shouldn’t be blasting music, what’s the point if 85% of the customers are listening to their own music? Everyone in the gym has NC headphones on, or in. Challengers, Mustangs, and motorcycles shouldn’t be so loud.

NC headphones just normalize the rudeness by letting rich people opt out. And so the world, or rather, the USA [8], becomes a bit worse place to live.

In summary, get off my lawn. I am not a crank.


[1] Another in a long list of things that was a PITA to get work to buy for you when they first came out [2] and are now standard items in the catalog jacked up by 25% over regular price don’t even ask about trying to save the government money by buying things on Black Friday
[2] Razor, iPhone, AirPods, iPad, MacBook Pro, ergonomic keyboard. I still can’t get them to buy me an Aeron [3], the only ergo office chair I’ve ever been able to sit in for any length of time – so I bought two and took one to work. And I still can’t get them to buy the Bose NC headphones, even though those work way better than the Sony [4]
[3] there are about three different ergo chairs that I bought with project funds floating around that killed my back, but no returns, and you don’t get to try them before you buy.
[4] Which auto-power off every time you disconnect the cable to get up to go to the toilet on the plane, but don’t auto-power off when you take them off and put them in the case, and which 50% of the time require an update to work at all on the plane even though you powered them up the day before to make sure they didn’t need an update, and which drain their battery even when not in use, so don’t forget to plug them back in the day before a trip.
[5] I could see her lips move. Also who’s up at 5am and wants to talk to you? And why bother being on the treadmill if you have enough spare breathe left over to carry on a conversation?
[6] Really SFO, and United? Why do you think we need loud crappy gym music in the airport and on the plane at 11pm? Five other airports and planes on that trip were just… quiet. No music anyway.
[7] or on the plane. Thanks EU for making that happen next year.
[8] Not that Europe or Britain is better, but the biggest thing that makes me want to put in NC ear buds there is the fucking church bells, and the birds. Maybe something to do with not letting their cats run wild? There is way more of a dawn chorus. Not Oz levels, but still, in urban Munich?

Occasionally twitter was useful [1]

it has taken the rest of the world decades to catch up to bugs bunny’s approach of being whatever gender is the funniest at any given moment

–dj gun pussy @TheWeightOfUwU

[1] OTOH, nazis and genocide


Not a problem everywhere

After a week of driving and sleeping in Europe, I noticed that I only heard one super-loud obnoxious car [1] or motorcyle, and I never once was blinded by too-bright headlights, not even coming up over a rise and catching the lower part of their beam. And of course didn’t get bright-lighted even once [2].

So it can be done. We just choose not to, because free-dumb isn’t free.

[1] An American Mustang GT of course
[2] Don’t even get me started on pickups and the possibility of rolling-coal

QotD 20220629


I don’t believe that personal morality and character should be grounded on hope. …

We need people who are grounded in the belief that there is a single humanity, and that battles are fought whether or not you can calculate that they’ll be successes. The struggle must be our very existence and we must never accept the limitations of the political realistic; we must act on what is necessary in the most basic sense for the survival of ordinary people.

It doesn’t look like we’re gonna survive it, but we still fight like hell. In fact, we become better fighters, knowing that it’s the fight itself is the most important thing. Maybe these are strange or antiquated values. I still believe in character. That people produce themselves through the moral choices and actions that they take, irregardless of calculations of success or wealth or anything like that. Actions that are rooted in solidarity and love for other people and the common condition.

— Mike Davis, 2 October 2020 (TrueAnon podcast)


Still not a total Apple fanboy

Apple’s idea of human interface design c. 2022:

8 point gray text on a white background, apple-plus doesn’t increase the size, and Music is still a POS app that screws up all my smart playlists by not distinguishing between the rating I give a song, and the unchangeable automatic album rating that gives every song on the album five stars if I give one song five stars. No one at Apple eats their own dog food. Or it’s all streaming to them now, and the terabytes of ripped CDs, many of which are completely unavailable anywhere, just don’t matter.

Don’t get me started on album artwork, either the complete inability of them to get the right album artwork, or even worse, that they overwrite or lose the album artwork that I curated carefully onto those terabytes of music.

Surely someone makes an independent iTunes Music replacement that’s actually good… But I haven’t found it.

I still can’t change the volume on airpods without reaching into my pocket for the phone, which isn’t possible at 20 mph on a bike, and not that convenient all the rest of the time. It’s gonna be a sad day when my two iPod shuffles give up the ghost. I already have to save an old MBP with OS X 10.9 to update those, as they are completely unsupported with newer versions of Music (the name of which by the way makes any solution to any of these problems completely unsearchable).

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Loud electric cars

Since EVs became more common, the proportion of loud cars, both from the factory and modified [1], have increased about equally. This leads to the conclusion that as all Harley goes out of business, and all the old loud cars disappear, the boys will have to find a way to make EVs loud. Will they go with the Tesla fart sound approach, and do illicit firmware upgrades to make superloud Star Trek noises?

[1] I mean seriously, when did putting straight pipes and headers on a mid-90s F-150 become a thing? That disappeared for a while. How do they pass emissions?

PotD 20220519

Least likely book to be taken from Little Free Library ever


PotD 20220518

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PotD 20220516


PotD 20220515


PotD 20220514

I’m pretty sure he just wants to play

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Conservation of noise

Now that half the cars are going to kill me because I can’t hear them [1], the other half have gotten even noisier [2]. We’ve gone from a gaussian distribution to bi-modal, and it’s not good. As though the leaf blowers got quieter by setting off small dynamite explosions. In between, it’s really quiet. Then a Camaro, Challenger, Mustang, or out-of-compliance fartcan, rips down the residential street at 60 mph (not exaggerating), and it’s like a bomb went off.

Conservation laws imply symmetry; I’m failing to see what’s symmetry is being expressed by this.

On the upside, the loud-ass paper delivery people driving their old badly-maintained cars around, delivering papers to old people, have largely disappeared.

[1] And they can’t hear anything, because all new cars are way too soundproof.
[2] Also going to kill me, but with malice, instead of distraction.

Idiocracy was too optimistic

I have also come to the sad realization that we would be lucky to have President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho. This is a politician who identified the greatest problem affecting his nation, found the most qualified person to solve it, and risked his reputation and position defending and enacting his findings despite opposition from the public and large corporate interests.

–Fallen13 someplace on Twitter