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LGTM

I did some contract work earlier this year for a company that was fairly corporate. Early on, I noticed that whenever a developer would put in a pull request, someone would code review it, and if the code didn’t have any issues, they’d write “LGTM” along with a little gif of what I believe was a fish in an overcoat.

The first time I saw it, I didn’t know what LGTM meant, so I searched it up quickly, and I scanned the results, and saw an entry on urbandictionary that said “Let’s Get That Money“. I thought this was really funny and cool, that in this down-to-business environment, people had this funny little shorthand that is probably from a rap song or something. The fact that a funny little fish in an overcoat was included made it extra funny to me.

So, for several months, every time I would see this, I’d have a little laugh. Then, I was doing a code review one day, everything looked fine, and I wrote “Looks good to me!” and then suddenly I realized that I had been a dope all along, and I just quietly went ahead and never mentioned what I had thought it meant. Until now, because I can make a blog post out of it. And also a month ago I think I wrote this story on Twitter.

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Flossers

I have to tell you a product that changed my life. It didn’t change it a lot, but at least a little bit. The product is: Flossers. You already knew that from the subject line.

This is a flosser:

flosser

You buy them at a drugstore, and they make flossing so, so much easier. They come with minty smells on them, which is nice, but I don’t think accomplishes anything.

I have told so many people about these, and somehow everyone is confused. I guess they’re just not that common – I didn’t really know about them for ages.

The reason I became aware of these was actually because of a strange story I read about a very similar invention. In the late 90s, a man named Sean Dix invented a product called Floss Rings. It consisted of two plastic rings that you held on your fingers, and floss would be strung between them.

Floss Rings were well received, and some studies showed that they were more effective than standard floss. Apparently they were also the first truly sterile form of dental floss, which up until then was packed by hand into containers – yikes.

So his business was doing well, and he put his life savings into it. He also got investors on board, and things were looking up, and at some point CNN got in touch, and sent Jeanne Moos to come and interview him. Moos is a lady who CNN used to get (possibly still does?) to go and do really unfunny human interest segments. She decided that the approach for the Floss Rings segment would be to mock the product and get dentists to try it out very clumsily.

When the segment ran, it instantly ruined Dix’s business, and his investors pulled out. Worse, Dix went a little crazy, and became obsessed with getting CNN to correct the record. He started phoning them all the time, and at one point faxed them 6000 times, over a 4 day period – again, yikes. They ignored him for a while, and then sent the FBI to ask him to stop.

Unfortunately, he was obsessed, and he didn’t stop. His biggest mistake was decided that he would fax a death threat to Ted Turner, since that would get him before a judge, and he could explain his case. Of course, this got him arrested, and he wound up doing several years in jail.

It’s been a while since I read about this case. While researching it tonight, I found out that Dix got into some more drama, accusing his dentist of trying to kill him. I don’t have time to really dig into this, but there’s a video on Youtube of him from 2012, talking about a NY Post story related to this.

I got off topic, but the Sean Dix story is how I first became aware there’s an alternate way to floss, and once I picked some flossers up at the pharmacy, I was hooked. (To be clear, these are different from the design of Floss Rings, but similar in principle/result.)

So that’s it, just another blog update, saying you should buy these, I can’t say a bad thing about them.

Actually wait, scrap that, I just remembered one bad thing – the pointy end of them is unnecessarily sharp, and I hate it. Last year, I was in NYC for a week, and I forgot to bring a comb, so I walked to a CVS and bought a pack with 6 or 7 combs in it. I wanted to use one right away, so I tried opening the bag as I walked, but it was extremely thick plastic, very hard to rip open.

I had a flosser in my pocket, so I stopped walking, and used the pointy end to poke a hole in the bag of combs. The bag was slippery though, and I wound up poking a really big hole in my hand, that started bleeding all over. I had to go back to the CVS and buy some band-aids. So be careful, especially if you are a frigging spaz, as I am.

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Twitter Followers

Know what is a sort of weird thing: I don’t keep track of my Twitter follower number, but every once in a while, I’ll notice that it’s at some really memorable number, like 5555 or something. The other day I happened to see it was at 7774, and I thought “oh, 3 people until it’s a funny number”.

Then, the other night, I sent a bunch of tweets that were not great- but probably no more uninteresting than my usual ones. As I was doing it, I threw in some joke like “I got tricked into drinking a lot of booze, I’m going to do tweetstorms”, which was not true. Later, someone I know DM-ed me saying they were drunk that night, I guess they thought I actually was.

So then I happened to notice today that I’m down 12 followers. This is the problem with actually knowing how many people follow you – you might actually notice this sort of thing. So it’s not a big deal or something I care about, but it got me thinking: Did it have to do with people thinking I was doing drunken tweetstorms? Were people scared I would keep going, or something? I don’t know, just a random thing I guess.

Speaking of Twitter, a bunch of times lately, I’ve just quickly followed people who have followed me, if their bios look decent, without reading any of their tweets. So far it’s good. This is really irrelevant, gotta end this blog post now.

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Numbers

I have a weird problem where I always want to know various statistics that are almost certainly unknowable. Here is an example:

Yesterday was the 15 year anniversary of 9-11. A lot of people were reminiscing about it – wait, is that the right word, reminiscing? That sounds a bit too friendly. I already almost wrote “15 year birthday of 9-11″, and I don’t want to get in a bunch of trouble or look flippant.

Anyway, people were remembering 9-11 all over the place yesterday, and for some reason I got this idea in my head, and I can’t shake it: I really want to know who ate the most chicken wings on September 11, 2001 in NYC.

I’m not trying to make a joke or anything – I really just am curious about this. I am sure that overall people probably didn’t eat out a lot that day, and I’m sure a large amount of restaurants closed, but there must have been some open, right? I think? Surely there were some bars open, and bars often serve wings.

And there must have been people who went out to eat and were really hungry, and they ordered wings, and then, with all the shock and emotions going on, it’d be pretty natural for someone to deal with it by over-eating. People love dealing with emotions by eating a lot of food, because it tastes good.

I also can just picture some guy going to a bar that serves wings just going “Fuck it man, life is short, we can all go at a moment’s notice, might as well live a little” and then eating maybe 35 wings. Perhaps the guy saying this was pretty drunk – I am sure a lot of people got drunk that night, as a way of dealing with the craziness. Wings are extremely popular with drunk people.

Theories and logic aside though, in the end, it’s impossible to know who ate the most wings on 9-11.

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Iconic Canadian Male Singers

That is one terrible blog title.

I was at the park a couple of weeks ago, and a lady had a shirt on that said:

AVRIL

SHANIA

ALANIS

JONI

CELINE

Actually, here’s a copy I found on the web.

To me, that’s a very smart t-shirt – very marketable.

I got thinking about what names would be on a similar shirt that was a list of 5 iconic male Canadian singers, and I came up with:

GORD (Downie)

BRYAN (Adams)

GORDON (Lightfoot)

LEONARD (Cohen)

But I got stuck on a fifth – should it be Corey (Hart)? Does it make any sense at all for it to be Burton (Cummings)? I haven’t really given it enough thought to really decide.

I did think that it’d be pretty cool if a B-list, non-icon singer made a run of these shirts themselves, and included their own name, in an attempt to raise themselves up to icon status. Something like:

GORD

BRYAN

GORDON

LEONARD

MIKE (Reno of Loverboy)

or another example could be:

GORD

BRYAN

GORDON

LEONARD

MYLES (Francis Goodwyn of April Wine)

Maybe it goes without saying, but in my imagination, both the latter shirts would include the full parentheses with the singer’s full name and band name.

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Apple Killing Headphones

Sadly, I am not an Apple blogger. If you’re an Apple blogger, you can make like $400,000 a year by saying stuff like “Samsung made the Home icon 1px smaller – this is a billion dollar mistake”, or “I’m with Tim Cook on this one” (which you can add to 100% of Tim Cook quotes, but act like you really thought it through).

Sorry, let me just add a side note for a second here: When the shitty Apple Watch came out, the Daringfireball guy wrote one of the best things of all time:

Also, though it sounds trivial, I enjoy the perfect 60 FPS smoothness of Apple Watch’s second hand — a smoothness no mechanical watch could ever match.

hahahahahahah ait’s so good. It really makes me laugh thinking about it, because I know it’s totally sincere, and the guy was like “Damn, this watch is higher resolution than.. reality!”

Anyway, so Apple is announcing the new iPhone tomorrow, and the big news, as far as I’ve seen, is that they’re removing the headphone port, and adding their own proprietary port.

Cynical people might think this is because they recently bought the Beats headphones company and can sell a bunch of $399 headphones (and “Airpods”) to people. The truth however is simply that a typical headphone port is 1/8 of an inch wide, and that is insanely thick. Carrying a phone that’s thicker than 3.5mm is basically like sticking a huge wheel of cheese in your pocket, one of the big ones that the villagers are rolling around in Asterix books, for instance.

So I’m no Apple blogger, and I certainly go out of my way to not read Apple blogs, okay and let me get off on another tangent here: Should I do an Apple blog? I bet I could get pretty rich, I understand all the stuff they do. Okay tangent over.

So they’re ditching the headphone jack, which I find really annoying, and it will keep me using my Android (which I’ve been doing most of the year) rather than my iPhone, but I’m not sure whether it’ll matter to most people. I think they have probably an 80% chance of getting away with it, which is very low to be honest, because my default is that Apple have a 95% chance of getting away with basically any dumb thing they’ve done to this point.

Anyway here is my only point: I keep seeing people compare this to when Apple got rid of Firewire, or CD players, and similar things, but to me, that’s not the best analogy.

To me, the better comparison is to when Apple released a phone with a decent camera. On one hand, the 2 situations are totally different: Tomorrow, Apple will be changing the headphone jack on their devices, whereas before, they added a camera to their devices. But it’s the result that I’m talking about:

The result of them adding a camera was that a trillion people switching from using normal cameras, and rely on their phone cameras for most situations now. DSLR and Mirrorless camera sales are stagnant/dying now, and the reason is that everyone is happy enough with smartphones.

What I can picture happening with the Apple headphone thing is that the same result occurs: People are happy enough with the new USB-C (or the new proprietary Bluetooth  standard that Apple will add), anid people buy Apple’s own headphones (or use whatever free ones come with the iPhone 7), and in maybe 5 years, it’s quite possible that traditional 3.5mm headphones will just be purchased by serious audio enthusiasts and people doing professional recording. The same way that right now, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are mostly just purchased by serious photography enthusiasts, and pros.

To me, this is bad, because – and this is an unpopular opinion, and I hate writing unpopular opinions, because they make people like me less – phone cameras suck. They suck, most of the pictures they take suck, and maybe 1 in 200 times, someone takes a good photo with one, and maybe it winds up on an Apple billboard, or a blog, and people go “Wow, iPhones can take really great photos”, but really they suck, they mostly all sucks, they’re grainy, they’re all taken at like 128,000,000,000,000 ISO, half of them are using like JPEG Compression Level 3/12, combined with a tiny lens and some digital zoom.

They blow, it’s been like 10 years almost since they came out, and they’ve sucked the whole time, just slightly less each year. The new digital headphones are going to absolutely suck compared to traditional headphones, because a crapload of German guys have spent their lives making traditional headphones better and better, for like 80 years. The new headphones are going to suck for I don’t know, 10 or 15 years, but most people will be happy enough with them, the same way people would rave about the camera in like the iPhone 3GS, for instance. Remember that??? Honestly, people said it was GREAT, people LOVED it. What is wrong with people! I am so much smarter and better than everyone.

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Coincidental Bot Story

The title for this post is kind of bad I guess. This is just a pretty weird thing that happened to me earlier this year, an odd coincidence.

I don’t want to get into specific details, because I don’t want to specifically identify the person involved, but the city it happened in isn’t really the point anyway.

Earlier this year, I went to the US. During one of the days that I was away, I went to a coworking space in a smaller city because I had some work to finish on a consulting job I was doing. It was a pretty typical space, with different table configurations, and I sat at an empty space where I was facing towards another guy. The tables were quite deep, so he was still probably 20 feet away.

While I was there, he and the other 2 people at the other connected tables came and went a few times. For an hour or so though, this guy was on the phone with someone, and because the coworking space was quiet, I couldn’t help but overhear him, it was impossible not to. He seemed to be coaching someone through doing some kind of Ruby on Rails programming, nothing too interesting.

At the end of the call though, after the programming was done, he was chatting a bit to the other person, and saying “Oh well, I’m working on a fintech bot, I can’t go into it much but that field is really hot now..” and some other vague stuff.

I kind of assumed it was some kind of Bitcoin product, and I was very curious about it, since I’m always paying attention to bot stuff, as well as Bitcoin to some degree. I had work to do though, and I don’t think he was at the same desk for much more time, so I never got around to asking him about what he was working on.

On the way home, I remember thinking several times something like “Oh, too bad I’ll never find out what that guy was working on”, because it just seems like the odds were against it. Through random meetups or other tech events, I’ve talked to probably 100 people in Toronto who have some kind of startup idea that they’re working on, and I never, ever hear of them later, and those are in my own city.

A week later though, the guy must have finished his product enough to spam-follow me on Twitter, because I’m mutual followers with a couple of people from XOXCO, who are big in the bot world (I respect them, and myself, too much to call them thought leaders). I saw a notification that some account named after an app had followed me, clicked it out of curiosity, and I was like whooaa, this is a fintech bot from the city I was in. It was not a huge city NYC or San Francisco where you might say “Oh there are probably tons of people doing fintech bots here” either. So I DM-ed the account like “heeey do you work at ___ coworking space?”, etc. and it was them.

So listen, this isn’t really the craziest story, but it still feels weird to me just HOW damn small the world is. Like literally I just sat randomly across from some guy, overheard a bit of his conversation, then later on I thought “I wish I had more details about that, but oh well, I’ll never know” and then one week later, when I was probably 2000km away, boom, the universe just decided to fill me in with that info.

This reminds of something I’ve thought about a decent amount actually: You know how atheists think that religious people are very dumb, and illogical? Well if you just do the stats based on how many people there are in the world, and how many things happen, there must be a decent amount of people who have tons of coincidences like this happen to them, maybe in close proximity.

There almost has to be someone who has said “Wow I wish I knew what that was about” after seeing some guy yelling at an airport, then a week later, the same guy walks into the same barbershop and starts telling the barber about it. And then a couple of days later, this guy has another crazy coincidence, and then again, and again, maybe 10 times, until he’s just like “Okay, there is no randomness in the universe, hell no”.

I may be rambling or confusing here, but you know what I mean right, like statistically, there have to be tons of people who run into dozens of extremely weird coincidences all the time. And I am pretty sure that at some point, a person would have to be illogical to actually believe the universe is random. I’m not going to do any math or invoke Bayes theorem, but there has to be some point where enough 1-in-a-million things have happened to a specific person, where they’d actually be irrational to say “The universe is random and there is no master plan” versus “All the people who say the universe is random are lying/wrong/conspiring”. You know?

I feel like I went off on too much of a tangent there and the first half of this post is straightforward, and the second half is too rambling. I appreciate you reading the whole thing, but if you feel that way, I guess my only explanation is: Tough shit, I’m not editing this.

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Dark Sky Preserve

Last night, I went to this place in Ontario, the Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve. It’s about two hours north of Toronto, and it’s a protected area where uhh.. it’s dark. I gotta admit, I’m not up on all the details, but if you Google it, it’s supposed to be a place where lots of people go and take cool astronomy photos, the long exposure ones with star trails and stuff.

I left later than I should, and I knew that I’d get there after dark, which could potentially be annoying, but I’d researched a bit and it seemed like there would be a small parking lot, then a little walk to an area where I sort of assumed a bunch of people would be taking pictures/using telescopes. The reason I thought that was that the previous 2 nights had been amazing nights to see the Aurora Borealis, and yesterday night was looking very promising as well. On top of that, yesterday was the first night of the long weekend, so I figured people would be up for getting out and stargazing.

I drove most of the way on a main highway, but the last 45 minutes were on this incredibly dark paved country road. I haven’t been on it before, and it’s very, very twisty, with tons of hills and sudden 90 degree turns. Of course I’d been on it maybe 10 minutes before some lunatic in an SUV zoomed up behind me and passed me, which seemed crazy.

About 15 minutes after that, I saw fire about a half kilometre away, and as I got closer to it, I could see just an enormous fire roaring behind a house. I’ve seen people burning trash, but this was so big, and just blazing so strong. I couldn’t get a great look at what was going on though, because of the darkness, and the house and some trees blocking it, so I just kind of figured ehh, it’s probably just a very big trash fire.

There was a pickup truck a bit ahead of me at this point, and he drove by just before me and didn’t slow down, but then maybe 30 seconds later, he pulled into some house’s driveway, backed out and turned around and started honking his horn like crazy. I got up to him just as he was finishing his manoeuvre and I slowed down and opened my window all the way, to see why he was going crazy on the horn. I thought for sure he was going to say “That house is on fire!” but he just ignored me and kept driving, it was so weird.

I feel like someone reading this might think this post is all about the fire, but honestly I just went “ehh, this is weird as hell, I have no clue what’s going on, there’s definitely not a building on fire and every car I have encountered out here is acting like a maniac, so I’m just chalking that up to a trash bonfire” and I just kept driving.

I got to the dark sky preserve soon after that, at about 10 p.m., and there were a couple of cars who got there at the same time as me, and a couple who had just parked. I got out, grabbed my camera bag and tripod and started heading in.

Once I got in, it was so weird, all these groups of older teens were coming in with camping gear, even though it was already pitch black, and they were going to set up camp. I couldn’t see anyone set up for star-watching or anything. I am not going to get into the details of me trying to get photos, but I took some star pictures, and they were not good -I had some technical issues. I wound up leaving after an hour. The aurora borealis apparently showed up maybe 2 hours after that, which sucks, because I had kind of planned to really wait it out, on the basis that I thought there would be lots of other photographers around. The only other star-watching people I saw was a group of young people from the area who showed up at the same time as me with a telescope. They were nice and we set up near each other, but nobody else showed up.

As I was leaving, I walked through this short path that has trees on either side, and I heard a very loud, completely weird sound, almost like water running. I stepped to the side as a guy came near me, making just an insane racket, and as he got close, I realized it was some kind of mook dragging a 20 foot tall tree (that he had presumably ripped down) to his campsite.

I remember seeing a car commercial that was filmed at this place, and they made it look like a really remote, pristine place where people go to solemnly commune with the night sky. This was not my experience! There was this one moment where for some reason, it had become quiet for a minute. I clicked the shutter on my camera, which was set for a 60 second exposure, and I did lean back for a minute and look up at all the stars, and I was thinking that despite everything, it was a pretty cool place. About 5 seconds into that moment, I heard an extremely loud drunk girl yell “RYAN REYNOLDS WAS PERRRRFECT FOR THAT ROLE!” That was about when I started packing up.

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Mr. Peanut is Hateful Trash

I just saw this tweet from Mr. Peanut:

peanut

And you can get a lot from it, in my opinion.

At first glance, we just have a peanut relaxing in the sun. But look closer, he’s wearing hip jeans and pants, and he even has an ironic monocle and top hat. I think it’s accurate to say, this guy would fit right into any major American city with a bunch of bearded 20somethings hanging out. Oh cool, he’s a fun guy, just a cool peanut, great.

Look closer though, and what’s the real message here: First of all, the tweet itself is a passive aggressive “Hmm makes you think” that’s an anti-union, pro-corporations message. The implicit message here is that it’s completely absurd that we – in this peanut’s mind – glorify a day of laziness by associating it with hard work.

Look closer at this peanut – he dresses the part of an early 21st century hipster guy, but where is he actually hanging out? Not with a bunch of cash-strapped millenials struggling to make it in the city, but, judging by the croquette equipment and designer lawn furniture, some country house, probably his family’s second home.

This guy is crying about people not working hard for a day, and yet what is he doing? Reclining in a $300 chair from Restoration Hardware while sipping on an iced tea and relaxing with a book. Of course it’s a book about Success and Working Hard, so he can tell himself he isn’t slacking off or being lazy. This peanut is a perfect example of the 1% in 2016, lecturing everyone about working hard, while he contributes nothing.

Check out what he’s eating: Cashews. Of course he thinks nothing of eating cashews: A cashew is basically just a peanut with a different racial background. Of course Mr. Peanut just sits around literally eating nuts of a different race while he lectures them about hard work, of course he does.

Mr. Peanut is a symbol of what’s wrong with America in 2016. He looks like he’s about 2 weeks from holding a Trump fundraiser and screaming about Black Lives Matter on Twitter. This picture looks like he hired a photographer off Craigslist and said “Make me the Dan Bilzerian of the alt-right”. Mr. Peanut has definitely posted this pic to /r/malefashionadvice with the title “Top hat, no shirt – too much or not enough?” Mr. Peanut has definitely sent this picture to at least 20 girls along with a gym selfie.

Anyway just a few thoughts I had, someone had to say it.

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Message Boards

One of my favourite things online are message boards. I’ve always thought that their importance is underrated, and I believe it’s because so much of their content can lie in long threads that nobody will read unless they’re a regular on the board, and sometimes all the content on the board is completely hidden to people who aren’t logged in.

Another thing is that the general navigation of most message board software is kind of bad – when you first show up, you often see 10-20 different forums, and you have no clue which are the juiciest ones. Quite often, the most interesting stuff happens in the off-topic areas, or some random thread will go on for years in a section that isn’t the most popular.

To me, there is nothing I have ever enjoyed online more than a couple of message boards I used to frequent where a decent amount of the users were smart, and funny, and would start making fun of something, or someone (often some guy who showed up looking to cause trouble). It’s hard to really describe without sounding dumb, but it really is one of the best things online.

Anyway, I don’t want to write a whole big essay about forums, this is just something I think about sometimes – how underrated they are. There’s one in particular I don’t go to anymore, but maybe once a year I check back in and there’s always so much hilarious drama going on – there’s almost always some longtime poster who decided to use his social goodwill to ask other members for money for something or other, and then has done something dumb with it instead of whatever his pretense was. Quite often these are things like “Guys I’m temporarily homeless, I need to borrow money for 2 months rent”, etc.

Now and then I think about starting some sort of board, but I think it’s very tough to just start one and have good people join. It’s somewhat random as far as what boards just get a good combination of users, and I think you need to have a pretty defined topic. I’ve seen a few people over the years say “I’m starting a message board, and it’s only going to have cool people I know” – that’s a big mistake, I think you totally have to get a bunch of random people also showing up, to keep things interesting.

Okay whatever, just some thoughts, this is not a very interesting post, sorry.