7 April 2015

Stereo is over (if you want it)

I recently gave in and bought a boxed set of albums by The Beatles. After much thought, I bought the mono boxed set. Although modern stereo had been invented by Alan Blumlein in 1931 — including stereo microphones and stereo microgroove vinyl records — in the 1960s it was still a novelty, particularly for pop music which was generally heard via mono AM radio. Until Abbey Road in 1969, all of The Beatles’ albums were recorded and mixed in mono. ... Read more

25 March 2015

Pager romance

7734 hello 14 hi 193 miss me? 123 i miss you 143 i love you 423 call me 77 friends forever 477 best friends forever 345987 i’m horny 42 fuck me 43 fuck you 7735 sellout 606 bitch 304 hoe 7 just kidding 303 stop playing 99 night night 45 goodnight 56 sweet dreams 35006*17715 silly goose From a list of 1990s teen beeper codes found in an article in Harper’s magazine. ... Read more

22 March 2015

BitTorrent Sync

Once upon a time, there was a great product called BitTorrent Sync. It allowed you to sync files between your devices — computers, phones and tablets; Windows, Mac and Linux, iOS and Android. It was released as a free preview in 2013. It wasn’t open source, but developers said: Never say never :) We still consider this option. The software used strong end-to-end encryption, so your files couldn’t be snooped on in transit or grabbed from a central server. ... Read more

20 March 2015

Starbucks serves up fine white whine

When I started working at my current employer, I attended a full day diversity training session. It covered race, gender, sexuality, religion — all the things people often shy away from talking about. It was interesting, and at the end almost everyone thought it had been worthwhile. When I heard about the Starbucks #RaceTogether campaign, however, I suspected it wouldn’t go well, for several reasons. First of all, context. Someone going to a work-mandated training session is hopefully going to be at least willing to listen to things they may not want to hear, and will have prepared themselves accordingly. ... Read more

18 March 2015

Etymology of “You’re fired!”

Tonight I watched a 90 minute documentary about Thomas J. Watson Sr, founder of IBM. (No, I didn’t get paid to watch it.) The most interesting thing I learned wasn’t about IBM, though. Before IBM, Watson worked for the National Cash Register Company, aka NCR. The head of NCR at the time was John Henry Patterson, who makes Steve Jobs look like the Dalai Lama. As well as randomly terminating the employment of people who failed to answer even trivial questions to his satisfaction, Patterson would sometimes lay off executives just to “break their self esteem”, and then hire them back once they clearly knew he was alpha bastard. ... Read more

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