Mad Times

“To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.” – Wendell Berry

January 1st, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Podcasts I listen to

I keep talking to Becky about stuff I heard on various podcasts I listen to and she can’t keep them all straight. Here’s the rundown as of now:

Podcast Categories Comments
Accidental Tech Podcast Tech Marco Arment (Instapaper, The Magazine), John Siracusa (OS X reviews, all the podcasts), each had shows on 5by5 with Dan Benjamin, then they both quit and started a show about cars with their friend Casey Liss (Programmer dude everyone likes to say they’ve never heard of). The car shows kept devolving into tech wank, so they started this. Come for Siracusa, stay for Siracusa. End theme is a vicious earworm.
Ad hoc Media Tech people talk about media stuff. Infrequent show with a varying panel, but chaired by Guy English and Rene Ritchie.
Alan Watts Podcast Philosophy Bits from the infamous Buddhist’s lectures podcastified.
Back to Work Tech Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann jawbone about comics, kids, movies, tech, and, oh yeah, productivity. So many private jokes.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Fiction Weekly SF short story.
Bitsplitting Tech, Interview Developer Daniel Jalkut in long-form interviews with various tech notables. Currently on hiatus.
Bruno and the Professor Politics Two guys in Seattle chat about politics. The audio quality is frequently dreadful, but the content makes up for it.
CMD+Space Tech, Interview Brit Myke Hurley interviews various notable tech people
Core Intuition Tech Daniel Jalkut and Manton Reece discuss the news in tech-land and thier experience as developers.
Debug Tech Guy English and Rene Ritchie chat with tech folks individually and in groups about topics of interest.
Decode DC Politics Former NPR comentator Andrea Seabrook digs into the background behind political issues trying to explain why it is the way it is.
Developing Perspective Tech Underscore David Smith (FeedWrangler) dispenses 15 minutes of insight about Mac app development.
eco-logical Sustainability, Interview Seems to be on hiatus. Host architect Terry Phelan interviews folks about topics around sustainable building.
Escape Pod Fiction, SF Weekly SF short story.
Hanselminutes Tech, Interview Scott Hanselman interviews tech people. Leans more towards web and Windows than most of my other techy stuff which trends towards Mac and iOS.
The Hidden Almanac Fiction, SF Ursula Vernon makes up crazy shit and her hubby Kevin Sonney (as Reverend Mord) reads it. It’s a cross between Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and Welcome to Night Vale filtered through Ursula’s quirky brain.
In Beta Tech In flux now, but was a conversation between programmer Gina Trapani and tech journalist Kevin Purdy about various techy topics. This one trends towards Android and open source. Gina and Kevin’s run on this show was one of my very favorite podcasts. Great interactions, and Kevin always cracks me up.
The Incomparable Media A neverending cast of random techie people (all connected through show host (and MacWorld editor (and denizen of my home town)) Jason Snell), talk about nerdy media, play D&D, enact radio plays, and generally have a good time.
IRL Talk Media, Tech Used to be Geek Friday but left 5by5 for reasons never explained and is now this. Jason Seifer and Faith Korpi talk about geeky stuff.
Just The Tip Comedy Lawyer (and tech spouse) Amy Jane Gruber and programmer Paul Kafasis snark entertainingly about stuff for 30 minutes.
Let's Make Mistakes Design, Tech, Interview Mule Design Studio pater familias and all around net curmudgeon Mike Monteiro and chirpy cheerful Jessie Char, both designers, chat with folks who have something to say about tech, design, San Francisco, and other things.
99% Invisible Design, Radio Roman Mars hosts this wonderful examination of the design of our built environment. I love this show so much.
Planet Money Radio I subscribed to this because Roman Mars told me to and because their joint show about the commodities trading at the end of Trading Places was quite good.
PodCastle Fiction, SF Weekly Fantasy short story.
Radiolab from WNYC Radio Come for the production value, stay for having your mind blown repeatedly. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich host this show that’s hard to describe, but is usually about science.
Screen Time Media, Interview Mois├ęs Chiullan interviews notables and talks about screen-based media from movies to tv to games.
SF Crossing the Gulf Media SF people and physicists, Karen Burnham and Karen Lord have deep conversations about SF books.
SF Squeecast Media, Interview A pack of SF writers (often including Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan Maquire, and Cat Valente) convene with an SF writer guest to recommend stuff and torment their guest.
StarShipSofa Interview, Fiction, SF An SF story or two plus the occasional interview, science fact bit, or other related work.
Systematic Tech, Interview Brett Terpstra interviews a variety of people on tech and non-tech topics. Sometimes super nerdy, sometimes not.
The Talk Show With John Gruber Tech, Interview John Gruber (of uber Mac news blog Daring Fireball) has long rambling conversations with other Mac people.
Tea and Jeopardy SF, Interview Adorable-voiced Brit, Emma Newman has perilous conversations with science fiction folks.
TechHive's Clockwise Tech Jason Snell and Dan Moren host other TechHive editors in this 30-minute tech news opinion show.
Technical Difficulties Tech Gabe Weatherhead and Erik Hess. This used to be (and occasionally reverts to) an interview show called “Generational”. But in its current incarnation it’s a discussion of how to navigate some arena where the solution isn’t immediately obvious. They’ve talked about home network wiring and home music distribution, so stuff like that.
This American Life Radio The prototypical radio magazine show. It’s just consistently good.
Unprofessional Language, Interview Silver-tongued goofball Lex Friedman (formerly of Mac World (and now formerly of this podcast!)) and ascerbic yet strangely charming designer musician Dave Wiskus (Vesper, Airplane Mode) have inappropriate conversations with surprisingly well-known people.
Welcome to Night Vale Fiction, SF Lovecraftian horror through the eyes of a fictional (I hope!) community radio station in the town of Night Vale.
WTF with Marc Maron Language, Interview Comedian Marc Maron interviews everyone. I skip some episodes when the interviewee isn’t interesting to me, but when this show is good it’s very very good.
November 10th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

It’s full of stars

Well, only 32, but they’re all the stars within 14 light years of home in a 3d animation so you can tell how relatively far away they are. The lines show whether they’re above or below the ecliptic. Nifty.

Whoa, I just noticed that if you point your mouse at a star it will tell you all about it.

via James Nicoll

July 20th, 2007 at 1:00 am

One-click library searching

Merlin over at 43folders pointed to John Udell’s venerable but still spiffy library lookup bookmarklet generator. I couldn’t figure out what values to use to make it work with the King County Library System catalog, but I was able to hack the code to make it work. Since most of my friends who use the library probably aren’t going to do that themselves, I’m sticking it here for them to grab.

What this does is if you’re looking at a book on Amazon or any other page that displays the book’s ISBN in a recognizable way, you click on the link I’m about to share and it will open a new window showing the search results for that ISBN in the KCLS catalog.

Drag this link: KCLS-it to the link bar in your browser. Then go look something up at Powell’s and once you’ve got the book you want showing, click the link in your link bar. It should open a new window (or tab) showing that book in the catalog. If the book isn’t in the system it will show you a list of items around that ISBN that are in the catalog.

Yell if you have problems and I’ll try to help you out.

May 27th, 2007 at 5:50 pm


Six camerasRachel wanted me to blog this so she’d have the opportunity to ridicule me in public. Those are all the digital cameras we have in the house at the moment. They are (left-right, top-bottom):

Largan Chameleon
Used for the beginning of my photo-a-day project in 2002. The camera that took the first eleven lost glove pictures. Whopping 640×480 resolution, fixed focus, no on-camera review.

Pentax Optio S4
My beloved teensy camera. Got it in 2003. Took something like 5000 pictures with it. Still the tiniest of the batch (the fx30 is a half inch longer and a smidge thicker). Really miss having its excellent audio recorder function in my pocket all the time.

Fuji FinePix F20
Decent little camera, especially for low-light indoor shots (pictures aren’t stellar (as evidenced by the last couple months on the blog and flickr), but it can take them unlike the Optio that gives up as soon as the world gets a little dim). Pocketable but a little boxy.

Kodak EasyShare Z730
Becky’s camera. Takes very nice pictures and incredibly feature rich for its price range (the only camera here with aperture and shutter priority for example). Really big, though (relatively speaking).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30
28mm equivalent Leica lens. Back-filling crystal clear LCD. Fast. Will take pictures in low light (if you don’t mind them looking like something from Monet’s cataract period when you look at them too closely) Almost as tiny as my Optio.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
10x optical zoom. 28mm equivalent all the way out to 280mm. In a package just a little bigger than the Fuji. Leica. Huge LCD. Did I mention the Leica 28-280 zoom?

Of course I won’t be keeping all of them. The Chameleon is really just a toy and has been sitting in a drawer for a few years. The Optio is getting wonky and I’ll probably just keep it around as an audio recorder. The Fuji and the Kodak will be finding new homes. The fx30 will be in my pocket and the tz3 will be somewhere near Becky. That is once I’m done doing side-by-side experiments with the lot of them.

March 6th, 2007 at 6:19 pm


The latest shiny toy in the universe of social networking is Twitter. It couldn’t be more simple. Its complete reason for existence is to allow people to repeatedly answer the question “What are you doing?” It’s like having your very own four-year-old except this four-year-old won’t just ask you incessantly what you’re doing, she will also share the answers you give her with the other people she’s nagging.

It’s one of those things that only really becomes fun when all your friends are doing it too. Unfortunately for me, my real world friends aren’t all that interested in this kind of silliness and my on-line friends are more on the order of acquaintances and this level of sharing maybe isn’t suited to that level of relationship.

So go add me so I don’t have to feel so much like a lonely creepy stalker guy.


output here