Professional Disc League exhibition during the Philadelphia Eagles halftime on 8 December 2023.

Special Interests no. 4

Who among us was untouched by the many failures of Southwest Airlines over the holidays? It messed with our family plans, but there were plenty of silver linings to be had, as well. On top of having extra hang-time with some of the family, I caught up on a long backlog of shows and films I’d been meaning to watch.

I kept my laptop closed for work through New Years until this last Sunday, when I returned from paid time-off. The day-job is consolidating down to one floor to make a more engaging space for people like me who now, after a pandemic, kinda like being in a work-place for work-things). While I’ll have a small locker, I won’t have my own desk necessarily, so maybe next week, we’ll commemorate the tchachkies that made a desk my desk.

Until then, I hope y’all had a restful and enjoyable few weeks. Here are some random things I found that piqued my interest since last dispatch.

Design

I love Tufte’s approach to typography, and that there exists an official Tufte Stylesheet means maybe this blog can make use of Tufte typography, and then I’ll maybe look better at documenting how to do all the data things. One can dream. https://edwardtufte.github.io/tufte-css/

Music

With abundant downtime, I did a little music production and cranked out a couple of new songs. As I fiddle with them, maybe it’s worth mentioning, I’m composing and producing music. I was a real MIDI-head through the 80s, right up until i left the Music Engineering program at University of Miami as a freshman…

“Aquarius”

Anyway, especially since the start of 2022, I’ve been slowly producing music, working it ideas into something shareable as I feel ready to let an idea grow. My first track, Leaves, is little more than a demo. This is a live-capture of loops I composed using a variety of synths and Logic Pro as my digital audio workstation.

I appreciate an M1 processor for music production. It’s been out of reach on iPads and MacBook Airs for over a decade for anything other than a single instrument session.

Open Source

I watched “The Banshees of Insherrin” and I read a terrific story about the Irish gent who wrote the epic end-poem in Minecraft. All sorts of miscommunications, unintentional and otherwise (stuff like avoidance, corporate legal zealousness) kept him from ever actually signing over the copyright to Mojang, and later to Microsoft. Now he releases it to the commons to get around the red-tape, but it’s quite the tale, folks.


The Apache Software Foundation, who many of us in open-source rely on for their open products (like the Apache Software License that opens xAPI from being started by contractors to government, through government, and now through IEEE) is under fire about its name. Quoting verbatim from Apache’s own website explanation of how they came up with the name, this release by Natives In Tech point-by-point challenges the foundation and urges “The Apache® Software Foundation to take the necessary steps needed to express the ally-ship they promote on their website, to act in accordance with their own code of conduct to “be careful in the words that [they] choose”, and change their name.”

Sandwiches

A Smashburger from HUDA on 18th between Market and Chestnut in Philly
I watched “The Menu” on HBOMax and it took me a full two days to get my hands on a cheeseburger, but when I picked up this Smashburger from HUDA on 18th between Market and Chestnut in Philly, this week, lemme tell you it did all the right things.

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