Category Uncategorized

Keroncong Hoax?

I’ve come across a digital distribution of a record purportedly by a 1960s Indonesian keroncong band called the Steps. It’s entirely instrumental, and includes versions of a standard or two. The music doesn’t compare well to better keroncong (var: kroncong, krontjong, keronchong) recordings I’ve heard, but it involves a mystery that I felt compelled to investigate. Since […]

Everyone in the World could fit on the Big Island of Hawai’i

My four year old recently asked me whether everyone on the planet could fit in one city. It turns out that if each person occupied one square meter, an area of about 7,200 km² (2780 mi²) would be required. (See revisions below based on current 2016 population estimates.) This is more than 3x the land area […]

Xfinity Actual Prices Revealed!

Savvy and budget-conscious cable subscribers already know the drill. Call your cable provider every 6-12 months, threaten to leave, and get a new and cheaper promo. Then, after the promo expires, pay the inflated “regular rate” until you get a chance to repeat.  Comcast/Xfinity is notorious for forcing you to play this shell game. But […]

Falling off the Grid with Not-So-Simple T-Mobile Domestic Roaming

With T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan offering “unlimited international data and text while roaming in 120+ countries and destinations,” it was easy to forget that unlimited roaming doesn’t apply domestically. A few weeks ago I was on vacation in a scenic area of my own state state, up north on Mackinac Island, a major tourist destination that […]

You Ain’t Got Mail on El Capitan: Mail, Postbox, Outlook=fail

Email is such a basic part of life that we take it for granted.  Imagine if suddenly not only couldn’t you get your e-mail, but there was, for the time being, nothing at all that could be done about it except whine and wait. This has been the situation all northern hemisphere summer for a fair […]

make the roundish blue icons stop…

We know the story. Jony Ive ascends at Apple, skeuomorphism is out, flat is in. Not that I was ever too fond of fonts that looked like 3rd grade hand writing and yellow notebook backgrounds for a note taking app, mind you.  But a nicely designed icon that gives me some friggin’ idea of what it does is […]

Comparison of AT&T and T-Mobile plans (on a spreadsheet)

The changes carriers have made in their plans since the last time I bought a phone (an iPhone 5 in 2013, on a grandfathered unlimited data plan with AT&T) are major. Most importantly, staying on that plan with that carrier was no longer the obvious choice. The options were confusing, and  I wanted to suss […]

Hello (cruel) world!

From time to time, someone asks me something. When I put some effort into the answer, it seems a shame not share beyond the one who posed the question. But what to do when the answer is too long for twitter, and too specialized to be of general use to my facebook friends? That’s where […]