In 2005, I went to E3 with a small handful of friends. I wanted to blog a bit from the floor, but didn’t want to go through what would have been a huge hassle to use a laptop. So I set up a system that we could all send emails to with our phones and it would save the text and annotate it with the author’s name based on phone numbers. I called it a “moblog”. This was 10 months before the first Tweet, and 16 months before Twitter became publicly available. We probably wrote all of this with T9.

Here’s some of what we moblogged for E3:

  • Plutor: The new e3 blogging system is now online. (13 May, 08:36AM)
  • Nomad: I’m at E3! Just kidding I’m at crappy work. (13 May, 10:29AM)
  • Nomad: Whoever invented getting 4 hovrs of sleep should be shot (17 May, 05:54AM)
  • Chris: We’re on our way and we’ve already had at least 3 arguments. This is going to be the best trip evar!! (17 May, 06:19AM)
  • Chris: Logan just mentioned that for what we’re paying for this trip, we could buy a ton of video games. Shut up logan. (17 May, 06:29AM)
  • Plutor: Boarding takes so long. So inefficient. (17 May, 09:13AM)
  • Nomad: First coast! (17 May, 06:04PM)
  • Chris: After the flight I had significant hearing loss which still hasn’t come back. (17 May, 06:21PM)
  • Nomad: In in n out (17 May, 07:17PM)
  • Nomad: LA train stations are clean by train station standards (17 May, 08:53PM)
  • Nomad: Dancing girls = good video games (18 May, 02:05PM)
  • Plutor: Two hours in and i’ve already overloaded. Hungry, tired, amazed, and excited for more. (18 May, 02:55PM)
  • Chris: All the xbox 360 games are running off of apple G5s (18 May, 05:19PM)
  • Nomad: At the MeFi meetup everyone is cool! (18 May, 10:53PM)
  • Plutor: This mefi meetup is really cool. Los angeles is the bomb. (19 May, 12:27AM)
  • Plutor: The xbox 360 controller is so amazing. (19 May, 01:29PM)
  • Nomad: The workout room has tvs on every treadmill & bike! (19 May, 09:35PM)
  • Nomad: Controls are broke on mine though (19 May, 09:36PM)
  • Plutor: We’re going early today so we can be first in line for the new zelda. The line was > 2 hours yesterday. (20 May, 11:11AM)
  • Chris: Brian and I just met the voice of Mario! (20 May, 12:33PM)
  • Nomad: The last of e3’s children is back in the northeast. I love New York (22 May, 09:24PM)

Here is calendar prototype 2

(This is what prototype 1 looked like.)

I’ve been living with this new, larger calendar for a couple weeks now. It’s got 5 weeks instead of 4, and the days are 50% larger. I even used to get a long printed spool that’ll last until October. But it’s not perfect yet, here’s a few notes:

  1. The font is too small to be read from a comfortable distance (the PDF linked above corrects this)
  2. The top bezel is too small
  3. The spool is a little too close to the bottom edge, it’s a struggle to advance the calendar (although this will less of a problem after a few weeks).
  4. Poster Ninja was the best site I could find that would print something big on normal paper (not just card stock), but the max height wasn’t enough to print a full year. The PDF above is corrected to two pages: Jan-July and July-Jan.

It’s good that the Android keyboard is a bit shit because it means I text my friends less dumb shit when I’m high than I would otherwise

If you woke up tomorrow the only human on Earth and also immortal, where would be the best place to live? Cities wouldn’t be particularly safe because buildings will eventually collapse. You want to be near water and long growing seasons and fertile soil. You want to be far from hurricanes or monsoons or earthquakes. You might want to be near fishing opportunities and existing farm animal populations.

It shouldn’t be surprising that a very good answer is “where the densest forests in the world are”. What is surprising to me is that a lot of Europe has a good case, too. In terms of getting started, existing farmland in Europe (there’s a lot of it) or newly-cleared land in the Amazon (also a lot of that, sadly) might be the best bets. I’d be afraid of the maintenance necessary to keep the Amazon at bay, but on the other hand intercontinental travel with no other living humans is bound to be a challenge.

Like last year, I played a bit of video games in 2022, almost all on PC. Early in the year, I dropped Stadia and switched to PC Game Pass. I loved Stadia’s technology, but the game selection on Game Pass is shockingly good. And everyone knew it was just a matter of time until Stadia was killed.

I again spent most of my gaming playing co-op with my brother. My favorite game of the year was absolutely We Were Here Forever – the fourth in that series. They stepped up the visuals and the story and the puzzles this time around, I was very very impressed with it. Other good games we played this year: BBQ Simulator, Biped, Unrailed, You Suck At Parking, Deep Rock Galactic, and Grounded. We also continue to get tons of playtime from Escape Simulator, thanks to two great DLC releases and a very active map building community.

When I was playing alone, I was typically churning through Vampire Survivors, but occasionally also the Forza Horizon 5 Hot Wheels DLC and Trackmania 2020. I also got my Playdate just a week ago, and I’m excited to play through those Season 1 games in the coming months.

The closest thing I have to synesthesia is a perpetual desire to find the volume of music that “fills” my ears. It’s an indescribable and elusive point that’s pretty loud, but not very loud.

Happy December, and happy Advent of Code. As per my tradition, I’m trying to learn a new language. Since I enjoyed the functional-ish aspects of Kotlin so much last year, I decided to try a fully functional language this year: Haskell. And oh boy was day one a challenge!

Follow my progress at my Github repo

I just deactivated my Twitter accounts: @Plutor and 9 bots. So long, fucko.

One bot I can’t get into because I can’t get the emailed confirmation code. And another was apparently suspended for some reason I don’t care to investigate and you have to appeal the suspension in order to deactivate the account.

I’m building a storage bench for my kids shoes and hats and such, and it’s gonna turn out fine, but it makes me want to buy a table saw and a build a real workbench so I can make great stuff.

This is my new calendar idea, the spool calendar. The spool currently goes until the first week of Feb 2023, each week I can just pull it upwards and cut off the excess.

The biggest problems to resolve for the next prototype are 1) make it easier to mount and feed the spool, and 2) how to keep it from rolling back up (I’ve got it sorta taped there right now, but some sort of little clip might be better)

Also it’s about 14x10 right now but it should probably be more like 18x16, the days are a little cramped and a squarer 5-week layout is more typical for calendars

In response to this tweet, I asserted we were in the latter group and literally everyone else on the server was certain we were in the former. One said “It goes to show how much Plutor is holding back”

My friend group’s Slack in 2020: “We should move to Discord”

My friend group’s Slack in 2021: “We should move to Discord”

My friend group’s Slack in 2022: “We should move to Discord”

My friend group’s Slack today: [tumbleweeds, because everyone’s on Discord]

In June 1976, aliens landed on a quiet farm in northern Wisconsin. Three of them left their ship and walked a couple hundred yards to the farmhouse. When the farmer answered the door, they were shocked to discover that we didn’t look like aliens. We looked just like them. After a brief discussion, the landing party decided this wouldn’t make a very good press release.

They went back to their ship and left to find a planet with more exotic looking aliens, and have never returned.

I invented a new type of wall calendar last night and I can’t stop thinking about it.

This video allowed John Conway to blow my mind from beyond the grave. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Coding in JavaScript makes me feel like Harrison Bergeron

Painting of Plutor holding a large plate of vegetables, by Frida Kahlo

Painting of Plutor holding a large plate of vegetables, by Frida Kahlo

Stable Diffusion trained with Dreambooth, try it yourself

The scariest part of my commute has bike lanes now, but I’m not totally sure if it’s in improvement. Part of Cambridge St in Boston is wonderful (separated by plastic posts close to City Hall), but other parts are weird (no separation) or bad (the Blue Bikes in front of Whole Foods is.. IN THE BIKE LANE!?), and the pavement is still a potholed disaster.

And after biking in Chicago a couple weeks ago, I really wish this city had dedicated bike traffic signals.

Why does posting here feel so much more navel-gazey than Twitter did? I know it’s the same but it feels different?

Waiting for Gödel

Neon shop, Chicago

I did not realize until I deleted my Twitter how much I depended on it for a mental health outlet. Going back to Wordpress looks kafkaesque by comparison, how did we ever live like that?

Decade in Review

Tomorrow, it will be 2020.

In 2010, I was a web developer and manager at a small company outside of Boston. Now, I’m a developer and team lead at a very very large international company. In 2010, I programmed in mostly Java and Perl. Now, it’s mostly Go and C++.

In 2010, I lived in South Boston in a condo I owned with a small patio. Now, I live in South Boston in a different condo that I own with a large back yard (for this neighborhood at least). In 2010, I lived with my beautiful wife and beautiful dog Gus. Gus isn’t with us anymore, but we’ve got two adorable toddlers that keep us busy instead.

In 2010, my parents lived in an RV on the road. Now, they only live half of the time in their RV on the road, and the other half of the year they spend in a small home in an “RV resort” in Florida.

In 2010, I was active on MetaFilter, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Now, I still visit those websites but of them I’m really only active on Twitter. In 2010 I had a personal website, and despite reports to the contrary I still do.

The Scary <s>Future</s> Present of TV

Back in 2013, I had a conversation with cmatta about what I thought was the scary inevitable future of streaming companies vertically integrating into content producers. I kept meaning to write up a blog entry. Here we are, now, 6 years later, and the future I saw is now the present, so I will just copy and paste some excerpts from the conversation, and you’ll just have to believe I was as prescient as I claim I was.

I need to write a post about why House of Cards and Arrested Development scare me

Picture a world where Comcast made some shows and RCN made other shows and each one of a dozen cable companies each made their own shows

And none of them carried each others shows

That world would be really terrible

Instead of actual openness, it’s just a different kind of closedness, and it’s about the same amount of money but a lot more annoying

It’s only Netflix and Hulu right now

I’m extrapolating out a decade

There’ll be dozens of these providers all with mutually exclusive shows and streaming mechanisms

It’ll be a nightmare for the user

And you’ll be saving like 10%

It depends on what I think Netflix and Hulu and Amazon are going to do as these things get more popular, and I don’t think it is “cooperate”

And then I’ll have to have 20 different accounts to watch the one good show on each of the 20 distributors

You’ll be paying about the same – $40-80 a month, but it’ll be harder because you’re paying a bunch of different places

And the punchline:

cmatta: write this up, i'd be happy to have a longer-form discussion on this

me: I will, you’re ON, MATTA

I post this now, because there’s now not just Netflix and Hulu and Amazon, all with great exclusive originals, but also CBS All Access if you want to watch Star Trek Discovery and the upcoming Picard show. And HBO Now for Game of Thrones. And soon you’ll need Disney+ if you want to watch anything Marvel or Star Wars or Fox (like The Simpsons or Futurama). And Apple is getting into the original content business, too.

That’s potentially 7 different monthly bills where just 10 years ago you’d pay one company and be done with it. Forget the days when all your TV would just work, today there’s a question if the world’s biggest content producer’s new service will work on the world’s biggest tech company’s streaming device. The content is better than it was then, without a doubt, and the ability to watch whenever (I’m old enough to have programmed a VCR in my life) but the experience as a consumer is worse.

Nexus One in 2017

I’ve been using my old Nexus One (running Android 2.3) for the past week, while a replacement Nexus 5X has been in transit. Observations:

Nexus One screenshot

  • I forgot how bad the screen was. Basically invisible in bright sunlight, even at full brightness and shaded.
  • How do I communicate? Talk is dying, Allo and Hangouts aren't supported. Using an old enough apk of Hangouts that can be installed gives a modal "please upgrade" popup on start.
  • The browser isn't horrible, but there's apparently some cross-site SSL feature it doesn't support, because I get warnings about buttflare certs being bad pretty much everywhere.
  • Twitter works! Crazy!
  • Maps works too!
  • Signal supposedly supports 2.3 but I got strange errors every time I tried to install it.
  • I forgot how slow HSPA was.
  • Gmail works, but for some reason it doesn't seem to sync quite right. I very rarely can see the emails in my Inbox, even when Gmail says they're there. Inbox isn't supported, sadly. The browser-based Gmail is better, but no notifications obviously. Some HTML glitches too, but nothing horrible.
  • It's seems like a bad thing that an OS released a little more than SIX years ago would be so unsupported. The Gmail/Hangouts/Signal/Allo situation is sad. To be fair, though, Ice Cream Sandwich (8 months newer) was a big departure and it seems like a lot of apps use that as their oldest supported version.
  • The vibrate is INTENSE.
  • The ringtones are horrible. The alarm tones are worse.
  • The camera isn't actually so bad, but the 80db shutter sound is surprising every time.
  • I miss the trackball (especially trackball notifications).
  • Having to unlock to see/swipe notifications is surprisingly painful.
  • The calendar widget only shows your next event, not your agenda for the day. How is that useful?
  • I actually don't hate the small form factor as much as I thought I would