recently noted quotes

"be nice. it's the smart play." -- capt. gregson ["elementary"]

"sometimes the only real difference between crazy people and artists is that artists write down what they imagine seeing." -- scott adams

"To be sure, not all moments are equally fleeting. Some moments last longer than others. And certain events do reoccur more than once and even recur repeatedly. Sometimes you do get more than one chance. Sometimes you don’t. It helps to know how long a window of opportunity you have and if you’ll get another chance." -- john paul caponigro

"trying to prove formally what is seen intuitively and to see intuitively what is proved formally is an invigorating mental exercise." -- g. polya 

"strike while the iron is vulnerable" -- the crazy ones 

there are some rivers you don't 
ever want to step into 
more than once, 
even if it was possible.

"the inhabitants refer to themselves optimistically as Homo sapiens , meaning 'wise man' in an appropriately dead language. Their activities seldom fit that description, but there are occasional glorious exceptions. They should really be called Pan narrans , the storytelling ape, because nothing appeals to them more than a rollicking good yarn." -- terry pratchett, ian stewart & jack cohen ["the science of discworld iv: judgement day"]

"Some movies run off the rails. This one is like the train crash in The Fugitive. I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies." -- roger ebert

"we share our lives with the people we have failed to be." -- adam phillips

"I believe in patterns and sequences, and this sequence does not end well unless something disrupts the pattern." -- bones

"there is no such thing as philosophy-free science." -- dan dennett

"religion is to misogyny as disease is to misery - not the sole cause, but a significant contributor" -- pz myers

"I can't unclench when there is turbulence. you know I'm an atheist." -- jerry [woody allen, "to Rome with love"]

"It's easy to mistake familiarity and the feeling of having something at your fingertips with true comprehension." -- tania lombrozo

general: "what do you think this star means?" hawkeye: "you are tinkerbell?" [mash pilot episode] 

"indeed, the sign that something does matter to us is that we lose our steadiness." -- adam phillips

one unspoken thing about a surveillance state is that it's compelled by its nature to bite off the hand that feeds it.

trust is no longer an issue. it is a lost attribute.

"some of the most powerful patterns in life are subtle." -- scott adams

"I'm confused as to why a poorly designed web site means affordable health care is a bad idea." -- chuck Lorre [431] 


much reflection

autumn days pull 
much reflection - 
a flight of swallows. 

[Oct 21, 2013 - shortly after this haiku was written, i received a call to inform me that my good friend, teacher and mentor, peter roosen-runge had died. so much more to reflect on now]


in canada day...


unlock and keep or lock and lose

today, rogers decided to decline my request to unlock an iphone I have in my account. Their reason: their "policy" states that IMEI number should be associated with an account for 90 days. But that is a laughable comic book policy that has nothing whatsoever to do with the service you are already paying for that phone. When you bought your used phone, did you remember to register its IMEI number with your carrier? Wait, your carrier already knows all about that phone, doesn't it. So what does this "policy" really mean?

Here are the relevant passages from the recent CRTC decision.

"164. The Commission therefore considers that WSPs should make an unlocking service available to customers who have been subscribed to their services for 90 days, at a rate specified in the contract and Critical Information Summary.

165. The Commission also considers that unsubsidized devices, which are fully paid for, should be unlocked immediately upon request, given that the risk of subscription fraud is not relevant in these circumstances." 

What part of these passages rogers failed to comprehend?

I told the apologetic customer retention specialist that this will cost rogers. I know he understood. I doubt rogers does.

[update: after I escalated the issue to the management, with the intention to write letter to the office of the president, and CRTC, unlock request was granted. the damage is done: the phone flew overseas without unlock.]


on practice

practice can make
the wrong thing
you practiced


adobe and its hostages

i will get straight to the point. like ibm and oracle before it, adobe would like to have hostages, not customers. it has done everything it possibly can to lock the world to its costly [in multiple meanings of the term] products. now comes the next logical step: take the products to the "cloud" and charge continuously.

you weren't surprised, were you?

create suction.

what is about to happen to photoshop et al. should encourage us to review our image processing dependencies. what is in the image processing pipeline, and what if one of the components become unaffordable, perhaps in price, performance or compatibility? for most photographers [and comic book artists] photoshop comes close to a lock-in. on the other hand, it is big, heavy and sluggish; workflow tools have all but destroyed that lock. there is no reason to let an acr upgrade for a new camera to determine the costly upgrade path to another version of photoshop, or possibly a new license fee in the cloud [just where do you think adobe will stop?] but what about that workflow? are you able to deal with your images, and produce professional results without lightroom?

I can. started my photo workflow with aperture, not lightroom. I now use four different workflow tools. capture one pro happens to be the tether and raw favorite, even if lightroom catalogues have most of my images. I have also been spending some time with darktable. I suggest you do the same: explore other workflow tools.

As john paul caponigro says, stay loose, stay flexible. I will add: avoid getting locked in, sucked up.

here is my new logo for the next best image processing tool. [it was crafted using gimp, of course]


important books of twenty-twelve

Here are some of the most interesting and important books from this year. they may or may not be the "best" of the year, but by my lights, they are better "pickings" for your brain than found elsewhere. i can do quote-mining and tell you how singularly brilliant and seminal these are, but never mind. in all seriousness: quality varies from good to excellent to brilliant. some books, like harlan ellison's bugf#ck seem to have too little in them. [how anyone can come up with a tiny volume of ellison quotes is a puzzle] some, like neal stephenson's some remarks seem to have too much. [he stumbles through leibniz's monadology with literacy and grace. really.]

so here is the first batch. ben goldacre's bad pharma is not officially out in canada until the new year, but came out in england months ago. what causes the delay in publication? not sure, maybe editing required. fitzpatrick & collins-sussman's team geek and coleman's coding freedom are two exceptional books on software development. martin's there are two errors in the title of this book is now the third edition of a rich and entertaining book on philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. plotnik's elements of expression is in its second edition of expressiveness.

second batch is more essential non-fiction and fiction. i did not have enough room to pile all the good books in various genres i read. nate silver's the signal and the noise is getting some mixed reviews from specialists, and i feel it is deserved: it delivers some noise with its signal. mooney's republican brain is a disturbing read. that book in the middle? katz's information design - possibly the smartest book i have seen on the topic since tufte's four volumes, which it displaces quite neatly. [surely "brainpickings" could have had enough clue to pick this for one of its top ten "best" lists] two other books in this group really stand out: macintyre's double cross and taleb's antifragile - deep and rewarding books by two exceptional authors.

this last batch is an art batch, but more about photography. i have other good to exceptional books in this category but i thought they deserve a separate blog entry some other time. rocky nook has been publishing some important books on photography, and no surprise that four books on that table are theirs. tone poems are astonishing, as expected. last but not least, stillman's looking at ansel adams is an essential read for a photographer.