Posts in the “technology” category

Bill Gates’ greatest mistake

TechCrunch has a nice, full quote from Bill Gates on what he considers his greatest mistake. I include part of the quote in this image because his “winner-take-all” comment is so important.

Things I don’t like about Facebook today (June, 2019)

I was writing with a friend about Facebook, and realized how much I dislike because (a) they don’t let me control my own timeline — not surprisingly, humans don’t like to be controlled by algorithms — and (b) you definitely get the feeling that you’re a piece of meat and they’re trying to sell you. If they were perceived as a kind, benevolent company that didn’t constantly force their version of “what’s important” on people, people might use it more.

Mobile is not a neutral platform

Ben Evans has an interesting article from 2015 titled, Mobile is not a neutral platform. Here’s a good quote:

“Of course, all this sort of stuff is a big reason why Google bought Android in the first place — Google was afraid that Microsoft (it was that long ago) would dominate mobile operating systems and shut it out. The obvious fear was around things like preloads, and the justice of that fear was proven right with Maps, where Apple Maps now has 2-3x more users on iOS than does Google Maps, despite being a weaker product — the ‘good enough’ default wins and the platform owner chooses what that is.”

How to convert Docbook to AsciiDoc

If you ever need to convert Docbook to AsciiDoc, this Pandoc command seems to work well:

pandoc --wrap=none -f docbook -t asciidoc \
       DocbookFile.xml > AsciiDocFile.adoc

A large collection of Gnuplot examples

I needed to use Gnuplot a little bit over the last few days, mostly to create 2D line charts, and these are my brief notes on how to get started with Gnuplot. If you haven’t used it before, it’s a pretty amazing tool.

Jumping right in ...

Installing gnuplot

Use MacPorts or Homebrew to install Gnuplot on Mac OS X systems:

port install gnuplot
brew install gnuplot

Sample data files

My examples use the following 2-column and 4-column data files:

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Radio Pi (formerly “Al Radio”)

I’ll write more about this as time goes on, but I’ve finished the first round of software (and hardware) development on my “Radio Pi” project (which, thanks to a friend, I now refer to as my “RadioPi” system). This project lets me play local FM radio stations, online radio streams, recorded radio streams, and podcasts, all from a little Raspberry Pi (RPI) computing system.


First, here’s a short video of my RPI Radio in action:

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On Twitter privacy settings and personalized ads

I don’t know if it was just coincidence, but I went to Lowe’s yesterday for the first time in seven months, then I had a Lowe’s ad on Twitter first thing this morning. So “Allow some” is now “Off.” (See the Location and Personalization settings in the images.)

Amazon Kindle eBook cover specifications (height and width size requirements)

I'm in the process of publishing my second eBook for the Amazon Kindle, and one thing that's currently hard to find on the Amazon website is what the eBook cover height and width size specifications are. You can currently only find this information when you get ready to publish your book.

So, as a brief public service, as of May, 2012, here are the Amazon Kindle eBook cover height and width specifications, courtesy of the Amazon KDP book publication website:

Why Siri is bad (and Apple is behind Amazon and Google)

While it’s old news (March, 2018), I’ve often wondered why Siri seems to be getting worse, and how/why Amazon and Google beat Apple to the market for Alexa-like assistants. MacRumors has this article where they report several of the problems related to Siri’s development. (Their article is based on an article written by The Information, which requires a subscription.)