I think we are doing graduation wrong in the US

Norway FlagNo to sex on roundabouts – that is a headline that will get your attention.

And it follows with this opening sentence

Norway’s high school graduates should refrain from running naked across bridges and having sex on roundabouts lest they give drivers “too much of a surprise”

It is in reference to the post-graduation period called “Russ” for Norway’s graduation Seniors – Which I have heard can get a little wild.

RSS – I am not quite dead, I am feeling better

RssI started using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) years ago – I am guessing the early 2000s. It was my primary means of staying on top of what was happening on the websites I followed. Websites that ranged from tech to toys (big boy toys) and photos to funnies.

Really Simple Syndication is a type of web feed which enabled me to easily access updates to the websites I followed. I used a variety of “news aggregator” apps to automatically check the RSS feed(s) for my favorite sites – saving me from having to go to each of the sites every day to see if there was something new.

In the mid-2000s until it was shut done in 2013, Google Reader was THE aggregator. We poured one out when it rode off into the sunset.

I think the world of RSS took a hit when Google Reader was shut down, but RSS never went away. I found other solutions to feed my addiction – I mean interest – to too many websites.

I could see what I wanted to see, not what someone told me I should see.

And now RSS is making a comeback

… anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS.

I can get lost in a good map

Coittower1I love a good map.

Found this awesome map that is focused on the history of place names in San Francisco.

For example did you know that Coit Tower was named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit.
Famed for her history with San Francisco’s volunteer firefighters, Coit became a “mascot” for Knickerbocker Engine Co. No. 5 at the age of fifteen. She willed one-third of her estate to the city of San Francisco, which used it to construct two monuments: Coit Tower and a statue of firefighters in Washington Square Park.

Yay Firefighters.

I could spend hours exploring the history of the places of the City by the Bay.

Space crafts phone home

DSN LogoGreat long read about the Deep Space Network (DSN), the system that talks (and listens) to all the space crafts. Started in late 1963, it has been supporting space craft 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for over 54 years.

The DSN has many vital roles, but one of its biggest is to serve as the communication link between Earth and its robotic emissaries in deep space — anything from the moon and beyond. Every image we’ve ever received from deep space, every relay of scientific data, even those famous words the Eagle has landed, was collected by the dishes of the Deep Space Network.

The DSN faces many challenges, but their biggest one might be the current funding crunch they are experiencing. It is hard to point to concrete benefits of the program, but the information we have learned about our solar systems and the amazing photos that have been sent back I think justify their budget of approximately $200 million a year.

It covers everything from maintaining the dishes to the ongoing upgrades to the antennas to paying the 300-plus people who work at the dishes around the world. For comparison, the total value of all the robotic missions currently in deep space is around $25 billion and growing.

For something really cool check out DSN Now to see the status of the satellite dishes at the 3 DSN locations (Goldstone, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia) and see which ones are actively downlinking and uplinking data in real time and to which space craft. The squiggly lines are mesmerizing.

Pippen – Apple’s attempt at a gaming system

Pippen Good backstory on the game system Apple tried to build in the 90’s.

I was at Apple during this period – I was working in a large centralized Quality organization that tested most all of the hardware and software that came out of Apple. I knew of Pippen, but was not aware of the behind the scenes stuff.

I remember this coming to us for testing and we had to keep it in a secret lab (aka a conference room with the window covered). But I don’t recall the testing lasting very long or every reaching a shippable state.

Free range parenting – aka How my generation grew up

20000923 DCP 0459Last week in Utah a law was signed into effect that “would allow kids the freedom to walk to and from school, wait in parked cars (while their parents run errands in a store, for example), and visit playgrounds solo

Or what most of us did growing up.

While “it’s not explicitly unlawful for kids to play or walk alone outside; the bill, however, makes it harder to penalize parents for allowing their kids to do so“.

I remember as a kid in 3rd grade my brother and I would walk from home to the stables to ride our pony (yes I had a pony when I was a kid and my sister had horses – we were so spoiled). Distance was 1-1.5 miles.

I remember walking home from school when I was in in 5th and 6th grade in Utah. Distance was about 1.3 miles.

I remember going out to play in the forest across the street, at the school down the street, or at my friends house. All places we went to by ourselves.

Mom knew where we were and made sure we made safe choices, but we had the freedom to explore and be independent. I am not sure if all the things we are afraid of today existed back then but were not publicized, or it was really a different time.
I like to think it was somewhere in between. There were dangers but we made smart choices regarding where we went and who we were with.