Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest

Thursday, August 17, 2017


iPhone 7 — The Rock x Siri - Reminder — Apple

Just caught this ad on TV. I think it covers The Rock's public persona perfectly, which somehow made it very funny,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Wrong Question

Indianapolis 500
Just because I needed a picture, I like pictures of cars, and Google served up this one in response to my inquiry about 500 digital TV channels.
At all times, at least one of the five zillion digital channels on my TV has a race going on,
or more likely someone talking about racing. Man, do those people talk.
Roberta X has some good things to say today, which prompted me to write down a couple of ideas that I've been kicking around.

Scrolling through the list of channels available on my TV, I realized that they are roughly divided into three groups: Sports, News and Drama. Drama basically covers everything that isn't sports or news. Soap operas, movies, serials, reality shows, etc, are all dramatic. Sports I understand. We live in the physical world and one's ability to cope with that world along with our natural competitive instinct can make sports compelling. I think professional sports have taken this activity to ridiculous extremes, but if that's what people want to do then so be it.

Drama, near as I can make out,  is dealing with more subtle actions, expressions, tone of voice and deceptions. I spend a fair amount of time here, but I am at least somewhat particular about what I watch. Lately it's been crime serials, but I like a good thriller as well. Shoot, I like anything with a good story. Of course whether a story is 'good' or not is entirely subjective.

News is about current events, but lately it seems to be more about what somebody said about something that someone else said, not so much about what happened or what someone did. Oh, there are the horrific crime stories, but generally they don't signify much of anything.

So if these three topics are all there is to our civilization, it would collapse. There is a whole lot of mundane work that goes on every day to enable these 500 channels of digital entertainment to flow into our homes.

But none of this is looking at the big picture, which is what do we want? And how do we propose to get there? Oh, I know that some people are floating ideas, but it seems like that stuff that comes down the wire is mostly nit-picky criticisms, very little of substance gets through. Of course there is the problem what you consider substance. People have very different ideas of what is important.

Everything we do contributes to our civilization. Sometimes in a positive manner, sometimes in a negative one (depending on your point of view). I kind of get the feeling that all we do is kind of like we are all working on a monumental sculpture. We are busy knocking off the rough edges, smoothing out the curves, polishing the surface, making our little corner beautiful (or smashing somebody else's unguarded work), but we don't really have any idea what we have built or what the entire thing looks like now, or what it should look like when we are done.


Dubioza kolektiv "U.S.A." (Official video)

Listening and watching English language stuff on YouTube you can easily forget that it is a WORLD WIDE WEB, and then something like this pops up and you realize that even people from lower Elbonia are connected. Lyrics below, because they are sort of interesting.


The grass is always greener 
in neighbors' courtyard
I wish to leave this nightmare
go to a Promised Land 
Please, take me to your leader
I want my green card
I want to fly over 
Like a rocket from the Balkans

I want to start all over 
and turn a new page
Forget this dreadful story 
Escape the Stone Age
I'm waiting for chance
to get out of the cage
I feel like a slave
on a minimal wage

I am form Bosnia
Take me to America
I really want to see
Statue of Liberty

I can no longer wait
Take me to United States
take me to Golden Gate
I will assimilate

One day, when you reach the end
One day, you will understand
One day, back to roots my friend
No place like a motherland

I hoped I'll find what I need
I'll be free like a bird
Now we're pushed in a ghetto
Like the sheep in a herd
All the promises I heard
Became empty words
Completely disconnected
From the rest of the world

The grass is never greener 
in neighbors' courtyard
I want to start all over 
Return to No Mans Land 
Send greetings to your leader
Don't want your Green Card
I want to fly back 
Like a rocket to the Balkans

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Space Car

2017 Hyundai Sonata
On our recent expedition to Iowa I rented a Hyundai Sonata from Hertz. I needed to carry four adults from Omaha to Sioux City and back. We flew into Omaha because it's a P.I.T.A. to fly into Sioux City from Portland, Oregon.

Hyundai Sonata Dashboard
The dashboard looks like something out of Buck Rogers. Buttons and dials and glowing instruments. As all of the controls for actually operating the vehicle were conventional enough, I was able to get in and drive away. But getting any of the creature comforts to operate was another matter.

Notice the small control panel on the right spoke of the steering wheel. And the red triangle in the 'center stack'.
It's not a long drive from Omaha to Sioux City, maybe an hour and a half or so, but it would nice to have some tunes. so I set my wife to seeing if she can find something on the radio. Does this car even have a radio? There is nothing in the dash that looks like a radio, but it's got to have one, doesn't it? I mean radios are traditional. OK, no radio as such, but there is a tablet-sized touch screen and with poking and prodding she is able to tune in some kind of rock and roll and we're good.

We're good until the song ends and then an endless litany of commercials commences. We can put up with this for a while, but eventually we reach our limit and sweetie starts looking for a new station and then, all of a sudden, the emergency flashers start flashing. Flash (Gordon), being on a mission from God, would have charged on regardless, but mild-mannered Chucky, worried about causing the Highway Patrol undue stress took the next exit and pulled over to try and figure out what happened. Well, where the heck is the emergency flasher control? We look in all the normal locations but eventually we spy the red triangle in the middle of the dashboard. Oh, that's it, obviously. We turn off the flashers and go on our merry way.

Since we are on an Interstate highway, I would like to engage the cruise control. I don't want to have to keep watching the speedometer and adjusting my speed to accommodate every little change in the road's incline. Yes, we are in Iowa, and Iowa is very flat, but even the slightest grade can affect the cars speed. I am pushing the envelope on what the cops will tolerate and I don't want push it too far. It would be easy to do. The road is flat and straight and the speedometer goes to 160 MPH.

There is a little mini-control-panel on the right spoke of the steering wheel and the top right button is labeled CRUISE. I push it and little green CRUISE word appears on the instrument panel. I try pushing several of the other buttons to see if I can set the speed, but nothing happens.

The upper left button appears to be a stack of paper (pages?) and pushing it causes the center display between the speedometer and the tachometer to change. I think there are four pages. Pushing this button allows you to cycle through these pages. Eventually I figure out that you can get the cruise control to engage only if you are on the correct page. I don't know whether this is a feature or a bug.

The instrument panel is black with white numbers and other markings. The white is very bright. It wasn't until we got to Sioux City and I specifically stopped and looked for the instrument panel brightness control that I located it. It has it's own little switch on the lower left portion of the dashboard.

I'm thinking that playing with buttons and switches on our increasing complex electronic gee-gaws is America's new past time. It's not just cars. Watch someone trying to find a photo on their smart phone. The tapping and swiping can go on for hours, and it's no good trying to remember the sequence you used to get there, because the next time you will be starting in a different place (in your smart-phone's interface), looking for a different picture using an app that works a little differently than the last time you used it because your smart-phone vendor has pushed an update down the 'wire'. Cars, at least for the moment, and not getting automatic updates. At least I don't think they are.


Horizon Air Bombardier DHC-8
Matt-of-the-Lake has landed a job with Horizon Air as a flight attendant, based out of Spokane. Spokane is not the world's most popular location, being in Eastern Washington, but being based there should give him a more consistent flight schedule, and possibly more hours.

PenAir Saab 340B
He was working for PenAir as a general gofer up until a couple of weeks ago when he quit, which happened to be one week before PenAir went bankrupt. Matt wasn't able to work as a flight attendant on PenAir because at 6'2" he was too tall to fit in their airplanes. PenAir's height limit was 5'10".

Monday, August 14, 2017


Paloma Cocktail
We've been drinking Tequila cocktails lately. Mostly Margaritas but recently Palomas. Palomas taste better than Margaritas and are dirt simple to make: a shot of Tequila in a glass of ice and fill with Squirt (grapefruit flavored soft drink). Salt on the rim, like a Margarita, and a little lime juice if you want. I don't know that the lime juice adds anything, but the salt definitely helps. Tequila, to me, does not taste very good, in fact it tastes pretty awful. The salt takes away the awful and with Squirt it becomes a pleasant drink, which is kind of contrary to the spirit of Tequila!, but it suits me.

Madman Theory

Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito, ca. 1675
The madman theory was a feature of Richard Nixon's foreign policy. He and his administration tried to make the leaders of hostile Communist Bloc nations think Nixon was irrational and volatile. According to the theory, those leaders would then avoid provoking the United States, fearing an unpredictable American response. - Wikipedia
Hoo boy, just what we need, a fake madman in charge. Somehow this doesn't seem like a good idea, but perhaps it worked? I mean Nixon (the evil criminal mastermind) did get us out of our Vietnam quagmire, which I think was all-in-all a good thing. Via The Adventures of Roberta X.