Friday Four

Friday, October 25, 2013

1. It's hard to believe it, but nine years ago today, I started this blog. My thanks to everyone who has followed or otherwise supported this blog over the years.

2. The desktop computer is not so much obsolete as it is a victim of its own success argues Ibrahim Diallo:

When was the last time you needed to buy a new PC? Two years ago? Three years ago? The last PC I built was in 2009. I had to upgrade because I pushed the previous one I built to the limit and that was in 2004. A 2009 desktop is old in computer years, but not so much in processing power. It maybe [sic] true that there are a zillion new processors out in the market and their benchmark show exponential improvement. But to me benchmarking is just a marketing gimmick. PC sales are plunging but they are the wrong indicator to determine the advancement of the technology. The reason we are not buying PCs anymore is because those we have are already pretty amazing.
Even if you don't have time to read it all, click on the link and scroll down for an amusing picture satirizing the idea -- unavoidable in the echo chamber of tech journalism -- that Diallo is questioning.

3. Sure. CONCACAF, the soccer federation through which the United States must qualify for the World Cup is no Europe. It doesn't follow, however, that the qualification tournament wasn't worth following:
And then, like some old Western movie, the American cavalry arrived at the last second and saved the day for Mexico. Edgar Castillo, who made three friendly appearances for Mexico before switching to the Stars and Stripes, dribbled inside and sent a pass out wide left for Brad Davis, whose one-time cross was met by the head of Graham Zusi and sent into the back of the net to equalize. Panamanian hearts sank. Mexico exploded. One Mexican announcer shouted in English, "We love you forever and ever, God bless America!" before ripping apart the Mexican team in Spanish.
Kudos go to American coach Juergen Klinsmann for both getting business done with two games to spare and playing to win the last two games anyway. The coach used the games to prepare for the trip to Brazil and, at the same time, give a few less familiar players chances to prove themselves,

4. I like this post on computing happiness by Vivek Haldar. It is short and tightly-integrated, owing to the author's explicit tack of distilling his advice down to general principles:
Corollary of the above: never use software that locks you into proprietary formats, or if you must, make sure to export your files out to a more portable format. The chance that you will be able to run the same hardware/software/version snowflake in a decade to decode your data is close to zero.
This comports with both my own thinking and personal experience, good and bad. Amusingly enough, I found in the cmments something I want to check into, despite the fact that the author omitted it because he "didn't want to proselytize" (also something I appreciated).

-- CAV

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