Marco's Blog

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Apple Buys Beats: Who Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?

2014-06-21 6 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
It was easy to dismiss Apple when Steve Jobs took back the reins in 1997. It seemed for a while that the company’s only reason for existence was as a fig leaf, allowing Microsoft to claim Windows was not a monopoly. Redmond even bought a substantial amount of Apple stock, maybe as a gesture of support. But Steve Jobs turned the company around completely. First, he decided the fundamental question: software or hardware? Continue reading

Introducting Umana

2013-10-19 7 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
Here is the initial sketch for a new programming language, umana. I know, I know: the world has already enough programming languages, and it seems to be every programmer’s wet dream to create a new one and join Guido van Rossum and Dennis Ritchie in the Halls of Eternal Fame. umana, though, is a little different. It doesn’t want to be the proof of great intelligence and technical acumen. Instead, it aims to translate the way computers do things into terms readily understood by humans. Continue reading

How “China” Is Missing the Open Source Evolution

2013-09-18 6 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
Three independent events came together last night to give me one of those rare flashes of insight.** There is a radically better way of doing business, and everyone is missing out.** Best, still, this radically new way of doing business is completely free, both as in beer and in speech. So, this is what happened. Yesterday, I was perusing Amazon product pages for solar charges. I stumbled upon one (and I will not mention which one) that had the worst product description I have ever read in years of amazoning. Continue reading

The Real Problem of NSA Computer Surveillance

2013-08-20 6 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
Slashdot is in an uproar over the demise of Groklaw, a (formerly) amazing web site trying to analyze complex legal issues for a geeky audience. It is on Groklaw that we followed the SCO v. UNIX trials, the Microsoft monopoly trials, etc. For a nerd, losing Groklaw is terrible, like losing your Wikipedia for questions of the law. Groklaw, on the other hand, died of its own volition. Pamela Jones, the founder and maintainer, wrote a post about why she felt she had to shut down, and blamed government intrusion. Continue reading

Why Android Must Die - and Why Nokia Did It Right

2013-01-01 11 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
Have you ever held an Android (or newer BlackBerry) phone in your hands and played with it? Have you ever experienced that sometimes, randomly, when you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, the phone freezes for a variable amount of time? Nothing seems to be helping, you can punch keys and screen as much as you want, but the phone is dead. Then, miraculously, the phone springs back to life. Continue reading

YHIHF: Microsoft is Going to Buy Nokia

2012-04-16 6 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
Nokia is not doing well. The once juggernaut of the mobile space is still a ubiquitous household name in most of the world, but its name is increasingly associated with “low-tech,” cheap phones. In particular, Apple is eating its lunch in the lucrative smartphone space, where Nokia once ruled the roost. After ruling out a refresh of its aging Symbian OS, Nokia was trying out various variants of Linux. We first had a tablet, the Nokia N770, refreshed a few times. Continue reading

The Most Overpriced Gadget (tMOG): Denon Ultra Premium Link Cable

2011-07-05 2 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
Ah, what a pleasure! If I feel down one day because the weather is bad or because my novel didn’t sell as well as I thought, I just go to the nearest electronics store and laugh my behind off looking at the phony prices for accessories there. I mean, seriously, you expect me to pay $40 for the case to a phone that barely cost $100? That’s ludicrous! Well, Slashdot had an article about HDMI cables and how even retailers are now starting to crack the scam barrier there. Continue reading

More Comment Spammers and How to Block Them

2011-06-29 3 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
After I shut out a comment spammer that had blasted my account to the tune of 23.76 GB (I am nothing but precise), I discovered another IP address up to no good, and then a series of them. They are all from Russia (not sure why, and no disparagement of the great country intended), most of them from a single IP block. Not to the recipe: if you want to get rid of a particularly annoying spammer, you need to do two things: Continue reading

Why, Nokia?

2011-04-09 5 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
To all my friends with iPads (and there is a shocking number of them): I had a tablet years before you did. Yes, your tablet may be shiny and a joy to use, but mine is stored in a closet with the HP Omnibook I had in 1994 and the Sharp Zaurus I held in my hands in 2002. The tablet is a 7″ Nokia N770, a tiny little bundle of joy I bought in 2005. Continue reading

Creating Panoramas with Hugin

2010-12-26 3 min read Electronics Anonymous marco
[![](/2010/12/panorama-annotated.jpg)](/2010/12/panorama-annotated.jpg)Like it? This is what the cliffs and the ocean look like at Black’s Beach, California. Christmas Eve 2010. See that steep canyon gouged into the cliff face? That’s how I got to the beach, on a trail some call the Goat Trail. I stood at the bottom of this thing and took a picture of where I had come down. Then I took a picture of La Jolla to the South. Continue reading
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