"Caught my first tube today, Sir!"

And by "tube" I mean: I stepped out of my door and some idiot on a scooter rammed into me and went flying. He had been speeding down the sidewalk like a foot from the wall. As he lay sprawled in his yardsale and I tried to determine whether I was bleeding I said, "This is why I hate those things!"

Still lying on the ground, he said, "But it's not my fault!"

"Fuck you!" I explained. "You were going 20 miles an hour on the fucking sidewalk!"

This is when the guy at the glass shop started laughing. I guess you can't really say you were a part of San Francisco 2018 until a techbro on a scooter has slammed into you and then blamed you for it.

How to Recycle your E-scooter:

The city and the e-scooter companies have been working very hard to find a solution to the e-scooter problem, and in response to public demand, they have placed escooter docking stations all over the city for your convenience. When you see an e-scooter on the sidewalk, calmly walk up to it, pick it up, and place it on the nearest docking station, also known as a 'scootypods' (they're still focus grouping that title).

If a docking station does not have the recycling symbol on it, simply slot the scooter through the top of the docking station as pictured. [...]

When you're done riding an escooter, always remember to D.U.M.P

  • Don't panic
  • Understand that you are part of the problem
  • Mobilize your legs
  • Place escooter in the trash

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Pete Shelley, screensaver and demoscene pioneer

Here's a video of the program, running in an emulator, and synchronized with the album. "Press any key at start of music":

This video shows the whole process of booting it up, along with more detail than you probably need to know about cassette tape audio fidelity:

In 1983, Pete Shelley's album XL•1 included as its final track a program for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 8-bit home computer. To play it, you had to first copy the track from the vinyl record to cassette, wait several minutes for the computer to read the cassette, and then press the any key once you dropped the needle on the first track! Lyrics and visualizations ensued.

Here's the programmer's story: Joey Headen:

In late 1982 Pete had ordered a Sinclair Spectrum by mail order, and one of the first BASIC programs he wrote put up the lyrics to one of his songs prompted by key presses. [...] I spent most of Christmas 1982 learning machine code and disassembling the Spectrum ROM.

I didn't have an assembler for the Spectrum, I don't even know if one was available then, so all the code had to be converted into its hex equivalent and typed into the program. All the jumps and calls to subroutines had to be hand calculated as well! When the machine crashed it had to be restarted and the cassette tape program reloaded, usually taking at least 5 minutes. [...]

With only a few days before the album had to be finished, Pete still had two songs to complete, one of which only had a title. We had to wait for the songs to be completed, type in the lyrics off scraps of paper, and then synchronize the lyrics to the music. [...]

Once the album was finished and mixed we had to do the final version of the timing for the lyrics. This involved adding in the timings between each track on the final master version of the album. It was at this point that we noticed that there was as much as 5 seconds difference (over a 20-minute side of the album) between different one-inch tape machines in the studio. The implication of this was that home turntables and tape machines could get horribly out of synch with the program unless they had some sort of variable speed control. One solution to this problem would be to add speed control keys to the program, but it was too late to add any more code. [...]

Our work wasn't quite finished yet, as we had to cut the album. To our knowledge nobody had put a program on a 12-inch disc before, so we were breaking new ground. After the last music track of side 2 there was a locking groove to prevent the code from blasting through someone's speakers.

The only way to play the code was to physically lift the needle onto the last track. We cut one master disc and tested it on a Spectrum but it didn't work, so we had to reset some of the levels and try again. Luckily the second master disc worked fine and it could go to the pressing plant.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Today in Landfill Capitalism

In case there was any lingering doubt about the scooter business model:

  1. Dump electronic junk onto the street;
  2. Abandon it and walk away as soon as any unit stops generating money;
  3. Shift the cost of collection, storage, and disposal onto the taxpayers.

I told you so!

These scooters were standard, off-the-shelf electric scooters made in China, loaded up with battery packs, motors, and a 'brain box' that has a GPS unit, a cellular modem, and a few more electronics that turn this dumb electric scooter into something you can ride via an app. Dropping electronic waste on cities around the country was not looked upon kindly by these municipalities, and right now there are hundreds of Bird and Lime scooters in towing yards, just waiting to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. [...]

Right now, humanbeing21 is in contact with a towing company that has well over a hundred Bird scooters on their lot, each accruing daily storage fees. Since these scooters only cost about $400 new, we're probably well past the time when it makes sense for Bird to pay to get them out of storage. This means they'll probably be heading for an auction where anyone can pick them up -- all of them -- for a hundred bucks or so.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Mozilla mourns Microsoft

Because we live in the Stupidest Timeline, Mozilla find themselves needing to point out that MICROS~1 leaving the web browser market is bad for the web.

Stupidest. Stupidest, stupidest, stupidest timeline.

Mozilla Blog: Goodbye, EdgeHTML:

Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google. [...]

From a business point of view Microsoft's decision may well make sense. Google is so close to almost complete control of the infrastructure of our online lives that it may not be profitable to continue to fight this. [...] From a social, civic and individual empowerment perspective ceding control of fundamental online infrastructure to a single company is terrible. This is why Mozilla exists. We compete with Google not because it's a good business opportunity. We compete with Google because the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice. They depend on consumers being able to decide we want something better and to take action.

So that "this is why Mozilla exists" sentiment is great and all, but....

Remember back in the 90s when Gates was claiming that Internet Explorer was an inseparable part of the Windows operating system, and then someone asked him a question he couldn't answer: "Which part of Windows is Internet Explorer for Mac"?

Well, what part of "the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice" is served by Mozilla's partnership with vertically integrated, predatory multinational monopolists like Live Nation? Or by implementing DRM?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop

I know that eel, bro:

It took several emails and phone calls before the decision was made to grab the eel and try pulling it out.

"There was only maybe two inches of the eel actually still sticking out of the nose, so it was very much akin to the magician's trick when they're pulling out the handkerchiefs and they keep coming and coming and coming," he said.

After less than a minute of tugging, a two-and-a-half-foot dead eel emerged from the seal's nostril.

Since then, Littnan said there have been at least three or four reported cases, and the most recent occurred this fall. In all the cases, the eels were removed successfully and the seals are "doing great," he said. None of the eels, however, survived. [...]

If monk seals could understand humans, Littnan said he has a message for them: "I would gently plead for them to stop."

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Orbital was the first band that I saw in San Francisco. It was 1990 and I crossed the bridge from Berkeley to see them at some club called The Bridge. I don't remember who the opener was -- maybe it was Consolidated? Someone like that -- but I was standing at the back by the sound booth when Orbital began, and they performed from the sound booth, so suddenly I was I the "front row", leaning into the window and watching these two nerdy bald guys with headlights on their glasses turn knobs and punch arcane numbers into the keypads of a really impressive stack of 1U rack-mount devices.

So then years later, I'm leaning against the Trocadero bar, probably at Death Guild, and I'm telling someone the Orbital story. "Yeah, I don't know where that club was... I hadn't lived here long...", I said. "There was a stage over there, and the bar was over there, and stairs were over there, and HEY WAIT A MINUTE it was this building!"

So it turns out that the Trocadero, which has been named that since the 70s, was renamed to "The Bridge" for like, six months in the middle of its 30 year history. Weird.

And then suddenly:

It's 1995. I'm seeing Hackers, for the first time, in the theatre. The opening song is Halcyon + On + On. I think, "Ok, Orbital, cool! A little old school. But I see what you're doing here. I'll allow it."

Anyway, if you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her...

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Community Standards

Andy Ternay:

Pretty much says everything that needs to be said about Facebook.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Mark your calendars

Upcoming events of note:

Tue, Dec 04:   Astronomy on Tap @ DNA Lounge
Wed, Dec 05:   Skating Polly @ DNA Lounge
Sat, Dec 15:   Haerts, Vicereine @ Rickshaw
Sat, Dec 29:   Missing Persons, Annabella, Gene Loves Jezebel, Trans X @ Great Northern
Thu, Jan 24:   Midi Matilda @ Rickshaw Stop
Fri, Jan 25+26:   Edwardian Ball @ Regency
Sat, Jan 26:   Turbo Drive: Danger @ DNA Lounge
Fri, Feb 01:   Chicane @ Mezzanine
Fri, Feb 01:   Turbo Drive: Tonebox, Lucy in Disguise @ DNA Lounge
Thu, Feb 07:   Drama @ Rickshaw Stop
Mon, Feb 11:   Le Butcherettes @ Bottom of the Hill

What have you got?

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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein it's almost Skating Polly time, and Chicago takes a stand.

  • Previously