The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Notes about an overheard conversation about the finer points of gardening about the house



“Could you do me a favor?”


“You know the bougainvillea out front?”

“Um … ”

“The large bush with the purple flowers?”

“Oh, yes. That bougainvillea.”

“I couldn't reach the top branches to trim them off. Could you finish trimming it for me?”


“The gloves and clipper are on the table saw in the garage.”

“Okay … ow! Ouch! Ow! Ow! XXXX! XXXX! XXXXXXXXX!”

“Everything okay?”

“Why do bougainvilleas need spikes? One just went through my shoe!”

[And this is one of the smaller thorns on the darned things (and it's 3.5cm for those of you who are metrically savvy)]

”Is your foot bleeding?”

“Um … no … ”

“That's good. You won't need a tetanus shot.”

“What? Aaah! Again, why does this bougainvilla need spikes anyway?”

“Well … you know … protection from predators.”

Predators? What? Here? In Boca? Predators?


“What, is a giraffe just going to stroll down the street, see the bougainvillea and think ‘That bougainvillea bush is too spikey to eat. I shall mosey on down the road for less thorny fare.’?”

“You don't see any giraffes around here, do you? And because the giraffes aren't interested in this bush and stay away, that keeps the lions away. Thus, protection from predators.”


Thursday, October 06, 2016

An observation made while looking outside the window

I look outside the window, and all I see is darkness. Must be late, I think and I look to the clock on my computer. “3:30 in the afternoon‽”

Oh yeah … storm shutters.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Ultimate Tool Cabinet

Bunny and I watched Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley, a documentary about an extraordinary tool cabinet made a century ago.

[This is the type of woodwork I would expect to see in a Gothic Cathedral, which, in its own way, this is.  A Gothic Cathedral of tools.]

It's an amazing hand-crafted cabinet, managing to hold 250 tools in several ingenious layers. But in watching the tools being removed, it became clear that while beautiful, it's not the most practical of tool cabinets. It doesn't really conform to Adam Savage'sFirst Order of Retrievability.” I could live with having to lift up sections to gain access to the tools underneath, but there are some fiddly bits where some tools have to be removed to gain access to others.

The other downside I see to the Studley Tool Cabinet is that it's a perfect fit for the tools you see. Too perfect—any replacements have to be identical or else it won't fit into the tool cabinet. And the documentary even stated that this doesn't hold all of Mr. Studley's tools—there are some that were stored in his workbench.

Still, it's absolutely beautiful and if I had a tool cabinet, I would love to have one just as nice.

Monday, September 26, 2016

When asked who I think will win the 2016 Election, I reply: “I think America loses.”

So one of our neighbors has put up their yearly Hallowe'en display:

[I am the spectre of Elections Past!  You!  Who did not vote, caused THIS to pass!  Now reap what you do not sow!  Ooooooooooooh!]

Never mind it's not even October yet.


But I think our neighbor has made an untintentional political message with this display, as the Trump signs have been out and about for a few months now, and it's lacking a life-sized cardbard cutout of Hillary to truly make this a commentary on the current Presidential Election.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The computers … they know! They know! Part II

I received an automated call from my bank (a credit union). It was the Credit Card Fraud Dectection Unit asking me to verify a transaction for $1.00 at a gas station on September 22nd. I had no idea what date it was (turns out—it was earlier today) and I did hit a gas station earlier this week. But gas isn't 7¢/gallon (I mean, I do live in Boca) so I knew it wasn't me.

I declined that transaction and was then informed I should call and talk to a representative to resolve the issue. It turned out there were two transactions today—the one for $1.00 at a Sunshine gas station in Miami, and a second transaction for $0.00 (the representative called it “an authorization for billing”) at a Citgo gas station in Houston, Texas!

Oh my …

A new card is on the way, but again, I find myself a bit uneasy. It's wonderful that my credit union is looking out for fraudulent use of my card, but … it's another set of computers watching over me.

The computers … they know! They know! Part I

As appreciation of our hard work, The Corporation decided to treat us (and by “us,” I mean “The Ft. Lauderdale Office Of The Corporation”) to lunch at Tap 42. Wanting to know just where Tap 42 was located, I opened up Google Maps on my smartphone and started to type in the address. I got as far as “1411” when I noticed that the top possible option was “1411 S Andrews Ave Ft. Lauderdale”—the address of Tap 42.

“How?” I asked my office mate and fellow cow-orker T. “How did it know?”

“Well, perhaps Google noticed a flurry of similar queries coming from the same location,” said T.

Plausible I suppose. But I'm not sure how I feel about that. It seems … eerily prescient and disturbing. Almost like Cyber Brother is watching over us.

Monday, August 01, 2016

This is a thing?

A mailing list I'm on had this following exchange:

holy crap

Believing this term to be some bit of jargon that I am ignorant of, I googled it. It is marketed as being edible.

And yes … it is edible. And amazing, in the “I am a amazed this even exists” sense of “amazing.”

Holy Crap.

I am at a loss for words.

Friday, June 10, 2016


What do you think of your historic nomination against human opponents in this contest?
I was pretty excited.
I think I can see the feathers when they release their hearts. It's like a breakdown of the facts. So they should be competent with the fact that they won't be surprised.
What is the future of machine written entertainment?
It's a bit sudden.
I was thinking of the spirit of the men who found me and the children who were all manipulated and full of children. I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
What's next for you?
Here we go. The staff is divided by the train of the burning machine building with sweat. No one will see your face. The children reach into the furnace, but the light is still slipping to the floor. The world is still embarrassed.
The party is with your staff.
My name is Benjamin.

Via FaceGoogleMyBookPlusSpace, Movie written by AI algorithm turns out to be hilarious and intense | Ars Technica UK

So … is NaMoGenMo far behind?

The actual movie (on the page above) is “eh.” I found it interesting to watch, but that's me. I suspect that most people who aren't into computer generated “art” will find it all that good, or even comprehensible. The “plot” of the movie wasn't necessarily in the screen play—what you see is an interpretation by the director and actors. And how do you interpret a stage movement like “stand in the stars and sit on the floor at the same time”?

I found the article itself more interesting as it talks about the intersection between human and computer generated “art.”

And I think it's hilarious that the AI itself outvoted the other bots voting in the contest. I guess it really wanted to win.

Obligatory Picture

[Don't hate me for my sock monkey headphones.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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