Monthly Archives: August 2014

The right tool for the right job

For a short time I experimented sharing links and off-the-cuff posts on this blog.

Turns out people aren’t interested in that kind of thing here. They want to see it on social media. So I’m going back to that.

Find me daily on:

My email newsletter Рa daily spam-free roundup of my posts.


I post the same things on all those places. Pick whichever you like best and follow me there.

And you’ll find my best work on Light Reading, for news and insights about the telecom industry.

This blog isn’t going away, but it will update slowly.

New Orleans newsroom, around 1900

New Orleans newsroom, around 1900

In which I do not experience divine bliss

My daily walks in the park with Minnie are alone time for me. Well, I’m there with Minnie of course but we’re each doing our own thing. I’m listening to my podcasts. Minnie is, as far as I can see, trying to eat, sniff, pee or poop on every object in the general vicinity of the house.

I see a lot of the same people. We nod hello to each other. We’ve been nodding hello to each other for OMG six years now. Lots of us bipedal introverts at the park.

One of the regulars who I’ve never talked with is a gray-haired woman who has an extra-cheerful smile. I am suspicious of complete strangers who greet me overly cheerfully out in public.

Today I could tell this woman wanted to speak, so I shut off my iPhone and pulled the headphones out of my ears. She handed me an envelope, said she’s a writer and hoped I enjoyed this. And I said thank you and put it in my pocket and kept on walking.

This is what blogging used to be like before the Internet, right? You had to go to the park and hand people stuff.

The envelope is on my desk in front of me now. It’s a standard, white, blank, sealed business envelope, with several sheets of paper folded inside.

I’ll open it now. I suspect this will prove to be anticlimactic.

And that’s done. It’s a three-page essay, printed out on white paper with lavender ink, about how the scent of flowers blowing in through an open window reminded her of a dead loved one, and how she now rejoices when people she loves pass on because they’re now experiencing divine bliss.

I wish I could say the same for the windowshade

I nearly tripped over Minnie when we both tried to go in the door to my office at the same time. I somehow grabbed at the windowshade and it snapped up like in a cartoon. That scared poor Minnie and she went into full-on subservient terrified mode, ears down and tail between her legs. She required many minutes of soothing and reassuring, but now she is back to her old self.

Researchers extract audio from potato chip bag and other vibrating objects in video recordings

Salt and vinegar chipsResearchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal from minute vibrations of objects in a video recording, including recovering intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

The researchers also successfully extracted audio from video of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and the leaves of a potted plant.

I wonder whether the technique might become sensitive enough to capture sound from old silent movies, newsreels, and home movies.

Extracting audio from visual information: Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass

Photo: Salt-and-Vinegar, by Gerolsteiner91. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

How to keep your dog cool in hot weather

This week I caved in to common sense and resumed taking Minnie out for our long, brisk walk first thing in the morning, while it’s still cool. I had been going in midday, but it’s too blamed hot then, and it’s going to get hotter through September.

Added bonus: It started to rain slightly this morning just as we were getting home, and now I’m sitting on the deck with Minnie, reading and drinking tea and enjoying the cool breeze, rather than wondering whether the rain is going to let up.

This guide is for runners. I found it useful for our long, brisk walks.

Dealing with warm weather