Saturday, February 14, 2015

Vint Cerf: Hide Yo Pics, Hide Yo Scans

Vint Cerf (yes, the father of the Internet, I know it's ironic what with "surfing" being an old Internet term) is quoted as saying:
"Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week, Google Vice President Vint Cerf warned of a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century” that awaits us when "bit rot" takes hold and our digital material gets lapped by the new hardware and software racing around it."
In other words...

He even recommended printing out your favorite photos. What?? Look, I understand, the guy's a futurist and I think his point is that the technology to read digital archives is moving much quicker now.

If anybody knows the pain of trying to digitize and convert one's Quantified Self, it's me, I've been working for years to digitize my own stuff, my father's art & music, and my family's photos. And yes, it's hard to get photos off old floppies or VHS tape, but it's not impossible. CDs that were produced 25 years ago still play. Yes, I remember when GIF animations came out in the mid 1990s, but everybody still uses them.

I think Cerf's point is that it's not a commercially viable project to make sure digital files survive in the future. While that may be true, I don't think that will cause the death of photos. There are enough corners of the Internet that will still keep those things running, as long as we stick to major image formats.

And a weird AP Photo to go with that? Sure.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Fought the 'Larms, and the 'Larms Won

The girls were down in York, PA last weekend when I was awakened by one of the smoke alarms in our house at 10:00 PM. Full-on alarm, not just a "dead battery beep." In a half-daze, I somehow determined the house wasn't on fire, and found the errant alarm in the hallway, disabling it by taking the battery out and disconnecting it from the power, and went back to bed, turned up the air purifier, put earplugs in, and drifted back off to sleep.

11:00 PM: I was awakened again by the smoke alarm's incessant ringing. Disconnected the alarm in the bedroom. Went back to sleep:

12:00 AM: Same thing. Disconnected the downstairs alarm. Went back to sleep.

1:00 AM: Same thing. Disconnected two remaining alarms, once again checked for smoke or fire, crashed back in bed.

9:00 AM: After a sleepless night, I closely read the instructions on the bottom of the smoke alarm and notice the text highlighted below:

The damn things were networked. So no matter how many I unplugged, if it wasn't the one that triggered the alarm, it wouldn't have stopped alarming.

I never really thought that they could be networked, but our house was built in 2003 (I bought it in 2006) so that's a nice piece of mind to have. Literally wiring smoke alarms together in house wiring seems amusing in a day when we can install smoke alarms that network amongst themselves and via the Internet, but it was a nice addition in 2003.

So why did the (one) smoke alarm think it detected smoke that night? I have no idea, but since it was only one, we can rule out fire, and ghosts. I remember once when I was a kid, a spider crawled into a smoke detector and set it off. Though you'd think they'd have spider-detecting smoke detectors by this year, it's possible that's just what happened.

I didn't cook anything, or even take a shower, before bed so I doubt it was anything in the air. The one thing I did not do though, was poke my nose out the door -- perhaps a temperature inversion forced smoke from nearby homes to enelope ours. I guess we'll never know. But next time... I'll know to look for the alarm with the little blinking red light.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Puppy Bowl, With Katty Furry Halftime Show

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Sports just aren't my thing, so today I'll (once again) be watching the Puppy and/or Kitty Bowl today (complete with the "Katty Furry halftime show"), Superbowl Sunday. This is pretty much what I think of football: