Much Ado about Technology

Political Thought for the Day

If you want religion in schools, be prepared for all religions to have their time on stage, including the case for no religion.

If you want social media to be liable for what people say, be prepared for them to decline such liability and refuse your account.

If you want the freedom to deny a gay couple a wedding cake, be prepared to be turned away if you're not wearing a mask.

Hypocrisy is never pretty.

Unintended Stress Testing

One thing to come of this pandemic is the unintended stress and integration tests being put to our systems, especially home automation. In my house, we have, by being home 24/7 for the past two weeks, put enough unexpected stress on our house that some very interesting failure modes are starting to make themselves known

It started when a couple of my smoke detectors started giving false alarms. This wasn't a case of low or dead batteries, and it tended to happen early in the morning. Some research indicated that the particular model I have tends to give false alarms when dirty. Sure enough, taking them down, the amount of dust was higher than usual. My only hypothesis is that everyone being home 24/7 and the house being mostly closed because of cool weather means more humidity. That could mean dust is "sticking" to things. So, time to clean all the detectors.

And our smart thermostats are completely confused. The concept of "home" and "away" is nonsensical to it now, and its learning logic doesn't appear to know how to cope. I've turned them to full manual and nailed them to the temperature we want. I'll reprogram them later and turn off learning entirely. There is no "house arrest" mode. There should be!

One stress test that we've all been part of has been the Internet and cell system - and it's notable that it's held up pretty well for the most part. Usage patters have changed considerably, but we're all still online. We're all trying to work from home and binge watch movies. Bandwidth usage has spiked - but nothing's fallen down. This is good news.

My New Book!

Fansplaining for Dummies - available wherever fine pedantism is sold. 

A Better Way To Fool (this year)

For April Fool this year, I was going to spin a tale of how I'd accepted a request to stand for election for Congress in 2022 and would be beginning my campaign immediately after this year's election. I think it would have been totally believable and fooled many of you.

Due to the current world situation, I clue you into my planned prank and then ensure you know that it would have been a prank and hope that you get a grin imagining how it might have played out.

April Fool is out of bounds this year - but humor still helps.

Unless you think it would have been a crappy Fool, in which case I still love you, but you're wrong ;)

(I encourage everyone to post what they would have done, in the bounds of good taste, but not actually pull the prank itself)

A New Model (with a danger)

Universal has chosen to release some moves direct to digital in this time of "shelter in place." For $20, you can get "The Hunt," a film that should be in the theaters, to watch at home for 48 hours. This is great, as we're all going to need entertainment and lots of it. And for $20, a family of four is seeing this film at a price much less than they'd pay in a first-run theater.

My only concern? Those who invite all the neighbors over to save even more money. Because that's not social distancing, is it?

Please think about this before you do such a thing. It could save your life or the life of an at-risk loved one. 

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