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Archive for the ‘Some People’s Children’ Category

Map errors

This weekend, I had occasion to pay attention to maps around the area of Elk Butte.

Map Errors near Elk Butte

In the upper right, you see Google Terrain – which shows approximately the truth on the ground. The rest of the layers show an insane artifact of a stitching error. I tried to sift through all the vector data sources to find the suspect source of data, but ran out of energy before I chased it down.

Error source?

This is as close as I got. This two shots are of the same region at very slightly different zoom levels using Google Terrain data.

If I didn’t know this area as well as I do, I might have noticed the error but not appreciated how bad the stitching error is.

Written by Ry Jones

26 May 2015 at 20:44

Mobile home parks

An article about buying mobile home parks as going concerns got me wondering how the MHPs in my area still exist. I need wonder no more as the last MHP in Kirkland will soon be gone (article with more spin here). While searching for the original link, I found this and this and about a dozen more variants of the same story. While in Moscow this weekend I drove through the MHP I lived in from 2002-2005 and saw that nothing has changed – literally. Everything is rotting in place.

Written by Ry Jones

26 May 2015 at 7:14

How a machine can spot depression; ELIZA

Reading this article on software spotting depression, a quote stood out:

Mitic remembers that Ellie’s robot-ness helped him open up.

“Ellie seemed to just be listening,” Mitic says. “A lot of therapists, you can see it in their eyes, when you start talking about some of the grislier details of stuff that you might have seen or done, they are having a reaction.”

He knows it’s a machine, but it’s good enough for him to work through issues.

From seventh to ninth grade, my junior high school had a TRS-80 in the library that you could use. For a while, when I went to school really early, there was a guy I knew beavering away typing in a BASIC implementation of ELIZA and then running it for the rest of the open time. He was typing it in every day and running it for however long – no floppy disk drive.

I never understood what was going on. At the simplest, you look for ending punctuation or a few words to trigger the response. The article on ELIZA effect covers it. But he was clearly getting something out of it because he was happy to do the work of typing it in every day.

No moral – but it has stuck with me since then.

Written by Ry Jones

20 May 2015 at 15:49

Scott’s 338

Got to shoot Scott’s 338 Lapua at Boomershoot – fun gun. IIRC it was topped with a 6-20x Leupold or NightForce. The brake is very good – huge clamshell brakes usually are. Even with the brake, though, I was unable to spot my own shots at ~600-650 yards.

I only took three shots at the steel before I could feel my dental work loosening. Fun times.

Written by Ry Jones

13 May 2015 at 20:15

Tough love

Thinking further about today’s news, my first non-construction job was at ICTT. The greybeard that managed me told me (I think Ken was early-mid-20s) to buy a K&R – since I only worked ten hours a week, maximum, it took a little bit to save up to buy one. I remember the shock of not being able to find one at Radio Shack – or either bookstore at the mall! I think I ended up buying one at the college bookstore. After beavering away for a couple weeks, I was given a task of writing an asset tag database, which meant Informix (Wikipedia says they went public and raise nine MILLION dollars. The 80s, folks!). Of course I knew nothing about databases in general or Informix specifically so again – a wall of manuals. Once I had it sort-of working, I asked how to make those cool screens they had for stuff they did – I was turned on to curses. If I recall correctly, Informix would spit out rudimentary curses interface if you wanted it to. They also were, thankfully, a vi shop.

My job was, essentially, a favor for my dad. He hired someone essentially unemployable, and that someone’s wife got me a job at her workplace (and, I’ll say, under the same condition). As Leah said, nepotism works.

Written by Ry Jones

10 May 2015 at 15:22

Slightly more on the Aldridge plinth

Sandy Aldridge has died. It was by her intervention that I got to attend South, which had computer classes that were more than “learn to type”, instead of North, which didn’t. She also handed me my high school diploma on stage and wished me luck, which appears to have been overall in my favor, so far.

I’m not sure what this means WRT the plinth.

Written by Ry Jones

10 May 2015 at 12:38

A note on Serial, the podcast

In a follow up, they ask:

(Adan’s HoTMaiL account is no longer available) We asked her to clarify: Is it not available because nobody wants to go get it off some antiquated piece of technology deep in the bowels of Microsoft or is it not available because the account and all its related 1’s and 0’s have been erased from the universe? She did a lot of digging – this is not a question Microsoft gets asked every day, apparently – and returned with an answer: Adnan’s Hotmail account no longer exists anywhere in the universe. So, onward.

When I left MSN, a HoTMaiL account that was inactive for 180 days would enter a state where you had to do a password recovery in order to log in to it again. After 360 days, it was deleted. Any activity was supposed to reset the counter – one of the things I tested with each release was that accessing HoTMaiL over SMS properly reset the counter. I just looked (warning, big document), and as of 2008, it was account lock at 30 days, email delete at 120 days, and WLID delete 365 days after the 120 day period.

Since there was over a decade between Adnan’s last login and the next attempted login, yeah, the data was long gone.

Written by Ry Jones

9 May 2015 at 23:49


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