Author Archives: skierpage

computers: bye to desktop

I realized I hadn’t powered on my old desktop PC for years. It’s an HP Pavilion I bought second-hand for $100 a decade ago, which had more features than my custom-built $3000 Falcon Northwest aluminum behemoth from 2004. I upgraded … Continue reading

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music: digitization and the Internet changed music, the Web didn’t

Videos-about-music maker Rick Beato made a stimulating video of “TOP 20 Inventions that CHANGED Music.” It’s entertaining and a pretty good list. Digitization! He left out the underlying technique of digitization. Without it, inventions he mentioned like CDs, PC music, … Continue reading

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playing Pong with your mind vs. William Gibson

Ars Technica has an appropriately level-headed article about Elon Musk’s Neuralink company getting a monkey to play Pong with its mind, which reminds people of William Gibson: the old Cyberpunk fan in me dreams of cyberdecks: devices without screens or … Continue reading

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books: William Gibson flashes of excellence

Early William Gibson is so white-hot, not just the fantastic Sprawl series (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) but also his short stories, adaptations, and explorations. My 30-year-old web page captures all his output back then, including the rarities. It’s … Continue reading

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Would aliens understand human music?

Listening to YouTube videos in which people get OpenAI Jukebox to continue songs, one is struck by how weird some of its flights of fancy are. Someone wondered what aliens would make of its attempts to make human music: imagine … Continue reading

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eco: energy storage is hard, gravity storage as a game

How much energy does it take to raise 1 tonne 100 meters into the air (the height of a 23 story building)
⟶ 1 tonne * gravity * 100 meters = 0.27240694 kWh… 1/4 of a kWh doesn’t look like the path to riches! Continue reading

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music: Trevor Horn gigantism

Bruce Forest, the creator of this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink remix of Grace Jones’ “Slave to the Rhythm” above, provided entertaining background in a Facebook comment on one of Trevor Horn’s magna opera/Mount Everest: What do you get if you combine 2 years … Continue reading

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eco: reviving an IKEA Jansjö light

The IKEA Jansjö was amazing 12 years ago, a cheap bright LED lamp when others cost $150. It was $40 (went down to $15 and now may be discontinued). But the switches on them were awful. Both of ours flicker … Continue reading

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science: cocaine-fueled Hollywood-quantum matchup?

Don’t you love those Hollywood-excess parties, where Spiros Michalakis (research professor and manager of outreach at Caltech) is doing cocaine with a bunch of industry heavyweights and remarks “I have a lot of grant money from the National Science Foundation … Continue reading

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software: NeWS as James Gosling’s best weird idea

Lex Fridman talked to James Gosling, famous for the Emacs editor and the Java language. At 1:47:40 he says “I’ve got this weird history of doing weird stuff.” I was fortunate to be writing documentation at Sun Microsystems in the Programming … Continue reading

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