A while back, you might recall, I tried using the Randonautica app. The app chooses a random walk destination nearby. i got frustrated with the app and uninstalled it: when I switched between apps on my phone to snap a photo or what-have-you, Randonautica "forgot" my destination. ...

Instead, I'll use RandoWalk. It's a web app. I tap a button to tell the app where I am; I tap another button to ask it to choose a walking destination. Easy-peas...


Report: How to Do Nothing

In How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell exhorts us to occasionally look up from social networks and instead look around at the places and people around us. These days, at least here in the SF Bay Area, this is terrible advice. If you go outside to look at your neighborhood, you'll inhale smoke from the wildfires. If you visit with your neighbors, you'll inhale and/or exhale the pandemic. But a year ago, when this book came out, its advice w…


I watched a debate of propositions for the upoming election. Various folks argued for or against various props. One guy stood out: Richie Greenberg, the only speaker who got caught lying. He was so pathetic that I googled him.

One of the top google hits for his name: his author page at Sputnik International, the Russian disinformation operation(!)

I'll add him to my special list of election helpers: if Richie Greenberg I should vote against somethin…


I just enjoyed watching "Overflow," a Web War Stories episode about debugging and fixing a gnarly computer bug. The bug occurred on a rapidly-growing-popular web site, so there's a "fixing the airplane while in flight" nail-biting suspenseful aspect to the tale. Anyhow: watch, like, subscribe, wonder "who uses an signed int to hold a count, reflect that hindsight is easy, etc.


Wildfire smoke having relented in San Francisco, I resumed my exercise-walks. I noticed some Hash House Harrier marks on the ground. The Hash House Harriers, you will recall, is the drinking club with a running problem.

I wondered: How have the Harriers adapted to these pandemic-y times…


If you're in the SF Bay Area and your COVID pod contains enough nerds to take on an escape room, check out Trivium Games, a.k.a. the folks behind the Ghost Patrol puzzle hunts.: triviumgames.com/. They made a Ghost Patrol escape room!

Ghost Patrol puzzle events have featured some cool physical objects to play with; I'm eager to see what they've done with a room.

Report: The Vapors

Once upon a time in the USA, gambling was illegal across the land. A few cities and towns went ahead and had illegal gambling. Those cities stopped one by one until just one was left: Hot Springs, Arkansas. Casinos ran ads in nearby cities' newspapers, encouraging tourists to visit Arkansas. Though the casinos advertised openly, they were still illegal. The city, county, and state governments were all in on the deal, turning blind…


Returned some books to the SFPL main today, AMA.

Report: Agency

The characters in Agency do as they are bid, going to and fro with little understanding of their place in history. I'm not sure if that means that the title is a pun or an anti-pun or some ironic combo. Anyhow, there is spycraft and drones; it's a fun ride.


I had a system to randomly choose exercise-walking routes. I put that system aside when the pandemic reared up. The system chose routes that often involved a bus ride to the walk's starting point and/or destination. In these plaguey times, bus rides are only for essential activities. In San Francisco, I could probably ride the bus legally; outdoor recreation is an essential activity; but morally,...


I have signed up at The Storygraph Beta ( beta.thestorygraph.com/ ), which recommends . Nowadays, it's strange nowadays to find a recommendation system that isn't part of some online merchant. Anyhow, most folks on there like fiction (which makes sense, since the service has "Story" right in the name), but I mostly like nonfiction so it remains to see whether I like any of its recommendations. But there's hope. I told it about a bunch of books I've read and let it recommend some more.

Report: Lean Impact

This book advises do-gooders (workers at NGOs, charities, and the like) how to apply Lean Startup principles to their good works. I.e., don't try to come up with a perfect plan at the beginning; instead, quickly come up with a good-enough plan, try it out and thus quickly find issues so that you can come up with a better plan; lather, rinse, repeat. Since no plan survives contact with...


Yesterday, I walked along a stretch of Fulton Street to see the message recently painted there. It wasn't so easy to read on the ground; it made more sense from the vantage of, say, a local news helicopter.


Report: One Person, No Vote

It's a whirlwind tour of voter suppression in the USA.

Nowadays, corrupt Secretaries of State ignore most kinds of fraud, but focus on preventing one kind: Voter Fraud. Voter fraud involves getting a human being to go to a physical voting place and impersonate a voter. It would be a pretty stupid way to cheat…


I got sick. Fortunately, it felt more like an annoying-flu-thing rather than a lethal-pandemic-thing. But the sickness surprised me, sneaking past my shelter-in-place defenses. These days, I hardly interact with people face-to-face. But I do some: bought some tea at a near-empty store; talked with the apartment maintenance guy about a lock not working. In the future, I guess mail-order tea will suffice.

I hardly interact with people these days, but could do less. San…


Report: The Library Book

Susan Orlean writes about the Los Angeles main library. There's history, an unsolved mystery, but my favorite bits were about day-to-day operations at the modern-day library. There's not so much emphasis on the books, more about providing space and community resources to local folks. It was on my mind when I read this Twitter thread about a Miami-area library re-opening in a hope-it's-declining pandemic. A...


Report: Republic of Lies
This book explores some recent hoaxes and fake news, concentrating on stories that got gullible folks to take political action. (Does blundering around with a rifle count as "political action"? Maybe. Anyhow.) Though I'd bumped into these hoaxes and hoaxters in the news, this book pointed out some trends I hadn't picked up on.

E.g., dummies who fell for one hoax fall for other hoaxes. There's bad news and good new…


I figured out my "pull list":

Black Magick
Stray Bullets
The Old Guard
A Man Among Ye
Sera & the Royal Stars
Vagrant Queen
Wasted Space
The Magicians


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