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The Art of Making Misteaks

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  Ask forgiveness, not permission.  -- Admiral Grace Hopper Move Fast and Break Things.  -- Mark Zuckerberg Don't repeat old mistakes. Make new and innovative ones. -- Me These quotes are variations of a theme: don't be afraid to make mistakes. There are differences though. In the case of Admiral Hopper, she knew things moved slowly in a military bureaucracy, and recommended that if you have a good idea, go ahead and pursue it. With Mark Zuckerberg, the early days of Facebook required constant and rapid innovation, although today, the "break things" part seems reckless, and has indeed produced undesirable consequences. My take is that mistakes happen, and when they do, make it a new one. Repeating old mistakes is possibly the worst kind of mistake, suggesting that nothing was learned or addressed. Making no mistakes at all, however, indicates that you and your team aren't trying. Or worse, that your work environment shoots the messengers, throws staff members unde

Apple Watching The New Year

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Those wearing their Apple Watch at midnight were treated to a digital fireworks display. It was fun, thoughtful, and shows how a small detail can engage the fan base. I imagined 2020 as the year of perfect vision -- normally a good thing -- but looking back, my eyes still hurt. A friend and colleague wrote "sometimes, it's best to not see what's ahead." 2021 might be a more fortuitous year, as it ends with blackjack.  When I wrote Pi and Free Will , I proved, at least to myself, that the future was fluid rather than pre-determined. The nature of Pi is irrational, going on forever without repeating, and thus making determinism simply not possible because determinism requires 100% accuracy, or perfect knowledge. I neglected to mention that Pi isn't alone, and it's noteworthy that Pi has a lot of irrational friends: the square root of 2, Euler's number, and the Golden Ratio, to name three of the more famous ones. I also forgot about the Heisenberg Uncertainty

A View From Santa's Sleigh

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  Happy Holidays!

Bookshelf: UNIX A History and a Memoir

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  A man page will give you, in black and white, specific information about UNIX. Brian Kernighan's new book adds color and depth about UNIX you won't find anywhere else. I'm not a gray beard (yet), but I imagine they would plow through the book knowingly, but at the same time, learn a few things. Those new to UNIX -- recent college grads or those experimenting with Raspberry Pi -- would be better off starting with Chapter 8 which describes more relatable events and the descendants of UNIX, including Minux and Linux. It's when they start to ask questions like "Where does UNIX come from?" and "Why is Gamora grep?" that they should start from the beginning: Bell Labs, 1969. Kernighan opens with a birds-eye-view of Murray Hill New Jersey, zooms in on the buildings, the offices, the significance of Center 1127, and offers a brief look at some of the key players there. As I progressed through the book, the two factors that made UNIX not just possible, bu

The iPhone 12 mini Stands Tall

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  Pictured here is my new iPhone 12 mini. I always felt mobile phones were getting too large and I wrote about that unfortunate trend in iPhones In Stretch Jeans . The 12 mini changes course and fits easily in my front pants pocket and is friendly for one handed use. I also find myself taking fewer accidental screenshots -- something I did regularly with the larger iPhone X. It wasn't just the size of the X that was a drawback for me. The camera also had a hardware flaw that sometimes caused a green reflection in my photos.  And while the X boasted a zoom lens, I found that the single lens camera on the much older iPhone 4s took better photos. With the benefit of time and technological advances, the 12 mini is both a better phone and camera than the X, and in a smaller package to boot. Face ID is also faster and more responsive because the front facing camera has has a wider viewing angle. Battery life is fine; as someone who spreads his attention across an iMac, an iPad, and the

Apple's 15% Solution

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When I wrote about  Apple's 30% Dilemma , I didn't expect Apple to have a solution so quickly. For this  small independent developer, it feels like a holiday gift. 30% was the original cut Apple took from developers on their app store. Critics felt it was outrageously high. I was more moderate because my past experience with app stores for Palm made clear the value of Apple's eco-system and the tools they produced. Still, I hoped Apple would lower the rate because it would the wise, and business-savvy, thing to do. Apple recently announced the App Store Small Business Program which reduced the commission from 30% to 15% on businesses earning up to $1 million per year. Ars Technica ran the story and a minority of the commentariat pointed out that the $1M limit would discourage development as earnings approached that figure. The reason being to avoid the 30% bracket. Entrepreneurs and creatives don't think like that. Bean counters do. Apple just gave the small independe

A Thanksgiving Yam Story

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As difficult as 2020 was, and still is, for many of us, I think we can all find something to be thankful for. We might just have to look a little harder. And do it apart. Below is an old Yam joke circulating on the internet. Those who like bad puns will enjoy it most, but I hope it brings a smile to every reader.   A girl potato and boy potato had eyes for each other. They eventually got married and had a little sweet potato, who they called "Yam." Of course, they wanted the best for Yam, and when it was time, they told her about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't accidentally get mashed, be called "Hot Potato," and end up with a bunch of tater tots. Yam said not to worry; no spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her! But she wouldn't stay home and become a couch potato either. She would get plenty of exercise doing potato rolls as she was determined not to be skinny like her