Archive for December, 2017

Halt and Catch Fire

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

I watched the whole series this year. I had a false start or two when I first started watching, but like all great shows, they require you to actually pay attention to them, to get sucked in. It’s now easily in my top 10 shows ever (I’ll have to take a stab at that list some time).

Yeah, I’m a computer guy and it’s about old school computer stuff. I’d say it pre-dates my formative years by a half decade or so, but not by enough to feel unrelatable. But it’s not even the computer stuff that made it great. By the end, as you can imagine, the show is made by the people, their incredible arcs, and their relationships.

But much more subversively, as James Poniewozik says:

above all, β€œHalt and Catch Fire” was about failure. Which was part of what made the show a triumph.

Travelin McCourys & Michael Cleveland

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

I love that there is a John Hartford Festival. I’d like to go to that one day. If nothing else to see musicians I quite like play John Hartford covers and slay them.

WiFi in 2017 Tahoe

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

I recently bought at 2017 Chevy Tahoe. I mostly quite like the car. It’s big and safe and comfortable and it’ll serve my family well. This is about one nitpick I have.

This car is a WiFi hotspot. It offers a 4G LTE thingy as part of the OnStar package it has. The reaction timeline for that goes like…

  1. Neat! I’m gonna name our’s Ruby’s Chariot for our daughter.
  2. [Data plan runs out 10 days after getting the car. It’s a 3GB plan.]
  3. Wait.
  4. Why on earth would I pay for this when I literally always have my cell phone that has data and that I already pay for?

I really don’t need another monthly cost for something that won’t really add any value to me. So I figured I’d just flip it off.

In the settings right in the dashboard console, there is a WiFi settings area, and a very obvious toggle for flipping off the WiFi. Only it doesn’t do anything. The WiFi icon is still lit up and the car still broadcasts an SSID.

I web searched around a bit, and someone recommended using the OnStar app on my phone to manage that. Sure enough, through that app, the WiFi was still turned on. I turned it off there too. Only that didn’t do anything either. The car still broadcasts an SSID.

So there are three options:

  1. Let devices in the car still connect to it, even though it doesn’t have internet. This is super annoying because you’ll pick up your phone to do something, have it look like it’s connected just fine, but nothing works because there is no internet, and then remember and scowl.
  2. Tell your device to forget the network. That works in that you don’t accidentally connect and get trapped in connected-but-not-really internet purgatory. But it’s almost more annoying as it pops up a password modal on my phone as it regularly senses it as the only nearby network and wants to connect to it.
  3. Just pay for the damn monthly fee as it’s the only option without infuriating UX.

There are minor upsides to having a paid plan. I think WiFi is easier on the phones as far as battery life (although we’re in the car with chargers so it hardly matters). Also, there are no size or power constraints with the antenna, presumably, so the car probably will get better signal than my phone can.

In any case, you really should be able to turn off the WiFi on anything you own, and the fact that they make it this hard is a big thumbs down.

Cooperative Games

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

As made it into my life story talk recently, I’m way more into cooperative gameplay than competitive. I don’t mind competition, but when it comes to recreational play, I’d rather work with you to solve a problem than duke it out in silence and declare a winner.

My friend Rebecca introduced me to Forbidden Island the other day, and it’s exactly that. It’s everybody against the game! The mechanics are such that you need to strategize together to capture some treasure and get off the island before you fail (and there are a variety of ways to fail).

It’s quite fun I think, but it’s subject to an alpha or two running the show. I guess the more you play the more you come to terms with that. If you can’t speak up your ideas, you might as well no play. Likewise, if you can’t shut up and listen a little, you might as well Geri’s Game it.

Also, it’s pretty cheap for a nice metal tin and lots of parts!

I haven’t played it, but she also suggested Pandemic, which has the same cooperative setup: