Music is Complicated

I've seen two outstanding documentaries lately, each of which underscores the staggering complexity of the world we live in by highlighting the minute and indistinguishable (to me, anyway) variables that go into making a thing of beauty.  Each is also basically a 1-hour commercial, but you'll be really glad you watched.

First up, Cry Baby - the story of the famous "Wah Wah" pedal.  If you don't know what this means, the trailer should bring you totally up to speed.  The aforelinked full-length movie is just a fascinating study of this revolutionary invention.

Richard Simmons Might Be a "Flight Attendant"

...not that there's anything wrong with that!

I can only assume that passengers are legally entitled to exit through the emergency doors upon seeing this safety video.

This Makes Me Happy

Jason Schwartzmann, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Bruce Willis will join a stellar cast for Wes Anderson's latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, according to reports in the US.
...Ed Norton and Frances McDormand are also joining the production.


No English word has a higher consonant-to-vowel ratio than "Queue."  A friend pointed this out a few years ago, without missing a beat, after I'd remarked that "Sequoia" has a pretty high ratio.

My Netflix Queue is empty, and upon notifying some friends of this I received a really nice list from one of them containing a couple dozen of her favorite under-rated movies.  My question is this:  why, in 2011, did I have to search for each of them individually on Netflix and add each one manually to my queue?  Why couldn't I just past the list into their search box, get a results page with all of them listed, and then check off the ones I want to add to my queue?

The Funniest Joke I Read All Week

A few middle-aged couples are chatting at a dinner party when one husband, Harry, starts talking enthusiastically about a new restaurant he has just visited with his wife. What's its name, demands a friend. Harry looks blank. There is an awkward pause. "What are those good-smelling flowers with thorns called again?" he eventually asks. A rose, he is told. "Yes that's it," Harry announces before turning to his wife. "Rose, what's that restaurant we went to the other night?"
via this rather interesting article.

Neven Mrgan's Lists

Utterly hilarious, every one of them.

E-Mail Alerts

In 2011, why can't my washer and dryer e-mail me when they're finished?  It would take about $5 in parts and a month or so of some programmer's time to get it right; but it would save me from having to go down two flights of stairs after I'm already tucked into bed, only to find out the cycle still has about 7 more minutes to go.

I still don't see how a web-enabled fridge has any value at all, but an e-mailing washer/dryer combo seems like a no-brainer.

Let's Talk About Sax, Baby

A friend forwarded this on to me, and I recommend that you turn your speakers up now and click through:

80's Sax Solos - a 3-part compendium, with song-by-song analysis and commentary.

From the author's introduction:
At some point in the 80s, popular music started incorporating saxophone solos as some kind of fad. Some of them are fine, but most of them are ridiculous to have in the songs. I have attempted to separate the quality and appropriateness of the solos from what I think of each song as a whole (I still really like most of these songs, even the ones with low grades).
He scores each song using handy designations, taking points off for things like "Whole Notes" and "Blaring."

This kind of thing is why I love the internet.

The (Shortened) Life of Pi

This is either a decent piece of satire from a guy who aspires to intern at The Onion this summer, or it's the saddest thing I've seen all week. I pray it's the former.

Conservative Pie; Republicans Introduce Legislation Redefining Pi as Exactly 3

If it turns out to be true - that there's a Republican congresswoman from Alabama named Martha Roby, and she has the audacity to try to legislate science (I mean, legislating morality is one thing, but c'mon!) for the convenience of our less-educated children, then I am going to cry myself to sleep tonight.

From the article:
"It's no panacea, but this legislation will point us in the right direction. Looking at hard data, we know our children are struggling with a heck of a lot of the math, including the geometry incorporating pi," Roby said. "I guarantee you American scores will go up once pi is 3. It will be so much easier."
OK, as best I can tell, H.R. 205 was introduced "To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for naturalization for certain high school graduates." and has nothing to do with Pi.

Well played, Ian Squires!  But I doubt anyone is quite as dumb as you make Ms. Roby out to be.  Not even in congress.

This whole thing reminds me of an equation I learned in Australia, from some engineering friends of mine: 2 + 2 = 5 for very large values of 2. Perhaps Ms. Roby was after something like this for very small values of Pi.


To counter-balance yesterday's Nuclear Boy madness, here's my second favorite New Yorker cover in recent memory.

Nuclear Boy

Everything you need to know about the Japanese nuclear disaster, in less than five minutes:

As the original poster remarked:  "It's nice to see this terrible tragedy hasn't made them any less Japanese."

via MR.


I'm sure we all have moments like this, but sometimes I see something that was so obviously out there waiting to be invented, and I want to kick myself.

My only criticism is that this probably wasn't market-tested for use by actual contractors.  I mean, there's a reason that carpenters' pencils aren't round.

Go Duke!

I am a Marylander, and some of my earliest memories are of Terps games at Cole Field House.  There's a 50-50 chance the campus police will be knocking down my door in the suburbs once this post is published, but I'm not afraid.  The fact is, I admire and respect Duke - including, and perhaps especially, their basketball program.

On a common sense level, I've always thought it was weird to despise and nurture ill-willed thoughts about a "rival" team.  (I put "rival" in quotes because lately it's been pretty one-way.  One of the most disarming, insulting, and hilarious chants I ever heard from the Cameron Crazies was during a MD-Duke game in Durham: "WE'RE NOT RIVALS...clap-clap--clapclapclap...etc.")

For a strong rivalry, you need two really strong teams; much like our political process is designed to work best with two really strong parties pushing each other towards the best possible policies and governance.

Anyway, all of this is a long prologue to what I really want to say:  Grant Hill (Duke '94) is one classy man.

Long Links

I finally got around to reading a couple longer pieces that I've been putting off.  I recommend these without reservation:
  • Can You Say ... "Hero"? by Tom Junod.  A masterful creative non-fiction piece that centers on Mr. (Fred) Rogers, but covers a lot of really rich subject matter along the way.  Here's the excerpt that got my attention in the first place:

Unhappy Hiptsers

This site is worth checking on a daily basis.  It's always good for a laugh, but they've really been knocking the cover off the ball lately.

GB Gets Results!

It was only a couple months ago that I lamented the absence of any real advice on arbitraging a salad bar.

This morning, I read this post from Tyler Cowen himself, linking to Nate Silver's recent article on the subject.  Tyler protests that he doesn't want all the toppings that are most ripe for this deal, but then he's known to be a man of more refined taste than most.

Click through to see the NYTimes' lovely visual guide.

Bar Bet

Step One - Print out this infographic.

Step Two - Visit your local bar and begin quietly making the following proposition: "I'll ask you a question.  If you get the answer right, I'll buy you a drink; if you get it wrong, you buy me a drink."
The Question:  "Which source of energy is related to more deaths worldwide per terawatt hour produced?  A.  Peat or  B.  Nuclear"
Step Three -  Enjoy your free drinks until an angry mob forms.

Variations on the game rules could produce even better outcomes, such as:  Profit, First Date, Deed to House, etc.

Possible Side Bet:  "True or false - there is such a thing as 'Peat Energy.'"

Fast Breaks

This site is nothing if not topical, so in the spirit of the Madness of March®, I present:

Bonobos' Fast Breaks - tear-away chinos in a limited edition.

If I ever played any sports, and therefore needed quick access to my athletic shorts, these pants would be a slam-dunk.  (Get it?!  "slam-dunk!?")

In a related personal story, I once met a guy who played basketball at Duke.  He was hesitant to admit this, and then quick to point out that he wasn't all that great a player (everything's relative).  To illustrate where he ranked on the bench, he said "my warm-up pants didn't even have snaps...they were sown up the sides."

Chris Blattman Is About to Read Your Mind

Noted Yale economist Chris Blattman is one of my inspirations for starting this blog.  He probably doesn't know that, but it's true.  I think he's the first person I "got to know" through a blog and then had the pleasure of meeting in person.  I have yet to share tacos in Elkridge with Tyler Cowen (10 minutes from my house, Dr. Cowen!  Call me when you get off the beltway and I can meet you there!), but I have eaten soul food with Dr. Blattman in a Harlem jazzhole.  Baby steps.

On busy days, I visit Chris' blog and learn something I never knew, or think about something I never thought about before.  On slower days, I read his recent post(s), then re-read his About Me page and re-remember that I'm not a wunderkind in the development economics field with a set of academic credentials that read like a cliché for "really smart."

Today, I learned something I never knew and thought about something I'd never thought about before and discovered that Chris is even smarter than his bio lets on.  You see, Chris can read minds.  Even better, he can actually predict what you will be doing, feeling, and thinking (in that order) about 30 seconds from now.  Don't believe me?  Click the link below and see if his reaction isn't yours too:

The unhappiest person

First World Problems - Asia Edition

photo via the Daily Mail
Needless to say (but, like anyone who opens a sentence with this phrase, I will go ahead and say it anyway), there are legitimate and catastrophic problems in Asia right now - from ongoing human rights abuses in China to the recent disasters in Japan.  This post is not about those.  I'm a humor writer first and foremost, and my focus groups reveal that it's "too soon" to go after those ripe targets with my typically acerbic wit.

This post is about some of the other problems, originating in Asia, that are hitting the First World in endless tsunami-like waves of...that's not the best way to put it...that are shaking life in the developed world down to a pile of, still not it...that are really inconveniencing wealthy Americans an awful, awful lot.

Is This Something?

I feel like I'm the only one who isn't unreservedly enthusiastic about the fact that a room full of elementary school students can scream out a rendition of Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus."

I don't want to go all "hell-in-a-handbasket" here, so I won't say the video is troubling.  It's not.  It's merely...puzzling. Either everyone is in on a joke that I don't get, or I'm prematurely becoming a cranky old man. I pray it's the latter, because I've dreamt all my life of becoming a cranky old man.

The Funny Side of Nihilism

No one does it like The Onion.  (Need I warn you?  Caution:  swears.)

Grown Adult Actually Expects To Be Happy
Despite possessing a fully developed brain and a general awareness of the fundamental nature of existence, sources said Peterson apparently continues to believe that achieving long-lasting happiness is somehow possible.
And then, later:
Sources confirmed that while Peterson has been supplied over the years with a glut of compelling evidence that life is a zero-sum game at best—including a thwarted career as a graphic designer, multiple failed relationships, and limited financial mobility—he nevertheless continues to cling to the misguided expectation that he can and will experience real serenity and joy in the long term. 
The baffling man has also reportedly read a newspaper before, interacted with coworkers, knows how economies and political systems work, and is undergoing the process of aging, yet has made no effort to revise his original assumption.


Alec Baldwin's open letter to Charlie Sheen reminded Jason Kottke of Frank Sinatra's letter to George Michael.

Still with me?  Great!

All of this reminded me of the funniest pair of letters I've seen in recent memory, which were exchanged between a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder and the Browns'  general counsel.

Sometimes I link to things in order to cite them, like you would in a term paper.  Sometimes the links are there because the linked page is worth visiting.  In this post, every link is the latter kind.

Page Numbers Are For Wussies

Resolved:  I will use the word "shuck" in a sentence that doesn't also contain the word "corn" this week.

My inspiration for this resolution can be found:  here.

NOTE:  in our house, we refer to "Wussies" as "Sensitive Gentlemen," and we do it often.

Lilliputian Liberty

The narrator's accent is distracting and odd (that is, I can't say I've ever heard anything quite like it), but the message of the video is compelling. Also, I assume they're not proposing some form of anarcho-capitalism in the final analysis.

Here's Something I Won't Buy for $3.99

Since last week's purchase, it's been all Ke$ha all the time in my car and at work.  And, surprisingly, I've become more and more OK with the fact that I legitimately, un-ironically love the record.  I had to play some Bach sonatas one afternoon just to give my ears a rest, but other than that I've been in a groove.  Or a rut, depending on your perspective.

I don't care if she's just a calculating, market-savvy pop-peddler.  I don't care if even my teenage nieces are probably over her, or never even liked her in the first place.  I don't even care that, technically, she's not all that great a singer (at least, based on the performance she gave at SNL last year).  The important thing is, her songs scratch an itch I've always had for really catchy, really poppy melodies and dancey, thumping tracks.

photo via Brooklyn Vegan
All that said, I know that I'm supposed to be crazy about The National.  Probably Kings of Leon, too.  I don't think I've ever even knowingly heard a song by Kings of Leon, although I did meet a Duke from Lyon once.  Nice guy.  Surprisingly down-to-earth.  But The National...their lead singer just puts me off.  I can't get past his range.  They wrote a really good song once, but the best version of that I ever heard was a cover, performed by an angel and her band against a six-story glass backdrop overlooking central park.

Inferring the News

It's fascinating to follow people's thought process as they digest the news of last night's Tsunami.  The searches flow West to East, with breaks to check their preferred news outlets.

Given the reputations of Fox news' viewers, is it fair to deduce from this list that conservatives are not as cold-hearted as people make them out to be?  Here they seem to out-number the NBC and MSNBC viewers, plus the readers of California's two biggest newspapers.

Of course, another take suggests that more MSNBC viewers already know how to find MSNBC on their TV or computer than NBC or Fox viewers.  Really, how dumb are Fox fans if they're Googling something that they could just type into their browser's address bar?  In their defense, though, I remember once seeing a hot search that read "" so at least Fox fans have Oprah fans beat.

Free Light For All!

This is a great example of the never-ending ingenuity that flows from creative people trying to solve even relatively simple problems:  A man figured out how to turn plastic 2-Liter soda bottles into 50-Watt lightbulbs.

I can see some pretty obvious pros/cons here:

PRO:  These would make great additions to any building that is off the electrical grid.  I think immediately of remote villages in third world developing countries.  And I'm sure it's only a matter of time before some well-meaning do-gooder starts shipping them out to the four corners of the earth.

CON:  Since well-meaning do-gooders occasionally fail to think things all the way through, there's a 50/50 chance that a lot of money gets wasted on the inflated shipping costs of sending bottles full of clean water to their final destination.  And if the full bottles do arrive in some hypothetical African Village, there's a 100% chance the water gets consumed by humans for...I'm looking for the right word here.  Let's say:  survival.  From what I hear, remote villagers are never quite certain when the next UPS truck full of clean bottled water is going to arrive.

iPad 2 Review Round-up

iPad 2 hits stores tomorrow, and there is no shortage of reviews, to go along with Apple's own guided tour collection. I won't add my own notes to the growing list because first of all Apple seems to have forgotten to send me a review unit and, secondly, John Gruber's write-up covers everything you need to know. In his typically masterful style, he gives just enough relevant technical analysis combined with his opinion on how iPad 2 fits into the average consumer's life, and why it matters.

From his review:
Every once in a while, Apple releases something brand-new. The original iPod. The 2007 iPhone. Last year’s iPad. These original releases tend to be minimal technically, but radical conceptually. Then, generally on an annual schedule, Apple improves them iteratively and steadily over time. 

Some Dogs are Worth the Trouble

Photo via
Apparently, I came off as a bit of a cold-hearted cynic in this post the other day.  To make up for that, I offer this tear-jerker from the BBC:

The body of a soldier who died along with his record breaking sniffer dog in Afghanistan last week will be returned home to the UK.
Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, was shot dead while on patrol in Helmand province. 
The ashes of the 26-year-old's dog Theo will be flown home on the same plane. 
L/Cpl Tasker, who was called a "rising star" by Army chiefs, was shot by Taliban snipers and Theo died of a seizure shortly after his master.
We can argue over a lot of war-related matters on any given day, but let's take a moment to agree on this self-evident truth:  animals can serve many worthwhile functions.  From the "mutual friendship, snorgling, devotion and joy-bringing" that one correspondent described to me in an e-mail, to the innumerable life-enabling acts of service animals, to the sniffer dogs at the police department who can find a joint wrapped in a dirty diaper (or so I'm told), to the ones who pay the ultimate price on the battlefield.

And let's spare a thought for Liam Tasker's family and friends.


I almost blew coffee through my nose when I stumbled upon this:

[via, via]

The Math of Sales

This isn't as nerdy as it may seem:

I have to admit, the center panel never occurred to me.  Not even in the abstract, let alone as a simple formula.  The other two, though, are near and dear to my heart.  "Up to X or more" always struck me as an offense against English, never mind math.  The third panel reminds me of the first four or five years of married life.  Lori would come home with some clothes or shoes or whatever, and announce with delight "This was originally $75, but I paid twenty!" to which I would reply "Great!  So, how much did you save?"  Eventually, we both came to agree that the correct answer is:  NOTHING!  Lesser marriages might have crumbled under this and a dozen other little exchanges of ours, but for us it was always basically a comedy routine for two.

Inferring the News

1.  You remember in the 28th over, when Yuvraj Singh hit a short four outside off, carving it past backward point?  That was awesome!

2.  Let's face it - if this is how you're finding out, you might be a little more serious about Fat Tuesday than Ash Wednesday.  But who am I to judge?

3.  RIP, B.I.G.

4.  As a high schooler I identified very closely with Duckie from Pretty in Pink.  I've never watched Two and a Half Men, but I used to smile a little on the inside just knowing that Jon Cryer was out there making it happen.  More than once since Charlie Sheen's extended meltdown, I've felt bad for Cryer.  The "half" member fo the cast will land on his feet, I'm sure; but Jon Cryer is roughly my age.  That's elderly in Hollywood.

5.  I guess the headline says it all:  "Teacher Tericka Dye's Adult Film Past Continues to Haunts Her Present."  There's a Kramer quote that's at least half-appropriate for this situation.  "Yeah, well, now you kids don't go out and try that. You stay in school!"

On Agricultural Subsidies

A friend forwarded, and asked me to comment on, this article:
Don't End Agricultural Subsidies. Fix Them.
by Mark Bittman
In a previous e-mail discussion, we'd concluded (absent any data - who has the time to look this stuff up?) that farm subsidies are distorting the true productivity of "factory farms" and creating unnatural barriers to entry for smaller, localized, organic, family, etc. farms. This article, which is really more of a bloggy blend of story-telling and Mark Bittman's enviro-orthodox opinions (for which some concessions should be made) offers some amplification to that conclusion, but also preaches hellfire and brimstone to those among us who still insist on not eating the way we ought. I will take it one paragraph at a time:
Agricultural subsidies have helped bring us high-fructose corn syrup, factory farming, fast food, a two-soda-a-day habit and its accompanying obesity, the near-demise of family farms, monoculture and a host of other ills.
So, we're gonna hit the ground running.  Are we all on the same page, ideologically speaking?  No?  Keep reading and fall in line, then.
Yet — like so many government programs — what subsidies need is not the ax, but reform that moves them forward. Imagine support designed to encourage a resurgence of small- and medium-size farms producing not corn syrup and animal-feed but food we can touch, see, buy and eat — like apples and carrots — while diminishing handouts to agribusiness and its political cronies.
(Read:  "I realize that third-party interventions into two-party transactions often have unintended consequences, but I'm about to propose a solution that will be magically invulnerable to this phenomenon.")
Farm subsidies were created in an attempt to ameliorate the effects of the Great Depression, which makes it ironic that in an era when more Americans are suffering financially than at any time since, these subsidies are mostly going to those who need them least.
(Redacted from original draft:  "And who's in a better position to determine who needs what than me - a writer for The [online opinion section of the] New York Times?")

First World Lumberjack Problems

I guess we'll stick with the First World Problems theme today.

Say you're a wealthy lumberjack, or a hipster who likes the look and feel of a hand-made axe but would never dream of using one to, you know, cut a tree down or something crazy like that.  How do you go about finding the best tool for your unique needs?

Well, today's your lucky day, because I'm going to save you the hassle of a lengthy search at your local hardware store or found art emporium.  It's my pleasure to present to you this beauty from BEST MADE!

First World Dog Problems

I've tried about seven different ways to approach this story, but can't seem to get any traction:
When herding dogs don't have an opportunity to round up livestock, they devote that extra energy to nipping at your kids' heels as they ride their bikes or chewing up the house.

Greta Zuercher knows firsthand. She's here with her young Border Collie, Tess.

Today, Zuercher is spending $15 so Tess can spend a day with the sheep. Zuercher lives in a Portland suburb. But she says the two-and-a-half hour drive is worth it. Zuercher says as soon as she got Tess around sheep, it was clear that this dog was born to herd.
Is this what it's come to?  We buy pet birds, then clip their wings so they can't fly; we buy a chihuahua, then stuff it in a purse all day; we buy a dog that was bred to chase things, and then we have to drive it 2+ hours just so it can get some practice doing what it was born to do?

Growing up, we always had a dog or two in the family, and I love and miss those pets.  But it's hard to imagine ever getting another one because all I see anymore is the Cons.  The shedding, the chewing, the houseguest-accosting, the following-around with a grocery bag and picking up a steaming pile of its fresh-squeezed shit.  Now, I guess I can add "ferrying it out to a farm so it can frighten the sheep" to the "Con" column.

iPad 2 Commercial

"One word:  Winning."

I Guess I'll Buy Just About Anything for $3.99

I can't describe the bemused sense of embarrassment I'm feeling right now.  Damn you, do you make something so bad seem so good?

Animal by Ke$ha - you can't just wash your ears out and un-hear this stuff.

I think Rolling Stone said it best:  "Ke$ha's music is repulsive, obnoxious and ridiculously catchy."

Then there's this, from Wikipedia:
Kesha has cited Beck, Queen, Madonna, Johnny Cash, Aaron Neville, Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, The Damned, Velvet Underground, Talking Heads and Blondie as musical influences.  She also highlighted Dylan's Nashville Skyline as her favorite album and called her debut album, Animal, an homage to the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill. She has writing credits on every track on the album and defended her decision to make pop music in an interview, explaining that, "[p]eople get so pretentious about pop music so I do feel like I'm fighting this battle. My record is honest and fun. It's a celebration of youth and life and going out and getting crazy. I'm about non-pretentious irreverence and fuck off good fun!" Animal is of the dance-pop genre; it incorporates elements of electropop in its production. It ranges from high energy pop dance tracks, to electronic ballads.
Come to think of it, this was the best $4 I've spent all day!

Daring Fireball: The Chair

Many call him a raving fanboy, of course, but I think John has a gift for looking honestly and objectively at something he loves (in this case the iPad 2 and Apple in general), and commenting meaningfully on its strengths and weaknesses.  Not many "weakness" comments in this post, but the whole thing is still a really worthwhile read.  He offers these two paragraphs toward the end:
In his conclusion, Jobs said, "It's in Apple's DNA that technology is not enough." That's what separates Apple from everyone else, and the iPad epitomizes it. It's better designed, has more developer support, and it's cheaper. There are aspects of this that Apple's competitors seemingly can't copy — lower prices from economies of scale, amazing battery life, UI responsiveness, build quality.

But there are other things any competitor could copy, easily, but seemingly don't even understand that they should, because such things aren't technical. Take that chair. The on-stage demos of the iPad aren't conducted at a table or a lectern. They're conducted sitting in an armchair. That conveys something about the feel of the iPad before its screen is even turned on. Comfortable, emotional, simple, elegant. How it feels is the entirety of the iPad's appeal.
I would second that last talking to clients about why they like their iPad, and what they do with it, one constant theme is that it has become a natural extension of their daily life - it fits into their day in ways that a laptop, desktop, or even a smartphone never could.

America Makes More Stuff Now than Ever Before

Don Boudreaux is one of my favorite writers of Letters to Editors. This is a variation on that theme - an open letter to Rush Limbaugh - and it contains information that runs counter to many common assumptions about US manufacturing output:
  • In 2009 (the latest year for which we have data), the value of U.S. manufacturing output was nearly 30 percent higher than that of China, the world’s second-ranking country in terms of manufactured output
  • The inflation-adjusted value of America’s manufacturing output in 2009 was 120 percent higher than it was in 1970
  • Over the ten-year span 2000 through 2009, the total amount of foreign direct investment received by China was $686 billion, while the total amount of FDI received by America was 162 percent higher at $1,799 billion
Granted, the "raw number of things" that we make may be lower now than it has been at points in the past, and granted the "kinds of things" are different.  But, it's worth noting that we're still the world's leading manufacturer by a decent margin.

"Facebook" = "Internet"

I expect most people will find this confusing; but three or four of you will, as the saying goes, LOL.
The change drew some grumbles from the technical crowd, an overwhelmingly small minority of Internet users.

New iPad

iPad 2 will be out in about a week.  Also, Apple introduced a new magnetic "Smart Cover" to replace the first-generation case.  They say the iPad automatically sleeps and wakes when you close and open the cover, but who can be sure?  This seems to me like trusting the refrigerator manufacturers who promise that the light goes out when you close the door.  Whether Apple has earned that kind of trust or not remains to be seen.

This Should be Fun

The 20/20 interview may just be the tip of the iceberg.
"Some are saying you're bi-polar"
Sheen:  "WOW!  What does that mean?....I'm bi-winning."

Bumper Sticker

I see this one on a regular basis:

"Stop putting words in my mouth"


But I have yet to see this one, or anything like it:

"Putting a bumper sticker on your car that tells other people to 'Stop putting words in my mouth' is the absolute height of hypocrisy."


iOS Screen Lock

I realize that this is a First World Problem of the First Order, but I'll share it anyway, in hopes that someone else has the same frustration and we can build some momentum towards getting it addressed.  I e-mailed Steve Jobs about it awhile ago, but he hasn't replied yet.

I lock my iPhone and iPad with a 4-digit PIN.  I also set the "Require Passcode" option to "After 5 min." because too often I'll check something on my phone, lock it, put it down, and then immediately remember something else I needed to do.  Being able to swipe to unlock in that scenario is convenient.

My problem is that I'm increasingly using my iPad instead of a laptop at client sites, often leaving it sitting out in a common area where I take up temporary residence.  I'm not at all concerned about physical security, and because of the nature of my clients (honest, friendly people - all of them) I'm really not that concerned about data security.  Nevertheless, I'd like to be able to walk away from my iPad for 15 minutes and know that it's not in an unlocked state for a third of that time.  Family gatherings are another setting where this would be helpful:  it would be nice to know that some pair of little hands isn't going to start futzing with my iPad the minute I walk away from it.

I think I have a simple solution to this, and it should be trivial to implement:  Create an option (or just make it a default) so that triple-tapping the wake/sleep button locks my iOS device immediately.  The triple-tap is "complicated" enough that I wouldn't do it by accident or out of habit, but simple enough that it's easy to do whenever I need to.  As an added bonus, this doesn't replace an existing feature like the rotate-lock-to-mute-switch fiasco did.

Ball's in your court, Steve.