Another plumbing project

Befor the fix

After the fix

Long story short – our plumbing was all clogged up.

Fortunately, it seemed to only affect the washing machine in any significant way (shower & toilet were, mercifully, spared).

So we called out favorite plumber – the first one we actually had success with (Intelligent Plumbing Services) – and had them out for what we all thought would be a simple power-rodding.

Was not to be.

Today, they tore up about a 3×2-foot section of our basement floor to see just what the hell was going on. Fortunately, they were able to identify the problem fairly quickly (broken section of pipe), repair same, and now we are good to go.

Expensive? Sure – the those are the breaks, pun fully intended. And it’s one of those things that needs to be done – it’s not really optional, like being without a toaster oven for a spell.

Technology – an overview

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson (voice)

Very interesting movie – set sometime in the future – a man (Phoenix) on the cusp of a divorce finds love with a software program – an assistant (Johansson).

His relationship with the program follows – with some interesting twists – the path his broken marriage has/had taken. First date mentality, getting to know each other more, sex drops off after the Honeymoon period and so on.

And this is juxtaposed with a real first date – with Olivia Wilde – that is a counterpoint for his “dating” his virtual assistant.

Lot going on – Spike Jonze, the writer and director – has left us with a lot of questions in this movie. And that’s good!

One of the reasons that I wanted to see this is to see if they got the tech correct – some home runs, some wiffs (why do you need a key for your mailbox?). Overall, pretty spot on – if one ignores the whole battery issue. (In this movie, devices last forever – no charging).

One other note: The women in this movie – Adams, Wilde – are remarkably make-up free. I guess that’s the nod to “in the cloud” events: Reality is more than the specific event/presence.

All movies

Yes, that’s a pretty ambitious title to this post, but I don’t mean it in an over-arching, comprehensive way.

What do I mean?

Well, as you can see by the embedded review, I saw Her last weekend. One of the reasons I wanted to see it was to see how the movie – set somewhere in the pretty near future – would handle tech. What changed, and how?

Peter Thiel – PayPal’s co-founder – has written famously in a manifesto about how tech has failed us – the manifesto is subtitled: We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. Valid point.

I don’t know if he mentioned personal jet packs, but – again – a promise unfulfilled.

The movie – and the manifesto – just got me thinking about where we are now vs. where we thought we’d be today.

Just random musings; again, no big manifesto for me.

  • Smartphones: Even as recently as 2005 (two years before the launch of the iPhone), I don’t think anyone could imagine that today we’d be walking around with what – in 2005 – passed for supercomputers in our pockets. On our smartphones, we play games, read/send email, read/send text messages, download apps (2005: what’s an app??), listen to music, watch videos – both on the web and stored on the device. Oh, by the way – this smartphone is also a phone.
  • iTunes: Using iTunes in the abstract sense. Napster gave us our first taste of free music, and music that was consumed (this is key) song by song. Not via the vinyl/CD model of “albums.” A completely different way of listening to/buying music. iTunes made it easy to pay (very little) for music; Napster died, and iTunes is going strong. Note: streaming will eat iTunes (and similar properties) shortly (Spotify, Pandora, whatever Apple does with Beats….). When? Sooner than you might think….
  • iTunes deux: Again, using iTunes in the abstract. Shuffle (first begun with the iPod) has changed the way we listen to music. We don’t listen to “albums,” we listen to songs, VERY often in a random, shuffle way. With vinyl or a CD, you popped in a machine (stereo) and listened to the music in the order the artists set. Not so much any more. I may be an outlier (doubtful), but I listen to iTunes on my computer/iPhone/iPad in shuffle mode virtually exclusively. That’s a big shift from hearing “Dark Side of the Moon” side 1, then flipping over to hear side 2. Good thing/bad thing? I like the choice. YMMV.
  • Tesla/beginning of the end of gasoline vehicles?? (Nah, but good start): Tesla Motors is the poster child for non-carbon vehicles, but there’s been a lot of work in this area recently, even if it is less than many would have have expected 20 or so years ago, but there’s some traction now: Tesla, Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt and so on. Let’s have the argument about the carbon footprint of each – really, let’s have that argument: It means progress!
  • Robots: People always mis-characterize robots – they see them as sorta human replacements. Maybe the Roomba , but that’s it. What about the Nest Thermostat or Nest Smoke Detector. Robots. Of a different flavor, but robots all the same. Yes, the Internet Of Things is upon us, with all the potential goodness it offers (control your thermostat from work!), as well as the badness (yes, your internet-enabled front-door locks may be hacked….). Robots. Lots of work to do: functionality, security, privacy. Tough needle to thread. We’ll be hearing a lot of more this in the very near future.