sfd mobile update published

October 9th, 2015

I just published version 1.4 of SFD Mobile to the Google Play Store [even though this app has nothing in the world to do with play]. Current users can download the update to their phones, potential new users are encouraged to check it out if you live in the Seattle metropolitan area.

New features include: the firestation list now has phone numbers and zip codes; the firestation map now shows station numbers on the pushpins; and users can disable the splash screen if they like. And as usual, several bugs were squashed.

Hope you like.

do citizens matter?

September 15th, 2015

US: “We are bombing Syria because we want a government sympathetic to our interests.”
Russia: “We are arming Syria because we want a government sympathetic to our side.”
US: “Oh yeah?”
Russia: “Oh yeah?”

Syrian citizens: “WTF?”

the return of SFD Mobile

September 4th, 2015

logo My Android app SFD Mobile is available in the Google Play store again. It had been removed by Google after some Play Store system changes which required me to modify my developer account listing… I was busy with other matters, ended up forgetting my developer account pw… LSS I finally got it fixed up with Google and the old version 1.3 is back online.

I am working on an update, hopefully it will be ready for posting in the next week or two. Unfortunately the new version will not run on older versions of Android. So download the current version now if you have a device older than 9 months or so.

AJ’s seven deadly go sins

December 19th, 2014

My go teacher, Andrew Jackson, listed these seven deadly sins for go players in a recent class:

1. Taking gote
2. Reading mistakes
3. Missing mutual key point[s]
4. Joseki mistakes
5. Strengthening your opponent
6. Unnecessary empty triangle and other bad shapes
7. Sucking all the aji from a position

more nyt comment

January 12th, 2014

I suppose that I mention the New York Times more than any other newspaper in this blog because that’s the only one which I subscribe to. [And yes Mr. Grammarian, a preposition is a horrible thing to end a sentence with.] I find it alternately interesting and infuriating. Regardless … a couple of remarks inspired by that paper:

My favorite column in the Business section is The Haggler by David Segal. Last week’s column he penned this classic advice for consumers making purchases online:

“Before buying anything online, type the company’s name followed by the word ‘complaints’ and do a web search. Always. Do. This. A bare minimum of filtering will have a major impact.”

Thank you David for the public education.

And this morning’s International section prompts these two observations:

1. Apparently it is a verifiable fact that Egypt’s top military officer is General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. According to the paper this guy is considering running for President. In America it would be difficult for a General Sisi to go very far in politics. Just sayin’.

2. A Japanese cattle farmer named Masami Yoshizawa has moved back onto his ranch inside the evacuation zone created by the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in order to save the cows from starvation. He was outraged upon hearing of the government’s plans to kill them. He renamed his farm ‘Ranch of Hope’ and has been herding cows from neighboring [abandoned] farms to his ranch to help them survive. According to the story Yoshizawa has a blog and a live webcam of the ranch, however it may be Japanese only since I can’t find it with a web search. This story, however, has been picked up by several news sources so it may be more well-known than I thought.

USDA organic legally includes…

January 2nd, 2014

I’ve heard various statements regarding what is allowed in officially certified USDA “organic” labelled foods. So I checked out the actual regulations at the US Government Printing Office. Lawyers can probably make sense of this easier than layfolk. However I found section 205.610 of interest, herewith copied below. Happy reading.

Per the official USDA federal regulations:

§205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.

In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol.

(ii) Isopropanol.

(2) Chlorine materials—For pre-harvest use, residual chlorine levels in the water in direct crop contact or as water from cleaning irrigation systems applied to soil must not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except that chlorine products may be used in edible sprout production according to EPA label directions.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(4) Hydrogen peroxide.

(5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

(6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.

(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #-15630-89-4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.

(1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.

(2) Mulches.

(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).

(c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.

(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

(1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.

(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.

(4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(5) Elemental sulfur.

(6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide.

(7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Soaps, insecticidal.

(9) Sticky traps/barriers.

(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)—in accordance with approved labeling.

(f) As insect management. Pheromones.

(g) As rodenticides. Vitamin D3.

(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045-86-0).

(i) As plant disease control.

(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.

(3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.

(4) Hydrated lime.

(5) Hydrogen peroxide.

(6) Lime sulfur.

(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(i) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(9) Potassium bicarbonate.

(10) Elemental sulfur.

(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014.

(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014.

(j) As plant or soil amendments.

(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.

(2) Elemental sulfur.

(3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.

(4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant.

(5) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency.

(6) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.

(i) Soluble boron products.

(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

(7) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.

(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782-99-2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering.

(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.

(1) Lignin sulfonate.

(2) Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.

(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647-01-0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.

(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #’s 64742-42-3, 8009-03-08, and 8002-74-2)-for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.

(p)-(z) [Reserved]

[65 FR 80637, Dec. 21, 2000, as amended at 68 FR 61992, Oct. 31, 2003; 71 FR 53302 Sept. 11, 2006; 72 FR 69572, Dec. 10, 2007; 75 FR 38696, July 6, 2010; 75 FR 77524, Dec. 13, 2010; 77 FR 8092, Feb. 14, 2012; 77 FR 33298, June 6, 2012; 77 FR 45907, Aug. 2, 2012; 78 FR 31821, May 28, 2013]

why I read the New York Times

September 30th, 2013

Sunday’s front section had a story about a Syrian rebel, who after a hard day fighting the government returns to his wife and children and is a regular family man.

A few pages later another story appears, which quotes a former IRA member admitting how they had been no different from the Islamic extremists who shot non-Muslims during a recent attack. This story develops into a discussion of how armies dehumanize their opponents in order to make killing them easier, citing how Nazis called Jews ‘rats’ and American soldiers called Vietnamese ‘gooks’, among others.

Reflecting on the point of the latter story made me consider how the first is performing the reverse portrayal: humanizing a terrorist. So I cannot help but ponder: would the NYT print a story like this about a member of al-Qaeda or the Taliban? I double-dog dare ya!

user interface design tip

August 20th, 2013

Observe the position of the ‘Accept’ button in the ‘incoming file’ dialog above. When the user clicks the button, the file transfer begins and the button changes to ‘Cancel’ as the following screenshot shows:

What’s wrong with this picture? Users such as myself sometimes become impatient when computer performance is sluggish. I will frequently resort to multiple clicks on a recalcitrant button.

When the followup button is located in exactly the same location, this guarantees it will be pressed in such situations. And in this case, I certainly do NOT want to cancel the transfer.

So the lesson is: when designing dialog boxes, make sure to position buttons for opposite intentions [such as ‘accept’ and ‘cancel’] in different locations. Do not stack them in the same place where it becomes all to easy to catch inadvertent clicks.

Thank you for your consideration.

going, going, gone

August 4th, 2013

AGA logo I spent last week commuting to Tacoma in order to attend the 2013 US Go Congress. The annual event draws go players from all over the US as well as professionals from China, Japan and Korea. The days are filled with tournaments, lectures, game reviews, and socializing over this oldest of board games.

This post is not intended to proselytize the event or the game, there’s enough of that elsewhere. I herewith merely present a few highlights and/or recollections of my experience:

My events of choice are, in decreasing order of importance: playing in the US Open Go Tournament; getting games reviewed by professional players; playing self-paired games with out-of-town visiting players; and listening to lectures.

So I started off this year by losing my first two rounds of the US Open*. This was disappointing. I then proceeded to lose my first self-paired game as well. Clearly I was doing something wrong.

I won my third round, much to my relief, and realized that this was the first day I had begun without a hangover. Hmm, interesting.

After winning round four’s match my record had improved from 0-2 to 2-2. This was much easier to handle psychologically. Apparently even though I believe that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about playing a good game and learning… at some level inside me it’s about winning or losing.

I presented my latest game to Yilun Yang 7P for review. He proceeded to find fault with almost everything I did, criticizing up one side and down the other. Moves I thought were bad he said were good. Moves which were ignored by me and my opponent were noted as urgent. While this was valuable feedback, my mood was thrown back into the dumps. Mr. Yang is certainly a good player and his advice cogent and direct, but his abrasive style pretty much prevents me from considering taking regular lessons from him. Self-flagellation would be preferable.

The next day I won my 5th round game by half a point in byo-yomi [this game gave me a headache]. So the morning of the sixth and final round I prepared by wearing the t-shirt which I had worn for the third round, the first match I won this year…my lucky t-shirt. YES it worked, the lucky shirt bought me a win in the last round. Hence I finished 4-2 in this year’s US Open.

Other brief snapshots from this year’s event: volunteering at the registration table; meeting and getting snubbed by C; losing my temper at Chris during morning announcements; having pizza with Mike and Jeff; winning a self-paired game with Jason; learning that professionals favor a variation of the attach-and-extend joseki I never really learned before; getting Takao Shinji’s Dictionary of Basic Joseki; sharing the hour-long drive with Aki twice a day; submitting two entries to the song and poetry contest.

* The US Open is a six-round tournament, each round begins at 9 a.m. and each player gets 90 minutes on their clock.

facing the music

July 14th, 2013

I’m reading Keith Richards’ autobiography Life and enjoying it very much. On p. 112 he talks about seeing Chuck Berry’s performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz festival in the film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, and how it captured a moment in music history where rock and roll was in the process of becoming more popular than jazz. Richards describes how Chuck Berry was brought on stage and played ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ backed up by Jo Jones and others. But the point is that the jazz musicians hated Chuck Berry, hated his style, and instead of helping him they tried to trip his performance up. Because this is captured in the film I want to see it very much [as well as being a big fan of Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and others who played this gig].

I bring this up because it reminds me of one particular party where I jammed with the house band. This was in a small north Florida town back in the 1970s. I brought my flute to the party and sat in with the musicians, but for some reason or other they decided they were going to try to fuck up my performance by using the same kinds of tricks the jazzers used on Chuck Berry. Unexpected changes in tempo and chords for instance.

It was painful for me to deal with, but I ended up figuring out a way to produce a very cool solo, by playing in between and around the band’s shenanigans. I felt triumphant that I got away with this. Not sure what the other musicians thought, I wouldn’t speak with them after that.

Reading about Chuck Berry’s experience makes me wonder how often this sort of thing goes on.