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Hofstra University hosted a debate this evening.

I grew up a few towns over from Hofstra and I'm grateful for how, back in the 1970s, they let high school students use their computer equipment. Some of the first practice I got in programming was at Hofstra (on a Univac machine that implemented the IBM 360 instruction set).

A friend once asked how long it took to bike ride to Hofstra. Another friend and I answered in unison, "Seventeen minutes." We had never ridden there together nor compared notes about the ride.
typeballEarlier this month, I brought home a broken IBM Selectric typewriter that someone was throwing out. I wanted the typeball but I thought I'd take the whole thing to see what other part in it I might want, which was kind of silly because I took a Selectric apart about 15 years ago and haven't done anything with the handful of parts I saved from it.

I took the typewriter apart yesterday and got a gear from it that's just what I needed for a project I've been wanting to build. I'd bought a motor for the project on Monday with no plan for where to get a gear the right shape to mesh with it.

My favorite thing about the typeballs is how the face of each character is curved to match the cylindrical shape of the platen.
Today's op‑ed by David Brooks is notable for this bewildering train wreck of a sentence:
We are animals who can't flourish unless we can't get along without one another.
Setting the botched mode of expression aside, the sentiment that people need one another (and that some people feel a need to point this out) seems to be this morning's theme. Email from a friend a few hours ago:
B. says she hopes you are well and reasonably happy. She also hopes you find someone. I told her you weren't looking for that but she hopes that you've changed your mind.
The suggestion that I find a boyfriend irks me less than it used to. I recognize that it's offered in a spirit of goodwill. I still think it would be nice if people better understood what it's like to prefer to be single but I've come to realize that's a tall order. In any case, given the choice between unsolicited advice to find a boyfriend and unsolicited advice to find God, I'll take the former any day. From the web site of Dalibor Farny, who manufactures Nixie tubes:
I love old things. Old cars, old houses, old electronics. I am fascinated by the fact that those things have survived tens, hundreds of years and some are still serving their original purpose while people who made them passed away long time ago. And this is the key idea of my business—I want to produce robust, durable objects that people will cherish long time after I won't be there!
This month I made some items out of local wood to give to a friend. When I was ready to bring them over, my friend said he wouldn't be home until later in the week. This sequence of texts ensued: ars longa, vita brevis 33.49301N 115.78007W
photo © 2016 Alan P. Smallbone
used here by kind permission
Today was the first day in several weeks that I got a chance to climb.

While some climbers who were new to the area came by to chat their dog made herself at home.
australian cattle dog
It's not uncommon for computer manufacturers to sell the same hardware at multiple price points, with the lower‑priced models artificially slowed down. This isn't new, nor is it a deep dark secret, but it struck me as a bit weird when I first heard about the practice. (I was young and naïve to the ways of the business world).

I get the impression Amazon sometimes delays shipment according to the price paid. They use an economical next‑day carrier for shipments within California, but the customer doesn't enjoy that speed if they didn't pay for it. An order I placed this month with the cheapest (i.e., free) shipping option was shipped via a next‑day service—but only after Amazon sat on the order for five (calendar) days. I got a new meter last week Older electromechanical power meters had a rotating disk that let you gauge your rate of energy use at any moment. The disk made one revolution for each watt‑hour (i.e., each 3600 joules) of energy used. You could calculate how much power an appliance was drawing from how much faster the disk spun when you had the appliance turned on.

If you ever wondered how to glean the same information from a no‑moving‑parts meter like the one shown: the dots under the rightmost numeral are a "watt disk emulator". A dot turns dark or light with each watt‑hour used. (The "kWh" legend next to the dots refers to the numeric reading, not the dots.) The dots march left‑to‑right if you're consuming energy, right‑to‑left if you're sending energy into the grid.

Happy nineteenth, everyone.