September 3, 2015

I’m a small guy, at 5’5″ I think some people almost find it alarming how tiny I am, at least compared to how tall they expect me (or any adult male) to be. It’s me in the context of other people, the relative scale can be surprising. On my Galaxy Note 5, it has a one-handed small-screen mode, where the contents of the display shrink for ease of use with one hand. Turns out that this unthinkably-tiny display-within-a-display is almost… Read more

September 2, 2015

I assume you’ve been keeping up with Thinkery, my new-ish podcast with Brian Hogg. In fact, I’m so confident that you have that I don’t even really need to do the thing I’m going to do, which is link to the most recent three episodes, which are… Episode 5: Just Abduct Elon Musk Brian contemplates doing more Mosspuppet and also feels terrible about how his crowdfunding campaign went! Christians should have no problem with abortion! Darth Vader’s ‘redemption’ is morally… Read more

August 31, 2015

[This post has been updated with some really brilliant insight from the author.] Mars One, the pseudo-pyramid scheme that pretends to be sending astronauts to Mars in the next decade, has inspired a fashion show. Björn Borg, who I assume is very important in the fashion world, showed off a collection of what is said to be sportswear the serves as “a tribute to the courage and the faith that these people show by going out to the unknown for… Read more

August 28, 2015

I’m reading Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, about the possible capabilities and potential threats posed by rapidly advancing artificial intelligence. It’s a little dry at times, to be honest, but then he’ll go and say something (in the nonfiction-science-book equivalent of a deadpan) that makes your mind explode. Because you’re probably thinking, hey, a superintelligent A.I. could maybe take things over on this planet, and that’d be just crazy! Well sure, but also… Consider a superintelligent agent with actuators connected… Read more

August 26, 2015

Yesterday, I wrote that the controversy over the Galaxy Note 5’s S Pen was overblown. Quickly: if you stick it in backwards, it gets stuck and does at the least significant damage. People cried “recall,” “design flaw,” and invented the (hilarious) hashtag #penghazi. Apple-loving pundits couldn’t contain their glee or smugness. I said that this was silly, that it was akin to trying to shove a floppy disk into a drive upside-down and then blaming the manufacturer when it breaks… Read more

August 25, 2015

* * * UPDATE: I have largely reversed my position on this due to new evidence. So consider this post an archive of my being wrong, or at least, insufficiently informed. Apparently, some folks have decided to 1) purchase a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, 2) Stick the S Pen stylus in backward, getting it utterly stuck, and 3) Blame Samsung. What? It sucks, no doubt, to have your new phone suddenly broken due to something that seems so innocuous. But… Read more

August 15, 2015

A few months ago I made the case that iPads and tablets generally were a product category in crisis. Ever-larger and more powerful phones with ever-slimmer, lighter, and simply more pleasant laptops means that the use-case for tablets severely dwindles. And I say this as a genuine fan of tablets, but also as someone who no longer owns one because of their functional redundancy. A few days ago, Neil Cybart at Above Avalon, an Apple analysis site, made more or… Read more

August 14, 2015

Episode 4 of my ridiculous podcast with Brian Hogg, Thinkery, is up! Here’s Brian’s writeup: In this episode, Paul’s computer broke, forcing him to use something non-magical! Brian had an actual reasonable conversation in YouTube comments! CS Lewis is an unconvincing hack and Christian Apologetics are embarrassingly bad! We’re somewhere on the atheist scale! What IS knowledge, anyway? When we meet aliens for the first time, will they want to murder us, or sell us Amway? What’s the culture of… Read more

August 14, 2015

The publishing industry has noticed that a lot of us are reading on our phones. Not just BuzzFeed listicles and Facebook statuses, but real, wordy books. Many years ago I thought it was quite the novelty that I had managed to read all of Frankenstein on my iPhone 3G, and didn’t hate doing so. Today, I read almost all my books on my phone. This is to the exclusion of tablets and e-readers, and very intentionally so. A while ago… Read more

August 10, 2015

Google surprised pretty much everyone today when they announced that, well, they weren’t going to be Google anymore. Google CEO Larry Page (well, former CEO) said in a statement today that he and Google co-founder Sergey Brin would form a new holding company, Alphabet (with the best domain name on Earth: abc.xyz), of which Google would now be a wholly-owned subsidiary, led by Sundar Pichai, who until today was Google’s head of Android and Chrome. I have some immediate concerns… Read more


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