Towse: views from the hill

May 21, 2009

More views from the hill … Sun is …

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 7:15 pm


Going …


Going …



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Autograph fraudster poses as Capote, Vonnegut, Crichton

Filed under: news — Towse @ 7:11 pm

Autograph fraudster poses as Capote, Vonnegut, Crichton | Philadelphia Daily News | 05/19/2009

Man who forged autographs in books (for resale) pleads guilty.

May 18, 2009

Questions for Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s Fiction Editor

Filed under: writing,writing-market — Towse @ 9:45 pm

Questions for Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s Fiction Editor [15 Dec 2008]

For the past five years or so, anywhere from a fifth to a quarter of the stories published in the magazine have been by writers who hadn’t previously published fiction in The New Yorker. Some had been published elsewhere already; some hadn’t.

May 15, 2009

Morning Fog … burning off

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , , — Towse @ 3:13 pm





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An explanation as I see it of the Twitter @reply problem

Filed under: web2.0 — Tags: — Towse @ 6:01 am

For those who don’t know (and if you aren’t Twitter users, why should you? And if you are Twitter users but don’t care, why should you?), Twitter changed their way of handling @ replies a day or so ago and all Hell broke loose in the Twitterverse.

[What follows may seem gibberish to those who don’t use Twitter]

RT @parislemon Twitter: The Dog Ate Our Homework [Biz explains @ replies change]

Someone who reads my Twitterfeed read the post above and wrote
I still don’t get it. …

My reply:

Imagine you can turn on/off whether you’ll see the @replies of someone you =do= follow to someone whose Twitterfeed you =don’t= follow.

If your switch is OFF and I @reply to my brother, you’d never know. However, some people (3% of the Twitterverse we’re told) like to see @replies even if they don’t know the person the @reply is directed to because … well, because they get curious and go check that person’s Twitterfeed and find new interesting people. (Sometimes….)

Twitter designed their software so that each time someone made an @reply, Twitter was spinning through their followers list to see which followers wanted to see @replies for people they didn’t already follow, so they could show them the @reply.

That’s fine for thee and me, but imagine what happened when Ashton Kutcher made an @reply. Twitter was spinning through each of his million + followers to see who wanted to see the @reply.

Ooopsie! Fail whale!…

Bad design. Badbadbadbad.

so, is it fixed?

Not fixed. Will never be fixed. Can’t be fixed, actually, because the underlying design is flawed.

If their design is such that they have to loop through a linked list of all the folks who follow TwittererA to decide who does and who doesn’t get notified of an @reply, they have something that just can’t be scaled to an Ashton Kutcher level.

Right now it sounds like Twitter is trying to come up with something else that will give some of the functionality the upset cohort is upset about losing.

They’ve already implemented a simple partial fix. If a person is posting an @reply but not using the [reply] button to do so (i.e. they’re typing @username rather than clicking the [reply] button) the @post will go to all the Twitterer’s followers. Maybe that will be serendipitous enough.

Maybe not.

Sounds like whoever designed the @reply part of the code never imagined there’d be multiple users with over a million followers. “In your dreams, guys.” Well, some times dreams come true.

May 12, 2009

A not-so-typical Sunday

Filed under: food,life,restaurants — Towse @ 11:11 pm

The traditional brunch scheduled for last Sunday was re-scheduled, so we found ourselves with an unexpected free day on the calendar.

After checking the clock several times to make sure we timed it right, we used our Ukraine-specific calling card to call the younger younger guy, who’d requested a Mother’s Day call. Later, I talked with the older younger guy. Happy Mother’s Day to me.

A bit after lunch, we headed down the hill to the Ferry Building for bread at Acme. After scoring our sour b√Ętard, his nibs took me out for a delish Mother’s Day brunch at Butterfly on the waterfront. I watched the Bay: he watched the family dynamics of the Mother’s Day celebrants in the restaurant.

Our meal started with a small platter of four amuse-bouches for each of us: a Bloody Mary oyster shooter, salmon and strawberry salad roll, tuna poke tartar, and — my favorite — Rob Lam’s outstanding meatball of Kobe beef wrapped around a bit of foie gras and then cooked until the outside is crispy. (We’d had these meatballs at a wine tasting event at Butterfly a while back … memorable. Hot. Crispy. Rich. Ymmmm.)

The amuse-bouches were followed by a choice of first courses. From four or so we chose two different items — a rich, creamy shrimp bisque in puff pastry with white truffle oil, minced chives =and= spicy green papaya and mango salad with Vietnamese carmelized shrimp. We swopped halfway through.

Next, we had a choice of main courses — again, four or so … we both chose the Eggs Benedict three ways: traditional, w/ crab, and w/ wild mushroom. And, finally, a dessert plate from the chef. (We boxed up the non-melting portions for later consumption.)

On our way home (after opting to head straight up the stairs rather than go roundabout with the 39bus up to Coit Tower and walk down), we stopped off at a neighbor-on-the-steps’ everything-must-go sale. She’s headed off to Fiji with the Peace Corps and off-loading as much as possible.

We were so thoroughly full that even the walk down to the Ferry Building for bread (0.9mi), over to Butterfly for brunch (1mi), and back up the hill (0.5mi), didn’t wear off enough calories. We both went to bed later Sunday night without our supper (and without having a single regret that we’d missed a meal).

A lovely day it was. … extended by the package that arrived from our PCV (sent from Berkeley) this morning.


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The Blogging world slows down …

Filed under: blog,life,social networking — Towse @ 10:14 pm

I kick-started Bloglines this afternoon to see which of the bloggers I follow had new bits to read since the last time I kick-started the app (a week or so ago) and …

Sara Zarr had two posts.
Zen had one, and that was a photo.
Arleen had six, one quite long, but four posts were simply daily collections of her Twitterposts.
Nikki (Nicole J. LeBoeuf: actually writing blog) had one (and that was her first post since 05 April).
Don had two, and one of those was a pano shot from the top of my hill. (Thx, Don!)
Heather had two. (One of them quite long.) And she’d posted six entries on her micro blog. Yay, Heather! Not bad for the mother of an almost-six-year-old and a new-born.
Ms Paula had six, but then she’s way conscientious about keeping her blogger peeps amused.
Alan had naught.

… and so on and forth.

What is going on?

Well, for them I can’t answer, but for me, I’ve been posting short things on Twitter and re-tweeting interesting short things I find there. Anyone can read the Twitterfeed (check it out!).

A Twitter app automagically copies what I post there over to my Facebook presence.

On Facebook, I post a bit longer stuff and stuff that I’d rather keep out of Twitter. (Photos of the wee gifty the youngest sent me for Mother’s Day, f’rex.)

I’ve been hanging out on Facebook and Twitter because they are an easy way for me to follow the antics of certain folks, post inane comments about their passions and their lives, and pick up nifty bits of fact all while I’m doing the same. More seamlessly. Less back and forthing. Less disconnection.

The blog is becoming more of a collection of longish thoughts and prettyish photos. The short ‘n sweet links will probably end up on Twitter for the most part.

Make sense?

May 5, 2009

Tuesday Flower and Plant Market in La Grand’Place, Brussels

Filed under: travel,webstuff — Tags: — Towse @ 7:11 am

The Web cam at La Grand’Place, Brussels has been a favorite since I found it years and years and years ago.

These days the camera only shoots from one end of the plaza (instead of two, when I first found it) and you can only view it (or =I= can only view it) with IE.

Luckily, I have a little app with my Firefox that swaps back and forth between FF and IE. I use that app to be a voyeur on the La Grand’Place.

Right now it’s a bit after midnight in San Francisco.

It’s drizzly in Brussels. I’m watching the setup for the Tuesday Flower and Plant Market in La Grand’Place.

Such a voyeur I be. Come watch with me.

May 4, 2009

Photos earlier today

Filed under: life,photographs,ships — Tags: , , — Towse @ 5:56 am

We have another visitor down at P29 — not as big a ship as the cruise ship earlier this week. This is the Golden Bear, belonging to the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo.


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(For Don’s benefit, note the fog covering Treasure Island and Berkeley beyond …)

A lovely sight — watching the fog ebb and flow across Treasure Island and Yerba Buena.


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And then ebb. Flow. Back again.

It’s dark out now and we don’t see the fog. We only see the lights on the islands get blotted out and then come back into view. Yerba Buena is almost clear now.

For a while. …

(n.b. The planes from SFO are taking off to the north. Our short flurry of rains is over for the nonce.)

Microwaving a cellphone (better than Peeps!)

Filed under: timewaster,video — Towse @ 5:36 am

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