No, you’re cutting together different versions of old Disney halloween cartoons in Final Cut Pro because the DVD copy you have doesn’t include the intros and outros. 🙄

Here is my ideal smart lighting system:

  1. Lights turn on and off as you enter/leave rooms.
  2. Lights in rooms visible from my current room are on (maybe dimmed).
  3. Lights adjust their intensity based on ambient conditions. If the sun is shining brightly through the windows, they dim, but you don’t notice because the overall level of light in the room doesn’t change.
  4. Lights adjust their color temperature gradually at sunrise/sunset.
  5. Exterior lights turn on at night and, if the house is empty, some interior lights as well.

In short, to the occupant it would appear that the lights in every room were just always on and set to a pleasant, consistent brightness. The system makes sure that the lights are off inoccupied rooms.

This is all in addition to the general rules of home automation:

  1. Nothing unexpected happens. You’re never sitting in a room and have the lights turn off because the clock ticked over.
  2. Guests understand how to “use” the house. Light and lamp switches turn work as expected, overriding automation rules if necessary.
  3. You never have to talk to the house.
  4. Everything degrades intuitively so that lights don’t turn on unexpectedly after a power failure or cease to function when the internet is down.
  5. Ideally no light bulb, lamp, or switch is connected directly to the internet. They network locally and talk to a hub which is the single point of security concern.

I’m not aware of an existing system that does all of this. It would require infrared occupation sensors in every room (not just motion), ambient light sensors on every bulb, and better software to manage it than is available at present.

I like the idea behind Marvel’s “legacy” numbering – to help you sort issues across volumes – this is № 6 of this volume of Thor, № 712 of all Thor comics – but the legibility of the label could be better.

My actual, recommended butterbeer recipe: float some vanilla ice cream in cream soda and let it melt a bit. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of butterscotch syrup.

Butterbeer recipe, with ingredients sorted in descending order of what makes a palatable beverage:

  • 1 can of cream soda
  • 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Top with whipped cream (going any further results in a drink my kids won’t touch)
  • 1 tbsp butterscotch syrup (it’s barely drinkable at this point)
  • ½ tsp rum extract
  • 1 tsp butter extract (you’ve gone too far) ☠️🍺

I bought DC’s recent collection, Batman by Neal Adams Book One, and was very excited to read it but they’ve redone all the original art with modern colors and it just ruins the book for me.

The Flash having Nora Allen say, “shway,” the “cool” of the future from Batman Beyond, won me over immediately.

It’s not just a new season, or a new Doctor, or the first woman to play the Doctor. It’s the first time my kids are the right age to watch Doctor Who as a family.

I got this Anker wireless charger for my phone and it works pretty well, as recommended by The Wirecutter. It’s inexpensive and only has a small charging light that’s easy to cover with the phone itself. It’s not super fast but for overnight use that’s fine.

I find myself listening to Beats 1 just to have something on in the background even though I click “Dislike” on the majority of the songs.

I usually remove the dust jacket when I’m reading a book because I’m more worried about tearing the jacket than denting the book. I’m not alone there, right? 📖

I haven’t seen The Monster Squad in more than two dozen years. I’d have bet money it had at least two Corys in it. (It has none.)

You’ll know Apple is ready to get serious about video games when its controller emoji is updated to not have the inferior Sony-style inner-joystick configuration. 🎮

Final Fantasy ⅩⅤ Pocket Edition HD was on sale for the Switch, so I bought a copy and have played through the first bit. So far I love the stripped down, main quest-only approach. 🕹

Resequencing Weezer Albums

Listening to The Weezer Bracket, I got the idea of taking the songs that were left over (that is, the good Weezer songs) and trying to sequence them into three new albums. What if Weezer had only released six albums, not eleven?

I made a few rules for myself for this little project:

  1. I left the blue album, Pinkerton, and the white album intact.
  2. I only used songs that didn’t make the cut of The Weezer Bracket’s 64 worst Weezer songs. This left me with 29 songs (counting Futurescope as one), so I added back in “Freak Me Out.” (I’m not sure I 100% agree with all their cuts, but might as well let them do the work, right?)
  3. Each new album had to have 10 songs.
  4. I tried not to stride the discography too much. The three new records should be generally comprised of early, middle, and late post-_Pinkerton_ stuff with as little mixing as possible.
  5. I tried to keep songs’ general placement on their albums intact. Opening songs go at the start, closing songs at the end, and I tried to keep runs of songs together as they appeared on their original albums.

I think the result generally works. The green songs mesh very well with Maladroit. “I Don’t Want to Let You Go” has a bit of a different sound so I put “Freak Me Out” a few songs before it to add a little more of the middle period taste.

“Troublemaker” makes for a great opener to the red album. I’m very happy with the transition from the four Maladroit songs into the Hurley pair with “The Angel and the One” to close things out.

It happened that Everything Will Be Alright in the End and Pacific Daydream had exactly 10 songs left over. Despite having the white album released between them, both records have a somewhat similar sound. This one is maybe a bit mellower than the other albums; I like it a fair amount. The switch from “The British Are Coming” to “Mexican Fender” sounds completely believable to me as what you’d get flipping from side A to B.

Here are Apple Music links:

  1. Green Album Redux
  2. Red Album Redux
  3. Everything Will Be Alright in the End Redux

Here are the track lists.

Green Album Redux

  1. Don’t Let Go
  2. Photograph
  3. Take Control
  4. Fall Together
  5. Crab
  6. Knock-Down Drag-Out
  7. Freak Me Out
  8. American Gigolo
  9. Glorious Day
  10. I Don’t Want to Let You Go

Red Album Redux

  1. Troublemaker
  2. Perfect Situation
  3. This is Such a Pity
  4. Death and Destruction
  5. Slob
  6. Burndt Jamb
  7. Space Rock
  8. Trainwrecks
  9. Unspoken
  10. The Angel and the One

Everything Will Be Alright in the End Redux

  1. Ain’t Got Nobody
  2. Sweet Mary
  3. Get Right
  4. I’ve Had It Up to Here
  5. The British Are Coming
  6. Mexican Fender
  7. Go Away
  8. Any Friend of Diane’s
  9. Foolish Father
  10. The Futurescope Trilogy I: The Waste Land
  11. The Futurescope Trilogy II: Anonymous
  12. The Futurescope Trilogy III: Return to Ithaca

🎵

There are Unicode characters for “Roman numeral ten,” and “squared Latin capital letter” S and R, so you can make a shortcut in iOS’s Settings → General → Keyboard → Text Replacement for iPhone Ⅹ🅂 and iPhone Ⅹ🅁 if you want to be fancy. 🙄

Weblog Design: Archives and URLs

I’m doing a few posts about weblog design. Here are the others I’ve written so far. Apologies: this one is pretty dry. A few guidelines on website organization. (Dry enough that I won’t even bother to defragment the previous sentence.)

First, every post should have its own permalink: a single page holding just that one post.

Second, a weblog should organize itself using archives that make sense for the types and amount of posts it makes. For most weblogs, this will be a monthly archive. Some that post very frequently might consider weekly or even daily archives.

It’s not necessary that every post have a link to the next-oldest/newest post unless you frequently only write longer posts. It isn’t a satisfying experience to read a one- or two-sentence post, click the link to load the next post, wait for it to load, and then find another one-sentence post. Instead, provide a link up to appropriate archive page that shows other posts made around that time so your visitor can scroll up/down to read more right there.

Somewhere sensible on your post page, put a link to its relative archive. It can be very simple, like:

You are: HomeArchivesSeptember 2018 ← Here

The arrows point left, not right, because the point of them is to point up the path you might want to follow. You can omit the “you are” and “here” parts to your liking. Barring that, even a link that says “more posts” will do. The link should point to the appropriate archive (September 2018 in this case) with an anchor to the current post. Then your reader can scroll up/down right away, rather than having to find their place from the top of the page.

If you categorize your posts with tags, each permalink should also have a link to that post’s tags. Not every post needs to be tagged. The ideal weblog software would put all the posts for one tag on the same page if there are fewer than a sensible number, and then paginate by month if there are a lot. Ideally that “sensible” number should account for how long your average post is. A weblog with all tweet-length posts might stuff 100 or more onto one archive page where one with long articles might only do 10 or 20. General-use weblog publishing software is unlikely to have this level of finesse.

If multiple authors work on the same site, the byline should have a link to that author’s own personal archive page that ideally not only lists every post by that author but also shows a few featured pieces.

Despite the trend for most web browsers to hide the full address from the user, I still think it’s important to design a weblog’s URL. It should tell you everything you need to know about the site’s organization. My ideal weblog URL:

example.com/archives/2018-09/title.html¹

You’ll note I’m linking to /2018-09/ here and not /2018/09/. I don’t think yearly archives are very useful. Unless you post only a few articles a year, it’s rare you’re going to think your visitors would read an entire year’s posts at once. If a yearly archive page isn’t useful, it shouldn’t be part of your site’s directory structure. Every component of the URL should be navigable. If you use /2018/, a page should exist there.

Each monthly archive page should have a link at the top and bottom for older/newer that points to the previous/next month’s archive. It should use words like “older”/”newer” and not “previous”/”next” so that you understand where the link goes. Even better would be to label the link “August 2018.”

The /archives/ page should have links to each month’s archive, as well as any tag archives the site has. An even better archive page design might also pick out featured posts, maybe per-month or per-tag, and is a great place to show off other stuff you’re proud of. A straight, stuffy list of month after month after month isn’t very useful. Instead, try to think of a way to design the archive page to be the second-most interesting place on your site. The front page is for the new stuff. The archive page is for the good stuff. The very best you’ve ever published.


  1. There are good arguments as to whether the page itself should live at title.html, title (no file extension), or /title/. I might get into that in another post but I’m just thinking about archive organization for now.