Mixed nuts • November, 2019

Observations worth exactly what you’re paying for them.


For decades, Dallas/Fort Worth-area newspaper readers got to enjoy content from the late Blackie Sherrod. Perhaps his best-remembered output, although certainly only a small sample of his work, came in the form of a Sunday column he called “Scattershooting.” Each edition thereof was — rather than the usual format and dedicated to just one subject — a collection of one- or two-sentence (mostly) sports-related opinions, reportage, bon mots, and just general Blackie-isms. He’d always begin each by saying something like: “Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to [formerly prominent person]  . . .”

That approach gave me an idea.

The last few weeks of my life have been somewhat tumultuous compared to my usual, dull rigamarole, and I just haven’t had sufficient mental clarity, much less time, to sit down and come up with a properly focused article.1 Still, I do have a number of things — not necessarily more curmudgeonish stuff — I’d like to offer.

What follows, then, is loosely based on the “Scattershooting” motif. For now, let’s call it “Mixed nuts,” not only because of its intentionally miscellaneous nature but also, well, because it’s coming from me. ’Nuff said. If I have a warm, fuzzy feeling about how it ends up and you readers don’t emit howls of protest (all [infinitesimally small number] of you, of course), there may be more of it down the line.2 That’s why I’m putting a date to it. There’s no promise or threat that it’ll be a monthly thing but, if I do it again, that’ll be how I keep track of it.

So, let’s sample some mixed nuts for November, 2019 . . .

The open-office concept is simply a way for businesses to cram more people into less, and therefore cheaper, real estate. However, on the bright side: it helps sell a metric [bleep]-ton of wireless headphones.

Although this site’s been on Gatsby for a few weeks now, I still admire Eleventy, which is just plain fun to use. Still, Gatsby’s image processing, seamless use of webpack, and staggering array of plugins are keeping me with it. For now.

In September’s “Now I’m sixty-four,” I referred to our inbound grandchild as “a little lass or lad” because we didn’t know which, yet. We do now. That kiddo, due next April, will be a lass.

Real authors deliver something. And even “eventually” has a shelf life.

WordPress has its purposes, as do all things, but don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re a web developer if that’s all you can use. So can a reasonably motivated nine-year-old.

Want to use web fonts in your webpack-built app/site? Check out Typefaces. Can’t be much easier.

There must be times when the wonderful folks at Literature and Latte wish they could go back in time and never make either Windows or iOS versions of Scrivener. Money aside, some things are simply not worth the angst.

One wonders: if luxury cars’ TV ads stopped showing them doing crazy high-speed maneuvers, would this keep their typical drivers from being such tailgating, lane-jumping3, rules- and laws-flouting jerks?

Have followed pro and major-college sports for decades, but it’s increasingly hard for me to care much. The reasons would fill another post. Now, they’re mostly background noise while I think about and work on other things.

Collision-avoidance technology is still not offered across all new vehicle models. You just know that a lawsuit is bound to happen when someone is killed in a new econocar lacking such tech.

If you’re thinking about buying your next HDTV, do some Googling about backlighting problems. Certain brands and models seem more prone than others. I know whereof I speak, unfortunately. MicroLEDs will solve the problem — when/if they’re affordable in my lifetime.

If you have to be up and out at six a.m. on a weekend, the quiet of the neighborhood gas station is infinitely nicer than the usual dog-eat-dog trip during rush hour. Can almost feel your blood pressure drop.

Our community allows only two options for high-speed home connectivity4. I thus soon will have to sign up for at least another year’s worth of the only one of those two that provides the synchronous broadband connectivity my work (paid and otherwise) requires. Maybe in a few years, 5G will make that Hobson’s choice a thing of the past.

Am really pleased with how Apple is solving a number of long-standing gripes about its products. Most notable examples are the new MacBook Pro 16 and the soon-coming Mac Pro, and more recently the report of an overhaul to resolve software-release issues. Cupertino has been listening, after all.

Never, ever let an employer put MDM on a personal device about which you care. Bad Things Ensue. Pro tip: next time you buy a new phone, keep the old one if it still works WiFi-wise and let that be your work mobile device.5 Just be sure it isn’t linked to any personal account with your photos, messages, and so forth.

And thus ends this edition of “Mixed nuts.” We shall see if there are more to come down the line. I close with a statement I read long ago: “Any philosophy which can be put in a nutshell belongs there.” I concede that such applies for these comments, too — and, for the most part, to everything else on this site. But I hope you found them worth a read.

  1. The obvious rejoinder is reminiscent of the “Can we be funny? / Why start now?” joke from the first post-9/11 Saturday Night Live. Point taken. ↩︎

  2. That’s assuming I keep the site going, which for a variety of reasons is in doubt as I write this. ↩︎

  3. Old joke . . . Q: What’s the most unnecessary job on Earth? A: Installing turn signals on BMWs. ↩︎

  4. Of course, some of you have only one choice or, worse, zero choices. (Observing the utter paucity of such choices in my rural birthplace, on my occasional trips back there, is at once enlightening and appalling.) However, if you — as do I — live in one of the ten most populous metro areas in the U.S., that simply shouldn’t be the case. South Korea makes us look ridiculously backward by comparison. ↩︎

  5. The best solution is if you can convince work to provide a device; but this advice is for folks such as I who need the connectivity but, in their employers’ eyes, don’t merit having it that way. ↩︎

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