Loading...
 

No Food for Thought

Food is something you should provide to your brain long before coming to this blog. You will find no food recipes here, only raw, serious, non-fake news for mature minds.

Celsius and School Degrees

admin Monday October 14, 2019

Temperature is the topic of much debate. Even inside temperature is a topic of disagreement.

But this disagreement has just gotten a lot less light, and should get much more heated. Indeed, inside air temperature no longer matters only for its ecological impact, but also for its direct economical impact, according to new study Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance, as this TIME article reports.

Here's hoping that more research on this issue will come soon.

Méta-promesse

admin Thursday August 22, 2019

Il y a quelques semaines, j'ai eu le privilège d'assister à une promesse électorale plus grande que nature. Une promesse de la taille d'un rhinocéros en chef.

En effet, j'assistais au discours inaugural du chef du Parti Rhinocéros du Canada, Sébastien CoRhino Corriveau, dans sa circonscription de Québec, lorsqu'il promit que pour chaque promesse faite par un parti concurrent, le parti rhinocéros allait renchérir en promettant le double. Une promesse qui saura sans aucun doute attirer la clientèle la plus sélective.
Bravo aux rhinos, et que les résultats de la campagne soient à la hauteur de leur innovation!

Geek Love and Theft

admin Tuesday July 9, 2019

Early in my eleventh year, I fell in a painful love for the first time. My parents bought me a Pentium 120 MHz machine, my family's first personal computer. Instantaneously, my reading time dropped by 98%, and all of my spare time (or more) went to this buggy, unstable, very limited, yet how-irresistible creature.
A tragedy since, like any love, it takes the place from other possible loves. And a tragedy since, like any real love, it can never be completely fulfilled.
Before this tragedy started, I thankfully had the time to study and read a lot and become excellent in maths, science, French... and any school topic which didn't require creativity lol So I could pick any high school I wanted, and my parents sent me to the International Education Program, which - at the time - was still only accessible to the elite. I learned I was accepted in Rochebelle high school's International Baccalaureate program from the acceptance paper my mother had wrapped in the Christmas tree.

In spite of my mother's efforts to present this to me under a positive light, during all the months before I started at Rochebelle, as I imagined how it would be, I anticipated one downside. Not the higher academic expectations we would have to meet, but the less pretty girls I thought I would study with. In my 11-year-old mind, the intelligent girls which were selected had to wear glasses and be physically unattractive. Either I developed this preconception from the girls I saw at the admission exam, or - and I have no doubt it's the latter - I had already been exposed to enough Western culture to associate geekness with lack of physical attraction. My preconception was right in that both of my elementary school ex-"girlfriends" were in the regular program, but thankfully, there were more than enough interesting girls in my program too.

During my first grade, I would spend my evenings at my friend Guillaume's house, since he not only had a computer, but was lucky enough to have dial-up Internet access. At the time, we had to connect to the Internet, and to do so, we needed to enter our ISP password. One day, I saw Guillaume enter his password in the wrong field, unobfuscated. It was hard not to remember that his password was "12345". Even though Guillaume was my best friend at the time, some time after, while I was home, I stole his password so I could connect to the Internet from my home (ah, the good old days of dial-up). I probably never even thought that my own parents could catch me when they would notice that the phone line was busy. But it's Guillaume himself who caught me while I was using his account to use the irresistibly cool Palace chat application.

Thankfully, my theft had unexpected consequences. Instead of rejecting me, Guillaume remained my friend, and his mother accepted my family's proposal to share his Internet connection. I would bring them 15 CAD per month so we could use their connection, and we shared for a few months, until we got sick of having to synchronize who could connect or not all the time and each got our own.


Long story short, when I entered high school, my mind was constantly thinking about the Internet and several interesting girls. Girls to whom I didn't dare to disclose my attraction, and who - I thought - may also had been keeping secret reciprocal interests.

During my first years in high school, I had this idea of a system allowing all students to secretly indicate who they were interested in, which would tell 2 students if they were interested in each other. There were design difficulties though; how would the system ensure that interest was genuine, and not just a dummy indication someone would enter to know who was interested in them?

Fast forward many teenager crushes, even more computer crashes, and many less tricky ideas which would replace that one. With the advent of social media, this kind of system has become much cheaper to develop. So much so that in fact, a couple months ago, Facebook started deploying one, called "Secret Crush". Which got me aware of the fact that Orkut had done it last decade.
Welcome to the future, the geek paradise! (Just too bad it's 20 years later and I've forgotten with whom I was hoping to use it)

Windows on a Burning Wall

admin Tuesday April 16, 2019

Over 2 years after the last article in my Windows Firewall insanity series, it was time for the next chapter. So Microsoft pushed Windows 10 1809, which, like all prior Windows 10 updates, will start warning again about walls which aren't on fire.

But there's a new twist this time. On one of my Windows 10 installs, I can't disable notifications anymore. Now, instead of "Turn off messages about network firewall", the Security and Maintenance center merely links to Windows Security, which has many things, but obviously not the one thing which would keep administrators safe from mental insanity. If you see "Turn on messages about network firewall", you may think enabling and disabling again will do the trick, but Windows won't let you disable anymore after you re-enable.

Sorry, I don't have any solution this time.

Bontrager Velocis S2 gloves review

admin Thursday February 28, 2019

Gants
After 17 winters riding bikes with often cold hands, I stumbled upon gloves specifically designed for winter biking. I decided to order Bontrager Velocis S2 Softshell Split Finger gloves from Montreal retailer Dumoulin bicyclettes. The retailer advertised the S1 gloves as good up to -5 °C, and the complementing S2 as good for "intense cold". Upon arrival, I found them incredibly light for such a purpose. And then saw the label which shows that the S1 are designed for about 3 °C, while the S2 was for the intense colds of... around -5 °C!

I still tried them for one ride, but after just 30 minutes of intense riding with these during a snowstorm, while the outside temperature was around -4 °C, my hands were somewhat cold, even though my torso was quite hotter than it is when I'm inside. These are not necessarily bad gloves, but for my purpose, these are just as bad as my current gloves, and in no way worth their 95 CAD price tag.

I called the retailer for a refund, and I must say the Dumoulin bicyclettes agent I spoke to was very comprehensive. He granted a full refund, including return fees, and convincingly apologized for the inconvenience.

These may do their job in Bontrager's U.S.A., but if you're in Canada or another country with a real winter, ensure you understand the label to the right before buying.

Smart technology makers, dumb technology users

admin Sunday December 16, 2018

With the advent of smart TVs, smartphones and other computers, humans need to be a lot smarter about their usage of technology. Unfortunately, we are quite dumb - in particular the underprivileged. And unfortunately, even the smartest have apparently gotten dumber, even when they control their use of their smartphones.
Good thing at least technology is getting smarter and smarter! Well, perhaps