a bunch of stuff I would have emailed you about

Restaurants, hotels, mustaches, wages

Matthew Taub, writing in Atlas Obscura

Around the same time, the first modern restaurants were rising around Paris. These establishments, primarily for the wealthy, sought to recreate the experience of dining in an upscale home. The experience was about more than food. Waiters had to retain the appearance of domestic valets, who were forbidden to wear mustaches as a sign of their rank. Diners were “paying to humiliate people in an almost institutional way,” says historian Gil Mihaely, who has published extensively on the subject of French masculinity. The clientele had “paid for an experience. And the experience was to be the master.”

And then the waiters struck. They were petitioning for better pay, and the right to grow facial hair.

The Parisian waiters won the right to mustaches, but the fight for a living wage continues to this day: Marriott hotel workers have been striking for a week now. Today’s strikers don’t give a darn about mustaches, but like the Parisian strikers, they do demand a living wage.

Silver Crest Donut Shop

SF Eater concludes:

It probably sounds like hell on earth to most people, a haunt for petty larcenists and amnesiacs, but the Silver Crest represents a noirish demimonde that’s almost entirely disappeared from San Francisco. The donuts are mediocre, but I recommend them to people anyway, because one day, they too will be gone.

Bad maps are ruining American broadband

Karl Bode in The Verge:

In policy conversations, ISP lobbyists lean heavily on the FCC’s flawed data to falsely suggest that American broadband is dirt cheap and ultra competitive, despite real-world evidence to the contrary. ISPs also use this false reality to imply meaningful consumer protections aren’t necessary because the market is healthy (as we saw during the fight over net neutrality).

S3 and CloudFront configuration frustration

It turns out that the interaction between S3, CloudFront, and Route53 can be bumpy when setting up buckets as CDN origins. It’s apparently expected that a CloudFront URL will read data from the wrong bucket URL and redirect browsers there for the first hour or more. The message from AWS is “just wait,” which makes for a crappy experience.

» about 300 words

Time synchronization is rough

CloudFlare on the frustrations of clock skew:

It may surprise you to learn that, in practice, clients’ clocks are heavily skewed. A recent study of Chrome users showed that a significant fraction of reported TLS-certificate errors are caused by client-clock skew. During the period in which error reports were collected, 6.7% of client-reported times were behind by more than 24 hours. (0.05% were ahead by more than 24 hours.) This skew was a causal factor for at least 33.5% of the sampled reports from Windows users, 8.71% from Mac OS, 8.46% from Android, and 1.72% from Chrome OS.

They’re proposing Roughtime as a solution.

Parents in 1996 vs. 2016

This thread from Breanne Boland, which starts with a screenshot1 of another tweet:

Your parents in 1996: Don’t trust ANYONE on the Internet.

Your parents in 2016: Freedom Eagle dot Facebook says Hillary invented AIDS.

  1. Have you noticed that people are screenshotting tweets more than re-tweeting lately? [return]

Twin Beech, Beatty, NV

Claim chowder from 2013: computational photography

Way back in 2013 I wrote:

I’m sure somebody will eventually develop software to automatically blur the backgrounds of our smartphone photos, but until then, this is basic physics.

The new camera system in the iPhone XS seems to have moved computational photography from the world of parlor tricks to the mainstream.


This blog post from the developer of Halide, a premium camera app for iOS, goes into a lot more detail about all the computation going on in the new cameras.