Just one rule: no rules

I’ve never been in a bar fight. I don’t recall even seeing a bar fight. Are there rules for bar fights? My Google search came back with “Be Prepared and Know How to Win” and “How to Survive a Bar Fight: 6 Steps (with Pictures).” Couldn’t find any established rules for bar fighting. I did find a Wikipedia entry for “Street fighting”

“Street fighting is hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people. Unlike sport fighting, a street fight might involve weapons, multiple opponents, and no rules. The venue is usually a public place (e.g. a street) and the fight sometimes results in serious injury or occasionally even death.”

That’s American politics, isn’t it? It’s a street fight. There are no rules. Punching below the belt is allowed and expected. It’s a blood sport and that’s the way Americans like it. So let’s stop whining about hidden tax returns and missing emails and Bridgegate and all the rest. Nothing matters but who gets the most votes and if we have to rig that, well, just don’t get caught.

These final couple of months will be less disgusting (for me) if I look at the process the same way the candidates do. It’s a street fight. No rules. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Robert K. Tanenbaum’s Act of Revenge (a crime novel):

“When you absolutely must go to war, however, you must try to kill all the enemy you can as quickly as you can, holding nothing back, until they have surrendered or you have been defeated utterly. It is a great fraud to think otherwise and it prolongs the agony. It would be better if people said, if we fight, we are going to boil babies in their own fat and blast the skin off nice old ladies, so they die slowly in great pain, and we are happy to do this, because what we fight for is so important. And if they conclude that it is not as important as that, then they should fight no more.”

Prisma

“Turn Every Photo into Art Using Artificial Intelligence. Prisma transforms your photos into works of art using the styles of famous artists: Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art pieces.”

I would have said photo filters apps were pretty much over but Prisma is fun. And the filters are… more interesting? … than the other apps I’ve played with. These are just a few and the latest version of the app was very fast on my iPhone.

Call Recorder for FaceTime

I’ve been searching for a better way to record video chats and found my way back to the eCamm website and Call Recorder for FaceTime. I used Call Recorder years ago but was not aware they had created an app specifically for FaceTime. The app cost $30 and that’s a non-starter for most folks but I’m impressed with this little app. George Kopp and I were both using FaceTime from the desktop but this would have worked fine had he been on his iPhone.

Call Recorder also records audio phone calls. When someone calls my iPhone, I have the option of answering the call on my MacBook (if both are on same wifi network). I can then record the call using this app. Sample below.

“Wired Endorses Optimism”

“Right now we see two possible futures welling up in the present. In one, society’s every decision is dominated by scarcity. Except for a few oligarchs, nobody has enough of anything. In that future, we build literal and figurative walls to keep out those who hope to acquire our stuff, while through guile or violence we try to acquire theirs.”

Through five election cycles WIRED has written about politics and politicians but avoided telling their readers who they viewed as the best choice. Until now.

WIRED Endorses Optimism

“The Republicans are the problem”

“We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

Washington Post op-ed by Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

People are deleting advertising from their lives

“People are deleting advertising from their lives. Many simply don’t like or want it and now for the first time they have a choice in the matter. With the shift to streaming, the so-called ‘millennial’ has abandoned linear TV and, in turn, the ads that grace it. Higher-income consumers are more able to afford an ad-free existence by paying subscriptions for ad-free service experiences such as YouTube Red, Hulu+, or Spotify. This further erodes the pool of young, upwardly-mobile consumers that the ad industry so covets. In the future, only older, poorer people will experience advertising.”

And those ads you “see” online?

“A display ad is considered as ‘viewed by the visitor’ if “at least 50% of its pixels were displayed on the visitor’s browser for at least one continuous second.”

The Ad Industry’s Existential Crisis