Manflu 2017

As I now somewhat infamously said on Twitter, I haven’t had a manflu this bad since the last time I had the manflu. Which according to this blog was in 2014, with reference to Best Girl™ from Nisekoi. You can claim someone else was a better character from that series, you’d just be wrong.

It’s amazing how with the most pedestrian of symptoms one can be made to feel so rotten they can barely function as regular human beings, let alone any other beings with greater intelligence. Dolphins, thanking us for all the fish, perhaps.

Several people have since asked where I was, why I haven’t posted any new posts or audio. This post is to assuage any concerns about my lack of existence. Hey! How you doing?

If I weren’t still doped up on stuff I’d have written that more eloquently, but I even had to use the spell checker to confirm how to spell that.

Sorry flu viruses (virii?), you’d need to do more than that to rid the world of my blogging endeavours ha HA! But please don’t take as a challenge though.

Another vote for Safari favicons

I used Safari for a week in 2015, and commented:

I didn’t realise how much I rely on favicons as visual indicators, now that I’ve lived without them in Safari now.

I did another review earlier this year, in the context of being able to use Safari now that uBlock Origin was available. I still noted:

The lack of favicons still make horizontal tabs difficult to differentiate.

John Gruber of Apple blogging fame has also just done a followup on an earlier Safari usability post, and was taken aback by the feature people missed the most:

But really, taken as a whole, the response to my piece was about one thing and one thing only: the fact that Safari does not show favicons on tabs and Chrome does. There are a huge number of Daring Fireball readers who use Chrome because it shows favicons on tabs and would switch to Safari if it did.

Safari Technology Preview icon

He boils it down to two concerns:

(1) there are some people who strongly prefer to see favicons in tabs even when they don’t have a ton of tabs open, simply because they prefer identifying tabs graphically rather than by the text of the page title

I use both, but agreed.

and (2) for people who do have a ton of tabs open, favicons are the only way to identify tabs.

This especially. If we’re not going to have stacked sidebar tabs which other browsers or browser extensions do, the very least we should have is another visual cue when they’re squished down like this. I’d also vote for this in landscape mode on my dinner tray-sized iPhone 7+; there’s certainly space for them!

Basically all I’m after is a 2017 Webkit Camino, which incidently used favicons.

Going from Vegetarian to Pescetarian

On the almost two year anniversary Clara and I became vegetarians, we decided to start eating a little fish again, for a few reasons, but for only one that matters.

My dad’s recent near heart attack and 5-level bypass put into stark reality my own mortality, genetics, and predisposition to certain conditions. I’ve also come to terms with our family history of diabetes, something I’ve managed to avoid through dumb luck thus far.

Despite still losing the weight I gained since moving back to Sydney, I realised much of what I was substituting meat for were refined carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent sugars. Both of these are terrible.

So I did research and talked with doctors. While it is theoretically possible to get what I need with just vegetarian (even vegan) sources, the best practical way for me to live healthy is to supplement a low sugar, lower refined-carbohydrate diet with a few servings of ethically-sourced fish a week.

That’s not to say I haven’t learned anything from being vegetarian, or that it wasn’t rewarding. I’ll continue to preference veg options at restaurants, unless there’s a fish dish with far fewer bad carbs or sugar. Plants taste fucking awesome, you need to eat more of them!

This whole thing does sound a tad self absorbed, but then again this is my personal blog, so it seemed fitting. Unlike this shirt I bought in Japan, regrettably.

Rubénerd Show 368: The Nakanoshima episode

Rubénerd Show 368

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

01:01:03 – Join Ruben as he wanders through Osaka to Namba Parks, where he procures a vending machine beverage and groks millions of Japanese train lines, ICOCA, the largest Japanese electronics chain, weebs and otaku, A4 clear files with anime and trains, roof–top landscapes, and Boss coffee. Then to Clara and Ruben on the tiny Nakanoshima island in the middle of Osaka talking about white people in Japanese ads, Yaoi, Royal Milk Tea can instrumentation, lit up bridges across the Dōjima River, Japanese department stores, learning languages, and a final wander through the middle of Osaka before we leave back for Hong Kong. Thank you Kansai ♡ . Recorded 31st July 2017.

Recorded in Osaka, Japan. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released August 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.

That Google gender-diversity memo

If you haven’t read the furore surrounding this former Google engineer’s diversity memo, or are reading this in the distant future, Louise Matsakis broke the story in Vice’s Motherboard:

At least eight Google employees tweeted Friday about a document that was circulated within the company calling for replacing Google’s diversity initiatives with policies that encourage “ideological diversity” instead. The document, which is the personal opinion of one senior software engineer, was shared on a company mailing list but has since gone “internally viral,” according to a Google employee who spoke with Motherboard.

The person who wrote the document argued that the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes, according to public tweets from Google employees. It also said Google should not offer programs for underrepresented racial or gender minorities, according to one of the employees I spoke to.

Motherboard since published the original memo, which borders on violating Poe’s Law. This is my favourite section, relegated to a footnote:

Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.

If you’ll permit me a Kent Brockman editorial laugh: hahaha! Has this guy ever been to a sports car showroom, and seen the majority of their clientèle? I’m sorry, the “national aggregate” of those showrooms? Me thinks he would be well served heeding his own advice in those last dozen words.

And if you thought this kind of thing was limited to Silicon Valley dudebros, think again.

Rubénerd Show 367: The Kansai episode

Rubénerd Show 367

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

01:01:11 – Ruben wanders back from Namba to their Airbnb in Osaka, rambling about visually impaired assistance, political posters, Japanese curry, police, pachinko, lack of street names, complicated bathrooms, and Mashu/Shielder from Fate/Grand Order. Then Clara and Ruben wander around Ninna-ji in Kyoto chatting about the Rurouni Kenshin films, anime flashback episodes, and mushrooms. Then over to Arashiyama talking about soba and Kyoto tofu, beautiful scenery around the Katura River, Kyoto trolley trains, bamboo forests, rickshaws, late-opening shops, and the Togetsukyo bridge. Recorded 29–30th July 2017. Sounds from the Osaka and Kyoto subways, and some spontaneous street music.

Recorded in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released August 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.

Did you have a chance to review my last email?

I created a new filter to send anything with the above line to spam. It’s shocking how many it’s caught.

Clear icon from the Tango Desktop Project


“Did you get a chance to review …”
“By chance, did you review…”
“Yo dawg, I heard you liked spam, so I followed up with my spam with more spam so you can…”

There must be a marketing playbook that says followup emails phrased in a specific way generate more leads, so it’s natural for spammers to adopt it.

Flaws with Sydney’s Opal card

Based on past experience and recent travels.

  1. It was introduced way too late. Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong got their contactless smart card systems in the early 2000s, the latter of which was even originally designed for use in Sydney.

  2. It’s slow. Really, painfully, slow. When you tap an EZ-Link, or an Octopus, or an ICOCA, it registers instantly. It means you don’t slow down when you walk through the gates, you just tap and keep walking. The Opal card forces everyone to stop, tap, and walk again, so queues for gates become insane.

  3. Did I mention it’s really, really slow? This cannot be overstated.

  4. Trips are still way too expensive. Though to be fair, everything in Australia is.

Points two and three are also advantages of Amex. Their contactless cards often register and approve transactions nearly instantly, much faster than MasterCard or Visa.

Fresh spam

I haven’t done any Friday fanmail in a while. This one was a gem.

Looking for a way to get thousands of FRESH email addresses? All of them for corporate executives, influential journalists, and powerful opinion makers?

If they’re not hyperglobal thinkfluencers, I’m not interested.

These people could kick your product or service through the goal posts! Your sales would increase exponentially over night.

They know misuse of “kick off” is a pet peeve of mine, now they’re just goading me.

And you can do it ALL with this little tool. It cruises through bios and social media sites grabbing publicly listed emails.

I read that as BIOS, and got all excited.

Block Rockin’ Beats

Backlengrabdledableadamblockrockinbeats! 1997.