The Management Paradox

I’ve had the somewhat dubious good fortune to have spent many years doing very technical work, and many more serving as an executive. Technical work usually involves intense concentration, periods of long focus, and the ability to hold a huge collection of very short-term contingencies in your head. Interruptions, even brief innocuous ones, can break your concentration, destroy your focus, and bring the contingencies down like a house of cards.

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Aluminium High-Voltage Power Transmission

Here’s a compendium of factoids on power transmission, with a little directly on skin effect (which may not be the only salient aspect). I believe that skin effect per se is due to AC. Since not all long lines are AC, and since those that are AC are only 60Hz, skin effect doesn’t much enter into it. The real explanation for the practical use of what we think of as crummy aluminium* wire emerges from the following factoids (below the fold).

I had been talking with some radio & engineering friends, and we were surprised that aluminium cables are used for long-distance power transmission lines—even those which use Direct Current (DC). In fact, a few of us were surprised that long-distance power transmission can even be done with DC. So I did some online research, and learned a bunch of things. Of course, I’m not an EE, so don’t go running aluminium long-distance DC power transmission lines without professional help.

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Win10 Start Button: What’s an Application Launcher For?

The Windows 10 Start Menu is still buggy and barely functions for its intended purpose: finding, organizing, and launching programs.

The bugs I’m dealing with (through a couple of updates since the public release of Win10) are pretty basic:

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Windows 10 – The end of Microsoft?

I promised myself I would not attempt to review Win10 in any manner at all, so here’s a short rant on the surprisingly incomplete, poorly thought-out, much touted “new Start menu.”

What I cannot understand is how this iteration of Windows constitutes a “new operating system.” A handful of superficial (and incomplete) tweaks to the Start menu does not an operating system make. The GUI is a shell, not an OS. And the lame state of so many aspects of what little is new speaks to a superficial and sloppy development effort. I do believe that the super-tech folk at MS probably have the internals buttoned up pretty reliably, but my heavens, how can these trivial little mini-apps be so uninspired? How many hundreds of developers to they have?

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Carmine

Red Alert: carmine

Blue

Red

Ecco—cognitive dissonance.

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A Surfeit of Warnings

Lately (well, perhaps not that lately) (OK, maybe it was a couple months ago) (but still, there was a time) there have been more warnings than I ever intended. My apologies to one and all. And my apologies to the rest of you as well. And to anyone else in need of some apologies.

Now perhaps, due to this new emerging trend, or possible tendency, there will be (or at least might be) more apologies than warnings, especially given the present post, and I hasten to add that that, too, for heaven’s sake, was certainly never intended. Not at all. One can always (or usually, if not exactly ‘always’ in the infinite sense) have too much of a good thing. If apologies are indeed, intrinsically at least, a Good Thing.

These things get tricky when you try to manage them in public. In my secret subterranean den, all set about with fever trees, I can post stupid remarks and unbalanced rants wherever and whenever I want, and nobody ever sees them. If they (anybody) do (see them), I just snatch them (the posts) from the wall and nonchalantly toss them into the 55-gallon drum by my desk, smiling sheepishly and emitting the usual list of disclaimers.

But here, out in the World, which we (so often) hear so much about, each post becomes an obelisk to my own lunacy.

Sneaky play on words in that last sentence, eh?

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A Modest Proposal #17

If we open up the ear canals on the inside of the brainpan (removing the brain, of course), then the whole head can become a Helmholtz resonator and absorb from the collective cacophony at least the resonant frequency of the empty head.

 

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Prosthetic Gods

To whomever it was (a clandestine agglomeration of you, no doubt) who dropped off that funny yellow volume between my front doors:

Yes, I do like prosthetic gods, as a concept, though I haven’t much enjoyed the book, and lately I’ve grown tired of unbridled analysis and decomposition. But the title reminds me of Small Gods, an SF novel by Terry Pratchett, with some wonderful paradigm-baiting conceptual angles. Foster’s book, of course, is not SF, not at all. It is a grand explosion of PF (Psychological Fiction) based on the notion that all things, if thoroughly disintegrated in a merciless beam of partisan jargon, can be reduced to mere confirmational shrapnel.

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Text-ing

I throw a lot of text around, but nobody seems to “get” it. It seems to me that by now, with all this text activity I’m doing, just about all my text (or a goodly chunk of it) should be on every kid’s iThing gizmo. But for some reason, no matter how much text I type, they all just ignore me. Not just some of them, but all of them. It’s like there’s nobody out there. I’m beginning to think that my text isn’t getting out of the typewriter at all, really, actually. And hey, I know what you’re thinking, but I put in a new ribbon just last week, but no dice.

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At the Chigger Festival

There was a tiny trapeze, barely a quarter inch tall, with a swing hanging from cords so fine you couldn’t see them, and the nearly microscopic bar seemed to float in mid-air. A beautiful young female chigger in sequined leotard and striped tights swung from it, executing perilous pirouettes and flips that showed off her shapely carapace.

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