Because Microsoft has deprecated 2011-era database servers, my weather demo Weather Now needed a new database. And now it has one.
Migrating all 8 million records (7.2 million places included) took about 36 hours on an Azure VM. Since I migrated entirely within the U.S. East data center, there were no data transfer charges, but having a couple of VMs running for the weekend probably will cost me a few dollars more this month.
While I was at it, I upgraded the app to the latest Azure and Inner Drive packages, which mainly just fixed minor bugs.
The actual deployment of the updated code was boring, as it should be.
Today is the Summer Bank Holiday in the UK, which has the same cultural resonance to the British that Labor Day has to us. It marks the psychological end of summer over. August 31st also marks the end of meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere. Over the next month in Chicago we'll see days shrink by almost two hours and temperatures fall by almost 6°C.
I hope, also, that by the beginning of winter, The Daily Parker will have a new home and infrastructure, and the ENSO will have pushed the storm track north of us to ensure a warmer-than-average winter.
Via TPM, Rick Perlstein says that the race-baiting tactics the GOP uses to block voting reform started as Reagan's reaction to Carter's proposals:
Everyone loved to talk about voter apathy, but the real problem, Carter said, was that “millions of Americans are prevented or discouraged from voting in every election by antiquated and overly restricted voter registration laws”—a fact proven, he pointed out, by record rates of participation in 1976 in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, where voters were allowed to register on election day. So he proposed that election-day registration be adopted universally, tempering concerns that such measures might increase opportunities for fraud by also proposing five years in prison and a $10,000 fine as penalties for electoral fraud.
A more perfect democracy. Who could find this controversial?
You guessed it: movement conservatives, who took their lessons about Democrats and “electoral reform” from Republican allegations that had Kennedy beating Nixon via votes received from the cemeteries of Chicago.
Ronald Reagan had been on this case for years. ... In his newspaper column, Reagan said the increase in voting would come from “the bloc comprised of those who get a whole lot more from the federal government in various kinds of income distribution than they contribute to it.” And if those people prove too dumb to vote themselves a raise, “don’t be surprised if an army of election workers—much of it supplied by labor organizations which have managed to exempt themselves from election law restrictions—sweep through metropolitan areas scooping up otherwise apathetic voters and rushing them to the polls to keep the benefit dispensers in power.”
Ah, Reagan, the man who ran up the deficit more than any other previous president but whose followers credit him with fiscal prudence; the staunch anti-Communist who sold arms to Iran illegally; the man whose folksy charm barely concealed a racist, vile character who believed everything he wanted to and nothing he didn't.
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interréd with their bones; so let it be with Reagan.
Meanwhile, one of the most thoughtful, patient, and correct leaders our country has ever had continues to suffer unfair attacks by the very people who think Reagan should be canonized, and who are starting to feel very nervous that there is something out there even worse than their fantasy of Carter...
Bloomberg analyzes the reasons that British Airways continues to invest in its Boeing 747 fleet when everyone else is retiring the model:
A clue to BA’s lingering love affair with the 747 lies in the model’s ability to eke out capacity from scarce operating slots at its London Heathrow hub at a time when lower fuel prices make retaining older planes an option. The revamped jets, the first of which returns next month from a refit center in Cardiff, Wales, will also get 16 extra business-class seats, aiding deployment on lucrative trans-Atlantic services.
“It makes hard business sense,” JLS Consulting Director John Strickland said. “These aircraft have a lot of life in them and can be used in very effective commercial ways. Given the capacity constraints at Heathrow and the high demand they have on certain routes, it’s still a very good model.”
The four-engine planes suck up a lot of fuel, however. Lower fuel prices have helped, but really the motivation seems to be capacity limitations at Heathrow.
Chicago has five of the 20 most-congested roads in the U.S.:
Drivers in the northeastern Illinois-northwest Indiana region suffered the misery of 61 extra hours behind the wheel on average in 2014 — equivalent to a week and a half of work — because of delays caused by gridlock, construction zones and collisions that tied up traffic, according to the Urban Mobility Scorecard released late Tuesday by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
The Los Angeles area took the top three spots on the congestion scorecard last year. Locally, different stretches of the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways (Interstate 90/94) gave motorists the biggest headaches, accounting for three spots in the top 20. Two areas on the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) also were among the 20 most congested.
Coming in at No. 4 nationally was I-90/94 westbound from 35th Street to the Edens junction. The report noted that 4 p.m. on Fridays tended to be the worst time to be driving on the 13-mile section of road where average speeds were as slow as 16 mph. The eastbound stretch from Montrose Avenue to Ruble Street, just south of Roosevelt Road, ranked seventh nationally.
Chicago also ranks #3 in total travel delay (302.6 million hours) and cost of truck congestion ($1.5 bn). But the 1.6 million CTA rides and 300,000 Metra (heavy rail) rides every weekday probably prevent Chicago from becoming a true dystopia, like Dallas.
Krugman writes, and I agree, that Donald Trump scares the Republican establishment precisely because he's too honest:
Conservative religiosity, conservative faith in markets, were never about living a godly life or letting the invisible hand promote entrepreneurship. Instead, it was all as Corey Robin describes it: Conservatism is
a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.
The point is that Trump isn’t a diversion, he’s a revelation, bringing the real motivations of the movement out into the open.
He's our Putin, but without the subtlety.
Since development of DasBlog petered out in 2012, and since I have an entire (size A1) Azure VM dedicated solely to hosting The Daily Parker, I've been looking for a new blog engine for this blog.
The requirements are pretty broad:
- Written in .NET
- Open source or source code available for download
- Can use SQL Server as a data source (instead of the local file system, like DasBlog)
- Can deploy to an Azure Web App (to get it off the VM)
- Still in active development
- Modern appearance and user experience
See? Look-and-feel is in there somewhere. But mainly I want something I can play with.
I'm still evaluating them. This list was really helpful, and pointed me towards the successor to DasBlog, BlogEngine.NET. Mads Kristensen's newest blog engine, MiniBlog, has potential, but it doesn't seem ready for prime time yet.
The changes will come at some point in the next few months, assuming I have time to play with some options and modify the chosen engine to support a few features I want, like time zone support and location tagging. I also want to see about adding completely new features, like Google Timeline integration, or private journals and events, which require encryption and other security measures that blog engines don't usually have. Not to mention the possibility of using DocumentDB as a data source...
Stay tuned. The Daily Parker's 10th birthday is coming in November.
Twenty years ago today, Microsoft released Windows 95. It's hard to explain how revolutionary the OS was at the time.
To celebrate the anniversary, Microsoft is offering a free Rolling Stones song. Trust me; it makes sense.
And here, for your listening enjoyment, is the Microsoft sound.A And C-Net's coverage of the day:
I am not a food writer, so I don't have the vocabulary to describe dinner the other night at 42 Grams. Let me just reproduce a few items from our meticulously-presented, precisely-timed courses:
- Carabinero: finger lime, phytoplankton, kelp, and lacto-fermented vegetables
- Sweet pea custard: bacon, whey, brown butter, herbs & lettuce
- Summer corn: corn silk, roasted corn broth, polenta
- Organic Irish salmon: tea smoked with fallen pine, muhroom dashi, spent grain toast, nastrurtium
- Lamb neck: smoked yogurt, tamarind, fennel
- Veal sweetbread: foie gras, ash-baked eggplant, golden berry
Plus five more courses. And we brought wine that we'd obtained in Como.
I said, "Even if I could afford it, I couldn't eat like this every day."
My dinner companion said, "Why not?"
She has a point.
Oh, look: they have a last-minute reservation available for 6pm tonight...
Via DNAInfo, this is awesome: