Archive | August, 2013

Nest thermostat

The Internet of Things

Okay, it looks like I’ve decided that I need a series of “primer” posts in order to ensure some baseline level of knowledge among my readers. If this post or the big data post are uninteresting or too basic, hang tight: more complicated posts are coming. I just don’t want to lose anyone along the […]

Chicken and sausage soup

Chicken and Sausage Soup

The cliché is accurate: it’s always summer here. Oh, I know, people here will tell you it’s “freezing” when it’s 50°F outside, and it does get cloudy (ish) and chilly (a little) in January and February, but it takes a real act of deliberate self-deception to buy into the idea that it’s winter. So screw it, […]

An old photo of the Atomium with a cauliflower photoshopped over it

The Atomium and Freedom of Panorama

The Atomium is Belgium’s most famous set of balls. Built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, this odd structure was never intended to be permanent but it has since joined the Wiener Riesenrad and the Eiffel Tower in an exclusive group of European landmarks leftover from temporary exhibitions. The building’s creator, André Waterkeyn, designed the building to represent […]

This is a visualization of Wikipedia edits made by a single bot.

What is Big Data?

If you’ve been paying any attention to the tech industry in the past year or so, you’ve probably seen almost as many references to “big data” as you’ve seen to “the cloud.” Both are ridiculous and fairly meaningless umbrella terms for things that actually matter. More on the the cloud later, but as I mentioned […]

A labeled image of the Enigma Machine

Cryptography is Hard

Lots of things in the news recently have been pushing me to do an article on cryptography. Unfortunately, cryptography is hard, and the longer I try to work on this, the longer the article gets. Meanwhile, I realize that at >1000 words, I still haven’t really explained anything useful and my readership probably gave up […]

soft boiled egg breakfast

In Praise of the Soft-Boiled Egg

A soft-boiled egg in a ceramic cup, served with a dainty spoon to eat it with, was part of my childhood. My brothers and I would knock the tops of our eggs off with our tiny spoons, eat the bit of white out of the shell we’d removed and then dig in, sprinkling salt into […]


Online Recipes: How do you know they’ll work?

Like most cooks, I’ve smudged a greasy finger across my iPad screen more than a few times, and I’ve probably exposed my computer keyboard to more moisture and kitchen spooge than it was designed to handle. Cooking without the internet to help me with tasks like conversions and substitutions, and to dispense general advice, seems […]