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  1. <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
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  5. <title>ongoing by Tim Bray</title>
  6. <link rel='hub' href='' />
  7. <id></id>
  8. <link href='' />
  9. <link rel='self' href='' />
  10. <link rel='replies'       thr:count='101'       href='' />
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  13. <updated>2018-09-24T07:11:02-07:00</updated>
  14. <author><name>Tim Bray</name></author>
  15. <subtitle>ongoing fragmented essay by Tim Bray</subtitle>
  16. <rights>All content written by Tim Bray and photos by Tim Bray Copyright Tim Bray, some rights reserved, see /ongoing/misc/Copyright</rights>
  17. <generator uri='/misc/Colophon'>Generated from XML source code using Perl, Expat, Emacs, Mysql, Ruby, Java, and ImageMagick.  Industrial-strength technology, baby.</generator>
  19. <entry>
  20. <title>The Green Man&#x2019;s Heir</title>
  21. <link href='' />
  22. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='2'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/09/23/The-Green-Mans-Heir#comments' />
  23. <id></id>
  24. <published>2018-09-23T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  25. <updated>2018-09-23T11:29:00-07:00</updated>
  26. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Books' />
  27. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  28. <category scheme='' term='Books' />
  29. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>I just read <a href=''>this 2018 book</a>  by <a href=''>Juli&#xad;et McKen&#xad;na</a>, which I dis&#xad;cov&#xad;ered in <a href=''>Read&#xad;ing Au&#xad;gust/Septem&#xad;ber</a>, a blog post by Ni&#xad;co&#xad;la  Grif&#xad;fith, au&#xad;thor of the ex&#xad;cel&#xad;lent <cite>Hild</cite>  (which I <a href='/ongoing/When/201x/2014/08/16/Hild'>high&#xad;ly rec&#xad;om&#xad;mend here</a>). I re&#xad;al&#xad;ly en&#xad;joyed it and I bet a lot of you would too.</div></summary>
  30. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  31. <p>I just read
  32. <a href="">this 2018 book</a> by
  33. <a href="">Juliet McKenna</a>, which I discovered in
  34. <a href="">Reading August/September</a>, a blog post by Nicola
  35. Griffith, author of the excellent <cite>Hild</cite> (which I
  36. <a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2014/08/16/Hild">highly recommend here</a>). I really enjoyed it and I bet a lot of you would too.</p>
  37. <img src="Green-man-cover.png" alt="The Green Man’s Heir" class="inline" />
  38. <p><cite>Green Man</cite> doesn’t aim too high<span class='dashes'> —</span> a straightforward story of a fellow whose mother
  39. is a <a href="">Dryad</a> (tree spirit) living in the middle of England in the present day. His
  40. heritage means he can see, and interact with, woodland creatures out of myth (naiads, boggarts, and of course the Green Man); also
  41. that he is large, muscular, and has unusual (hetero-)sexual magnetism.</p>
  42. <p>The story starts, like so many set in the middle of England, with the body of a murdered young woman, and involves interactions
  43. with cops, carpenters, interesting trees, and lots of those magic woodland creatures, some of whom are seriously lethal.  There’s
  44. even an apocalyptic boss-battle sort of thing to end the story with a bang.</p>
  45. <p>It doesn’t aim too high, and also doesn’t have any significant flaws. Hard to put down, hard not to smile.</p>
  46. <p>There’s a very slightly odd flavor that may
  47. be the result of a woman writing a first-person male narrative (something I’m sure that many women are familiar with the
  48. mirror-image version of). I enjoyed this bit of gender dislocation, if that’s what it is.</p>
  49. <p>And I’m thinking I might want to go re-read Ms Griffith’s blog post and try a couple more of the books she liked.</p>
  50. </div></content></entry>
  52. <entry>
  53. <title>JSON Event Scheming</title>
  54. <link href='' />
  55. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='0'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/09/22/JSON-scheming#comments' />
  56. <id></id>
  57. <published>2018-09-22T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  58. <updated>2018-09-23T09:50:31-07:00</updated>
  59. <category scheme='' term='Technology/Software' />
  60. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  61. <category scheme='' term='Software' />
  62. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>I&#x2019;m pret&#xad;ty sure that event-driven soft&#xad;ware is al&#xad;ready a big deal and is go&#xad;ing to get big&#xad;ger. Events, de fac&#xad;to, are JSON blob&#xad;s, and in  gen&#xad;er&#xad;al we&#x2019;d like to make them eas&#xad;i&#xad;er to con&#xad;sume in com&#xad;put&#xad;er pro&#xad;gram&#xad;s.  I&#x2019;ve writ&#xad;ten be&#xad;fore about how <a href='/ongoing/When/201x/2016/04/30/JSON-Schema-funnies'>it&#x2019;s dif&#xad;fi&#xad;cult to spec&#xad;i&#xad;fy JSON di&#xad;alects</a>, and al&#xad;so about <a href='/ongoing/When/201x/2016/10/23/Message-Processing'>Schema&#xad;less mes&#xad;sage pro&#xad;cess&#xad;ing</a>. It turns out there&#x2019;s good news from the world of JSON Schema, but the prob&#xad;lem is far from solved.</div></summary>
  63. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  64. <p>I’m pretty sure that event-driven software is already a big deal and is going to get bigger. Events, de facto, are JSON blobs, and in
  65. general we’d like to make them easier to consume in computer programs.
  66. I’ve written before about how <a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2016/04/30/JSON-Schema-funnies">it’s difficult to specify JSON
  67. dialects</a>, and also about
  68. <a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2016/10/23/Message-Processing">Schemaless message processing</a>.
  69. It turns out there’s good news from the world of JSON Schema,
  70. but the problem is far from solved.</p>
  71. <h2 id='p-1'>“Event-driven”?</h2>
  72. <p>It’s not exactly a new idea; I first heard it back when I used to program GUIs where of course everything is an event, and your
  73. code is all about handling them in callbacks.  But that’s not what I’m talking about here.  From an AWS-centric point of view, I’m
  74. talking about the
  75. <a href="">events that trigger Lambda functions</a>, or
  76. get matched and routed by
  77. <a href="">CloudWatch Events</a>, or go
  78. through
  79. <a href="">the SNS pub/sub machinery</a>.</p>
  80. <p>As far as I know, there are really only two ways to connect software together: API calls (I send you a request and wait
  81. for your response) and events (I fire off a message and whoever gets it does whatever they’re going to do). A common
  82. variation on the latter is that along with the event, you send along a callback address that you’d maybe like event consumers to
  83. call you back on.</p>
  84. <p>APIs are straightforward and feel natural to programmers because we all grew up calling subroutines and functions.
  85. Sometimes that way of thinking works great on the network, as when I send you an HTTP request that includes everything
  86. you need to do something for me, and I wait for a response back saying what you did.  But APIs have problems, the worst being that
  87. they constitute tight coupling; you and I have to stay in sync, and if sometimes I’d like to issue requests a little faster than you
  88. can handle them, well, too bad.</p>
  89. <p>Eventing makes the coupling looser. Obviously, it leaves a natural place to insert buffering; if I get ahead of you, that’s OK, the
  90. messages can get buffered in transit, and eventually you’ll catch up when I slow down, and that’s just fine. </p>
  91. <p>And that looser coupling leaves space to do lots of other useful things with the data in transit: Fan-out,
  92. logging/auditing, transformation, analytics, and filtering, to name a few.  I think a high proportion of all
  93. integration tasks are a natural fit for event-driven code, as opposed to APIs.  So, I care about making it easy.</p>
  94. <h2 id='p-2'>Contracts and Schemas</h2>
  95. <p>APIs generally have them.  In strongly-typed programming languages they are detailed and rigid, verified at
  96. compile-time to allow for fast, trusting execution at run-time. For RESTful APIs, we have things like Swagger/OpenAPI, and GraphQL
  97. <a href="">offers another approach</a>.</p>
  98. <p>Schemas are nothing like a complete contract for an event-oriented system, but they’re better than nothing.  I hear people
  99. who write this kind of software asking for “schemas”, and I think this is what they really want:</p>
  100. <ol>
  101. <li><p>They’d like to have the messages auto-magically turned into objects or interfaces or structs or whatever the right idiom is
  102. for their programming language. And if that can’t be done, they’d like their attempt to fail deterministically with helpful diagnostic
  103. output.</p></li>
  104. <li><p>For any given message type, they’d like to be able to generate samples, to support testing.</p></li>
  105. <li><p>They’d like intelligent handling of versioning in event structures.</p></li>
  106. </ol>
  107. <p>Historically, this has been hard.  One reason is an idiom that I’ve often seen in real-word events: the “EventType”
  108. field. Typically, a stream of events contains many different types of thing, and they’re self-describing in that each contains a
  109. field saying what it is. So you can’t really parse it or make it useful to programmers without dispatching based on that type field.  It’s
  110. worse than that: I know of several examples where you have an EventType enum at the top level, and then further type
  111. variations at deeper nesting levels, each with EventType equivalents.</p>
  112. <p>In particular, since events tend to be JSON blobs, this has been a problem, because historically,
  113. <a href="">JSON Schema</a> has had really weak support for this kind of construct.  You can dispatch based on
  114. the <em>presence</em> of particular fields, and you can sort of fake type dispatching with the <code>oneOf</code> keyword, but the
  115. schema-ware gets baroquely complex and the error messages increasingly unhelpful.</p>
  116. <p>But, there’s good news. Apparently the JSON Schema project is very much alive, and in the current draft
  117. (<a href="">-07 as I write this</a>) there’s an
  118. <a href="">if-then-else</a> construct.</p>
  119. <p>Now, if you
  120. follow that link and read the description, you may find yourself a little puzzled.
  121. Instead, have a look at
  122. <a href="">json-schema-spec issue #652</a>, in which I raised the
  123. question about how to handle “EventType” fields and got an explanation of how their if-then-else idiom might do the job.</p>
  124. <h2 id='p-3'>On JSON Schema</h2>
  125. <p>So, I’m glad that that project shows signs of life and is moving forward. And my thanks to the folk who offered smart, responsive
  126. answers to my questions. </p>
  127. <p>I still have issues with the effort. Its spec comes in three parts:
  128. <a href="">Core</a>,
  129. <a href="">Validation</a>, and
  130. <a href="">Hyper-Schema</a>.
  131. I think that Core could be replaced with a paragraph saying “here’s the media type, here’s how fragments work, and here’s how to use
  132. <code>$ref</code> to link pieces of schema together.”
  133. I think Validation has grown to be frighteningly large; just check the table of contents.
  134. I have read the Hyper-Schema thing carefully, more than once, and I haven’t the faintest clue what it’s for or how you’d use it. The
  135. authors of JSON Schema do not generally favor using examples as an explanatory device, which makes things tough for
  136. <a href="/ongoing/When/199x/1999/08/18/BitsOnTheWire">bits-on-the-wire</a>
  137. weak-on-abstractions people like me.</p>
  138. <p>But hey, I’m profoundly grateful that people are wrestling with these hard problems, and I’m going to be digging into this
  139. whole space of how to make events easier for programmers.</p>
  140. <h2 id='p-4'>It’s not an abstract problem</h2>
  141. <p>Consider
  142. <a href="">CloudWatch Events Event Examples</a>, which
  143. offers samples from twenty-seven different AWS services. The number of unique event types would take too long to count, but it’s
  144. big.
  145. This is a successful service, with a huge number of customers filtering an astonishing number of events per second.
  146. Developers use these for all sorts of things. I’m wondering how we might make it easier for them.
  147. Think you know? My mind is open, and we’re hiring.</p>
  148. </div></content></entry>
  150. <entry>
  151. <title>Oh, Shenandoah!</title>
  152. <link href='' />
  153. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='3'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/09/11/Shenandoah#comments' />
  154. <id></id>
  155. <published>2018-09-11T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  156. <updated>2018-09-12T16:23:48-07:00</updated>
  157. <category scheme='' term='The World/History' />
  158. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  159. <category scheme='' term='History' />
  160. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>What hap&#xad;pened was, back when I was do&#xad;ing <a href=''>Songs of the Day</a>, I <a href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/05/30/SotD-Shenandoah'>wrote up</a>  that great old Amer&#xad;i&#xad;can tune <a href=''>Oh Shenan&#xad;doah</a>, and idly won&#xad;dered who Shenan&#xad;doah was; the Wikipedia en&#xad;try  said he was a re&#xad;al per&#xad;son, an <a href=''>Onei&#xad;da</a>  of the seventeen-hundreds. Then I thought of that lyric <i>Oh Shenan&#xad;doah, I loved your daugh&#xad;ter</i>, and won&#xad;dered who she was and who might have loved her, and found my&#xad;self go&#xad;ing down a rab&#xad;bit hole. I have now read sev&#xad;er&#xad;al books on the sub&#xad;jec&#xad;t, un&#xad;cov&#xad;ered a hell of a sto&#xad;ry, an idea for a billion-dollar play or movie, and met some re&#xad;al&#xad;ly in&#xad;ter&#xad;est&#xad;ing dead peo&#xad;ple. I&#x2019;ve (so far) failed to solve the mys&#xad;tery of who loved his daugh&#xad;ter, but haven&#x2019;t giv&#xad;en up.</div></summary>
  161. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  162. <p>What happened was, back when I was doing
  163. <a href="">Songs of the Day</a>, I
  164. <a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2018/05/30/SotD-Shenandoah">wrote up</a> that great old American tune
  165. <a href="">Oh Shenandoah</a>, and idly wondered who Shenandoah was; the Wikipedia entry
  166. said he was a real person, an
  167. <a href="">Oneida</a> of the seventeen-hundreds. Then I thought of that lyric <i>Oh
  168. Shenandoah, I loved your daughter</i>, and wondered who she was and who might have loved her, and found myself going down a rabbit hole. I have now
  169. read several books on the subject, uncovered a hell of a story, an idea for a billion-dollar play or movie, and met some really
  170. interesting dead people.  I’ve (so far) failed to solve the mystery of who loved his daughter, but haven’t given up.</p>
  171. <img src="Tombstone.png" alt="Skenandoa’s tombstone" class="inline" />
  172. <h2 id='p-1'>What we know</h2>
  173. <p>His name, in English, is written a <em>lot</em> of different ways: Skenandon, Skenandoa, Schenando, and Skannandòo are a few.</p>
  174. <p>He was tall, said to be well over six feet, and strong, and lived to
  175. an immense age, from sometime around 1706 to 1816.</p>
  176. <p>He became a Christian and, unlike most of his fellow Oneida, a successful farmer, because he didn’t mind working in the fields;
  177. the others thought that was for women only.</p>
  178. <p>He has living descendents including entertainer and singer
  179. <a href="">Joanne Shenandoah</a>.</p>
  180. <p>He fought in the
  181. <a href="">Seven Years’ War</a> with the British against the French.</p>
  182. <p>During the American Revolution, he (and most Oneidas) came down on the American side. The Oneida are one of the Iroquois Six
  183. Nations, whose territory sprawls from central New York State up into Ontario. The majority of Iroquois sided with the British. More
  184. on that below.</p>
  185. <p>He met George Washington (this is well-attested, and Washington wrote at least one letter recommending him to others).</p>
  186. <p><a href="">Legend
  187. also has it</a> that in the cruel winter of 1777, he sent a shipment of corn to Washington’s forces at Valley Forge; also that Washington
  188. named the Shenandoah river in his honor; but historical evidence is thin.</p>
  189. <img src="Statue.png" alt="Statue: Allies in War, Partners in Peace" />
  190. <p>The picture above is of a statue in
  191. <a href="">Smithsonian’s Museum of the
  192. American Indian</a> entitled <cite>Allies in War, Partners in Peace</cite>; on the sides are George Washington and Skenandoa; at the
  193. center is Polly Cooper, who is said to have conveyed the corn to Valley Forge.  As far as I know there are no historically accurate
  194. images of Skenandoa, so the sculptor Edward Hlavka must have worked from imagination.</p>
  195. <h2 id='p-2'>Iroquois War History</h2>
  196. <p>Before the revolution, the Six Nations were getting along reasonably well with the European settlers.  They hunted and farmed,
  197. and had a social structure that included “Sachems” (hereditary male chiefs), “Pine Tree Chiefs” (elected male war leaders; Skenandoa was one), matrilineal inheritance,
  198. and a council of Clan Mothers.</p>
  199. <p>They were warlike and practiced slavery, torture, and cannibalism.</p>
  200. <p>Like all the aboriginal nations of North America, they were successively displaced and cheated and uprooted and massacred and
  201. infected with European diseases, one of them alcoholism.  It’s a sad story.</p>
  202. <p>At the outbreak of the Revolution, the Six Nations tried hard to remain neutral, which probably would have been good policy.  But
  203. both sides saw them as valuable allies and brought pressure, money, and rum to bear.  The Oneidas were at the eastern edge of Iroquois territory and
  204. physically closest to the rebels; the other nations were further north and west, closer to Canada and the British forces.</p>
  205. <p>And then, on the other side there was the Dark Lord of our story, Skenandoa’s nemesis (and maybe son-in-law).</p>
  206. <h2 id='p-3'>The Adversary</h2>
  207. <p><a href="">Joseph Brant</a> (1743-1807). was a Mohawk (another of the Six Nations),
  208. real name Thayendanegea. He became a Christian and not only met George Washington, but was taken to London
  209. where he was much-feted and met King George.  He was a loyal subject of Britain and led many of his fellow Iroquois into war against
  210. the American forces.</p>
  211. <img src="Brant1.png" alt="Joseph Brant" />
  212. <img src="Brant2.png" alt="Joseph Brant" />
  213. <div class='caption'><p>Two portraits of Joseph Brant.</p></div>
  214. <p>And he wasn’t just another soldier, but to use the vernacular, a seriously bad dude. He was tireless, always raiding here,
  215. preaching there, burning a village upstate or farmlands downstate.  I think it’s fair to say that he was one of the biggest and
  216. sharpest thorns in the Revolutionaries’ side.</p>
  217. <p>He was quite a humanitarian by Iroquois standards, only occasionally slaughtering defenseless civilians, and there are
  218. stories of him saving women and children from massacre.  Or at least trying; some of them ended up dead anyhow.  After the war he
  219. retreated to Canada and remained an aboriginal leader into old age.  Interestingly, he owned slaves.  I seem to recall him popping
  220. up in my Canadian History schoolbooks as a kid; there are statues and places named after him.</p>
  221. <h2 id='p-4'>Brant and Skenandoa</h2>
  222. <p>In 1779, Skenandoa and three other Oneida emissaries were sent off to bargain with the other Iroquois nations to argue the
  223. virtues of neutrality and/or alliance with the Americans.  He met Brant on the way to Fort Niagara and contemporary narratives make
  224. it clear that they already knew each other.  At the fort, the Anglophile Iroquois heard Skenandoa out, rejected his ideas, and
  225. threw the four emissaries into a “black hole”, a pit under a building, for 150 days. Skenandoa was in his seventies at the time; he
  226. survived but at least one of the others did not.</p>
  227. <p>Brant let Skenandoa out of the cellar on condition that he would join the pro-British side, which he did with obvious
  228. reluctance. He was exchanged back to the United States after the war, where he was received with contempt and scorn, but must have done
  229. OK because, as noted earlier, he lived another thirty years or so and, on his death, received a huge funeral which included both the
  230. native and white population of his town.  I found a narrative of him being one of the Oneida Leadership which welcomed an Italian
  231. scholar-tourist in 1790.</p>
  232. <h2 id='p-5'>Skenandoa’s daughter(s)</h2>
  233. <p>But let’s get on to the main point: Who loved his daughter? Here’s where it gets interesting, because maybe it was Joseph Brant!
  234. In Barbara Graymont’s
  235. <a href="">The Iroquois in the American Revolution</a>, she says explicitly that Brant married Skenandoa’s
  236. daughter Margaret; they had two children and then, when she died, he married her sister Susanna.  His first son Isaac eventually
  237. died after a fight with his father.</p>
  238. <p>But other sources, for example
  239. <a href="">Forgotten Allies; The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution</a>, by Glatthaar and Martin,
  240. say that Margaret and Susanna were daughters of another well-known Christian Oneida generally called “Old Isaac”; the son being
  241. named Isaac might support that.  Isabel Kelsay, in
  242. <a href="">Joseph Brant, 1743-1807, Man of Two Worlds</a> agrees, but then later in
  243. her book, refers to Skenandoa as Brant’s “former in-law”.  Each of Graymont, Glatthaar/Martin, and Kelsay have extensive
  244. bibliographies with reference to lots of original documents in the archives of this or that university or government. The authors
  245. are all apparently extremely elderly if alive at all.</p>
  246. <p>There’s this very odd book I turned up called
  247. <a href="">Franklin Listens When I Speak</a> written in 1997 by a Paula Underwood, which claims that Ben
  248. Franklin had a relationship with Skenandoa, which is unremarked-on elsewhere and would thus be surprising.  Peering through Amazon’s
  249. “Look inside the book” uncovered a passage in which Ms Underwood says that Skenandoa’s life got nine pages of write-up in the
  250. astonishing <cite>Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the
  251. United States</cite> by
  252. <a href="">Henry R. Schoolcraft</a>, commissioned by the U.S. Government and
  253. published in six volumes between 1851 and 1857.  You can read Volume VI, which is a summary,
  254. <a href="">at the Internet Archive</a>, or buy that summary volume for a thousand and
  255. change from a used bookseller, and I saw one complete six-volume set in the original binding on sale somewhere for $20,000.
  256. I found a couple of references to Skenandoa in Vol. VI, including one with a footnote confirming the nine pages of
  257. Skenandoa coverage in Vol. V, which however is not available online.</p>
  258. <h2 id='p-6'>Me and Skenandoa</h2>
  259. <p>How far into this did I get?  I made heavy use of my local public library.  I discovered that the Internet Archive acts as a
  260. library and will let you “check out” beautiful scans (with full-text search) of a huge variety of old books, including most of those
  261. mentioned above.  I dropped in a bunch of research notes in
  262. <a href="">the Talk Page</a> for Skenandoa’s Wikipedia entry, which I
  263. will go and polish up once I’ve gotten tired of digging into this.</p>
  264. <p>I discovered, to my glee, that the rare-books section of the Vancouver Public Library has a copy of Schoolcraft’s <cite>Indian
  265. Tribes</cite> and dropped everything on a Sunday afternoon to go check it out. When I discovered that those collections are closed
  266. while that floor is under construction, I was crushed. It’ll be open by year-end, they say. Maybe one of the local university
  267. libraries has it?</p>
  268. <h2 id='p-8'>The Show</h2>
  269. <p>Clearly, <cite>Hamilton</cite> has shown there’s an appetite for entertainment informed by early U.S. history.  And this story
  270. has five times the drama: Skenandoa the huge old Indian warrior, the birth of a nation, a tribe splitting down the middle,
  271. the perfidious Anglophile Brant who (maybe) married Skenandoa’s daughter then later locked him up, the corn going through the
  272. snow to Valley Forge, father/son mayhem, battles in the forests, slaughter and mercy, Skenandoa in the black hole then finally
  273. coming home.  And the native peoples betrayed, finally, by both sides.</p>
  274. <p>This has blockbuster written all over it. Feels like a movie to me, you need a broader canvas than you can fit on a live
  275. stage.</p>
  276. <h2 id='p-7'>Last words</h2>
  277. <p>I’ll leave you with Skenandoa’s; maybe not his last, but uttered
  278. very late in his life, aged over a hundred, and blind:</p>
  279. <p><i>I am an aged hemlock. I am dead at the top. The winds of an hundred winters have whistled through my branches. Why my Jesus keeps me here so long, I cannot conceive. Pray ye to him, that I may have patience to endure till my time may come.</i></p>
  280. </div></content></entry>
  282. <entry>
  283. <title>Unbrittle Events</title>
  284. <link href='' />
  285. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='3'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/08/30/Event-Structure#comments' />
  286. <id></id>
  287. <published>2018-08-30T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  288. <updated>2018-08-30T22:31:45-07:00</updated>
  289. <category scheme='' term='Technology/Internet' />
  290. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  291. <category scheme='' term='Internet' />
  292. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>At AWS, I&#x2019;m now in the <a href=''>Server&#xad;less</a>  or&#xad;ga&#xad;ni&#xad;za&#xad;tion, which in 2018 is big fun. Some&#xad;one asked me to check out   the work be&#xad;ing done at the <a href=''>Cloud Na&#xad;tive Com&#xad;put&#xad;ing Foun&#xad;da&#xad;tion (CNCF)</a>, par&#xad;tic&#xad;u&#xad;lar&#xad;ly around <a href=''>CloudEvents</a>. There&#x2019;s been a par&#xad;tic&#xad;u&#xad;lar&#xad;ly in&#xad;ter&#xad;est&#xad;ing ar&#xad;gu&#xad;ment go&#xad;ing on around there that I think has use&#xad;ful lessons for any&#xad;one who cares about de&#xad;sign&#xad;ing net&#xad;work pro&#xad;to&#xad;col&#xad;s.</div></summary>
  293. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  294. <p>At AWS, I’m now in the
  295. <a href="">Serverless</a> organization, which in 2018 is big fun.  Someone asked me to check out
  296. the work being done at the
  297. <a href="">Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)</a>, particularly around
  298. <a href="">CloudEvents</a>.  There’s been a particularly interesting argument going on around
  299. there that I think has useful lessons for anyone who cares about designing network protocols.</p>
  300. <p>I’m naturally interested in Eventing because it’s central, not just to serverless computing, but to modern application
  301. construction in general.  Events are a good way to think about a lot of different things: Actual events from the real world (“Garage
  302. door opened”), infrastructure happenings (“database failed over”), user activities (“Leila signed in”), or data movement (“Object
  303. 894t7 uploaded to bucket JXYT8-33”).  Events are nice, particularly in well-designed modern apps, because among other things you can
  304. feed them to functions and drop them onto messaging queues.</p>
  305. <p>My first project at AWS was
  306. <a href="">CloudWatch Events</a>, and one of
  307. the essential things about a CloudWatch Event is that it’s got a fixed JSON wrapper with a bunch of top-level fields that are
  308. guaranteed to be there.  We never wrote down a formal spec but there’s a reasonably straightforward description
  309. <a href="">here</a>.  CloudWatch
  310. events JSON objects, and that’s all they are; nothing fancy about them.</p>
  311. <p>Evidence suggests those choices were good; the service
  312. has  been pretty successful; loads and loads of customers doing all sorts of basic meat-and-potatoes automation, and then some
  313. pretty imaginative apps combining built-in and
  314. <a href="">custom events</a>.  So, I have a lot of
  315. sympathy with the CNCF work.</p>
  316. <p>CNCF CloudEvents have an
  317. <a href="">abstract definition</a> not tied to any data format, with the idea
  318. that there could be multiple different representations, although most examples and conversations still revolve around JSON.</p>
  319. <h2 id='p-1'>The Pull Request</h2>
  320. <p>The problem is summed up Pull Request
  321. <a href="">#277</a> and issue
  322. <a href="">#294</a>.  It’s basically about whether it’s OK to put unknown fields not
  323. defined in the spec (“extensions”) into the top level of a CloudEvent, or instead, banish them to an <code>extensions</code>
  324. container field.  It’s not that crucial an issue and I can see both sides of it.</p>
  325. <p>The argument being advanced in issue 294 and
  326. by Thomas Bouldin in
  327. <a href="">Codelab: Versioning is Hard (aka the “SEF theorem”)</a> is that if you allow
  328. adding “extensions” at the top level, that might break some software.  In particular, it’s going to break anything that relies on
  329. <a href="">Protocol Buffers</a> (everyone says “protobufs”).  Because they’re not textual and
  330. self-representing but binary and rely on an external schema to help software unpick the binary bits; and that doesn’t leave room for
  331. any old random new bits to be dropped into the top-level record.</p>
  332. <p>It turns out that some organizations have bought into protobufs heavily; for the purposes of this discussion it doesn’t matter
  333. what their reasons were, or whether those reasons were good.  So dealing with CloudEvents is going to be easier for them if they can
  334. rely on mapping back and forth between CloudEvents and JSON.  Which they can’t if extraneous “extensions” might show up at the top
  335. level.</p>
  336. <h2 id='p-1'>Lesson 1: The Internet isn’t abstract</h2>
  337. <p>I think the CloudEvents committee probably made a mistake when they went with the abstract-event formulation and the notion that
  338. it could have multiple representations.  Because that’s not how the Internet works. The key RFCs that define the important protocols
  339. don’t talk about sending abstract messages back and forth, they describe actual real byte patterns that make up IP packets and HTTP
  340. headers and email addresses and DNS messages and message payloads in XML and JSON.  And that’s as it should be.</p>
  341. <p>Time after time, people have got the idea of sharing abstract objects across the Internet, and time after time it’s led to
  342. problems of one sort or another. There was a time when a lot of people thought that something like
  343. <a href="">CORBA</a> or
  344. <a href="">DCOM</a> or
  345. <a href="">WCF</a> would make objects-on-the-wire not only possible but
  346. straightforward, and free us from the tyranny of thinking about the bits and bytes in message formats.  But as you may have noticed,
  347. those things are pretty well gone and the Web has outlived them; its klunky old ad-hoc tags and headers are how everything works,
  348. mostly.</p> <p>To make this concrete: If CNCF had started out saying “A CloudEvents is a bag of bits which is a JSON Text” or “…which is a
  349. protobuf message”, well, issue #294 just wouldn’t ever have arisen.  And neither choice would have been crazy.</p>
  350. <h2 id='p-2'>Lesson 2: S, E, and F</h2>
  351. <p>Bouldin’s <cite>Versioning is Hard</cite> introduces the “SEF Theorem” where “S” is for Structured, by which he means “you need
  352. an external schema and you can’t just throw in extra fields”, “E” is for Extensible, i.e. you can go ahead and put in unannounced
  353. foreign fields without changing versions, and “F” is for Forward Compatible, which means you can add versions without breaking
  354. existing dependencies.</p>
  355. <p>Given the choice, I’ll take “E” and “F” any day.  When you’re pumping messages around the Internet between heterogeneous
  356. codebases built by people who don’t know each other, shit is gonna happen. That’s the whole basis of the Web: You can safely ignore
  357. an HTTP header or HTML tag you don’t understand, and nothing breaks.  It’s great because it allows people to just try stuff out, and
  358. the useful stuff catches on while the bad ideas don’t break anything.</p>
  359. <h2 id='p-3'>So what happened?</h2>
  360. <p>The committee took the trade-off I like.  Which means you <em>can</em> extend CloudEvents pretty freely (good), but you
  361. <em>can’t</em> use protobufs and JSON interchangably and expect things to work (unfortunate).  This way is less brittle but a little
  362. harder to deal with.  Not gonna say that the right choice is a slam-dunk, but it is the right choice.</p>
  363. </div></content></entry>
  365. <entry>
  366. <title>Diversity &#x201c;Goals&#x201d;</title>
  367. <link href='' />
  368. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='4'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/08/15/Diversity-Goals#comments' />
  369. <id></id>
  370. <published>2018-08-15T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  371. <updated>2018-08-17T21:51:05-07:00</updated>
  372. <category scheme='' term='The World/Politics' />
  373. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  374. <category scheme='' term='Politics' />
  375. <category scheme='' term='Business' />
  376. <category scheme='' term='Business' />
  377. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>Many of us (s&#xad;peak&#xad;ing from the tech sec&#xad;tor where I work) think the sector&#x2019;s work&#xad;place di&#xad;ver&#xad;si&#xad;ty isn&#x2019;t very good. Specif&#xad;i&#xad;cal&#xad;ly, there aren&#x2019;t enough wom&#xad;en. Large com&#xad;pa&#xad;nies<span class="dashes"> &#x2009;&#x2014;</span> &#x2009;all the ones I&#x2019;ve worked for, any&#xad;how<span class="dashes"> &#x2009;&#x2014;</span> &#x2009;have goal&#xad;s, and  gen&#xad;er&#xad;al&#xad;ly work hard at meet&#xad;ing them.  Many com&#xad;pa&#xad;nies now say they care about di&#xad;ver&#xad;si&#xad;ty, and have goals around im&#xad;prov&#xad;ing it.  But im&#xad;prove&#xad;ment is painful&#xad;ly slow; why? Maybe part of it is that those aren&#x2019;t the same kind of &#x201c;goals&#x201d;.</div></summary>
  378. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  379. <p>Many of us (speaking from the tech sector where I work) think the sector’s workplace diversity isn’t very good. Specifically,
  380. there aren’t enough women.  
  381. Large companies<span class='dashes'> —</span> all the ones I’ve worked for, anyhow<span class='dashes'> —</span> have goals, and
  382. generally work hard at meeting them.
  383. Many companies now say they care about diversity, and have goals around improving it.
  384. But improvement is painfully slow; why? Maybe part of it is that those aren’t the same kind of “goals”.</p>
  385. <h2 id='p-1'>How business goals work</h2>
  386. <p>When I say “large companies have goals”, I mean that in a very specific way.  Each planning cycle, company groups
  387. and their managers take on a set of explicitly written-down goals for that planning cycle.  Goals are tracked in a
  388. simple database and at the end of the year, each group/manager gets a pass/fail on each.  The way that goals are defined
  389. and refined and agreed to and recorded and structured differs from place to place; at Google and several other big high-techs,
  390. they’re called
  391. <a href="">OKRs</a>.</p>
  392. <p>The percentage of goal completion that’s regarded as “good” also varies, but it’s never 100%. The idea is
  393. that your reach should exceed your grasp, and if you score 100 you might have been sandbagging, choosing insufficiently ambitious
  394. goals to make yourself look good.</p>
  395. <p>Goal completion is deadly serious business among most management types I’ve known, and the number has a real effect on
  396. career trajectory and thus compensation.  I don’t think it’s controversial to say that in business, those things matter a whole lot.</p>
  397. <p>Goals are sorted into “output goals” (example: $100M in sales for a product) and “input
  398. goals” (example: five customer visits per week by every salesperson).  They can be technical too, around things like
  399. uptime, latency, and trouble tickets.</p>
  400. <p>Input and output are not mutually exclusive.
  401. Input goals are at some level more “reasonable” because they are things that an organization controls directly.  Output goals are more
  402. aggressive, but also liberating because they turn teams loose to figure out what the best path is to getting that sales number or
  403. uptime or whatever.</p>
  404. <p>Generally, I like this management practice: Setting goals and measuring performance against them.  It drives
  405. clarity about what you’re trying to achieve and how well you’re doing.</p>
  406. <h2 id='p-2'>Diversity goal questions</h2>
  407. <p>Here’s a question: For any given company, do its diversity goals work like regular company goals?  That is to say,
  408. do they go into the percentage completion number?  The number that managers get judged on and rewarded for meeting?</p>
  409. <p>I actually don’t know what the answers would be for most high-techs, but I suspect it’s “Not often enough.”  I suspect that because
  410. the diversity numbers across the high-tech landscape are universally pretty bad, and because the people in management are
  411. generally, you know, pretty smart, and will come up with remarkably clever ways to meet the goals they’re getting judged on.</p>
  412. <p>I’ve also observed that while the numbers are unsatisfying in the large, there are teams who consistently manage to do better than
  413. others at hiring and retaining women. And by the way, anecdotally, those are <em>good</em> teams (with good managers); the
  414. kind who get things done and have low attrition rates and happy customers.</p>
  415. <p>Here’s another question: For diversity, should we be talking input or output goals?  I say: Why not
  416. both? I’m not expert on the state of the art in building diversity, but
  417. wherever we know what the equivalent of “five customer visits per week” is, let’s sign teams up for a few of those.
  418. And yeah, output goals. Let’s ask managers to double the proportion of women engineers, measure whether they do it or not, and
  419. leave the details to them.  The good ones will figure out a way to get there.</p>
  420. <p>It’s like this: If you claim you have diversity goals, but your managers’ careers don’t depend on their performance against those
  421. goals, you don’t really.</p>
  422. </div></content></entry>
  424. <entry>
  425. <title>Bye-bye Haida Gwaii</title>
  426. <link href='' />
  427. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='1'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/08/04/Haida-Gwaii-5#comments' />
  428. <id></id>
  429. <published>2018-08-04T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  430. <updated>2018-08-04T11:05:46-07:00</updated>
  431. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Photos' />
  432. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  433. <category scheme='' term='Photos' />
  434. <category scheme='' term='The World/Places/Haida Gwaii' />
  435. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  436. <category scheme='' term='Places' />
  437. <category scheme='' term='Haida Gwaii' />
  438. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>I&#x2019;m down to my last few pic&#xad;tures and sto&#xad;ries from our Ju&#xad;ly va&#xad;ca&#xad;tion in <a href=''>Hai&#xad;da Gwaii</a>  and <a href=''>Gwaii Haanas</a>.</div></summary>
  439. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  440. <p>I’m down to my last few pictures and stories from our July vacation in <a href="">Haida
  441. Gwaii</a> and
  442. <a href="">Gwaii Haanas</a>.</p>
  443. <img src="" alt="Two eagles in Gwaii Haanas" />
  444. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 200mm, 1/680 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  445. <p>Most of our stops were at old Haida village sites.  One of the highlights, aside from the totem poles, were the sites of the
  446. large houses; here’s a sample:</p>
  447. <img src="" alt="Site of large house at an old Haida Village" />
  448. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/350 sec at f/1.8, ISO 50</i></p></div>
  449. <p>The idea was, they dug down into the earth, then they put up a fair-size house on top.  The steps down to the floor would provide
  450. living and sleeping space; the fire would be in the middle.  The interior space was really impressive; there are cool old photos at the
  451. <a href="">Canadian Museum of History</a>.</p>
  452. <h2 id='p-1'>Skedans and the Hot Springs</h2>
  453. <p>Our first Haida-village-site stop was at
  454. <a href="">Skedans</a>; a couple of the locals told us it should be called Q’una, but the local
  455. Watchman (who was a woman) Carol Duck, called it “Skedans”, so I guess either works.  Carol was absolutely great, and here’s a
  456. story. While we were there, the weekly supply boat pulled up, and there was a lot of chaos while they were unloading their stuff.
  457. Carol climbed on the boat to visit with someone; when it was pulling out, I noticed she hadn’t come back and mentioned that to one
  458. of the locals.  He laughed and yelled at them and the boat turned around and brought her back. I guess one of the guys was her
  459. partner, because another man hollered out “he’s trying to take your woman away, just like one of those old Haida stories!” and
  460. there was a general outburst of hilarity; Carol (everyone called her “Duck”) wasn’t totally amused.</p>
  461. <p>Another stop worth mentioning is
  462. <a href="">Hotspring Island</a>, a totally ordinary little place except for the geothermal hot
  463. spring, downstream of which they’ve built a bunch of hot tubs, just above a sandy beach, so you can do the “chill your ass in the
  464. North Pacific, then bake it in the hot sulphurous water” thing. A totally relaxing place to stop for lunch.</p>
  465. <p>While we were there, an RCMP police boat pulled up, with a couple of personable young officers; they’d been on a training patrol up
  466. and down the remote, stormblown west coast of Haida Gwaii, and broken their boat in a couple of places.  In distant communities like
  467. Haida Gwaii, the RCMP usually sends in ignorant junior white boys for four-year postings, then rotates them out as they begin to
  468. grow a clue or two.</p>
  469. <p>After they left, I was shooting the shit with two Haida tour-guide guys, and it was a little tense until we discovered that we
  470. all mostly hold the RCMP in contempt. There’s the part where too many of their arestees die in captivity, the part where they
  471. systematically harass their female employees, the part where the leadership was embezzling the retirement funds, the part where they
  472. taser ignorant confused immigrants to death in Vancouver airport, and<span class='dashes'> —</span> particularly relevant in that
  473. context<span class='dashes'> —</span> the part where our indigenous people have come to regard them, generally, as the enemy.</p>
  474. <p>Back to our vacation.  One thing I want to highlight is the general wonderfulness of cruising from island to island in a small
  475. boat, every moment a feast for the eyes; I’m talking about the quality of light, and the textures of the trees and the stones and
  476. the water. Here are a few random snaps from in the boat.</p>
  477. <img src="" alt="Little water cave in Haida Gwaii" />
  478. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/750 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51</i></p></div>
  479. <img src="" alt="Water and cave in Haida Gwaii" />
  480. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/530 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51</i></p></div>
  481. <img src="" alt="Gwaii Haanas waterfront" />
  482. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 55mm, 1/680 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200;<br/>processed with Silver Efex</i></p></div>
  483. <img src="" alt="Gwaii Haanas seawater, very clear" />
  484. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/1900 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51</i></p></div>
  485. <img src="" alt="Trees at the edge of an island, Gwaii Haanas" />
  486. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 55mm, 1/200 sec at f/4.5, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  487. <img src="" alt="Marine life in Gwaii Haanas" />
  488. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 67mm, 1/200 sec at f/7.1, ISO 2500</i></p></div>
  489. <p>It’s worth noting that those last two pictures are from the exact same spot, beside a random tiny island, looking up at the trees
  490. then down at the urchins and anemones.  It helps that a Zodiac can float right up to the edge of a rocky island, that this is
  491. basically a fjord so there’s lots of water right up to the edge, and that our guide Marilyn was an awesome boat pilot.</p>
  492. <h2 id='p-2'>Windy Bay</h2>
  493. <p>It’s another old Haida village site, but here’s the view coming in; there’s a new big house and totem pole.</p>
  494. <img src="" alt="Windy Bay on Lyell Island" />
  495. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 67mm, 1/210 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  496. <p>This is on
  497. <a href="">Lyell Island</a>, Athlii Gwaii, a special place. It’s beautiful, like many
  498. islands on Gwaii Haanas, but it was the site, starting in 1985, of a pitched battle between the Haida and some supporting greens on
  499. one side, and the logging industry, which was hell-bent on monetizing every old-growth tree in the hemisphere.  72 citizens were
  500. arrested but they won, and launched the process that led to the creation of Gwaii Haanas.  I’m in awe, full of gratitude for those
  501. people and their work, and you should be too.</p>
  502. <p>Here are a couple of shots of the totem pole.</p>
  503. <img src="" alt="Totem pole at Windy Bay on Lyell Island" />
  504. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/3900 sec at f/1.8, ISO 55</i></p></div>
  505. <img src="" alt="Totem pole at Windy Bay at Lyell Island" />
  506. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 78mm, 1/750 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  507. <p>The Haida Watchman there at Windy bay was Henry Tyler (everyone calls him “Tyler”) and when we went into the big house, he told
  508. us stories of the Athlii Gwaii protest action (they sent in Haida RCMP officers to arrest their own elders, thinking that would
  509. help) and then took out a drum and sang the Athlii Gwaii song which, he said, is becoming the Haida national anthem. It was a moment
  510. of wrenching beauty. Thank you Tyler, and good luck to you and your people.</p>
  511. <p>Time moves on, and the old totems that haven’t fallen yet will, but as you can see, the world has new totems too.  And then, this
  512. is happening.</p>
  513. <img src="" alt="Tree on fallen totem pole, Haida Gwaii" />
  514. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/1500 sec at f/1.8, ISO 50</i></p></div>
  515. </div></content></entry>
  517. <entry>
  518. <title>Why Serverless?</title>
  519. <link href='' />
  520. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='3'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/31/Serverless-Economics#comments' />
  521. <id></id>
  522. <published>2018-07-31T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  523. <updated>2018-08-02T18:36:31-07:00</updated>
  524. <category scheme='' term='Technology/Cloud' />
  525. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  526. <category scheme='' term='Cloud' />
  527. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>We were ar&#xad;gu&#xad;ing <a href=''>at work</a>  about dif&#xad;fer&#xad;ent modes of com&#xad;put&#xad;ing, and it dawned on me that the big ar&#xad;gu&#xad;ments for go&#xad;ing   server&#xad;less are <em>busi&#xad;ness</em>  ar&#xad;gu&#xad;ments, not re&#xad;al&#xad;ly technology-centric at al&#xad;l. Maybe ev&#xad;ery&#xad;one else al&#xad;ready no&#xad;ticed.</div></summary>
  528. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  529. <p>We were arguing
  530. <a href="">at work</a> about different modes of computing, and it dawned on me that the big arguments for going
  531. serverless are <em>business</em> arguments, not really technology-centric at all.  Maybe everyone else already noticed.</p>
  532. <p>[Disclosure: Not only do I work at AWS, but as of earlier this year I’m actually part of the Serverless group.  I still spend
  533. most of my time working on messaging and eventing and workflows, but that’s serverless too.]</p>
  534. <p>Now, here are a few compelling (to me, anyhow) arguments for serverless computing:</p>
  535. <ol>
  536. <li><p><i>Capacity Planning</i>. It’s hard.  It’s easy to get wrong.  The penalties for being wrong on the high side are wasted
  537. investment, and on the low side abused customers. Serverless says: “Don’t do that.”</p></li>
  538. <li><p><i>Exploit Avoidance</i>. There are no sure bets in this world, but one very decent weapon against next week’s Spectre or
  539. Heartbleeed or whatever is: Keep your hosts up to date on their patch levels.  Serverless says: “Run functions on hosts that get
  540. recycled all the time and don’t linger unpatched.”</p></li>
  541. <li><p><i>Elastic Billing</i>. There are a few servers
  542. out there, not that many, running apps that keep their hardware busy doing useful work all the time.  But whether it’s on-prem or in
  543. the cloud, you’re normally paying even when the app’s not working. Serverless says “Bill by the tenth of a second.”</p></li>
  544. </ol>
  545. <h2 id='p-3'>Technology still matters</h2>
  546. <p>Now, when we get into an argument about whether some app or service should be built serverlessly or using traditional hosts, the
  547. trade-offs get very technical very fast.  How much caching do you need to do?  How do you manage your database connections?  Do you
  548. need shard affinity?  What’s the idempotency story?</p>
  549. <p>But some of the big reasons why you <em>want</em> to go serverless, whenever you can, aren’t subtle and at the end of the day
  550. they’re not really technical.</p>
  551. <h2 id='p-4'>This is a new thing</h2>
  552. <p>I’m a greybeard and have seen a lot of technology waves roll through. By and large, what’s driven the big changes are
  553. <em>technical</em> advantages:  PCs let you recompute huge spreadsheets at a keystroke, in seconds. Java came with a pretty big, pretty
  554. good library, so your code crashed less.  The Web let you deliver a rich GUI without having to write client-side software.</p>
  555. <p>But Serverless isn’t entirely alone. The other big IT wave I’ve seen that was in large part economics driven was the public
  556. cloud. You could, given sufficient time and resources, build whatever you needed to on-prem; but on the Cloud you could do it
  557. without making big capital bets or fighting legacy IT administrators.</p>
  558. <p>Serverless, cloud, it all goes together.</p>
  559. </div></content></entry>
  561. <entry>
  562. <title>Ninstints and Koyah</title>
  563. <link href='' />
  564. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='1'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/25/Ninstints-and-Koyah#comments' />
  565. <id></id>
  566. <published>2018-07-25T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  567. <updated>2018-07-27T09:47:11-07:00</updated>
  568. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Photos' />
  569. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  570. <category scheme='' term='Photos' />
  571. <category scheme='' term='The World/Places/Haida Gwaii' />
  572. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  573. <category scheme='' term='Places' />
  574. <category scheme='' term='Haida Gwaii' />
  575. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>On the sec&#xad;ond day of our Hai&#xad;da Gwaii ex&#xad;cur&#xad;sion, our long morn&#xad;ing Zo&#xad;di&#xad;ac stage start&#xad;ed just out&#xad;side the park (the green zone on <a href=',-131.6486403,10.09z'>this map</a>), head&#xad;ed through in&#xad;te&#xad;ri&#xad;or chan&#xad;nels and then out  in&#xad;to the He&#xad;cate Strait around the bot&#xad;tom right of Mores&#xad;by Is&#xad;land, where we saw the seals and whales pic&#xad;tured pre&#xad;vi&#xad;ous&#xad;ly here, then  turn&#xad;ing west along the bot&#xad;tom of Mores&#xad;by through the <a href=''>Hous&#xad;ton Ste&#xad;wart Chan&#xad;nel</a>  and end&#xad;ing up at the place you can see  marked &#x201c;Ninstints&#x201d; near the bot&#xad;tom cen&#xad;ter of the map. It has sev&#xad;er&#xad;al oth&#xad;er names but to the lo&#xad;cals it&#x2019;s SG&#x331;ang Gwaay  Llana&#xad;gaay; they drop the third word so it sounds like Sgang&#xad;way. The place is among the most amaz&#xad;ing I&#x2019;ve vis&#xad;it&#xad;ed.</div></summary>
  576. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  577. <p>On the second day of our Haida Gwaii excursion, our long morning Zodiac stage started just outside the park (the green zone on
  578. <a href=",-131.6486403,10.09z">this map</a>), headed through interior channels and then out
  579. into the Hecate Strait around the bottom right of Moresby Island, where we saw the seals and whales pictured previously here, then
  580. turning west along the bottom of Moresby through the
  581. <a href="">Houston Stewart Channel</a> and ending up at the place you can see
  582. marked “Ninstints” near the bottom center of the map. It has several other names but to the locals it’s SG̱ang Gwaay
  583. Llanagaay; they drop the third word so it sounds like Sgangway.  The place is among the most amazing I’ve visited.</p>
  584. <p>Cartographers call this “Anthony Island”;
  585. <a href="">here’s a zoomed-in map</a>.  This is not on the scary but somewhat sheltered mainland-facing
  586. coast, it’s the last land on the Western fringe before you’re on the broad open Pacific, next stop Japan.  Marilyn beached the
  587. Zodiac in the little islet-sheltered bay wedged into the north corner facing northwest; here’s a picture looking back out that bay.</p>
  588. <img src="" alt="Little bay on Anthony Island, Gwaii Haanas" />
  589. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/420 sec at f/8, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  590. <p>We started with lunch; it’d been a long ride.  What a picnic spot! Then we strolled across the island to the Watchmen’s cottage,
  591. the place marked on the map linked above as a
  592. UNESCO World Heritage site.</p>
  593. <img src="" alt="Walking across SG̱ang Gwaay in Gwaii Haanas" />
  594. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/60 sec at f/8, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  595. <p>That walk was totally out of Tolkien; words cannot begin to describe the savage beauty of those big weathered trees and
  596. the mossy forest floor between them, the quality of light and of air.</p>
  597. <p>The Watchmen were not on their best form; one of them had had to be helicoptered out the night before, probably gallstones. But
  598. still, welcoming.  The watch house faces east, away from the Pacific, and is on a bay nearly 100% sheltered by an islet whose
  599. trees have been miniaturized by the winds and exposure, natural bonsai.</p>
  600. <img src="" alt="Natural Bonsai at SG̱ang Gwaay in Gwaii Haanas" />
  601. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/480 sec at f/8, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  602. <p>Then we visited the old village site; the path down there is another walk through fantasy.</p>
  603. <img src="" alt="Path to the SG̱ang Gwaay village site in Gwaii Haaans" />
  604. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/60 sec at f/1.8, ISO 173</i></p></div>
  605. <p>Many of the totem poles are still standing, deeply weathered of course. I’m betting they’ll be
  606. upright maybe another decade, maybe less; so if you want to see them, get on it.</p>
  607. <img src="" alt="Totem pole at the SG̱ang Gwaay village site in Gwaii Haaans" />
  608. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/600 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51</i></p></div>
  609. <img src="" alt="Standing totems at the SG̱ang Gwaay village site in Gwaii Haaans" />
  610. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/350 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  611. <h2 id='p-1'>“Ninstints”</h2>
  612. <p>Back in the day, gringos like my ancestors tended to name each village they visited after its chief.  And therein lies a
  613. tale. I’m going to give it to you as I got it from Marilyn and then from James, of James and James, guides for another touring party
  614. we met at another site; Haidas both of them.  It seems roughly congruent with what Wikipedia and its sources say:</p>
  615. <blockquote><p>Koyah was the chief at SG̱ang Gwaay; he was a famous war leader and trader. He was trading with an English ship
  616. captain when one of his followers stole items from the ship.  The captain was enraged, seized
  617. Koyah, abused him, and eventually released him from the ship with his hair cut off.  After that, he had no status in the
  618. village<span class='dashes'> —</span> the women rejected him<span class='dashes'> —</span> and they brought in Ninstints to be the
  619. chief.</p>
  620. <p>But Koyah was enraged at his loss of status and wanted to win it back.  He went back to war, raiding here and there, over and
  621. over again, and finally, an old man, managed to sink one American and one British ship.  After that, his status was considered
  622. restored.</p></blockquote>
  623. <p>For details, see
  624. <a href="">Wikipedia</a> and the
  625. <a href="">Dictionary of Canadian Biography</a>.</p>
  626. <p>I’m not going to expand on Haida culture, except that it featured trading, war, slavery, and especially
  627. <a href="">Potlatches</a>, a thing that it’s worth reading about.
  628. One wonders how much of a fight they might have offered against the British had not smallpox wiped 90% of them out, emptying the
  629. villages; nobody but the Watchmen are there now.</p>
  630. <p>Below, the remains of one of the big houses at the village site.</p>
  631. <img src="" alt="At the SG̱ang Gwaay village site, Gwaii Haanas" />
  632. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/1250 sec at f/1.8, ISO 50</i></p></div>
  633. <p>After, we left the village site and scrambled around the north part of the island to a point where there was a view west, out
  634. toward the open Pacific.</p>
  635. <img src="" alt="View west from Anthony Island, Gwaii Haanas" />
  636. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/7800 sec at f/1.8, ISO 63</i></p></div>
  637. <p>We had to climb up on a big rock outcropping for the view, and it was another dose of magic, maritime in flavor this time.
  638. In a crack, under water, were shells smashed on the rocks by gulls preparing their dinner.</p>
  639. <img src="" alt="Seashells in a pool in Gwaii Haaanas" />
  640. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/220 sec at f/3.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  641. <p>Of course Marilyn knew the name of the snail species, but I’ve forgotten it.  I’ll never forget standing on that rock, the
  642. never-logged forest behind, the Pacific in front; a very pure place.</p>
  643. <p>Our time on the island was too short; my thanks once again to the Haida Nation in general for co-management of the park, and to
  644. the watchmen at SG̱ang Gwaay for having us.</p>
  645. <h2 id='p-2'>Rose Harbour</h2>
  646. <p>After, the boat ride back to our night’s lodging was a short double-back to
  647. <a href=",_British_Columbia">Rose Harbour</a>. [Side-note: That’s just the second Wikipedia
  648. entry that I’ve created.]</p>
  649. <p>It’s the only enclave of privately-owned land in the vast park, originally set up as a whaling
  650. station around 1910, then vacated in the Forties.  Now, it’s the one place in Gwaii Haanas where visitors can sleep in a bed under
  651. a roof, eat food that someone else cooked, and have a hot shower, its water heated by a wood fire.</p>
  652. <p>As we passed earlier in the day, we went by a little old aluminium skiff going the other way; Marilyn said “That’s the girls,
  653. heading out after supper.” Later at the communal table we ate those ling cod with vegetables out of the Rose Harbour gardens.  It
  654. was spicy and fresh and totally excellent, as were the pancakes the next morning.  Here’s the guest-house.</p>
  655. <img src="" alt="Guest-house at Rose Harbour, Haida Gwaii" />
  656. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/11800 sec at f/1.8, ISO 103</i></p></div>
  657. <p>The rooms were tiny but comfy, the stairs up to them like ladders; I’m sure that’s how it is in Elven residences. There was no
  658. electricity. There were
  659. immense whale-bones on the beach. The wood-heated shower was delightful. The outdoor loos were not the best.</p>
  660. <p>Rose Harbour’s most visible inhabitant (and our host), Tassilo Götz Hanisch, a voluble white-maned patriarch,
  661. is <a href="">a musician</a>.  He and the other residents of Rose Harbour have a strained relationship
  662. with Parks Canada, who’d like them gone and the park, from their point of view, made whole.  Götz says millions have been
  663. offered. He informed me at considerable length about the
  664. malignant but inept turpitude of his adversaries.</p>
  665. <p>I didn’t get to hear their side. I guess, at one level, I can see the argument. But I have to say that I think
  666. it’s a good thing that Gwaii Haanas has a place that offers a bed and a meal to travelers neither athletic and accomplished enough to kayak, nor rich enough to
  667. have a cruising yacht. And the hospitality (excepting the loos) is damn fine.</p>
  668. <p>Here’s a sunset from Rose Harbour.</p>
  669. <img src="" alt="Sunset at Rose Harbour, Haida Gwaii" />
  670. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/210 sec at f/3.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  671. </div></content></entry>
  673. <entry>
  674. <title>Photographing Haida Gwaii</title>
  675. <link href='' />
  676. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='0'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/22/Haida-Gwaii-3#comments' />
  677. <id></id>
  678. <published>2018-07-22T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  679. <updated>2018-07-24T19:25:33-07:00</updated>
  680. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Photos' />
  681. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  682. <category scheme='' term='Photos' />
  683. <category scheme='' term='The World/Places/Haida Gwaii' />
  684. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  685. <category scheme='' term='Places' />
  686. <category scheme='' term='Haida Gwaii' />
  687. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>The pho&#xad;to&#xad;graph&#xad;ic land&#xad;scape is shift&#xad;ing un&#xad;der us. I took four lens&#xad;es to Hai&#xad;da Gwai&#xad;i, as&#xad;sum&#xad;ing you count the Pix&#xad;el 2 as one of them, and you should; that&#x2019;s the land&#xad;scape shift. The &#x201c;real&#x201d; lens&#xad;es:</div></summary>
  688. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  689. <p>The photographic landscape is shifting under us. I took four lenses to Haida Gwaii, assuming you count the Pixel 2 as
  690. one of them, and you should; that’s the landscape shift.  The “real” lenses:</p>
  691. <ol>
  692. <li><p>Fujifilm
  693. <a href="">35mm F1.4</a>, my favorite lens I’ve ever owned. Also one of Fuji’s cheapest; goes to show
  694. something or other.</p></li>
  695. <li><p>Fufifilm
  696. <a href="">55-200mm F3.5-4.8</a>. Super-useful zoom range, could be faster, but then it’d be heavier.</p></li>
  697. <li><p>Samyang
  698. <a href="">135mm F/2.0</a>, which I’ve blogged about a lot here; a difficult, beautiful, opinionated tool.</p></li>
  699. </ol>
  700. <p>Let’s start with a case study; some old weathered Haida totems on the beach at
  701. <a href="">SG̱ang Gwaay</a>, an astonishing place that deserves its own write-up.  Here’s the
  702. 35mm version from back a bit:</p>
  703. <img src="" alt="Totems at SG̱ang Gwaay" />
  704. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/90 sec at f/8, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  705. <p>I thought the grouchy totem at the right was the most interesting, and realized this was
  706. the kind of situation the Samyang was made for, and shot again.</p>
  707. <img src="" alt="Grouchy totem at SG̱ang Gwaay" />
  708. <div class='caption'><p><i>Samyang 135F2, 1/300 sec at unknown aperture, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  709. <p>From this we learn that the 35mm is wonderful at replicating what you saw during that moment when you were thinking “Wow, that’s
  710. beautiful’, and a long lens is just the ticket for composing detail shots at a distance.</p>
  711. <h2 id='p-1'>But…</h2>
  712. <p>The problem is logistics.  The Samyang is great when I go out for a nice leisurely walk looking for dramatic
  713. bokeh-laden detail shots.  But when you’re switching from bouncy Zodiac to soft beach sand to scrambling over drift-logs to forest
  714. floor, carrying multiple lenses along and changing them really sucks, and so a wide-ish range zoom is just the ticket.
  715. Next time I do something like this I won’t take the Samyang.</p>
  716. <p>But to its credit, it did a fab job on this Haida Watchman fire, which was producing some of the nicest-smelling smoke I’ve
  717. encountered.</p>
  718. <img src="" alt="Fire detail in Gwaii Haanas" />
  719. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, Samyang 135F2, 1/900 sec at unknown aperture, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  720. <p>But in terms of outperforming expectations… Wow, that Pixel.  Let me show off a bit.</p>
  721. <img src="" alt="Fallen totem in Gwai Haanas" />
  722. <img src="" alt="Forest fringe in Gwaii Haanas" />
  723. <img src="" alt="Stone flowers in Gwaii Haanas" />
  724. <img src="" alt="Mossy-laden trees in Gwaii Haanas" />
  725. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/400 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51;
  726. 1/1250 sec at f/1.8, ISO 56;
  727. 1/120 sec at f/1.8, ISO 52;
  728. 1/320 sec at f/1.8, ISO 50</i></p></div>
  729. <p>Don’t know about you, but I think the capture of detail and color is awesome.  And unless you’re doing professional magazine or
  730. display work, here’s a news flash: You don’t need a wide-angle lens any more on your “real” camera.</p>
  731. <p>Here’s another nice Pixel pic, and then the results of pointing the long lens at the same scene.</p>
  732. <img src="" alt="Crescent Inlet, Haida Gwaii" />
  733. <img src="" alt="Crescent Inlet, Haida Gwaii" />
  734. <div class='caption'><p>Above: <i>Pixel 2, 1/1150 sec at f/1.8, ISO 60</i>;
  735. Below: <i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 55mm, 1/250 sec at f/3.5, ISO 200</i>
  736. </p></div>
  737. <p>In the boat, I kept my waterproof knapsack by my side with the Fuji, 55-200mm strapped on, near the top. I could get it out and
  738. shoot fast, and there was really no other reasonable lens choice. I always had the Pixel in my vest pocket; just had to undo a
  739. couple of layers of waterproof and I could have it ready almost as fast.</p>
  740. <p>But that sweet little beat-up old 35mm remains my heart-throb. Point it at something interesting and it’ll almost never be the
  741. limiting factor in the quality of what you get.</p>
  742. <img src="" alt="Voyagers examining trees in Gwaii Haanas" />
  743. <img src="" alt="Natural bonsai in Gwaii Haanas" />
  744. <img src="" alt="Tree base in Gwaii Haanas" />
  745. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/125 sec at f/8; 1/480 sec at f/8; 1/250 sec at F5.6. All ISO 200.</i>
  746. </p></div>
  747. <p>I was reasonably happy with the results. But there’s a problem: The diminutive Fujifilm body is just kind of klunky and awkward
  748. with a long lens attached, even a relatively svelte one like the 55-200mm.  Now, everybody knows that We Must Suffer For Our Art and
  749. since we’re talking metal and glass here, there’s not much relief on the horizon. But my wrists and neck got camera-sore.</p>
  750. <p>One other person in the party had a Nikon SLR with an all-purpose zoom strapped on.  Another had one of the “tourist” cameras
  751. with a built-in massive-range zoom.  And there were a few old-school point and shoots.  It’s not obvious that any of the above were
  752. a worse choice than what I took.</p>
  753. <p>Final note: Haida Gwaii is more often dim, grey, and wet than bright and sunny as in my photos. We got seriously lucky. I wonder if
  754. shooting wet and under clouds would change the equation any?</p>
  755. </div></content></entry>
  757. <entry>
  758. <title>How To Visit Haida Gwaii</title>
  759. <link href='' />
  760. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='0'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/21/Haida-Gwaii-2#comments' />
  761. <id></id>
  762. <published>2018-07-21T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  763. <updated>2018-07-21T14:37:08-07:00</updated>
  764. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Photos' />
  765. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  766. <category scheme='' term='Photos' />
  767. <category scheme='' term='The World/Places/Haida Gwaii' />
  768. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  769. <category scheme='' term='Places' />
  770. <category scheme='' term='Haida Gwaii' />
  771. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>It looks re&#xad;mote <a href=''>on the map</a>  and it is, but it&#x2019;s not that hard to get to. The big rea&#xad;son to go is <a href=''>Gwaii Haanas</a>, the huge south&#xad;ern Canada/Haida-Nation park. It <em>is</em>   re&#xad;al&#xad;ly hard to get to and, since it&#x2019;s a large ex&#xad;panse of rocky is&#xad;land&#xad;s, hard to get around in. But you can do it.</div></summary>
  772. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  773. <p>It looks remote
  774. <a href="">on the map</a> and it is, but it’s not that hard to get to.  The big reason to go is
  775. <a href="">Gwaii Haanas</a>, the huge southern Canada/Haida-Nation park.  It <em>is</em>
  776. really hard to get to and, since it’s a large expanse of rocky islands, hard to get around in.  But you can do it.</p>
  777. <h2 id='p-1'>The rest of Haida Gwaii</h2>
  778. <p>I mean, outside the park.  It’s beautiful and has roads and bridges and ferries so you can drive around and see it.
  779. We only allowed a single day and that was a mistake; you need two.  We spent it driving from
  780. <a href=",_British_Columbia">Sandspit</a>, where the flights from
  781. Vancouver land and the tours to Gwai Haanas jump off, taking the ferry from Moresby to Graham islands, north through
  782. <a href="">Skidegate</a> and
  783. <a href="">Tlell</a> and
  784. <a href="">Masset</a> to
  785. <a href="">Tow Hill</a>, a huge chunk of volcanic rock with a nice boardwalk to the top. Here
  786. it is:</p>
  787. <img src="" alt="Tow Head, Haida Gwaii" />
  788. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/300 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  789. <p>Those are big trees. Which is to say, it’s a big rock!  Here are views looking down, then south, then north; in the last, you can
  790. see the Alaska panhandle on the horizon.</p>
  791. <img src="" alt="Looking down from Tow Hill, Haida Gwaii" />
  792. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 95mm, 1/280 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  793. <img src="" alt="Looking south from Tow Hill, Haida Gwaii" />
  794. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/3900 sec at f/1.8, ISO 53</i></p></div>
  795. <img src="" alt="Looking north from Tow Hill, Haida Gwaii" />
  796. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/3900 sec at f/1.8, ISO 68</i></p></div>
  797. <p>Tow Head is great, and we enjoyed the rural old-fashioned-ness of Masset, and stopped a couple of times at really beautiful
  798. places on the way up and back.  Also, someone had left the Beatles’ <cite>White Album</cite> 2nd CD in the rental car, so that was
  799. nice. But getting from Sandspit up to the top of the island and back took the whole day.  So we didn’t get to take in the
  800. <a href="">Museum</a> and
  801. <a href="">Haida Heritage Centre</a>, which everyone says is fabulous; and it might have given us a
  802. little context for our conversation with the Haida people we met in the park.</p>
  803. <h2 id='p-2'>The park</h2>
  804. <p>There are basically three ways to visit the park.  First, if you’re a super-athletic, super-skilled, super-courageous ocean
  805. kayaker, you can camp on any random beach and get about as close as possible to nature. We saw several parties of kayakers, and I’m
  806. in awe of what they’re doing.  Second, if you’re wealthy enough to have a boat that can make it across the 70 scary km of the Hecate
  807. Strait from the mainland, and competent enough to drive it and moor it, that looks like a good option.</p>
  808. <p>But what most people do, and
  809. what we did, was take a guided tour, in our case guided by
  810. <a href="">Moresby Explorers</a> (the pictures on the front page of their Web site are nicely
  811. representative of what you see).  Normally I’m not much for guided tours, but this was great; in a four-day outing we saw a whole
  812. lot of the park. And also our guide
  813. <a href="">Marilyn Deschênes</a> was beyond awesome. Her knowledge of boat
  814. piloting, geology, birds, fish, trees, and Native culture, along with her energy, was effectively infinite.  
  815. Moresby’s price, which included three nights lodging and all the meals, seemed very reasonable.  Here was our route.</p>
  816. <img src="" alt="Our route through Gwaii Haanas" />
  817. <h2 id='p-3'>Zodiac touring</h2>
  818. <p>Here’s how it works. First, you put on a T-shirt and shirt and fleece and raincoat; then Moresby gives you heavy waterproof
  819. overalls and coat and gumboots.  Then you climb on to a 12-seat open-top Zodiac, and after your pilot has warmed things up, she
  820. cranks it up to 30 or 40 knots (in the 60km/h or 40mph range) and you blast away across the Pacific. Even on a warm day you totally
  821. need all those layers. Of course, you feel sort of like the Michelin Man, and every time you stop you have to budget ten minutes for
  822. climbing out of the waterproofs and back in.  The Zodiac has a reasonably comfy padded bench to sit on which doubles as waterproof
  823. storage for your overnight stuff.</p>
  824. <p>In between visits to Haida village sites and their
  825. <a href="">Watchmen</a>, there are stops at random beaches for
  826. lunch, snacks, or just to visit an interesting tree.  Basically every one of these stops is breathtakingly beautiful.  Here’s a
  827. picture of our Zodiac pulled up, people still in Michelin-Man mode; then a couple of random shots from places where we pulled up for
  828. snacks or whatever.</p>
  829. <img src="" alt="Walking up a beach in Gwaii Haanas" />
  830. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/2300 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51</i></p></div>
  831. <img src="" alt="Lushness behind a beach in Gwaii Haanas" />
  832. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 5000</i></p></div>
  833. <img src="" alt="Trees behind a beach in Gwaii Haanas" />
  834. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/4700 sec at f/1.8, ISO 78</i></p></div>
  835. <p>When you’re blasting around on the Zodiac, you see lots of beautiful scenery:</p>
  836. <img src="" alt="Big rocks in Gwaii Haanas" />
  837. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/7800 sec at f/1.8, ISO 83</i></p></div>
  838. <img src="" alt="Small wooded island in Gwaii Haanas" />
  839. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 110mm, 1/680 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  840. <img src="" alt="Tidelines in Gwaii Haanas" />
  841. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/730 sec at f/1.8, ISO 51</i></p></div>
  842. <p>Check out the tide-lines on that bottom picture; there are 10m of tide!</p>
  843. <p>The other thing you see is wildlife. Let’s start with an eagle, of which there are plenty up there; this picture is mostly about
  844. the trees.</p>
  845. <img src="" alt="Eagle in Haida Gwaii" />
  846. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 95mm, 1/210 sec at f/5.0, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  847. <p>Next, a little island full of
  848. <a href="">Steller Sea Lions</a>.
  849. They were fun to watch, but what struck me hardest was the sound and the smell.  Anywhere within a couple of hundred meters, the
  850. melodious rough-edged basso bellowing was a continuous flow; then as we maneuvered around their rock, Marilyn said “we don’t want to
  851. stay downwind too long” and indeed, the smell was as multidimensional as the sound; phew!</p>
  852. <img src="" alt="Steller Sea Lions in Gwaii Haanas" />
  853. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 190mm, 1/2200 sec at f/4.8, ISO 250</i></p></div>
  854. <p>And then, humpback whales, of which we saw at least three.  My big take-away here is the swooshy “Ooooooh” they make breathing,
  855. audible a long way off.  Sorry, the pictures aren’t up to much, because there was some sort of marine-food flurry going on with a
  856. horde of seagulls circling and squawking; those whales were too busy chowing down to show off.</p>
  857. <img src="" alt="Humpback whale fins in Gwaii Haanas" />
  858. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 200mm, 1/2900 sec at f/5.6, ISO 250</i></p></div>
  859. <img src="" alt="Humpback whale back in Gwaii Hanas" />
  860. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 200mm, 1/3000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  861. <p>And finally, a
  862. <a href="">fried egg jellyfish (<i>Phacellophora camtschatica</i>)</a>;
  863. these things are freaking immense, the best part of a meter across.</p>
  864. <img src="" alt="Fried egg jellyfish in Gwaii Haanas" />
  865. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 78mm, 1/450 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  866. <p>The white things are cloud reflections.</p>
  867. <p>We stayed for two nights at Moresby Explorers’ floating lodge in
  868. <a href=",-131.8477282,12.84z">Crescent Inlet</a>; a fine comfy place where they gave us a
  869. delicious, hearty, meal; that jelly above was just off the porch.  Here’s the view from that porch as the sun sets, right side up
  870. and then reflected.</p>
  871. <img src="" alt="Crescent Inlet, Moresby Island, Haida Gwaii" />
  872. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/210 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  873. <img src="" alt="Crescent Inlet, Moresby Island, Haida Gwaii" />
  874. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/210 sec at f/3.6, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  875. <p>It’s a peaceful place.</p>
  876. </div></content></entry>
  878. <entry>
  879. <title>T&#x27;aanuu ll&#xad;na&#xad;gaay</title>
  880. <link href='' />
  881. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='2'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/20/Haida-Gwaii-1#comments' />
  882. <id></id>
  883. <published>2018-07-20T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  884. <updated>2018-07-21T10:26:31-07:00</updated>
  885. <category scheme='' term='The World/Places/Haida Gwaii' />
  886. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  887. <category scheme='' term='Places' />
  888. <category scheme='' term='Haida Gwaii' />
  889. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Photos' />
  890. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  891. <category scheme='' term='Photos' />
  892. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>On Fri&#xad;day Ju&#xad;ly 13th I was sit&#xad;ting un&#xad;der trees look&#xad;ing at the ocean and I thought &#x201c;This is maybe the nicest place I&#x2019;ve ev&#xad;er  been.&#x201d; The beach was at <a href=',_Canada'>Tanu</a>  (T&#x27;aanuu ll&#xad;na&#xad;gaay in the Hai&#xad;da lan&#xad;guage), which is <a href=''>here</a>. In front of me, the He&#xad;cate Strait, much hat&#xad;ed by West Coast  mariner&#xad;s. Be&#xad;hind me, the old Hai&#xad;da vil&#xad;lage site, with in&#xad;ter&#xad;est&#xad;ing <i>me&#xad;men&#xad;to mori</i>: a mass grave of fifty or so small&#xad;pox  vic&#xad;tim&#xad;s, and the beau&#xad;ti&#xad;ful mod&#xad;ern grave&#xad;stone of <a href=''>Bill Reid</a>. Flow&#xad;ing over me, a breeze of what struck me as the fresh&#xad;est,  cleanest, <cite>nicest</cite>  air I have ev&#xad;er breathed. This was on the last day of our Hai&#xad;da Gwai&#xad;i, uh, let me see, I can  hard&#xad;ly call it an ad&#xad;ven&#xad;ture af&#xad;ter all that. But it sort of was.</div></summary>
  893. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  894. <p>On Friday July 13th I was sitting under trees looking at the ocean and I thought “This is maybe the nicest place I’ve ever
  895. been.”  The beach was at
  896. <a href=",_Canada">Tanu</a> (T'aanuu llnagaay in the Haida language), which is
  897. <a href="">here</a>.  In front of me, the Hecate Strait, much hated by West Coast
  898. mariners. Behind me, the old Haida village site, with interesting <i>memento mori</i>: a mass grave of fifty or so smallpox
  899. victims, and the beautiful modern gravestone of
  900. <a href="">Bill Reid</a>.  Flowing over me, a breeze of what struck me as the freshest,
  901. cleanest, <cite>nicest</cite> air I have ever breathed.  This was on the last day of our Haida Gwaii, uh, let me see, I can
  902. hardly call it an adventure after all that.  But it sort of was.</p>
  903. <p><a href="">Haida Gwaii</a> is a waterspout-shaped
  904. <a href="">triangle of Islands</a> 70km off Canada’s left coast right up where it meets the Alaska
  905. Panhandle, a two-hour puddlejumper flight from Vancouver. Mostly it’s cool and grey and wet and stormy; but we soaked up five days
  906. of mild breezes, mostly sunlit, and came back  with pictures, but words have been hard to come by, they seem inadequate.</p>
  907. <p>I’ve pictures enough for a few entries, so I’ll talk about logistics and photography and so on later; today just
  908. Tanu.</p>
  909. <img src="" alt="Trees and beach at Tanu" />
  910. <div class='caption'><p><i>Pixel 2, 1/2300 sec at f/1.8, ISO 54</i></p></div>
  911. <p>Tanu is in
  912. <a href="">Gwaii Haanas</a> (officially:
  913. Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site); one of five Haida village sites where there’s a watch house staffed by
  914. <a href="">Haida Watchmen</a>, who’ll welcome you, give you a
  915. tour, and stamp your visitor book.  Some of the watchmen are women and all the ones we met were awfully nice.</p>
  916. <p>One of them at Tanu had her little niece visiting, a high-energy girl with a lovely native-flavored name; here she is
  917. with my daughter.</p>
  918. <img src="" alt="Girls at Tanu" />
  919. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/200 sec at f/1.8, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  920. <p>The Haida story, like that of darker-skinned aboriginal peoples wherever my pale ancestors showed up, is pretty sad: Disease,
  921. oppression, proselytization, expropriation.  I’ve heard it said, by white urbanites like me, that today the Haida nation is
  922. generally better off than many other First Nations; but don’t take my word for it.</p>
  923. <p>Here’s part of the old village site; house beams under that moss. Because of the mass smallpox grave, some of the Haida Watchmen
  924. don’t like to work here; there are ghost stories.  Bill Reid’s family requests that his grave not be photographed, but it’s a fine,
  925. modest, unassuming piece of work.</p>
  926. <img src="" alt="Part of the Tanu village site" />
  927. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/220 sec at f/5.0, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  928. <p>Should you ever visit Tanu (and you <em>should</em> if you get the slightest chance), here’s a tip. Walk down to the right
  929. (facing the sea) end of the beach, where there’s a little mossy rise with a few trees.</p>
  930. <img src="" alt="At the south end of the beach at Tanu" />
  931. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/105 sec at f/8.0, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  932. <p>Even better, take your sweetie along for some private time.</p>
  933. <p>For me the main attraction of Gwaii Haanas is the wonderful, wonderful trees and their forest-floor neighbors. Many of my
  934. pictures are about their huge scale, but they’re striking in the small as well.  Everything has moss on it.</p>
  935. <img src="" alt="Mossy tree at Tanu" />
  936. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/80 sec at f/4.0, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  937. <p>I’ll sign off with the same picture twice.</p>
  938. <img src="" alt="Ferns in context" />
  939. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/200 sec at f/4.0, ISO 200</i></p></div>
  940. <img src="" alt="Ferns in sun" />
  941. <div class='caption'><p><i>Fuji X-T2, XF35mmF1.4R, 1/60 sec at f/8.0, ISO 500</i></p></div>
  942. <p>Really, if you’re anywhere near the top left corner of the New World you should go visit Haida Gwaii. Next time out I’ll explain
  943. how.</p>
  944. </div></content></entry>
  946. <entry>
  947. <title>Jag Diary 3: What We Know</title>
  948. <link href='' />
  949. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='4'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/07/I-PACE-3#comments' />
  950. <id></id>
  951. <published>2018-07-07T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  952. <updated>2018-07-08T10:09:53-07:00</updated>
  953. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  954. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  955. <category scheme='' term='The World/Jaguar Diary' />
  956. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  957. <category scheme='' term='Jaguar Diary' />
  958. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>Between June 4th, when the first wave of re&#xad;views of the New Jag hit (off&#xad;i&#xad;cal&#xad;ly the I-PACE, what a dumb name) and the time the sales&#xad;man called me say&#xad;ing &#x201c;Time to sign the or&#xad;der if you want to be in the first wave&#x201d;, I had to de&#xad;cide whether to spend a lot of mon&#xad;ey on a car I&#x2019;d nev&#xad;er seen or touched. So I paid damn close at&#xad;ten&#xad;tion to those re&#xad;views. I&#x2019;m a crit&#xad;i&#xad;cal read&#xad;er, and sus&#xad;pi&#xad;cious about the mo&#xad;tives of prod&#xad;uct re&#xad;view&#xad;er&#xad;s, and I think the pic&#xad;ture that emerges is pret&#xad;ty clear. This post is to enu&#xad;mer&#xad;ate what I think it&#x2019;s pos&#xad;si&#xad;ble to know for sure about the car with&#xad;out hav&#xad;ing owned or even driv&#xad;en one.</div></summary>
  959. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  960. <p>Between June 4th, when the first wave of reviews of the New Jag hit (offically the I-PACE, what a dumb name) and the time the
  961. salesman called me saying “Time to sign the order if you want to be in the first wave”, I had to decide whether to spend a lot of
  962. money on a car I’d never seen or touched.  So I paid damn close attention to those reviews. I’m a critical reader, and suspicious
  963. about the motives of product reviewers, and I think the picture that emerges is pretty clear.  This post is to enumerate what I think it’s
  964. possible to know for sure about the car without having owned or even driven one.</p>
  965. <p>I’ll throw in a bunch of links down at the bottom to reviews that I think are particularly useful.</p>
  966. <h2 id='p-1'>Facts</h2>
  967. <ul>
  968. <li><p>The story starts in 2014, when Jag leadership decided to go all-in on a from-scratch electric model.  They put an integrated
  969. development team all in one room at the University of Warwick<span class='dashes'> —</span> not exactly traditional auto-biz
  970. practice<span class='dashes'> —</span> and eventually brought the new car from nothing to market in “only” four years, which is
  971. considered very good in that industry.</p></li>
  972. <li><p>It has two motors, one wrapped round each axle, with the space between full of battery, then the cabin perched on
  973. top. At moderate speeds, only the back wheels drive.</p></li>
  974. </ul>
  975. <img src="underneath.png" alt="Underneath" />
  976. <ul>
  977. <li><p>It’s almost all aluminium and, despite that, is still super-heavy (2100kg), mostly because of the battery.</p></li>
  978. <li><p>I’m not going to recite horsepower and torque numbers that I don’t understand, but people who do understand them sound
  979. impressed.</p></li>
  980. <li><p>I don’t understand charging issues well enough to have an intelligent opinion, but
  981. <a href="">Seth Weintraub</a> does, and
  982. <a href="">his review</a> is
  983. full of useful detail. Tl;dr: The range is competitive with other high-end electrics.</p></li>
  984. <li><p>It doesn’t have gears as such, just buttons: P, N, R, D.  The North American edition comes only with air suspension, and has
  985. a thing where you can elevate the car for a tricky driveway or rutted gravel, and it settles down automatically at high
  986. speeds. I gather the Euro model can be bought with springs.</p></li>
  987. <li><p>Another difference: The Euro model comes with either a standard or glass roof; in the New World it’s all-glass all the time.
  988. Personally, I’d prefer a layer of metal between me and the sun, but they claim it’s sufficiently shaded and
  989. UV-impervious.</p></li>
  990. <li><p>Electrics are super quiet inside so, if you want, the Jag will play you a spaceship-y acceleration sound that changes with
  991. the speed. Fortunately it’s optional; although one of the journos who took it out on the racetrack said he found it useful in
  992. situations where you don’t have time to look at the speedometer.</p></li>
  993. <li><p>There’s a screen behind the steering wheel where you can display speed and charge and maps and so on.  Front center, there’s
  994. a biggish (but not Tesla size) screen above for Infotainment, and a smaller one below for climate control.  On the subject of
  995. climate control, the console has a couple of actual physical knobs for that.</p></li>
  996. </ul>
  997. <img src="black-interior.png" alt="Black interior" />
  998. <img src="white-interior.png" alt="White interior" />
  999. <ul>
  1000. <li><p>It’s got a fair-size trunk at the back (the back seats fold down 60/40) and a tiny one under the front hood; someone
  1001. suggested it was just big enough to carry your cat.</p></li>
  1002. <li><p>As with most electrics, you can do one-pedal driving, where easing off the accelerator goes into regeneration mode and
  1003. provides enough breaking for all but exceptional circumstances.</p></li>
  1004. <li><p>You can actually take it off-road, up and down stupidly steep hills, through really deep puddles, and so on: The “LR” part of
  1005. JLR is Land Rover, and that part of the company knows something about those things.</p></li>
  1006. <li><p>There’s plenty of room inside for four big adults. The person in the middle of the back seat should be on the small
  1007. side.</p></li>
  1008. <li><p>Nobody has seen either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto at work, but the company claims that both will be supported.  My own Jag
  1009. dealer said he’d heard that they’d done the technology work were just doing licensing and payment.</p></li>
  1010. <li><p>It has a SIM slot and over-the-air software update.</p></li>
  1011. <li><p>You can equip it with a tow-bar and bike-rack and roof-rack.</p></li>
  1012. <li><p>It’s built, not by JLR themselves, but by
  1013. <a href="">Magna Steyr</a>, a contract manufacturer in Graz, Austria, that also builds
  1014. the Mercedes G-Class and BMW 5 Series.</p></li>
  1015. </ul>
  1016. <h2 id='p-2'>Things that are good</h2>
  1017. <ul>
  1018. <li><p>Everyone agrees that it’s a blast to drive.  What’s interesting is that the most common comment was “feels just like a
  1019. Tesla”. The <cite>Top Gear</cite> scribe pointed out, in a melancholy tone, that apparently all electric motors feel more or less
  1020. like all others.  This is a big change from the days of
  1021. internal-combustion engines, which have all sorts of personality.  It’s fast, maneuverable, and comfortable.</p></li>
  1022. <li><p>The one-pedal driving mode takes a bit of getting used to but all the journos ended up loving it, and assuming that pretty
  1023. everyone would use it all the time.</p></li>
  1024. <li><p>The seats are said to be super-comfortable.</p></li>
  1025. <li><p>It has all the bells and whistles and technology gadgets anyone could want.</p></li>
  1026. <li><p>The cabin has all sorts of storage space in bins here and there and under the back seats and so on.</p></li>
  1027. <li><p>It has more than enough range for people who drive around town and then occasionally go 200+ km for business.</p></li>
  1028. </ul>
  1029. <h2 id='p-4'>Things that are not so good</h2>
  1030. <ul>
  1031. <li><p>If you’re a road warrior, Jag doesn’t have anything to compete with Tesla’s supercharger network.  I’ve started poking around
  1032. <a href="">PlugShare</a> and
  1033. <a href="">ChargePoint</a> and so on, and I think you could manage road trips, but it’s not going
  1034. to be as slick as with a Tesla. Perhaps this situation will improve?</p>
  1035. <p>Me, I have a carport on the back alley and I’ll put in a charger and I should be fine.</p></li>
  1036. <li><p>The infotainment system is slow and laggy, and some important settings are deeply nested into the menus.
  1037. Android Auto is my answer to that.</p></li>
  1038. <li><p>The storage space isn’t that well-organized and it’s not obvious where to stow the charging cables.</p></li>
  1039. <li><p>The fifth person in the car is going to be kind of cramped.</p></li>
  1040. <li><p>Visibility out the back window is lousy, with big rear posts getting in the way.</p></li>
  1041. <li><p>The brake pedal tries to combine regenerative and friction braking and as a result is said to feel soft and weird.</p></li>
  1042. <li><p>The air-suspension ride has been reported as feeling a bit jittery and unstable at low/moderate speeds.</p></li>
  1043. <li><p>The center console crowds the driver’s leg a bit; more of a problem in left-hand drive vehicles, obviously.</p></li>
  1044. </ul>
  1045. <h2 id='p-6'>My conclusion</h2>
  1046. <p>What happened was, when the first buzz of publicity hit in March I was interested enough to drop by
  1047. <a href="">Vancouver Jaguar</a> and talk to Caleb Kwok, the sales manager. He’s a plausible guy,
  1048. responsive to email, and anyhow, he convinced me to put down a refundable deposit, buying me a place near the front of the
  1049. line at the time actual orders would open up.  Which turned out to be last week.</p>
  1050. <p>By which time I’d read all the material summarized in this piece.  On balance, I liked what I heard; the pluses were pretty big
  1051. and none of the minuses bothered me that much. Remember, the longest trip I normally take is 230km to Seattle, where I park for a
  1052. couple of days then drive home.</p>
  1053. <p>So I signed on the dotted line, and my deposit is no longer refundable.</p>
  1054. <p>The big worry, of course, is reliability and manufacturing quality.  Jaguar, at various times in its history, has had a miserable
  1055. reputation.  Of one famous model, they used to say “It’s a great car, so buy two, because one will always be in the shop.”  It’s
  1056. worse than that; Jag at one point had a particularly stinky track record around electrical systems.</p>
  1057. <p>But there are stats suggesting Jag’s doing better in recent years. And then there’s the fact that it’s being built in a plant where
  1058. they also make Mercedes and BMW.  Granted, I’m taking a chance here.</p>
  1059. <h2 id='p-5'>Helpful reviews</h2>
  1060. <ul>
  1061. <li><p><a href="">Forget about that Tesla—the Jaguar I-Pace is the most compelling EV yet</a>
  1062. at <cite>Ars Technica</cite>.</p></li>
  1063. <li><p><a href="">Jaguar I-Pace review: A luxury EV that can tackle anything</a>
  1064. at <cite>Engadget</cite>.</p></li>
  1065. <li><p><a href="">The Top Gear car review: Jaguar I-Pace</a> at <cite>BBC Top Gear</cite>.</p></li>
  1066. <li><p><a href="">2019 Jaguar I-Pace First Drive</a>
  1067. at <cite>Edmunds</cite>.  By the way,
  1068. Edmunds’
  1069. <a href="">Long-Term Road Tests</a>  are the gold standard in automotive
  1070. reportage.  I’m sure they’ll onboard one of the new Jags and if you’re thinking “maybe”, I strongly advise watching out for
  1071. that.</p></li>
  1072. <li><p><a href="">2019 Jaguar I-PACE Review: From
  1073. London To Berlin In An All-Electric Jag</a> at <cite>Motor Trend</cite>.</p></li>
  1074. <li><p><a href="">Jaguar I-Pace SUV 2019 in-depth review | Mat Watson Reviews</a> at
  1075. <cite>CarWow</cite><span class='dashes'> —</span> this is the most negative
  1076. review I ran across, and really highlights all the places where the new Jag could have been better.</p></li>
  1077. </ul>
  1078. </div></content></entry>
  1080. <entry>
  1081. <title>Jag Diary 2: &#x201c;T-K&#x201d;</title>
  1082. <link href='' />
  1083. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='2'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/06/I-PACE-2#comments' />
  1084. <id></id>
  1085. <published>2018-07-06T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1086. <updated>2018-07-07T08:31:09-07:00</updated>
  1087. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  1088. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  1089. <category scheme='' term='The World/Jaguar Diary' />
  1090. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  1091. <category scheme='' term='Jaguar Diary' />
  1092. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>Ap&#xad;par&#xad;ent&#xad;ly Jaguar com&#xad;mit&#xad;ted to de&#xad;vel&#xad;op&#xad;ing a se&#xad;ri&#xad;ous elec&#xad;tric car back in 2014, which was a brave move at that point. Ob&#xad;vi&#xad;ous&#xad;ly, this wouldn&#x2019;t have hap&#xad;pened, nor would the up&#xad;com&#xad;ing Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes BEVs (<b>B</b>at&#xad;tery <b>E</b>lec&#xad;tric <b>V</b>ehi&#xad;cles), if Tes&#xad;la hadn&#x2019;t proved that these things can be built and peo&#xad;ple want to buy them. Now, sup&#xad;pose you had the job of mar&#xad;ket&#xad;ing this new thing to the world; how would you start?</div></summary>
  1093. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1094. <p>Apparently Jaguar committed to developing a serious electric car back in 2014, which was a brave move
  1095. at that point. Obviously, this wouldn’t have happened, nor would the upcoming Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes BEVs (<b>B</b>attery
  1096. <b>E</b>lectric
  1097. <b>V</b>ehicles), if Tesla hadn’t proved that these things can be built and people want to buy them.  Now, suppose you had the job of
  1098. marketing this new thing to the world; how would you start?</p>
  1099. <h2 id='p-1'>Launching</h2>
  1100. <p>The I-PACE (Reminder: Dumb name, hereinafter referred to as “the Jag”) launched in early March 2018 at the Geneva Motor Show.
  1101. They set up a sort of little go-kart track in a parking lot outside the show, with cones you had to drive
  1102. around, whose tips illuminated in an unpredictable pattern. Sort of a “follow the flashing lights” course. Of course, in a parking
  1103. lot the car couldn’t go very fast, or very far, and eveyone only got a couple of minutes.  But more or less every single journo or car geek
  1104. who got that two-minute experience then went and wrote a couple of hundred words about it, and/or posted video.</p>
  1105. <img src="Downhill.png" alt="Going downhill" />
  1106. <img src="Water.png" alt="Splash!" />
  1107. <div class='caption'><p>Not a Geneva parking lot. Explanation below.</p></div>
  1108. <p>As they did so, the big themes in the marketing campaign started to emerge.  Put yourself, for a moment, in the position of
  1109. a JLR marketing leader, planning the pitch to the world.  Protip: The world’s attention span is really, really
  1110. short.  So every good marketeer knows that no matter how many great things there are about your product, there has to be one
  1111. flagship message that grabs attention, is easy to understand, that people like, and will motivate them to sample the story you’re
  1112. trying to tell.</p>
  1113. <p>So, if you were that JLR exec, what would your key message be?  “Venerable British builder leaps into the future with
  1114. high-tech product!”  Not bad; Hardly anyone’s ever driven a Jaguar, but most people have the notion that it’s sort of classy.
  1115. How about “Electric car that looks great and goes fast!”  This has the advantage of being true, but really not newsworthy.
  1116. Everyone knows someone who drives a Leaf or a Bolt, and if you’re in high tech, a
  1117. Tesla.</p>
  1118. <h2 id='p-2'>The hook</h2>
  1119. <p>Well, let’s skip over a bunch of other plausible concepts and zero in on where Jaguar actually went, and where it went was with
  1120. only two words: “Tesla Killer”.  Yes! Newsworthy, involves colorful personalities, and everyone loves to watch a fight.</p>
  1121. <p>Hold on, hold on!  As far as I know, nobody from Jaguar has ever uttered those words. They didn’t have to, because in parallel
  1122. with the Geneva Motor Show launch, they released  
  1123. <a href="">this video</a>: The Jag vs the X type in a drag race!  Now, you
  1124. might suspect that the video wasn’t totally one thousand percent fair, and you might be right;
  1125. <a href="">here’s a riposte video</a> in
  1126. which Tesla does better.</p>
  1127. <p>Boy, did it ever work.  Later on in the year, when the journos got to drive the Jag at length and write about it, basically
  1128. every review used the phrase “Tesla Killer”.  It’s a really stupid phrase so let’s just say “T-K”.</p>
  1129. <p>To be clear: As almost every one of those journos concluded, the notion that the Jag is a T-K is idiotic.  To start
  1130. with, it doesn’t really compete directly. It’s an SUV form factor, while the S class is a saloon.  It’s smaller and cheaper
  1131. than the X class.  The aesthetics, particularly of the interior, couldn’t possibly be more different.  And most apparent, the
  1132. biggest problem with high-end electric cars is making enough of them: Demand exceeds supply.</p>
  1133. <p>But it didn’t matter.  T-K was a phrase any journalist could hang a review on, and very few were strong enough to resist the
  1134. temptation, and it’s not as though that was dumb: It’s a phrase that’s going to get a lot of people to raise their eyebrows and
  1135. click on that link.</p>
  1136. <h2 id='p-3'>Booze &amp; Schmooze</h2>
  1137. <p>The next phase of the marketing campaign involved a place called
  1138. <a href=",_Portugal">Faro</a>, at the southern tip of Portugal. What Jaguar did was take a huge
  1139. number of journalists and social-media hacks from around the world, twenty at a time, and fly them into Faro
  1140. for two days each of schmoozing, boozing, and cruising.  They got to take the cars through the narrow Portuguese country and town
  1141. roads, then along the course of a running stream, then up a ridiculously steep dirt road (see, it’s a <em>Sports</em> Utility Vehicle,
  1142. right?) (see pix above), and then a few laps of a well-regarded, technically-challenging race track.</p>
  1143. <p>An important subtext, which I’m pretty sure nobody from Jag ever uttered, but plenty of the scribes took up anyhow, was: “Teslas
  1144. can’t do this.”  Can they?  I don’t know myself, but a lot of pretty seasoned auto writers were willing to say just that in their
  1145. write-ups.</p>
  1146. <p>Amazingly, after visiting the T-K meme (usually dismissively, give ’em credit), they all
  1147. enthused about JLR letting them loose to drive up mountains and down stream-beds and around a race-track.  Some, but not all, of the
  1148. journalists disclosed the free travel and entertainment; one
  1149. explained cheerily that “It’s cheaper to ship the journalists to the cars than the cars to the journalists.”</p>
  1150. <p>Well yeah, but it’s not cheap.
  1151. My mind boggles at the scale of the stage-managing: Keeping all those cars cleaned, charged, and ready to go at all times.
  1152. Especially given that I suspect both the Faro infrastructure and the pre-production Jags were a bit sketchy.  Anyhow, the deal was
  1153. that all the write-ups were embargoed until June 4th. Which meant that any publication anywhere in the world that writes about cars
  1154. had a Jag story in the first half of June.  Did you notice the new Jag’s existence around then?  Not a coincidence.</p>
  1155. <p>I read a lot of these stories, and pretty well discounted all of those that failed to disclose the schmoozing or to find
  1156. any faults with the car.  After which, I freely admit, I was impressed not only with the awesome marketing execution, but with the
  1157. car.</p>
  1158. <h2 id='p-4'>The long haul</h2>
  1159. <p>I suppose JLR’s marketing group isn’t exactly standing down now, but their first job is done: They got the car into the
  1160. conversation.  At this point it’s over to the dealer network, regular old advertising, the big serious reviews by serious auto
  1161. geeks, and whether people are willing to pay serious money (but less than a Tesla) for what seems to be a pretty decent electric SUV.</p>
  1162. <p>A trailing note:  For a while there, I was watching the conversation curl round the Net, and once the T-K meme became
  1163. established, it got to a weird place: the Tesla-long vs Tesla-short battleground.  Oh my goodness gracious me, is
  1164. that ever some heavy trolling, both sides. Internet shitheads are everywhere.</p>
  1165. <h2 id='p-5'>Next</h2>
  1166. <p>I think the nature of the Jag, its strengths and weaknesses, is pretty clear today, based on what’s been published. Clear enough
  1167. that I converted my refundable deposit into the real thing and am now waiting for one.  Next time, I’ll try to distill the
  1168. highlights and lowlights into a few hundred words.</p>
  1169. </div></content></entry>
  1171. <entry>
  1172. <title>Jaguar Diary</title>
  1173. <link href='' />
  1174. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='13'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/07/05/I-PACE-1#comments' />
  1175. <id></id>
  1176. <published>2018-07-05T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1177. <updated>2018-07-06T00:06:34-07:00</updated>
  1178. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  1179. <category scheme='' term='Technology' />
  1180. <category scheme='' term='The World/Jaguar Diary' />
  1181. <category scheme='' term='The World' />
  1182. <category scheme='' term='Jaguar Diary' />
  1183. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>On Wed&#xad;nes&#xad;day, I signed an or&#xad;der for a 2019 <a href=''>Jaguar I-PACE</a>, to be de&#xad;liv&#xad;ered in the late au&#xad;tum&#xad;n. For those who don&#x2019;t fol&#xad;low the electric-car scene, this is a brand-new no-petroleum prod&#xad;uct with range and per&#xad;for&#xad;mance in the same range as a Tes&#xad;la S or X. Since elec&#xad;tric cars in&#xad;ter&#xad;est geeks and greens<span class="dashes"> &#x2009;&#x2014;</span> &#x2009;both over-represented in my  read&#xad;er&#xad;ship<span class="dashes"> &#x2009;&#x2014;</span> &#x2009;and since the Jag is a new  thing and con&#xad;tains a lot of tech&#xad;nol&#xad;o&#xad;gy, I thought I&#x2019;d do a diary-and-notes se&#xad;ries on the car and the ex&#xad;pe&#xad;ri&#xad;ence of get&#xad;ting in&#xad;to the  electric-driving space.</div></summary>
  1184. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1185. <p>On Wednesday, I signed an order for a 2019
  1186. <a href="">Jaguar I-PACE</a>, to be delivered in the late autumn.  For those
  1187. who don’t follow the electric-car scene, this is a brand-new no-petroleum product with range and performance in the same
  1188. range as a Tesla S or X. Since electric cars interest geeks and greens<span class='dashes'> —</span> both over-represented in my
  1189. readership<span class='dashes'> —</span> and since the Jag is a new
  1190. thing and contains a lot of technology, I thought I’d do a diary-and-notes series on the car and the experience of getting into the
  1191. electric-driving space.</p>
  1192. <img src="Exterior.png" alt="Jaguar I-PACE" />
  1193. <div class='caption'><p>The configuration I ordered.  The picture is kind of fuzzy<br/>because it’s a screen grab from Jaguar’s VR
  1194. configurator.</p></div>
  1195. <h2 id='p-3'>Why electric in 2018?</h2>
  1196. <p>I think we can all agree that we’d like our autos to be
  1197. as spacious, comfortable, green, and fast as possible within our budget constraints.  As of now, electrics are at least as
  1198. spacious, comfortable, and fast as ICE (<b>I</b>nternal <b>C</b>ombustion <b>E</b>ngine) cars, but more expensive.  They’re
  1199. greener because, obviously, they don’t burn petroleum distillates.</p>
  1200. <p>But the green part isn’t a slam-dunk.  An automobile’s carbon load
  1201. falls into the manufacturing bucket and the running bucket, and these often end up being roughly comparable over the
  1202. lifetime of the car. So the green thing to do is to keep your car on the road for a long time, and thus inflict the manufacturing
  1203. carbon on the environment as rarely as possible.  Since, at the moment, our family cars average well over ten years in age and both are
  1204. over-powered gas guzzlers, the green trade-off is OK.</p>
  1205. <p>But wait! If you’re living in a place where the electricity is coal-generated, it’s not obvious that exiting petrol lowers your
  1206. carbon load. Once again, since we’re in the
  1207. Pacific Northwest where the power is mostly hydroelectric, the greenness accounting looks good.</p>
  1208. <p>When I say the accounting is OK, does this mean I've done a detailed quantitative drill-down on the
  1209. tons of CO<sub>2</sub> that are getting into the atmosphere as the consequence of my actions?  Nope. Just that the story, in this
  1210. case, doesn’t suffer from any glaring implausibilities.</p>
  1211. <h2 id='p-2'>Why Jaguar?</h2>
  1212. <p>My electric-car shopping has an extra constraint: Since I live in Vancouver and work for Amazon, anything I buy has to be able
  1213. to take me to Seattle (226km), no doubt allowed whatsoever that it’ll get there on a charge.  Up until recently, that meant Tesla. While I
  1214. admire Tesla’s boldness and engineering skill, I find the cars, as design statements, blankly cautious.  Model 3’s have started
  1215. appearing in my neighborhood and they’re just hideous inside.  Also, Teslas seem overpriced.  Also, every geek I know who’s
  1216. inclined to electric already has one.  Also, I’ve enriched enough Paypal founders already.</p>
  1217. <p>The picture improved a bit with the recent arrival of the
  1218. <a href="">Chevy Bolt</a>, which seems like a nice practical little car. On
  1219. the other hand,
  1220. <a href="">reviewers say</a> that many people find the seats
  1221. violently uncomfortable.</p>
  1222. <p>Now, the I-PACE… aargh, that dorky all-caps name hurts my brain; from here on in I’ll just say “the Jag”.
  1223. Its range and performance are similar to a Tesla S or X. I think it looks way cooler.  It’s
  1224. significantly cheaper, too.  There’s a console with knobs you can spin and a data-rich dashboard behind the wheel.
  1225. I’ll do another post digging deep into the car, which I’ve been researching pretty extensively.</p>
  1226. <h2>Why now?</h2>
  1227. <p>That’s a good question.  Both of our 10-plus-year-old vehicles still run OK (although I don’t trust the one I usually drive enough
  1228. for the Seattle trip).
  1229. Buying an electric car now creates the same kind of fear you got buying a PC in the Nineties: If I wait six months,
  1230. will there be something better?</p>
  1231. <p>Except that here’s where emotion enters into it. I’ve wanted an electric for a few years now, and have been frustrated
  1232. that on my internal Venn diagram, the “I like it” circle didn’t intersect the “Can reach Seattle” circle.  Second, when I was a
  1233. little kid growing up in the Sixties, the Jaguars were the most beautiful cars in the world.  I wasn’t car-centric then and I’m
  1234. still not now, but I can remember thinking “Wow, that’s a great-looking car.  When I grow up, <em>I’m going to have a
  1235. Jaguar!”</em></p>
  1236. <p>Well, I’m grown up. More than that, I’m getting kind of old.  Who knows if there’ll be a tomorrow?  I don’t feel like waiting,
  1237. I feel like driving a great-looking super-fast electric Jag. So I put down a refundable deposit when the I-PACE news broke in March,
  1238. signed the paperwork this week, and got an order number.</p>
  1239. <h2 id='p-1'>Next</h2>
  1240. <p>First, the product launch was a marketing masterpiece, worth covering. Next, I’ll write what we know so far about the car.  Then,
  1241. I’ll offer opinions about how to order.  I think electric-car politics are worth a few words too.  Also, I’ve started to find
  1242. out about the e-vehicle owner subculture that’s springing up.
  1243. Then eventually later this year, I’ll report on actually owning the thing.</p>
  1244. </div></content></entry>
  1246. <entry>
  1247. <title>SotD: What a Wonderful World</title>
  1248. <link href='' />
  1249. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='10'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/06/21/SotD-What-a-Wonderful-World#comments' />
  1250. <id></id>
  1251. <published>2018-06-21T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1252. <updated>2018-06-21T07:31:04-07:00</updated>
  1253. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Music/5 Stars' />
  1254. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  1255. <category scheme='' term='Music' />
  1256. <category scheme='' term='5 Stars' />
  1257. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1258. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1259. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>That&#x2019;s al&#xad;l, folk&#xad;s. Wel&#xad;come to the last <a href='/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/'>Song of the Day</a>. I knew pret&#xad;ty  ear&#xad;ly what I want&#xad;ed it to be, be&#xad;cause ev&#xad;ery ex&#xad;tend&#xad;ed en&#xad;deav&#xad;or should en&#xad;deav&#xad;or to end on a high note. And <cite>What a Won&#xad;der&#xad;ful World</cite>  fit&#xad;s, al&#xad;beit in&#xad;di&#xad;rect&#xad;ly, in&#xad;to the ex&#xad;it the&#xad;me, wor&#xad;ship and rev&#xad;er&#xad;ence.</div></summary>
  1260. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1261. <p>That’s all, folks. Welcome to the last <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a>.  I knew pretty
  1262. early what I wanted it to be, because every extended endeavor should endeavor to end on a high note.  And
  1263. <cite>What a Wonderful World</cite> fits, albeit indirectly, into the exit theme, worship and reverence.</p>
  1264. <p>It is of course, a wonderful world, from my point of view. After all, I’m its apex predator, the product of an evolutionary
  1265. process that’s extended over most of our fair planet’s lifetime.  In effect, I’m specifically the organism that is most well-suited
  1266. to this particular world.  Put another way, this world made us, and we should show reverence towards our Creator. Thank you, thank
  1267. you, thank you, to Sol, to its third planet, and to the working of the Universe, the platform the evolutionary engine runs on.</p>
  1268. <img src="" alt="Earthrise" />
  1269. <div class='caption'><p>Disclosure: Yes, I’m perfectly aware that I exude privilege; as a white male technologist and businessman
  1270. I’ve played life at the lowest difficulty level since I was a kid, and have been lucky on top of that. Obviously, the world is less
  1271. wonderful for many. But; I try really hard not to be predatory, and on average it’s still pretty wonderful.</p></div>
  1272. <p>Back to the song: Written in 1967 by
  1273. <a href="">Bob Thiele</a> and
  1274. <a href="">George David Weiss</a>, both music-biz insiders, it was an international
  1275. hit for Louis Armstrong, but never really caught on in the States until a decade later.  It’s been recorded a few times since, but
  1276. probably remains Louis’ song in most people’s minds.  Which is fair enough, he sang it masterfully.</p>
  1277. <p>This is the end of the
  1278. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a> series
  1279. (<a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2017/12/31/Songs-of-the-Day">background</a>).</p>
  1280. <h2 id='p-1'>Links</h2>
  1281. <p>Spotify
  1282. <a href="">playlist</a>.
  1283. This tune on
  1284. <a href="">Spotify</a>,
  1285. <a href="">iTunes</a>,
  1286. <a href="">Amazon</a>.
  1287. Now, as for live performances,
  1288. <a href="">here’s Louis</a> back when the song was new. But I have a problem with that
  1289. and I blame Miles Davis, who admired Louis but just couldn’t handle his locked-in grin.  And now, having read Miles, I can’t ether.
  1290. So,
  1291. <a href="">here’s Esperanza Spalding</a>, of whom I know more or less nothing, but
  1292. who injects more <em>musical</em> depth into the song than anyone else I know of. Wow!</p>
  1293. <p>But having sampled the offerings, I have to admit that, somewhat to my surprise, I find my heart
  1294. most warmed by
  1295. <a href="">mouldy, shaggy old Rod Stewart</a>, who milks the song for every microgram of
  1296. sentiment while by the way delivering a flawless, perfectly-pitched vocal, obviously having a great time and finding the part of the world
  1297. he’s occupying just then perfectly wonderful.</p>
  1298. <h2 id='p-2'>Over and out</h2>
  1299. <p>Thanks to anyone who’s read a few of the blogs and listened to a song or two. Doing this has enriched my life.  I regret all the
  1300. great songs I missed, but not too much. Most people have an internal hit parade, and they should cherish it and share it.</p>
  1301. <p><i>And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.</i></p>
  1302. </div></content></entry>
  1304. <entry>
  1305. <title>SotD: It&#x2019;ll Shine When It Shines</title>
  1306. <link href='' />
  1307. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='0'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/06/20/SotD-Itll-Shine-When-it-Shines#comments' />
  1308. <id></id>
  1309. <published>2018-06-20T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1310. <updated>2018-06-20T00:15:52-07:00</updated>
  1311. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Music/5 Stars' />
  1312. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  1313. <category scheme='' term='Music' />
  1314. <category scheme='' term='5 Stars' />
  1315. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1316. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1317. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>At the end of the day, the pur&#xad;suit of the di&#xad;vine is sup&#xad;posed to of&#xad;fer up wis&#xad;dom and, prac&#xad;ti&#xad;cal&#xad;ly speak&#xad;ing, teach you how to live  life bet&#xad;ter. But for me, the sa&#xad;cred scrip&#xad;tures are songs; not that I lis&#xad;ten to them look&#xad;ing for life lesson&#xad;s, but some&#xad;times they&#x2019;re there  any&#xad;way. <cite>It&#x2019;ll Shine When It Shines</cite>  is by the <a href=''>Ozark Moun&#xad;tain Dare&#xad;dev&#xad;ils</a>, and it&#x2019;s up-front about its mes&#xad;sage; one that I feel good about pass&#xad;ing along.</div></summary>
  1318. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1319. <p>At the end of the day, the pursuit of the divine is supposed to offer up wisdom and, practically speaking, teach you how to live
  1320. life better. But for me, the sacred scriptures are songs; not that I listen to them looking for life lessons, but sometimes they’re there
  1321. anyway.
  1322. <cite>It’ll Shine When It Shines</cite> is by the
  1323. <a href="">Ozark Mountain Daredevils</a>, and it’s up-front about its
  1324. message; one that I feel good about passing along.</p>
  1325. <img src="Itll-Shine-Album-Cover.png" alt="It’ll Shine When It Shines" />
  1326. <p>Let’s hand the mike over the Daredevils for a moment:</p>
  1327. <blockquote><p><i>Seems like everyone is out looking for the sun<br/>
  1328. singing rain and pain on he who hesitates.<br/>
  1329. But it'll shine when it shines<br/>
  1330. you might think I’m wasting time<br/>
  1331. but I’m just a good old boy who’s learned to wait.</i></p></blockquote>
  1332. <p>That’s the chorus, and there are a bunch of verses in between, talking about life and never actually saying <em>Be here now</em>;
  1333. they don’t need to, it’s hiding between the lines and between the words.</p>
  1334. <p>Oh, and it’s a beautiful soft melody, beautifully sung by relaxed male voices in a gentle rich harmony.  I can’t ever listen to
  1335. it without smiling.  Me, I’m as guilty as anyone of overfilling the space life offers but, all these decades in, I’m mostly learned
  1336. not to fret while I’m waiting for that which must be awaited.  It’s very helpful.</p>
  1337. <p>While you’re waiting for the sun, you can always listen to a song, or write one, or write a computer program, or maybe just tell
  1338. other people about a good song.</p>
  1339. <p>This is part of the
  1340. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a> series
  1341. (<a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2017/12/31/Songs-of-the-Day">background</a>).</p>
  1342. <h2 id='p-1'>Links</h2>
  1343. <p>Spotify
  1344. <a href="">playlist</a>.
  1345. This tune on
  1346. <a href="">Spotify</a>,
  1347. <a href="">iTunes</a>,
  1348. <a href="">Amazon</a>.
  1349. And
  1350. <a href="">here are the Daredevils</a>, singing it live.</p>
  1351. </div></content></entry>
  1353. <entry>
  1354. <title>SotD: The Return</title>
  1355. <link href='' />
  1356. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='0'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/06/19/SotD-The-Return#comments' />
  1357. <id></id>
  1358. <published>2018-06-19T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1359. <updated>2018-06-19T00:59:03-07:00</updated>
  1360. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Music/5 Stars' />
  1361. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  1362. <category scheme='' term='Music' />
  1363. <category scheme='' term='5 Stars' />
  1364. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1365. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1366. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>I in&#xad;tro&#xad;duced <a href=''>Fer&#xad;ron</a>  to the Song of the Day a cou&#xad;ple weeks back with <cite>Belly&#xad;bowl</cite>,  and I&#x2019;d like to use her beau&#xad;ti&#xad;ful <cite>The Re&#xad;turn</cite>  in this clos&#xad;ing focused-on-the-divine se&#xad;quence, to help talk about  my own ex&#xad;pe&#xad;ri&#xad;ence of wor&#xad;ship.</div></summary>
  1367. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1368. <p>I introduced
  1369. <a href="">Ferron</a> to the Song of the Day a couple weeks back with <cite>Bellybowl</cite>,
  1370. and I’d like to use her beautiful <cite>The Return</cite> in this closing focused-on-the-divine sequence, to help talk about
  1371. my own experience of worship.</p>
  1372. <p>But first, the song. The melody sways back and forth like the willow tree in the words, and the voice ambles through those words,
  1373. pausing in unlikely places as the tree bends. And those lyrics: They mostly don’t parse into coherent sentences but
  1374. Ferron knows what she’s doing and there’s no doubt where she’s aiming.  Also, the harmonies are gorgeous and the arrangement is
  1375. approximately perfect.</p>
  1376. <p>But that tree is what made me want to fit <cite>The Return</cite> into this series, because trees and worship go together in my
  1377. mind. Worship inhabits the human emotional repertoire, along with anger, desire, joy, and the rest.  People have fallen into
  1378. religious faith because they visited a place, for example the exquisite cathedral at Chartres, that reliably provokes in humans that
  1379. feeling, worship.  There’s nothing wrong with the sensation: That you’re in the presence of something much, much greater than
  1380. yourself, for which reverence is appropriate.  I’ve been to Chartres twice and its beauty and grandeur so seized me that I had
  1381. trouble breathing.</p>
  1382. <img src="" alt="Trees" />
  1383. <div class='caption'><p>These trees are only about a hundred years old; they’ll get lots bigger.</p></div>
  1384. <p>But I think there’s a potential category error, because when you’re feeling that, it’s the church you’re reacting to.
  1385. It’s common for people who are feeling worshipful to transfer that feeling to an object of faith, an unseen deity.  Living as I
  1386. do in the Pacific Northwest, it’s an easy and regular experience to be in the presence of entities worthy of worship; living
  1387. entities. I’m talking of course, of our great upreaching rain-fed trees, which may weigh a million kilograms and exceed fifty
  1388. meters in height.  They are bigger, stronger, longer-lived, and less-worried than you are.</p>
  1389. <img src="THLoT.png" alt="The Hidden Life of Trees" class="inline" />
  1390. <p>Feeling reverent around trees also has the advantage that they’re not metaphors for anything that is said to be twitchily
  1391. concerned about how and with whom you deploy your genitals, or whose intercedents will require some of your cash to support their
  1392. lifestyles. Ferron’s tree is a willow but I think she was deploying that name for its sound. Around me, it’s the Douglas Fir, Red
  1393. Cedar, Hemlock, and (especially) Big-Leaf Maples that constitute the forest temples, and not to anything but themselves.</p>
  1394. <p>I’d like to take a little side-trip and mention
  1395. <a href="">The Hidden Life of Trees</a>, by Peter Wohlleben, translated from the German.  It’s a slim,
  1396. highly readable volume that talks about what the title says. A lot of that hidden part of their lives happens underground, among the
  1397. roots and soil microbiomes. If you are given to feeling worshipful in forests, you will gobble up this book and smile regularly,
  1398. reading it.</p>
  1399. <p>I don’t think Ferron’s being metaphorical either; A walk in the woods leaves me feeling stronger and more
  1400. balanced. There’s strength to be taken, you just have to look and listen.</p>
  1401. <p>This is part of the
  1402. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a> series
  1403. (<a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2017/12/31/Songs-of-the-Day">background</a>).</p>
  1404. <h2 id='p-1'>Links</h2>
  1405. <p>Spotify
  1406. <a href="">playlist</a>.
  1407. This tune on
  1408. <a href="">Amazon</a>,
  1409. <a href="">iTunes</a>,
  1410. <a href="">Spotify</a>.  No live video, sorry.</p>
  1411. </div></content></entry>
  1413. <entry>
  1414. <title>SotD: Graceland</title>
  1415. <link href='' />
  1416. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='1'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/06/18/SotD-Graceland#comments' />
  1417. <id></id>
  1418. <published>2018-06-18T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1419. <updated>2018-06-18T07:45:42-07:00</updated>
  1420. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Music/5 Stars' />
  1421. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  1422. <category scheme='' term='Music' />
  1423. <category scheme='' term='5 Stars' />
  1424. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1425. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1426. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>In case it wasn&#x2019;t ob&#xad;vi&#xad;ous from yesterday&#x2019;s piece, Grace&#xad;land<span class="dashes"> &#x2009;&#x2014;</span> &#x2009;the re&#xad;al one I mean, Elvis&#x2019; man&#xad;sion  in Mem&#xad;phis<span class="dashes"> &#x2009;&#x2014;</span> &#x2009;is a place of wor&#xad;ship. The vis&#xad;i&#xad;tors are serene, ex&#xad;pe&#xad;ri&#xad;enc&#xad;ing be&#xad;lief not faith; a lot of   them saw Elvis on TV or even in the flesh. They know that, as Paul Si&#xad;mon sings, in his love&#xad;ly, love&#xad;ly song al&#xad;so called <cite>Grace&#xad;land</cite>, that there&#x2019;s rea&#xad;son to be&#xad;lieve that they&#x2019;ll all be re&#xad;ceived there. And al&#xad;so just the name &#x201c;Graceland&#x201d; is the pret&#xad;ti&#xad;est word imag&#xad;in&#xad;able.</div></summary>
  1427. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1428. <p>In case it wasn’t obvious from yesterday’s piece, Graceland<span class='dashes'> —</span> the real one I mean, Elvis’ mansion
  1429. in Memphis<span class='dashes'> —</span> is a place of worship. The visitors are serene, experiencing belief not faith; a lot of
  1430. them saw Elvis on TV or even in the flesh. They know that, as Paul Simon sings, in his lovely, lovely song also called
  1431. <cite>Graceland</cite>, that there’s reason
  1432. to believe that they’ll all be received there.  And also just the name “Graceland” is the prettiest word imaginable.</p>
  1433. <img src="Graceland.png" alt="Graceland Mansion by night" />
  1434. <p>“Poor boys and pilgrims” Paul sings, but getting into the mansion is kind of expensive so I guess it’s just pilgrims.
  1435. That’s a word that brings another kind of worship to my mind, because of a related word: Peregrine, a falcon whose
  1436. name is cognate with “pilgrim” etymologically. One of the most intense experiences of my life was when in 1989, an
  1437. employee of the University of Waterloo, I got involved with the effort to re-introduce peregrine falcons to the area; a young
  1438. rescued bird was being persuaded to nest on top of the eight-story library. We, the volunteers, took shifts as watchers, keeping
  1439. track of the falcon’s movements, worrying when it went to ground, rejoicing when it started to learn to hunt. I loved that bird, the
  1440. creamy beauty of its feathers, the drama of its “stoop”, a word which means dive; a hunting peregrine’s dive is the fastest movement
  1441. known to be achieved by any animal, approaching 320 km/hr. A peregrine flying a couple of hundred feet high stoops to the ground in the
  1442. same amount of time you or I stoop to pick up a fallen pencil; it’s awesome. Watching the pilgrim bird, I was full of reverence.
  1443. Just for the bird; no metaphors or symbolism.</p>
  1444. <p>Oh, I seem to have gotten distracted.</p>
  1445. <p>You have to be a little ambiguous about Paul Simon, who got on the wrong side of some of the right people around Apartheid.  But
  1446. then he taught the world about the music of southern Africa, which has to count for something.</p>
  1447. <p>You don’t have to be ambiguous about <cite>Graceland</cite>, though; it’s a beautiful tune beautifully played, the chord changes
  1448. are spookily epic, and the melodic
  1449. hook on “I’m goin’ to Graceland, Graceland” is among the sharpest any songwriter ever embedded in anyone’s musical memory.</p>
  1450. <p>This is part of the
  1451. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a> series
  1452. (<a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2017/12/31/Songs-of-the-Day">background</a>).</p>
  1453. <h2 id='p-1'>Links</h2>
  1454. <p>Spotify
  1455. <a href="">playlist</a>.
  1456. This tune on
  1457. <a href="">Spotify</a>,
  1458. <a href="">iTunes</a>,
  1459. <a href="">Amazon</a>.
  1460. Here’s a
  1461. <a href="">nice live performance</a>.</p>
  1462. </div></content></entry>
  1464. <entry>
  1465. <title>SotD: So High</title>
  1466. <link href='' />
  1467. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='0'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/06/17/SotD-So-High#comments' />
  1468. <id></id>
  1469. <published>2018-06-17T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1470. <updated>2018-06-17T08:27:07-07:00</updated>
  1471. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Music/5 Stars' />
  1472. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  1473. <category scheme='' term='Music' />
  1474. <category scheme='' term='5 Stars' />
  1475. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1476. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1477. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>More mu&#xad;sic on the sub&#xad;ject of God (and Heav&#xad;en too); a tra&#xad;di&#xad;tion&#xad;al spir&#xad;i&#xad;tu&#xad;al ar&#xad;ranged by Elvis Pres&#xad;ley for his  1967 Gospel al&#xad;bum <a href=''>How Great Thou Art</a>, which was a triple-platinum hit and won the 1967 Gram&#xad;my for Best Sa&#xad;cred  Per&#xad;for&#xad;mance. <cite>So High</cite>  is a fine, rous&#xad;ing tune with a good ar&#xad;range&#xad;men&#xad;t, and just ter&#xad;rif&#xad;ic singing.</div></summary>
  1478. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1479. <p>More music on the subject of God (and Heaven too); a traditional spiritual arranged by Elvis Presley for his
  1480. 1967 Gospel album
  1481. <a href="">How Great Thou Art</a>, which was a triple-platinum hit and won the 1967 Grammy for Best Sacred
  1482. Performance.  <cite>So High</cite> is a fine, rousing tune with a good arrangement, and just terrific singing.</p>
  1483. <img src="How-Great-Thou-Art.png" alt="How Great Thou Art" />
  1484. <p>Elvis never won a Grammy for pop music, but more than one for Gospel.  I have a story to
  1485. tell, possibly relevant. In about 1990, I had a business trip to Nashville, so I took my then-wife along and we did Tennessee: the
  1486. Opry, Jack Daniels, Beale Street, Sun Studios, and of course
  1487. <a href="">Graceland</a> (visit that Web site).  It’s a dead-serious irony-free
  1488. zone, the
  1489. people who’d come from far and wide were quiet and reverent. I totally loved it.
  1490. It’s a beautiful place, in a sort of wacko Atomic-Age style, and the
  1491. presentation and tour were polished; visit if you get a chance.  Also, you’ll learn a lot about Elvis.</p>
  1492. <p>Anyhow, after the tour we went down to the Visitor Center across the street, and my attention was grabbed by this little TV that
  1493. was looping a video of Elvis and a couple other guys joking around, Elvis sitting at a piano.  Then they launch into a breakneck
  1494. version of some Gospel tune, totally off-the-cuff, but passionate and excellent, Elvis pounding the piano and leaning into every
  1495. word.
  1496. Here’s the thing: As a rocker, Elvis never took
  1497. himself seriously, he was simultaneously making the moves and laughing at himself making them.  But with Gospel music, he was dead
  1498. serious, committed, never even hinting that the words weren’t the real ultimate truth.  I think he actually Believed In God.</p>
  1499. <p>So I’m pretty sure that Elvis is the greatest white Gospel singer to have ever lived. I have one of the collections and really
  1500. like all the songs on it, but <cite>So High</cite> has the pace and the movement and makes me want to dance, and oh, those vocals.  
  1501. You could really do worse than picking up all of <cite>How Great Thou Art</cite> and listening to it end-to-end, though.</p>
  1502. <p>This is part of the
  1503. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a> series
  1504. (<a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2017/12/31/Songs-of-the-Day">background</a>).</p>
  1505. <h2 id='p-1'>Links</h2>
  1506. <p>Spotify
  1507. <a href="">playlist</a>.
  1508. This tune on
  1509. <a href="">iTunes</a>,
  1510. <a href="">Spotify</a>,
  1511. <a href="">Amazon</a>.
  1512. There’s no decent live video of any Elvis gospel that I can find, which is irritating since I know that TV clip I saw across the
  1513. street from Graceland 20 years ago is out there.</p>
  1514. </div></content></entry>
  1516. <entry>
  1517. <title>SotD: O vis aeternitatis</title>
  1518. <link href='' />
  1519. <link rel='replies'        thr:count='1'        type='application/xhtml+xml'        href='/ongoing/When/201x/2018/06/16/SotD-O-vis-aeternitatis#comments' />
  1520. <id></id>
  1521. <published>2018-06-16T12:00:00-07:00</published>
  1522. <updated>2018-06-16T10:26:14-07:00</updated>
  1523. <category scheme='' term='Arts/Music/5 Stars' />
  1524. <category scheme='' term='Arts' />
  1525. <category scheme='' term='Music' />
  1526. <category scheme='' term='5 Stars' />
  1527. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1528. <category scheme='' term='Song of the Day' />
  1529. <summary type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>Ladies, gen&#xad;tle&#xad;men, and oth&#xad;er&#xad;s, wel&#xad;come to the <a href='/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/'>2018 Song of the Day</a>  clos&#xad;ing se&#xad;quence. This has been a lot of work and I thought   I should try to end it with more than just a set of ran&#xad;dom tunes, so I picked a the&#xad;me: <i>Wor&#xad;ship, the sa&#xad;cred, and the di&#xad;vine</i>.  To start, from <a href=''>Hilde&#xad;gard von Bin&#xad;gen</a>, the old&#xad;est song to ap&#xad;pear, first sung some&#xad;time  in the years around 1150: <cite>O vis ae&#xad;ter&#xad;ni&#xad;tatis</cite>  means &#x201c;The Pow&#xad;er of Eternity&#x201d;.</div></summary>
  1530. <content type='xhtml'><div xmlns=''>
  1531. <p>Ladies, gentlemen, and others, welcome to the
  1532. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">2018 Song of the Day</a> closing sequence.  This has been a lot of work and I thought
  1533. I should try to end it with more than just a set of random tunes, so I picked a theme: <i>Worship, the sacred, and the divine</i>.
  1534. To start, from
  1535. <a href="">Hildegard von Bingen</a>, the oldest song to appear, first sung sometime
  1536. in the years around 1150: <cite>O vis aeternitatis</cite> means “The Power of Eternity”.</p>
  1537. <p>Hildegard was a remarkable person; reading her Wikipedia entry makes me want to find out more. Normally, upon discovering an
  1538. interesting ancient I’d go looking for their own writings in translation. But the snippets of Hildegard I’ve read seem to show her
  1539. as coming from another planet, living inside a spirituality that I can’t begin to grasp.</p>
  1540. <p>Which brings us to the subject of The Divine, to which I am profoundly grateful. No, not to any individual divinity, because I
  1541. don’t believe in any; I mean to the broader notion, which has inspired so much beautiful music, for as long as music has been made.
  1542. <cite>O vis aeternitatis</cite> is a fine example, the voice soaring up and up and up, serene as an eagle over the Pacific.</p>
  1543. <p>The world Hildegard inhabited, of faith made real in cloisters and their communities, is as remote as that lived by the
  1544. characters in the sci-fi I enjoy reading.  Sometimes a conservative commentator waxes nostalgic for the passing of the stern
  1545. simple faiths of feudal times, and lament the current loss of grip on Divine Truth. But I like the modern flavor of truth better;
  1546. a thing contingent on evidence and argument, difficult to establish but worth the effort.  
  1547. Particularly in our troubled twenty-first century, a time when truth is seen as an enemy in the
  1548. corridors of power. But still, those voices echoing under the high stone curves in the
  1549. candle-lit dimness.</p>
  1550. <img src="Manuscript.png" alt="Riesencodex 466 R" />
  1551. <p>Above, a manuscript of <cite>O vis aeternitatis</cite>, probably prepared in Hildegard’s lifetime, from the
  1552. <a href="">Riesencodex</a>, a compendium, published shortly after her death, of almost
  1553. all of her works<span class='dashes'> —</span> musical,
  1554. epistolary, and theological<span class='dashes'> —</span> a huge 15-kg tome held in Wiesbaden.  You can leaf through it, starting
  1555. <a href="">here</a>; the above is from page 466
  1556. R.  The musical notation is not modern.</p>
  1557. <p>I’ve long loved a recording called
  1558. <a href="">A Feather on the Breath of God</a>; music by Hildegard, performed by Gothic Voices and the
  1559. wonderful Emma Kirkby.  But you can’t stream it and it doesn’t have <cite>O vis aeternitatis</cite>. Since Hildegard is best
  1560. consumed an hour or so at a time, I recommend <a href="">Canticles of Ecstasy</a>, which has really nice
  1561. arrangements.</p>
  1562. <p>This is part of the
  1563. <a href="/ongoing/What/Song%20of%20the%20Day/">Song of the Day</a> series
  1564. (<a href="/ongoing/When/201x/2017/12/31/Songs-of-the-Day">background</a>).</p>
  1565. <h2 id='p-1'>Links</h2>
  1566. <p>Spotify
  1567. <a href="">playlist</a>.
  1568. This tune on
  1569. <a href="">Amazon</a>,
  1570. <a href="">iTunes</a>,
  1571. <a href="">Spotify</a>.
  1572. I found a
  1573. <a href="">really special live performance</a>, lit by candles in an ancient-seeming art
  1574. gallery in Perm, in the heart of Russia.</p>
  1575. <p>Thanks to, uh, Whoever for the fact that not believing in Whoever doesn’t get in the way of appreciating the effects of believing
  1576. in Whoever by those who do.</p>
  1577. </div></content></entry>
  1579. </feed>

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