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Nerds on Draft — Yang and Side Projects

The latest Nerds on Draft podcast is up. Evil Twin’s Yang is a fantastic beer – one of my top IPAs at this point — and I liked kicking around ideas about how we tackle side projects. I also tried a new audio production technique so it sounds pretty good technically even though it is still unfortunately our actual voices. Sorry about that.

This week’s podcast is brought to you by TapCellar.

Neil Postman on Salon

Salon has a published great article on Neil Postman, a self-described “media ecologist”. Postman tackled, before technology which made such things widely possible, ideas that describe accurately what I haven’t been able to put my finger on over the last few years. From the forward to 1985’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

And a quote from Jaron Lanier that rings truer than most:

Oddly, he says, “It’s easier to get information than ever before, but people are much less informed.” Lanier thinks we’re still catching up to his work. “I think Postman’s day,” he said, “might not have come yet.”

In a country where 29% of Louisianans feel Obama mishandled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (with Bush, the man who was actually president at the time, at 27%) and the constant and oppressive lies of FOXNews (and even New York Times), it doesn’t take much convincing that we have a lot of information but know nothing.

The article and the topic are thought-provoking stuff and worth looking into if you feel like you have more information at your fingertips than ever yet still find it impossible to get at the truth of things.

A Good Letter From a Lawyer

I have looked everywhere to find the genesis of this article currently making the rounds but, alas, I can’t so I apologize to whoever surfaced this.

It is a fantastic email from a lawyer1 responding to a patent infringement claim from Monster Cable. I love how this guy takes them to the woodshed but my favorite line is this one:

It may be that my inability to see the pragmatic value of settling frivolous claims is a deep character flaw, and I am sure a few of the insurance carriers for whom I have done work have seen it that way; but it is how I have done business for the last quarter-century and you are not going to change my mind. If you sue me, the case will go to judgment, and I will hold the court’s attention upon the merits of your claims–or, to speak more precisely, the absence of merit from your claims–from start to finish. Not only am I unintimidated by litigation; I sometimes rather miss it.

The whole thing is a classic.

  1. I assure you that is something I have never typed or said out loud before in my life. 

Best Things in 2014

Another year is in the books and, rather than the usual look back at things, I thought I’d look through my personal record-keeping and journals and find what were the best things of 2014. It might be more like a “Year in Review” type of thing. Where possible, data will be my guide for this. We’ll see how it goes.

Best iOS App of 2014

TapCellar – duh. Gabe and I worked our asses off to bring this to the App Store and we are pretty proud of it. I use it whenever I interact with a beer, which is often. Whether it is to grade it, cellar it, journal it or post about it to Slack, Twitter or Instagram.

Best Mac App or Service of 2014

Slack – This service has changed the way I communicate with people. I wish all apps were this thought out and well-designed.

Best Album of 2014

Chuck Ragan - Till Midnight – According to my stats, Ragan’s newest album was my most-played album of the year. It is good stuff and Chuck seems like the nicest guy walking around on the Earth.

Best Brewery of 2014

Tired Hands Brewing was, hands down, my favorite new brewery discovery of 2014. I know its not “new” but it is new to me and I have loved every beer I tasted there and every meal I had. If you ever visit PA, specifically the Philly suburbs, this place should be on your list of spots to check out.

Best Beers of 2014

The stats don’t lie. I really like beer. TapCellar has Cantillon Fou’Foune, Imperial Doughnut Break and Sixpoint Resin as my top beers of 2014. Also in the top was Victory DirtWolf and Knee Deep Hoparillo.

Best Podcasts of 2014

I still have a soft spot for Roderick on the Line. I loved every episode this year. The best podcast I am on is Nerds on Draft. Clearly.

Best Games and Consoles of 2014

Playstation 4 comes out far ahead of the Xbox One is my accounting this year. In fact the Xbox One was a deep disappointment and my one technology purchase regret this year. I loved the PS4 and had a great time playing with friends on it this year, when the service wasn’t getting hacked by asshole children.

The best game, both according to me and the stats bearing out the facts, was Destiny. According to the data, I spent a total of 7 days, 7 hours and 57 minutes enjoying the “lack of content”, “bad story”, “unbalanced multiplayer” and “user hostile loot methodologies”1

Honorable game mentions are FarCry 4 (15 hours 38 minutes), Alien: Isolation (no stats on soiled underwear) and Terraria.

Best Book of 2014

The Peripheral by William Gibson. Really good stuff.

Worst of 2014

Humanity showed its worst side in 2014. Ferguson, Gamergate, football player wife-beating, celebrity worship… If all I read was Twitter, I’d be a very depressed person. Come on, humans. Get your shit together.

  1. All of these claims are wildly off-base. I wouldn’t play a game for that many hours if it was bad.