Gentlemen, gentlemen!

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. A windy Wednesday.

In some cases working from home can come with intrusive monitoring.

The first Trump / Biden debate? It was not pretty. The president was childish, aggressive and insolent. Biden’s exasperated jibes risked bringing him down to Trump’s level. Chris Wallace tried to moderate but Trump was out of control and fought at him every step of the way. It was a shit show. And that’s even before considering all the distortions and outright lies thrown about. Not a good look for our political system and its future.

The Pixii camera is a fascinating experiment. A rangefinder with internal memory and no screens that uses the Leica M mount for lenses. Reviewers seem to want to like this camera but at the end of the day it’s not quite ready for prime time. Hopefully, future versions will improve on the concept. It reminds me of the groundbreaking Leica M8, a disappointment when it was released but which ultimately, through ongoing iteration, led to a line of fantastic digital rangefinders.

Starlink is getting an early workout and the reviews are good. First responders in Washington state have been using the system and one of the telecom experts trying it gave the network high marks for ease of use and speed. A good sign.

And I used to enjoy Top of the Hub and the Skywalk for the views of the Back Bay and beyond. But the Skywalk closed and Top of the Hub shut down so those great views of the city were closed off to the public. Fortunately, as Tim Logan tells us, plans are afoot at the Pru for a world class observatory.

Highly leveraged

We made it to Tuesday. What will today’s number be?

The robot cameramen have taken over Fenway Park.

According to that Times report yesterday, the president has debt of at least $421 million coming due in the next several years. Forbes puts it closer to $1.13 billion. Security experts say that it’s a huge vulnerability. The Washington Post reports that the president has opened himself up “to manipulation by foreign governments aware of his predicament, and put himself in a position in which his financial interests and the nation’s priorities could be in conflict.” Who does he owe? Says Eric Trump, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

Ransomware is still a big threat. It looks like Ryuk ransomware hit the systems at United Health Services last weekend, shutting down some operations.

This year Prime Day will be Oct. 13 and Oct. 14.

It took most of the summer for me to get a handle on how much junk I had in the basement before I could begin to clean it out. So I was very impressed that scientists have precisely measured all the matter in the universe, of which my basement is but a minute subset.

And Bill Murray and the Doobie Brothers are in a proxy war. It’s just what you would expect.

The good of the one

Good morning. It’s Monday. The week begins.

Zeninjor Enwemeka tells us everything we need to know about ventilation on MBTA buses and trains. Alexandra Ossola does the same for indoor spaces.

Well, we now know what Donald Trump paid in taxes for each of the first couple of years that he was in the White House. $750.00. Seven hundred and fifty dollars. His hairdresser bill, by comparison, was $70,000. (For those same years, the Bidens paid $3.7 million and $1.5 million respectively and gave away another $1.3 million to charity.) Trump will tell you he paid little to no taxes because he’s smart. Just like it was smart to avoid serving in the military. And smart to siphon money off supposed charitable contributions. It was also very smart to duck responsibility for that whole coronavirus thing. Very complicated. Very messy. Even now he’s smartly trying to stay in office even if he loses the election.

That TikTok ban that was supposed to be effective last week? Didn’t happen. It still might, but for now things are on hold.

Florida gone wild. Restrictions lifted. Very smart. I’m sure it will turn out well.

And this is an interesting approach to making ransomware a thing of the past; making it illegal to pay the ransom.

Buyers market

A sleepy, foggy Sunday morning. It’s Sam Adams‘ birthday. He’s 298 years old.

Time to pick the apples.

John Puma, COO of Places For Less, a cloud-based apartment rental broker, wrote a piece for Commonwealth Magazine on eliminating apartment rental broker fees in Boston. Places For Less does charge a fee but it’s structured differently and charged to landlords, not prospective tenants. This is a space ripe for disruption.

Widgetsmith, an app that allows you to extensively customize your iPhone screens and icons, is the #1 app on the App Store. Here’s my new slightly customized home screen. Nice and simple. (And very (maybe too) blue.)

Others have been much more creative than I have. You can even change default icons by attaching them to Shortcuts. The app is a great success. And you know what they say about imitation being a form of flattery? In this case imitations are more thievery than flattery and, as John Gruber notes, Apple needs to do more to prevent this kind of ripoff.

This NYT headline and sub tell you what you need to know about the coming fall and winter: World Nears Grim Milestone of a Million DeathsThe number of lives lost daily has been rising through most of August and September, and new hot spots keep emerging. The U.S., Brazil, India and Mexico account for more than half of the total.

And Octoberfest is upon us. But this year will be different -of course. For one thing, we’ll be making our own pretzels.

Devil in the details

Good Saturday morning. It’s Situational Awareness Day. Also, National Pancake Day!

Jon Chesto reports on the current price of air: $55 million. This is very desirable air.

Earlier in the year, the Minneapolis City Council voted to dismantle its police department. It was big news. Now some councillors want a quiet do-over. Never mind.

Better late than never, the Trillium Beer Garden on the Greenway is open for the season.

More webcams: Here’s a look from the Washington Monument. The Post ranks a few others in the area.

And if you really want to travel to another reality on this Saturday, check out Hotels of Pyongyang. Mesmerizing photos.

Taking a stand

Finally Friday. The word of the day is translucent.

The worst Halloween candies? The ones that no one will trade for? Our own Necco wafers made the list.

Republican Charlie Baker’s reputation has him as a dry, efficient bureaucrat, not known for fits of passion. That makes this slow burn display of angry emotion so extraordinary (and reassuring) to watch. Then there’s William Kristol, not someone given to liberal hysterics, who is prepping for a coming constitutional crisis. It might be too early to panic but people from both sides are already planning for the apocalypse scenario. And Trump is doubling down. So I guess, “[w]e’re going to have to see what happens.”

Watch the Generals, part II.

And to underscore the artificial nature of the rational for questioning the results of the upcoming election, the head of the FBI says there is no evidence of the type of voter fraud that Trump continues to reference.

And here’s some breaking news: ‘Belief in Conspiracy Theories Is a Barrier to Controlling Spread of COVID-19.’ You don’t say.

Transition of power

It is Thursday. Only 98 days left in 2020 and 88 until the start of winter.

Andrea Campbell is running for mayor. Good luck to her. A lot will depend on what happens with the presidential election.

And this presidential election will be like no other. I’m getting a very bad feeling about November and beyond. Is it too late for New England to join the EU?

On a happier note and on World Maritime Day, a father and son team of fishermen from Galway have made another sea rescue. They’re getting pretty good at this.

The Metropolitan Opera has cancelled its entire season. No live broadcasts to liven up the winter, unfortunately.

And to quote the Governor of Missouri, “You don’t need government to tell you to wear a dang mask.” Damm right! He and his wife have cancelled upcoming events after they both tested positive.

Balls in the air

It’s Wednesday. Happy birthday to Roy Buchanan, Bruce Springsteen and John Coltrane.

Sean Murphy found a parking ticket scam down on Fan Pier Boulevard.

As a bare-fisted brawl is underway for a Supreme Court seat, weeks before an election, and the Senate is preparing to show just how efficient they can be as they push through the confirmation, there’s this small business of paying the bills and keeping the lights on. Walking and chewing gum is really hard.

Back in 2016, RBG wrote an op-ed. She had some advice for us.

Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.

My city isn’t under siege. Is your city under siege? People are so gullible. Especially those who watch a certain news channel. It all reminds me of this.

And Boston Magazine (of course) thinks you might want to join a polo club. “The sport of kings isn’t just for royalty anymore.”

Halloween masks

Good Tuesday morning!! It’s the first day of fall. (That seemed quick.)

Leaves will soon be turning color and falling to the ground. Here’s the how and why.

What does the fall and winter look like as far as the virus goes? Andrew Joseph, writing in STAT, takes a long view into a number of possible futures. There are a lot of variables. But we should continue to wear a mask, wash our hands, and also, now, it might be beneficial to wear glasses.

Add Marco Rubio to the list of senators on the record opposed to pre-election court appointments. Not that it matters, apparently.

If you’re concerned about being tracked by advertisers, you may want to think about using a browser that blocks cookies and tracking pixels by default. Some sites are really egregious in what information they collect about you.

And, it appears that the government lost track of a 250 ton Chinese transformer. Meanwhile, this poor guy can’t get rid of a 700 pound safe.

Table scraps

Monday. Today is the International Day of Peace. Then tomorrow it’s back to normal.

Which books tend to sell the most copies? Bestsellers, obviously.

A new super high-end steak house is coming to Boston at a time when many smaller restaurants are closing. Salt Bae‘s Nusr-et, with locations in New York, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and Mykonos, among others, is opening a spot on Arlington Street. Thousand dollar steaks, anyone? Scott Kearnan thinks there’s something wrong with this picture.

Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And despite all the noise, for most people they’re really not.

Adtech and real-time bidding on user profiles is what makes the internet profitable. But it’s also a potential privacy disaster. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties is pushing government watchdogs to clamp down on companies violating the rules around protected data. Which seems to be all the companies.

And starting in mid-October, tourists heading to Hawaii will get either an aloha or an aloha from officials, depending on the results of their coronavirus tests.