Staked out positions

Happy Monday!

Heather Kelly provides a short but helpful list of home help desk tasks we should be on top of. (Have you tried turning it off and on again?)

I assume that the OPAT isn’t in the tank for the police. And yet it also isn’t finding lots of misconduct. The reaction from police critics is predictably strained.

Elon Musk and the Twitter board have been negotiating all weekend. We may learn today about a deal.

Apple Pay‘s, tap to pay, could soon work both ways. Tap to pay and tap to receive. Convenient.

And some people are concerned about unhealthy fast food coming to Mattapan Square. I guess if you want something healthy you could walk across the street to Simco‘s.


Sunday. This morning’s album is Sleepwalker by the Kinks.

Covid giveth and Covid taketh away. It happened for Netflix and it happened with chicken wings.

Firearm deaths for people aged 19 and under rose 29% between 2019 and 2020. Shrug. Disney and math textbooks? Outrage.

One day there’s a housing crisis in Massachusetts. The next day it’s all about community character and the threat of poorly designed and incongruous housing projects.

The Belarusian Rail War against the Nazi’s was the inspiration for the more recent successful train war against Russia.

And Apple is removing apps that haven’t been updated in some time. Better get in one last game of Snood.

Cash flow

Thursday. The word of the day is opportune.

Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter outright, now.

It’s budget season in these parts. Boston’s budget is pretty practical. Lots of necessary facility and infrastructure upgrades. Personnel costs dominate. Status quo. That’s not a bad thing. At the State House, despite overflowing coffers, the Governor’s plan for tax relief for for seniors, low earners, renters, and parents of dependent children was put off by legislators. Speaker Ron Mariano told Commonwealth Magazine that those tax cuts “weren’t necessary.”

There were lots of allegations of voting shenanigans investigated after the last presidential election and some were actually found to be legitimate.

Russia is blustering over Sweden and Finland joining NATO, throwing out the threat of moving nuclear weapons closer to the border. As if close to the border is worse.

And here are the winners of Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ macro photography contest. Wow.

War is hell

Monday. Today’s word is salient.

Running a national government with absolutely no experience is easy. It’s just like running a social media company. You bring in the best people. In both cases the results will speak for themselves.

Images from Bucha, taken by a Washington Post photographer on the ground. Staggering.

Erica Pandey writes about crypto, which might seem very faddish these days but is not merely a flash in the pan. “Some of the world’s smartest young minds aren’t going to law school or Goldman Sachs — they’re going into crypto.”

Today’s Apple seems to be firing on all cylinders and decimating competitors. Neil Cybart considers why.

And maybe we can learn a thing or two from people who think that nothing is true. (But I doubt it.)

The biggest loser

Friday. This is good.

The Massachusetts Senate has rejected suspending the gas tax. Neighboring Connecticut, on the other hand, suspended its gas tax from April 1st to June 30, as well as fares on public buses statewide.

Boston is shrinking or, more accurately, Suffolk County is getting smaller. People are moving out of the city to places like the Cape, although Massachusetts as a whole lost population. Counties in New York and Los Angles also shrank during the pandemic. Where did everybody go? Looks like they’ve all gone to The Villages. Here’s a map.

Here’s how to outsmart your smartphone’s smart camera.

People think Biden isn’t being tough enough on Russia. For what it’s worth, I think he’s doing exactly the right things given the circumstances. As Lawrence Freedman writes, “students of international relations, especially those who adopt a ‘realist’ approach, warn that the understandable desire to see Ukraine win, and moral outrage over Putin’s actions, might interfere with the cool judgements necessary when faced with such a deadly conflict, one with potential repercussions that go well beyond the belligerents.”

And this kid can spell better than you (or me.) Voilià.

From comedy to tragedy

Sunday, Sunday. Let’s have a parade.

The St. Patrick’s Day breakfast can be streamed here this morning.

In the TV show Servant of the People, a hapless history teacher stumbles into the presidency of Ukraine. The teacher is played by none other than Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who himself later in real life stumbled into the presidency of the Ukraine. It’s available on Netflix with subtitles and it’s worth watching if only to see how beautiful and vibrant Ukrainian society was before the war. The whole thing is really very weird but it puts images and stories like this and this into perspective, making them much more relatable and tragic.

Conti, Cozy Bear and the FSB, a nest of vipers.

Today’s assessment from the Institute for the Study of War is kind of a stunner: “Ukrainian forces have defeated the initial Russian campaign of this war. That campaign aimed to conduct airborne and mechanized operations to seize Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and other major Ukrainian cities to force a change of government in Ukraine. That campaign has culminated. Russian forces continue to make limited advances in some parts of the theater but are very unlikely to be able to seize their objectives in this way.” … They go on to say that Russia will need to pause and regroup with new forces and supplies to win this war, but they don’t seem to be doing that.

And the reviews are in for Apple’s Universal Control. I’ve tried it with two Macs and it does ‘just work.’

Invisible battles

Saturday. Today is the anniversary of the time zone.

Press Watch to the NYT over its editorial on free speech: Shut up.

In the invasion of Ukraine, cyber warfare has been conspicuous by its absence. Or has it? Thomas Rid: “Some of the most consequential computer network breaches may stay covert for years, even decades. Cyberwar is here, but we don’t always know who is launching the shots.”

Kyle Chayka wonders if the cameras on the newer iPhones are just a little too good… so good they’re bad.

Military analysts continue to be surprised at the ineffectiveness of the Russian military. Also, John Ismay writes about how Ukrainian soldiers are using shoulder fired missiles to great effect, notably the NLAW, a British weapon made in Sweden by SAAB.

And here’s how to stop. This is important to know.

Either, or, or neither

It’s a marvelous March Monday.

It’s pothole season—and not just in the city. I’ve been dodging some huge craters while on the bike down in cranberry country.

Lawrence Freedman has another good post, this time on how the war is playing out, both in space and time. At the end of the day no one really knows what’s going to happen next. “The pre-war assumptions of a modernised and efficient Russian army that would soon overwhelm the outgunned Ukrainians have now been jettisoned,” he writes, “but it remains difficult to accept the contrary assumption that this is a war that the Russians might lose.”

Petro-politics is making a comeback. Old enemies are new friends.

It’s pretty crazy that your iPhone can take amazing photos with such a small camera. And it’s not just all that software correction, either. Check out this lens design.

And I’ve certainly benefited from some privileges over the years, but not this one.

An economic siege

Friday. The word of the day is askew.

The Freedom People’s Convoy is coming. And they’re pissed. (Mostly that they’ve been upstaged by war in Ukraine.)

Dave Lawler reflects on how the war will end for Putin. Sanctions and isolation are taking a toll. And it’s not just yachts being seized, chess masters excluded or cats being kicked out of beauty contests. Russia’s Sberbank has collapsed in the face of sanctions. Shipping lanes are being shut down. Airlines are being deprived of passengers. China is staying out of the picture, holding back assistance to Russia for fear of being caught up in the economic war themselves. Emily Peck looks at potential blow back to economies in the west. Wired has more on this subject. Craig Timberg considers how shutting down access in Russia to popular western technologies will play out in the future. And the Times worries that a trapped Putin might lash out.

Bill Barr writes about how Donald Trump yelled at him and told him he was fired. Hilarity ensues.

A.I. chatbots are becoming pretty advanced. In the near future they’re expected to get even better. Is that a good thing? I’m not sure.

And here’s a roadmap for the Apple event slated for next Tuesday.

Led by the nose

Happy Sunday!

Dowd: Can Dems Dodge Doomsday?

Forensic linguists have identified the person, or persons, behind QAnon: Paul Furber and then, later, Ron Watkins. Two nobodies who were making it all up as they went along. But some of us already knew that.

Washington DC Police Chief Robert Contee was grilled by the City Council on his running of the department and on rising crime. As the Post notes, “Some of those same council members who two years ago supported a budget to cut police funds to confront crime as a public health crisis, which police say led to the smallest force in two decades, are facing an uprising of constituent anger, and some have now called for more investment in police.”

Scott Galloway is bullish on Apple. A trillion dollars in revenue?!? Too much.

And the astronaut pen featured on Seinfeld is a real thing. The Fisher Space Pen. Here it is in action.