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My xFinity service just got bumped up to from 350 to 400Mbps for “free”. I’m actually getting up to 475Mbps. That’s the good news. The bad news is, my Wi-Fi has been getting slower. My Wi-Fi on my laptop and phone routinely runs at 40–80Mbps, sometimes as low as 20Mbps, occasionally 100Mbps.

I’d not paid much attention to the low speeds, until I tried to stream a video over Zoom for Christmas. The test failed miserably, so I was forced to fix it.

I started by “blaming” Wi-Fi equipment and where it’s placed. I’m using a TP-Link Deco Wi-Fi mesh with 3 nodes. Two of the nodes are hardwired to the Internet gateway. I’ve ran around the house with my devices when setting it up to determine where to place each of the 3 nodes. I was getting about 100Mbps of the available 300Mbps bandwidth in most places. This worked fine, so I stopped messing around. That was about 2 years ago. …

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I recently wrote a mobile app to keep track of an inventory. The inventory has about 1,000 records and the app only reads the data. I chose to store the data in JSON format and host it from an AWS S3 bucket. This allows just downloading the file using a public S3 URL.

I don’t care if the file is download by someone else, so I didn’t need authentication, but want to keep the contents secret, so I encrypted it. The pass phrase is included in the program somewhere, but the user must enter a PIN to complete the encryption pass phrase. Because the file is obtained via https, this keeps the data secret until it’s decrypted in the app. …

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I use NodeJS for a lot of stuff. When I wanted to create an inventory system in JavaScript I considered the alternatives. Since the program is for personal use, writing a UI to edit the data had little value. I decided to use a spreadsheet. At first I used Google Sheets, but I was always exporting the file after saving it. Things would get out of sync. Very annoying and error prone.

As much as I’d rather use open source software, Excel is still the simplest solution. Unfortunately, Excel spreadsheets are XLSX files. XLSX is a rather complex XML format and difficult to parse. …

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Let’s revisit the word.

re·pub·lic| rəˈpəblik |

a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

late 16th century: from French
république, from Latin respublica, from res ‘entity, concern’ + publicus ‘of the people, public’.

Interesting. The definition interprets the concept, which is originally “concern for[sic] the people”, maybe we should get back to the original meaning of the word.

What’s the difference between a concept and making it reality? Action. Governing is an action that creates the government. It is the power the people give to elected officials so we can have some sort of order. …

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React is a really great platform for writing applications. With the introduction of React Hooks and JavaScript improvements, writing more sophisticated React applications can be easier. I recently found a nice pattern for sharing state between React components and thought I’d share :)

Let’s start with a simple application with a child components:

import Child from './Child';

export default function App(props) {
return <Child />;

The Child components will just expose a button to increment a counter, with state kept in the Child component:

import React, { useState } from 'react';

export default function Child1(props) {
const [counter, setCounter] = useState(0);
return <button onClick={() => setCounter(counter + 1)}>
Child Counter: {counter}

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Not conceding in this election isn’t a surprise. It’s probably more surprising that concession vs. finishing the election had become so commonplace. The math does predict the winner accurately at a certain point, but fact is fact. All the votes need to be counted, then the determination can be made.

The degree to which fact, policy and procedure are weaponized in political (and legal) battles continues to amaze me. Something as simple as the requirement to count all the votes before declaring a winner becomes a tool in arguments of all kinds. The most visible instance today is the refusal to concede the elections. …

The proliferation of misinformation has been identified as chronic and dangerous. Even highly skilled people have difficulty filtering out fact from fiction.

I ran across and an article describing how to filter out bullshit. These four steps allow you to efficiently re-contextualize information to determine how it’s been “spun” — and un-spin it. I suggest only doing this on things that matter to you as doing this for the bulk of bullshit we’re exposed to daily is a waste of energy.

The Medium article on the matter is:

The article references:

The main diagram in this article doesn’t show up properly, so I’ve reproduced it below. Mike has training on his page, please visit it to see what he offers. …

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Will it really take a long time to re-unite the USA?

You get what you wish for. Last I checked the “U” in USA stands for United. I’ve noticed MAGA does not contain a “U” in it. Ok, so maybe MAGA means the movement wants “America” back regardless of the “United States”. I don’t know, but I think it’s more complicated than that. Ev is right, it’s all a matter of priorities.

Of all the things I’ve had trouble with in my life (especially my career), differences in priorities to get to the same goal is tops the list. It’s pretty clear that the meaning (and value) of priority escapes most people. Very competent people often use urgency as a proxy for priority. As a result they often do things out of order. This expends a lot of energy. When the person is your manager, you get to partake in the fury. I prefer not to, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I could discuss how to properly deal with things at the right priority and urgency to remain sane, maybe another time. …

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Before doing research on behavior, I never realized how little consciousness humans really have. Mediation is designed to improve consciousness by observing everything as closely as possible.

Consider this. The human brain is designed to filter out information, yet remain responsive to the environment. This is both a coping and survival mechanism. To give some quantification to the filtering mechanism, our senses collect data at a rate of 1TB/s (that’s about twice the amount of data your computer can store). The brain can only process a small amount of this information. The information that is processed is sent to different processing centers where sense is made of them. If you are actually paying attention, some of these inputs will be interesting enough to enter your consciousness. …

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As an applied scientist, understanding and use of statistics properly is essential. Unfortunately, statistics is the most misunderstood and least developed skill in the populace. This is amazing to me because all children under the age of five are natural statisticians, more specifically they learn using stochastic processes.

Stay with me. A stochastic isn’t bad because sounds scary word, it’s your friend, embrace it. But what is it? Let’s use a simple analogy.

A child drops a spoon while eating. The parent picks it up and gives it back to the child. A younger child repeats this process more times than an older child. The child is performing an experiment using a stochastic process. In other words, the child is using statistics to determine how likely a spoon will hit the ground when dropped. (Basically testing gravity). Gravity is pretty unforgiving, so the child learns dropping a spoon will ALWAYS hit the ground (i.e., the outcome is 100% certain). 100% certain is another phrase for 100% probability an attempt will have the same outcome. This is the basis of statistics and a stochastic process. After this is learned, performing the experiment may be amusing, but does not provide anymore knowledge, to the child moves on to another experiment. …


Joe Bologna

Engineer and Philospher

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