greek grumblings

I bought an Android phone in January. I did not like it. At least it was cheap. (See here; defns 1, 3, and 5 are all relevant).

How cheap? It couldn’t even display polytonic Greek! Madness, I know.

This was a not insignificant factor in my decision to get a new iPhone (I lived with the same phone from 2009 through 2013 and now I’ve had two new ones in 2014) only a few months later.

Also at play was the all around Windowsiness of Android.

On the other hand: holy crap has iOS improved. It’s far more useful as a platform than it was when my first iPhone was new. And the current aesthetic is a good one.

the wikitravel mexico city article problem

Wikitravel’s Mexico City articles are full of information that is only relevant to people who live here or who are coming to visit from less developed and (even) less cosmopolitan places.

Nobody visiting from the US or Europe would ever waste a moment at most of the places mentioned at—certainly at none of the malls.

What it’s really about, of course, is signaling. How else can we explain this disgrace of a paragraph?

Although it is easy to assume that Mexico City is the world capital of tacos, you can find almost any kind of food in this city. There are regional specialties from all over Mexico as well as international cuisine, including Japanese, Chinese, French, Polish, Italian, Argentinean, Belgian, Irish, you name it. The main restaurant areas are located in PolancoCondesaCentroZona Rosa, along Avenida Insurgentes from Viaducto to Copilco and more recently Santa Fe.

Yeah, this city is cosmopolitan and wikitravel readers will now know it!

What we have here is a somebody is wrong on the internet problem and as such I don’t think it has a direct solution. But I do think it’s solvable. I’ll write about that later, probably months or years from now.


The brouhaha about Lottie Dexter being unable to code is a red herring. Even if the UK’s best programmer were in her spot the concept of teaching programming en masse is doomed from the start. Most people don’t have the ability to deal with the kinds of abstractions that you need to program. This ability is one that can’t be acquired through hard work; you either have it or you don’t. Replace Dexter with someone—anyone—else and the program(me) will still be a failure.

You heard it here first, unless you already heard it somewhere else.

according to someone (clearly)

Parentheses /pəˈrɛnθɨsz/ (singular, parenthesis /pəˈrɛnθɨsɨs/) (also called simply brackets, or round bracketscurved bracketsoval brackets, or, colloquially, parens/pəˈrɛnz/) contain material that could be omitted without destroying or altering the meaning of a sentence (in most writing, overuse of parentheses is usually a sign of a badly structured text)[according to whom?].

Humor from the humorless. (I think.)

off yer bike: notes

I bought an Off Yer Bike Brompton handle recently.

When the Brompton is in folded position, it is indeed much easier to carry with the handle. This is especially so if you’ve replaced the original saddle with an aftermarket one. It’s such an improvement that it outweighs the two non-negligible negative points.

First, when the Brompton is extended, it is slightly more difficult to carry. This is definitely the case if you’ve got front-loaded luggage, such as a C Bag. It might not be the case if you’ve got no luggage as well as the stock saddle, but I can’t easily test this.

Second, the Off Yer Bike seriously interferes with the fold. If the rear wheel is properly inflated, it doesn’t swing forward as far as it should (a half cm of difference can really matter sometimes), which makes it difficult to push the seat tube down; if the tube isn’t all the way down, the fold isn’t secure and the bike will come apart when you lift it. This is a not inconsiderable design flaw.

The best workaround I’ve found so far is this:

  • Partially fold the bike: the rear wheel should be in and the front wheel should be back, as in this photo.
  • Do something to keep the bike from rolling backward or forward. I do this by stepping on one of the rollerwheels.
  • Loosen the seat clamp and hold the saddle with one hand.
  • With your other hand, push the handlebar stem forward and down. It doesn’t need to move much, just enough to get the fold as compact as it would be without an Off Yer Bike on the cross bar.
  • While holding the handlebar stem forward and down, lower the saddle all the way.
  • Let go of the handlebar stem, tighten the seat clamp, and fold the handlebars down.

Once you get the hang of this it isn’t much more difficult or slower than than folding an offyerbikeless Brompton.




It stands for I Don’t Understand Economics. A strangely chosen acronym. Don’t trust anyone who disagrees with this assessment: that it could stand for Internet Protocol Version 6 is crazy talk.