I didn't post for a while because we went to Florida for vacation. While there, we played the alphabet game a few times. We expected that Q would be easier to get than it is in Pennsylvania, because, unlike Pennsylvania license plates, Florida plates do have the letter Q:
This turned out to be the case, but finding the letter Q was easy for a reason I hadn't even thought of before: Florida, unlike Pennsylvania, has LIQUOR stores.
(This sounds like a joke, doesn't it? But I assure you it is not a joke.)
I left my computer at home because I don't like to bring it on vacation, but I did bring my phone, and I composed blog posts on it using a new bluetooth keyboard that I got for a different purpose that didn't work out. I hadn't had any plan for what to do with the superfluous keyboard but it was so light I forgot I had it in my bag and one day at the coffee shop I decided to see if I could connected it to my phone, just as a hack. It connected just fine, and then I discovered that I quite like using it to compose text on my phone, although this was not something that I had known I wanted to do. The keyboard is small and light enough to keep in my bag and pop out on the spur of the moment.
The kids, who take the most astonishing technologies for granted (“of course Hardee's has an on-demand quantum computing service, Dad!”) were surprised and delighted to seeing me use a wireless keyboard with my phone, and they had to try it out themselves. I can never predict what will impress them. If I had tried to guess, I would have supposed that they would have mocked me for using such an old-fashioned input device. But maybe that was what interested them about it, the same way that I might find it a charming novelty to use a telegraph key to configure AWS.
I thought that using bluetooth keyboards was something that people do, but maybe they only do it with tablets and not with phones, because one morning I sat in the hotel lobby drinking my coffee and writing blog posts with my phone and keyboard, and more than once a stranger came up to ask me about it: What kind of keyboard is it? Where can you get it? What kind of phone? Do you need a special app? I explained that no, this is a totally stock keyboard and it is a totally standard feature of all phones.
As we used to say when I was a sysadmin, users think you're a genius if you fix their monitor by plugging it in, and an idiot if you can't tell them how to do real-time robot arm control under Unix.
I do not understand palm trees. How do they work?
What are their roots like? What anchors them in the sand and keeps them from tipping over?
Where do they get fresh water from? Many plants dig deep for water. But on the beach, if you dig down you don’t get anything but salt. Do they grow very slowly?
Why do they have those wavy fronds all clustered at the top, and the smooth trunks? Is it for hurricane and flood resistance? Maybe they don’t need a lot of leaves because the sun is so bright. Maybe a palm tree’s big problem, like a cactus’, is how to stay out of the sun, and that’s why they are tall and narrow like a cactus.
The hotel contained these polyhedral lamps: