Increasingly systems are personalizing how and what they display to people. In many cases this is great as it makes the experience much more relevant. However I find that there are many times where this is not so great. For example, google search has been for quite a while now returning results that are based on your geolocation determined from your IP address. If I am looking for a restaurant, then this may be good. But if I am searching for news or some other information then this is not that good at all. No longer are you able to accidentally find something interesting which even though it may not be located near you is still very relevant to your interests. The digital world of all places should not always be bound by our physical location.
This gets worse when your IP address may actually be wrong. I worked for a company where we had a global network. I could change my network proxy to appear as if I was in the UK, when I was really sitting in Chicago. This at times could be amusing, but more often it made us aware that searching for the exact same term provided differently ranked results depending on where google thought we were located. I am not sure there is a solution here as the benefits of location relevancy seem to outweigh the benefit of serendipity. But I do have a sense of loss or nostalgia at times for days when I would find interesting articles from people in other parts of the world.
Every year the town I live in has the 4th of July celebratory fireworks on the 3rd. I’ve heard part of the reason explained is so that as other towns have theirs on the 4th there is not a massive number of people crossing paths. Another reason is so that more people can attend multiple fireworks shows. This all makes sense, but it just seems odd to me to celebrate a holiday that is specifically about a date on a day other than that date.
It’s understandable that people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving on different days. Especially for large families where you need to visit multiple locations. However, doing the 4th on the 3rd is similar to having a New Years eve party on December 30th or Jan 2nd. Sure you can get together with family, but it kind of seems lame to have the countdown any other time than when the year actually changes.
The fireworks displays have also been getting boring over the years and expectations for this year looked to be the same. There was some excitement this year with a drone flying overhead and around the firework display as they were going off. I really need to get a drone.
Well I had fallen behind the wordpress guys a few versions and needed to get the site back up-to-date. This involved backing up the files and the database. I had disabled my local version a while back so I had to get that up and running and then manually apply the new version there to ensure that it would not break anything. This took a bit of effort as I had to configure the virtual private host on my system again and I had to dig around to remember exactly how to do that.
Once I had the new version running locally I had to copy everything up to the server and then check again. WordPress has a really nifty auto-update feature, which I unfortunately can not take advantage of as I have customized my installation. For those who have not visited in over a year, if you had created an account, I’m sorry to say that I had to dump a bunch of user accounts due to spambots. My apologies and I understand if you decide not to create a new account again. I did change the settings so that you do not have to register to leave a comment. However, posts do not display until I approve them. Trying to make sure the spamage does not get displayed.
I love going to onsen hotels in Japan. An onsen is essentially a hot spring spa, they are not unlike a turkish bath except that you must thoroughly bathe from head to toe before entering the bath. If you have previously bathed, you may simply rinse down with a cup and small basin of onsen water provided before entering the bath. They are usually part of a hotel and not necessarily open to the public. Although there are many that allow public access as well. Some are more natural than others ranging from a simple pool of hot water to water park like structures that are coed and require swim suits. Usually, they are single sex baths where you will be in the presence of other people bathing naked.
Another typical benefit of the onsen hotel is they provide a dinner and sometimes a breakfast as well. The dinner is a wonderful multi-course experience in fine Japanese cuisine. A ryokan onsen is a traditional Japanese style hotel with an onsen. You sleep on a futon on tatami floor and the room often has no furniture other than a table. Pictured is just one of the awesome meals I have had at an onsen.