Sad news as Alex Mills passes away

I didn’t know Alex well, but I’ve been following his journey for about six months, starting with his news last October that he was in remission:

Unfortunately, his cancer returned, and it proved to be a tougher challenge this time around. In this short time that I followed Alex, his courage was nothing less than inspiring. Cancer has taken family members, including my father, and I admire Alex for his determination to fight it, and persevere.

His journey is a reminder to cherish the time we have with the people we care about. It’s so easy to take these things for granted. My deepest condolences to Alex’s family.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Jordan Lomibao

Tributes to Alex

There are some wonderful tributes to Alex online. They just show what a remarkable person he was, and how much he meant to so many people. Here are a couple that I find along the way:

But anyone who knows what Mills created for car enthusiasts worldwide knows that thanks weren’t necessary, from his end. If anyone deserves gratitude for what they’ve done for others—so many others, at that—it’s Mills himself.

Alex Mills, Who Helped Top Gear Become an International Icon Through the Internet, Dies at Age 34

“Request mutual limb enclosure”

One of my colleagues shared this awesome strip today:

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❤️ a b s o r b

A post shared by Nathan W Pyle (@nathanwpyle) on

The music that helps get me up those hills

I’ve been running for the last two months (not continuously), and I’ve experimented with some sort of audio accompaniment to help pass the time.

I started off listening to podcasts, and while this helped me get through more of my podcast backlog, listening to podcasts doesn’t really give me that extra oompf to get up the hills.

So I switched over to some music. I started off with “9 Dead Alive” by Rodrigo y Gabriela, but then it disappeared from Spotify (for me at least). I then bought the album, and loaded it onto my phone to play through another audio app on my phone

That worked for a run or two until I felt the need for something different. In the past, I’ve tended to go for movie soundtracks when I worked out, specifically instrumental soundtracks. With music from the likes of Batman, the Flash, and more, the playlist definitely has the drama to get up those hills.

Still, it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. So I looked at some of the music I’ve been listening to lately, and came up with my current “Going for a run” playlist:

This music isn’t exactly what you’d hear in a gym, or otherwise associate with some sort of workout but what I like about these songs is that they tend to have a great cadence for my current running pace.

I’ve used this playlist for about a week or so, and so far it’s helped move me along my current route at a decent pace.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Jenny Hill

Advice for my early blogger self – be consistent, and be persistent

If I could go back to early 2004, and give myself advice as I started exploring this “blog” thing, I’d probably recommend the following:

  • Write good quality posts over meaningless clickbait more often than not;
  • Be consistent, and be persistent – it takes a lot of work to build an audience, but it’s worth it;
  • Embrace social media … as a distribution channel. It won’t replace a blog as a serious publishing tool (just wait 14 years, you’ll see);
  • Register a great domain early, and stick with it (names are good).

As much as I enjoy what I do, I love blogging. I look at blogs like kottke.org, and I find myself wishing I’d put more effort into my early blogging initiatives back in the early years.

Sure, it still takes a lot of work to succeed, especially back then when it wasn’t that obvious how to make money from these weblogs. At the same time, what an interesting way to make a living if you do.

Featured image by Geraldine Lewa, courtesy of Unsplash

We’re heading to the Moon in a new beginning with SpaceIL

Israel’s first, private lunar lander is on its way to the Moon after a successful launch onboard the SpaceX Nusantara Satu mission. If our lander makes it to the lunar surface, Israel will be the fourth nation to land on the Moon, and the first country to land SpaceIL‘s privately built spacecraft.

#israeltotheMoon

Building the lander

SpaceIL has a great time-lapse video showing the lander’s construction:

The launch

The launch itself was pretty exciting (as most SpaceX launches are). We watched the recording of the launch this morning before our kids left for school:

Reaching the Moon

The lander itself is pretty small, and it will use a series of gravitational maneuvers to reach the Moon in early April. Here’s what we can expect to happen:

This is really exciting. It will take some time for the lander to arrive at the Moon so, in the meantime, read Ars Technica’s “The first private mission to the Moon may launch Thursday night“, and follow along on Twitter for updates:

Featured image: “Nusantara Satu Mission” by SpaceX, released to the Public Domain

Who are you gonna call? Winchesters! This is an awesome Supernatural parody.

My wife and I are big Supernatural fans. She sent me a link to this awesome parody video from the Hillywood Show that somehow manages to include stars from the show!

There’s also a two hour behind the scenes video too! I’ll have to save this one for later, though. But you can watch it here, if you’d like:

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Jakob Owens

First-hand accounts of how the President’s team responded to 9/11

I read a remarkable article comprising first-hand accounts by a number of people who surrounded President George W Bush on the morning of 9/11. I remember when the tragedy struck, and read reports about how the President’s team responded to the emerging crisis in the hours that followed.

The story of those remarkable hours—and the thoughts and emotions of those aboard—isolated eight miles above America, escorted by three F-16 fighters, flying just below the speed of sound, has never been comprehensively told.

This oral history, based on more than 40 hours of original interviews with more than two dozen of the passengers, crew and press aboard—including many who have never spoken publicly about what they witnessed that day—traces the story of how an untested president, a sidearm-carrying general, top aides, the Secret Service and the Cipro-wielding White House physician, as well as five reporters, four radio operators, three pilots, two congressmen and a stenographer responded to 9/11.

Garrett M. Graff

One thing this article made clear is how inaccurate some of that initial reporting was. If anything, I have a new-found respect for the former President, and the people who protected, and assisted him on that day. It’s well worth reading this article: ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’ – POLITICO Magazine

Featured image credit: Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. (P7070-13)

The original WorldWideWeb browser has been revived … in your modern browser

This is an awesome project:

In December 1990, an application called WorldWideWeb was developed on a NeXT machine at The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN) just outside of Geneva. This program – WorldWideWeb — is the antecedent of most of what we consider or know of as “the web” today.

In February 2019, in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the development of WorldWideWeb, a group of developers and designers convened at CERN to rebuild the original browser within a contemporary browser, allowing users around the world to experience the origins of this transformative technology.

CERN 2019 WorldWideWeb Rebuild

My first browser was probably one of the early Netscape browsers (I loved those browsers), although it’s possible I may have started off with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer given how prevalent it was in those early days.

You can read more about the project that led to this browser’s recreation, here: Developers revive first Web browser at week-long hackathon | CERN

The WorldWideWeb browser
The WorldWideWeb browser

The WorldWideWeb browser has a certain appeal to it, although I’m not rushing to replace Firefox with this browser just yet. 😜

Via Jeremy Keith over at Adactio

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