“The arts community is generally dominated by liberals because if you are concerned mainly with painting or sculpture, you don’t have time to study how the world works. And if you have no understanding of economics, strategy, history and politics, then naturally you would be a liberal.”

—  Mark Helprin, 8/10/2005

Bell the cat, duck the dog


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Got Pez?


This is the most appealing picture I’ve seen of Suzuran Yamauchi (山内 鈴蘭). Actually, it was the only picture I’d seen of her, but after looking her up, it’s still the one I like best…

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Wrong day to fly coach…


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Cheesecake: underwear only


This one was hard to strip down. So to speak. Even quickly skimming through the 350+ pages of results, I ended up with over 350 candidates, so there will be lots of lingerie in the next chanpurū collection. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Life with Arlo Pro


Now that I’ve had the Arlo Pro cameras for a few months now, what do I think?

Pros

  • Setup and placement is easy, although I recommend buying better anchors for their dome mounts.

  • The cameras trigger reliably and record video and audio with plenty of quality for their intended use.

  • Battery life is excellent at the default settings, and they recharge at a reasonable speed.

  • Notifications are usually quite quick, to the point that when I get home, the alert arrives on my phone before I can unlock the front door. I have one camera set to high sensitivity, and when it goes off in the morning, I know a cat has shown up (or the wind is strong enough to blow the bamboo in front of the camera).

  • The week of cloud storage from the free base tier is sufficient for my needs.

  • Viewing, managing, and downloading recorded videos is quick and easy.

Cons

  • The app/website frequently reports that the cameras and base station are not reachable, and insists that they must not be connected to the Internet. Never mind that the base station is pingable at all times and I can see it sending traffic to their servers. This appears to be a problem with dropped connections at their end.

  • Connecting to the camera can take a very long time even when the app/website can reach them, and often times out. For instance, just now it took me nearly ten minutes of trying to get it connect to one of my cameras, and it repeatedly claimed my base station must be “offline”.

  • Even when the app does connect, I’ve never gotten the intercom functionality to work. For instance, when the neighborhood kids were playing hide-and-seek, I couldn’t tell the kid who kept setting off my cameras to go hide somewhere else.

  • Since you can only configure the base station and cameras through the app/website, all administration is blocked when it claims you’re “offline”.

  • When notifications don’t arrive instantly, they can show up hours later, but the app doesn’t tell you which videos are new; they’re silently sorted in with the ones that showed up on time. Basically, when you get an alert on your phone, you have no idea if something just happened or if an hours-old video finally showed up.

  • The USB storage is basically useless. When I recently pulled out the drive, it had video from March and July, but nothing in between. And the only way to view what it recorded is to log into the app, hope it connects successfully, tell it to stop writing to the drive, then connect it to your PC.

Conclusion

A security camera that sometimes alerts you promptly is not terribly useful.

I suspect their servers are overloaded, and all of the problems they blame on my (rock-solid) Internet connection are on their end. I also suspect that the service would magically improve if I upgraded to a paid tier…

Bottom line, if your primary requirement is prompt, reliable notification of security events, buy something else right now. The Arlo Pro will record the event, but you might not find out about it for hours, and might not be able to get a real-time view of the scene without wasting several minutes waiting for a successful connection (which can require force-quitting the app).

If, like me, you’re mostly interested in package deliveries and wandering cats, it’s flaky but acceptable. Hopefully they’ll resolve these problems with server, client, and app updates, but right now it’s pretty Beta.

Gendering The Doctor


A bit belatedly, it occurs to me that there’s no one to react to the results of this new regeneration. Unless they bring back a human(ish) character from a previous season, no one who encounters the new Doctor will have a reason to notice, much less care.

Dear Yurina Kumai,


I see you’ve found the new Hello!Project box set.

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Kawaiiiiiiii…


Not what I’m usually looking for in the “cute girls in kimonos” genre…

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“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”