Autumn

Autumn. It was always my favorite season. The warm afternoons, cool evening, the leaves falling. I got married in the autumn and in the next few days will celebrate another year.

I came across a poem recently that spoke of this time of year.

Song for Autumn
 
In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
 
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
–Mary Oliver
It speaks of the season in ways I had not considered. A natural order that accepts the coming changes.
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John Deere Firmware

You buy the tractor, but to use it, you have to agree to a EULA. The EULA says you don’t own the software or the firmware. So what did you buy, exactly?

This is the battle farmers all over the country are fighting. Because when the tractor isn’t running, you have to have an authorized John Deere technician work on it. Doesn’t matter that the equipment is down and you’re in a short window to get a crop in, you can’t work on it yourself.

Farmers are downloading cracked firmware from overseas and loading that on their tractors. The EULA forbids this, even though it is a specific exemption to the DMCA.

Several states have legislation pending to address this. It remains to be seen if the farmers will win. They find themselves leading the fight for the consumer to own what they buy. If they win, it will impact all of us that use cellphones and automobiles.

The Cold Blue

In 1943, at the height of the bombing war, a film director named William Wyler took a team to England. They were capturing footage for a documentary on the Memphis Belle, one of the first B-17 to complete enough missions for the crew to come home.

The extra footage, including footage filmed on bases in England and on bombing missions over Germany, was sent to the National Archive and forgotten. It was found 70 years later.

Completely restored in a digital frame by frame effort and rendered in 4K, the footage was used to create a new documentary. Surviving pilots and crew in their 90s are interviewed and provide commentary and voice over.

The mix of their memories and the vivid footage that looks like it was recorded create a historical documentary that immerses the viewer in a different time and place.

HBO has it. Clips and trailer can be found on YouTube.

Loss

800 years of history was lost yesterday. Something may eventually be built on the site but what is gone is irreplaceable.

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Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

 His name is Eric Schmitt-Matzen and he has played a Santa Claus, 80 venues a year, for a long time. He’s professionally trained, Natural beard, custom suit, lots of experience.

None of it prepared him to be Santa for real.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love
and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and
give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be
the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if
there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no
poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. –From the New York Sun, 1897