Recently I’ve been posting pretty much nothing but videos. There two reasons. First, to the limited extent I’ve had spare time, I’ve been spending it reading political news with more horror than inspiration. Second, there hasn’t been much spare time: I just sent in a revised first draft of an article that will in due course be published by the Arizona Law Review. Meanwhile I also did a first draft of a conference proposal on some AI issues to send to a co-author. And, last week I discovered that the other conference proposal, on a privacy issue, that I thought was due at the end of this week turns out to be in fact a call for finished papers. Fortunately, I’d already started, but getting to the finish line is taking most of my time at present and seems likely to do so through the coming weekend. After that, another large privacy-related project looms in the distance. Meanwhile, of course, Jotwell is humming along. We recently started a new Contracts section.
I just had to turn down an invitation to speak on AI and robotics in Hong Kong next month because I couldn’t find enough times for all the makeup classes on such short notice. That hurt, as I’d have loved to go. But if you were maybe thinking of asking me to come talk about the exciting things I’m working on, some of which I’ll blog about when they are a little more baked, please be aware I’m on writing leave next semester, and I will have much more flexibility than usual–and, I hope, more work product too.
For a very long time I’ve had a comment about the Miami weather in the last line of my email .sig file, something like “It’s hot here” or “It’s cool here” or occasionally “It’s @#$@#$ hot here.” This started out largely as reaction against the pretentious .sig files I ran into surprisingly often in the early days of the net. But it was also driven in part by our remarkable weather in Miami: way too hot six months of the year, lovely five months of the year, and pot luck on the balance.
I had imagined that the right way to do a .sig file modifier on a unix box would be to do something to the mailer daemon to instruct it to pull the weather data in real time. But because my mail is on a university machine, I don’t have the privileges to do that, and even if I did I don’t think I’d mess with their mailer.
So for 20+ years I did the weather line by hand, changing the last line of my .sig file a few times a year to reflect the change in the seasons, at least when I remembered to do it. And from time to time I wished for something automated that would check the weather every time I sent an email.
This summer I finally broke down and took a few hours and wrote a little script that grabs weather data from a public source and re-writes the text of my .sig file every hour based on the temperature and humidity. It’s not elegant, but modifying the text of the saved version of the .sig file means I don’t have to tangle with the mailer itself. It also means I use a lot fewer system resources when sending mail, plus it limits my lookups of the weather data.
It shouldn’t have taken a few hours, but I had to learn about how to handle arrays in PHP, plus my data source was badly documented and somewhat inconsistent in what it returned. Overall, a silly thing to do, yes, and rather late to the party, but I’m happy about it anyway.
Apologies, blog readers, but this announcement is for UM Law 2L & 3L students only:
I would like to hire a UM Law student to be my research assistant for 10-15 hours/week during the coming semester. If things work out we might continue into next semester, the summer, and/or next year. Continue reading →
I’m getting out of town for a while. I will be in various places in the UK and France for a while, concluding with a visit to Amsterdam in late July.
Please note that I have a 6′ 7″ (2 meters) tall house-sitter, so my friends from college – I’m talking to you, Paul – can lay off with the emails warning me about posting my travel plans being an invitation to burglars.
Back from a great and helpful conference in Amsterdam. Lots of interesting papers, a chance to reconnect with many European colleagues especially from Amsterdam and Tilburg, and lots of useful comments on the draft paper I presented.
Now I have to deal with jet lag.
And tonight, if I can stay up for it, do I watch the GOP debate, or the first game of the Miami Heat’s potentially interesting season? So far I’m leaning towards the basketball. The first two debates had enough hate and fantasy to hold me for a long while.