A Tale of Two NFTs

“[…] it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness […]” –Charles Dickens, 1859

It was bound to happen, and so it did. After the release of the first shapefile NFT back in April, it was only a matter of time before a geopackage NFT also materialized. Its creator is Oliver Burdekin; the NFT is listed on Rarible for 1 ETH (same as the shapefile NFT).

Now it’s up to the discerning geogeek / digital art connoisseur to vote with their wallet. Which NFT will sell first? Exciting times!

The Ten Commandments of GIS

Voted by GIS users

  1. Thou shalt save often
  2. Zip before you ship the shapefiles
  3. Thine date format shall be YYYYMMDD
  4. Thou shalt not mingle thy units, feet and meters, together
  5. Thou shalt back up your files
  6. Use a unique ID column for joins
  7. Honour thy project and define projection tools
  8. Use Geopackage
  9. Thyself is thine own master if you use open source
  10. Postal codes are great … if you are mailing a letter

Two of my favorites — “Never open the XLS file with Excel” and “Thursdays are pantless” — did not make the top ten. Such is life.

This is a snapshot of the vote as of 20210716T154422Z. The poll is still open. You can see the other candidates and the live results after submitting the form. Submit a blank form if you just want to see the results.

My first NFT

I minted my first NFT. To the best of my knowledge this is the first-ever shapefile NFT. 

My shapefile NFT

The project began as an inside GIS joke, then expanded to the world of crypto and ‘art’. This NFT builds on the success of the original “I ❤ .SHP” series of products. I manually digitized a vector polygon shapefile over the original raster “I ❤ .SHP” PNG graphic (thus creating a shapefile about the shapefile), then derived a second shapefile (point) from the nodes and vertices of the polygon shapefile. Both shapefiles are overlaid and displayed in the PNG graphic shown here.

The NFT includes the two source shapefiles plus the two PNG graphics, with their provenance and ownership verified on the Rarible blockchain (ERC-20). Buy it here and own a piece of history.

UPDATE: For those who would rather NOT own the original, we have stickers.

UPDATE 2: And shirts!

The funniest geotweeps

A week ago I asked Twitter to nominate candidates for “The Funniest Geotweep”. Here are the results, ranked high-to-low. I will keep the poll open a while longer to allow for late nominations, and will update the results periodically.

Poll results as of 2021-02-03T23:59:59Z:

Look, Ma! I made a mobile geodatabase!

I did, indeed. Prompted by a tweet from the ever-vigilant Randy Hale, I fired up my just-updated ArcGIS Pro 2.7, created a new mobile geodatabase, and exported a feature class into it.

First impressions: It works. It’s nice. It is new in ArcGIS Pro 2.7, and only works in ArcGIS Pro 2.7. ArcMap 10.8.1 doesn’t see it. It has many advantages (compact, modern, high size and name limits) over other geodata formats such as shapefile and file geodatabase. It is very similar to the geopackage in that it uses the open-source SQLite database. It also looks like it’s Esri’s attempt to push users off ArcMap and onto Pro by recreating the personal geodatabase for the 2020s. 

If you are a member of a GIS team where everybody uses only ArcGIS Pro 2.7 (and whose data partners also only use ArcGIS Pro 2.7), the mobile geodatabase looks like an attractive proposition. In my own work experience however (1, 2), no GIS data-sharing partner has ever requested or delivered anything but the much-maligned shapefile. YMMV, and this will likely change going forward, but as of today this is my reality.

So where does that leave me? What should I do with the mobile geodatabase today? I will dive deeper and try to discover all the advantages (and eventual drawbacks) of the mobile geodatabase. I may eventually move my data out of file geodatabases and into mobile geodatabases (which will require an update to all my maps’ sources). And I will begin to offer mobile geodatabases to data-share partners. I think I know what they’ll say.

2020 for 2020

UPDATE 2020-11-14: Done.

2020 for 2020 2020-11-14

2020 for 2020 2020-11-14

2020 for 2020 Strava stats 2020-11-14

2020 for 2020 Strava stats 2020-11-14

***


UPDATE 2020-06-13: Yesterday I inched up ahead of the curve, meaning that I got 45.84% to my goal 44.81% into the year. NerdsЯUs, I know…

2020 for 2020 2020-06-12

2020 for 2020 2020-06-12

***


After having plateaued around 1,500 miles per year for each of the past five years, I aim to ride 2,020 miles in 2020. This is both a physical (I am not 17 anymore) and logistical (full-time job) challenge. A challenge I welcome and embrace, for it helps take my mind off all the craziness that surrounds us. Call it mental escapism.

So while the rest of the world worries about the coronavirus and politics and toilet paper shortage and Bitcoin crashing, I’ll be thinking about ride schedules and training schedules and bike tuning and nutrition and rest. I’ll be making charts and graphs. I’ll be listening to ABBA and Billie Eilish.

You should join me, even if only in spirit.

2020 for 2020 2020-03-14

2020 for 2020 2020-03-14

Reading

[UPDATE 2020-11-02] Not updating this list anymore.

***

Books I have read (or listened to) since returning to book-reading in 2018, in (mostly) reverse chronological order. Date next to each entry denotes date finished (or abandoned).

  • “Jack Reacher’s Rules” by Lee Child ★☆☆☆☆ 2020-10-12
    • I am embarrassed to have read this “book”, which is just a compilation of “guy stuff” clippings from other Reacher books. Stuff like “He was in no imminent danger of winning the Nobel Prize but definitely smarter than the average bear.” and “Female police officers carry handcuffs, which can be handy in bed.” How was Lee Child not embarrassed to publish this? Whose idea was it? I love the Reacher series — good writing, interesting plots. But this “selection” is the worst of the worst.
  • “The Hard Way (Jack Reacher, Book 10)” by Lee Child ★★★★☆ 2020-10-11
  • “Thinking, Fast and Slow” 🕪 by Daniel Kahneman
    • Presently reading.
  • “The Litigators” by John Grisham ★★★★☆ 2020-09-02
    • Solid Grisham.
  • “Robicheaux” by James Lee Burke ★★☆☆☆ 2020-08-24
    • Abandoned.
  • “Bloody Genius” 🕪 by John Sandford ★★★☆☆ 2020-10-01
  • “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham ★★★★☆ 2020-08-17
    • A lawyer diploma mill scam. Quote: “It’s perfect! It’s beautiful! It’s one great big fat law school scam that’s risk-free. If we default the taxpayers pick up the tab. Rackley gets to privatize the profits and socialize the losses.”
  • “Masked Prey” 🕪 by John Sandford ★★★★☆ 2020-08-17
    • A Lucas Davenport case. Good to listen to during commute.
  • “Echo Burning” by Lee Child ★★★☆☆ 2020-09-11
    • Standard fare Reacher novel. Skimmed through the last 20%.
  • “Running Blind” by Lee Child ★★★★★ 2020-07-03
    • One of the better Reacher novels. Having read most of the Reacher novel series (in random order), and having been disappointed with Lee Child’s recent product, I was pleasantly surprised by this early (2000) work. Well thought-out, well researched, well written.
  • “Murder on the Orient Express” 🕪 by Agatha Christie ★★★★★ 2020-07-08
    • Back to this gem from the queen of mysteries, some 40 years later.
  • “Rogue Lawyer” by John Grisham ★★★★☆ 2020-07-30
    • First Grisham novel in a long time. Enjoyable.
  • “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” 🕪 by Agatha Christie ★★★★☆ 2020-07-09
    • Never read this one before.
  • “Persuader” by Lee Child ★★★☆☆ 2020-06-06
    • Too many words. 544 pages is unnecessarily long for this type of novel. I skimmed through the second half.
  • “The Never Game” 🕪 by Jeffery Deaver ★★☆☆☆ 2020-06-06
    • Abandoned at 25%.
  • “Without Fail” by Lee Child ★★★★☆ 2020-05-28
    • Good novel, overall, with a few oddities: Reacher explains himself too much, uncharacteristically. Reacher wears a watch, despite having an impeccable internal clock elsewhere in the series; phrases like “near as makes no difference”, “laughing up their sleeves”, and “time to time” (notfrom time to time”) appear several times throughout the novel and nowhere else in the Reacher series. Such oddities solidify my suspicions — first arisen by the very poor “Past Tense” — that not all novels in the Reacher series were written by Lee Child himself.
  • “Code of Conduct” 🕪 by Brad Thor ★★☆☆☆ 2020-05-27
    • Abandoned.
  • “Smiley’s People” by John le Carré ★★★☆☆ 2020-05-15
    • Surprisingly, this John le Carré novel did not draw me in as I expected. Too drawn out, too descriptive. Or maybe I have become less patient… Abandoned at 66%.
  • “The President Is Missing” by James Patterson and Bill Clinton ★★☆☆☆ 2020-04-19
    • Lightweight + didactic = annoying combination. Abandoned.
  • “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” by Horace McCoy ★★★★★ 2020-04-16
    • Reading this novel some 40+ years after I saw the film was simultaneously inspiring and depressing. I devoured it in two days. 1935 mood same as 2020 mood… “[…] the first existentialist novel to have appeared in America” –Simone de Beauvoir
  • “A Delicate Truth” by John le Carré ★★★★☆ 2020-04-14
    • Private-intelligence service. Military contractors. Politicians. Money. Cover-ups. “So it’s a good old British compromise: a deniable toe in the water but not the whole foot. And me and the boys, we’re the toe, like.” “It’s another merc job, Brigid. Makes you wonder sometimes who starts the wars these days.” A sheer delight, even if somewhat naïve, considering everything that has been happening in the world since the book was published in 2013.
  • “The Sicilian” by Mario Puzo ★★☆☆☆ 2020-04-11
    • A forced, weak attempt to replicate the success of The Godfather. Abandoned.
  • “The Last Don” by Mario Puzo ★★☆☆☆ 2020-04-10
    • A forced, weak attempt to replicate the success of The Godfather. Abandoned.
  • “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” 🕪 by Michael Lewis ★★★☆☆ 2020-05-13
    • Picked up on a friend’s recommendation. An interesting — if needlessly long — account of the collaboration between two brilliant scientists, their contributions to the field of mathematical psychology, and the dynamic of their symbiotic relationship.
  • “The Honourable Schoolboy” by John le Carré ★★★☆☆ 2020-04-14
    • Surprisingly, this John le Carré novel did not draw me in as I expected. Too drawn out, too wordy. Or maybe I have become less patient… Abandoned.
  • “Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu ★★★★★ 2020-05-20
    • Delightful. You don’t have to be a Chinese immigrant in America to understand, appreciate, enjoy, love this warm, thoughtful, witty, beautifully written narrative.
  • “Annihilation” 🕪 by Jeff VanderMeer ★★★☆☆ 2020-03-06
    • Clever sci-fi novel, whose elaborate descriptions of EVERYTHING — though masterful — felt a bit too elaborate for me. The whole thing could have been a novella, a short story even. It could also be that I am not all that much into sci-fi in general.
  • “Blue Moon” by Lee Child ★★★★☆ 2020-03-01
    • Back to Lee Child and Jack Reacher, after getting over my serious disappointment with one of Child’s recent Reacher novels. This one is so far so good. It appears that Child has bounced back from his recent slump (or whatever else caused him to put out sub-par work). // This is good writing. It is amazing, almost inexplicable, how Child’s writing quality can vary so greatly from Reacher novel to Reacher novel. // Hmmm… Albanian gangster using phrases like “opportunistically and treacherously”? I will withhold further judgement until I finish the book. // A good Reacher novel. Interesting plot twists — some predictable, some not. Above all, it’s good to have back the Child I knew (who seemed to have gone missing in some of his recent works, most notably “Past Tense”).
  • “Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances” by Neil Gaiman ★★★★☆ 2020-03-14
    • Came for the short fiction, found disturbances. Abandoning for a lighter fare, for I have enough disturbances in my life as it is.
  • “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” by Joe Canzano ★★☆☆☆ 2020-02-21
    • I bought this book because I wanted to support the author — a friend whom I know as a musician. I didn’t know what to expect from his writing. Fifteen pages into the novel I am hooked. Fast-paced sci-fi action amid witty dialog, taking place in the (not-so-distant?) future when the United Mexican Union is one of the nine nations on Earth. Quote from page 16: “He obviously wasn’t expecting anyone hostile, like a dentist.” // 90 pages into the 295-page novel the wisecracks and the one-liners begin to wear thin. I put the book down. Maybe I’ll get back to it and finish it at another time.
  • “Charting and Technical Analysis” by Fred McAllen ★★★★☆ 2020-02-16
    • First book bought with Bitcoin. Actually, first-ever Bitcoin purchase. // Learning about stock trading and charts and trend lines and patterns and TA (technical analysis), and forecasting, and lemme tell ya: Voodoo is much more scientific than any of that. But I will finish the book, and I will use my new-found knowledge in my cryptocurrency adventures. // I abandoned the book on page 114, at 43%. The book is written at a 9th grade level, which is probably what its target demo is. I bought this book because I wanted to make sense of the mumbo-jumbo on crypto Twitter, in which I became suddenly, (and briefly, as it were) interested. I also wanted to buy something with Bitcoin, and this book was a perfect candidate. It did its job for me, and gave me what I was looking for. I may return to it if and when I decide to become a day trader or swing trader. For now, I am just a HODLer.
  • “Finders Keepers” 🕪 by Stephen King ★★★★★ 2020-02-22
    • First King book in a very long time. // A well-woven story about an obsessive literary fan, with all the crime and drama and suspense and characters King is known for. It kept me looking forward to my commutes.
  • “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams ★★★★★ 2020-02-12
    • What took me so long to get to this book??? Quote (this is science fiction written in 1978, mind you): “Only six people in the Galaxy knew that the job of the Galactic President was not to wield power but to attract attention away from it.” Also: “There are of course many problems connected with life, of which some of the most popular are Why are people born? Why do they die? Why do they want to spend so much of the intervening time wearing digital watches?” Also: “It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
  • “Stealth” by Stuart Woods ★☆☆☆☆ 2020-01-21
    • A new low on my list. A wealthy NYPD detective owns an estate in the UK across the river from the estate of the female director of MI-6, with whom he has sex. He next has sex with an attractive female doctor, who is also an MI-6 agent. Russian paratroopers arrive during the night on black parachutes. Abandoned the book on page 56. Should have abandoned it sooner.
  • “Camino Island” by John Grisham ★★★☆☆ 2020-01-20
    • Rather bland story set in the world of books, writers, booksellers, and stolen F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts. Main takeaway for me: the advice of a seasoned bookseller to a young novelist about what not to do in her novels. Not Polonius-level stuff, but interesting and potentially useful nonetheless.
  • “The New Girl” 🕪 by Daniel Silva ★★★★☆ 2020-01-24
    • The obligatory filler notwithstanding, this is one of the better and more interesting Silva books in the Gabriel Allon series. Loosely based on the killing and dismemberment of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the author fictionalizes the events leading to and following the murder, with an interesting twist of events.
  • “Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread” by Chuck Palahniuk ★★★★☆ 2020-01-10
    • Having belatedly discovered transgressive literature, I was both fascinated and disturbed by this collection of short stories. I didn’t finish it. Definitely not everybody’s cup of tea. ‘Zombies’ is a gem.
  • “The English Spy” by Daniel Silva ★★☆☆☆ 2020-01-12 // 🕪 
    • Presently reading. I am having trouble finishing this one, either because I have little interest in the Northern Ireland / UK / IRA conflict, or because there’s just too much filler. // Picked up this novel again as an audio book, to listen to during my commutes. // Paused.
  • “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan ★★★★★ 2019-12-24
  • “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green ★★★★★ 2019-12-10
    • Futuristic sci-fi with present-day characters. Sheer delight.
  • “The Heist” 🕪 by Daniel Silva ★★★☆☆ 2020-01-04
    • Like most Daniel Silva novels, this feels unnecessarily long.
  • “Permanent Record” by Edward Snowden ★★★★☆ 2019-10-31
    • This book did not tell me anything I didn’t already know or suspect, yet it caused me to reassess and alter my online behavior. The first ⅔ of this book is brilliant and dense, then things trail off in the last ⅓. Everyone should read this book, regardless of their personal opinion of the author.
  • “Die Trying” by Lee Child ★★★☆☆
    • I am having trouble finishing this one. Unnecessarily wordy, it feels as if the author is getting paid by the page. Maybe I’m just getting tired of Jack Reacher.
  • “The Black Widow” 🕪 by Daniel Silva ★★★★☆ 2019-12-10
    • Israeli uber-operative Gabriel Allon discovers, follows, and neutralizes an Islamic terrorist cell. Good for four weeks of commuting.
  • “Agent Running in the Field” by John le Carré ★★★★★ 2019-11-25
    • John le Carré’s latest novel, masterful as always. However, as someone who has read most (all?) his work, I can’t help but feel that he is running out of material.
  • “The 14th Colony” 🕪 by Steve Berry ★★☆☆☆ 2019-11-08
    • Bloated. Why is every recently-written fiction / adventure book over 400 pages? Do authors really get paid by the page? So much filler…
  • Gathering Prey
  • Neon Prey
  • Golden Prey
  • False Friend
  • False Witness
  • “The Mission Song” 🕪 by John le Carré ★★★★★ 2019-09-26
  • “Our Kind of Traitor” 🕪 by John le Carré ★★★★★ 2019-09-03
  • “A Legacy of Spies” by John le Carré ★★★★★ 2019-08-15
  • “The Pigeon Tunnel” by John le Carré ★★★★★ 2019-08-04
    • A beautiful collection of true stories as experienced and told by a field operative thinker
  • Death of an Honest Man
  • Death of a Kingfisher
  • Death of a Liar
  • Death of a Ghost
  • 61 Hours
  • Personal
  • Not a Drill
  • The Christmas Scorpion
  • Death of a Maid
  • No Middle Name
  • Never Go Back
  • High Heat
  • “The Fourth K” by Mario Puzo ★★★☆☆ 2019-05-18
    • Mario Puzo does a political thriller. It’s OK, but I keep waiting for the mafia to show up and it doesn’t.
  • Enlightenment Now
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
  • Nothing to Lose
  • The Affair
  • The Murderer’s Daughter
  • Motive
  • Killer
  • Guilt
  • Victims
  • Deception
  • A Wanted Man
  • “Past Tense” by Lee Child ★★☆☆☆
    • The poorest of all Reacher novels. I strongly suspect it was not written by Lee Child himself but by a novice ghostwriter. Many similar sentiments appear in Amazon reviews.
  • Bad Luck and Trouble
  • Jack Reacher: One Shot
  • Worth Dying For
  • Make Me
  • Small Wars
  • The Enemy
  • Night School
  • Deep Down: A Jack Reacher Story
  • The Midnight Line
  • Gone Tomorrow
  • Killing Floor
  • “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie ★★★★★ 2018-12-16
    • I first read this half a century ago in Bulgarian. It was called “Десет малки негърчета” — “Ten little negroes”. I have since read it many times in English as “Ten little Indian boys”, “Ten little sailors”, and now as “And Then There Were None” — the publishers progressively yielding to the PC demands of the day. Regardless, this is a superb mystery, and I will probably read it again in the future.
  • “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie ★★★★★ 2018-12-09
    • I first read this half a century ago in Bulgarian. It was called “Алиби” — “Alibi”. I have since read it many times in English. A superb mystery from the queen of mysteries. Allegedly Christie wrote this novel as a response to a friend’s claim that murder mysteries are transparent and it is always apparent who the murderer is.
  • Judgment Cometh
  • A Crime of Passion
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Blood Money
  • Reasonable Fear
  • Injustice for All

Future reading:

  • “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr
  • “Indistractable” by Nir Eyal
  • “The Looking Glass War” by John le Carré
  • “The Ministry of Fear” by Graham Greene
  • “String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis” by David Foster Wallace
  • “Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture” by Johan Huizinga
  • “Bitcoin Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich
  • “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain” by David Gerard
  • “Tao Te Ching”

Confronting my technological prejudices

I have always been superficially prejudiced against all things Apple. When a seasoned technologist friend announced switching from Android to iPhone, I was curious. I asked him why. It was illuminating for me to hear his reasoning, which I present to you below.

***

When I saw that my friend Bill Dollins — a long-time Android and Linux guy — is now an iPhone user, I was somewhat surprised. I wondered why he switched. I swiftly jumped to my own conclusions about his reasoning. Then, realizing that my conclusions were probably colored by my own biases (they were), I decided to just ask him. Bill agreed to entertain a few questions.

AT: Bill, why did you switch from Android to iPhone? I thought tech people use Android as a badge of honor. I thought Apple products were for artists, celebrities, and the VP of Marketing.

Bill: Working in an Apple shop allowed me to learn more about their products than I would have on my own. My primary reason has become privacy and security. The contrast on these issues between Google and Apple is stark. Apple takes these issues much more seriously for individuals than does Google and it is evident in technical and business choices they have made. 

For example, Apple’s smart home technology, HomeKit, doesn’t specifically require internet access, though some individual devices may. They do things like video processing via a HomePod, which can be disconnected from the internet. These are functions that Google or Amazon offload to the cloud, so connectivity is required. This design choice means that HomeKit doesn’t yet have a video doorbell option, so it can “slow down” feature development when compared to Google or Amazon. I’m okay with that.

The iPhone takes a similar approach. Like Android, it has a location history feature. Unlike Android, the history and all related processing remains on the device. There’s no centralized Apple cloud where it’s being stored along with everyone else’s to train some machine-learning algorithm.

I should note that I haven’t done anything yet with HomeKit myself, but I am considering it. My information comes from my Apple consultant, James Fee.

Having said all of this, I know that no technology is perfect. Zealots of Googlism or Amazonism will certainly nitpick anything that I have said here. That’s what block buttons are for.

AT: Where do you stand on the Windows / Linux / Mac divide for desktops and laptops?

Bill: My primary desktop machine, which I use daily, is still a System76 Ubuntu machine. My MacBook is company-issued and mainly used for specific work tasks and for when I travel. Windows has been the big loser for me.

AT: I used a MacBook once, years ago. I remember apps performing an elaborate dance on open and close. It made me dizzy, and I thought it was childish. I haven’t touched one since. Do Macs still do that?

Bill: I haven’t noticed that since I have been using a Mac. One thing I did notice is that some Mac idioms, such as two-fingered touchpad scroll, exist on more modern Windows machines alongside the older Windows idioms. I have an older Windows laptop that doesn’t support it, but I haven’t looked closely to see if that’s because of the generation of the hardware or of Windows. I’m not really concerned about it enough to investigate.

AT: Don’t tell anyone, but I have been thinking about an iPhone for a while, mainly as a means to distance myself from Google. I haven’t done it yet because I am concerned that my reputation will take a hit. What say you to that?

Bill: I will defer to the expert on this topic: Joan Jett. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO6YL09T8Fw

Let’s all go back to blogging

I’ll go first.

I went for a bike ride yesterday. Nothing new, except this time I allowed myself to break away from the pursuit of performance metrics (speed, distance, etc.), and focused instead on the journey (autumn, sun, cool air, trees). What a difference! I still hit some decent numbers, but that was secondary.

Here’s a pic from a break I took along Canal Road and the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Franklin Township, New Jersey:

Autumn_biking_on Canal_Road