Bradley M. Kuhn bkuhn@identi.ca

originally from Baltimore, MD, USA.

President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy. On the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation. Generally, a Software Freedom advocate, GPL Enforcer, and Occasional developer..

  • 2015-05-06T01:41:40Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I have always loved the sound of disk I/O. I'm listening to the Conservancy backups run now. That bursty crunch is like music.

    Has anyone compiled sounds of how hard drive I/O noise changed over the decades? I am wondering what made that high-pitched note in the middle of the crunch that went away sometime in the mid 1990s.

    And, this may be a lost sound, like modem noise. At least for the moment magnetic disks are still cheaper than solid state, though. :)

    what about the sound of floppy drives? .. haven't heard that for a while!

    more of a worry is finding one that still works of you want to get a file from an old floppy!

    michaelmd at 2015-05-06T03:29:45Z

    Douglas Perkins likes this.

    I like how the Amiga500 emulator UAE makes use of that and plays back a recording of an actual Amiga loading from disk

    mray at 2015-05-06T10:24:18Z

  • 2015-04-23T23:39:39Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The thing I probably hate most about being a software freedom activist is how often the politics dictate that I ingratiate myself to proprietary software company employees and leaders.

    I then always wonder how often environmental activists ingratiate themselves to Exxon employees.

    Then I wonder if I really am an activist at all.

    Robert Musial , Sean Tilley , Aaron Wolf , Matthew Tift and 3 others like this.

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    I don't really understand what you mean. Could you give an example, either real or fictional?

    Douglas Perkins at 2015-04-24T04:57:22Z

    in my opinion the problem is in, some, environmental activists. employees as individuals are not "guilty". environmental activists neither work in the same industry than petrol or car industry employees. microsoft emps, I imagine, think they are developing the best software and that the non-community approach is better, at least some of them. I don't think that they have all the time in mind how to slave their user. everybody try to see the positive parts of the work they have. in my opinion the free software community have a much more healthy attitude than some, more noisy is true, parts of the environmental movement. long and awfully written. sorry.

    lard at 2015-04-24T06:16:09Z

    Scorpio20 likes this.

    Why would ingratiating ever be necessary? Or to put it another way - if you are being fair to yourself about accusing yourself of ingratiating yourself, what has such ingratiation actually achieved for you?

    When I look at how companies deal with one another, I don't see anything like the sort of ingratiation I think you are talking about (ignoring things like sales pitches - surely you're not talking just about corporate fundraising). 

    Richard Fontana at 2015-04-24T18:34:00Z

    i do not get it at all

    hellofgames at 2015-04-30T13:00:47Z

  • Wikipedia on 60 Minutes

    2015-04-06T02:57:41Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The media admittedly often takes the worst possible soundbite, but it's unfortunate that the Wikipedia story on 60 Minutes tonight included a Wikipedian saying that "its growth could be infinite".

    I assure the world with complete certainty that Wikipedia will remain finite forever.

    The quote was probably a mis-speak, but I'm disturbed that 60 Minutes decided to use a quote that had a Wikipedian stating a mathematical impossibility in a story about knowledge and its dissimenation freely to the public.

    Also, I wonder if there's a subtle sexism in the editing, since that item just happened to be a quote from a female Wikipedian rather than the male ones.

    Meanwhile, I must also note I'm quite disturbed that Sue Gardner said "Wikipedians are a little bit OCD". It's really not appropriate to opine publicly that a class of people in our community have a psychological disorder. Sue is not the only community leader I've seen do this, though, it's just that she was on 60 Minutes saying it.

    EricxDu , Olivier Mehani like this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Olivier Mehani , Olivier Mehani shared this.

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    this assumes human expansion is finite, which may or may not be true. Of course, distributed computing across planets will make for some serious diff issues.

    I suppose at some point there are also concerns about speciation, so perhaps we should just be talking about intelligent beings (though intelligence is also debateable).

    Doug Whitfield at 2015-04-06T17:14:41Z

    I agree with lnxwalt. My point was that nothing we do on a computer is infinite. It can't be.

    If the speaker really meant to talk about growth that would continue as long as human beings are around, then the right words are "unbounded" or "indefinite". They don't sound as exciting as infinite, of course, but the accurate rarely sounds as exciting as the inaccurate.

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2015-04-06T17:22:50Z

    I just learned that "infinite" can mean "immeasurably great" http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/infinite

    Whatever the accepted definitions though, clearly the use of the word leaves one open to criticism, and I suppose is to be avoided. There are other words that fall in this category. For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fag & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_about_the_word_"niggardly"

    Doug Whitfield at 2015-04-06T17:40:05Z

    The supposition of sexism seems to be based on the assumption that 60 Minutes agrees with you on the pedantic criticism of the Wikipedian's use of "infinite growth" (if I understand the point correctly). This however seems highly unlikely.

    Richard Fontana at 2015-04-09T17:09:10Z

  • 2015-04-01T22:49:09Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Dear April Fools Joke Implementors,

    Some of us work for a living. We really don't have time to wait for the 1999 screen of your website disappear so we can get our work done.

    How much money in our economy is wasted on implementing April Fools Jokes? Is it just my perception, or are there more in the high-tech / web world than the "real world"?

    BTW, I also annoyingly had to consider briefly whether a political hot potato issue that came up today was an April Fools joke, which also wasted time.

    It's all fun and games until productivy is lost with tihs frivolity.

    Yes, I hereby declare myself the Scrooge of April Fools. Will the ghosts of April Fools past, present and future visit me in my dreams tonight?

    I suspect the Ghost of April Fools Past will show me this, the only April Fools joke I ever thought was clever, but it was probably because I was at an impressionable age wen I first read it: https://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/unix-hoax.html

    ciarang likes this.

    "Yes, I hereby declare myself the Scrooge of April Fools. Will the ghosts of April Fools past, present and future visit me in my dreams tonight?"

    And in this version of the story, you convince them how ridiculous, mostly tasteless, and sometimes cruel it all is, with each ghost disappearing in turn to the sound of audience groans. You awake to an April 1st free from bad or cruel jokes!

    Charles Stanhope at 2015-04-01T22:58:53Z

    Every day is April 1 to me. Or rather I can't discern any increase in waste or bad jokes on April 1. At most intentional April 1 jokes are froth on a great ocean.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2015-04-01T23:13:53Z

    Kete Foy likes this.

    Oh, and since you make a reference to Xmas ... even I can discern the increase in waste and hoaxes during that season! April 1 is nothing to complain about.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2015-04-01T23:15:20Z

    I think this post is a hoax, @Richard Fontana probably broke into @Bradley M. Kuhn's account as a parody.

    Funny joke, Fontana! But you're not fooling anyone.

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2015-04-01T23:46:50Z

    Jim Bowering , Richard Fontana , warp , Charles Stanhope and 3 others like this.

  • Ancient

    2015-03-31T22:53:07Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    So much ancient astronaut theory is predicated on the assumption that ancient peoples had no imagination. Particiularly the parts that relate ancient myths to modern technology.

    In fact, I suspect they had more imagination than we do today. Think about it: night is truly dark, like really dark. Nothing to see but the stars. Nothing to read (literacy is likely near 1% or something).

    Of course you make up stories to entertain yourselves. Who wouldn't?

    That said, I often ask my dogs (both pugs) if they are in fact ancient aliens. I really do secretly wish that, like the mice in Hitchhiker's Guide, the are in fact highly intelligent beings that are studying me and will reward me when the Vorgons come to destroy Earth because I treated them so well.

    This is in fact why I think I didn't really like Lord of Light.

    EricxDu , Richard Fontana like this.

  • Sunday morning Spin

    2015-03-28T02:46:09Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I watched Tim Russert, and yes, basically from when he started. I'm old enough to have been an adult before the Clinton administration started.

    I liked David Gregory even though many didn't. He was no Tim Russert, but he wasn't bad.

    But Chuck Todd, I mean, I don't need goofy CNN animiations, what I want is the hard hitting questions asked, and watch them get not answered, and see them asked in another way that occasionally tricks the interviewee into going off message. Tim did this so well. Stretch did ok. Todd, that's not his thing.

    I tried watching Clinton's own first press secretary try to do this. I mean, I never liked Roberts and Donaldson in the first place, but I hate people who switch sides from politico to press.

    So, the short question is: what happened to my late sunday morning and who should I watch?

    And no, Schieffer wasn't on the table for me before, but maybe I should give him a chance?

    Richard Fontana , EricxDu like this.

    Odd enough to be an adult before the Clinton administration started, are you trying to say I am old?

    lostson at 2015-03-28T03:30:26Z

    Tim Russert started out in politics (working for Pat Moynihan and then Mario Cuomo).

    Richard Fontana at 2015-03-29T13:41:52Z

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  • 2015-03-18T01:22:21Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Maybe I'm just old, but I do watch local news, usually while finishing up various bookkeeping tasks at end of the day. I don't actually know which Portland news casters I should watch. Does anyone have recommendations? I watch either afternoon team or early morning team, so I am looking recommendations there.

    So, recommendations?

    (Note: I have a standard HDTV antenna so don't recommend anything that can't be received with that).

    Stay classy, Portland!

    Douglas Perkins shared this.

  • The Dirty Politics Begin

    2015-03-12T21:14:08Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    And, it took less than a week for third-parties to start playing dirty politics. I really do feel so often that I live in an episode of House of Cards. I admit, one thing that show makes apparent that bears true in real life: the unscrupulous always have advantage over the principled people, no matter how good we are at politics.

    I made a lot of notes for my memoirs today, so I guess I should take solace in that.

    dvn , Richard Fontana like this.

    I'm assuming this is related to the gpl enforcement?

    David "Judah's Shadow" Blue at 2015-03-13T11:20:15Z

  • 2015-03-12T00:09:51Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    This is humor in the same manner as Silicon Valley.

    I think this explains what I was trying to say about why I wouldn't really consider living in San Francisco Bay Area.

    Distrubingly, I have actually joked to my wife at times that we should "sell the privilege" of walking our dogs to someone who lives in a building that doesn't allow them.

    I mean, my dogs do all sorts of cute things all day that I am too busy working to notice. I could sell that to someone, right? :)

    Jason Self , Tyng-Ruey Chuang , Charles Stanhope , Richard Fontana and 1 others like this.

  • 2015-03-11T04:41:33Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Until a few weeks ago, I walked my dogs past here on an almost daily basis. In my new neighborhood in Portland, there have yet to be any shootings.

    And, I or my wife used to have to call 911 on pretty much a monthly basis. My last 911 call was less than a week before we moved, when I witnessed a domestic violence choking incident a block for my apartment.

    I am glad I don't live in NYC anymore.

    Efraim Flashner likes this.

    Taylor Gunnoe , Taylor Gunnoe , Taylor Gunnoe , Taylor Gunnoe shared this.

    Portland has a lower crime rate than NYC in some respects. However, it appears to have a significantly higher incidence of rape compared to NYC. As for property crimes, Portland appears to have a much higher rate than NYC.

    Portland | NYC crimes per 100,000 people in 2012 (FBI stats as reported by Wikipedia)
    Violent crime 517.2 639.3
    Murder and non-negligent manslaughter 3.3 5.1
    Rape 38.6 14.0
    Robbery 158.9 243.7
    Aggravated assault 316.4 376.5
    Property crime 5092.3 1722.2
    Burglary 747.6 224.8
    Larceny-theft 3745.3 1398.6
    Motor vehicle theft 599.5 98.8
     

    Richard Fontana at 2015-03-11T15:12:43Z

    Also, violent crime rates within U.S. cities often follow patterns of racial and income-level segregation. My general impression, confirmed by some quick research, is that Portland is a far more racially segregated city than New York.

    Richard Fontana at 2015-03-11T15:18:13Z

    Doug Whitfield likes this.

    @fontana Way to kill a buzz

    Taylor Gunnoe at 2015-03-11T17:40:27Z

  • Cargo Culting Password Strength Testing (or why Health Insurance costs so much in the USA)

    2015-03-10T18:53:39Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Yes, Dental insurance company. [sarcasm]My incredibly secure password with more than 8 characters generated with pwgen -s just isn't secure enough.[/sarcasm] I got past the fact that I had to call for you to tell me the website wouldn't work if I replaced the two digit prefix on my id number with a 0. I was still giving you the benefit of the doubt at that point.

    But now, you tell me that my password must contain 3 of each of the following: uppercase alpha, lowercase alpha, numbers, and "approved symbols". You don't even tell me what approved symbols list is. I guess that @ # ! are fine, so I take the already secure password I had, throw an @, #, and ! into it in three places. Now, you've let me register.

    But, do you even have a clue that you are just inspiring people to make ABCabc123!@# as their password? I nearly tried it just to see if you'd accept that outright (out of curiosity), but your website was so bad, I feared that once I did that, you wouldn't permit me to change it, and then I would be stuck with a truly insecure password.

    Of course, next you asked me for a security question to choose like Mother's Maiden name or my father's name, both of which are more or less a matter of public record. So, I made up a name for my father using pwgen -s and saved it in a GPG encrypted file. So, the funny part is, if I'd just treated your default security questions as legitimate, anyone who reads my blog could have called you and told you my father's name and gotten a password reset anyway.

    Seriously, Dental Insurance Company, do you really think these things make your systems more secure? Do you really think it protects patients? Has anyone on your tech team ever taken a single course in computer science that mentioned how users tend to seek easy-to-remember ways to circumvent requirements like this, and that the known best way to ensure security of passwords is run libcrack style tests, and that merely adding hoops of number/types of characters do indeed inspire 'abc123!@#' phenomena?

    I'm disturbed that your computer security team is this incompetent, given that you have on file a lot of personal data about me.

    I have, BTW, now logged into your website with my new account. It literally looks like a gopher site, which is fine with me of course — I like that sort of thing. But, we now also know that your developers don't even know what CSS is. Now, I find CSS incredibly frustrating but even the web Luddite that I am, I realize you can't put up a professional website without some basic CSS. To put it in terms you can understand: It's like sending out letters without your letterhead on it. Yes, it doesn't make the communication invalid, but it looks like you're some fly-by-night operation.

    It's cute that your developers know some Javascript though — a great way to spruce up any early 1990s gopher-ish site:

        function isLetter (c)
        {   return ( ((c >= "a") && (c <= "z")) || ((c >= "A") && (c <= "Z")) )
        }
        function isDigit (c)
        {   return ((c &gt;= "0") && (c <= "9"))
        }
        function isLetterOrDigit (c)
        {   return (isLetter(c) || isDigit(c))
        }

        function Validator(form2)
        {
        if ( (form2.UserRestriction2.value.length<3) )
        {
        alert("Please enter 3 or more characters for Search");
        form2.UserRestriction2.focus();
        return (false);
        }
        }
     

    Of course, it's proprietary. But I wonder if it's even copyrightable anyway. :)

    (Sarcasm again): Anyway, the only real improvements I can suggest that fit your current website style is to add a few blink tags, and maybe you should get that Javsacript that mess with window.status to scroll a message at the bottom of the status bar. That's all the rage, I hear.


    BTW: I'd have no trouble naming names of what Dental insurance company this is. However, I fear doing so would put my own data at risk, since they have my personal info on file and I've revealed how insecure they are. I think given their bad security, that security through obscurity solution may be my only option for my personal data with them.


    And yes, this is one of those companies that tells us it's impossible to generate PDF or electronic invoices and sends us four sheets of paper every month to invoice Conservancy for 3 employees plans.

    Benjamin Cook , ciarang , Freemor , uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs and 5 others like this.

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    Part of that is that ensuring good passwords is really hard. Not to defend them, you can do it with enough work (count entropy instead of characters, make use of user testing to eliminate the most commonly used passwords, etc.) but it's a lot of work and I'd bet that convincing management to allow it would be hell.

    tekk at 2015-03-10T20:43:34Z

    Olivier Mehani likes this.

  • 2015-03-09T23:04:42Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    People are so nice here in Portland, OR, that I am now actually worried I might lose my edge. More than one person has joked that my growing less suspicious nature and friendliness is going to cause me to not require full compliance for GPL violators. (No, that won't happen, just a joke :)

    Here's an example: the moving truck delivery with all my stuff on it still hasn't arrived, and I don't know what day it will come. I am trying to block off the parking spots in front of my building for the truck, but don't know the day. The dude in parking enforcement for the city of Portland, empathized with me, telling me that he faced the same thing with his move, and is expediting my application, looking up on real time while on the phone if the spaces were availble for reserve, and allowing me to adjust later to the right date.

    Granted, I have to give the city of Portland $70 for this, but in NYC, I'd still be trying to figure out what agency has jurisdiction on such things, and they'd be telling me you "just can't reserve space".

    Indeed, for the pickup, the truck just sat illegally and they told us we'd have to pay a ticket if they got it.

    I may write more on this later, but the best and quickest way I can describe NYC is that a citizen there is constant and contentious competition for everything: from space to stand in aisle in grocery stores (yes, that's a thing, most of the aisle aren't wide enough for two people to stand abreast), to city resources, to apartments, to space to stand on the subway, to just about everything in daily life. I felt in NYC that daily life was a constant struggle. And that's how someone with middle class means feels: think of how it feels to be truly poor (not relatively poor due to rising rents) in NYC!

    Anyway, I have to say I'm glad to be out! I keep joking that I now don't know if I can "make it anywhere" (referencing the Sinatra song, New York, New York), but I actually believe that NYC is the one place I can't "make it". Ok, maybe San Francisco too, but I can't stand being pitched start-up ideas in line at a coffee shop, anyway, so no chance I want to live there.

    A few of you got in touch who are local. I must admit, I'm losing track of how many Free Software people live here. I'm going to have to make a list.

    RiveraValdez , Charles Stanhope , Taylor Gunnoe , Jason Self and 4 others like this.

    Yup! And by the way: we do need a more focused software-freedom organization effort here. There was a start with something called LibrePDX but that didn't get enough foundation to really get going. I know a decent number of the local folks, but there's mostly tangential tech/Linux groups and no real organization or list dedicated to libre-focus at this time. Whatever happens, whether you're active in organizing or not, I'll want to hear about it… and happy to do what I can to help (athough I'm always feeling overly busy already as is normal…)

    Aaron Wolf at 2015-03-09T23:26:57Z

    Now I want to move there

    Taylor Gunnoe at 2015-03-10T03:02:35Z

    I have never heard anyone pitching startup ideas in line in a coffee shop in SF or nearby. But I would enjoy that. Apparently the bay area has nowhere near the concentration of startups necessary for my maximum enjoyment. Onward!

    Mike Linksvayer at 2015-03-10T04:48:49Z

    Regarding grocery store aisles, I assume you're talking about the ones that are in the supermarket genre (as opposed to what I tend to call a "deli"). Narrow-aisle grocery store aisles I associate with Manhattan, though perhaps you encountered them elsewhere. I recall finding them annoying. It's been a long time since I was in a supermarket in Brooklyn or Queens but the ones I remember from living there (i.e. till I was approximately 15 in Brooklyn, 24 in Queens) were more like their spacious suburban siblings, though no doubt smaller. I am not even sure supermarket-genre grocery stores were common in Manhattan before the 1990s (Manhattan underwent a kind of suburban transformation corresponding approximately to the Giuliani administration).

    Richard Fontana at 2015-03-10T05:15:13Z

  • Coreboot on the T530?

    2015-03-07T22:12:43Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    This is a bit of a lazyweb but I think people here might know:

    I have always preferred 14" laptops and the Thinkpad T60 with coreboot is a great option.

    Strangely, there hasn't been a more recent 14" Thinkpad model that coreboot supports.

    I have new idea: Get a 12" and 15.6", and use the 15.6" for home and 12" for travel and swap a drive as needed. (I hate having to rsync my home directory when I travel, and not having "all my files" with me when I travel.)

    So, the obvious 12" option is just to buy an X200 with coreboot preinstalled from Gluglug. But what for the 15"?

    The T530 seems reasonably well supported with coreboot, and while the idea of getting an external SPI flasher and a SOIC clip seems mildly daunting for a software guy like me, I can probably pull it off.

    But, does anyone have other suggestions here? I like the T60s, but RAM constraints of 2GB are starting to become problematic for me, and the CPU speed isn't great either.

    And huge thank you in advance if someone is going to LibrePlanet later this month and wants to help me install coreboot on the T530. But let me know soon so I can order it for then!

    Olivier Mehani shared this.

    how free do you need the machine to be? the x200 and the r400 are the latest and greatest that can be blob free. The T530 obviously requires blobs and the management engine.

    Maybe the r400 would be enough for you? It has the same specs as the x200 but with a larger screen

    Taylor Gunnoe at 2015-03-08T00:42:26Z

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  • See me at PLUG meeting tonight (Portland, OR)

    2015-03-06T00:47:01Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    You might have noticed I've been very busy since I got to Portland, and I hadn't mentioned that I am speaking 2 hours from now at the PLUG meeting. Here are the slides.

    Kete Foy , Charles Stanhope shared this.

    Great talk, and terrific handling of questions.

    Charles Stanhope at 2015-03-06T05:20:04Z

  • 2015-03-04T02:17:09Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I obviously am in an insular circle because no one I've interacted with has been excited about using Gitlab.

    OTOH, I suppose that anyone who hasn't thought about the software freedom issues related to their DVCS hosting is already using Bitbucket or Github anyway.

    Aaron Wolf likes this.

    Perhaps you need to narrow your circle further to have such bragging rights. I am excited about using Gitlab.

    Admittedly most of this feeling of excitement has little to do with me using Gitlab:

    * I enjoy seeing a moribund project which was sucking oxygen out of the room shut down (gitorious)
    * My guess is that gitlab CE is helping several times more people get software freedom than anything before it (because it is easy to install and widely known: yes gitlab.com is marketing for EE, but also serves to make the cheap and/or informed aware of CE) and likely anything in the near feature, network effects being hard to achieve...
    * ...and because gitlab has gotten pretty popular it could be a serious threat long term to Github and Altassian businesses.

    I'd be much more excited by an entrant with these qualities and no proprietary version...looking forward to that but not holding my breath.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2015-03-04T03:15:15Z

    Richard Fontana , Tyng-Ruey Chuang , William L. Anderson like this.

    I am. I have switched as many as possible of my repos to gitlab.com (too lazy to install my own instance). Way way more useful than Gitorious.

    mcepl at 2015-03-05T13:04:22Z

    I'd be more excited about Gitlab if they would host the CE in addition to (or instead of) the EE.

    Using non-free extensions to free tools is no more useful to me than non-free tools.

    Kevin Everets at 2015-03-05T14:28:33Z

  • 2015-02-27T17:40:12Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The Needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. You are, and always shall be, my friend.

    Matthew Gregg , Elinvention , Kevin Ford , Mark Jaroski and 11 others like this.

    sazius , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Richard Fontana and 1 others shared this.

  • 2015-02-21T16:48:05Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Notwithsanding the debate on comments to my previous post about when I actually got to the West, I certainly did yesterday.

    We woke up in western MN, and went to bed in eastern MT. We took I-90W the whole way going through MN->SD->WY->MT.

    Late night US/Mountain time we had a rough time of it near the WY/MT boarder on I-90W. We experienced three different flash-blizzards with full white-out conditions for a period of 10-15 minutes, accumulating up to 3 inches of snow each time. We'd get through it in about 20 miles each time, and then the road would be clear: not just clear, but it clearly hadn't even snowed there at all in the last few days.

    I've never experienced weather like this. It was pretty scary for me and my wife because we were used to the idea of "once you get caught in a bad-looking snowstorm, your goose is cooked".

    By the third one, I was brazenly saying: "Well, I'll have to go 25-30 mph for another half hour here, and then we're fine". And same thing happened: as we pulled into Billings, just mild flurries.

    We've sadly had no time to stop anywhere to keep on schedule. I really wanted to see Mt. Rushmore, but I am glad we skipped it because the park is stupidly not dog-friendly and it'd've been a logistical nightmare to visit it (we were planning that I'd walk up to the monument alone while my wife waited in the car with the dogs).

    Perhaps like Fontana I'll have multiple cross-country drive opportunities.

    Honestly, while the cost is higher than flying and the time investment is a bit much, I don't mind this at all. I heard all the stories about how boring it is, but it's much more interesting and open roads are easy to drive on, compared to the gridlock of car travel up and down the east coast of the USA.

    j1mc , Richard Fontana like this.

    I didn't realize you were traveling this far west. I grew up in the Mountain Time zone. It can be treacherous driving around this time of year. Be safe!

    Charles Stanhope at 2015-02-21T17:14:38Z

    It's been a long time but my recollection of Mt. Rushmore was that it was not particularly worth visiting. However, the nearby Badlands and Black Hills regions are some of the more interesting places to see in the US. So if you're ever in western South Dakota again I recommend trying to set some time aside to see some of the area.

    Richard Fontana at 2015-02-21T18:25:18Z

  • 2015-02-20T13:38:37Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm currently driving across the country. I'm in the city of Rochester, Minnesota. I know I've made it to the west as the conversation in the breakfast room was: "I want my husband to get me a Glock" "Phfft! The Glock is just like an iPhone. Everyone says you should have one because of the name, but really it's a piece of crap! And the recoil is bad."

    At least I agree with the locals about the quality of Apple products.

    Ben Sturmfels , j1mc , Charles Stanhope , Luis and 7 others like this.

    Show all 5 replies
    Yes, I am more of a SIG guy. :)

    Luis at 2015-02-20T16:50:58Z

    This is interesting as one of the great unsettled questions in US culture is where the West actually begins.

    The first time I drove cross-country (east to west), I and my fellow travellers drove north from Iowa to Minnesota. We stayed in St. Paul one night and we also stayed in or near St. Cloud (IIRC) one night (in the latter case camping outside someone's house). I can't remember in what order. We then drove west to South Dakota but took a detour to Walnut Grove to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. There was something about Walnut Grove (and I don't think it had anything to do with the museum) that made me feel that I had just crossed over into the West -- for me, the first time, as prior to that trip the furthest west I'd been was Niagara Falls. Once we made it into South Dakota it was particularly clear that we were in the West in a way that was certainly not true of Minneapolis and St. Paul, or the places in Iowa we'd stopped in.

    Minneapolis-St. Paul doesn't feel Midwestern to me in quite the way that more easterly Great Lakes Rustbelt cities do, but it also doesn't quite seem "West" either. It's tempting to suppose that northwards the Mississippi River is approximately the dividing line between Midwest (not "East") and West, with Minneapolis being sort of an exception.

    On that trip, we drove back eastwards eventually but we took a southern route, so it really provided no insight whatsoever into the question.

    Many years after that I drove from Chicago to Seattle. This didn't provide much insight into the "where does West begin" issue, as we drove up through Wisconsin (clearly Midwest rather than "West") and then drove on I-94 during the evening through Minneapolis to Dilworth, a northwestern Minnesota town near Fargo. I would say it was obvious the next day, driving through North Dakota, that we were in the West and not the Midwest, if only because North Dakota was so empty.

    The following year I drove east from Seattle to New York, this time going through South Dakota. I remember being aware, as I don't think I was on that first trip many years earlier, that eastern South Dakota was not "Western" in the way that western South Dakota clearly was. What I also recall from that trip was the profound sense of reaching some kind of different region once we crossed from Minnesota into Wisconsin (we must have been taking I-90), because the sense of relative emptiness was gone. And I think for the first time I felt an odd commonality between Midwest and East, though I would normally maintain that those are very distinct regions.

    Much more recently I drove from the San Francisco Bay Area to eastern Massachusetts. I took I-80 this time, going through Nebraska and Iowa. I would say that once I got into Nebraska from Wyoming I felt as though I'd gone from "clearly West" to some other region that I wouldn't label West or Midwest. Nebraska also mostly had that "emptiness" quality that seemed to be gone by Omaha and certainly by the time I crossed into Iowa.

    Richard Fontana at 2015-02-21T04:16:20Z

    I would go to great plains to point out the West begins somewhere in the mixed grass prairie zone.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2015-02-21T05:17:15Z

    Richard Fontana , Bradley M. Kuhn , Greg Grossmeier , joeyh like this.

    @bkuhn@identi.ca have a safe drive. Is this your relocation trip?

    x1101 at 2015-02-21T12:16:27Z