Book reviewer, cat photographer, fanzine editor, map blogger, snake whisperer.

Month: October 2021

The Electric Company

NPR’s Morning Edition on the 50th anniversary of The Electric Company, which ran on PBS from 1971 to 1977 and was absolutely formative for me in childhood. Things I knew: it was focused on reading and had Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno in it. Things I did not know: it was written by some of the best comedy writers in the business and it was specifically targeted at kids with reading difficulties. That combo wasn’t necessarily successful. “The Electric Company‘s target audience was elementary school students who were too old for Sesame Street but still needed help learning to read. […] Given that the target audience was kids who were falling behind, [show researcher Barbara] Fowles believes much of the material was over their heads. ‘It was often hard to get the writers to sort of dial it back, to convince them that they were little children,’ she remembers.”

The ‘Better’ Vaccine

Last spring people were turning down the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine because they thought the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine was better. Fun fact: no. A recent study suggests that Moderna may actually be a bit more effective, though the reason—differences in which populations were vaccinated with which vaccines, Moderna’s larger and more spaced-out doses—hasn’t been nailed down. Thing is, both vaccines are more than good enough, and at a population level (which is the level at which public health operates, but is hard for individuals to relate to) we’re much better off having more vaccines in more arms than better vaccines in fewer arms—especially if the differences are this slight.

Full disclosure: I got the Moderna vaccine, and I refuse to be smug about it; it’s what was available.

iPhone Migration Notes (for Future Reference)

It’s about to be new iPhone time for us, but in the five-plus years since we last bought phones—Jen’s still using a first-generation iPhone SE, I’m on an iPhone 7—the migration process seems to have changed somewhat, especially now that iPhones have been disentangled from syncing and backing up to a computer. We could set up our new phones from an iCloud backup, but that won’t copy over all our media files; for that there is now the Quick Start method, which transfers data directly from the old device to the new one. It’s done wirelessly; Apple used to describe a faster wired method involving a Lightning cable and a camera adapter, but they removed that from the support page when they updated it last month, so who knows if it still works. Another critical-but-not-straightforward task is moving over all my Google Authenticator two-step verification codes. There’s a process for that, too, and it involves using the app to scan, with the new phone, a QR code generated by the app on the old phone.

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