From My Walk

I went up over the ridge-line, past the sisters, and ran into this little fellow. He did not want to pose for the camera, and we walked together a little distance, with him getting madder and madder and finally stopping, “come at me, bro.”

Unrelated: one of the things I utterly despise about “cloud computing” is that you’ve got a bunch of software engineer guys on the back end, and they can endlessly screw around with things and suddenly some feature you are used to changes, or disappears, or some default gets strange. For example, I uploaded that video and if I click on the ‘share’ button, the ’embed’ option is not there. I have no idea. I have no idea why someone decided that does not belong there any more. When I see stuff like that, I usually assume that it’s a bug and that the code is so garbage that things like that happen, unannounced. Also, the quality settings of the video appear to be pooched. Things were fine a month ago but now it doesn’t look good and I can’t tell if that’s playback or how the upload process works (another thing that changes constantly)

I don’t understand how anyone thinks the people at Google are smart or make good software. People who are smart and make good software write it, make it work, the leave it the F alone and fix critical bugs. If there’s a demand for another feature set, you code a new version based on what you learned in the first, call it “${whatever}-2” and field that. Then, you don’t have to keep screwing with the -1 version, and if the customers like -2 and you still have ideas, you start working on -3.


  1. xohjoh2n says

    Max available res is apparently 240p. Looks ok for that, I guess, but quite low by modern standards.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Yeah, it’s pretty bad. Wasn’t sure if I was seeing fur or quills.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a porcupine running.
    In my encounters they got to the F YOU! much sooner.

  4. says

    We have porcupines around here from time to time. Generally, they are pretty docile in that I have never seen them run or move quickly in any way. On occasion, it’s obvious they don’t like being too close, so they scramble up a tree. My understanding is that their own only natural predator (besides dumb humans) is a fisher. We see those from time to time, as well. Very slinky.

  5. says

    Crazy. I recorded that on an iphone 10.
    Looks like some default setting on youtube changed. Video is clear and good on the phone.

    I’ll have to waste an hour figuring it out.

  6. geoffarnold says

    What exactly about the economics and power relationships of “free” services do you not understand? [insert hollow laughter] And this is nothing to do with “cloud computing”; if you’re consuming paid cloud services from Amazon, Microsoft, or Google they’re not going to screw you around like that.

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @6: When I was living in Edmonton, one day a woman knocked on my door in a panicked state because her dog had an encounter with a porcupine nearby. I spent 10 minutes picking quills out of the poor guy’s snout. He was amazingly patient about what must have been a rather painful exercise. She came by the next day to tell us he was OK.

  8. moarscienceplz says

    My most memorable porcupine encounter was when one decided that the wheel well of my mom’s car was a good hidey-hole. I got the critter out of there without much trouble, but then there were all these quills in the tire. Even with pliers, I could mostly only break them off. I’m not absolutely sure, but my memory is that my mom had to replace that tire within a week or two. Amazing things, quills.

  9. Tethys says

    It’s a blurry, rather terrified porcupine. I’ve only ever seen a live one up in a tree. They don’t have very good eyesight, and I imagine this one is this thinking “ Oh crap! The giant is following me! climb tree! Where is tree! Argh! poof quills

    In the same vein as Charly’s post about testing the sharpness of a knife with your thumb, quills are another object you should never touch test to see just how sharp they are. They are sharper than needles, and the barbs make them stick to your fingers worse than jumping cactus spines.

  10. says

    My dogs had an encounter when they were just past puppyhood. Miles got a bunch of quills in his face and Jake (serious dog) stayed aloof from the action.

    The vet said a funny thing. He said dogs either learn to avoid the stickpigs or they learn /gothscream “all porcupines must die!”
    It was the /gothscream. Hysterical.

  11. says

    So I looked at the video on my desktop, and it was crap prior to uploading. That means that somehow I either recorded it in a state of crap on my phone (?) or I somehow transcoded it when I emailed it to myself.
    The investigation continues.
    But, the conclusion is: operator error

    Thank you,
    The operator

  12. says

    OK I think I got it. It seems that when I used my usual method of getting stuff from my phone to my desktop, something worked differently. Normally I email it to myself as an attachment. Then it’s downloaded to my desktop and I can whatever I do (and I have a historical archive).
    The actual video is 23mb and what I got in the attachment is 700k. So it looks like some very aggressive down-sampling happened in the photo browser->email process.

    I’ve switched back to using dropbox with myself, which works pretty well anyway.

    Thank you for your patience,
    The operator

  13. dangerousbeans says

    what a weird critter /australian

    the constant need to change things and have NEW! stuff seems to be a feature of capitalism. and it’s fucking tiring. i must be getting old

  14. lochaber says

    I’ve never seen a live porcupine. I saw plenty of roadkilled porcupine corpses in British Columbia and Yukon when I roadtripped from the East Coast to Alaska some 25 or so years ago, but never a live one.

    I’ve heard them recommended as survival food, due to them being overly reliant on their quills, and not great at running/hiding or other sensible measures when dealing with tool-using critters, and I’ve also read that their gnawing can be a nuisance, especially when they are seeking salt, and chewing up shovel and axe handles and such…

    But, having never seen one, and not particularly fearing them (unlike skunks…), I’d be pretty tempted to follow/watch one for a bit. weirdo rodents…

    The bit about the vet saying dogs fell into two categories in regards to porcupines reminds me of when I first encountered nettles as a kid. I had read about them before, but had no idea what they looked like, just that they supposedly stung, and lived near water (also that bit about supposedly if you squeezed them hard and intentionally, it wouldn’t sting, but that sounded suspicious to young me…). I was poking around some creek with another kid, and, yeah, some of the vegetation kinda hurt. I made the connection, voiced my suspicions, and avoided the stuff, the other kid felt pain, got mad and started thrashing the stuff (with their bare arms…). And then they felt more pain, got more mad, and did more thrashing. I then decided to leave and let the other kid subject themselves to as much self-served punishment as they wanted to, I just didn’t want to stick around for it…

  15. xohjoh2n says


    I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to write some sort of “make my phone stuff folder just silently be equal to my desktop stuff folder whenever I’m in or near my house” app. Of course even if I ever get round to that it wouldn’t help you as you apparently belong to the “UX people who need to be thrown of the top of the Apple building” rather than the “UX people who need to be thrown of the top of the Google building” crowd.


    Over here (UK, North England) we’ve always known that after being stung by nettles you can rub dock leaves (which commonly grow nearby) in to relieve the sting. Wikipedia says there’s no real evidence for it, but my experience is that it does actually help.

  16. says

    I had a year or so, back in 2010/2011 where I lived with my parents because reasons. I’d take Raksha and climb the mountain up the road a few times a week, and she did find a porcupine once.

    I think she was saved by her general cowardice – she was always a timid creature. She really, really wanted to investigate the ball of spikes, but she came away when I yelled at her, and everyone got to go about their day un-perforated.

  17. says

    I once encountered a large adult porcupine. Being curious I interacted with him from a distance. Then, he adopted the “come at me bro” pose. I picked up a nearby fallen branch and poked him in the butt with it. BANG! He made this ninja whip-whirl that nearly knocked the branch out of my hand, made me jump straight up in the air, and left a dozen quills in the wood. Their stumpy little tails are a quillhammer.

    Porcupines are stupid but they are worthy foes and do not negotiate.

  18. flexilis says

    One of the most comical things I have ever seen: I came across two young porcupines along a country road. They waddled away from me and the first one went into a culvert to hide. The second one tried to get in there also but kept backing out and giving me a concerned look. Its buddy wasn’t moving on in and giving it room. So I left them alone and went on my way.

  19. says

    I saw some porcupines having sex, once. In the middle of the road at night. Did I mention they are not very bright? They do it slowly and carefully.

  20. johnson catman says

    re Marcus @22:

    No one will be watching us
    Why don’t we do it in the road?

    (With thanks to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.)

  21. says

    Hope you don’t mind, but first a dog/porcupine story, then a nettles one.

    About 40 years ago, my wife, dog (Mocha), and I were hiking on Slide Mountain in the Catskills. Mocha had gotten a bit ahead and turned a corner where we couldn’t see her. Next thing we knew, she had rejoined us with the most quizzical look on her face, as if asking us for our advice. Proceeding a bit further, there was a porcupine in the middle of the trail. We let her know to leave it alone, which she did. I don’t know if it was fear on her part (she was never particularly fearful) or just being smart (which she WAS particularly good at–except with skunks).

    Regarding nettles, one time I was hiking (alone) on a trail that had not been well maintained when I came across a large patch of nettles. My choices were to go back about 3 miles, or continue. I decided to continue. (Yes, I was wearing shorts.) It was a marvelous test of maintaining a zen state of “become the nettle”. Let’s just say that it didn’t kill me. ;-)

  22. says

    she had rejoined us with the most quizzical look on her face, as if asking us for our advice.

    Awesome dog.
    A friend of mine and I were talking about our dogs, once, and he pointed out that they pretty much assume we have godlike powers and will tell them what to do if they don’t know. Also, we are the center of their universe when they are not napping, so they pretty much see paying attention to us as their main job. Or, at least, that’s how my good bois did it. They didn’t always listen but they always paid attention.

    Regarding nettles, one time I was hiking (alone) on a trail that had not been well maintained when I came across a large patch of nettles.

    Southern French nettles are much worse than British nettles,as I found out when chasing a frisbee, jumped over a low wall, and found myself up to my armpits in nettles.

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