Is it real or is it

Everything here is my personal opinion. I do not speak for my employer.
Back: February 2014
Next: April 2014

2014-03-01 »

Finally got a tour of the NOC.  I'm pretty sure you could launch space shuttles from there.

2014-03-03 »

"Bitcoin, at the moment, is in a slump, with a community that has become its own parody. [...] The Bitcoin masses, judging by their behavior on forums, have no actual interest in science, technology or even objective reality when it interferes with their market position. They believe that holding a Bitcoin somehow makes them an active participant in a bold new future, even as they passively get fleeced in the bolder current present. And as if the world does not have enough schmucks with Macbooks who call themselves entrepreneurs, we have the term 'Bitcoin entrepreneurs' used unironically by mainstream media."

http://hackingdistributed.com/2014/03/01/what-did-not-happen-at-mtgox/

2014-03-04 »

Beautiful.

http://crosscut.com/2014/03/04/business/118993/google-fiber-never-come-seattle-broadband-internet/

2014-03-06 »

I wonder if the reason lisp is unpopular is related to the fact that anyone who has ever used eval() in any language has probably produced a security hole. And eval() is the only thing lisp has.

2014-03-08 »

Honestly, you can't just go trying to fix bugs by inserting random sleeps and memory barriers.  That will never work.  ...well, almost never.

http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/ath10k/2014-March/001375.html

The chance that I put the mb() in the right place the first time is basically zero, and yet here we are.

#psychicdebugging  

2014-03-09 »

Oh, I get it now.  Bitcoin is just World of Warcraft.  It isn't as fun to play if you don't take it seriously.  Meanwhile people on the outside just sort of raise their eyebrows at you.

2014-03-10 »

I'm beginning to think that you know you're doing real engineering when every week, your manager posts a graph and says, "We tried to fix it like this, but as you can see, there was no change in the results."

It's frustrating and annoying.  Which is one way to tell you've at least got a grip on reality.

2014-03-12 »

Garbage Collection:

A computer science analogy referring to that thing that happens in real life where, at unpredictable intervals, someone comes into your house, tells you to stop whatever you're doing, and rummages through your belongings to see which ones you're not using.  Some of that stuff they'll take away; the rest, they'll leave there just in case, because they're not totally 100% sure whether you're finished with it or not.  At last, with the inventory finished, you can now go back to what you were doing.

You no longer remember why you hired them to do this and why you can't just throw garbage in the garbage can when you're done like a normal person.

2014-03-14 »

I was feeling stressed, so I thought I would play some video games.  I do this sometimes, but haven't for a few months.

Loaded up Onlive for the first time in several months.  OH GOD WHAT HAVE THEY DONE.  They have clearly rewritten the client entirely from scratch.  Last time I checked, it was slightly confusing, but very awesome (particularly the "Arena" which would swoosh around an endless-seeming grid of scalled down live realtime video of people playing games).  Now it's been redone, and it is bug-ridden, laggy, and not awesome at all.  In my cynical moments I imagine that they replaced their crazy native OpenGL thingy with a web browser based UI.  (Which is maybe true, but of course the main thing that happened is they went bankrupt and lost all their best people.  The replacement dev team, like all replacement dev teams, decided the original code was crap and must be replaced.)

So, that was a failure.

Instead, plugged in my old Wii and put in Super Mario Galaxy.  I forgot how amazing the Wii is.  As I understand it, it uses the same CPU as the Gamecube (from late 2001).  That's 12.5 years ago now.  And yes, the video is SD not HD, but it still looks way more gorgeous, and the animation is way smoother and more responsive, than any TV settop box in existence today, including ours and Apple TV.  Also, I can read the fonts from across the room, which is nice.  HD UI rendering on a TV is overrated if you ask me.

2014-03-15 »

Here's one I read over the weekend.

http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/structurelessness.htm

Although it's based on the state of the feminist movement in 1970, I found it pretty relevant today.

Also, this excellent quote: "...'laissez faire' philosophy did not prevent the economically powerful from establishing control over wages, prices, and distribution of goods; it only prevented the government from doing so."

2014-03-16 »

My favourite prof from University, being his usual dismal self.  Be sure to watch the video for the full dismality.

http://lwsmith.ca/2014/03/finding-your-passion/

2014-03-17 »

All those wifi bugs and none of them was the wifi driver.  What?  I'm going home before my luck changes.

2014-03-18 »

I'm feeling unusually optimistic this week.

We may finally be exiting the dark ages of startup culture (defined as "ever since people have been able to get funding for writing Facebook apps"):
http://blog.samaltman.com/new-rfs-breakthrough-technologies
YCombinator is looking to take all that excess investor money and apply it to actual worthwhile things (aka moonshots).  Good for them.  Maybe someday it won't be only Google (plus Amazon delivery drones) competing in the moonshot space.

Next up, Chris Roberts, the director of the original Wing Commander 1 and 2 (my favourite video games of all time), did a ridiculously ambitious $2 million kickstarter back in 2012 to finance a remake.  Okay, I guess if you want to just redo Wing Commander with a bit of updated modern technology, you could probably do a pretty good job for $2 million.  And they actually hit that goal?  Neat.  But I checked in again yesterday to see how it's going, and the stretch goal is now... uhh... $41 million.  Because they ALREADY HIT $40 MILLION.  https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals  That's, say, 400,000 people at $100 each preordering a game that doesn't exist and may never exist.  Even if it all goes down in flames, this sort of concept is inspiring.  You can now finance $40 million projects with people's pocket change, no VCs required.  Why not even more?

Also, speaking of questionable uses for money, last week my employer paid me to sit around for several hours writing an essay about how awesome I am. And this week it gets sent around to other people who will get paid to write additional mini-essays about how awesome I am.  (Or, strictly speaking, how awesome I am not.  But I don't have to worry about those people for at least a month.)

And the wifi driver has been strangely non-crashy.

So yeah, good times.

2014-03-19 »

Me: This cheese sauce looks great.  So, what does it... go with?
Cafeteria chef: Anything you want.
Me: Sure, that makes sense, cheese sauce makes everything better.  But uh, do you, you know, recommend anything in particular?
Chef: Just think of it like gold, that you'd put on top of your money.

2014-03-20 »

"This will never work, for reasons X, Y, and Z."

"Well, let's just try it out anyway, just in case it works."

Back: February 2014
Next: April 2014

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