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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

Crisis Camp == Pretentious
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:26 pm EST, Jan 31, 2010

Why is it that Crisis Camps seem to smack of pretentiousness? "Look at me, I care about people because I used my Mac to build a python shim to a JSON API."

-These people don't have food or water.
-They make in a year what you spend on soy lattes a week.
-Python is something that eats their children

Stop thinking you know what these NGOs need (Surprise! It's not a technical solution!) Instead give them money so they can get what they know they need.

The pretentiousness comes in with the blatant "look at me doing this thing." Liveblogging and photos and the what not. If you spent 1/2 the time doing something meaningful that you spend documenting that you are doing something silly we would be in a much better place. I completely agree with Paul Carr's "Look at me looking at this" criticism.

I have a friend from college named Oscar. Oscar has, for the last 5 years, (possibly more) spent Thanksgiving and Christmas day working in homeless shelters. I have known Oscar for 10 years and he has never even alluded to this charity work. The only way I know about it is that his mom slipped up once in front of me and said something about if he'd be able to leave the shelter in time to meet up with us all for a movie.

Oscar is helping people and tells no one about it. Crisis Campers are all collectively masturbating Web 2.0 nonsense to feel good about themselves and then posting, Digg-ing, tweeting their geek pornography for all the world to see.


A Little Less Conversation
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:42 pm EST, Jan 24, 2010

When was the last time you scheduled a meeting and invited eight people instead of the three people who really needed to be there simply because you didn't want anyone to feel left out?

HP ASC was rife with this problem.

Now, we all know that communication is very important, and that many organizational problems are caused by a failure to communicate. Most people try to solve this problem by increasing the amount of communication: cc'ing everybody on an e-mail, having long meetings and inviting the whole staff, and asking for everyone's two cents before implementing a decision.

But communications costs add up faster than you think, especially on larger teams. What used to work with three people in a garage all talking to one another about everything just doesn't work when your head count reaches 10 or 20 people. Everybody who doesn't need to be in that meeting is killing productivity. Everybody who doesn't need to read that e-mail is distracted by it. At some point, overcommunicating just isn't efficient.


A Little Less Conversation

Thoughts on an IE bug
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:31 pm EST, Jan 22, 2010

How big does a vendor need to be, or how much market penetration into a country's technology, military, and defense corporations can a vendor have, before they don't get to decide the time table for fixing a security vuln?

At what point does a security hole stop being a sexy software bug and starts being a national security threat?

When did international corporations start making foreign policy decisions far louder than a Nation State?

This is a crazy time.

Briton jailed for four years in Dubai after customs find cannabis weighing less than a grain of sugar under his shoe | Mail Online
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:26 pm EST, Jan 18, 2010

But many of those tourists and business travellers are likely to be unaware of the strict zero-tolerance drugs policy in the UAE.

One man has even been jailed for possession of three poppy seeds left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport.

If suspicious of a traveller, customs officials can use high-tech equipment to uncover even the slightest trace of drugs.

Do not go to Dubai.

Briton jailed for four years in Dubai after customs find cannabis weighing less than a grain of sugar under his shoe | Mail Online

"How to drop out" == crap
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:34 pm EST, Jan 12, 2010

This is the most misguided, uninformed, misdirect hating-the-man fueled piece of shit I have ever had the misfortune of reading, and I usually "like this kind of literature.

"How to drop out" == crap

Where to eat fast food
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:22 pm EST, Jan  9, 2010

Where to eat fast food flow chart

Where to eat fast food

The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:50 pm EST, Jan  4, 2010

In an article today I saw a footnote that stated the the vast majority of medical knowledge we have on the effects of cold temperatures on the human body comes exclusively from horrific medical experiments performed by the Nazis.

The ethical debate about using the data collected in those experiments is rather interesting.

Which is more morally bankrupt: To harm future people by not using medical knowledge that has already been gathered and which is impossible to now obtain in an ethical world? Or to continue the dehumanization of the Holocaust victims by squeezing every bit of value out of their souls?

The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments

Free Market Failures
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:03 am EST, Dec 22, 2009

The Obama administration took aim Monday at tarmac horror stories, ordering airlines to let passengers stuck in stranded airplanes to disembark after three hours.

With its new regulations, the Transportation Department sent an unequivocal message on the eve of the busy holiday travel season: Don't hold travelers hostage to delayed flights.

Under the new regulations, airlines operating domestic flights will be able only to keep passengers on board for three hours before they must be allowed to disembark a delayed flight. The regulation provides exceptions only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.

This is another example where the mantra of "Let the market regulate itself" utterly fails. What are you going to do? Not fly on American? If its business travel you might not have that choice at all. Few competitors, enormous barriers of entry (both capital as well as access to new markets/airport gates) = shitty giants.

I'm beginning to see a pattern. The farther a market is from a perfect market the more companies can abuse the consumer. In fact, most abuse seems to happen in industries where the interests of the shareholders are orthogonal to the interests of the consumer: Transportation. Energy. Health Care.

Free Market Failures

Our Lipservice Culture. Or: Busy==bullshit:
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:24 pm EST, Dec 21, 2009

Starting a company has taught me many things about myself and others. One thing it also does is drastically lower your tolerance for emotions, drama, and other lipservice. Because you are already dealing with 10 to 1 odds against success and you simply do not have time for them.

One thing I've become very intolerant of is people telling me they want to talk to me and then never getting back in touch with me because they are "busy" or "life is crazy."


"Busy" or "life is crazy" is a simplification of a harsher but necessary message that someone is hoping you will not notice. It's shorthand for "_____ is a low priority for me right now so I have-not-done/am-not-doing it." Or to be more cynical, it is shorthand for "______ is not important to me."

That's fine. Obviously life has curve balls and priorities change. The world does not revolve around me and I should understand that I will get deferred from time to time. Otherwise I would be in for a world of disappointment.

But you see, "busy" is like a mulligan. You get to use it once, maybe twice with someone for a particular topic. Otherwise you are just repeatedly telling someone "_____ is not important to me." "Nope, still not important." "I thought ____ might be important and was going to do it, but no, something more important came up."

And after a few weeks of "busy but its cool I'll get to you" you realize that:

1) You simply are not important to this person.
2) They are doing you a disservice by leading you on.
3) You are starting a company and there are dozens of things that you should be working on instead of chasing this person.
4) You should make a mental note this person not reliable and stop wasting time on them.

Topic: Miscellaneous 6:58 pm EST, Dec 15, 2009

hmmmm. Not sure how I feel about rel=noreferrer yet. Also, funny/odd/annoying that the HTTP header is misspelled as "Referer" but things that control it (rel=noreferrer, document.referrer) are spelled correctly.


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