Mar 31

Young Birdy

Birdy covering Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” I don’t even like the original song, but her version is great. She was amazingly only 14 when this was song was sung and the video filmed.

Mar 22

Sad day

I’m very sad today as I will be forced by annoyance to stop reading one of my favorite blogs as it has gone to the terrible “Read More” format where you cannot see the entire post.

Why do that? I just don’t get it.

Mar 22

Sex up and out

I don’t have a fully-formed opinion about this whole PyCon/SendGrid mess, but it did remind me of something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

I think it’s dangerous and actually harmful to women if we make talking or joking about sex verboten anywhere in a woman’s presence, and that this automatically be sexual harassment. This is also highly exclusionary and in no way will help women in the workplace or in the social sphere.

After all, what woman hasn’t heard, “Oh, I would tell that joke/say that word/share that story, but she’s here?” I bet not a single one. I’m a man, and I’ve heard guys say that to women hundreds of times in my life.

See, I don’t want to treat women like special snowflakes where talking about sex besmirches their dainty ears. No, I want to treat them like friends, confidantes, associates — like humans, in other words. Like regular ol’ people, no different from anyone, male or not.

I just can’t buy into the argument that making sexual jokes ever, anywhere where a woman might possibly hear, is and should be a forbidden act. If jokes about sex are inherently sexist, then sex itself is inherently sexist. And that doesn’t seem correct to me.

And if jokes about sex is a forbidden act, it should be mutual. I have a female (non-IT) co-worker who makes more penis jokes than is probably sane.

As for me, I don’t really joke at work, and I never talk about sex, religion or politics. I’m not an idiot, is why.

That said, I do fully recognize that “harmless” sexual jokes have and continue to be used to attempt to belittle and stigmatize women. That is not lost on me. My general rule is I never talk about sex or joke about sex with someone who I wouldn’t take a bullet for. That is a very short list, needless to say.

I’m not sure what my point is. It just seems like we should have more choices other than rigid roboticism or evil harasser when dealing with others, at work or in a social setting.

I don’t have good answers. We live in a sexist society and many men are in fact vile sexists. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is harmful to women to treat them like fragile flowers whose wilting little minds can’t stand to hear the word “dongle” used in a juvenile way.

Mar 21


No clue what instrument Basia Bulat is playing here. As a commenter sort-of notes, it looks like a combination of a hammered dulcimer and auto harp. I have never seen anything like it before.

What a voice, too.

Too much drums in this mix, but also what a great song:

Mar 21


A zombie goth Lisa Mitchell.

She has such an amazingly expressive face. Wonder if she’d ever think of trying acting?

Mar 20


Anyone who doesn’t realize this about DRM must be — as they say where I’m from in North Florida — a plum idiot.

As he spells out in detail, the point of DRM isn’t to stop illegal copying, it’s to stop legal forms of innovation from taking place.

How is this not obvious to everyone? DRM is busted completely when one person cracks it. And one person will always crack it. However, that does nothing to prevent the market manipulation that the piece discusses, which is the whole point of DRM in the first place.

Why do you think Amazon locks up your books, and makes them hard to read except in their own hardware and software? Figuring out the reason why will lead to the path of enlightenment on DRM and its true reason for existing.

Mar 20

Ain’t lion

I dreamed I had a pet mountain lion last night. That was a big kitty cat. It slept on a shelf near the bed. Now I miss my pet mountain lion.

Mar 19


I was looking at this thread on Hubski of people sharing music and noticed that — as usual — there is not a single female artist listed.

I have no idea if any of the music mentioned is good or not. That’s not the point. It’s that 90% of the time in threads like this, or in music reviews, that no women ever get their names dropped. Not a single one. Meanwhile, amazing women artists like this or this go completely unacknowledged. (And I hate even having to use the term “women artists,” as that serves as some sort of false delineation — these artists are amazing, period. Wild Flag might be the best fucking pure rock band I’ve ever heard.)

And then I read this, about empathy for women, and others different from whoever we happen to be, and I realized these facts are connected. In a thread about music you’re into, rarely does a guy mention any women and how that is all wrapped up in and related to how little empathy there is for women in general when something bad happens to them.

It makes me ask, how dumb are people? How dumb are most men? I realized when I was about five years old that the differences between me and my female classmates was nearly nil, that the personality differences between each individual girl absolutely swamped any probably-non-existent gender differences (I didn’t think about it so complexly then, but I did think it.) I was a child and this was obvious to me.

Ah, all of this makes me so furious. Can’t write about it much longer.

Instead, let’s watch Wild Flag tear the hell out of a song. That double guitar solo at the end. Holy shite, that is so double-glazed glossy.


Mar 17

How to tell that your job will not last

If there is a specific series of buttons your press or actions that you do to complete more than 50% of your work, your job is probably in peril.

And by “buttons you press,” this could mean entering certain fields in an Excel file, actual physical buttons, or even regular actions that don’t involve buttons at all. It could involve making accounting entries, transcribing videos, etc. Doesn’t matter.

There is someone out there right now who is probably writing the code to replace you.

I know that is harsh, but that is the reality of it. The world we live in doesn’t have to reflect our wishes, desires or the best outcomes. And that’s the world as it’s arriving.

Mar 17

Jobbed out

Confessions of A Job Destroyer.

I am also a job destroyer. I help to automate things that need automating, sometimes directly*, sometimes indirectly**.

I’ve helped eliminate somewhere around 500 jobs, give or take a hundred either way.

It’s an old, old joke in the tech world, but it is amazing how many jobs can truly be replaced by a small shell script. And of course the people who depend on those jobs go with it.

If we had a better social safety net and any sort of egalitarian society, I wouldn’t feel bad about it all, as the field I am in I’ve walked into an untold number of offices where a great number of people are doing nearly no work all day (perhaps 10-20 minutes of work), collecting a paycheck, going home, and doing this for years. It’s a strange field, what I do.

Surely that’s not the most productive use of anyone’s time, and by “productive” I don’t mean “capitalism productive.” No, what I mean for these people it’d be far more productive to give them 30 grand a year to sit their asses at home and do nothing.

Anyway, this is an irreversible trend, and if only the rich weren’t stealing everything, it’d be a good trend — with our productivity levels, nearly everyone could live at 1950 GDP levels and work 5-10 hours a week.


But that’s not likely to happen, because even though it won’t be stopped (except perhaps by calamitous effects of global warming), when most people are out of a job and over 40 or 50 in the US, that’s it for them.

And as much as it sucks to lose a job, it also is a bit distressing to walk into a building and everyone is afraid to talk to you because they are terrified that you will fire them (even though you have nothing at all to do with hiring or firing decisions in any way).

That’s the climate of fear that our lack of a safety net and our larcenous plutocrats have instilled in us, and I truly hate that.

*By writing a small shell script that replaces someone.

**By putting in the infrastructure so that a programmer can write something that replaces dozens of people.