Oct 31

Good stuff

This is the only article I’ve ever read outside of IT-focused media that gets the facts 99% correct about exactly what ISPs are doing (or, rather, not doing) to slow down Netflix and other services to extort more money.

Either Susan Crawford has an enterprise-level networking background or she’s very smart and someone very knowledgeable helped with fact-checking.

Bravo to her – this stuff is quite complicated, and there is a lot of propaganda out there about it so literally every mainstream journalist I’ve read about the issue has been at least 80% wrong in the best case.

Most articles I’ve read about it get the facts 100% wrong.

Oct 31


Even though obviously the Hunger Games movies are very successful, they still get far more derision than other action movies primarily because the audience is over 50% female and because the lead is played by a young woman.

Similar but much, much worse action movies get far less disapprobation.

Is it misogyny?

Fuck yes it is.

(By the way, Catching Fire was one of the best movies I saw last year. It was the apotheosis of what an action movie should be.)

Oct 31


We make tools. But tools also make us.

Tool_eye_by_Lisarama89Thinking about this article on spreadsheets from 1984, I wonder how much spreadsheets and their pervasive use have changed culture, changed the world in nearly-unobservable (directly, anyway) ways.

I call it the tyranny of the quantifiable. A certain class of people believe that if something can be measured and has been measured, it’s all that is important. Conversely if something can’t be measured easily or perhaps at all, no matter how obvious to anyone sane that it exists, it is in fact not real.

This pervades MBA and engineering thinking and seems to be getting worse rather than better, perhaps in reaction to a less-stable world.

A sociological study (formal or informal) of the effects of spreadsheets and spreadsheet-generated thought on the world would be really interesting.

Oct 29


Sorry to link to an animated gif, but it’s true that masculinity is fragile.

No one is immune to it. The culture is absolutely steeped in the denigration of femininity and for males the constant policing of one’s masculinity*.

This is well-illustrated by the guys clapping for the milquetoast fopdoodle who can’t even bear to touch his partner’s or friend’s purse.

As I said, no one’s immune. But I don’t care. Buy tampons for you? Sure. The only problem I have is there are like 11 million kinds and I have no idea which are most appropriate. It’s like me walking into a auto parts store.

Nothing about femininity or its expression is embarrassing to me because nothing about being a woman is embarrassing to me, taints me or otherwise harms me.

In fact some of my very favorite people and personal heroes are women.


*As street harassment of women is invisible to most men, most women I’ve found have little idea just how harshly, stringently and frequently males police masculinity among themselves, all backed with the threat of violence.

Yes, it is a self-created problem but nope, one individual can’t just opt out.

Oct 29


Reading this, it makes me wonder how adults so easily forget what it is to be young?

I remember it very well – the utter boredom of school, the monotony, the expectations that had little to do with anything real.

Schools are for warehousing and training to be good corporate citizens. That is about all.

Anyone who thinks anything else has just been brainwashed by the system (its de facto intent).

Oct 28


The funniest term in all of routing is the “totally not so stubby area.”

Yes, this is real.

I want to create my own area called the “really gnarly bodacious stubby area with a side of hollandaise.”

Oct 28


I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a piece of hardware as much as I want the 5K iMac.

Soon, my precious. Soon.

Oct 28

Simpler is usually better

This article relates to a point I’ve tried to make for years to other IT people and they mostly just Simple...Image-Example-21don’t seem to get it.

Complexity creates its own problems. The more complicated you make a network with redundancy and failover features, the fewer people understand it. Sure, I can create a network and server design so complex that only I can manage it but what then?

A lot of IT people are obsessed with cleverness. I am obsessed with things working right as simply as possible.

In general when I design a network or server infrastructure, I make some use of well-supported failover or redundancy features for absolutely critical infrastructure that the business can’t be without for even a few minutes.

For everything else I try to make it as simple as possible so that if something goes wrong, even a helpdesk worker can fix it while I am away.

For instance, instead of a complicated dual redundant everything stack of non-core switches connected to dual firewalls, if the business can stand three minutes of downtime why not just have a backup firewall pre-configured on a shelf? Or a switch?

Swap it and and done. Even a helpdesk worker can do this whereas if there’s 3-4 different connection paths, complicated routing and (as is usually the case) poor documentation, then not even junior sysadmins can do the job – especially if anything on the network changes and is not documented which happens all the time.

If it’s a holiday or someone knowledgeable is away – as has also happened to me more than once – if something in your very-complex network goes down and isn’t handled by failover or redundancy, the business might be down for hours instead of minutes.

This is the fault of the complexity directly. Networks and servers should be resilient in two dimensions: technologically and comprehensibility.

For anything in small- to medium businesses that isn’t absolutely critical (can’t stand more than five minutes downtime a year) simpler is often much better.