Jul 31

Hacking it

This CNN article is aimed the right way, but kind of perpetuates the very sexism it’s trying to combat.

Quick, name a couple of famous female coders in the vein of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Nobody comes to mind, eh?

Actually, more than a few come to mind. This is six just off the top of my head:

Grace Hopper.

Limor Fried.

Jeri Ellsworth.

Joanna Rutkowska.

Jasper Nance.

Addie Wagenknecht.

Joanna Rutkowska is fucking awesome — the security research she does is virtuosic. I probably identify with her the most because her interests align most closely with my own, but all of the women hackers I named above are doing very high-level, important work and should be more widely known.

But I know them already and pay attention to their work. So should everyone else.

Jul 31


Sweet, just figured out how to do custom key mapping on my keyboard using Karabiner.

I got a new keyboard with an integrated number pad and arrow keys, and I want the plus and minus signs on the number pad to also be an enter key (as I only rarely use the number pad and I’d never use the plus or minus signs).

So now anything I hit on the right side near the mouse is “Enter.”

Much better.

Jul 31


The consequences to Microsoft releasing a free OS is that it steals all your data and sends it to Microsoft, the NSA and advertisers.

Great work, Microsoft! Keep it up!

But seriously, if I ever use Windows 10 outside of a VM, I’ll be nuking “features” left and right until my install resembles Sing Sing in lockdown after a riot.

Packets will desultorily crawl out of that OS after being beaten into submission by various firewalls, filters and data bouncers.

What’s really sad and scary about all of it is that is that just as with DRM most people just don’t care and are perfectly content to be just as their masters shape them.

Jul 30

Why hath the universe cursed me?

Today I learned that one of the people I went to high school with and attended many classes with is a leader of the absurdist art project that is the fat acceptance/fat celebration movement. That’d be Marianne Kirby.

But MacBeth said it better concerning how I feel about this:

“Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cowed my better part of man!
And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.”

Ay. Oh no.

Jul 30

Powerful stupid

Man, these people are powerful stupid.

What does this mean? What is this person even talking about?

Lifestyle changes are much easier than dieting. I made a lifestyle change, lost a large amount of weight and I don’t spend more than a few minutes a day thinking about food or what to eat.

If you can’t spend a few minutes a day to make sure you don’t die of diabetes-induced complications at age 50 I don’t know what to fuckin’ tell ya.

Jul 30

All modern

All modern OSes are terrible and they all annoy me.

If I had a billion dollars, I’d pay someone a hundred mill to construct an OS just for me, to do exactly what I need (and that does include the integrated Space Laser and Any Mention of Jerry Seinfeld Anywhere Destructifier features).*

*Note: Space Laser also pewpews Jerry Seinfeld. From Space!

Jul 30


They are really good. I’m a sucker for music with weird spacey noises and this has plenty of that.

Also the blonde singer has really pretty slightly crazy eyes. Like not the kind of crazy eyes where she’d kill you in your sleep, but where she’d figure out who your greatest enemy was and if they deserved it, they’d just disappear one day.

Me: What happened to Fred? I haven’t seen him around in ages. Not that I mind.

Blonde singer lady: Yeah, who even knows? I heard, um, he liked Madagascar. He probably moved there. Let’s not talk about that.

Jul 29

Systems outlook not enough

This is a very programmer-y piece to write, because it examines open offices from a completed systemic and mechanistic viewpoint, even though the reason open offices are so prevalent really has nothing to do with any factor cited in the article.

First, the notion should be dispelled that companies care primarily about productivity and profit. No one in the company cares primarily about either of these things, except perhaps the CFO. Doubtful even in that case.

Most managers and executives care foremost about control and obeisance*. Productivity is tertiary if even in the top 10. Often it is not. The behavior and preferences of managers and executives is the primary shaper of an organizations culture and characteristics. Worker preferences do not really matter much. Hence the observed and realized “preference” for open plan offices.

And this is the culture of the vast, vast majority of places I’ve worked and is probably embedded in human nature. Many maladaptive tendencies in fact are, contra current (mostly) liberal beliefs.

In short, some study of sociology and history would do the article writer well for understanding the ascendancy of open plan offices. As workers have lost power, open plan offices have dominated despite being clearly contrary to worker preferences and also harmful to nearly any measure of productivity.

Attempting to understand the rise of these productivity-destroying offices from the perspective of the worker is like attempting to understand the operations of an oil rig from examining a single bolt. It makes no sense. One must look at what the supervisor mandates and prefers. And they prefer being able to see everyone, to have their minions laid bare before them and easily viewable and interruptible. On display for themselves, and for others.

Such is the case here. As I always stress, a little study of sociology, anthropology and history goes a very long way.

All that said, anyone have any good 300-level anthro or sociology textbooks to recommend? I’ve read many (most?) of the ones below that level used in the US. But want to get back into those areas of study again.

*If you doubt this, just try doing something that clearly increases the productivity and profit of the company but is implicitly or explicitly against management wishes. 99% chance you will be fired, so I don’t actually recommend trying it.

Jul 29


If I get time, I’m going to write a Windows 10 Powershell de-crapifier script that removes all the annoyances, privacy violations and boneheaded decisions of Windows 10.

It’ll do this:

  1. Remove all metro crapplications.
  2. Change firewall to deny/deny and only allow ports 53, 80 and 443 by default, and then only for a web browser.
  3. Turn off remote assistance.
  4. Turn off Bing being integrated into Windows search and disable all related services.
  5. Turn off Cortana and disable all related services.
  6. Disable any unnecessary services (to be determined).
  7. Turn off automatic Windows Updates downloading and installing.
  8. Remove all live tiles and other associated bullshit still left (not sure if possible via Powershell)

Anything else? Sure there is more to do.

This will make the OS more secure and less likely to be a total piece of crap.

By the way, yes, the Start menu is back in Windows 10 and it’s also a terrible alphabetized mishmash of disorder and derangement. It’s not better than the Start screen, really.

Install Classic Shell to restore some sense to the mess.

Jul 29

Ejection seat

I have a strange desire to read Dante’s Divine Comedy again.

First read it when I was 12 or so. It infected my brain. In a good way, but made me feel apart from the world.

Maybe this time I’ll try it in French, which means I’ll go at 1/10 the speed and won’t understand at least 20% of it without looking a lot up since it’s so complex.

But then it won’t eject me from the known universe quite so forcibly.