Nov 20

Sliver of silver and bilious livers

second wave 3I wish more older women blogged.

Does anyone know of any blogs of women (preferably feminist oriented or feminist sympathizing at least) in the 40+ age range?

I read Digby’s Hullabaloo and Echidne of the Snakes already.

The reason is that blogs of younger women tend to be so utterly consumed with White Guilt (if they are white) and identity politics that they are increasingly difficult for me to read.

While that stuff matters some, it’s about as likely to change the world as turning a vacuum cleaner on and off over and over again.

Women who grew up exposed to second wave feminism and who actively participated actually did change the world, so they know what it takes. I think that’s why I enjoy reading their blogs a lot more.

If this post offends anyone, I would say that I am sorry, but that would be a lie.

Nov 19

Name game

Hunger Games names’ meanings: explanations for Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Alma, Cressida, and more.

Very cool. Most of these I knew because I read, well, a lot and love etymology. A few I didn’t.

But the author hasn’t quite read enough, as it’s pretty likely that Collins got the last name “Everdeen” from Thomas Hardy’s character Bathsheba Everdene in Far From the Madding Crowd.

By the way in that novel, Everdene’s closest friend is named “Gabriel.” Coincidence? Yeah, no.

People should pay me to research this shit.

I don’t even have to research.

Nov 19

Not one Cent

Even enterprise-class non-Windows OSes have regressed greatly in interface design.

Over the past week, I’ve been using both CentOS 6 and CentoOS 7 which are rebuilds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Cent 6 is very clean and straightforward. Programs are labeled sensibly. It’s simple and like a tool should be.

Cent 7 is like someone grafted the worst tablet in the world onto the interface. Icons are missing (on purpose). Much is confusingly labeled or not labeled at all. You have to swipe up to log in, which took me about 10 minutes to figure out.

Why you’d ever, ever want a tablet interface on a server I haven’t a clue. Anyone who did this or had anything to do with it should be fired immediately, and if they worked for free, they should be hired and then fired.

Most of the time I will be in the command line anyway. But a few things can’t easily be done there, even per Red Hat, so it’s inevitable this monstrosity of an interface will annoy me from time to time.

Why does anyone think this is a good idea? Phone interfaces belong nowhere near servers, not at any point, no matter what.

Nov 19

What matters

Words matter, but other things matter more. Economic justice and structural change I would argue matter more, and only actions that lead to those will transform the world. Endless battles on Twitter and Tumblr about who said what bad word when, and who culturally appropriated what (usually inaccurate) and how hard are actually harmful, even to the people who it is supposed these arguments help.

It’s precisely because mainstream liberalism has so thoroughly surrendered on issues of economic justice and class war that so many young people think of politics as a game of word policing and loud noises on Twitter.

The Left is soulless – in the sense that it has no animus, just tribal markers that change weekly to enable policing and to promote exclusivity, to thin the ranks so that there can be an in group and the out group du jour.

I don’t think the Right and the RNC types are actually intelligent or conniving enough to do this, but if I wanted to destroy the Left, my attempt would look much like the focus on identity politics, word policing and outcast-creating that the modern Left has become.

That shit is damn effective for neutralizing a movement.

Nov 18

More genius morons

You can tell nearly everyone who works on Linux software is an engineeritis infectee as most of the tools that are considered “best” are the most difficult to use, most difficult to set up, work in the most opaque ways, and are generally inimical to human understanding.

I can learn them. And I have learned some of them and will eventually learn them all. But they are all terribly designed, mistaking complexity for elegance, and difficulty of use for productivity.

Some examples are SELinux, iptables, systemd, and git.

All pieces of shit. Powerful pieces of shit, but pieces of shit nonetheless, that could have only been designed by “genius morons.”

As some commenter noted, “Usability is always an important design element. If multiple users are making the same mistake, then it is the software that is the problem, not the users. “

Nov 18


I’m tired of seeing things about the crazy demands that bands and artists make while touring.

Touring is hard. Being on the road ever day? Sleeping very little? Having to get up in front of screaming and occasionally hostile crowds no matter how you feel?

Yeah, that sounds hellish to me. I’d ask for some damn fried chicken in my dressing room, too.

Anyway, as mentioned in the comments, a lot of the time demands in artist’s rider sheets are to determine if the correct attention is being paid to other things – for instance, if the request for chocolate-covered burritos on silver platters embossed with the face of Nicolas Cage is ignored, chances are the sound or lighting will be screwed up too.

Nov 18

Everyone a programmer

I saw the contention on a message board the other day that a good systems administratorse should “be able to write quality software.”

This is of a piece with the idea I’ve seen all over lately that everyone in any field should be a programmer, should learn how to program.

While I agree that a better case can be made for a systems admin to learn some programming (as I know some myself), the idea that someone like me (or rather, more what I used to do) should be able to write quality software is rather absurd.

I can bash out a script (in Bash and several other environments) pretty well. I could probably cobble something together in Visual Studio in a few days if I really had to.

But it would not be “quality” by any measure.

numProgramming is its own discipline that takes time and study to master. Not even the best sys admins with mega IQs I’ve ever met (unless they were former programmers) could write quality software. And even the ones who had been programmers in the past – even excellent former programmers — would probably not have claimed to be able to write quality software any longer, as it takes like most things in life constant practice.

From what I’ve seen, it takes about 5-7 years to become a really decent programmer. Most programmers I’ve talked to agree with that.

So to do that – to be able to write quality software — I’d have to put my real career on hold, missing most advances in my actual field, to do something I’m not really interested in for no obvious benefit.

Agreed, some understanding of programming and (even more so) of computer science is necessary in my field. I’ve often had to (involuntarily) debug terrible code or examine code in 10+ languages to figure out how something works. Glitchometry

It happens.

But the idea that everyone should be a programmer is most often pushed by (surprise!) programmers.

It’s easy for them. Shouldn’t it be easy for everyone else? I mean, just code, right?

It’s a cockamamie, terrible idea. Even as system administration is moving to more automation and more scripting, the idea that I should be turning out “quality software” rather than doing my job is fucking ridiculous.

Only a programmer or others also prone to engineeritis could conceive of something so asinine.

I have written some pretty long and complicated scripts and will do so again. But I don’t really think of that as software, and that is not the sense in which this idiot was using those terms.prog

Even as being a system admin changes in the “cloud” era, it’ll have very little to do with coding and much more to do (as it always has) with understanding the interactions of multiple complex systems (duh) and configuring them in the best way possible to work for whatever business or other organization is making use of those systems.

While this might involve writing some “software” – that is to say, scripts – along the way, the primary goal of a sys admin should not be programming or writing “quality software,” but rather using whatever tools are best suited to achieving the above goals.

Doing anything else is a waste of time, and quite likely to get you fired for wasting said time.

Nov 18

The decline

Facebook really is taking over.

I ran a blog nearly a decade and a half ago. It was significantly worse than this one as the writing wasn’t nearly as good.

Though its quality was worse and its inappropriate rant content much higher, it had thousands of readers a day.

Really, I don’t care much about my readership numbers. If three or four people read my blog a day, that’s great with me. But it is interesting that pre-Facebook how some F-list blogger could pull in thousands of readers a day easily with no promotion and now a better blogger (me, but later) can hardly make it beyond a few dozen a day.

I’m not the only blog with this problem. Better bloggers experience the same thing.

Admittedly, just like I did back in the old days I still toss off most posts in five minutes or less.

There were fewer blogs then but also fewer readers. It appears then that most people have just disappeared into the limitless maw that is Facebook, never to return.

As I’ve written before, we had the internet but were too stupid to keep it.

This happens with many things that humanity touches.