Jul 31


It’s amazing how often in my life that people have told me that I am doing something “wrong” even when I end up doing it faster, better and more efficiently than they do, and more reliably to boot, yet I am still “wrong” in the way that I do it.

Funny how that works.

One of the reasons I generally learned to ignore adults from a very young age is that very reason.

Sometimes, they were right. Most often they were wrong. Life experience matters, but dumb is still dumb no matter how old you are.

Jul 28

WGET outta here

The common Unix-y utility “wget” used as evidence of guilt in the Manning trail.

This sort of thing follows from my post below. I’ve used wget probably 500 times in my life. It’s not a hacking tool. I can’t even see how it could be used as a hacking tool.

Criminalizing general purpose computing has long been a wish of the entertainment industry and others.

Amazing how the simplest tools that I use every day are seen as remarkable and inexplicable wizardry by the moron contingent.

Jul 28


In the abstract, I support the egalitarian ideal of allowing everyone access to technology and making that tech easier for them to use.

In the concrete when it makes my life worse, I wish we’d not ever let stupid people use computers – because it really harms me. All of this push to take away browser features, to make some atrocity like Windows 8, to even have a browser like Google Chrome –- all of this can be blamed on attempting to make things simple enough that complete morons can use them.

Which removes most of the features that I actually use and depend on, both for work and for leisure.

Using a “stupid people” OS or browser slows me down so incredibly much it makes me even slower than them, as I have to try to come up  with ridiculous workarounds to get even basic work done.

Jul 26


I am not surprised to read that Florida cities took 3 of the 4 top slots for the worst drivers, including the area where we live.

Listen, everyone thinks “their” drivers are the worst. You’re wrong. I’ve driven in a lot of places, including some car-fire3most Americans have no experience with – such as Egypt. (You don’t know driving until you’re screaming down a four-lane highway seven cars abreast with pedestrians weaving between the non-existent lanes.)

But anyway, I’ve driven in a lot of places. Never have I seen the heinous and insane shit that I’ve seen here in Florida. Never – not in Egypt. Not in Uzbekistan. Not in any US city. It’s not that those things never happen elsewhere. Of course they do. Here, you see it every moment. In other places, you see it rarely. And that’s the crucial difference.

When I lived in Seattle, I got into one near-accident or close call maybe once even couple of months.

Here, some days I get in 2-3 near-accidents when I go to work and 2-3 when I drive home. No exaggeration at all, not in the least.

Nearly every person I know at work has been in a car accident in the last few months. Just last week, a woman I work with got in a car accident less than 50 feet from the building. We all saw it right outside the window. (And car-accidentnot the first one we’ve seen from the window, either.) Another woman I work with has been in three car accidents in the last year, none of them her fault (rear-ended each time).

Thank FSM I have quick reactions and am hyper-vigilant, or I’d’ve almost certainly suffered the same fate already.

On the way home today for instance, someone decided they were going to do a U-turn and get into my lane with me less than 80 feet away and traveling 50MPH. I swerved by them, missing their car by 2-3 feet. If I’d been just the tiniest bit slower, that would’ve been an accident.

I am quite sure they never even saw me, nor did they care that a car could’ve been there.

This happens all the time. That was absolutely normal. Sometimes things like that happen every few hundred feet in Florida. Sometimes you avoid one accident here and then literally two seconds later you avoid another one. You can never rest.

Why is it like this here?

A few guesses. A large percentage of the population here is elderly. Probably 80% of them really shouldn’t be driving. They are completely oblivious and often drive absurdly slowly. Second, this area still has bleedover from the South and all the aggressive masculinity that entails. Third, there is a mix of people here (many Northerners and Canadians) who all bring very different and contradictory driving styles.

Throw all this together, and you have urban fucking chaos.

When I drive to work tomorrow, I can nearly guarantee I’ll almost get into at least one car accident. And most likely one on the way home, too.

It’s part of living here. And it is truly no fun.

Jul 26

Board up

Because people see what they want to see, and are trained to their own reactions, it’s amazing how many times in my life that people have mistaken disinterestedness and boredom for fear and nervousness.

Jul 25


Was feeling like punk tonight.

Not the “real” performance. Lip-synched (they are playing the song, but you aren’t hearing that, but the studio-recorded version), and I really like how they are riffing on that in the video, and how they keep trading clothes.

Also those two women have about the coolest haircuts ever, especially the one who is actually singing the song.

Jul 24

Ack ack

I read a lot of academic papers. Most of them are poorly written. And I don’t mean over-use of jargon or words I don’t understand. These I don’t have a problem with. It’s what dictionaries and further reading are for.

What I mean is that academic culture seem to think that obscurity equals scholarship, when in actuality obscurantism means that no one understands your paper.

I’ve read I don’t know maybe a thousand scientific papers since I was 13 or so. Ninety-five percent of them I could revise to contain 98% of same technical content and make most of it completely comprehensible to a bright eighth-grader.

Why this is not done shows that culture is damaging in more areas than just racism and similar obviously-deleterious arenas.

Jul 24


If people weren’t idiots, Facebook wouldn’t exist.

We already did this. It was called “AOL.” Now Facebook is actively making my life worse because many businesses and other organizations have only Facebook pages. In every way, these pages are inferior to a website. They often lack crucial information, such as an address or phone number or operating hours.

Frequently, they are not accessible unless you sign in, which I will not do.

Dumb people: making things worse since ever.

Jul 23

The default human

Just a little, I’ve started to notice a shift away from a male being the default human in media. Perhaps it is just my wishful thinking, but I noticed it again today when I was looking at a hiking brochure for a park in Florida.

This is one portion of the brochure:


Of the seven humans pictured, six of them are female, or at least present female gender signals. (The people on the horses are harder to discern as the photo is so small, but probably 95%+ of Americans would identify them as women without a second glance or thought.) More importantly, the two most-easily discernible people are obviously female.

I don’t know the gender of the bird.

It’s a government-produced brochure so I suspect that gives it a better chance of equitability, but still, is this progress? I think so.