Jul 18

Copy ain’t even right

The copyright cops are making everything worse as usual.

If I had the power to do anything I wanted to the laws of the US, one of the first things I’d do is to eliminate copyright altogether. Not curtail it, not reduce its length.

Nuke it.

Yes, it’d be chaos for a while. But from chaos something new and better would be born – better because it could not get any worse in the copyright arena than it is right now.

Jul 16

Having seen a lot of every damn thing

I was helping a guy on the UK team troubleshoot a major problem today since no one was around on that side of the pond any longer. All the others had been troubleshooting it most of the day. To set the stage, I don’t know much about their gear or their equipment or anything about their setup at all there.

He asked me to look at a firewall to see if there was an issue with traffic to and from an IP address. I happened to notice that the firewall management box I was connecting to was on a public IP address and the same network as the IP address he gave me to check.

I couldn’t reach the firewall management box at all and since I had already noticed the IPs were on the same network, I went to RIPE net’s whois and found out who the IP address block belonged to. It belonged to Easynet in the UK, which means that is the ISP.

So then I looked up the status page for Easynet’s services and found out that they were having a major outage.

Problem identified. It took me about thirty seconds.

The UK tech was amazed that I’d been able to figure out what the problem was in thirty seconds. It was something that various people had been working on all day.

But having seen a lot of every damn thing, it was just another day at work.

Funny when companies lay people off, they usually get rid of people like me. I’m expensive. But when you have a major production problem, I’m the difference between losing two days or losing thirty seconds.

And that’s the reason I am expensive.

I know where to draw the X.

Jul 16

See less

Anyone who uses that “see more…” javascript on their site that inserts itself when you copy and then paste some text should be shot in the face with a planet.

Preferably Jupiter.

Jul 16

Flawlessness

Why do we demand flawlessness of character in writers especially?

There isn’t a truly great writer alive or dead who is a paragon of wholesomeness and good living. It just can’t happen.

First of all, to be a writer you have to be uncommonly stubborn. Writing is not a natural act, especially writing in volume. Uncommonly stubborn people tend to persist in inadvisable actions for longer than they should. This alone leads to many of the common flaws found in the character of writers.

Second, to be a great writer you nearly have to have lead an interesting life. An interesting life is impossible to have without making mistakes – sometimes very large ones.

Third, no one who ever wrote anything great did so by avoiding the tendentious or concentrating on the anodyne. Revelation and novel thought doesn’t emerge from a void – chances are the writer has explored a range of possibilities in his or her own life from which these insights came.

So give me my writers bloodstained, mud-blotted, buffoonish and antagonizing – just as long as their writing is interesting.

Jul 13

Intro

Being an introvert does not mean being awkward or even shy. Why do people think this?

I’m very much an introvert, but not in any way awkward nor do I get stage fright. And I am quite definitely not even a little bit shy.

Want me to go speak before Congress tomorrow? Fine. Ain’t even a problem. Just let me rest and read a book after.

Not saying I’d do a great job, necessarily. Just saying that it would not make me nervous or worry me that much.

Jul 13

Cheap

The great thing as a director that hiring Tatiana Maslany gets you is that you don’t need to hire any other actors.

Mother?

Tatiana.

Mother #2?

Tatiana.

Grandmother?

Tatiana.

Father?

Tatiana.

Hit man?

Tatiana.

Family dog?

Tatiana.

She needs to start a union for herself or this could get out of hand.

Jul 13

QOTD

Quote of the day: “Windows task manager really needs some sort of ‘EXPLAIN YOURSELF AT ONCE’ button where you can click on a process that’s just used up all the cpu and have it confess, no bullshit, exactly what the fuck it thinks it’s doing.”

That that would require an AI? No matter. I completely agree.

Jul 12

Trust

Still trust Microsoft to safeguard your privacy, idiot Americans?

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

That Ars Technica piece about SkyDrive the other day where people scoffed at the idea of the NSA having access? Well, being wrong is what those infected with engineeritis and/or geek arrogance do best.

The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide.

If you aren’t using something open source to encrypt your data, it’s not safe. And if it’s stored in the cloud, it’s doubly unsafe.

Of course, nothing is completely secure and verifiable as very smart people can embed an undetectable backdoor in the compiler itself, but there’s only so much you can do.

Jul 12

BBS

Back in the BBS days, I remember being able to type faster than my computer’s extremely slow modem could send text to the remote console and then echo it back to me.

Struggling to get anything useful done on terribly slow, bad hardware. Wishing for the sweet release of death while waiting five hours for that 300KB text document to download, and hoping you didn’t get disconnected.

Tablets feel like that to me, scaled at least to what is possible now – using them for anything other than reading books, that is.

It’s interesting to me that due to smartphones and tablets, the average person is going to lose the ability to type again, as was once the case.

Many people are now too young to recall, but back in the early and mid 1980s, knowing how to type was a relatively rare and valued skill.

Then PCs became common, and typing become a lot more widely-known.

Since real keyboards will always be used for work, the ending of the era of the PC (for most people) will mean there will be future generations nearly completely unsuited for corporate office work without more training than is now necessary.