fw: USSA

Political appointees in every federal agency?  (link)

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing … a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.

Making Light’s succinct comment (paraphrased): “There’s a word for this: Commissar.”

Too early in the morning for a political diatribe.

Merge day

All I have to say for today is, “Thank God for Araxis Merge.”

Really.  I bought this tool a while back, and it’s been worth every penny, and more; it’s about as indispensable as the Emacs clone I use (Lugaru’s Epsilon, here).

Tools that “just work” are few and far between.  Let’s hear some praise for them.



ITFMA.  link

(When the link breaks, ITFMA = “Impeach the M-F Already.”  The writer had the North Carolina license plate, and their DMV equivalent yanked it).

FYYFF = “For You, Your Friends and Family,” according to the California DMV.  In case you were curious.

Fetishes -vs- Patterns

I was going to write a rant on what I’ve come to call “Software Fetishes,” or the use of valueless patterns by organizations, but honestly I’m too headachy to take it to any satisfying conclusion.

Suffice to say that a fetish:

  • Is largely unimportant to the general health of the system;
  • Is easy to defend in the right meetings (“How hard can that be?  Sounds like a good idea.  Let’s enforce it across the board.”)
  • Is very nearly (but not quite) automatable with your favorite Emacs clone, if you had the time to figure out a decent macro.
  • Approaches the quality of “cargo cult” programming after a while (e.g., holy formatting wars — “Why do we do we format function declarations this one exact way?” turns out to be because of someone’s decade-old crappy parser requiring it, not anything rooted in articulatable engineering principles, but really the opposite).

Fetishes are hard to bust up because code that doesn’t follow them looks different, and is easy to spot.  The org can’t say why a practice is important, but it will enforce meaningless conformity anyway.

There, I’ve stated the problem.  I’ll try to come up with some examples and solutions later (as soon as the walls stop pulsing, ow ow ow).

Build times

On your next project, seriously consider mandating a maximum build time of (say) fifteen minutes.

Then hire someone – very early on – to keep it that way.

(taps foot)

(stares at photos of family on desk)

(gets coffee)

(doesn’t open up a browser and read slashdot)

(cracks open that book on file systems again.  watches build oozing its way up the screen.  i swear it gets slower every time.  one chapter.  two chapters…)


fix it

(taps foot)



More than one interpretation…

Horror?  Maybe.  Link.


Possible other interpretations:

  • “I won?  Oh my God, I won the lottery!?!”
  • “And she was wearing, like, totally ewwww, chiffon conkers and a persimmon h-bracelet.”
  • “…and then the priest said, (hee), he said to the camel (haw haw haw), no, really, I’m t-trying to finish this joke . . . the p-priest got on the camel a-and –” [falls down laughing uncontrollably]