Rule of thumb

Rule of thumb: Any chapter or book with a title similar to “Unleashing the power of (blah)” will be utterly useless. It will in fact be negative learning, as you will need to purge your mind of anything you read from it.

(The same goes for “Learn X in 20 minutes”, or whatever we’re down to these days. Learn Java in 20 Femtoseconds? Yeah, you can totally do that.)

More growling

Wreckursion – What happens when you blow the base case of a recursive function and call yourself forever.

Abstruction – An API that serves only as a layer of obfuscation and obstruction.  (COM and SetupAPI, I’m looking at you).

Fuctuation – A power blip that takes out half of your machines, causing the other half to swallow all the net bandwidth while asking “What?  What happened? WHAT? What happened…?“. The extra load takes out everything else in an agonizing digital crunch. Darkness. The power comes back, things happily boot, and then all the machines start doing successive dumps on their disks until they run out of space and start to serially crash. Just as you get things sorted out, janitors start their biannual cleaning of the machine room floor with buckets of suds and wet mops, and everything goes dark again. Fans run to a stop as uninterruptable power supplies beep in vain, trying to push current through soaked power outlets. You remember you got into this business because hacking in BASIC was pretty cool. What happened? One thing led to another, I guess. See also: Fupdate.

Simpathy – Indistinguishable from real sympathy, guaranteed or your money back.

Splinterview – Cow-orker A thinks the candidate walks on water, while cow-orker B doesn’t think the candidate is capable of breathing. The recruiter misunderstands your feedback and starts selling the candidate’s ability to breathe underwater. A well-timed earthquake saves the day.

Coopitition – The art of shipping a product while stabbing each other in the back, while HR and the review committees sit on the sidelines and smile.

(oh look, I found some angst)


“It is transparent. That’s why we set up the FISA court.”


Transparent to X-rays? FISA is a rubber-stamp joke.

Gaming this out a little:

1. Public outcry, fading with the usual power law of a news cycle. Looks like Snowden may have enough material to keep this going quite a while, though.

2. Imagine that the data centers turn out not to be riot-proof and burn to the ground after all. That data isn’t going away. Private databases don’t have the same (ahem) restrictions as government ones. In other words, really don’t expect to see any privacy legislation that has real teeth; that data is far too useful.



A little bit on consoles

Most of the policy-level stuff that customers experience on consoles is completely flexible, often in real time.

So things like “We need to connect every 24 hours” and the whole hooha around used games (or not) can be tweaked like mad.

Also, MS is bad at telling people what they actually do. (So is Sony, but the major difference is that they tend to lie more).



Conversation at the gym with an ex-cow-orker who’s still in Xbox:

Me: “You need to poison half your marketing staff.”

Them: “Only half?”

There are people with clues there. It’s a shame they don’t get to apply sanity where it matters.


Update: They caved. I’m honestly surprised. I can just imagine the blood on the walls during those particular meetings.