The amount of bot-spam being posted to this blog has gone up by an order of magnitude in the last week. I wouldn’t bother my readers about this, except that if one of your posts happens to trigger the spam filter, the odds that I will notice and rescue it have dropped significantly. It’s easier… Continue reading Spam inundation may result in lost posts
Month: July 2010
Lies my grandfather told: the perils of ethnic identification
This began as a reply to a comment on my previous post. It’s an explanation of why no “ethnic identity” is very central to who I think I am.
Sometimes, ancestry matters
I’ve written before, on several occasions, about solving the problem of racism by strict individualism – a studied refusal to allow what we know about genetic population differences and differing means in measures like IQ to distort our judgment of individuals. The bell curve is not the point; the mass is not the individual. Ancestry… Continue reading Sometimes, ancestry matters
How not to sign NDAs
If you’re any kind of consultant or contract programmer, and you’re an open-source person, one of the persistent minor (and sometimes not-so-minor) irritations of doing business is NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements). Your client will often want you to sign one. About 1% of the time they’re protecting actual business-critical information; the other 99% they’re suffering from… Continue reading How not to sign NDAs
Yesterday I discovered that Donald Knuth at least occasionally reads my blog. I only half-jokingly reported a vague feeling that I ought to be falling to my knees and crying “I’m not worthy!” In response, a “v. m. smith” popped up in my comments to say this: Dude, you have written at least two books… Continue reading Double Vision
Donald Knuth reads my blog?
Received in email from Donald Knuth’s secretary: I know from your blog that you’re doing lots of real important stuff these days. So I’m sure you want a break; you clearly must be ready to hack INTERCAL just once more. Huh…Donald Knuth reads my blog? Um…Donald Knuth reads my blog? Wha…Donald Knuth reads my blog?… Continue reading Donald Knuth reads my blog?
Good causes sometimes have bad consequences. Blacks, women, and other historical out-groups were right to demand equality before the law and the full respect and liberties due to any member of our civilization; but the tactics they used to “raise consciousness” have sometimes veered into the creepy and pathological, borrowing the least sane features of… Continue reading Kafkatrapping
Jobs Crashing to Earth
The stench of desperation must be getting pretty thick on the Infinite Loop. Can it be that the generator for Steve Jobs’s notorious Reality Distortion Field has finally broken down? Two days ago, we learned that Jobs knew of the iPhone 4’s antenna problem before launch. They had warnings both from an in-house antenna engineer… Continue reading Jobs Crashing to Earth
Smartphone, the Eater-of-Gadgets
I’ve been thinking for some time now that the smartphone has achieved a kind of singularity, becoming a black hole that sucks all portable electronics into itself. PDAs – absorbed. Music players – consumed. Handset GPSes – eaten. Travel-alarm clocks, not to mention ordinary watches – subsumed. Calculators – history. E-readers under serious pressure, and… Continue reading Smartphone, the Eater-of-Gadgets
Women in computing: first, get the problem right
Every few months I trip over another earnest attempt to rectify the gender imbalance in software and computing fields. Very few women opt to become programmers, system administrators, or hardware/software engineers. Indeed, the number of women who try seems to be falling rather than rising. This observation is invariably accompanied by a lot of hand-wringing… Continue reading Women in computing: first, get the problem right
The doom of the telecomms carriers
Forward-thinking technologists, including me, have been predicting for some time that adaptive mesh networking would be the doom of the telecomms-carrier and broadband oligopoly. Now comes a scientist from Australia with an idea so diabolically clever that I’m annoyed with myself for not thinking of it sooner: put the mesh networking in smartphones!
Killing the Founder
During the controversy I described in Condemning Censorship, Even of Werewolves one of the parties characterized me as “nuts and in decline.”. This failed to bother me, and not because I’m insulated against such insults by my natural arrogance. OK, I am largely insulated against such insults by my natural arrogance, but that’s not the… Continue reading Killing the Founder
The Model M: A timeless classic
I just found an informative article about the origin, life, and astonishing persistence of my favorite keyboard. Nearly every article on this blog was hammered out on the same Unicomp Model M I’m typing on now. The design is 25 years old and still going strong, a nearly unique longevity in computing devices. I endorse… Continue reading The Model M: A timeless classic
What is truth?
[This may become part of a book.] What is truth? There are complicated ways of explaining “truth” that get all tangled up in questions about reality and perception, but we’re going to use a very simple one: truth is what makes the future less surprising. No matter what you think you are and no matter… Continue reading What is truth?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Oh Thoth Trismegistus, oh Ma’at, oh Ganesha, oh sweet lady Eris…I have not laughed so hard in years! Eliezer Yudkowsky is one of the brightest people I’ve ever met in a lifetime of seeking out gifted- to genius-grade thinkers because people who aren’t usually bore me pretty quickly. Eliezer has spent years studying the deep… Continue reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
FroYo, yum yum!
The over-the-air update for Android 2.2, aka FroYo, landed on my Nexus One this morning. The WiFi hotspot feature works perfectly when tested with my ThinkPad X61 running Linux. I am liberated. No more per-diem WiFi charges in hotels. No more cursing as I discover that the airport hotspots are all pay-for-play. Internet on my… Continue reading FroYo, yum yum!
Apple gets egg on its face — single platform = single doom
One of the predictable responses to my recent writings on the smartphone market and the rise of Android has been a deluge of scornful invective by Apple fans confidently predicting that Android’s 1Q2010 surge in unit share represented a bubble that would pop under pressure from Apple’s “superior user experience”. Then came the flap over… Continue reading Apple gets egg on its face — single platform = single doom
After the McDonald decision: what next?
Monday’s decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago is a major victory for civil rights. Yes, it was 5-4 and the ruling was weaker than it could have been, but the basic holding that the Second Amendment is incorporated against states and all lower levels of government can be a powerful tool for positive change… Continue reading After the McDonald decision: what next?