Veerrry interresting. Michael Barone, editor of The Almanac of American Politics for many years, writes an in-depth article on the psephology of the 2010 midterms titled Dems retreat to coasts as GOP rules vast interior. I read this and had a feeling of deja vu.
My friend Jay Maynard has successfully incited me to blog by asking me the following question: “Would you call the perpetrators of the Stuxnet worm `hackers’, rather than crackers”? He’s actually raised an interesting question of definition, culture, and ethics, and I’m going to tackle it.
My prediction months ago that Android would pass Apple iOS in total share in the fourth quarter of 2010 is looking more prescient all the time. this ComputerWorld reports IDC’s conservative prediction that global (not U.S. share) will reach 16% for Android, 15% for iOS at the end of 2010. More interesting is the report… Continue reading The smartphone wars: Android thunders on
I’m what people in the strategy-gaming hobby call a grognard. The word is literally French for “grumbler”, historically used for Napoleonist diehards who never reconciled themselves to the fall of L’Empereur even after 1815, and nowadays refers to guys who cut their teeth on the classic, old-school hex-grid wargames of the 1970s. As a grognard,… Continue reading The Golden Age of Wargaming is Now
Over the years I’ve written at least three expositions of the hacker mindset that use the form of mystical poetry or teaching riddles. Probably the best known of these nowadays is The Unix Koans of Master Foo (2003), but there has also been The Loginataka (1992, 2010) and the short Zen poem I included in… Continue reading Mystical Poetry and Mental Postures
About an hour ago I watched A Digital Video Primer for Geeks. This is, hands down and no exceptions, the best instructional video I’ve ever seen. It takes a complex, dry, detail-filled topic and presents it with lucid clarity and a sense of fun.
A few moments ago I received email from the Iranian who first asked me to try to help the dissidents fourteen month ago. I reproduce his email and my response in its entirety, except that I omit information that might identify him.
It is now about fourteen months since, after receiving my second death threat, I started carrying a firearm almost constantly. This experience has taught me a few truths, some merely amusing but others with larger implications. The major lesson: people are amazingly oblivious to what they don’t expect to see. When I carry using a… Continue reading Fourteen months of carrying
Some years ago, in The Delusion of Expertise, I wrote about the memorable occasion in 2003 on which some friends and I were able to bestow on author Terry Pratchett the accolade of hacker, recognizing him as what he had always been: one of us. Now comes the news that as part of his preparations… Continue reading Terry Pratchett ascends to the pantheon, alive!
In mid-2009, just after Neda Soltan was shot down on a Tehran street, I was working with a group of hackers attempting to provide covert communications support to the Iranian dissident movement. I blogged about it at the time, received my second death threat as a result, and had a couple of interesting conversations with… Continue reading Needling Haystack
I received email recently asking me to respond to an article in the Huffington Post, No Safe Harbor on Gulf Coast; Human Blood Tests Show Dangerous Levels of Toxic Exposure. Questioner’s English wasn’t very good, but the question he was trying to pose was how market anarchists like myself can oppose government action to mitigate… Continue reading Pessimistic anarchism
This is interesting. Jean-Louis Gassée, former head of Be Inc. and now a venture capitalist, has spotted what may be another prong of Google’s strategy; break the carriers’ term-contract system by driving the price of smartphones so far down that customers don’t need or want a carrier subsidy.
A few days ago, I observed that Google is not pushing back against cell carriers’ lockdown of Android phones as vigorously as I had expected in the wake of the Android 2.2 announcement. If this Twitter rumor is true, Google locked horns with the carriers and lost that confrontation, leading to the semi-discontinuance of the… Continue reading The smartphone wars: Google goes Taoist, Microsoft uses the farce
On a mailing list I frequent, a regular expressed doubt about the possibility that very small subgroups of a society (less than 5% of its population) can cause large changes in the overall direction of its evolution without long historical timespans to work in. But I know from experience that this can happen, because I’ve… Continue reading Engineering history
In a day or two I plan to do a blog post on the way engineering decisions can be critically important at cusp points in the history of society. In order for part of the argument in that post to make sense, my readers need to hear a story I’ve been hinting at in comments… Continue reading Eminent Domains: The First Time I Changed History
T-Mobile announced the G-2 yesterday. They were, of course, the first carrier to ship an Android phone when they released the G-1 back in 2008. I think this announcement signals yet another phase change in the smartphone wars, in which carriers begin to back off the proprietary skins that have disfigured recent Android releases.
I’ve been doing a lot of work recently on an ancient project of mine, C-INTERCAL, that’s an implementation of the longest-running joke in the history of computer languages. It’s an implementation, begun in 1990, of a language conceived in 1972 as a parody of programming languages of the 1960s. Now it’s nearly 40 years later,… Continue reading The social utility of hacker humor
While doing some research to check an assertion made by a commenter on More dispatches from the smartphone front I ran across excerpts from a very interesting report from investment analysts at Piper Jaffray on global smartphone market share and how they expect it to change in the next few years. I can’t get at… Continue reading The smartphone wars: a global perspective
Four days ago I blogged about upgrading my old G-1 to CyanogenMOD and complained that the mod’s home site contained no high-level overview of the modding process to help pepople understand all the details in the modding instructions for individual devices. It took some days of research, but I have now fixed that problem. I… Continue reading More dispatches from the smartphone front
I spent some time today rooting and reflashing my old G-1 so it’s jumped from stock Android 1.6 to Android 2.2. CyanogenMod is a truly impressive piece of work, with both snazzy surface polish and a lot of nice little hackerly touches like including a root console in the standard apps panel and easy access… Continue reading CyanogenMOD rocks my old G-1