Friday, January 31, 2014

USPS is a disgrace

In the current climate the general population has a great deal of love for federal workers. In particular the postal worker. The sad reality is that not all postal workers are the same and in some cases they are downright bullies.

Such was my experience at the Everglades USPS office this past week when I attempted to get my passport application processed. With as many as three Idol postal workers the person I was dealing with insisted that i'm appointment was required and a prerequisite to processing my application. Given the number of idle postal workers this would seem to be an abuse of power.

As I made my way to an alternate location that the dog require an appointment I attempted to call into the hotline at this location in order to make an appointment.

The phone rang busy for 45 minutes
Then I was put on hold for another 20 minutes
When I attempted to call back the phone simply rang for another 30 minutes

It was Kirtomy but not only was I not going to have my application processed but that there was no way to in fact get an appointment. Regardless of the circumstances for that particular day the postal workers that I encountered had clearly some agenda or prejudice to perform the tasks as required or in the interest of customer service.

What should be first

For the last couple of months the general thinking has been mobile first. The justification that most architects give is the mobile is easier to implement first and many of the features that provide translate directly to desktop.

This morning I read a tweet where the author suggested that the platform for the first. And it is impossible to infer any sort of details from 140 character tweet.

What I realize however what makes doing a particular task first is of utmost importance. The team that performs mobile first is typically weak in mobile. The team that implements platform first is typically weak in platform.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

One DSL to rule them all

With the advent of yalo, nodeos and possibly many more. It would be nice to have a DSL that describes each of the necessary utilities so that a simple translator could generate the necessary realized code. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Internet privacy is not that big of a deal

It's a shame that people truly misunderstand the privacy issue. I don't know the exact number but I would imagine that a good portion more than 99% of the American population are ever going to do anything illegal or immoral that would justify the expenditure of a system like prism in order to identify them as a suspect. It's more than likely the present might be listening to the conversation that you had during and affair not that additional security.

While in principle I strongly believe in the Bill of Rights in the constitution however the practical matter is some system like prism exists it's probably going to exist in the blackness of the federal government and we may or may not have her know that it exists ever again. However little Johnny has nothing to worry about because when he stole the little bicycle pump from the kid down the street he's not going to prison.

In fact I would argue the counterargument. The spying systems are actually in our advantage. As corporate business performs corporate espionage and steals from each other and harms the American people all for the sake of the almighty profit this openness actually creates the great equalizer to make sure that the American public are protected from evil companies.

So the counter counter argument is it's actually in the best interest of American business with their deep pockets to protect the American people from the ubiquity of systems like prism.

I suppose the profit motive trumps national security. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

risky embedded scripting languages

I have been working on two opposing ideas. (1) implementing a scripting language [could be a DSL] in an application framework in order to improve development time deferring code translation to runtime. (2) implementing a framework with a non trivial code generator as part of the build process. Both are particularly difficult when considering the maturity model as it pertains to testing, QA and more importantly security. Both static and dynamic elements are difficult to verify.

The one idea that I have latched onto is "configuration as code". While considering the embedded approach I realized that command line argument(s) and configuration files, etc... are no different embedded scripting languages. They are simply a DSL of another nature. Once you get past the CLI there could be an endless number of configuration opportunities. Each with it's own challenges. Just think about all of the Window's registry hacks. Embedding the config parameters in the code (encrypted or not) makes the hacking harder.

The second idea is actually much better. I have imagined that the framework could be instrumented across all of the applications that were build with it. It also means that other protections from inside the framework could bubble up to the user space. Test cases are fewer, smaller, easier to write, and verify.

The problem with the maturity model is that there is an implied rigor or "proof" that a vast majority of development teams never get to. Transitioning to a maturity level adds a great deal of friction to the complete development process. From inception to deployment.

UPDATE: While I'm not advocating re-compiling or transcoding GO this is an interesting topic. A recent interview with big thinkers several language gurus; one said knowing one and only one programming language was not ideal.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

iBooks it's not soup yet

I purchase a large number of books every year. Back before the days of the Kindle and iBooks are used by paper books. These were typically nonfiction text all manuals. Over the years since I have been purchasing management guidance. In the last few months I have picked up a number of Malcolm Gladwell books as they seem to be garnering favor in the executive branch. I have also been downloading a number of technical papers as PDF files from a number of University research projects. While anything purchased on my account at Amazon is automatically downloaded to all of my Kindle devices and software instances the same is also very true of iBooks and purchasing media. The same cannot be said when loading PDF files.

Trying to read a PDF file on the traditional Kindle is near impossible. Fonts are simply too small so it is not a practical device to read PDF files. Since I have not tested a Kindle fire I can't say if same applies there. But when it comes to other types of media like video and audio iPads and android tablets seem to have paved the way.

Going back to my PDF files and downloading them onto my iPad they simply do not sync between all of my devices. PDF files will only sink if I import them into iTunes directly and then synchronize my eye device directly with iTunes.

I cannot tell if the designers over at Apple failed to imagine all of the use cases that were necessary for a successful iBooks reader or if they simply do not have enough time to complete the task.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Home security's pic fail

Looking at all the homes in my neighborhood one of the things that they have in common is that the lighting in front of the front door is actually off to the side instead of Immediately above the door. By putting the lights to the side of the door it will cast a shadow across the face of the person standing in front of the door at night when there is insufficient like to see their entire face.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The politics of money and taxation

I'm probably capitalist however I find myself intrigued by the social democracy found in Sweden. My thesis is very shallow. While the Swedish government imposes hey near 50% tax rate the countries infrastructure seems to take care of its people much better than here in the US. I find myself questioning whether or not the 50% tax rate in Sweden is no different than we have here. By the time you consider the different ways that we are taxed both on income and spending in the form of sales tax then there are the other services that we pay for like health insurance and unemployment. By the time we pay for these services that other countries provide for free and our compounded tax rates are we any better off than those countries? The diversity of climate notwithstanding. 

What is the true benefit of blogging and tweeting?

I don't know

UPDATE: tweets and blogs are served when companies or people or entities want to convey a transparent message. Meaning such and such bug was repaired or warning this could happen to you or somesuch. Where blogging and tweeting fail is when it's used by marketers to elicit some sort of purchase or transaction. While advertising is a legitimate use it is clearly not with the Internet was intended for; it was intended for the purpose of sharing information. One might attempt to justify advertising and marketing as necessary in order to increase bandwidth at disproportionate lower costs. However that has yet to be proven considering most up-and-coming countries who are deploying fresh infrastructure function at higher capacities with lower costs.

Meet meat

Without passing judgment I recently became a vegan or actually a very strict vegan. I'm not sure if there is an actual name for a strict vegan but if you take the vegan diet subtract not subtract oils subtract avocados and subtract fructose corn syrup then that's about where I am. 

As I go to the grocery store I'm constantly looking at products especially my favorite comfort foods and checking their ingredients. It is a shocking fact that a majority of the products that we consume they contain oils or animal product or byproduct.

One perfect example is frosted mini wheat. Growing up it was one of my favorite breakfast cereals. Looking at the ingredients I noticed that gelatin is included. There are two forms of gelatin. The first comes from boiling animal hugs and cartilage and tendons. The second comes from seaweed however is very rarely used. So the question is why would frosted mini wheats need gelatin? I would've thought that it was used as part of the thickening process for the frosty side. After talking to the nutritionist at Kellogg it turns out that it's used in the preparation of the wheat. 

I really like animal protein. There is nothing like a good sloppy Joe porterhouse steak porkchops or even lamb chops. However it seems excessive to include animal parts in everything we eat.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

iTunes Radio

Why does iTunes radio usually play the selected artist when I choose a radio station but usually the second song is from a completely unrelated artist?

CES chromebooks

I'm really excited that chrome book seem to be developing some attention at CES this year. The talking heads seem to suggest that more of the chrome books are going to receive additional horsepower but within the core processor and the graphics processor.

My question is what is the delay? It would seem to me that the delay is obviously marketing and demand. An opportunity to generate maximum return on investment. On the other hand like many of the windows laptops if the chrome book is overpowered then hackers are more likely to repurpose the laptops away from Google and on to more traditional operating systems as is the case with many of the chromebook pixel installations.

Combbooks have some serious potential. First of all there is the initial cost on the replacement cost. Both are very low. Then there is the free storage at Google. Most systems come with three years of 100 gig of free Storage. What is nice about this is an three years you're likely to want to upgrade to whatever's the latest hardware platform is. Thus renewing your subscription. With the pixel you receive 1 TB of storage which is equal to the total cost of the hardware.

I do everything online these days so that notion of an off-line laptop is mostly less appealing. There are the occasions like when I'm on an airplane that I need a command shell, editor, and compiler. Now with most airplanes offering free Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi during the course of a flight even this is no longer a limiting factor.

If I'm a business owner I would certainly like a chrome book with an SSD slot for local storage.

Monday, January 6, 2014

One Man's "hard code" is another man's "configuration as code"

How much time does your team spend debugging configuration in production that if the configuration had been backed in the code then moving the code to production would likely yield more predictable results?

another bad day for open source

One of the hallmarks of a good open source project is just how complicated it is to install, configure and maintain. Happily gitlab and the ...