Come that day, when the algo forms into a troll

And so there I was … ordering dog fooda NUC when up pops the suggestion:

Gloating & Fingerwagging about the Technical Hiring Process

On the occasion of the gloating on the occasion of Mea Culpa by the self-styled Thought Leaders in the field.


Wow … this area is evergreen in blogland, no shortage of advice, and definitely. not. self. serving.


If Entrepreneurs are the New Labor then programmers are the New Labor’s labor. The advice is on how to hire labor. Programmers are thus Old Labor in the complete sense; of variable cost time and materials.

Venkatesh Rao; in Forbes; 2012-09-03.

<quote>There is dignity to labor just as there is romance to entrepreneurship.</quote>.  There is even a whole day given over annually to the celebration of that.

Facebook is for Gloating, and Old (Rich) People | Bob Lefsetz

Bob Lefsetz (some dude with a wordpress blog, the “acclaimed critic”)

Twaddle alert: The Unexotic Underclass

; The Unexotic Underclass; In MIT Entrepreneurship Review (where Einstein meets Edison); 2013-05-22 (or such).

What self-serving twaddle.  3449 words.  There’s this thing that they do at the north-eastern elite schools in Boston & Connecticut that purports to wash away their guilt over existing.  They write these long self-conscious screeds decrying how elite they are and how benighted the Others are for not being them and not having the Affordances of Privilege.  Sometimes they even use ‘privilege’ as a verb just to show that they know that theory as well.  Or hegemony as a singular noun.  There’s a point here, but it’s lost in the bathos and sanctimony and soul-washing.  Mod that down and there’s a pony in there.

  • (The theory of the ) Unexotic  Underclass contra that of The Leisure Class.  Might work.  There’s something there, maybe.  If the point is that the folks in flyover country are to be disdained and thus “helped” out of their situation, then fine.  Go for it.  The libby blogs still tell us that they are teaching Creationism in the schools out there (in there?).
  • Sure lots of kids are ‘want’rapreneur.  And lots of Very Serious People aid and abet them at this.  The lifestyle is one of myth, like being a pirate in the Spanish Carribean: great fun, no boss, super costumes, vast wealth, maps, women, retold in song and story, and in memorialized Disney theme park rides.
  • They do this because others got rich, famous and laid doing it.  Every great fortune began with … (an upmarket customer need, an idea, a crime, which?)
  • One of the most, nay, the most exciting car on the market right now is from a single guy who raced this circuit, won the lottery and used his winnings to good effect.  You know his name.
  • And most of you are reading this from computing equipment defined by a monoculture that was created two generations ago by another guy and his friends who Took Over The World and Made It Different.  You know his name.  There’s the dead one and the retired one, I’m referring to the retired one.  Everyone hunts on the Winner Takes All thesis.  The legend is told in blogpapers the  world over: who will win, who is losing, as time goes to infinity.
  • In fact even the word thesis here is straight from Y Combinator collateral theory in which the thesis or hypothesis of the scheme is to disintermediate the business schools and provide a continuous funnel of inputs against which the V.C. industry can validate (invest).  Entrepreneurs are the New Labor; brilliant concept & hasn’t bogged down yet.
  • Sure there are lots of photo sharing apps.  Sure, photo sharing is boring except that people spend time, money and most importantly vest emotional baggage against it.  Sure the “share” is affected by copying the files up to servers thousands of miles away maintained by low-wage people in Other Countries (who are the elite of their societies and want to be doing the same on their own).  Sure the “share” affordances engender a countervailing game of Gotcha! in the Activist-Privacy-Regulation-Legalist sector.  All good fun. But that’s the best that computers can do right now; cameras, networks, storage, (small) displays.  We know this.  Robots are cool, so are drones, so is space travel.  But they don’t monetize very well yet, or work.  Instagram apps on smartphones do, and continue to.
  • Sure most of the internet is now dominated by the publishing-advertising business model.  <irony>Paywalls are cool, aren’t they?</irony>  The internet is a media-type business; except for where it’s not.  Give it a fancy name like “sharing economy,” “network effect,” or “architecture is code,” or “intention economy.”  That’s what they do at the Northeast schools. They are good at that.  That’s why they are the Northeast schools.
  • Lots of the “worthless unexotic” ideas are actually attacking inefficiencies out there.  (or as they say in the Northeast “disintermediating the rentier within the commercial class”).  Sure that’s boring: calling a taxi, ordering clothes, returning the clothes, ordering up food, ordering up sex (ahem, facilitating harmonious lifematch partner opportunities).  Sure that’s “unexotic.”  But there exists a class of folks who don’t have time for these things and would love someone else to take over the lifting parts.
  • Why do they rob banks?  Because that’s where the money is.
  • Do good by doing well.  Join the Peace Corps.

The Consequences of Machine Intelligence | Moshe Y. Vardi, The Atlantic

Moshe Y. Vardi; The Consequences of Machine Intelligence; In The Atlantic; 2012-10-25.
Teaser: If machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?

On Counterpoint

What pompous crap. Look around you man, get out of doors more! There’s much to do and not enough people to do it. See people who are not like you (shutins who only read magazine ephemera that passes for thought provocation). See people who do not like you. That should provoke you to understand what to do with the tech.



  • Steven Cherry; The Job Market of 2045; In IEEE Spectrum; 2013-01-22.
    What will we do when machines do all the work?

Via backfill

Would You Buy A Tesla Model S? | Dan Lyons

Dan Lyons; Would You Buy A Tesla Model S?; In ReadWrite (no longer Web); 2013-02-19.


  • Dude is not in the club.
  • Wouldn’t join anyway.
  • Warns off others who aren’t in the club either.
  • He’ll send us the signal when “it’s ready.”
  • Stay Tuned.

Contrast With

Vivek Wadhwa; Confessions of a Tesla ‘fanboy; In The Washington Post; circa 2013-02-20 & 21.

  • Owns a Tesla Model S.


A lot of the sneering reviews pretty much boil down to “writer is not rich enough to own one, not really.”  But the writer is connected enough to sample the product literature and borrow one for a bit of sample authenticity.  And that’s wealth along two dimensions: can’t front the cash to buy it ’cause early adopter gear is expensive gear, very expensive gear, so they have to sit on the sidelines throwing eggs and “what ifs” which is their trade anyway; and also because they’re really not well off enough to be in the elite early adopter class of really anything but free web services of Web 2.0 despite the white collar job in the literate trades.  That’s not wrong. It’s just not informed by much or trenchant on any axis.

On the ubiquity and pointlessness of automated messaging: “it is strongly recommended that you upgrade”

To wit:

  • A security and stability update for Firefox is available
  • It is strongly recommended that you apply this update for Firefox as soon as possible.


  • The release notes just indicate some neat new features and bug fixes.

Note to self:

  • Discount the intensity of automated messaging.

Release Notes for Firefox 19.0


OnStar is for Women

From interacting with

Just reading the pictures in the outreach materials.  And working with that central creed of identity consciousness: I can only be welcomed, understood and represented by someone who “looks like me.”

I can find the archetype of

  • my wife
  • my daughter … who has already asked to have the car when she gets her license.
  • me, myself … that image was found in the gender-appropriate “tech & configuration” section and in the buying section.

Can’t find any archetype of:

  • my son … writting checks his body can’t cash … but he’s gonna be getting the Avalanche anyway; I remember what I was like as a teen driver.  Ask him about: Can a seat belt be used as a tourniquet?  I digress.

Back the cultural criticism in the vein of the teachings of the Sociological Images crew…


  • Family
  • Friendly
  • Fun
  • Safety

Reading the messaging, one has to conclude:

  • OnStar is for Women.
  • Tough guys, men, don’t use or need OnStar.


Sourced from and promotional and operational dressing.

Family, Friendly, Fun


There’s my avatar in the milieu!

Configuring the phone, running the device! (Eyes on the road buddy! You’re a menace!)

My wife is prettier, but it’s a nice thought; a gentleman holds the door for a lady.

AT&T Password Restrictions: twelve chars short of a UUID, but no swears

Password Restrictions

  • Passwords are case sensitive.
  • The password must be 6-24 characters and may consist of a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, underscores (_), or hyphens (-).
  • Passwords can’t be all letters or all numbers.
  • The password can’t be the same as your AT&T Access ID.
  • The password can’t contain the words “password,” “admin,” “pa$$w0rd,” or other common words.
  • The password can’t contain obscene language.


  • Perilously close to being able to use UUIDs for passwords. Huzzah!
  • Not clear how the obscene language proscription is helpful anywhere in the stack at all; they’re hashing them immediately and irrevocably on intake, yes?


Couchbase 2.0 released 2012-12-12

Couchbase Release 2.0; 2012-12-12; all downloads

Otherwise, that fork of CouchDB had a lot to do with Couchbase deciding that Erlang is too hard to optimize, and hence moving to C/C++ instead. Currently still in Erlang and “strong candidates” to also move to C/C++ are distributed view indexes (but not the single-node b-trees).

via Couchbase 2.0; In DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services; 2012-11-19.

Filed under: !false || true => snideness

Couchbase is switching from Erlang to C. In my mind, that’s code for “we’re building a real DBMS now”

“Distinguishing skill from luck”, and a logic mindpuzzle posed and solved.

Buttonwood (a dude); Distinguishing skill from luck; In The Economist; 2012-12-14.

It’s a book review of: Michael J. Mauboussin; The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing; Harvard Business Review Press; 2012-11-06; 320 pages.

I don’t have any quibble with the book (yet), but with of the review wherein I don’t agree with the mindpuzzle in the middle:

Statement: Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not.
Question: Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?

  • (A) Yes
  • (B) No
  • (C) Cannot be determined.

The claim on the answer is controversial:

Like 80% of those tested, [the author] went for C because we don’t know the marital status of Anne. But if Anne is married, she is looking at the unmarried George, while if she is unmarried, then the married Jack is looking at her. So the answer is A.

If I recall, you’re not allowed to do that in all logical systems. I’m pretty sure you gotta go with C … using Computational Matrimonial Calculus (CMC) we can see that you just can’t say anything about poor Anne. You can’t unify like that in the computational logical systems. There’s the problem.

$ gprolog
GNU Prolog 1.3.1
By Daniel Diaz
Copyright (C) 1999-2009 Daniel Diaz
| ?- [user].
compiling user for byte code...
looksat(jack, anne).
looksat(anne, george).
looksatmarried(A, :- looksat(A, , married(A), married(B).
anyone :- married(A), not(married(), looksatmarried(A, .

user compiled, 7 lines read - 1356 bytes written, 15848 ms

(1 ms) yes
| ?- anyone.

| ?- married(X).

X = jack

| ?- not(married(X)).

X = george

| ?- married(anne).

| ?- not(married(anne)).

| ?-

Anne is in a state of both being married and not being married. So there. I feel so frosh.

Urban Dictionary: faff


To keep speaking pompously and with a lot of jargon , when in fact you don’t have a clue of the topic at hand. Often excercised by Business people (mostly MBAs), public speakers, HR guys , politicians etc.

  1. The CEO got up late to prepare for the presentation and ended up faffing like mad on the podium.
  2. In an interview , when you’ve said enough “I don’t know”s , its time for faffing.

via Urban Dictionary: faff.


Um, … Sounds legit.

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