12 Oct 2017
This is mostly a post so that I’ll find this when inevitably I get myself into this situation again.
I’m guessing I was playing with settings shortly after upgrading to the latest MacOS, and I must have clicked Finder’s “Show all filename extensions”. Later, when using Alfred, I noticed it was returning results like “Safari.app” rather than Safari.
I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out which Alfred setting I had ticked.
After a bit of googling, I found this StackOverflow article that pointed me to that Finder setting.
Also, you should buy Alfred. It’s great.
04 Oct 2017
These thoughts aren’t fully formed. I’ve given myself some space, but things are still raw and I’m sure there’s flaws here. But it’s how I feel. And I’m tired. But, here’s words.
After the events in Las Vegas (and Orlando, Sandy Hook, and damn near every state in this country), we’ve seen once again that our government (read: GOP) is more worried about the NRA than they are the survival of their citizens.
I’m not one of the zealots who says “take away all the guns.” I grew up shooting BB guns in the backyard, in a town where hunting was the fall/winter sport, with a dad (and brothers) who hunted regularly.
Add in two uncles who were police officers, and I had an opportunity to shoot a variety of guns growing up. Shooting guns can be fun. I’ve got no moral objection to someone keeping their rifles, and shotguns, and even their handguns they want for personal protection (even if that’s a fallacy).
I am, however, completely ok with banning semi-automatic and automatic weapons. They aren’t used for hunting (and if they are, that’s not sport). They’re not going to save your family, unless you truly are worried about the government coming to kill you. The odds of which, of course, probably get higher if you’ve got a whole bunch of automatic weapons, but, whatever …
But, somehow, in this country, we’ve reached a point where any limitations on gun ownership are a risk to our sovereignty. Or something. I don’t know what the argument is (or I do, but I think it’s predominantly bullshit). There’s clearly a way to solve this. That’s why we have laws and a government. To address and solve problems for the collective good.
Banning the types of weapons that are continually used in these crimes is surely not too hard. Or at least it’s worth trying, right?
You can start small: mental health checks, waiting period, maybe a limit on the number of certain types of weapons you can own.
You can make the penalties more aggressive: if a gun you sold or you own is used in a crime, you’re an accessory. As a gun dealer, if you want to sell guns, you should know who you’re selling to. If your gun is stolen, you should report it, so you’re not held culpable. Sure, there are loads of holes in this, but you could start somewhere.
Then you come back to the argument like this one, from the reprehensible Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky:
To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regs…You can’t regulate evil…
Sure … you can’t. But that’s what we do? We try to. The right thinks abortion is evil, so they try to block access to it. We have speed limits, safety checks on food/toys/cars/etc. We try to regulate evil as much as we can. We try to make it harder for those who want to do evil to achieve it.
But, I guess that’s too hard for a guy who actively took health care away from his citizens.
But all of this Second Amendment stuff is happening in parallel to a whole bunch of First Amendment stuff.
Football players kneeling during the National Anthem has become a big enough deal that our President had to get involved, calling the participants “sons of bitches”. Encouraging the owners to fire them.
Which, I think is stupid, but I’m not against it. It’s the risk you take when you use your job to make a First Amendment stand. You’re allowed to make pretty much any statement. It doesn’t mean your employer has to keep you.
That being said, I don’t think the NFL is going to fire their players. Nor do I think they should, as I think there’s a difference in peacefully protesting racial inequality vs. putting together a document about why your female colleagues aren’t predisposed to be as good as their male counterparts. One of those makes you an asshole whom no one wants to work with.
I don’t think private enterprises, like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Google are required to offer everyone an equal platform. Particularly when one of those platforms tends to be abusive and full of outright lies. The cesspool of Reddit’s subreddits, Twitter’s horrible abuse problems, and Facebook (and to some extent Google’s) ability to precisely target audiences with an inability to ensure that targeting isn’t used to lie to those audiences, have lead to those big platforms being arguably a social net negative.
In fact, I think Facebook and Twitter, right now, as useful as they are, might be ultimately negative for society. They have fixable problems, but they’re choosing revenue over society. They don’t want to make it harder for people to signup, or reduce their reach, so Russian bots and shitty, false ads are promoted and make people believe that the Las Vegas shooter was a leftist, Rachel Maddow viewer (he wasn’t, as they had the wrong person, but those stories didn’t care).
Ironically, Facebook and Twitter could easily (very easily) solve these problems. To some extent it’s technological and will inhibit, however slightly, growth (more checks on signups, validating that people are human). To some extent, it’s the thing that anathema to those companies: hiring people to do some of this validating.
In the end, those abuses of the First Amendment on the big social platforms are used to scare people into thinking the world is a horrible place (crime is lower now than it’s really ever been). Which makes them want to keep more guns. Or, it seems that way, ay least.
Zuckerberg, in particular, has an opportunity here. Facebook isn’t shutting down over night. He’s got control of the company, and claims to really want to help make things better in the future. Why not make a change right now? Why not make a big stand and shut down fake news (the real fake news), bad actors, bullshit advertising.
It is time to try to make things better. We should try to make it harder to get guns that can cause mass destruction just because of a vaguely worded Second Amendment, and we should try to make it harder for people who want to abuse the First Amendment to have a large platform in the name of more MAUs and revenue. Don’t Facebook and Twitter (and Reddit and Google) want to be a force for social good, rather than a platform for “communication”, which has been taken over by the small percentage of folks saying (and doing) reprehensible things?
30 Sep 2017
I’m watching GameDay broadcasting from Blacksburg for the first time in a long time. I remember going to the first GameDay in Blacksburg (and the second). VT was constantly pushing the boundaries supporting GameDay (biggest crowds, bringing the crazy mechanical signs). It was a huge catalyst helping to grow the Tech football program, but also Virginia Tech as a university. The higher profile and funds brought in by successful athletics programs has definitely contributed to the growth of Virginia Tech.
Post-script: I didn’t have a chance to post this until after the game. The Hokies lost, but that was the likely outcome. The exposure should be helpful for a young team to add more quality players in the next couple of seasons.
24 Sep 2017
But those who privately thought things had gone too far were given a voice by James Damore, 28, a soft-spoken Google engineer. Mr. Damore, frustrated after another diversity training, wrote a memo that he posted to an internal Google message board. In it, he argued that maybe women were not equally represented in tech because they were biologically less capable of engineering. Google fired him last month.
This normalization of a) bullshit, but moreover, b) someone who the vast majority of researchers and academics have said has little understanding of the topics in his “memo” is how we ended up with our current President and the de-shaming of white supremacy.
This feels like an attempt to call it “down the middle”, but you don’t do that when the facts are (predominantly) on one side of the argument. At a minimum, you point out where the facts don’t fit the narrative.
Or, you hire Ron Howard to do commentary on the article.
21 Sep 2017
From Adweek, the ad industry complaining about some new cookie protections Apple has shipped in Safari 11:
Safari’s new “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” would change the rules by which cookies are set and recognized by browsers. In addition to blocking all third-party cookies (i.e. those set by a domain other than the one being visited), as the current version of Safari does, this new functionality would create a set of haphazard rules over the use of first-party cookies (i.e. those set by a domain the user has chosen to visit) that block their functionality or purge them from users’ browsers without notice or choice.
Having worked on the internet for the bulk of my career, and having spent a bunch of time dealing with cookies, tracking for marketing, etc., I can safely say that this is bullshit.
The ad industry has gotten so gross with how it tracks users that it’s easier to argue that these changes from Apple aren’t aggressive enough.Apple is simply identifying cookies set by 3rd parties (sites you didn’t visit directly), which are often used to track you as you browse across the internet. And they’re not blocking them outright—they’re removing them after 24 hours. Basically, “hey, you can check me out for a bit, but you’re not watching me forever”.
You should probably already browse the web with 3rd party cookies turned off, and only turn them on when necessary. And that should be almost never. Safari is giving me the choice to only let my data be shared with the sites I choose. The advertising industry gives me zero choice. Their Trump Press Secretary-level disregard for the actual facts and truth is further evidence they should be trusted about as much as you trust what comes out of the White House.
21 Sep 2017
It’s one month since the boys arrived. I’ve never felt quite so proud and scared, so buoyed by small victories and utterly destroyed by tiny failures, so overjoyed at the most minor progress (“he’s lifting his head!”) and so frustrated by minor setbacks.
Basically, everything everyone said about parenting ever.
I naively believed I’d be better at it, but they’re alive, and we’re alive, so we’re doing ok.
09 Sep 2017
Monday will be three weeks since the boys arrived. I had assumed that everyone who told us how hard it was with one kid, let alone two, was just setting really low expectations, and, really, you just kind of work through it and life goes on.
I was wrong.
It’s way harder than I expected.
We’re getting the hang of it now, but there are still hours, or days, where we have no idea what is going on. They feed every few hours, except when they don’t. They feed really well, except when they don’t. They go to sleep really easily, except when they don’t.
Thankfully, usually one of them is nice enough to us to follow the plan. So, as long as we can get one down (or at least quiet), we can tend to the other one.
It’s amazing what happens the moment you become a parent. You get pooped and peed on, and it doesn’t even phase you any more. You’re more worried about cleaning the floor/wall/TV/bookshelf/credenza/wallaby than you are cleaning yourself. You forget to eat. Forget to shower.
It’s amazing how much people want to help. Every time we walk by another parent of twins, they stop us and tell us that it gets better. Which is both reassuring and scary. Mostly reassuring. Strangers offering you their phone number, saying call any time, is both amazing humanity and also ominous about what the next weeks will bring.
This is all cliche and the thing that all new parents talk about. But I’m trying to capture, in my half-braindead state, what we’re going through raising our two munchkins over these first few weeks. We’ve got tons of pictures. It’ll be nice to have some words to go along with them to remind me of what I was feeling.
Of course, I’m assuming that my words are coming out like eloquent prose. In reality, they probably look like line noise …. 987dgdkjfhg kdjh&)()*&^%&% kdjfhgkdjfhg k=dfgjhdkjfhg
07 Sep 2017
Two weeks ago Monday, my new world started. Our two boys burst into the world and, as everyone says, pretty much everything changed. To be honest, I didn’t have that immediate epiphany when they arrived. I think I was mostly in shock, tired, and just happy that we’d made it through a long process to see them arrive healthy.
My “holy shit” moment wasn’t until our first night at home. My wife and I ended up splitting the kids up, as one was sleeping and one wasn’t. I took the cryer. After a couple of hours of whimpering and crying, with me being on the verge of my own breakdown, I had that moment of clarity: I would do anything to fix whatever is wrong, and it is killing me that I don’t know what it is.
The last two weeks have been a ride. Like everyone tells you, you don’t get any sleep, but I didn’t expect it would be quite as bad. We’ve been able to keep the kids on roughly the same schedule for eating and sleeping, but the fact that it takes about an hour or so to get them both fed and back to sleep means we have an hour to 90 minutes before we do it all over again. Add on top of that a couple of hospital visits and some small issues, and your brain, body, and your heart just start to vacillate between joy and pain with every whimper or snuggle.
Thankfully, we’ve had loads of help from family and friends. I don’t think we would have survived otherwise.
I couldn’t be more excited and happy for the little dudes we’ve created. I’m not going to become that guy who just posts about his kids. But I’ll probably post about them a bit more.
And I probably should go reserve their domains and twitter handles …
17 Aug 2017
After the events of this weekend, and the President’s feckless (and, arguably, reckless) response, we’ve reached an inflection point.
Pick a side. This isn’t Democrat vs. Republican, or liberal vs. Conservative. It’s right vs wrong. President Trump is on the wrong side, and he needs to be held accountable via, at a minimum, censure. He needs to know that he’s on the wrong side of the American public.
17 Aug 2017
A little over a week ago, news broke about a document, a manifesto, written by a Google employee, that tried to argue that Google shouldn’t be actively trying to grow the ranks of women in their workforce and in management. Because, science says maybe they aren’t cut out for it.
This lead to the author, James Damore, being fired. And then a whole lot of people bemoaning the end of contrarian opinions and discourse in the workplace.
Let’s dispense with the validity of the argument: it doesn’t exist. A biological rationale that women (and, by extension, other minorities) are, as a group, not as capable of being engineers/scientists/leaders/managers is too tied up in upbringing, cultural norms, education, and a myriad of other non-biological factors. And the effect that has been measured is quite small.
Both Wired and The Economist have done a reasonably complete and compelling job of dispensing of the nonsense science argument that Damore makes.
Long story short, I like this snipe from Business Insider:
Using Damore’s logic, if a “scientist” had taken measurements in the UK between 1939 and 1945, he may have concluded that women’s exposure to prenatal testosterone made them predisposed, on average, to munitions manufacturing.
Clearly, that’s not how jobs happen.
But let’s set all the science aside. The reason James Damore was fired, and deserved to be fired, and deserves to take a long look inward at why most companies shouldn’t and won’t hire him, is that he’s an asshole.
A big part of working in a company is working with other people. Learning which buttons you can and can’t push with people, learning to be considerate of other people’s feelings and opinions, and generally how to not be a douchebag.
To be honest, particularly when I was younger, I was not always successful at it. You see something that you think is dumb, or should work differently, or where it feels like the wrong decisions are being made, and you voice that opinion. Eventually, as you gain experience and mature, you start to realize that you sometimes need to think about how it might be that this situation came to be (i.e. are there other factors at play? Is there something you don’t know that helped to move the world in this direction?). And, should you still disagree, what’s the right approach to deal with it.
I think what you’ll quickly realize is writing a public document that criticizes many of your colleagues, and questions the capabilities of those who are of another gender (and other races, when you read between the lines), is not a great way to endear yourself to your colleagues. So much of your success in the workplace is your ability to work with, motivate, and learn from your colleagues. To do something that makes you toxic, to shoot yourself in the foot like that?
It makes you an asshole. It makes you bad at your job.
If this had happened on my team, I think you have no choice: he has to go. How, as a manager, could you assign a female engineer to work with him?
It is quite rare that someone is good enough to overcome being a complete and total asshole. Usually, they are the tippity top performers, and those who can work on their own, or work with a small group who have become accustomed to working with a challenging personality.
Based on the quality of the work in this manifesto, it’s clear Damore is not that top performer. He’s not good enough to deal with the baggage. And he’s not a team player. With a cancer like that, the only option is to excise it.