February 21, 2008

Allures of the Internet

Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 7:31 pm
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Many people like the internet for the anonymity it grants. Unfortunately, this is the prime enabler for script kiddies and trolls. Without a physical manifestation of punishment (or even an enforceable virtual one), drifters without a developed sense of respect will do whatever they like, regardless of the consequences they have on people’s lives.

Anonymity is not the reason why I enjoy the internet, in fact, I would prefer it if miscreants could be reliably banned from servers by administrators, and if users would care about their identity enough to show a little respect for others and themselves. There are good arguments for anonymity (whistle-blowers, informants), but the ability is massively more often abused than not.

The reason I do like the internet is because of the world-shrinking effect it has on communication. Talented people from all over the world are on the internet. All you have to do is find them (and organizing data is an idea that empires have been built on, but that’s another story). The amount of useful information is only matched by the amount of noise. There’s tons of it.

This is why I like communities like tmbo and the channels I frequent on freenode. A collection of competent people with real identities from all over the world, with different backgrounds and cultures, coming together to communicate and share.

I don’t spend time on various portions of the internet as a user, developer, and/or administrator just because I care. I do it because other people care, and that makes it worth it.



February 20, 2008

Danny’s problem for Pascal’s Wager

Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 10:58 pm
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Say you do believe in God due to Pascal’s Wager. You believe in God because it benefits you. Do you really want to believe in a God that’s impressed by that?

you know… the man has a good point. Christian scriptures spend a lot of time on hedonism, saying that it’s the tool of the devil, but what if hedonism is what fuels your belief?

Making a difference

Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 10:47 pm
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Like any engineer, I get satisfaction from solving problems and completing projects. For me, the real joy is when my solutions and ideas make it to a wider audience. This is why I enjoy working for large tech companies. I don’t want to be a big name somewhere, I want to make a difference.

This was one of the primary driving factors behind working at Apple. Here’s a platform I’ve used and stood behind for many years, and I was given the chance to make a difference.

I had two projects while I worked at Apple, and one of them has just seen the light of day in the latest Java6 preview (DP9). First listed feature, even. AppleScript is now a supported javax.script scripting language. Run arbitrary AppleScript. Return different types; not just Strings and Numbers, but Images and other (first class AppleScript) types as well. Eval() returns you regular, usable Java objects.

Check the release notes for example code. Report bugs.

Special thanks to Mike Swingler and the rest of the Java team for pushing this out and making my little (unfinished) project a reality. That team doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what it does.

I can’t wait until my other project ships. This is job satisfaction.

February 1, 2008

fortune shines

Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 7:20 pm

for those following the schmaug saga:

I got in touch with the previous owner. he’ll pay for the repairs (not that he had a lot of choice).

I got the car checked out by Don. he said:

the computer matches the engine (it god damn better! I spent ages trying to get the right computer!).

the wiring is an easy fix. the wiring harness in the cabin is the correct one, and runs through the firewall. all that remains is running wiring from the other side of the firewall in the engine compartment to the head.

the pulley is also an easy fix. all the oil plumbing is where it’s supposed to be, and the variable timing will Just Work with the stock pulley.

this work also results in a 20 bhp gain (19%!!). I’m going to spend some time enjoying me some VTEC on Monday.


Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 10:26 am

I’m a bit of a dreamer.

for at least the last decade, I’ve constantly been dreaming about what my life would be like 2 – 5 years in the future, it always looks so much better than where I am at the time. I’ve had dreams like seeing success in the field, nurturing a successful long-term relationship (especially living with my partner), getting out of school (one way or another), getting the right car, I’ve always been living in the future.

I can’t help but think I could have done even better if I hadn’t spent so much time dreaming. sure, it’s important to have dreams, but living in them every day to the point of being distracted from the tasks at hand has always been an issue for me. I frequently fall behind the expectations of my superiors (school, where I also have the severe handicap of also not being interested in most of my coursework), and my own expectations (everywhere else, all the damn time).

it’s not all bad though; my position in life is surprisingly close to where I dreamed it would be years ago, and in retrospect, everything could have gone a lot worse. I have reached a point in my career where, for the moment, I have no higher aspirations. Cindy and I lived together over the summer, and despite the amount of time and close proximity, there was never any friction. I’ve spent plenty of time out of school chasing my other dreams (and I can’t wait to be out for good), and every time I sit in my car and turn the key, I smile (every damn time).

but the future looks even better, I can’t wait for it, and I constantly find myself dreaming about it. being back in town for movie nights, Cindy graduated and living with me all the time, graduating (going for best case scenarios for now), passing the referee and installing a new manual steering rack (merk’s got one for me in WI). there’s so much to look forward to.

sometimes I have the presence of mind to stop for a few minutes and appreciate where I am, I hope I can continue to do so, while working in the right direction.

I think I can.

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