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The Book of My Life


"What I'd do."

Lately, folks have been going around wearing bracelet that say "WWJD", which stands for "What Would Jesus Do."
eBeth and I immediately thought we should have bracelets with WWED and WWBBD. (Eris and Brian Boytano)

Then I thought, "Screw it. What would I do? I like my values."

So, for all those who wonder here it is:

Word Licensing:

I want several words to be controlled by the Government. Folks who desire to use the words would have a pass a test of their competency.

Words I want controlled, and why:

Zany, Wacky and Romp
These words are over used by movie promoters and critics alike. If I see these words, I immediately think of Lucille Ball, who is my baseline definition of zany.

Rarely does the entertainment in question even meet the baseline. It's mostly just embarrassing.

A complaint from the Department of Redundancy Bureau: People say things like healing process. Healing is a process, you don't need to call it one.

Leverage, Content

A complaint from Lee Kilpatrick. People use leverage as a verb. If that's not annoying enough, they use content as a shorthand for "something someone would be interested in." Worse still, people speak of "leveraging content" when they mean "Using reader's interest in the site to help make money or promote a product."

The real problem here is that it has become a buzzword. "Our plan is to produce a world class web site with content for mooby fruit lovers. We will leverage our content with banner ads and pop ups."

Fortunately these days VC's are a little more careful.

"Going forward"

A complaint from Josh Weader: "You're only allowed to use it if you also have the possibility of going backward."
Means "a 'hot' woman" according to Lee. I am inclined to agree that it should be controlled. A simple typo would make it a Potty, and then where where you be. Probably bashing in the head of the idiot who called your sister a "Hotty" with a toilet tank lid, in a singular bid to get rid of the people who make everything diminutive.
Meaning "On the edge" as edge relates to technology or being pioneering. Could lead to the phrase "bleeding edgy", which provokes thoughts of quaint old chimney sweeps, except in the back of my mind, where it provokes a scene involving a dinosaur named "Bob" and an extra "w".
"On the edge"
Meaning a little avant garde. Lee's take on it:
"As it is used in its annoying fashion, it basically refers a co-opted or commercialized avant-garde aesthetic. And then it really isn't avant-garde."
I agree completely. By the very fact that they are being filmed by an MTV crew "MTV's the Real World: Life on the Edge" is not on the edge. These folks probably don't know people who live life on the edge. I'll give you a hint folks, I don't know for sure either, but it's not about recreational drug use, though it might involve it, and it's not about kinky sexual practices, though those might be involved as well.
Folks, a liason is a meeting. That's all. A liason officer makes meetings happen. There is no liasing. There is meeting. If you must talk about making connections with a group, why not use the word connect, which has the well known gerund connecting?

"We will connect with the community." A fine goal.

"We will liase with the community." Sounds like it might involve light amplification and thugs.

Laws I'd like to see enacted:

Net Use Licensing

People should have to take a test to see if they can read, write coherent sentences, and have actually read all the the nettiquette postings around before posting to a newsgroup. In addition, they'd have to be able to explain what a pyramid scheme is, and why it's illegal before being able to send email to more than one person at a time.

Parent Licensing

Parenting is one of the hardest things you could choose to do. It's the 24 hour a day hobby which eats up your extra cash, all your extra energy, and screams "NO!" at you in a piercing wail for 18 years. Yet people are duped by biology into doing this multiple times. Someone should be looking at qualifications, and certifying that they know how to teach another human being how to survive and thrive. And that they have the slightest idea how to deal with the pressure.

A computer is like...

  1. A huge tool box, with good tools that have badly designed handles. You get a pain in your arm from hammering too long, but only because the handle is shaped like a Frisbee.

  2. A car that will get you where you want to go almost instantaneously, but you have to pick your parking place before you turn the key.

  3. A city where the most obvious route to your favorite restaurant takes 25 minutes through bad neighborhoods, and at least one illegal U-turn. Later a friend points out that you can just hop the fence in back of your building, and walk down a block and you're right there.

I dislike Systems Administration as a career

  1. Long hours at random times.

  2. Only you and maybe your manager understand what your duties are, everyone else seems to just want you to fix their problem, whatever it is. Once they have the idea it is in your jurisdiction, they'll be mad at you until you fix it.

  3. If you are doing your job well, no one knows what you do. If you do it poorly, everyone hates you. To get accolades, you have to spend time blowing your own trumpet, which some people view with suspicion.

  4. Execs see systems administration as a mere cost center, so they try and skimp as much as possible.

  5. You rarely get to be creative. It's highly repetitive. Even the fun of automation gets a repetitive.

  6. Rarely do you ship a major product. There are no major regular transitions in the life of a typical sys-admin. When everyone else is taking a vacation, and celebrating a new release, sys-admins are diving into problems that had to wait until now. (Note that people who set up machines to ship out to customers might have sys-admin skills, but are really production engineers. Even then, their jobs can be pretty boring, since often they are just required to turn the crank on automation they designed.)

  7. People think they can do your job, and do so, but never the whole thing. They don't document it. They don't plan it. They don't have a back-out procedure. And they call you to fix it, and it has to be done right now, and they don't get fired for it.

The problem with smart people

In the long run, I'd rather deal with smart people than the truly ignorant. I have nothing against the ignorant, save that they aren't very entertaining to me. I suppose the reverse is true. In any case, this is not to say that smart people aren't ignorant at times, and when those times come up, they are usually painful.

Just remember folks, just because you are smart doesn't mean you can instantly understand any problem. You might be able to figure out the right solution faster than most, but that doesn't mean you can avoid all the learning that must take place.

This especially applies to PhD holders. That piece of paper doesn't mean jack outside of your area. Remember that. The same goes for managers. Just because you have power over others doesn't mean you can do their job, it merely means someone thinks you can manage people, which is a special skill in its own right.

C++: B-

I'm learning more and more about C++, and there's a few things that annoy me about it.
  1. The << and >> operators.
    It's a thing of evil to overload something in this manner. They were well established in C as bit shifting operators. This construction:

    cout << "Hello, Word" << endl;

    looks completely insane to a C coder. Worse, it can still be a shift function in C++, so another travesty is possible:

    cout << "x * 2 =" << (x << 1) << endl;

  2. cout, cin, cerr
    These equal stdin, stdout, and stderr. Why not call them that? Sure, cout and friends are objects, but that's okay. Usurp the name. Don't go halfway.

  3. Initializers
    You can have an on the paramter line list of initializers, which is cool. What's bad is the syntax. To make class variable foo = function variable a, you say foo(a), instead of foo=a. That's really dumb, and it helps to confuse when you see an initializer list like foo(a), bar(b,c), which, if read by someone who knows C well, but doesn't know this cute little fuck up, reads "foo gets a and bar gets c after b is computed".