Category Archives: academia

Social Engineering

I gave this talk at FSOSS last week, in which I try to reclaim the term “Social Engineering”, so that it stops meaning “get the receptionist to give you their password” and starts meaning “Measuring community growth and turning that into processes and practices that work.” I thought it went well, though listening to it […]

Citation Needed

I may revisit this later. Consider this a late draft. I’m calling this done. “Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.” — Stan Kelly-Bootle Sometimes somebody says something to me, like a whisper of a hint of an echo of something half-forgotten, and […]

Verily

Today I learned that “I did your mom” jokes are the summit of cultured humour. DEMETRIUS: Villain, what hast thou done? AARON: That which thou canst not undo. CHIRON: Thou hast undone our mother. AARON: Villain, I have done thy mother. That’s from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, of all things. I miss Nick; he would have […]

On Hiring

I’ve decided that if I find out a job applicant has internet-bragged that they could implement some major (Kickstarter, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, anything…) website’s functionality in a week with Ruby – and it’s always Ruby, lately – I’m going to give them an interview right away, just so I can ask them why they haven’t. […]

Political Theory, Asymmetric Warfare & Batman Movies

I made this presentation to Seneca’s Free Software and Open Source Symposium last year; it is dreadfully embarassing, revealing mainly that I’m a terrible speaker who tells weak jokes, goes off into the weeds too often, rambles and says “um” far and away too much. This is just the voice track over my slides, which […]

“I knew it, I’m surrounded by assholes.”

Dark Helmet: Who is he? Colonel Sandurz: He’s an Asshole, sir. Dark Helmet: I know that! What’s his name? Colonel Sandurz: That is his name, sir. Asshole. Major Asshole. Have I mentioned that the No Asshole Rule has profound geopolitical implications? It’s an idea that’s been rattling around my head for a while. JWZ links […]

A Note To My Business-Niche Cohabitants

My little startup is moving along quite nicely, have I mentioned that? 2010 was a good year, and 2011 is looking extremely promising, in large part because of the awesome people I’m working with now and looking to hire. But I’d like to clear up one little thing about that; noted Seneca professor Dave Humphrey […]

Picking Turing’s Pocket

This is interesting, and stirs some pleasingly cyberpunkish ideas around in my brain. Three months ago, from The Atlantic: Mysterious and possibly nefarious trading algorithms are operating every minute of every day in the nation’s stock exchanges. What they do doesn’t show up in Google Finance, let alone in the pages of the Wall Street […]

Wallace And Gromit: Real

Exhibit 1: From “A Close Shave“, the Knit-O-Matic. Exhibit 2: A Sheep-Shearing Australian Robot. From the description: This robot clipped around 400 fleeces between 1985 and 1993 at the University of Western Australia. The sheep was in its natural state, with no drugs or artificial means of keeping it still. In over 1000 tests with […]

SQUEEE

December 23rd: Hi, my name’s Mike Hoye, and I worked until recently for TVOntario. I understand, that as per http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/help.html you are looking for one Janet K. Webb, and with a bit of effort I’ve managed to track her down. Her current mailing address is: Janet K. Webb —-redacted—- —-redacted—- I understand that Mr. Knuth […]