Category Archives: work

Stand In The Place Where You Work

Before they were called cubicles, the prefabricated office furniture we all now take despondently for granted was part of an idea called an “Action Office”. Though they’ve apparently lost their way at Herman Miller where the idea was born the idea was, at least in part, that: [...] during the 20th century, the office environment […]

Algorithmically Marginalized

I wouldn’t have thought that mathematics or signal processing would have a cultural bent, but I just sat through a conference call where everyone was reasonably clear except for one guy, with a pronounced central-African accent, whose voice was getting audibly butchered by the noise cancellation algorithm on the line. The beginning of every sentence, […]

Crypto Is Not A Panacea

I was going to write this to an internal mailing list, following this week’s PRISM excitement, but I’ve decided to put it here instead. It was written (and cribbed from other stuff I’ve written elsewhere) in response to an argument that encrypting everything would somehow solve a scary-sounding though imprecisely-specified problem, a claim you may […]

How Does Anyone Work In These Conditions

A little while ago, the espresso machine in our office broke down. This doomsday scenario is, and I say this without the least bit of hyperbole, the most catastrophically dire situation that can exist in this or any other possible universe. If the intertubes felt slow for you the last few weeks, that’s probably why. […]

Lightweight Notepad In A Bookmark

So, this is a cute trick that’s been making the rounds: In Firefox, right-click your bookmarks bar and pick “new bookmark”. Call it “Quick Notepad”, and in the Location box, put: data:text/html,<html contenteditable> and now when you click on that bookmark, your browser window will basically become Notepad, a very light text editor. File -> […]

Reading Glasses

I’ll level with you: I’m not very good at reading code. I had an interview the other day that featured the dreaded read-this-code segment that’s inevitable in modernity, and reading somebody else’s Python without context, with a regex or two thrown in for kicks… I know there are people who can do that really well, […]

Closing Up Shop

I sent this mail today, to the Mozilla enterprise mailing lists: Hi, everyone. Mike Hoye here from Bespoke I/O. As I mentioned previously, I’m closing down BeSDS, the enterprise customization tool and business around it that I’ve been trying to get off the ground for the last two years. In that time, I’ve been quite […]

Lazyweb: SQL Diff

I asked the lazyweb: What’s the preferred SQL diff tool? I’d like to take two SQL dumps and get back an SQL file of the difference. Sheeri Cabral delivers the answer: if you do your DB dump with the –skip-extended-insert option, you can use regular old diff to get you most of the way there. […]

Fear In Its Purest Form

The one thing that makes gives me more of that bone-chilling existential dread than anything else in the world, the thing that makes me question the fundamental physical underpinnings of the universe and fear the answers, is code that stops working as you’re staring at it, at the exact moment you realize that it should […]

Amortifying

A friend I was having a conversation with the other day noted, quite correctly I think, that while Joel Spolsky has said many very silly things in his time, he’s also said about five very true things better than anyone else, so well that much can be forgiven. One of them came up today when […]