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Journal Journal: Inequities 15

Act I

A FA on the front page laments that more potholes have gotten fixed in wealthier neighborhoods in some city because their residents were more likely to own smartphones and download the report-a-hole app.

My thinking of course was, yeah, the squeakiest wheel tends to get the grease. That's just how it is, if there's not the gumption or resources to proactively/preventatively frequently attend to every wheel. Such as in city services.

I would think there'd still be a phone number to call to report them, since smartphones haven't always existed, and most everyone has at least a land line. So those who are bothered by them the most get them fixed first.

Doesn't sound terrible, but it's only a meant to serve (and does so very poorly) as just one example of a greater, overall concern: Data analytics could end up reinforcing inequities in housing, credit, employment, health and education.

Act II

I'm reminded of a popular, smarmy retort of the past to the accusation of Left-wing bias in the media: Life [itself] has a Liberal bias! The implication intended for conveyance, but not really believed by the utterer, of course, was that Left-wing slant in the content of reports about things in life was not actually injected, but innate. I.e. it's not a problem, it's what's normal.

Well, then: Life reinforces inequities.

Act III

But if all these naturally-occurring inequities are bad, shouldn't all naturally-occurring inequities be bad?

How about some we never hear about:

1) The number of news sources

The Left occupies 90-some percent of the news dissemination sources in the country, from news networks (like CNN) to non-news networks (like Comedy Central). Given that probably about 1/3 of the country is solid Left, that should be their quota on programming that distributes news. Or at most 2/3rds of all news-distributing media outlets, since you can also argue that the political middle has been lost to the Left.

2) Positions in (public) education

Leftism is grossly over-represented in academia. Why is diversity in the student body so important but not in the faculty?

3) Voter registration

At least in this state, even in so-called Republican areas the # of registered D's easily outnumbers the # of registered R's. And around here I've heard something to the effect that we've gotten rid of runoff elections being between the highest vote getting D and the highest vote getting R, to just the top two highest vote getters. Which will probably take that disparity and tend to make it even worse.

Maybe Democrat registration should be effectively capped at the current level of Republican registration in a district. For example lets say a city has 4 million residents with 45% registered D and 30% registered R. That's 1,800,000 expected D voters and 1,200,000 expected R voters. To make things more fair, shouldn't the number of D votes counted be stopped at 1,200,000? This still wouldn't guarantee equitable outcomes but it could be a start. Then it would be a matter of absolute turnout, on a level playing field.

4) Intelligence (that is, you never hear about this except from "racists")

Inherited wealth must be confiscated, for redistribution by the state, because it's too much of an advantage those of future generations. Well intelligence is passed down as well, and that's an even bigger factor. Maybe mandatory IQ testing should be performed at an early age, with forced dope ingestion in formative years to "equalize" the IQ of those more gifted.

5) Work Ethic

Cultural and home-life attitudes towards achievement also greatly factor in to outcomes in people in life. Jewish and especially Asian households are guilty of placing expectations and pushing their children to successes in life. Public school alone is insufficient in completely counter-acting this parental-instilled drive.

Maybe Child Protective Services' mission should be expanded. Not only do children need protection from their bad parents, but they need protection from others' good parents, who in raising their own children puts others at a disadvantage.

Some type of mandatory foster care in addition to public schooling might do the trick. Say state-run boarding schools, where you have to send your kids to go live 2 years for every 1 year they live with you, or whatever ratio is needed to eradicate the unfairness.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why I hate "business developers", part 1 2

That is, "business developers" in contrast to "software engineers".

I'm at a place with them now, since returning to work after the Great Recession. (And I fear that I might be working with them, when I can find work at all that is, from now on.) I worked with them at my 2nd startup during the dotcom boom (a VB shop). During my time there I once overheard some of the senior developers talking amongst themselves and making fun of C/C++ devs for being nerds, and how in constrast they're "passionate about solving business problems", and not wanting to "get bogged down in the technology". I saw that again in the "about me" section of someone's blog years later, so I suspect it's an actual culture, that I've only bumped into a couple of times in my career so far.

They call themselves "developers", not "programmers". One person at my current shop felt the need to say out loud to the group once that she is definitely not a nerd. I concur. She's a mommie, not a technologist.

They talk about watching sports, and getting blitzed on beer. These aren't kids, some of them are early 50's, so they're not "bro-grammers", they're not the Jersey Shore of developers, they were just probably frat boys in college in their time. They're normals, not nerds They have zero awkwardness in speaking (they make BHO look like a stumbling, bumbling imbecile, in comparison, which he certainly is not), and always know what to do given the social situation.

They generally graduate with IS or MIS degrees as opposed to CS degrees. Or they get a CS degree but at one of the colleges in California's lower tier university system. Like I did*, but unlike me, they generally had to rely on a circle of friends/classmates to help them get through it. You couldn't help but notice these people; they were like wildebeests, always in proximity to their herd, for protection from carnivorous technical coursework trying to overwhelm and weed out the unfit.

*I transferered out of the upper tier system because I didn't want to pay that much/couldn't afford to (running up college debt wasn't what we did back then) . And I didn't want to work that hard, at that point in my life, since my thinking then was it was just to acquire the stupid token piece of paper to finally start my career and stuff of actual importance. (I don't totally agree with that now.)

I remember a classmate who I worked briefly with on a project I think in senior year. (At that school, sometimes larger programming projects were where you could optionally pair up with someone on it. But I never did, thinking that I'm going to have to be able to do this on my own in the real world. But some analysis & documentation assignments were sometimes mandatory pair or group assignments.) He was not a geek/nerd/pinhead/intellectual. He dressed well, spoke well, was smooth, he could be a CEO by now.

Now some people want to do something with computers in their career, not on computers. And that's fine, but they should go into QA or documentation on the way to management or whatever. For things like programmer, sysadmin, network admin, and DBA, that require real technical commitment to nerdy stuff to be able to excel at, the rest of us would appreciate if they'd stay away from those. So we can get our jobs done.

And some apparently have settled on working on computers, maybe giving up the aspirations of ever becoming a suit, but don't want to get too involved with them. A hybrid suit/developer, but 67/33 suit/programmer.

So you get what I have where I'm currently at. Managers love these people because they look and act and talk well, just like them. I hate them because I have to work with them, and on the code that they write (topics of part 2). So it's occurred to me, I'm not just a little out of place, I'm actually in a sense underemployed right now. Not as severely as if I was flipping burgers right now, but still.

In pay and also in what I can do. So I'll probably start looking in another year or so. There's a few more books I want to read to get myself at what I perceive to be a good foundation in this newer (to me) stuff I'm doing. The environment of the business developer has actually been a good place to start, as simplicity and just straightforward grunt it out coding is the rule, so it's good for someone coming up to speed in different tech for a somewhat career shift.

But like I said, since I'm doing web development in a managed language now, vice desktop development in lower-level more hard-core languages before, I fear that I'll never be working with what I consider to be my peers anymore.

Somehow, ideally, I need to find a C# shop where the propensity of them came from a C++ background and not just from Visual BASIC. And where they're not afraid of just a sprinkling of design patterns, and actual software engineering concerns like SOLID, DRY, and (gasp) OWASP. I need to think about a way of determining in an interview what kind of shop it is, without giving it away and offending in my question. (Any suggestions?)

User Journal

Journal Journal: REPOST: Brandon Eich 20

(One last edit. After constructive criticism of my style from JC I'm going to lead this with a quote from a part of a post I made previously that sums up why Eich was unsuitable to be CEO without all the "It's not about X", "Hate campaign", and other stuff that is totally right but makes it all TL;DR. Original post after the -----, you don't have to read it any more)

It's not about what you think, it's about how you treat other people and how you deal with being, quite legitimately, associated with a set of actions (whatever the motive) that many find offensive. We would not be here today had Eich not, two years ago, thought this was a good thing to write:

Second, the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: no.

about people who might possibly think he has animosity about gays because he donated, twice, totalling $1,000, after it became obvious what the nature of the campaign was, to an organization that repeatedly ran TV ads claiming married homosexuals were a danger to children.

That was a particularly dumb thing to write. It's something most of us feel sometimes when we're under attack, but that's kinda why the job of CEO doesn't go to just about anyone. There are so many useful positions Eich could have gone to, why-oh-why did they make him CEO?

-----

(Just three additional notes: First, I've reposted this because the original was open to everyone, and it turned out the same illiterate idiots who've insisted that questioning Eich's handling of revelations of his donations to an active hate campaign is the same thing as wanting him fired for his opinion are now trolling my journal. So, regretfully, I'm deleting the old JE. Second: this was originally written before Eich resigned. Some minor updates since this was originally published: additional line about "what Slashdotters believe", and removal of comment about other Mozilla board members resigning as this appears to have been misrepresented by media. Finally: actually the situation is worse than described below. In the below I presumed Eich hadn't known exactly what he donated to, thinking it was a generic pro-Prop 8 campaign. It turns out Eich knew it was a hate campaign before he made his donations. This significantly changes the relevence of "Strike 2" below.)

Let's get a few things out of the way first.

There is no issue with Eich's private views, and to a certain extent even his opposition to "gay marriage", however backward and unreasonable such a position might be. It is not about whether he supported Prop 8, whether his name appeared on any petitions in favor of it, or whether he voted for it - again, however unreasonable and backward and pathetic such a position might be.

The problem is this.

I remember the pro-Prop 8 campaigns. Those campaigning for Prop 8 did not focus exclusively on a small set of arguments focussed entirely on some kind of practical, or even religious, argument in favor of Prop 8.

The campaigns themselves were, objectively, homophobic and bigoted. They smeared. They lied. Dog whistles about "protecting our children" (couched with plausable deniability type justifications along the lines of "If it doesn't pass, children will think gay marriages are normal" - uh, right..) were common, as one obvious example.

And Eich donated money to that.

And having basically co-funded a campaign whipping up hate against 5-10% of Mozilla's workforce, he's now in charge of them.

That's strike one.

Strike two is that he's never acknowledged that this was ever a problem. My reading, both of his 2012 "explanation" (which lacks any justifications, it's more a "Don't call me a bigot, you're a bigot" type piece of crap we usually hear from right wing nuts caught with their heads in white hoods) and his current "Let bygones by bygones, of course I'll be nice to the gheys that's Mozilla policy!" comments) is that he's pointedly refused to distance himself from the campaigning he co-funded. No "I never had any problems with gay people and I was disappointed to see how the funds I donated were used", let alone support for groups combatting homophobia.

So... what happens next?

Firefox is Firefox. It's the world's best browser, albeit one that has suffered many knocks over the last few years both with its well documented issues with memory and reliability, and the user interface changes that continue to blur the line between it and its competitors. People aren't switching from Firefox to Chrome because they want Chrome for the most part, they're just switching because Firefox is becoming Chrome anyway, leaving no compelling reason to stick with it during the periods Firefox is especially unstable.

A political boycott of the browser is unfortunate and I'm not entirely sure it would be effective. At the same time, there's a feeling of powerlessness one has a result of this.

Moreover, there is an education problem within the community that's obvious from reading and engaging in the discussions on the subject. The same points come up over and over again:

- The equation of Eich's personal views with his public actions, as if all public actions have a shield if they're rooted somewhere in a personal view somewhere, no matter how slimy or despicable.
- The assumption that criticism of generic support for Prop. 8 is the same as criticism of specific campaigns for Prop. 8 that were objectively hate campaigns, with many refusing to believe any of the campaigns that were pro-Prop 8 contained hate propaganda.
- The failure to recognize that necessary and required qualifications for leadership include a requirement that mutual respect should exist between leader and lead.
- A failure to recognize the special role of a CEO within an organization
- An obsession with supporting those accused of homophobic actions because of some perceived disagreement with "Political Correctness", regardless of context.

I have a gut feeling that if Eich had donated $1,000 to a campaign calling for the re-enslavement of blacks, a campaign which used dog-whistles like "Welfare" et al, we'd still be having this conversation. Really. I do.

Eich is, objectively, not qualified for the Mozilla CEO job. I know some people say "Well, look at all his other qualities", and I'm sure they're right and great and all, but a blind man can know the rules of the road and the layout of New York City like the back of his hand but I still wouldn't want him driving a bus there. It is difficult to get good people some times, but you have to be patient. Good CEOs need to be good figureheads, they need to be respected inside and outside the organization. Eich isn't. Maybe one day he will be.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Brandon Eich knew he was funding a hate campaign. He did it anyway. 1

I had sympathy for Eich, despite wanting him to exit the Mozilla CEO position. We're a community of people with no social graces and the idea that someone might end up having their career choices limited beause their lack of human interaction skills - or so I thought - seemed depressing and obvious. To recap, Eich's stone-age views on equality weren't what bothered me so much as his failure to adequately handle the consequences of $1,000 in donations to an actual hate campaign.

That evaporated today. Eich knew exactly what he had donated to before he made the donation. Here's the link. And here's the money quote:

This is the campaign to which Eich contributed. It's proper to note that his two donations of $500 each came on Oct. 25 and 28, days before the Nov. 4 vote and well after the style of the TV campaign was established.

Quoting Eich, defending himself in his "I'm not a bigot, you're a bigot, so there, I win" post of 2012: (My bolding)

Second, the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: âoenoâ.

If deliberately, intentionally, funding a campaign that calls gays and gay marriage a danger to children isn't evidence of animosity against gays, what the hell is?

It had been my previous position that Eich had simply mishandled the situation. He'd obviously made some donations, but I'd assumed he was telling the truth in claiming there was no animosity or homophobia on his part. I reconciled the two by assuming he didn't know that the funds he donated would be used in the way they were. I criticized him for not distancing himself from the campaign he donated to after it became apparent it was a hate campaign, not simply a pro-Prop 8 campaign. I said this was evidence of poor judgement.

This appears to have been a mistake on my part. The truth appears to be uglier.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Depressing 4

So you argue X. You make it clear your view is X, and not Y. You explicitly and repeatedly distance yourself from position Y as it's not what you believe. You explain X in clear detail and how X works.

ALL the responses to you start with the position that you're arguing Y. I'm modded through the floor long before I can get responses out pointing out that they're arguing against strawmen.

I'm losing faith but I don't know what in. Is it me, is it them? Part of me thinks "Well, I must be not explaining this well enough", but...

Genuinely asked for help here. Got kinda an answer, but it only semiexplains the whole thing. Getting the impression people read one phrase in my comments and once they've read it they completely switch off and ignore everything before and after it, including the explanation of why I'm using that phrase.

This may or may not be true, but if you can't call a spade a spade because people think you're talking about coffee grounds (OK, it's early in the morning and I'm tired), then how the hell do you proceed and explain that the problem starts with an actual fucking spade, not vaguely related pile of coffee grounds?

Windows

Journal Journal: Reminiscence XP 6

As I said in my previous journal entry, I'd install Windows XP Home (OEM) in a Virtual Machine today in order to commemorate the death of XP. I documented it with screenshots. Yes, I know, it's Facebook album, but it's public. It was the quickest way to get something online.
From VM creation and installation from SP3 OEM ISO to fully patched in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Not all that shabby.
It also indicates that XP will most likely die totally when they turn off the activation servers. I don't think they'll hand out the promised "no activation patch", ever. (Well, I always heard they'd promised such a thing, it might simply be legend.)
User Journal

Journal Journal: SC2 on the MBP 4

When StarCraft II came out I bought it. Unfortunately I didn't play for too long. My machine could barely run it. As I progressed through the campaign it became increasingly laggy as the scenarios became more complex. There were also some fundamental changes to gameplay that I didn't care for. I never liked the missions where I didn't build a base but instead followed a path, picking up a few units here and there. There were these along with missions that were very time oriented and you have to constantly hurry. So I stopped playing.
 
I was sitting last night, just relaxing, and thought - that Macbook pro I just got is pretty beefy. I wonder what good games are around for Mac. I was looking at some lists, realized when I saw SC2 on one that I already owned it - and installed it on my machine. I've been watching a lot of SC2 matches on youtube. I'm a HuskyStarcraft fan. That's gotten me to thinking about playing some on battlenet. I know I'll never be that good - but especially after watching his Bronze League Heroes casts, I think I could still have fun. It seems I have a better chance of getting matched up with people closer to me in ability than I did with the old original StarCraft.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Systemd, Plymouth, KDM, weirdness

Very recently my Fedora machine stopped booting to the graphic login. It would be humming along, I'd see my little "f" appear, then I'd drop back to a text list of boot up events and it would just sit there. I could hop over to another tty and log in and then startx and log into KDE.
 
I've been busy so I didn't have time to try and figure it out. Today I finally could do a little research. I found stuff like this and this. There was a lot of other stuff too - but what I couldn't find is a single explanation of just what is going on that I could understand. I hate changing stuff in my system without knowing why I'm doing it or exactly what it is I'm doing.
 
In this case a quick "mv /var/log/journal /var/log/journal.org" did resolve my issue immediately. On reboot everything performed normally. But why? And this has been going on for a long, long time. That first link is a bug report that was opened just shy of a year ago. Not sure why it just hit me within the last few weeks. I'll keep digging when I have time to see if I can ever find an explanation of just what is going on.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Usability issues with Android, also trying to work around them 3

While for the most part, I'm liking Android as a tablet system, I'm increasingly frustrated with it as a phone. By that, I mean I want to be able to use my phone as, well, a phone. Hindering this are several issues:

- My Galaxy Nexus really doesn't understand the necessity of prioritizing voice quality over data availability when I'm on a call. As a basic example, it recently switched, mid-call, from a 2GSM tower with five bar coverage to a UMTS tower with no bars (yes, no bars, which is one above no signal), with the result that my wife couldn't hear a thing I said, and I could only hear "Hello? Hello? Are you still there?" That's an example, the reality is it pulls this shit all the time, and the only way to actually make it reliable is to, well, switch it to 2G-only mode...
- Voice dialing has gone from merely "attrocious" to "what the f--- are they thinking?" over the last few years. Here's a brief history:

1. Google's first attempts actually involved listening to you say who you wanted to call, and then presenting a list of possible interpretations on the screen, requiring you to select, by viewing the screen and using your finger, which one you wanted. Pointless.
2. They semi fixed it, though it was far from reliable, and went in the wrong direction, going ahead with a call without any chance to confirm or easily cancel the operation.
3. At various times they tweaked it, usually breaking something in the process. At various times we've had confirmations. At other, none.
4. They then added Google's patented "You don't want few relevent results, you want as many irrelevent results as possible" feature that has made their search engine such a joy to use in recent years - not. Result, if I call my wife by her nickname, which is how she's listed in my phonebook, it'll translate the nickname into a full name (ie "Trish => Patricia", "Art => Arthur", etc) and then list everyone with that first name asking me who I wanted to call. And then, to add insult to injury, it doesn't recognize my answer ever and ends the session, requiring I go through the entire process again, and again, until I give up. To date, I have not successfully placed a call using the voice calling feature since it was implemented.

Stage 4 is so bad that I actually did something dramatic, I disabled the Google Search app (which is the only way to disable voice dialing) on my phone. Why? Because I didn't want the risk I'd be tempted to use it when driving. Being frustrated by something that isn't road related when you're driving is dangerous.

So... thinking of switching to a tablet/feature phone combination. To do this, the tablet needs T-Mobile data capabilities or else the phone needs some kind of Wifi or similar tethering. I suspect the latter is going to be tremendously inconvenient though, and I'm not sure there are any phones out there with that support.

The tablet needs to be pocketable, making 7" the very largest I can go for. Ideally it needs a front camera and microphone, as I assume the feature phone will have a decent camera for day to day use. GPS is also a must. Operating system? I'm not sure. I like Android but I'm not wedded to it. That said, if it were Windows 8 (are there any 7" W8 tablets?) or something like Ubuntu, I'd want things like an ix86 compatible CPU, expandable storage, and HDMI-out/USB-in ports, and I'm about 99% sure there are no tablets out there that meet that specification - not 7" anyway. To make it clear what I'm after it can be either of:

1. Android tablet, 7", decent modern ARM CPU, 16Gb storage+, front camera, microphone, GPS, T-Mobile compatible 3G or 4G

or

2. Win 8/Ubuntu tablet, 7", Intel Atom or equivalent, expandable storage, HDMI, USB-in, front camera, microphone, GPS, T-Mobile compatible 3G or 4G

So that's where my brain is at. A decent but portable tablet with a dedicated feature phone, rather than a jack of all trades that manages to suck as an actual phone.

Any thoughts?

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