Monthly Archives: November 2011

Watch a VC use my name to sell a con.

He’s trying to make the point that the only path to success in the software industry is to work insane hours, sleep under your desk, and give up your one and only youth, and if you don’t do that, you’re a pussy. He’s using my words to try and back up that thesis.

I hate this, because it’s not true, and it’s disingenuous.

more on

Jamie Zawinski criticizes long-hour work ethos he had during his Netscape days and now encouraged by recent article by Mike Arrington. It’s the same ethos that got him rich, though.

The Science of Sarcasm? Yeah, Right

That extra work may make our brains sharper, according to another study. College students in Israel listened to complaints to a cellphone company’s customer service line. The students were better able to solve problems creatively when the complaints were sarcastic as opposed to just plain angry. Sarcasm “appears to stimulate complex thinking and to attenuate the otherwise negative effects of anger,” according to the study authors.

<Obligatory sarcastic comment goes here.>

Amazon War Story #1: Jeff Bezos

I mean, imagine what it would be like to start off as an incredibly smart person, arguably a first-class genius, and then somehow wind up in a situation where you have a general’s view of the industry battlefield for ten years. Not only do you have more time than anyone else, and access to more information than anyone else, you also have this long-term eagle-eye perspective that only a handful of people in the world enjoy.

In some sense you wouldn’t even be human anymore. People like Jeff are better regarded as hyper-intelligent aliens with a tangential interest in human affairs.

Steve Yegge strikes back. In the aftermath of his unfortunate rant, this time he paints much more flattering picture of Jeff Bezos.

Parallel Implementations

What I try to do nowadays is to implement new ideas in parallel with the old ones, rather than mutating the existing code.  This allows easy and honest comparison between them, and makes it trivial to go back to the old reliable path when the spiffy new one starts showing flaws.  The difference between changing a console variable to get a different behavior versus running an old exe, let alone reverting code changes and rebuilding, is significant.

John Carmack shares his approach to exploratory programming.

Apache considered harmful

Enter PhoneGap. The PhoneGap project has been on GitHub for quite a while and already contains an enviable list of contributors. The project has been very successful and the move to Apache is a result of Adobe’s recent acquisition of Nitobi, creators of PhoneGap.

By ASF regulations the project must spend time in the “Incubator” even though it has already proven itself as a technology and as a community to the rest of the world. The project requested git as its version control rather than subversion, for obvious reasons. The request was met with some hostility and new pressure has now come down on the CouchDB “experiment”.

The author argues that Apache Software Foundation is becoming not only irrelevant in the age of Github, but is also actively harmful. ASF aside, I’m becoming concerned that probably a huge majority of open source projects out there rely so much on a single company. Fortunately, distributed nature of git makes it unlikely that the code will disappear even if something goes wrong with Github.

Man-made super-flu could kill half humanity

Researchers in Fouchier’s team used ferrets – test animals which closely mimic the human response to influenza – and transmitted H5N1 from one to another to make it more adaptable to new hosts. After 10 generations, the virus had mutated to become airborne, which means ferrets became ill from merely being near other diseased animals.
more on

Imagine a virus with a death rate of 50% that spreads through air. That’s exactly what has been recently manufactured in a lab, causing a discussion whether results of such research should be published. The author wants to get it out. A paper with the results, that is.

The Time has Come to Add Classes to JavaScript

Now is the time to do the same thing for classes. From a language extension point of view, classes have much less impact on the language than modules. Yet, they have a huge impact on code compatibility and language adoption, by lowering the barrier to entry for “non-native” JavaScript programmers.

Classes in JavaScript, the subject of most heated debates in the community, is back. People behind Cloud9 are considering adding support for it in the their IDE.

One Per Cent: Occupy vs Tea Party: what their Twitter networks reveal

Those tweeting about the Tea Party emerge as a tight-knit “in crowd”, following one another’s tweets. By contrast, the network of people tweeting about Occupy consists of a looser series of clusters, in which the output of a few key people is being vigorously retweeted.

Analysis of Twitter usage by people from both sides of American political spectrum reveals interesting patterns. The article doesn’t try to conclude what does it actually say about these constituents.