Saturday, August 30, 2008

Did McCain just lose the election?

McCain's choice of VP seems very risky. I don't think he will pick up many additional votes by picking a very inexperienced and not very well-known person. And the "Obama is too inexperienced" card is now off the table. That was his strongest card. This seems like a hail-mary pass to me. Why did he do that when the polls indicate that they he is neck and neck with Obama? Looks like a very bad move to me, but I wonder if there is something that is not obvious about his pick that we will find out later that will swing things back his way...??


Fun with Atheists

Steven Colbert does a interview (well, more or less a monologue actually!) with Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition for America:

Watch the video


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Irony mixed with a dash of Tragedy

I guess he was tempting fate a little too much?

The author of "100 things to do before you die" just died of an accidental fall.

Read the story.


Monday, August 25, 2008

6 year old stares down bottomless abyss of formal schooling

Hilarious and sad (because it's true):

Read article (from The Onion)


You WILL get it wrong the first time

A good one by Tim Bray - don't feel bad if you mess up the first time because everybody does. Just keep it in mind when you give your project estimate...!

Read the article


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where is God?

Dear reader,

A simple question from a simple person: Where is God? If he exists, he must be somewhere. I don't mean in the metaphorical sense, as in, "Wow I am going through a bad patch right now, God where are you?" but rather as in physically, where the fuck is he? I mean, for a person to believe in something, typically it has to BE somewhere. Is he in Australia? Is he down a mine shaft? Is he on Uranus? Is he on the other side of the galaxy? Is he far, far away, in the outer reaches of the universe? Because if he's that far away, then the laws of physics say that he can't see anything immediately, he'll have to wait until light reaches him before he knows you've done something bad. Far enough away, and you can live your entire life without him knowing. If he's close by, then why can't we see him? Just wondering. Where is God?

Time for today's quote:

"We trained hard...
but every time we began to form teams, we would be reorganized.
I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet new situations by reorganizing,
and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress
while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization."
-Petronius Arbiter (around 60 AD)

Until the next time,

-Buford Twain

Friday, August 22, 2008

Will the UK get an Atheist Prime Minister?

There may be some distinct advantages to that - as outlined in this excellent article by AC Grayling in The Guardian newspaper.


Start a Side Project

Take a look at this wonderful keynote speech by Chris Wanstrath:

Read the speech

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What programming languages should you learn?

Gentle reader,

Assuming that you are an aspiring computer programmer and you are interested in working with web sites, what languages should you learn?

Rather than drone on and on, here are my suggestions:


1) Java

If you have Java under your belt, you have THE most popular language in Corporate America today. That speaks for itself in terms of potential job opportunities. Java is also similar to C# so you can position yourself favorably for a C#/ASP.Net position, assuming you can convince the hiring manager that you can learn reasonably quickly.

2) Javascript

This is indispensable nowadays - you will seriously limit your chances if you don't know javascript. Most people try to squeak by and just "sort of know it". Do yourself a favor: learn it thoroughly. It is in itself a very interesting language.


3) Python

Very useful for system administration (and much much more!). It has replaced Perl as the "scripting language du jour" and is extremely useful - and fun to use as well!

If you have mastered those, I would suggest:

C, and then C++

Many "serious applications" use those languages (e.g. the firefox web browser). Learn them, at least know enough to read code. Be warned: learning C++ is painful for many people.

And then - whatever takes your fancy. As someone once said, you should learn as much as you can, because it all sort of fits together.

Happy programming!

-Buford Twain

When writing software, It's the PEOPLE, stupid!

Long but very interesting article below on how good people can succeed with just about ANY methodology you care to throw at them. It's by interestingly-named Alistair Cockburn.

View the article by Alistair Cockburn


The Eternal value of Privacy

A great article by Bruce Schneier:

View The Eternal Value of Privacy by Bruce Schneier


Friday, August 15, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Song of the Day: I Got You Babe, UB40 with Chrissie Hynde

Dedicated to my wife, who sometimes reads this...


How to Diss a Software Project

Gentle reader,

Warning: the following article could make coffee come out of your nose...

If you work for twitter, don't read unless you can take a little criticism...

A quote from the article:

Twitter, the nonprofit web service known widely for its downtime, dropped its disaster-producing shitpile on the world. Why? Maybe they thought more competent developers would fix their problems.

Hadoop: When grownups do open source


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Song of the day - The Streets: Let's Push Things Forward

Gentle reader,

Let's put on our classics and we'll have a little dance, shall we?

I love this song and the video is SO LONDON - grimy, gritty, with funny people who don't realize what a cool city they are living in because they are too busy just surviving.

Your friend,

Buford Twain