Thursday, December 30, 2010

Universal Translators Are Totally Doable

SingularityHub points to research efforts, but it's much simpler. Here's all you need to do:
  • iOS app streams audio to outsourcers with relevant language skills
  • outsourcers transcribe text into BabelFish and paste resulting translation back into web app
  • web app pipes text into cheap text-to-speech software and pipes audio back to iOS app
  • boom, Star Trek, 400 years ahead of schedule

Google Has Its Head Up Its Ass

If you make a fortune by creating a spectacular innovation, which goes on to become the de facto worldwide standard, should you focus on creating new spectacular innovations? Or should you attempt to force yourself into every market as the new worldwide standard in everything?

For Google, nearly all of whose profits depend on advertising revenue, dominance expressed as clickstream traffic is the currency. To maintain that dominance the “Don’t Be Evil” company has been willing to go into business in China despite all evidence of rampant human rights violations, get into bed with the worst phone carrier to rape net neutrality, let its “walled backlot” search become a cesspool of SEO swindlers, collect unauthorized data via illegal WiFi mapping all over the globe, risk exposing private email account data in hopes of capturing social graph info by default, favor its own properties in search results in surreptitious ways and so on.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Automated Refactoring: This Spec Passes



The code needs a lot of improvement and expansion, but I'm stoked.

Update: just to be clear, this spec passes too:

Kangaroo & Kangaroo

My parents uncovered one of my books from when I was a kid, which revolves around a poem concerning hoarder kangaroos. It's out of print and exceedingly difficult to find, so I'm posting the poem.

Kangaroo and Kangaroo
Just like me and just like you
Except that they were kangaroo
And hadn't very much to do
But spend their lives collecting stuff
Afraid they would not have enough.
For everything they found a space
Because they figured --"just in case...".

"Just in case we need a bit, we'd better save a lot of it.
Just in case the martians come
We'll have the stuff and give them some.
Just in case, well just in case..."
And so they filled up every space.

The house was filled from floor to floor
With brics and bracs and then some more.
Every room was overstuffed,
Every pillow overpuffed.
The closet doors could hardly hide
The piles of stuff piled up inside.
Indeed so full were drawers and shelves
They almost couldn't fit themselves!

The first floor had a rocking chair
A darning egg shaped like a pear,
An anchor from a fishing boat
A 1920's old fur coat.
A portrait of their old aunt Lil
And old aunt Lil's old coffee mill,
A fishing rod, a fishing reel,
A green contraption with a wheel,

A section that was full of crates
And single shoes that had no mates.
Of fountain pens that had no ink
And yes, there was a kitchen sink
In which a bike took up the space,
And left no room to wash one's face.

The second floor was just the same,
And had more things than you could name.
Among them, though, to name just some,
A basketful of bubble gum
Potted plants and pots and pans
Corners crammed with coffee cans
Eight keys, a goat and seven limes,
And one whole room of Sunday times.

The attic too was very full
Of skeins of golden knitting wool,
With gramophones and green guitars
And pictures showing baseball stars.
And on a trunk of tools was set
A plaster bust of Lafayette.
Each day they filled another space,
To satisfy the "just in case".

There wasn't room for one thing more
Except a spot behind the door,
And there, with hardly room to sneeze
The kangaroos themselves did squeeze.
Said one "you know it's time to eat
Lets go and get ourselves a treat,
I'd love a piece of chocolate fudge
But neither kangaroo could budge!

For days they stood behind the door
And as their stomachs rumbled more
They dwelt upon their sad distress
And tried to figure out the mess.
"I've got it!" said one finally
We'll give it all away for free!"

Free?

"For free?" Oh dear oh dear
I can't be hearing what I hear
Give it all away? You're mad!
Things could never be that bad!"
"Oh yes they could, what's more,
They're worse! This stuff of ours is like a curse.
Bur while our things do us no good
There must be some for whom they would --
Now let's get going one two three
And start to give it out for free".

By now of course the two were thin,
So, pulling both their bellies in,
They squeezed their way along the floor
And somehow schwuzled out the door.
Then quickly made a sign with zeal
That said:

It's Free, It's Just For You
Signed, Kangaroo and Kangaroo

And soon a crowd had gathered there
But all the people did was stare.
The kangaroos were at a lack
To know why folks were holding back.
And finally from out the crowd
A little boy cried out aloud.
"Free? For free? It couldn't be
I can't be seeing what I see".

"Of course you're seeing what you see!
Anything you want is free,
And incidentally, little boy,
You might like a special toy
That's in the box that's on the chair
That's near the desk beneath the stair"
The boy replied "but what's the catch?
You're sure there are no strings attached?"
"Why sure there's string, third room in back,
It's in an orange leather sack."

And finally, convinced at last,
The people started moving fast
They cleared out every bit of stuff
Except the house (enough's enough).
"Thank you for the soldier's hat
I've always wanted one like that"
"Thank you for the model train
I left my old one in the rain"
"Thank you for the potted plant
It's just the thing to give my aunt".

And last of all, the little boy
Said, holding tightly to his toy
"A boatmobile! How could you tell!
Boy, you fellas sure are swell!"

The kangaroos felt wonderful
With house quite bare and hearts quite full.
"You see" said one "who needs full shelves
When all good things come from ourselves?"
"You're right! We needn't save up stuff
And be afraid of not enough .....

But, since we've not kept anything
It wouldn't hurt to save this string....
We might need paper too, some day,
No need to throw it all away.
I can't help feeling 'just in case'
And after all
WE'VE SO MUCH SPACE!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

No New "No New ..." Post (Yet)

2009: a new miniapp every month. Taken literally, the project failed, but with interesting results. Seen as a consistent attempt to establish a habit of creating new things on a regular basis, instead of just daydreaming and thinking about it, it succeeded wildly.

2010: a new minibusiness every month. Taken literally, the project failed, but with interesting results. Seen as a consistent attempt to free up time and mental energy for my own projects and establish launching entrepreneurial ventures as a habit, it succeeded wildly.

2011: ???

(2008: more than one conference presentation per month, on average.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Please Tell Me I Got This JavaScript Wrong

I wanted to code a naive implementation of Mustache templates in JavaScript.

If I read the JavaScript regex docs right, this is what I have to do:

mustached = "{{foo}} bar";
object = {foo: "baz"}
mustached.replace(/\{\{([^\}]+)\}\}/,
function(string, parens) { return string.replace(/\{\{([^\}]+)\}\}/,
object[parens])})
// to get the result "baz bar"

In Perl, it'd be:

mustached =~ s/\{\{([^\}]+)\}\}/$hash{$1}/;

In JavaScript, you can't access a variable $1, only a string argument "$1" to replace, or parens, a string argument to a callback function.

I'm enjoying JavaScript for the most part - it's a Lisp with a beautiful object model and horrific syntax - but this is just silly.

(If you don't get the regex, read the Friedl book; it's great.)

Update: I got it wrong! Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Lucas Luitjes clued me in to the better way:

[lucas@nicotine:~]$ node
Type '.help' for options.
node> var mustached = "{{foo}} bar";
node> var object = {foo: "baz"};
node> mustached.replace(/\{\{([^\}]+)\}\}/, function(m,p1) { return object[p1] });
'baz bar'


Also, I turned this into a tiny templater:


And, Adam van de Hoven made with the tweakage.

Internet Delivery Services Are Green

I'm carless in Los Angeles at the moment, so I'm thinking about how to handle that, and it made me realize something: Internet delivery services from Amazon.com to Zappos (with Spud.com in between) are all better for the environment, in a widely spread out city like Los Angeles, than the pre-internet physical stores model. The reason is hidden transportation costs.

Assume for the sake of argument that environmental damage is a "cost" we're looking to minimize. It's much more expensive, in that sense, to ship every package individually to the consumer than it is to ship all the packages en masse to a store - but only if you're not paying attention to the hidden costs. Consider, for example, the cost of driving to the store, not finding what you wanted, and driving to the other store where you finally find it; then multiply that cost by every single unit sold. For all units not sold, add the cost of shipping them back to the manufacturer. Stores leverage economies of scale, but you can use distribution centers in a more sophisticated hub-and-spoke model to do the same thing, but better; and if every single person in a city gets in their car and drives to the store to buy Item X, that's obviously going to cost you much, much more environmental damage than it would to have a small fleet of delivery vehicles deliver Item X to every home in the city.

It'll also cost you more in lost productivity from the time wasted in traffic, physical and psychological health problems from the stress of the traffic, civic engineering costs to build roads, traffic lights, and other systems to handle the traffic, cops to police it, ambulances to handle the traffic accidents, and last but most certainly not least, injuries and deaths from some percentage of those accidents. Delivery services reduce the number of people driving per Item X, and they make a qualitative shift as well, in that they increase the probability that somebody driving is going to be a trained professional rather than a distracted amateur.

Although these shifts are small, they are likely to be noticeable in aggregate, especially if Internet delivery services continue to replace traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hollywood vs. the Internet, and Inbred Geek-Culture Fantasies vs. Reality

One of the reasons I'm going to build a Twitter client is that if you block somebody, and someone you follow retweets them, Twitter doesn't block the RT. Consequently, I had the misfortune to read this today:



While some variant of this wish is inevitable, the wish itself is unlikely to see fulfillment, and as an actor I'm very glad. Although I appreciate the tech world's libertarianism in many ways, there are very good reasons that Hollywood is a strong union town. There's a time and a place for everything.

Consider one tech giant's foray into Hollywood.

On Tuesday, Amazon.com launched Amazon Studios, what they are calling “a new online business that invites filmmakers and screenwriters around the world to submit full-length movies and scripts to make money, get discovered and get their movie made”.

...it might sound like an interesting idea and a project that aims to support aspiring filmmakers. But it’s not...

you give Amazon an exclusive 18-month option for your project without any pay. Meaning you can’t pitch or sell your idea to anyone else during that 18-month period. If Amazon decides to option it, you could get up to $200,000...

or as the rules also state, “or, if we determine appropriate, no award money at all”.

It gets worse. Because Amazon Studios doesn’t think their users will want to read full screenplays, they want filmmakers to submit “test movies”. What’s a test movie you ask? This is how Amazon describes it:

“An Amazon Studios test movie should be an inexpensive, full-length movie that tells the whole story of the script in a compelling way, has very good acting and sound, but that doesn’t necessarily have polished production values.” So Amazon wants you to produce a feature length film with no budget, but it must have excellent acting, music and sound...

Your other choice is to create a feature length (has to be at least 70 minutes) animatic or storyboard that shows people what your movie would look like. But remember it still needs to have great acting and sound. So basically you have to create a full-length animated film or a no budget live action test movie as your pitch. What a joke.

Oh and if they like your test movie and want to re-make it into a fully funded film, they can take your project to Hollywood and kick you out as the director. They say this on their site.


Going back to the Netflix idea, it's useful to remember that the hated robber barons of the 19th century were initially, to use Dick Cheney's term, "greeted as liberators." When they built the railroads, they transformed the country, opening up new opportunities for travel, adventure, and prosperity; it was only later, when they fully controlled the backbone of interstate commerce and began charging whatever rents they felt like for access to it, that they garnered so much animosity.

A robber baron could dream of nothing so wonderful as owning both the creation and the distribution of movies. That's almost what we have today, with the studios being closely tied to cable channels, and it's the reason so many movies suck. Hollywood doesn't produce endless remakes of 1970s TV shows because nobody in the entire town has any ideas. Los Angeles is overflowing with creativity.

I've seen this car driving around my neighborhood:



Its creator: a prolific artist who does work for the movies from time to time. Another such artist, a set designer, produces truly amazing Halloween scenes on his lawn:



These guys don't want to work on endless sequels to movies that weren't any good in the first place, but he who pays the piper calls the tune, and many of those paying the piper in Hollywood today are media executives who own both the creation and the distribution of entertainment. Endless remakes of boring horseshit is what they want, so endless remakes of boring horseshit is what the entire world gets. This combination does not result in more creative films; it results in fewer creative films.

If there's a way that technology can change Hollywood for the better, it is absolutely not by aggregating control over creation and distribution under one corporate roof. Not only is that a worsening form of change, it isn't really a form of change at all; it's the status quo, repositioned on a new pair of shoulders. If you want to see how the Internet is making Hollywood a better place, look at YouTube, and more specifically, look at teenage actor Lucas Cruikshank, who's parlayed a silly YouTube comedy channel he created into a three-picture deal and a six-figure income (which he had before the three-picture deal, and without Hollywood involvement).



(Yeah, it's ridiculous, but that's kind of the point.)

You'd think Cruikshank was an exception, but he's not: he's a new, emerging norm, insofar as any form of success in entertainment can be called normal. YouTube is making entertainment careers, at multiple levels. Justin Bieber was "discovered" on YouTube, Soulja Boy built his career with YouTube, Felicia Day both established a show for herself in The Guild and augmented her Hollywood career in the process, and the number of YouTube "celebrities" who also work in Hollywood as character actors is extraordinary.


The face at the very top left of the picture is mine

Consider Brandon Hardesty, whose acting career came about as a result of his YouTube re-enactments of scenes from classic movies.



Long story short, in his Netflix idea, Zed's barking up the wrong tree. Consolidating corporate power in the entertainment industry didn't work well before the Internet, isn't working that well in tandem with the Internet, and isn't something to perserve going forward. The win is in platforms which enable entirely independent publishing and broadcasting.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Great Clay Shirky, Greating It Up All Over The Place

Citizens of a functioning democracy must be able to know what the state is saying and doing in our name, to engage in what Pierre Rosanvallon calls “counter-democracy”, the democracy of citizens distrusting rather than legitimizing the actions of the state. Wikileaks plainly improves those abilities.

On the other hand, human systems can’t stand pure transparency. For negotiation to work, people’s stated positions have to change, but change is seen, almost universally, as weakness. People trying to come to consensus must be able to privately voice opinions they would publicly abjure, and may later abandon. Wikileaks plainly damages those abilities. (If Aaron Bady’s analysis is correct, it is the damage and not the oversight that Wikileaks is designed to create.)

And so we have a tension between two requirements for democratic statecraft, one that can’t be resolved, but can be brought to an acceptable equilibrium. Indeed, like the virtues of equality vs. liberty, or popular will vs. fundamental rights, it has to be brought into such an equilibrium for democratic statecraft not to be wrecked either by too much secrecy or too much transparency.

As Tom Slee puts it, “Your answer to ‘what data should the government make public?’ depends not so much on what you think about data, but what you think about the government.” My personal view is that there is too much secrecy in the current system, and that a corrective towards transparency is a good idea. I don’t, however, believe in pure transparency, and even more importantly, I don’t think that independent actors who are subject to no checks or balances is a good idea in the long haul.

If the long haul were all there was, Wikileaks would be an obviously bad thing. The practical history of politics, however, suggests that the periodic appearance of such unconstrained actors in the short haul is essential to increased democratization, not just of politics but of thought.

We celebrate the printers of 16th century Amsterdam for making it impossible for the Catholic Church to constrain the output of the printing press to Church-approved books, a challenge that helped usher in, among other things, the decentralization of scientific inquiry and the spread of politically seditious writings advocating democracy.

This intellectual and political victory didn’t, however, mean that the printing press was then free of all constraints. Over time, a set of legal limitations around printing rose up, including restrictions on libel, the publication of trade secrets, and sedition. I don’t agree with all of these laws, but they were at least produced by some legal process.

Unlike the United States’ current pursuit of Wikileaks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Pro Bursting-Bubble Argument

Facebook brings in $1.5B but the market values it at $35B. Why? Because historically, the greatest profit you can find in an era of tumult lies in seizing control of territory where you can charge rent. The argument for Facebook's colossal valuation is that the territory they seized will become one where they can charge rent.

This argument assumes that Facebook is like the Yellow Pages, a virtual monopoly (to use Warren Buffett's term) in the making, which will one day set its own prices, and continue to do so until the passage of time takes us all to the very, very tail end of Geoff Moore's brontosaurus.



In 2007 I outlined my reasons for believing differently. tl;dr: Facebook is not the Yellow Pages; Facebook is a nightclub. Like all nightclubs, it will one day close its doors. Like a very few nightclubs, it will never be forgotten.

This points to the likelihood of a bubble bursting.

But I'm not 100% sure I was right when I said that. Like many twentieth-century phenomena, The Yellow Pages appear to be following Moore's technology adoption curve in slow motion, so the real question is not whether Facebook is mortal, but whether Facebook dies before making $35B or after. I don't doubt Facebook will make money off its virtual monopoly. I just don't know how much or how fast - or how much time they have.

I am skeptical, of course. There's no doubt the financial classes caused the housing crisis by gambling with the lives of millions on an everyday basis. Whether they win or lose on any particular round of roulette, however, is difficult to predict, in the same way that the motion of a river is. In a sense, predicting bubbles in an age of rapid change and volatile economics is very much like predicting when bubbles will rise in a river. Math can describe it perfectly but not predict it at all.

But then, if you've been building your business on solid, sensible principles, why would you even care? Always remember, you can't con an honest man.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fly, Pupa, Fly! Advance Or Abscond!



I love the hell out of this comic. The writing is amazing, and I say that as a dude who knew a girl in high school who went on to get nominated for the Pulitzer twice. The writing is AMAZING. It is ridiculous and insane and BRILLIANT.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Current Projects: Twitter Newspaper & Automated Refactoring

tl;dr: I'm building Twitter Newspaper, a sequel to Hacker Newspaper. It's extremely private beta status at the moment, but you can sign up to hear more when more is ready.

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Since it appears the Freakonomics guys have conclusively discredited Derek Sivers's claims that publicly stating your goals diminishes their probability of success, I'm no longer of two minds about announcing my projects. So: I'm working on putting together some iOS apps, and I spent most of the holiday building a successor to Towelie, the code repetition and similarity detector I wrote in 2008. The new version is closed source and intended to serve as the foundation for an automated refactoring business - maybe a service, maybe a web app, I'm not sure yet. What I already have is much faster and more effective than Towelie was, and covers one additional language beyond Ruby; the new angles of attack I'm taking are even more interesting. Unfortunately, I can't go into more detail about that yet.

I'm also working on a Twitter client, both to prevent people from reaching me with exasperating tweets, and as a way to replace Hacker Newspaper, since Hacker News got less interesting. Twitter is a much more effective link aggregator than Hacker News, but it's also much noisier. Its "follow" model means the range of available sources is much more finely-tuned to your personal interests than any site like Hacker News could ever be. For instance, in addition to the usual tech industry and open source suspects, I get tweets daily about dance music and the film industry. The follow model also makes Twitter completely immune to sudden population shifts, like the one which appears to have caused HN's most recent dip in interestingness. Much more importantly, link aggregation via Twitter operates within the conditions necessary to leverage the wisdom of crowds - namely, independent agents working without coordination, in competition, to achieve disparate goals.

No link aggregator site in the (by now very old) Slashdot/Digg/Reddit/Hacker News model can harness those conditions. After I explained what I believe to be the economic naivete of Hacker News's design assumptions, Peter Cooper asked me what a better system would look like; I've been thinking about the question off and on ever since, and I became convinced that passive/implicit link aggregation was the answer long before paper.li came along with things like The #graffiti Daily. I think Peter's own project coder.io follows a similar line of reasoning.

I prefer Twitter to Hacker News because there's something very artificial about attempting to build a community around gamified link aggregation. I also find Hacker News annoying because I'm banned on Hacker News; not only can I not comment on anything, but if you attempt to post something from my blog there, it'll get automatically blocked. I never received any warnings or communications of any kind from HN about this, and I never post my own stuff on any site of that nature; I only know because people tried to post my stuff, failed, and told me about it. I don't know why it happened or how to fix it, and finding out is more trouble than it's worth. Like a gated community, Hacker News is fundamentally suburban, in a very artificial way. Twitter, to paraphrase William Gibson, is like a city; anyone can come and go, so you have a living, vital community with no intentional theme or all-powerful "benevolent" overlord.

However, cities are noisier than gated communities, and that can be a problem. Going back to the wisdom of crowds, if anybody has anything to say about the wisdom of crowds that does not actually stem from having read The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, not only do I not want to hear it, but that is exactly the kind of lazy, not-doing-your-homework horseshit which I am building this Twitter client to keep people from wasting my time with. The sad truth is that opinions are like assholes; everybody has them, and most of them are not worthy of detailed investigation. (This is especially true when it comes to the wisdom of crowds, or any concept which comes from a book which many people have heard of and only a few took the time to actually read.) The Twitter filter I'm working on is partly a cure for that problem. You can think of it as a pair of dark sunglasses to rock on your dome while you go about your business in the big city.

In the past I've gotten angry with people for talking to me on Twitter about things like the wisdom of crowds without doing any research first, but to be fair, it's really almost impossible to convey in 140 characters whether I happen to be in the mood for random, pointless banter or serious analysis driven by research. I read a lot; half the time I'm reading doctoral-level research on postmodern story structure and half the time I'm reading a comic book written by a teenager. There's really no way to predict via Twitter which of these two extremes I happen to be in the mood for at any given time, if you happen to be outside of my brain. On the inside-my-brain side of the equation, however, it's trivial to just choose to use an awesome new Twitter client with built-in filtering and aggregation when you're in the mood for a research-driven, grown-up approach, and fall back to the usual inane gabber at other times, as appropriate. Since there does not yet exist an awesome new Twitter client with built-in filtering and aggregation, and since its existence will make the choice of using it an easier choice to make, I'm building it.

I'm hoping to make it a business as well, but I haven't done enough work on it yet to say anything further on that.

I'm also working on some new musical projects. More news about that soon. And if you're wondering what happened to the SEO-loving, direct-marketing Giles Bowkett of 2010, don't worry. He has plans for 2011 too.



Oh yeah, I'm also working on a book.

Incompetent Geek Rap Annoys Me

Soon after discovering a pair of rap videos by geeks, one which annoyed me with its terrible rapping and another one which I kind of liked despite being annoyed by its terrible rapping, a Node.js community drama thread on Reddit alerted me to yet another rap video by a geek which annoys me with its terrible rapping.



I just fucking hate this shit, so I recorded my own rap mp3. Here it is.

You can download it for free, and/or buy it for 99 cents.

And by the way, I claim in the rap to have a million-dollar hustle. It might just be true. The new thing I'm working on has brains like Archaeopteryx but a very simple, money-oriented focus.

New iPad App Includes Highly Original Guarantee

Andrew Burke, creator of Remembary, an iPad diary, is supremely confident his app will never lose your entries - so much so that he guarantees it. In fact, if Remembary eats any of your diary/journal entries, Andrew will personally write fictional ones for you to use instead, and as a bonus, he'll make them even more interesting than your real life.

I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that, so I immediately requested a sample replacement set of diary entries, and Andrew was happy to oblige:

Friday November 12, 2010

Today, I'm going to stay awake only with the sunlight. When the sun drops, I drop. It'll be more natural that way. Spent the day writing Lisp in JavaScript. As usual whenever I write too much Lisp, it becomes self-aware and starts getting in my face, making its own damned refactoring suggestions. This one's just a server app, so it's not as funky as the musical ones that came out of Archeopteryx - it just obsesses over efficiency and speed all the time. Finally needed to shut it up because I was having trouble keeping focussed, so I ran it on Internet Explorer 6, which scared it straight. Fell asleep at 9:30, since it was already dark. Should have started this daylight thing in the summer. Maybe I can move to Alaska and stay up all through June and sleep through December.


Saturday November 13, 2010

Woke up at 2:30 in the morning. Dozed until 7 because what’s the point of getting up at 2? Did more Lisp in JavaScript work today. Whenever it looked like it might be getting sentient again, I pointed it to Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales' cold, soul-eating stare shut it up good. Having a lot of trouble focusing - keep hitting Twitter and finding assholes who need telling. Went to acting class and Megan Fox was there - since she got kicked out of the next Transformers movie, she's back to finding a good monologue and head-shot and trying out for commercials and community theatre. Told her I might have a gig for her. After class speed-walked up and down a hillside for an hour or so, building up my legs of steel.


Sunday November 14, 2010

Spent the day making music. Seeing how much I can do just with just the iPad. Noticed something on the porch so went out to see what it was and it was Yehuda Katz. I couldn't tell if he had a home or was trying to move in or what. I let him come in - although I warned him I wasn't doing much Rails 3 these days. He seemed happy enough on my couch, although he later let himself out and chased the squirrels around the back yard - not very successfully though. He disappeared soon after that - must have gone back home or something.

Still needed to work on my focus, so I went down to Intelligentsia Coffee. Since my sleep schedule is now synced to the daylight, coffee doesn't wake me up as much as it just provides super brain power. Didn't even sit down - instead I wrote up a shell script for distraction-free GMail, while flooring the place with my popping and locking to the choice hip-hop on the PA.

Had to stop early and hurry home before the sun went down. Feel like a reverse vampire. Had enough time to do a few runs up and down the steep hill steps. While dodging a bearded hipster in one of those stupid gear-less bikes I came up with a killer idea for an iPad app - maybe I'll try to find a few cheap devs to work on it for me. Looking for something with a text box - maybe a diary program, perhaps one that automatically includes Twitter and RSS feeds. Nah, that's a stupid idea.


Monday November 15, 2010

Woke up and found my cell phone in the fridge. I guess I shouldn't have tried running that Lisp/JavaScript on it - it must have become sentient in the middle of the night and tried to steal my kale stash, but got caught inside.

Megan Fox came by today, to help me concentrate on my node.js work. Every 8 minutes or so, I'm having her jump into my office wearing a BSD booth babe red devil outfit, with an In-n-Out burger in one hand and a .357 magnum in the other. Really helped me stay off Twitter and Hacker News and focus on work.

Asked her if she's available this coming week - if I can stay off Twitter long enough to build my new custom annoyance-filtering and mass-blocking client, it'll make my life and the world a better place. She said she had some auditions next week - one for a littering Public Service Announcement, and another one for a Pentecostal dinner-theatre show - but if those didn't work out, she'd totally be up for it. It sure beats waiting tables. I've rigged up an Arduino system that notices if any of my devices try to hit Reddit, Hacker News, or Twitter, and turns on an alarm light that calls in Megan - and I've told her that if it goes on more than three times in a day to start using that revolver.

And oh yeah, para-fucking-diddles.


NASA WTF

This annoys me because of this, this, this, and this, but most of all this.

Seriously. The Mandelbrot set is an organism, you idiots, and one which only grows in abstract mathematical spaces. IF LIFE CAN ARISE SPONTANEOUSLY IN ABSTRACT MATHEMATICAL SPACES, THEN BY DEFINITION LIFE CAN ARISE SPONTANEOUSLY IN ANY OTHER CONTEXT.

They're fucking RETARDED.

Update: a reader named Matthew and/or Meta sent me this, with the following: "If you have repeated reproduction and mutation, it seems you get genetic recombination and sex automatically as a mathematical emergent phenomenon."