General Exception

The oddly bee-obsessed Neuromancer movie posters

Quiet Earth has some posters for the maybe kinda possibly Neuromancer movie that may or may not manifest itself in 2011, depending on how the greed probability waveforms collapse. Anyhow, one of them seems oddly bee obsessed (well, OK, wasp obsessed, which I vaguely recall has some relevance to the book someplace…). But it just reminded me of another oddly-bee obsessed novel.

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Inventing the Future

On Writing

I’ve been bumming about my postings (or lack) lately. I want to write about cool possibilities and what they might mean, but most of what I do can’t be talked about until it is released. It seems like it shouldn’t matter whether you write about what you’re doing versus what you’ve done, but I think it does. I feel like everything I write about the latest cool thing my colleagues or I did ends up sounding like an ad. Not an effective and entertaining thing, but just that it sounds like I’m trying to sell something.

Sorry about that. As far as I am aware, I write to sort out ideas. I was taught that if I can’t name something or talk about it effectively, then I don’t understand it. And I write to to document my journey. In both cases, I should be discussing work in progress. But even the entries I made while working at the University of Wisconsin all seem to be about actual working results, rather than projects that I was still designing. And I’m not sure why, but it feels like the out-of-sync aspect is getting worse. There is a commercial relevance. For example, way more than a year ago I had been very happy when a new reader told me what a delight it was to find my blog, and he offered some interesting comments. But it turns out that this fellow was from a ginormous company that is now a (hopefully) happy repeat customer. While I don’t clear anything I write with anyone at work, I can’t pretend that I am unaware of any potential commercial impact. Not sure what to about all that.

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Inventing the Future

Goal!

How do we improve the breed of collaborative programming tools? Should we have spectator programming competitions on the Internet? (The people who like those things only watch for the crashes!)

I don’t think there’s a good commercial driver for improving programmer productivity(*), but spectator sports and particularly racing has been a good driver in other fields.

  • I think there’s a lot of relevance for the game-theory outcomes of nice-sized sprint programming problems such as whether, say, Tit-for-tat or Pavlov is a better algorithm for Free-Rider scenarios, or whether that changes for a mix of Free-Rider and Volunteer’s-Dilemma.
  • I think most programmers and programming managers still have never really seen very dynamic languages and live debugging environments, and such competition would be a great way to show them off.
  • I think it would put nice stress on the collaborative environment. How many people can watch? Can they see everything such as keystrokes and mouse movement? Is that important? Can they easily see who is doing what? Can they see multiple players’ activity at once? Multiple teams? Can they record and have instant replay?

What would it take to pull this off?


(*) Me on IT management, Tech failures, and the General Theory.

Posted in Inventing the Future, Philosophical business mumbo-jumbo | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Sixth Circuit Upholds FCC on LFA Limits: A Bad Decision and A Sad Day for Localism, With Possible Silver Lining for Ancillary Authority and Leased Access.

The Sixth Circuit has denied the Petitions for Review filed by local franchise authorities (LFAs) and PEG programmers challenging the FCC’s December 2006 Order limiting the ability of LFA’s to negotiate with telco video overbuilders. (You can read a copy of the decision here.)

I am rather disappointed with the decision, as readers might imagine. Not only do I think limiting the authority of LFA’s to protect their residents is a phenomenally bad idea, I think the court takes a very expansive view of FCC authority over LFAs given the legislative history and the statute in question.

On the other hand, the decision potentially provides a substantial boost both the FCC’s ancillary authority and to its leased access reform order, currently pending before the Sixth Circuit. While I find this rather cold and uncertain comfort at the moment, it’s the best I can do in the face of what has become an utter rout for LFAs and PEG programmers. God willing, a future FCC will conduct the inquiry into strengthening PEG programming Commissioners Adelstein and Copps have repeatedly urged.

Some further analysis of the decision and what it might mean below…

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

No, I Don't Know Anything About the McCain Story.

I regret to disappoint my fellow Wetmachiner John Sundman and legions of of folks discovering telecom policy is incredibly sexy (a fact I mentioned in my very first Wetmachine post), but I really have nothing to add about the McCain/Iseman story. This is not Wonkette here folks.

Policy, sure. I can tell you what made this transaction so controversial. And it may even have some bearing on the next FCC, given that one of the folks involved was Susan Ness, the former FCC Commissioner whispered about as the most likely nominee to replace Kevin Martin if Clinton wins. It also, of course, involved Bill Kennard who, along with Reed Hundt, is advising Obama. So I suppose the policy might have some relevance here. But as for the “juicy stuff:”

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Posted in Life In The Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

A brief personal observation on the pay gap

New census data indicates that, on average, white men with a four year degree earned, on average, more than any other catagory. Women generally earned less than men, but white women earned less than black and asian women (and slightly more than hispanic women). No one is sure why this is the case.

What’s odd is that that last night I was having a conversation with my wife which has some relevance on this. While one anecdote is hardly the basis for public policy, I’d be interested in knowing whether any of the xtant research has explored this issue . . .

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Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | 5 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Google

I’ve heard people wonder about what sort of artificial intelligence or biological system is involved in google. Web searches are really quite mechanical. Here’s an overview of what really goes on within Google.

(If you like this sort of thing, see my backgrounder on Baysian Filtering of Spam.

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