October 4th, 2007


The Branded World

I read today that an asteroid was recently named after George Takei, an actor who played a character in Star Trek. A few weeks ago, I came across the fact that a spider and an ant were given the "scientific" names of Calponia harrisonfordi and Pheidole harrisonfordi, respectively. I work in a building with a Giant Eagle auditorium, and I went to a university that had a stadium that was renamed after some corporate sponsor after a series of expensive repairs (can't recall either the old or new names). These kind of things both bug me.. Collapse )Just think how nice it would be to be at a school with a Tesla building of Physics, a Gödel building of Math, etc etc.. again, the 100 years test - if it's not sure to be more notable than Felix the Cat is today after 100 years, it's not notable.

It's weird reading 2600 again - Collapse )

I am amused that Iran's parliament has declared the CIA to be a terrorist organisation in response to the US senate doing the same to their Revolutionary Guard. Unfortunately, their cited examples of the CIA's behaviour are not the juicy episodes that haven't been publically discussed since becoming public record..

Murderous rage at cat-done destruction of my apartment. Whenever I move out, I will need at least a month of not having cats at all to deeply clean and repair things... Fantasizing of an apartment which just stays as it does when I first rent it, plus a tiny amount of stuff, for the whole time I live there, no stains, no horrible cat smells, no hidden presents, no joyous ripping of carpet, no replacing of couches every few years. Too damned tired for this stuff... time to venture out into the world again...

  • Current Music
    Plaid Tongued Devils - Life on the Rack

Treatises and Disposability

On the way to work today, I walked down the cut and saw signs put up by deep pacifists again, the kind that say "all war in every circumstance is pointless", quoting Gandhi, Ben Franklin, and a few other people. I feel that a single sign saying only "Chamberlain" would refute all that naïve rubbish. Opposing specific wars and finding war to be tragic - great. Opposing all war is closely analogous to opposing the existence of both prisons and capital punishment.

Rereading Yourdon's Death March for the third time, I saw a reference to Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister's Peopleware, particularly focusing on their studies on idea office environment for techies. According to the quote which cites some studies, developers who rate their workplace as being acceptably quiet are 1/3 more likely to deliver "zero-defect" code (I'm not sure how these things are quantified). A nummber of points are made about good working environments and how most programmer workplaces, whether engaged in Death March-type projects or not, use cubicle farms, which are undesirable for a number of obvious reasons (and others he explores). (My programming environment silly fantasy:Collapse )) All this has me wondering about Google - I don't know a lot about them, but one of the big differences between Google and Microsoft's treatment of programmers is that at Microsoft, they get offices. Emotionally, having an office is really nice - even if it's shared with another person, it's a place to hang one's hat - I keep some stuff here (some personal, some semipersonal like teacups, and some stuff directly useful), people can come find me, and the familiarity is rather nice. If I stay late, I also can sleep here and still be civilised. I think Google attempts to justify its no-offices policy through flexibility (I'll sit next to Jane today because she'll help me with the sockets code), fault-tolerance (no "my office network connection is borked so I didn't do much today"), and egality (no "nicer offices for l33t me").. I'm sure these are potentially important reasons, but given a choice between a cubicle, an open workspaces like Google, and an office, I'd prefer the office. I still wonder about the open workspaces though -- how good/bad of an idea is it? It's also kind of sad that cubicles still exist... If code quality is worse and people are less happy, it seems like a poor arrangement that may be less cost-effective over the long-term than giving people offices and a bit of dignity.

  • Current Music
    Harmonium - Si Doucement