Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Gun is Fantasy

The Five Dumbest Management Concepts of All Time

Five. Many traditional business leaders have a militaristic view of the way the business world works. A glance at the titles of popular business books-Marketing Warfare, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Guerrilla PR-offer ample testimony for this widely held viewpoint. We’re told that we must imitate generals and warlords if we want to be successful managers.

Taking all this to heart, many executives talk as if they were planning the next world war: “This product will do major damage in the marketplace! We’ve armed our sales force. We’ve targeted the right set of customers! The new ad campaign will explode into the territories! This is going to be a major victory! Our troops are ready!”

Military-minded managers also find it all too easy to become control freaks. Because they see themselves as generals and officers, they tell people what to do. They think that good employees should shut up and follow orders. This behavior destroys initiative as people wait around for top management to make decisions.

People actually do this? Perhaps I've been lucky and never had the misfortune to work for guys like this. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Most actual officers I served under did not act like that. Oh, we were not drinking buddies, and once the Man said 'jump' we asked 'how high'. Before that, if the situation allowed [1], opinions were solicited, people were listened to.

Civilians: man y'all got whacked notions of what the military is actually about.

[1] If the lieutenant orders 'Corporal, take out that enemy machine gun', well there isn't a lot of room for debate: the gun has got to go. The majority of of day-to-day work in the military is .. just work. Trucks are driven, airplanes are fixed and flown, boxes are stacked, computers are programed. It's blue and white collar work, but everyone is younger than average, in decent shape and wearing bad haircuts. Also, they cuss a lot.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gay is not the problem

A recent former Marine on the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

True liberty is people freely conducting themselves as long as they are not inflicting direct harm.  And in perspective, if someone in my squad wanted to spend the day talking about how they gargled dicks all weekend, that would have less effect on team erosion than half the shit I saw (like peeing on someone’s girlfriend or smashing the religious guy’s Christ relics he so tenderly put on his well-made rack).  If a problem does however arise as the result of a team member getting in a relationship with another team member, or having an uncontrollable pining for another uniformed team mate, deal with that.  It’s a separate issue from there.   Gay is not the problem.  The problem is the problem.

This is no laughing matter citizen

Mark Bennett has turned up a memo from John Pistole to Robert Mueller . . .
I mean, everything we do makes Americans safer by making it less likely that their airplane seatmates will be wearing bombs in their undies, and they keep complaining: “John, you’ve never caught a terrorist.” “John, the scanners don’t work.” “John, we don’t want screeners groping us or our children.” Waaaa, mine hurts too. Listen up, people: if you want flying across the country to be safer than driving to the convenience store, you’re going to have to give up some of your freedom and dignity. And the fact that we’ve never caught a terrorist just means that YOU NEED TO GIVE UP MORE OF YOUR FREEDOM SO THAT WE CAN CATCH SOME.

Mr. Bennett should watch his'self: Der TeeAssAy ze haf' no senze oft humor, nicht wahr?

TSA has no sense of humor, citizen.

Pic From Oleg.

Monday, December 20, 2010

TSA - Keeping us unsecure since 2001

I know a guy who thought about passenger checkpoints at the airport for a few seconds, figured out a way to sneak a pistol on board an airplane. It involved a small pistol, a pipe stem, a pocket protector, mis-direction at the right time.

He could have saved the skull-sweat.  All you need to do is to shove a pistol in a carry on, assume an innocent expression, and you're in, slick as snot.

Farid Seif, a Houston businessman, usually carries the weapon around for protection. He didn't realize he had kept the glock in his carry-on computer bag until he was mid-flight. Once he landed, he immediately reported the incident.

TSA. We haven't caught a terrorist yet.  But we will.  Real Soon Now.

The bawdy captions write themselves.

Pic from Daphne.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Battle of Lissa, 1866: d'oh

Ever had one of those days?
As the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max limped away, damaged after conducting three ramming attacks, the Ancona closed on her attempting to ram. In the excitement the Italian gunners got a full broadside off at point blank range, but while they had remembered the gunpowder, they had forgotten to load the shot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dress Code

Been to a few funerals. Noticed at the one small-town affair that there was a divide between the old (talking guys who are retired or nearly so) and young guys and gals in their twenties.

The older guys and gals dressed and acted in a way that said 'I don't have much money, but I can dress well and act like a grown-up.' The youth dressed and acted in a way that said 'I am wearing my best t-shirt - what more do you want from me?'

So. At my funeral there will be a Dress Code. Hopefully the people who come will not need to be hit with sticks to act like grown-ups. I will have ninjas on retainer. Show up in a t-shirt and you'll find yourself a sex-slave in Marrakesh before you can say 'Bob's Your Uncle'.

The Dress Code

Men. Suit and tie. Shirt and tie will be allowed on a case-by-case basis. Shave and haircut - mandatory. Shined shoes a must.

Ladies: Skirts with dressy tops, or a dress. Hemlines that flatter one's legs. Tasteful displays of cleavage are required.

Sturgis OS

I want to like Linux.  I really do.  And I do!  It's no longer the young punk, but it's where a lot of cool and groovy stuff is happening.

But spend a decade immersed in Solaris, with brief excursions to BSD-land, and you get used to having things run a certain way.  Spend a few hours with a knotty RPM problem and a fellow can be forgiven for thinking he's dropped into the Sturgis Rally.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tabs. Way too many open tabs.

Focus on what you’re good at, and nothing else! - Neil Patel

TJIC on getting things done.


The TSA is only doing its job, and it's becoming clearer that that job is to make Americans understand that they are subjects, not citizens. Humiliating the Minister Plenipotentiary and Ambassador Extraordinary of the world's largest democracy fits into that: everyone is a subject to Security Theater. I know that these "officers" only mean well, and are dedicated to keeping America safe. They haven't yet caught a bomber, but they will, real soon now.

You can go strangle yourself with that yellow ribbon, or, here is what I want you to do instead of shaking my hand.

The military is ultimately a reflection of our culture or what we would like to believe about our culture. We would like to believe that our military is an all-volunteer force filled with young and old people who represent the diversity (class, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, talent, skills or politics) of our country. We would like to believe compulsory national service has failed to win wars in the past, that a draft is the penultimate form of a dictatorship and that today's military is better than any in our history. But is it really voluntary? Is compulsory national service as threatening as some libertarians would view it? Is the all-volunteer military the "best" our country has ever produced?

Nassim Taleb looks at what will break, and what won't

The great top-down nation-state will be only cosmetically alive, weakened by deficits, politicians’ misalignment of interests and the magnification of errors by centralised systems. The pre-modernist robust model of city-states and statelings will prevail, with obsessive fiscal prudence. Currencies might still exist, but, after the disastrous experience of America’s Federal Reserve, they will peg to some currency without a government, such as gold.

Gov't crackdown spurs initiatives to route around DNS.  Beats my idea of a ginourmous /etc/hosts.

Getting Close To The Machine - Ellen Ullman

The problem with programming is not that the computer is illogical - the computer is terribly logical, relentlessly literal. It demands that the programmer explain the world on its terms; that is, as an algorithm that must be written down in order, in a specific syntax, in a strange language that is only partially readable by regular human beings. To program is to translate between the chaos of human life and the rational, line-by-line world of computer language.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Songs that make me smile

1.  LA Woman, by the Doors.  Always makes me think of one of the finest SF novels I've read, Kingsbury's 'The Moon Goddess and the Son'.  The rest of 'The Doors' catalog I could give a fig about.

I'm playing it now, and from the way Herself is bouncing around to the beat, she may agree with me.

2. Rudolph The Redneck Reindeer, via John Boy and Billy.  Because this part [1] always make me laugh:

Santy Claus saw Rudolph's bed all covered with liquor bottles, tobacco juice all over him and cigarette butts all over the floor there and he got real mad and he said to Rudolph, "You better get on the dad-gum wagon and pull my sled tonight boy."  And Rudolph didn't like this kind of loud talk so early in the morning, so he reached over there and spit tobacco juice in in the left eye of Santy Claus then took a liquor bottle and busted it over his head and said, "Get the hell outta here you dad-gum fat hippy!"

Well, see, Santy Claus didn't like that kind of talk, Rudolph coming at him with a bottle and all.  See, Santy Claus had been taking kung-fu lessons from this Chi-nese elf all summer long while he didn't have nothin' to do ...

Mayhem ensues.

[1] Read it with a southern twang for best effect.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Clearing Tabs

John Steakley - RIP.

George Bush interviewed on Facebook:
"If you see me in an airport, I hope you wave with all five fingers. But if you don't, you won't be the first. I'm a comfortable man."

The Danger of a Global Double Dip Recession Is Real
The modern world has for centuries been dominated economically, intellectually, and physically by the civilization that arose in Western Europe in the wake of the Renaissance and Reformation and spread across the Atlantic.

Will that one day be seen as a passing phenomenon doomed to ascend ever upward and then slowly fizzle out like a firework?

Hackertopia: Creating a City as a Startup
Of all the better mouse traps that need to be invented, perhaps the most important is a better city. Americans choose between soulless suburban strip malls, and expensive and congested city centers. Over the past 30 years real estate and property taxes have consumed an increasing portion of our incomes. Houses in hacker friendly cities with good school districts are frightfully expensive. The Boston metro region has median home prices of 400K, and typical San Jose home prices surpass 700K. Yet the price of building a home can be as low as 70K. This disparity hints at an opportunity.

Americans, and Hackers in particular, are on a treadmill. Productivity increases year by year, thanks to the magic of Silicon Valley. But the cost of living increases faster thanks to an out of control regulatory state. Zoning laws, the deterioration of public schools, the growth of guilds and cartels in the health care industry, rising taxes, etc have all made it harder to make ends meet.

Hackertopia is the better mousetrap. The city will provide a remarkably quality of life for an unbelievably cheap price.