Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They're people not resources damnit

Had a discussion at lunch with co-workers about the good and bad ways to use the word "resource" in business. The short of it is, resources are not people, and people are not resources. There's a special case: you can use it if you're talking about both people and not people.

Atlassian recently bought Bitbucket. From their FAQ:

"Bitbucket's performance has lagged due to poor infrastructure and lack of IT resources. Recently, Bitbucket customer repositories were migrated from an EC2 storage system to the Contegix data center, the same ISV that Atlassian uses for its hosted tools. Atlassian has hired a full-time IT resource to continue to improve the Bitbucket service..."

The first sentence is the good use, because they're using it to refer to people and objects (presumably computers, routers, etc.), as demonstrated by the succeeding sentences. The third sentence is obviously talking about a person, yet they act as though he is an object. That's the bad use. How could it possibly have diminished that sentence to use "employee" in the third sentence? I'll tell you what, they diminished the *person* when they called him a resource.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Automobile collision/vandalism detection

I'll bet a clever electrical engineer could do this, though of course the devil is in the details.

Wire up the metal body panels of an automobile to carry a very low-voltage current. Establish a baseline. If the panel is dented or deformed, such as a fender bender or errant shopping cart, that should change the conductivity of the panel. If some kind of event is detected, some internal camera should take a set of 360 °ree; photographs every second for the next 30 seconds (or whatever) in order to catch the perpetrators.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

A real computer work station

Every time my neck or back acts up, I wish I had a real computer work station. What the furniture people sell you is nothing close. They just put together a bunch of flat surfaces, cut a hole for some cables, and call it a day. No sir, that doesn't cut it.

The ideal starts with a recliner in fully open position. Your body is in an almost floating position, with your legs raised to the same level as your shoulders. Replace the standard fixed armrests with ones that move. At the end of each is a half of a keyboard (probably at an oblique angle). There's also a trackball or mouse. If the latter, it's made so that it can't fall off. On the arm opposite from the mouse are controls like volume and brightness.

To either side of your head are speakers built into the head rest. Then a large arm extends over the top, holding a monitor (or multiple ones) directly in front of your face. They're adjustable, of course. Naturally, somewhere around here is a cupholder, or possibly something like one of those upside down things they have for caged rodents. It's some kind of set up to minimize movement. That's not (just) because of my laziness, but because it's awkward to drink from a cup lying down, and it would be awkward to get up and down from a rig like this.

Built-in massager is optional. And no, there's no option for a built-in toilet.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

If I had a million dollars...

I'm finding myself with very little free time these days. I begrudge the time required to purchase and maintain a wardrobe. If I had the money, I would totally pay someone else to do it.

Here's how I figure it. Every couple of weeks or so, someone would deliver a fresh batch of clothes to my closet. They'd be my size and my style, cleaned, pressed, and ready to go. All the matching accessories like belts or socks would be included (where applicable)*. They could specify an outfit for a particular day, or I could just pick what I wanted from the options they gave me.

They would know also what my schedule was. That way I could have something more professional if I was going to be doing an important presentation or something formal if I was going to a wedding. They would take away the previous set of clothes to clean and press. I would have a way to offer feedback on specific outfits to train their system to my tastes. I could also request an early refresh if I rejected some outfits, or if I had some kind of unplanned event come up.

This could be a real business making some real money. In a nutshell, it's Netflix meets a personal shopper.

* The exception would be shoes, where they would indicate which of my shoes I should wear.


Friday, September 10, 2010

What kind of flower is this?

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

High end car mod



What the what?

Not fooling me

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Ceci n'est pas un lac


That's usually dry grass. Tropical Storm Hermine gave us 15+ inches of rain.


Buring the Koran

Okay, so take it as a given that the guy is a retard and burning the Koran like he wants to do is a retarded act. There's nothing interesting there.

My question: if exercising a freedom means that everyone from the local news to the President to General Petraeus is going to jump on you and say not to do it... is it really still a freedom? Prosecution isn't the only penalty that's out there. Social condemnation, media pressure, etc. all have a serious impact. That's a separate world from what's governed by the Constitution, but it's reflective of our society. Obama says it's "contrary to our values." That's not true; it's contrary to some of our values. It's hypocritical to assert that someone has a freedom, but they should not actually exercise it. The best way to put it is that it is congruent with the values implied by the Constitution, but it's contrary to some of the values held by many of the people. That's not exactly the moral high ground in a society that supposedly values freedom.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Then comes the flood

We're right there where it's at 15+ inches (the black circle).