December 23, 2004


I haven't been blogging much lately, so I suppose an update is in order.

First of all, I'm in Palatine now. I have been from last Friday night, and I'm heading out next Wednesday or Thursday. Not for Galesburg, but for the mega-party I go to in Urbana every New Year's. (Is it one big party or lots of little ones? A true philosophical conundrum.) Which will be made interesting this year by my attempt to bring my dog. We'll see how it goes.

Meanwhile I'm schlumping around my parents' house, mostly. I still have some Christmas shopping to do; I haven't really done much at all, to be honest. I'm hoping to actually shop at stores in downtown Palatine or perhaps some of the other suburban downtowns; malls are for my shopping of last resort these days.

My blog has been blissfully spam-free for a week now. Ahhhhh. I'm so glad I had the brainstorm that made me write BotBlock. Once again, if you have any troubles, let me know.

I've been catching up on some of my net reading (not that I ever really fell behind). Once again I'm impressed with Joel Spolsky of Joel On Software; he's not always right, but he writes so well that it doesn't matter. If you have any connection to software, as a programmer, a manager, or just an interested observer, you really ought to read some of his stuff.

I finally finished Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich, which I'd bought when I was in Providence and had been working on, on and off, ever since. It's a great book; the author plunked herself down in a city with about $1,000 startup money and determined to support herself through "unskilled" labour for a month. And then she did it again, and again, each time in a different city. If the book has a single thesis, it would be that the notion that poverty results from unemployment is pure myth; even working more than full time at quite a bit more than minimum wage, bare subsistence is an iffy prospect, and the existence is not one I'd gladly call human. Why do we let this happen? But I can't adequately summarise in a paragraph; y'all should go read the book and see for yourself.

Finally, somehow, tonight, I've managed to get some work done. I now have most of a syllabus for my smorgasbord class next term, which I'm seriously thinking of just renaming "Some Stuff Every Computer Scientist Should Know", which is both more accurate and less distasteful than the bland "Information and Knowledge Management". The current name makes it sound like some sort of business class. Uchhh. Anyway, at least I now have content!

"There's a real strong tendency to assume that experiments done on large populations of people should work out just like experiments done with chemicals in a high school lab, but everyone that has ever tried to do experiments on people knows that you get wildly variable results that just aren't repeatable and the only way you can be confident in your results is to carefully avoid ever doing the same experiment twice." --Joel Spolsky

Posted by blahedo at 3:22am on 23 Dec 2004
Well, if this ends up working well, we will need to get Kimmitt to run this. I haven't been reading his site much lately because of the spam. Good work. James Posted by ansible at 9:44pm on 25 Dec 2004
I was talking about BotBlock, of course. Posted by ansible at 11:45am on 26 Dec 2004
Sure! I've tried to make it easy to install. I guess it's Ben that would be doing the installing, anyway, and he should have no problems at all. Posted by blahedo at 4:33pm on 26 Dec 2004
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