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Archive for July, 2009

I’m broke

Friday, July 31st, 2009 by Ari

This is the most expensive key I’ve ever bought. (Note that it comes with a free house. More house pictures here).

I'm broke

Friday, July 31st, 2009 by Ari

This is the most expensive key I’ve ever bought. (Note that it comes with a free house. More house pictures here).

new website. visit now.

Sunday, July 26th, 2009 by Ari

From the maker of the incredibly hilarious and always inappropriate smbc-comics comes smbc-theater. The funny has been brought.

civil disobedience FAIL

Friday, July 24th, 2009 by Ari

This country has a great record of people using civil disobedience – deliberately getting arrested breaking a law they find unjust in order to bring attention to their case. I can only imagine that attempting to get yourself arrested in an act of civil disobedience and not being able to find anyone to arrest you must be truly humiliating.

A U.S. citizen trying to challenge the ban on travel to Cuba on Friday bemoaned his inability to get arrested or cited — even after having his passport stamped in Havana and bringing back Cuban memorabilia.

“I am just so surprised nothing happened to me,” Mora, who lives in West Hollywood, said in a phone interview. “What can you really do when you’re saying, ‘take me to jail or give me a ticket,’ and they do nothing to you?”

Mora hoped to get arrested or cited after his fourth trip to Cuba so he could challenge the country’s travel ban, which he says discriminates against anyone who isn’t Cuban-American and punishes Cuba’s people, not its government.

headline of the moment

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 by Ari

Headline from the Motley Fool:
As the Dow Breaks 9,000, What’s Next?

My response: “Uh, 1998?”

A debt that can never be repaid

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 by Ari

Much has been written in praise of Stephen Johns from all corners of the information bubble we live in, and I have nothing of substance to add to what has already been said. However I do know this – officer Johns dies taking care of others, and so we should take care of him and his family now. I don’t know how much a Wackenhut guard with a high school education makes, but I doubt he left a large 401K plan for his wife and kids. The USHMM has set up a fund for his family. I sent in a contribution a few weeks ago (which showed up on my credit card as “HCH cafeteria”), and I encourage others to do the same.

Watch your step today

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 by Ari

Today is the 25th anniversary of a watershed event. Anyone know what it is? Quick you think – it’s July 21st – is that VJ or VE day? Maybe the 25th anniversary of the birth of some Star Trek character? No – it is none of those. Today is the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the robot uprising (which has of course been chronicled in countless sci-fi movies ever since).

From the 1985 issue of “risks” – the ACM Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems:

On July 21, 1984, at about 1 p.m., a worker at Diecast Corp. in Jackson, Mich. found Harry Allen, 34, a diecast operator pinned between a factory pole and the back of an industrial robot. But Allen’s co-worker couldn’t come to his aid. Using the robot’s controller, the company’s director of manufacturing finally unpinned Allen, who was alive but in cardiac arrest. He died in a hospital five days later.

Allen had entered a restricted area, presumably to clean up scrap metal from the floor. While there, he got in the way of the robot’s work, and thus became the first – and so far only – U.S. victim of an industrial robot-related accident.

Due to the heightened threat of robot assault, DHS has set the robot-uprising alert level to “red”.

tips for technical interviews

Thursday, July 9th, 2009 by Ari

I have given and taken plenty of technical interviews, and I like to think I’m good at them, although I don’t really have any way to judge so that may just be ego talking. We’ve been trying to hire at work, and after having more than a few people fail miserably at the technical interview, I have one piece of advice for all technical candidates:

Don’t just guess.

If you have a rough idea than state that (you want to show what you know), but don’t bother guessing randomly. Instead just say “I don’t know” or “I don’t have a lot of experience in that particular area”. (Justifying your ignorance is just fine, but own up to it). Far too many people, when faced with a question they don’t know guess incorrectly, and end up digging themselves into a hole. The interviewer doesn’t expect you to know everything, so it’s okay to simply admit that and move on. The biggest problem with guessing is that you end up spending too much time on that question, and the interviewer remembers it. If you just admit ignorance, you just move on and the interviewer forgets it. If you know a lot about A, and not a lot about B, you want to make sure the interview spends as much time on A as possible, and as little time as possible on B. Most candidates though do the exact opposite – they spend a lot of time on B because they start guessing, get some hints, stumble through some things, and provoke follow up question. Then when A comes up, they answer confidently and move on quickly. This is not what you want. Make the interviewer spend as little time as possible on B so that they don’t remember it when the interview is done.

One more tip since I’m in a tip giving mood. Imagine the following conversation:

interviewer: Can you give me some examples of nouns that are adjective and nouns that are not adjective.
candidate: Well, let’s see…. A is adjective.
interviewer: (incredulously) I’m sorry, did you just say A is adjective?

Right around now, the correct answer (even if it’s less than truthful) is “whoops – I misspoke, I meant not adjective. Heh heh. I mean, everyone knows that”

intimacy is overrated

Thursday, July 9th, 2009 by Ari

We’ve been trying to hire a new lead infosec engineer at work. We interviewed one candidate this morning. The supervisor who I was interviewing with asked the candidate a question about switch based security measures. The candidate didn’t know, and explained that he “didn’t have intimate knowledge of switches”, to which I promptly replied “well, it’s probably better for everyone that way”. The supervisor laughed, the candidate didn’t get it.

All is right with the world

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 by Ari

I apparently blog about the Tour De France once during every even numbered year. (2004, 2006, and 2008), so this is actually breaking the pattern as it is currently 2009. (I would blog about it a lot more, but I know no one else cares about it and I try to limit the amount of boredom my blog causes). While I may remember hearing about Greg Lemond in my youth, Lance Armstrong is the man who really got me into the tour. The last few years have been great to watch as well, even if they were a little trickier to figure out who to root for. This year I was divided again – do I root for Lance? Do I want the new and upcoming Americans racing for American teams like Levi Leipheimer to get their turn? Do I want Contador to repeat for Astana? Do I want George “always a bridesmaid never a bride” Hincapie to finally get his well deserved turn to make a run for it? Well a few minutes ago team Astana (of which Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and COntador are all members), crossed the finish line for the team time trial 40 seconds ahead of team Saxo Bank. That essentially put Armstrong in a dead heat with Fabian Cancellara for the yellow jersey. While waiting for the judges to decide which one of them would have the yellow jersey and frantically hitting the refresh button I realized something: it’s all Lance. I don’t care if George Hincapie has never had a chance to prove himself, I don’t care if Leipheimer is the next generation, and I don’t care if Contador deserves the support of his whole team. I fell for Lance and he is still number one in my book. How often do you get a chance to see your sporting heroes make successfull comebacks years after retiring? I’m rooting for Lance all the way.

As an addendum, the judges decided that Cancellara is ahead by a few fractions of a second. It doesn’t matter though – everyone knows Cancellara won’t hold his lead in the mountains. (He’s a road racer, not a climber). Armstrong is clearly the leader amongst the real contenders right now, and most importantly, he has shown people that he’s not washed up. (This is actually a huge problem for Contador, who is still technically the leader of team Astana and the supporting cast now has divided loyalties). If he can pull of another Armstrong-like performance in the mountains (where the tour is really decided – all this is just prelude), then he could complete the comeback.