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Category: misc

04/28/09 12:05 - 67ºF - ID#48525

data art

image

I'm between projects now, and I'm using the time to do a little data art. Here we have an 'abstract' rendering of my neighborhood - 14223.

Depending on how much downtime I've got, I may write a little app that lets you create your own.

- Z
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Permalink: data_art.html
Words: 53
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: misc

04/22/09 04:52 - 40ºF - ID#48474

'drive it like you stole it'

You mean with the windows rolled up and the radio turned down and obeying all posted traffic control devices so as not to arouse the suspicion of the 5-0? How boring.

A recent survey of 450 college students showed that 57% of them did not understand what a '50% chance of precipitation' is and somehow I ended up in this majority. Now that I think about it, it seems dumb but I always sort of read it as '25% chance of getting wet' - like if they were 100% certain that it would rain over 50% of the area, that would mean there's a 50% chance that I personally would get wet. Or if they're only half sure that there will be rain, and if there is it'll only cover half the area, I would have a 25% chance of getting wet. I mean, that's really the number I care about. What it actually means [and of course I know you already knew this so I won't ask] is that given identical atmospheric conditions, half the time it'll rain and half the time it won't.

The manager of the water authority says no tours [for reasons which are kind of obvious if you think about it for like two seconds] but maybe they'll send an intern to take some photos for the website. [I love email- you can pester strangers with weird questions about their jobs (e:zobar,43416) and even if they want to look at you like you're from Mars, they can't!]

There's been a lot of talk in the news lately about Britain's Got Talent, and also the Khmer Rouge which led me to an unsettling discovery: Paul Potts has a very unfortunate name.

- Z

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Permalink: _drive_it_like_you_stole_it_.html
Words: 281
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: misc

04/20/09 11:10 - 48ºF - ID#48460

water intake

This is almost the photo I was looking for.

image

I swear I saw a picture looking down, and it was just like an enormous drain. There's a bunch of dudes standing around in this picture, so maybe they do tours?

- Z
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Permalink: water_intake.html
Words: 52
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: indecision

04/18/09 07:27 - 56ºF - ID#48434

moo goo gai pan

So the paint on my garage door was peeling quite badly and it was making the house look a little more West Virginia than I'm comfortable with. Part of the problem was that someone had decided to paint over the windows, and the paint was coming off the glass in sheets. Which has made me wonder for the longest time: why would you paint over windows?

Then as I was scraping [and the parts that weren't peeling were not coming off the glass as easily as I had hoped] and my mind was wandering, I started to think: why would you put windows on a garage door in the first place? I put stuff in my garage so I don't have to look at it.

So now with the windows half-scraped and the garage half-painted, I'm faced with the decision that I've criticized for so long: is it weirder to have windows on your garage door, or to paint over them?

- Z


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Permalink: moo_goo_gai_pan.html
Words: 146
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/15/09 10:24 - 48ºF - ID#48395

ugh

Sucks being self-employed.

image

- Z
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Permalink: ugh.html
Words: 10
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: wut

04/10/09 10:18 - 44ºF - ID#48349

something new every day

Even when you think you understand the client's business, you never really understand the client's business. This is a screenshot from an application I'm developing for an unnamed baseball cap manufacturer. I believe this particular part has to do with the import and export of raw materials. The world will never know.

image

- Z
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Permalink: something_new_every_day.html
Words: 56
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: musings

04/06/09 11:13 - 30ºF - ID#48312

digital existentialism

This is a narrative from the guy who wrote the software that enabled "Collateralized Mortgage Obligations," one of the extremely complicated financial instruments that helped bring down Wall Street. It's an interesting perspective and a good read if you've got the time.

He feels bad, of course, but he can't bring himself to accept more than a little responsibility - nor, really, would I expect him to. He understood exactly what the program was doing; meanwhile, the firms kept pushing it to enable riskier investments, and the traders complained it didn't insulate them enough from the pesky details. Naturally, he made a lot of money off the software, but a lot more people made a lot more money off of it, and spent it on [insert wall street debauchery boilerplate]. He says he didn't expect his software to cause financial armageddon, but considering the people who were using it he's not surprised. He retired a few years ago and now raises oysters on Long Island.

It's a funny situation we programmers live in. Mercenary. People ask us for things they think they need. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. It's not really our position to editorialize. We quote them a large pile of money and, if they're rich and deluded enough, get to spend the next couple months to several years learning every minute detail of a business we don't care about so we can write software we're not interested in. When the day comes, your application goes one way and you go another way, on to the next client. And if you find out a couple years down the road that your application happened to cause a global economic meltdown, well, chalk it up to user error.

Today I discovered that an old business relation of mine had started a new local software company [dare I say... hyperlocal?] and was hiring Python programmers. I told my current boss/client, who said he was actually bidding against him on a project just this afternoon. I noted how incestuous the local IT sector is and joked that I would be on the project whether he got it or not. He called me a dick. I told him I was going to become a metaconsultant - get in on every software project in Buffalo, and let the web developers fight over who gets to bill it. I thought I was hysterical. He closed the chat on me.

- Z


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Permalink: digital_existentialism.html
Words: 409
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: geeky

04/02/09 11:07 - 55ºF - ID#48267

colors in the air

I have a client who was very explicit that I should not be using standard book colors for Pantone matching, and is now wondering why everything looks all wrong. In addition to straightening out the mess, I've been able to put together a complete Pantone color table with Web, RGB, CMYK, Lab, and [why not] Grayscale approximations. This information is really difficult to find, and it shouldn't be. If it's useful to you, download it and save it for reference.

For everyone else: bunnies!


- Z
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Permalink: colors_in_the_air.html
Words: 94
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: a series of tubes

04/01/09 12:39 - 49ºF - ID#48254

i just can't stop

image
From the collection of the Museum of Bad Art

- Z
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Permalink: i_just_can_t_stop.html
Words: 19
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: social commentary

03/30/09 07:30 - 36ºF - ID#48244

people please

Can we quit with the shooting rampages already? Seriously.

- Z
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Permalink: people_please.html
Words: 11
Location: Buffalo, NY


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