Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Private police protect *some* citizens

I've been meaning to share this article for a long time.   A private police force in California has different relationships with different members of the neighborhood.   Is this just temporary because of government cutbacks and desperate people in a hard economic time, or something we'll be seeing more of?

With Robberies Up, Oakland Neighbors Bring In Private Cops

The Slippery Slope of Western Decline

I've been meaning to start a dedicated blog on this topic for sometime, but it's clear that's not happening, so I'm just going to start talking about it here.  Hopefully this will get me making some more technical posts as well, but not alienate any of those readers.

We live in one of the most exciting times in human history.  Medical advances are nothing short of miraculous.   Wireless communication as reached perhaps even the darkest corners of the earth, and many people can get there with cheap transportation.  In places, food is wildly abundant, and if we put our minds to it every person on the planet could probably be overweight.

I also believe that all these advances are threatened by unsustainable growth, and human nature being what it is, we'll refuse to recognize the signs that we've gone too far, until it's too late.  I already believe that it's too late in the United States where we live.  We will slide back to a time like the great depression where large numbers would line up for free food?  We will slide back into a state where people commonly die of hunger?   We will slide back to a condition where the only people who can trust the police, or drive on roads, are the ones who can afford to pay for it?

I have no answers to any of these questions, but as I see the signs of this decay of era of "Western power" develop around me, I'd just like to point them out.  And maybe hear from those who agree or disagree with me along the way.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

This keeps getting deleted from the article on Wikipedia.  Too funny...

The song tells a harrowing tale from the perspective of a heartbroken lover, portrayed in the first-person by Eddie Murphy. He begins by questioning, perhaps rhetorically, why the female with whom he is currently participating in a relationship would want to cause him emotional pain. The narrator goes on to list extravagant items he's purchased for her, including, but not limited to: Champagne, Roses, and Diamond rings. Despite the items that the narrator has given, the female still insists on staying out all night (presumably in the company of other men). The narrator then poses perhaps another rhetorical question as to what he should do to remedy this depressing situation. The listener is then repeatedly informed that the narrator's "girl" wishes to attend nightclubs and house parties at all hours of the day and night. Later on, the narrator points out that he's acted as a voyeur and observed said female whilst she was present at an unknown nightclub. She was seen providing her telephone number to virtually every male patron of the club with whom she came in verbal contact. We are then informed that the narrator's female companion never arrives at their place of residence in the evening. Her absence is believed to be caused by infidelity, presumably with one or many of the men with whom she became acquainted earlier that evening. The narrator then goes on to wish that his female companion would have sexual intercourse with him, instead of the many other men with whom she has been copulating.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

6-7 months without a post sheesh!

Happily what's brought me back today is that my brain is on fire today.  Exciting ideas are exciting.

What's got me most excited is that I believe I've discovered a path forward in the path forward of my philanthropic life.   In my 16 years of independent adulthood I've been irresponsible in this regard.   Lots of talk, little action.  Recently, over some beers with my friend Mike Lavato we've been gas bagging about how the world's biggest problem is overpopulation.   This is a difficult problem to tackle, at least from an engineer's perspective.   All of the obvious ways to get rid of people have historically been unpopular, for obvious reasons.  This certainly makes it easier to lament the problem while continuing to do nothing.

This morning I decided to scrape the surface of the over population problem again, and I stumbled against the venerable organization devoted to solving this problem, Population Connection.   One of natural areas of focus for Population Connection is women's reproductive rights.  I became instantly enamored with this.   My left brain gets all excited about the long term impacts on the environment without the danger of unpopular topics like ZPG, while my right brain gets all excited that giving someone reproductive control impacts their lives immediately in a profound way.

I'm looking forward to getting involved with this issue, both from a charitable perspective, but also as a volunteer.

A slightly less exciting thought:  markets require some sort of inequitably.  I was initially thinking about the buying and selling of vinyl records.   If everyone valued them equally, this pursuit would simply be the exchange of records, governed by rarity of course, of the records you cared to hear.   This isn't how it works.   Sally has a stash of jazz records and doesn't know that Bob really wants some jazz records.   Instead they have to pass through a broker of some sort, who profits off the exchange.  What I'm trying to get to is that Sally's lack of knowledge about the true value of her records hurts both her and Bob, and benefits the dealer, and ultimately I'm trying to say that great economic opportunity can be found in emerging markets.   When something is readily available, and the cost is well known, you've got to be a Walmart, or a genius, to come out ahead.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Greenplum's distribution keys

Greenplum is a distributed database.  Specifically, when you create a table, it creates the same table on all it's child nodes and distributes out the data based on the key you provide.   If you omit the key, Greenplum uses round-robin to distribute the data, and you can get nodes end up shouldering too much of the load.   At ClickFox we had an issue with omitted and bad distribution keys.   I wrote this 'little' query this afternoon to generate a report on all the distribution keys.  Hopefully someone find it useful:

SELECT pgn.nspname,
FROM   (SELECT gdp.localoid,
                 WHEN ( Array_upper(gdp.attrnums, 1) > 0 ) THEN
                 ELSE NULL
               END AS attnum
        FROM   gp_distribution_policy gdp
        ORDER  BY gdp.localoid) AS distrokey
       INNER JOIN pg_class AS pgc
         ON distrokey.localoid = pgc.oid
       INNER JOIN pg_namespace pgn
         ON pgc.relnamespace = pgn.oid
       LEFT OUTER JOIN pg_attribute pga
         ON distrokey.attnum = pga.attnum
            AND distrokey.localoid = pga.attrelid
ORDER  BY pgn.nspname,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Iterative business

Just watched this Martin Fowler presentation.  It gets interesting around 10 minutes, so skip there is you're impatient.   I want to highlight when Jez asks why waste 2 years delivering something that will need to be changed when you can deliver it in 2 months and start iterating on it, so at the end of 2 years people actually got something they wanted. 

Thoughtworks presentation on continuous delivery

This is fascinating to me because my pal Worldnamer and I have always bounced ridiculous business ideas off each other, and then one day became fascinated by the guys at this site:

AppSumo tells how to build a business in a weekend

In a nutshell, while App Sumo is just selling videos full of potentially dubious information, they have a central tenant to their message, that is very parellel to Jez's idea.   Just get your business going.  It doesn't matter if it's a bit ghetto at first.  Don't waste time and money on bad ideas.  Find out they are bad quickly.

So it seems that an idea that many entrepreneurs have shared for a long time, is just now making it's way into enterprise software development.  This make me wonder how many more ideas can be lifted from the 'entrepenurial' world and applied to enterprise development.