Wednesday, January 13, 2010

At first it may seem worthless.

I was recently asked if I could make a simple program that when input a chunk of text would output the first letter of each word preserving punctuation. So, that's pretty much what this does. Although it sounds like a silly thing to do, it can be a helpful aid for memorizing blocks of text.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fair Use is Fairly Awesome

Putting digital rights management (DRM) technologies into music is counterproductive. It's impossible for music producers to effectively stop large scale piracy and distribution of their music using DRM (see the analog hole). However, producers can use DRM technologies very effectively to annoy and drive away customers. People would rather buy legitimate copies of the music they listen to. Provide affordable, high quality, easy to use music, and people will buy from you. It's that simple.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Internet is dangerous

Where were Little Red Riding Hood's parents? The same logic that gave Little Red her name probably sent her out through the wolf infested forest, alone, with a basket full of smelly food to Grandma's house. Of course, you would never send your child out into the spooky woods alone. But, when was the last time you let your child use the Internet without you? When was the last time you ventured out there unprotected and alone?

Luckily, Little Red was saved by the lumberjack. For your safety and the safety of your family you may want to brush up on your Internet lumberjack skills a bit. One good way to do that is to check out the Internet safety podcast. If you prefer your information in text form or you're already a seasoned veteran lumberjack with something to contribute head over to the Internet safety wiki. These are resources that can help keep Little Red Riding Hood from getting close enough to the wolf to ask him stupid questions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Linux makes me feel guilty

People are always telling me all I ever do is take, take, take. I never give back to the community. Ya well, I don't have time for that sort of stuff. Sure, I have talents and programming abilities that could be put to good use in the open source community, but I'm busy "gettin' mine." A man's gotta eat. Haven't you ever noticed that those guys don't get paid? They do make a pretty mean operating system though (It's got a penguin for a mascot and everything). As far as I can tell these open source guys live off the warm fuzzies they get from making high quality software products freely available to the masses. Here's where I contribute. It is a proven fact that everyday my usage of open source software feeds a programmer suffering from warm fuzzy starvation.* That's right, I'm a philanthropist.

*This is neither proven nor a fact.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The world is flat. Who knew?

In case you haven't noticed, the world has been changing in the last 20 years or so. Growing up I never thought anything I wrote would be read by anyone outside my immediate family. Today, literally tens of people will read this post (ignore the fact that they're still all family members). Virtually anyone in the world has access to my biased opinions and mediocre writing skills. All of a sudden, everyone is within my reach, they all live in my hometown. The world is flat again, we've gone back to Pangaea. So, how do we keep from falling off the edge?

Understanding the events, processes, and technologies that have led to our global society is critical to survival in the flat world (Start here). No one ever thrived in an environment they didn't understand. But, just knowing about something about your environment doesn't guarantee success.

You must adapt to the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities in the flat world. Companies like Dell and Wal-Mart are thriving in the new world because they have recognized (and often created) opportunities that have allowed them to break out of traditional business models and do business more efficiently. These businesses also recognize that they must continue to adapt and evolve with the changing world to stay competitive.

Just like companies must adapt and evolve so too must individuals. A lot of people are trying to push you over the edge of the new flat world. You used to have to outperform the guy in the next cubicle over to get the promotion. Now, you have to outperform all of India to keep your job. This is a pretty scary thought (it scares me anyway). Of course, the solution is to stay marketable by continuing to invest in yourself. You should always be progressing and adding to your skill set. There will always be a place for someone who is versatile and competent.

So, the world is flat, but as long as you're willing to adapt, evolve, and innovate you won't fall off. And just in case you're having a hard time seeing how much things have changed in the last 10-15 years here's a little trip down memory lane.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hackers are lame

The world is full of malicious hackers. Some of them may have government funding, but the real motivation seems to be proving they are smarter than whoever wrote whatever they're hacking. What they don't seem to understand is that no one is impressed if you hack into a website, it's not that hard and it happens all the time. If you really want to prove your superiority, create a website no one else can hack into, that would be impressive.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Women are wonderful

If you don't want to be a nurse, don't be a nurse. If you don't want to be a homemaker, don't be a homemaker. If you do want to be a scientist or a computer programmer, work hard, study, and make it happen. Unfortunately, we've created a society where it is difficult for women to develop the self-confidence necessary to break gender roles and penetrate male dominated disciplines. Everyone, male or female, old or young, black or white, should be taught to pursue the path they are most interested in. If we give people the confidence to follow their dreams we don't need to worry about encouraging or prodding them into various fields of study. Let them decide for themselves. If you want to be a homemaker, then, dang it bob, be a homemaker!