(no subject)

May. 22nd, 2015 01:30 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I can never decide whether I'm better off for having learned about things like AI risk and Roko's Basilisk.

At least it's a more entertaining thing to worry about when my brain hits the Let's Worry About The Nearest Available Thing track.

Also I will eventually write my postapocalyptic-ish novel about the half-wild girl gang up against the weird/capricious AI that lives in the postorbital satellites and has weird plans for humanity, so there's that.

WisCon Schedule

May. 20th, 2015 02:55 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I'll be at WisCon starting tomorrow and leaving on Tuesday. I am scheduled to participate in these sessions:

  1. Imaginary Book Club, Fri, 4:00-5:15 pm in Conference 2. Five panelists discuss books that don't exist, improvising critiques and responses. I proposed this panel a few years ago (you can see video of its debut) and it has continued, which is cool!
  2. Lighthearted Shorthand Sans Fail, Sat, 8:30-9:45 am in Capitol A. What are your go-to phrasings to avoid sexism, ableism, etc. while getting your point across in casual conversation? I hope to walk out of this with some new vocabulary to replace bad habits.
  3. Vid Party, Saturday night 9:00 pm-Sun, 3:00 am in room 629. I am premiering a fanvid. Once it's premiered, I'll hit Post on blog posts to announce it publicly as well.
  4. Call Out Culture II: Follow-up to the Discussion Held at WisCon 38, Sun, 10:00-11:15 am in Senate A. Meta-discussion around discourse in social justice movements. I predict this session will be pretty intense.
  5. Vid Party Discussion, Sun, 1:00-2:15 pm in Assembly. We will discuss some of the vids shown at the vid party, and fan vids in general. This will be the first time I've engaged in public realtime conversation about fanvids. Before this panel I hope to publish some notes about what I learned from watching several vids that drew from multiple sources (including stills), made a political point, or were otherwise particularly ambitious. I'll probably reference those lessons during the panel.

I also proposed "What Does Feminist Tech Education Look Like?", "Impostor Syndrome Training Exercise", and "Entry Level Discussion Group", but am not a panelist or presenter for those sessions; I bet they'll be interesting, though, and you could do worse than to check them out. You can read Entry Level ahead of time for free online.

I look like the photo to the left. I am often bad with names, and will remember 5 minutes into our conversation that we had an awesome deep conversation three years prior. I apologize in advance.

If you are good at clothes, consider joining me at the Clothing Swap portion of the Gathering on Friday afternoon to help me find pieces that suit me. I'm introducing two old pals to WisCon and spending a lot of time with them (we live in different cities), and they're both white, so I might not be able to come to the People of Color dinner on Friday night. And sadly, The Floomp dance party on Saturday happens during the Vid Party so I probably can't attend that. I did buy a ticket for the Dessert Salon and will attend the Guest of Honor and Tiptree Award speeches on Sunday, and maybe you will be at my table!

One of my pals who's coming to WisCon is Beth Lerman, an artist who will be displaying and selling her work in the art show. Check it out!

Also I am open to doing a small room performance of my half-hour geeky stand-up comedy routine if several people ask for it. I don't know when or where it would be; Monday night would be easiest. Speak up in comments or some other medium if you'd be interested.


[Cross-posted from Cogito, Ergo Sumana]

(no subject)

May. 20th, 2015 11:49 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I am at a meeting for Summer Reading. At the break they passed a pipe cleaner out to everybody, and then we listened to Jackson Bird from the Harry Potter Alliance, and then the person who heads the library division for children with special needs, and by the time she came on I was starting to get fidgety. I moved through yelling at myself to not fidget with the pipe cleaner, to get distracted and being horrified to look down and find my folded and twisted pipe cleaner, to rushing to untwist it... and finally, it was time to explain what the pipe cleaner was for.

It was for explaining what fidget toys are and how you can give out pipe cleaners to use as fidget toys.

Apparently they are now called chenille sticks.

Mountain Goats video of the day

May. 20th, 2015 07:51 am
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim


I wrote before about the Mountain Goats' song "The Legend of Chavo Guerrero". The official video for it just got released, starring the members of the band and Chavo Guerrero himself.

I can't stop watching this.

Don't use Dropbox

May. 19th, 2015 06:29 pm
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
If Condoleezza Rice being on the board of directors wasn't enough for you, if their employees literally bullying children in San Francisco wasn't enough for you, hear me out here. I'm currently permanently locked out of my Dropbox account containing years' worth of photos because a phone repair place destroyed my phone and I had 2-factor authentication enabled. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess!

Other services, such as pobox.com, will reset 2FA if you send them a notarized letter proving your identity. Not Dropbox, though! Here's the response I received from their support team when I asked the following:
I'm surprised by this response, since pobox.com was able to reset my 2FA when I sent them a notarized letter confirming my identity. Is there a reason that Dropbox wouldn't be able to accept such a letter from me as proof of my identity?


And here's the response I received:

Hello Tim,

Thanks for getting back to me! Apologies for the delay in my response- I had passed along your request to several of my teammates to look into as well. Unfortunately, we have no method to verify your identity and disable two-step verification if you do not have any of the following:

1. a linked computer or mobile device
2. your 16-digit emergency backup code
3. a backup phone number on file that can receive text messages

As noted, for security purposes, if you can't enter the six-digit code from your phone, and you didn't store the 16-digit emergency backup code, we have no way to help you regain access to your Dropbox account. We can't turn off two-step verification for you because email alone is no longer sufficient to prove your identity. The best we can do is help you make a new account and transfer any paid credit and bonus space you've earned. But we can't transfer any files.

If you create a new account, please reply with that account's email address so that I can help you further.

Dropbox doesn't care about your data. They will deny access to your data because they're too lazy to open a letter from a paying customer. If you don't think that's okay, don't use Dropbox. (By the way, can anyone recommend a cloud backup service that cares about customer data?)
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
Someone, apparently, found this picture of me from circa 2004 and thought it would be a cool idea to post it to imgur with my full name and common Internet handle attached.

And you know what? They were right. I look fucking hot in it.

That's me. I'm him.
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
This morning I got inspired by [twitter.com profile] mountain_goats yelling at [twitter.com profile] scotte_allen and wrote a song. Scott E. Allen is the mendacious assclown who introduced a bill into the Wisconsin state legislature barring SNAP recipients from using food stamps to pay for dried beans, as well as any other foods he doesn't think are "healthy". (I don't know where he received his doctorate in nutrition.)

Sure, calling politicians "assclowns" doesn't solve any problems, but trying to control what poor people put in their bodies doesn't either. And the latter is pretty fucking personal to me, since I grew up on, and ate food by virtue of, public assistance from birth to age 16.

There are only so many synonyms for "assclown", though, so after joining in the Twitter yelling for a bit, I thought about the bigger picture and wrote this song.



Grazing yogurt pretzels
From the bins at Stop & Shop
I wonder if the creeping feeling's
ever gonna stop
Iran-Contra on TV
every single day
I don't know what's happening but
I know I'm gonna pay
Read more... )

Rust 1.0 is out!

May. 15th, 2015 10:20 am
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
A bit over four years ago, I arrived at Mozilla in Mountain View for an internship on the Rust team. That internship became a full-time job when it became clear to me that I was no longer welcome in my Ph.D program.

A year and a half ago, I left Mozilla. I've had plenty of critical things to say about Mozilla, and a few critical things to say about the Rust team specifically. That doesn't change the fact that working on Rust made me feel like I was part of something again, and that it turned how I felt about my career in software into a much more positive direction. There were ups and downs, but during the best times, working with the Rust team was the most positive experience of my professional life over the past 15 years. Not to get too sentimental, but there is a certain way in which it saved my life.

During my two and a half years on the team, the pressure to get to 1.0 and the uncertainty over what that would mean were constant presences. It was a goal that, I think, provided mostly positive stress, but I could feel the worries about when it was ever going to happen, if it was ever going to happen. Everyone who worked on Rust wanted it to succeed, but the problems that usually happen whenever several driven and creative people try to collaborate happened, and made it harder to come to agreement over what 1.0 was going to mean and when it should happen.

I haven't followed Rust development since I left, but hearing that Rust 1.0 has been released today means a lot to me even so. Congratulations to everyone involved, but especially to [personal profile] graydon2, without whom none of this would have happened.

The Blind Swordsman

May. 15th, 2015 08:57 pm
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Hi everyone. I have some exciting news to share. Nope, I'm not taking up jousting or any such thing. Although, there are 2 Renaissance places that I've gone to and really like them both. But the exciting news is this. A few days ago while perusing AppleVis, I came across a game called The Blind Swordsman. It works under Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. So I thought I'd give it a try. This game has actually been out for just over a year as of this writing, and supposedly the Mac version is just about the only accessible game for this platform, if not the only one. It's free too, which of course cannot be beat. So I downloaded a copy for myself. At first I ran into a bit of trouble starting the game, but I did get it going. As you will see, there is a security setting that has to be changed in order for this and probably other games to work on here. I really enjoy the game itself, and I've found it to be rather challenging. Perhaps this is due to my level of expertise gaming on the Mac, I'm not sure. But it is totally self-voicing and does not require VoiceOver. Here is a link to more about the game and where to download it:

http://www.applevis.com/apps/mac/games/blind-swordsman .

I'm assuming sighted people can play too.

Well, hell! Chocolate zucchini cake

May. 12th, 2015 10:20 pm
shadowspar: Final fantasy white wizard chanting while casting a spell (White wizard casting)
[personal profile] shadowspar

Welp...one of the few recipes that we use all the time that hadn't been on this blog is this one for chocolate zucchini cake. I originally found it here, and would just link people to it...except that that whole damn site is now dead of linkrot. So....

Recipe... )

(no subject)

May. 11th, 2015 11:47 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Since almost everything I've read advises against getting an MFA in fiction writing, I was pretty surprised to read The Real World vs. the MFA:

No, I do not advise waiting as long as I did to get an MFA, if you are sure that what you want to do, what you are cut out to do, is to write. What I do advise is gaining some awareness of the world, and of the people in it who are not like you, before you go into a program. And I recommend practicing your craft until your fingers bleed (metaphorically of course). And being your own toughest critic, because people—especially people who love you, and those who don’t want you to get better—will lie to you.


Sometimes I desperately want the degree and sometimes I desperately do not want to be competing for a very small number of jobs teaching creative writing and sometimes I think I do not need an MFA program to give me either writing instruction or time and space to write and sometimes I think that I could be a lot better with a little help. Even if I wanted to get an MFA it would have to be the right program, that would let me write genre stuff but push it to be really strong in terms of literary value.

Why do I have to make life decisions.
tim: A person with multicolored hair holding a sign that says "Binaries Are For Computers" with rainbow-colored letters (binaries)
[personal profile] tim
I stumbled upon this essay I wrote almost ten years ago, which I wrote in order to shake out all the laughs before writing a genuine statement of purpose.

I have edited it heavily in order to remove the more libelous parts and to redact the names of the person I was asserting I wanted to work with as well as my own name-at-the-time. Those mentions of specific people that haven't been edited out are of people who I think highly of. Really. I meant well.

I'm posting it not just because I think I'm funny, but also because the parts of this that aren't lies are a little bit revealing of the career path I actually took and I like to think that might be helpful for someone reading this who's starting out in the same field. Not that I would recommend anyone do what I did.

At the time, I said I was going to make this public once I had tenure. Since I'm never going to have tenure, I'm posting this now. And really, isn't knowing that I'll never have it a little bit like getting it, without all the hard work?

"Statement of Purposelessness".

Originally written in Cambridge, England, November 21, 2006
Heavily edited, May 10, 2015

Dear [REDACTED UNIVERSITY],

I would like to be admitted to your graduate program in order to study functional programming. I like functional languages (particularly Haskell), because they let me be as lazy as possible when I write programs, and I'm a very lazy programmer. I also like Haskell because Haskell programmers seem to be a lot hotter than other programmers on average. What can I say, I have a weakness for guys with ponytails. The only problem is that there aren't enough women who do Haskell, but the men are girly enough that that kind of makes up for it. I mean that in a nice way.

I want to attend your university and work with [REDACTED] because few other professors are as successful nerds as the one I aspire to be. I hope to learn from him about how to title papers with ridiculous puns, take off my shirt during talks, and still be respected by more or less everybody. I would also like to learn from him how to get a cushy industry job during the tech bubble and then retreat back to a cushy academic job when the bubble bursts.

I've achieved my current state of programming language enlightenment by being stubborn, unimaginative, lazy, and foolish, so I plan to stay on that horse and ride it to the finish line. 13 more paragraphs )

In summary, please admit me to [REDACTED UNIVERSITY] because if I don't get into your school, and don't get into Cambridge either, I'll probably have to go to Portland State [**], and people will laugh at me. Then again, I might end up working in the operating-system-in-Haskell project if I went there. So like I said, people will laugh at me. Also, if you don't accept me, I'll [REDACTED SERIES OF CRUDE THREATS AND BOASTS WHICH NO LONGER REPRESENT MY VIEWS ABOUT WOMEN]. No, but srsly, I would like to be IN UR UNIVERSITY IMPLEMENTING UR LANGUAGEZ, because god knows the faculty aren't going to do it.

Love,
[REDACTED NAME]
aged 25 11/12


2015 footnotes:
[*] This seemingly-incredible statement was based on working in the Valley during the dark hour between the 1990s tech bubble and the San Francisco-based tech bubble.
[**] The redacted university either rejected me, or I never even finished the application. I honestly can't remember. I wasn't even planning on applying to Portland State when I applied to [REDACTED], instead applying at the last minute in March, so really, the joke's on me.
tim: A person with multicolored hair holding a sign that says "Binaries Are For Computers" with rainbow-colored letters (binaries)
[personal profile] tim
It's so great to be able to go out to lunch with a couple of white guys between ages 22-39 and talk about nothing but compilers the entire time. I don't even mind that nobody ever seems to stop to breathe long enough for me to ask a question about something I don't understand. Really, I can just learn about this by osmosis.

I'm here at my desk at 8:30 PM on a Friday night because of my passion for my work.

I'm here at my desk at 8:30 PM on a Friday night because I'm even doing work at all.

// TODO: Fix this later.

I can totally listen to this meeting and isolate this bug at the same time.

It's so liberating that I can have a beer at 5 PM without even leaving the office. Or have one with lunch. Or have one when I come in at noon and lunch is the first meal I'm having that day.

I know I came in at noon, took a long lunch, and now I'm leaving at 4:30, but I'll just do some more work on Caltrain.

I'll just move to the South Bay to be closer to work even though most of my co-workers are hundreds of miles away anyway. It can't be that bad.

I'll just move to San Francisco to be closer to work, I mean, 50% of my take-home pay is a small price to pay for living in paradise.

I can totally commute from Berkeley to Alameda without a car.

Working in San Mateo? That'll be great! It's the heart of Silicon Valley (would Po Bronson lie to me?)

Living in Monterey will be great, I can go to the beach every day after work and it certainly won't be mainly for staring at the sunset and crying.

I guess I'll just live in Salinas because I can't find an apartment in Monterey that I can afford, because how bad can it be to share a house in a cul-de-sac with an ex-Marine?

Erlang is pretty similar to Haskell, after all.

I can cope with listening to the most senior engineer on my team have slapfights with the management every single time he's in the office. I mean, it's not like he's yelling at me.

Continuing to work in the same office with someone who I know sent anonymous threats directed at me will be totally fine. I mean, it's still better here than anyplace else in Silicon Valley.

Working support will be great -- I'll finally have the emotional energy to work on open-source projects after hours, which is absolutely what I want to do with my free time.

Nah, I don't mind walking to the mailbox to mail these CD-ROMs to the customer. It'll be a nice chance to stretch my legs. What, you say the customer never even uses the CDs so I can just send them blank discs? Great, even easier!

You say your company doesn't need to care about diversity because it's a meritocracy? That's a totally valid point of view. Can you tell me about the stock options again?

Fly to Japan because the customer refuses to open up a port so we can ssh into their machine to figure out what's going on? Sure, I wouldn't mind doing that.

I think it's totally cute and funny that you start conversations with all your employees about sex work and porn at the lunch place next to work, but explicitly say the conversation is ending now so you don't get sued for sexual harassment as soon as we walk back into the office. I mean, I know you're doing it to make your Muslim employees uncomfortable rather than to make me uncomfortable even though you think I'm a woman, so it's all good.

I don't mind reimbursing you $30 for the "business lunch" at Buca's that you assumed you would be able to expense even though your team is only 3 people and the company is a worker-owned collective that's losing money.

You don't need me to do that task either because you can do it yourself? All right, cool, I'll just spend this internship writing on LiveJournal and staring blankly at papers on logic programming. It's what I wanted!

Sure, I'll totally work on that PLDI paper with you.

Yeah, I definitely want to write the second version of a package manager whose first version was an abject failure, that'll be a good way to save my career.

Yeah, I can certainly write an entire package manager from scratch in three months, especially since it's pretty clear that your plan is to fire me if I fail to do that.

Sure, I'll be in at 10 AM tomorrow.

a dream of escape and return

May. 9th, 2015 11:20 am
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Long complex dream where I was traveling and was a spy to keep tabs on someone on the trip with us. Horrible moments realizing he was covered in blood or had some weird plague. There was scuba diving. I can't remember what was scary other than fearing to be discovered as the spy. Woke up, calmed down with tea on the couch.

When I went back to sleep I was back in the dream, but in an airport buying a new outfit to tide me over as my baggage was gone. I returned to the vacation place and found that we had forgotten all sorts of things. Piles of clothes, gadgets, food, medicine, and an entire half-packed suitcase on wheels. The spy target guy (still sometimes accidentally revealing his bloody wounds) was suspicious of my return. I chattered about things to distract him while I re-packed my baggage.

I remember one moment finding a pile of different pain meds and thinking they weren't mine but they were strong and powerful. Maybe I would take them. I then decided not to take them, thinking that, hey, if I wanted these I could ask my doc. I pictured my very kind doctor saying, "But, you could have just asked me and told me your pain was worse and you needed them, like we talked about" and so I did not take the boxes of pills and injectible painkillers. (Also picturing what it is like to be arrested in the airport.)

There was another moment in this seaside hotel where I took a walk outside, and made it my goal to go down a dark pathway by the beach, until I got to the street some way off up a little hill. It seemed impossible. But my ankles did it and I felt strong. I couldn't believe I had made it all the way to the street. Amazing! How did my ankles get so strong? I was glad it was dark. What if someone saw me walk it and then accosted me over why I wasn't walking like that all the time?

Brought to you by the Ministry of Obvious Dreams.
Page generated May. 23rd, 2015 10:15 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios