I had no idea baseball teams played so many games. I’m in SF for the week, and the office I’m working in overlooks the stadium parking lot. Every single day, I’ve watched it fill up, crowds streaming across the bridge to the stadium – in the middle of the afternoon on a work day, at that. Is this normal? Do baseball teams really play games pretty much every day? I had imagined it was like once a week or something.
June 25, 2015
June 23, 2015
That was a long time ago now, over a decade at least, and I am periodically shocked by glimpses into a world that has continued developing broadly and quickly, and which no longer much resembles any of the stuff I used to work with. I suppose the old mainframe hackers must have felt like this, as they watched the microcomputers take over.
The first of today’s jolts was a thread on Hacker News about a new standard for virtualization containers. I understand what virtual machines are and some of the reasons why people use them, and I know a fair bit about the low-level mechanics that make them work, but it’s clear that web people have taken the whole thing far beyond all that because I just can’t wrap my head around containers. I am ignorant of the problem they are designed to solve, and so I can’t really grasp – from the descriptions – what it is they are intended to do, or why that would be useful.
The second was a presentation about a piece of security analysis software, which started with a series of extremely startling claims about the product’s capabilities. I was running ahead with what I know about debuggers and low-level machine operations trying to figure out how they had accomplished these things… but of course the reason they can detect these things is that they’re not analyzing what I would call “applications” at all, but rather web services, and web services written in Java or .NET at that. And suddenly the whole thing seemed trivial, because of course you can analyze anything you want when you can play god with the virtual machine! Which is not to diminish the engineering work they did to make it happen, just to reduce it from the domain of magic. It seemed clear, at that moment, that I must be thinking about software from a sufficiently different perspective to their intended audience that they could reasonably expect people to understand the implied limits on their description as they apply to web programming.
I’m not really unhappy about this state of affairs, since I’m still not interested in working on web software, and I’m still not having trouble finding work in the field of what I still, with increasing quaintness, think of as “normal software development”. But it is clear that the world around me is changing, and I’m not seeing anything like a return to the kind of robust, resilient, democratic distributed architectures I want for the future of the Internet. It makes me wonder how long I can keep on holding out, and how long it will take me to catch up if the day comes that I have to hold my nose and jump in.
An exploration of planetary science: working out a design for a system containing the greatest possible number of habitable planets and moons.
June 18, 2015
June 15, 2015
Whistler/Blackcomb is going to try to preserve the Horstman Glacier by feeding it with artificial snow.
Yeehaw, climate change.
In other news, the flotilla of “kayaktivists” has been doing a pretty good job at keeping the Polar Pioneer bottled up in the Puget Sound. The GPS track shows a steady cruise northward but it’s been going in circles off Bainbridge for a few hours now.