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Really Terrible Joke 2017

In honor of April Fool’s Day, please enjoy the following horrible pun:

Thanks to the tipsy tech support guy’s slurred speech, I couldn’t understand the subnet mask he tried to give me.

I told him next time, go with the non-alcoholic CIDR.

(This makes more sense if you know what Classless Inter-Domain Routing is, but it isn’t any funnier.)

Categories: "Humor", Networking

Really Terrible Joke 2016

Happy April Fool’s day! In lieu of a prank, here’s this year’s horrible pun:

Setting a world record by wrapping yourself in duct tape is possible, but it will be really hard to pull it off.
Categories: Uncategorized

Really Terrible Joke 2015

April 1, 2015 Comments off

Happy April Fool’s day! Here’s this year’s awful joke:

I replaced an ethernet cable with a live trout. I was expecting catastrophic results, but the worst it did was flip a bit.

Categories: Uncategorized

Patriotism and Patriot Day

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Photo of an ordinary honey bun and the "Patriotic honey buns" box it came out of

These are honey buns. Patriotic honey buns, if the box is to be believed. The obvious question here is, what is so patriotic about them? The answer is nothing, aside from the box featuring a flag, some stars, and the word “patriotic.” Even the individual wrappers don’t have anything special on them.

A less obvious but still relevant question would be, why do honey buns need to be patriotic? They are basically chewy bread products soaked with a sugary glaze. How would patriotism improve them? This is just one man’s opinion, but I believe that we should just let honey buns be honey buns.

I wanted to share this picture anyway, but considering the timing, I’d like to use it to lead into another point.

In the United States, September 11th of each year is a memorial to those who died in the terrorist attacks on that day in 2001. Usually I just hear it called by the date, like how Independence Day is commonly just called the Fourth of July, but it actually does have a name: According to the relevant Wikipedia article, the full name is “Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance,” but for short it’s just called Patriot Day.

I certainly don’t think there’s anything unusual, much less wrong, about having feelings of patriotism stirred up by the memory of an attack on the United States. Still, if it’s meant to be a memorial, I don’t see how patriotism improves it all that much. I’d rather just let the memorial be a memorial. There’s nothing wrong with love of country, but I don’t think it deserves top billing in the name of the day.

A Bad Solution or No Solution?

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Solving problems can be hard. There’s always a temptation to do something about a problem, even if that something is less than ideal, to meet deadlines, appease stakeholders, or just avoid feeling helpless.

There’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with implementing a partial solution. Solving part of the problem is, all else being equal, better than not solving any of it. In programming, partial solutions are an industry standard: Nearly every methodology I know of is iterative to at least some extent, and at any rate, I’m pretty sure the waterfall approach is not a good fit for any project that takes more than five minutes to complete.

There are other cases, though, when it’s better to wait until you have a complete solution before implementing anything. Take politics for instance: Iteration is extremely slow, as you have to get solutions hashed out by one or more legislative bodies and then probably turned over to other parties for final approval. This all depends on your particular form of government, of course, but if your government lets officials make decisions quickly and without opposition, I’d suggest that you may have other problems. (That’s a discussion for another time, though, and probably another blog.) Depending on the situation, it may be prudent to design a solution that can be approved and implemented in pieces, but in other cases it may be better to wait and come up with a solution that works as a coherent whole, and then work on getting that approved.

With partial solutions, the most important thing is to ensure that everyone knows it’s a partial solution. Thinking that your partial solution has solved your entire problem is one of the many ways to create a bad solution.

A bad solution is one that doesn’t work, or worse, causes more problems. Often, they get implemented without anyone (or at least the decision-makers) knowing how bad they are. Even once you know you have a bad solution, it’s often more difficult or time-consuming to fix it than it would have been to come up with a good solution in the first place.

That, for me at least, is why no solution at all is better than a bad one. When you have one unsolved problem, you have one problem and you know it. When you implement a bad solution, now you have two problems and you may well not know it. In software development, this means increased deployment time and cost, and possibly re-training users. In politics, and probably most other fields as well, you’ll face additional opposition in implementing a good solution: You’ll probably have to work to convince people that the problem isn’t really solved yet, and it’s likely that people will be too afraid of losing face to admit that the previous solution was bad. Another example is the medical field, where the damage bad solutions can do should be obvious, but I’ll leave the gory details to your imagination.

I admit there may be cases in which even a solution that does some harm might help more than it hurts, so arguably a bad solution would be better than none, though I’d think that might qualify as a partial solution rather than a bad one. In general, however, I’m pretty confident in saying that a bad solution is worse than no solution at all. It’s better to put the time and effort into a good solution than to do something for the sake of having done something.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Quick Note About My Post Frequency

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Just a note: I’m going to be reworking my post schedule a bit.

For the most part, I’ve generally been able to stick to one post a month, usually in the last few days of the month. Lately, though, I feel like it hasn’t been working particularly well.

Normally, deadlines make me more productive, but when it comes to this blog, they don’t help for some reason. I think they’re even making things works. For instance, my April post was late, and last month’s post was more like a blog maintenance note that was padded out to a full post because I couldn’t think of anything else.

I’m going to do some experimenting to try to find a rhythm that works better. I have no intention of giving up the blog altogether, but I don’t think I’ll be sticking to a rigid schedule either. I have an idea lined up for my next post, so I’ll start with that and see where it leads.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Blogging

I Just Don’t Blog on Blogger Anymore

June 29, 2014 Comments off

Several years ago, when I first decided I needed a blog, I decided to try an experiment: I’d sign up for both WordPress and Blogger and use both in parallel for a while to see which one I liked better. Eventually, had things gone according to plan, I would have written a post comparing and contrasting the two services. At that point I would have picked whichever one I liked the most, imported all the posts and comments from the loser to the winner, and stuck with a single platform from then on.

Part of the reason that failed was that I just didn’t blog that often. I’ve managed roughly one post every month since May of 2012, but before that, I just didn’t blog enough to be getting useful data about what I liked and didn’t like about each platform. The experiment, if I’d been intent on doing it right, would have required me to produce a lot of content. In reality, though, I generally avoided writing unless I had something I really wanted to get off my chest.

Of course, I did eventually start blogging more or less regularly, so that can’t be the only reason. I can think of a few others.

The primary reason is that I tried to keep similar posts on the same blog. If I wrote a follow-up post, it went on the same blog as the earlier post that inspired it. If I wrote several posts that shared a category, they went on the same blog, so people looking at the category could actually see the whole category, and not miss half of it because they didn’t know they needed to search two different blogs. This tactic, combined with the fact that I don’t write about too many different topics, resulted in my sticking mainly with WordPress.

This caused a couple of secondary effects. First, when people started finding my posts and following them, it was on the blog where most of the posts actually were. Second, since I was using WordPress more than Blogger, I wound up getting used to it and became more comfortable with it. These days, on the rare occasions when I log into Blogger, I feel just a bit out of place.

Of course, it isn’t entirely by accident that I went with WordPress. There are some ways I prefer it over Blogger.

Probably the biggest one is—or was—Blogger’s unfortunate habit of translating paragraph breaks to pairs of line breaks. I could use the

tag all I wanted in the editor’s HTML view, but Blogger would strip it out and replace it with

. I can be a bit picky about using the right HTML element for the right job, so this was a big annoyance. I just tested it, though, and apparently this is no longer the case. If this change had occurred before I got used to WordPress, things might have turned out differently. On the other hand, even now it seems to have replaced my

s with single
s, but that may be a quirk of the WYSIWYG editor. Either way I don’t feel like dealing with it.

I also like that WordPress has syntax highlighting for source code built-in. It’s possible to add it to blogger, but it takes some up-front work and using it isn’t as elegant. (I normally don’t mind a little up-front work, but not if I can get the same or better results without it.)

One more little thing I like about Wordpesss is that it lets me organize posts into categories and subcategories, whereas Blogger only has tags. I don’t really see the need for WordPress to have categories and tags, but on the other hand it’s nice to have the options.

That’s not to say that Blogger doesn’t have its advantages. For one thing, it’s a lot more customizable. It only has a handful of templates, compared to the hundreds WordPress has, but there’s a great deal that can be done to customize a Blogger template. Blogger even allows for the addition of custom HTML and CSS to the templates, and it doesn’t charge for it. (As far as I can tell, WordPress.com charges a fee for custom CSS and doesn’t allow custom HTML at all.)

I also appreciated that Blogger’s HTML view showed me the actual HTML, or at least something a bit closer than WordPress did. Even though Blogger used to modify my paragraph breaks, it would at least show me the resulting
tags. WordPress, on the other hand, replaced my

tags with a pair of line breaks in the editor, but in the actual post they’d still show up as p elements.

There’s also the fact that Blogger is owned by Google and uses the same unified Gmail/Google+ account used by all Google services. Whether that’s a point in favor of Blogger or against it will depend on your opinion of Google, but there’s something to be said for not having to manage yet another username and password.

I suppose this will have to suffice for that comparison post I said I was going to write.

As for the future of this blog, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and move everything over to WordPress.com. I’m importing all the posts and comments (or lack thereof) from Blogger to WordPress. I’ll also be removing the “My other blog” widget from WordPress and renaming the one on Blogger to indicate that WordPress is where all the current content is. Once I’m finished, WordPress will be (for the time being, at least) the canonical home of this blog.

Categories: Blogging Tags: , ,