Blog

Links

2020 Posts

How I hired my boss, or appear to have

posted: November 28, 2020

tl;dr: It looked to others like a good trick, but I didn’t actually hire my boss...

My kind of company, part two

posted: November 21, 2020

tl;dr: Final ruminations on the type of company that is the best fit for me...

Book review: How the Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone, by Brian McCullough

posted: November 15, 2020

tl;dr: An informative, entertaining history of the key events, people, and companies that made the consumer Internet revolution happen...

My kind of company, part one

posted: November 14, 2020

tl;dr: Ruminations on the type of company that is the best fit for me...

RIP: Westell’s public stock listing, 1995 - 2020

posted: November 7, 2020

tl;dr: Thoughts on Westell’s delisting and its time as a public company...

Ruminations on the causes of bad software

posted: October 31, 2020

tl;dr: Bad software has been with us forever and will continue to be with us, but why?...

Nine tips to improve your videoconferencing experience

posted: October 24, 2020

tl;dr: Look and sound your best, and be nice to the other videoconference participants, by following these tips...

What can possibly go wrong?: Videoconferencing

posted: October 18, 2020

tl;dr: Others are upset when their videoconference has issues and glitches; I’m surprised it works as well as it does...

Book review: The New Case for Gold, by James Rickards

posted: October 16, 2020

tl;dr: An international financier predicts the collapse of the global monetary system...

Finding and fixing intermittent software problems

posted: October 11, 2020

tl;dr: 7 tips and tricks for solving intermittent software problems...

Book review: The Real Crash, Edition 2.0, by Peter Schiff

posted: October 4, 2020

tl;dr: One of the few who predicted and profited from the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble describes and predicts the end of the biggest bubble yet...

What can possibly go wrong?: Networking

posted: October 3, 2020

tl;dr: The third in a series of posts on failures in computer systems and software...

Should WeChat be trusted?

posted: September 26, 2020

tl;dr: Why I advised a client several years ago not to trust WeChat as an identity provider...

What can possibly go wrong?: Software

posted: September 19, 2020

tl;dr: The second in a series of posts on failures in computer systems and software...

What can possibly go wrong?: Hardware

posted: September 13, 2020

tl;dr: The first in a series of posts on failures in computer systems and software...

Using async to overwhelm downstream servers

posted: September 5, 2020

tl;dr: Sometimes async code just overloads downstream servers or a service, causing more problems than it is worth...

Cleansing user input data

posted: August 29, 2020

tl;dr: Avoiding “garbage in, garbage out” is actually harder than you might think...

Count the data

posted: August 22, 2020

tl;dr: How the simple act of counting records solved a subtle data quality issue...

Prices can rise when demand falls

posted: August 15, 2020

tl;dr: A microeconomics-based example that illustrates how price inflation can happen during a recession...

Book review: The Best American Essays 2019, ed. by Rebecca Solnit

posted: August 9, 2020

tl;dr: A selection of twenty political essays, for the open-minded and the already-committed...

Finance during the pandemic

posted: August 8, 2020

tl;dr: The traditional rules are being violated and the world is upside down, at least for now...

Tech company hiring practices over the years

posted: August 1, 2020

tl;dr: A degree has gone from essential to beneficial but not required...

Software developer education over the years

posted: July 26, 2020

tl;dr: The range of choices and paths grows as traditional higher ed retreats...

Play with the data

posted: July 18, 2020

tl;dr: Spend time playing with the data to see what unexpected insights can be gleaned from it...

The app will take your order now

posted: July 11, 2020

tl;dr: A case study of how software automates aspects of restaurant industry jobs...

Computer games from Z to A

posted: July 4, 2020

tl;dr: From Zork to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s mind blowing to see how far we’ve come...

Book review: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019, ed. by Laura Furman

posted: June 30, 2020

tl;dr: A melancholy collection, befitting the times...

A good five-cent cigar

posted: June 27, 2020

tl;dr: Has there been inflation? Depends on how you measure it...

Book review: The Deficit Myth, by Stephanie Kelton

posted: June 21, 2020

tl;dr: Since we’re all MMTers now, I decided to learn more about what MMT is...

Living with the virus

posted: June 20, 2020

tl;dr: Cheap Trick foretold the U.S.A.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over 40 years ago...

Pandemics, pre- and post-Internet

posted: June 13, 2020

tl;dr: The Internet is lessening the impact of the pandemic but there are many problems it can’t solve...

Who would buy a negative yield bond?

posted: June 7, 2020

tl;dr: How badly do you have to fail Econ 101 to buy a negative yield bond?...

I sold my bonds

posted: May 30, 2020

tl;dr: What a great time to be selling U.S. dollar-denominated bonds!...

Python and JavaScript: multi-paradigm languages

posted: May 23, 2020

tl;dr: Both Python and JavaScript allow you to write your program in the paradigm you decide is most appropriate...

Python and JavaScript: dicts and objects

posted: May 16, 2020

tl;dr: Both Python and JavaScript provide the superpower of a built-in key-value store data structure...

Python and JavaScript: lists and arrays

posted: May 9, 2020

tl;dr: (Python_list == JavaScript_array) is not a bad approximation...

Ferreting out git branches

posted: May 2, 2020

tl;dr: The command line isn’t the best way to see branches, so you have to dig deeper...

A decision to outsource manufacturing to China, part four

posted: April 25, 2020

tl;dr: More FAQs...

A decision to outsource manufacturing to China, part three

posted: April 17, 2020

tl;dr: FAQs...

A decision to outsource manufacturing to China, part two

posted: April 11, 2020

tl;dr: The hardest part of Westell’s decision to move manufacturing to China was giving up the factory jobs...

A decision to outsource manufacturing to China, part one

posted: April 4, 2020

tl;dr: External factors played the major role in Westell’s decision to move manufacturing to China...

Sun Valley: a true classic ski resort

posted: March 28, 2020

tl;dr: Fall line skiing, in a beautiful and historic setting, make Sun Valley well worth the trip...

The genius and the black swan

posted: March 21, 2020

tl;dr: Even a genius is no match for a black swan...

Book review: One More Time: the Best of Mike Royko, by Mike Royko

posted: March 21, 2020

tl;dr: A collection of the best posts by the latter 20th century’s most popular blogger...

Sloan Park: a modern, mini Wrigley Field replica

posted: March 14, 2020

tl;dr: Sloan Park is what the Cubs should have done in Chicago with Wrigley Field...

One spreadsheet alternative: data visualization tools

posted: March 7, 2020

tl;dr: Data visualization tools can solve one of the problems with spreadsheets, namely stale data...

Python and JavaScript: dynamic and static typing

posted: February 29, 2020

tl;dr: Dynamic typing if you dare, static typing if you must...

Python and JavaScript: the joys of duck typing

posted: February 22, 2020

tl;dr: Life is easier if you can treat any object like a duck if it quacks like a duck...

Book review: The Best American Short Stories 2018, ed. by Roxane Gay

posted: February 22, 2020

tl;dr: Guest editor Roxane Gay achieves her aim by serving up twenty political short stories...

Python and JavaScript: mere scripting languages?

posted: February 15, 2020

tl;dr: One of the criticisms of both Python and JavaScript is that they are unsuitable for significant applications...

The trouble with generators

posted: February 8, 2020

tl;dr: Generators are great, if used judiciously...

The exChicago White Sox?

posted: February 1, 2020

tl;dr: It’s hard to see the White Sox staying in Chicago through the upcoming changes to the franchise...

Puzzling and coding

posted: January 25, 2020

tl;dr: The similarities and differences between jigsaw puzzles and software development...

My startup story #4: Oresis: Crash and burn

posted: January 16, 2020

tl;dr: Timing is everything: Oresis was just another casualty of the bubble bursting...

My startup story #4: Oresis: Riding the wave upwards

posted: January 10, 2020

tl;dr: The good times continued, for a while...

Book review: The Best American Essays 2018, ed. by Hilton Als

posted: January 6, 2020

tl;dr: Heavy on art criticism pieces, but still a generous serving of brain food...

My startup story #4: Oresis: Starting a startup

posted: January 4, 2020

tl;dr: It was the best of times, in the beginning...