Monthly Archives: November 2005


Marginalism and Economism

Hmm, I guess I’m an economist :-). See Marginalism (quoted below) and In slight praise of mediocrity.

Marginalism also leads one to question the old maxim that anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. Nobel Laureate James Buchanan has suggested that an economist can be distinguished from a non-economist by his reaction to that statement.


“Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia”

Speaking of books I’ve been reading: in tandem with “The Google Story”, I’ve been taking random dips into Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It’s a lot of fun and is giving me all sorts of new clues as to how to be a better me. Mixing the reading of the two books was a good thing, too.

I won’t bother ‘reviewing’ it for you. Take a look at Rob Brezsny’s site for excerpts from and more info on the book, and a bunch of other stuff. If what you see doesn’t register as “crazy” or “terrifying” to you, then proceed to the book.


“The Google Story”

Just read The Google Story. If you’re fascinated by Google from a technological, financial, or entrepreneurial perspective, it’s worth a read.

It’s clear that the authors really like Google, Larry and Sergey, so if you want ‘balance’, look elsewhere as well (clues for further research are provided).

To me, it’s a pretty inspiring yet somewhat sobering look at the process of taking a big idea and realizing it in a big way. I see lots of little lessons about things to try and not try, and ways to get away with pissing off the established order via execution of compelling ideas.


Addressing a human

I get mildly annoyed when I hear people say “I’ll have the…” or (worse) “Gimme the…” when they’re ordering something at a restaurant. Seems like it fails to address the actual human who is taking the order. If they tended to have the word ‘please’ in there, it would significantly lessen my annoyance, because ‘please’ brings the other into it (not quite as well as “s’il vous plaĆ®t” does, though).

Though I have to say that “I would like…”, which is the phrase I most commonly use, doesn’t really address this issue either. I can’t recall if I tend to add ‘please’ or not. Anyway, I’ll have to watch myself and work on that a bit.

For your consideration,


Colored Bubbles/etc.

I never really thought about it before, but colored bubbles aren’t a bad idea. Check out the PopSci article for a story of persistence, entrepreneurship, and chemistry.


Comment spam 2

OK, now I’m trying Spam Karma, since Bad Behavior didn’t do the thing that I wanted the thing to do. So, again, sorry for any service interruptions the actual human might experience. I mean, humans.


Comment spam

I’ve been getting an annoying level of comment spam. I’ve installed Bad Behavior, which will be wicked-awesome if it works. If you get blocked when trying to submit a comment, please tell me through some other channel…


A brief catalog of things I learned for fun that later made me money

I’m thankful for… things that I learned ‘just cuz’, which later netted me some profit in my work life.

  • what drivers are and how they interact
  • how to build a PC from parts
  • how to install, administer, and run Linux
  • typing
  • 3D graphics/modelling/simulation
  • what’s underneath the covers of the Internet and Web
  • calculus
  • how to build an Ethernet network
  • x86 assembly language
  • Python
  • a number of other programming languages
  • computer audio

The list goes on… Most of my career has been a series of happy accidents combined with a general wish to align my interests and my work. That’s nice.


Oh, patents

You could claim that it’s a result of having lived in the world in which this had already been invented, or something like that, but the first time I ever thought about hot-swapping software modules, this is the basic scheme I came up with in about 10 minutes of contemplation. To think that I might be legally unable to use such a method because someone else wrote a massively oververbose document about it just seems wrong…
Real time control system and method for replacing software in a controlled system – US Patent 5421017

Patentstorm looks like it might be a useful resource.

(I happened upon this while doing the search for ‘entitization’ mentioned in the last post.)



(fun word. Do a web search on it to see all the different ways it’s used…)

I wonder how many of the ills of the world (ya know, the things that I declare to be ills) are a result of entitization, of the human tendency to spontaneously create entities. Entities want to survive, to grow, to reproduce, whether they are biological entities or the sort of virtual entities that people create, like companies, governments, jobs, committees, subdivisions, etc. We create a company to do a this or a that, but then it grows, morphs, spawns, and we find we are no longer happy with what it has become… but now we can’t easily stop it.

Whence virtual entities get their power to do these things is not completely clear, but that they do, and that it can go astray, is clear. I suspect that the power comes simply from the human act of naming the entity as such, i.e. it’s really a quirk of psychology and/or language. If that’s the case, then we can mitigate the ills by simply taking care to not create entities needlessly.

So, ya know, go do that.