A blog of rants, screeds, and other nonsense

…hastily written with love…

  • How do Google Captchas help train neural networks

    Q: I heard that the Google Captchas are used to train their neural networks so they can identify things like traffic lights, etc. How does this work since our thought process is in our brain?

    Original question

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  • I Support Ex-Homophobes

    You know what I want in the world? I want people that are on the other side of political issues to change their mind. I want them to “see the light”.

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  • Bash Env Variable Defaults

    In my previous blog post I explained a trick for setting bash env variables when you run a script. In this post I discuss how to write bash scripts that handle such variables properly.

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  • Setting env variables in /bin/bash

    If you want to set an env variable in bash for only 1 command, here’s some bad ways to do it:

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  • All I Do Is Play With Strings

    A poem I wrote earlier this year.

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  • Who Builds The H-Bomb? Not I!

    • “Who Builds The H-Bomb?”
    • Mark Levy, December ‘81
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  • How Biden can win like Obama

    I have a theory that 3 things lead to Obama’s win. He surprised the GOP three ways.

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  • Google Meets and Sneezes

    Dear Google Meets,

    We need to talk about your product.

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  • A Good Sign

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  • Working at home with dogs

    Most of my company works remote, and with C-19 we are now all working remotely.

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  • Terms and conditions

    Section 1 Cookies: We reserve the right to set cookies and use use services that set cookies. Hell if we know what happens after that. Even if we had legal agreements with those external services, we wouldn’t trust those third parties to abide by the agreements. Nether should you. Section 2 Log retention: The web server we use logs all incoming requests (“traffic logs”) just like any reasonable web server software. read more

    • Primaries 2024

      Wouldn’t it make more sense if the early primary states were picked from the battleground states of the previous election instead of being a fixed set of states? For example, the top 5 battleground states go first.

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    • On requiring experienced presenters to rehearse

      There’s a small controversy brewing behind the scenes at conferences because of this trend to require speakers to rehearse their talk via video conference prior to the event.

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    • Clayton Christensen has died

      Clayton Christensen died on Jan 23, 2020 at the age of 67.

      You may know him from his 1997 best selling book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail.”

      He was incredibly influential, well beyond the typical author.

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    • How to spell the word "Bisexual"

      I wrote this in Oct 1999. I’ve fixed up some typos but otherwise this is unchanged.

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    • Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr and technology

      My Martin Luther King, Jr. day tradition is to listen to the speech he made at my alma mater, Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey, on Feb 5, 1964 (nearly a quarter century before I attend).

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    • The President Has Been Impeached

      This is a sad day for our country. Impeachment is a “last resort”. The fact that it has come to this shows what a sorry state our democracy has become.

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    • A Star Wars Episode I memory

      With the 9th and finalchapter of Star Wars arriving, here’s a memory from when I saw the premier of Star Wars: Episode I, the Phantom Menace.

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    • Did Google just have their Osborne Moment?

      Do you know about The Osborne Effect?

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    • Communicating Using the Numbers 1, 2, 3, and more

      The human brain reacts differently to lists of different sizes. When we align what we say with what the human brain expects, we are more effective communicators.

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    • How to encourage people to ask questions

      One cool trick to get an audience to ask more questions: Silence inspires questions.

      When you ask “Any questions?” be silent for least 10 seconds for someone to speak up. 15 seconds is better.

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    • Those Two Dozen Republicans Should Be Arrested

      When the two-dozen GOP senators disrupted Laura Cooper’s deposition, they didn’t just create a publicity stunt… they created a security hole that every spy agency in the world could take advantage of.

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    • Comcast's concern is that they can't fuck you hard enough

      Comcast’s #1 concern is that if they can’t fuck you hard enough.

      Or, as Vice reported it, Comcast Is Lobbying Against Encryption That Could Prevent it From Learning Your Browsing History.

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    • Tom's Rules for Conference Organizing

      These opinions have been developed from 3 decades of attending and organizing conferences. This advice applies whether a conference non-profit or for-profit, all-volunteer or professionally run, community-driven or commercial.

      Time is precious. A bad conference wastes people’s time. As as conference organizers you owe it to the attendees to make sure their time was well-spent.

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    • How to fix a conference? Rehearse Your Speakers

      (Are you a speaker? Read this instead.)

      The single biggest thing you can do to improve your conference’s content is to require all speakers rehearse their presentation two weeks prior to the conference, via video conference, with someone that has not seen the talk before. Everything else is spinning your wheels.

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    • How Not to Unit Test

      Dave Cheney started a Twitter discussion about when a unit test is not a unit test.

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    • Million Dollar Computer-Controlled Drilling Machines

      When I was in 8th grade I got a job working for a small company that was a reseller of electronic drilling and measuring equipment. I was just the office boy… mostly doing paperwork, shipping, and occasional data-entry.

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    • It's time for Chocolately

      Increasingly, vendors understand that the inability to rapidly deploy their products affects the customers’ ability to rapidly purchase their products.

      (quoted from Page 152 of The Practice of System and Network Administration, Third Edition)

      I believe I first wrote that quote in 1999 when the first edition was still in draft form. That was 20 years ago. I’m embarrassed to say that in the last month I’ve had to remind two different vendors of this fact.

      Any vendor that thinks automated installation is a new concept… sigh.

      So what does that have to do with Chocolately?

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    • This is crap: Trump Economic Advisers Dismiss Fears of a Brewing Recession

      Today’s CNN headline is “Trump economic advisers dismiss fears of a brewing recession” (link).

      What crap.

      If they were honest they’d be saying:

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    • Reduce the maximum validity period for TLS/SSL server certificates

      Question: What would be the impact on your organization if the CA/Browser Forum approves a ballot reducing the maximum validity period for SSL/TLS server certificates from the current 825 days (27 months) at present to 397 days (13 months), effective for new certificates issued on or after March 1, 2020? (Existing certificates will remain valid for their full term).

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    Tom Limoncelli

    Tom Limoncelli

    Recent Posts

    1. Facebook’s Metaverse Doomed to Fail
    2. Automating an un-automatable access issue
    3. How to disable stable-diffusion’s safety filter
    4. Usenix LISA is no more. Here’s my retrospective
    5. My new ACM Queue column: Operations and Life




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