stiff upper lip, what?

Jan. 31st, 2015 11:26 am
aralias: (Default)
[personal profile] aralias
a very british disaster movie: the kettle seems to be broken. but we keep calm and carry on - i'm making myself some tea in a saucepan.

my own personal tragedy continues as there is a boden sample sale (i have just been told) on this wednesday and thursday, and my stupid JOB is preventing me from going as i have a lot of very important meetings those days :( trying to work out whether i can get there on Wednesday before it closes at 7.

i'll obviously just buy another kettle later today.

(no subject)

Jan. 31st, 2015 10:28 am
aralias: (arthur pendragon)
[personal profile] aralias
just threw dignity to the wind (there's an unfortunately much-aired video of me as a zombie-overlord who never got to the raising zombies part of the movie, in which i utter the lines 'dignity? dignity? fuck you!' - i didn't write these lines, but someone i'm the one in our friendship group who has the piss taken out of them for it. anyway), and emailed my ex-boss hopefully still-current mentor about 2k of words about what had happened in my team since she left. no better way to start a saturday morning, eh, emma? pretty sure you must miss us.

so - that's what i've done today so far. i also read a bit more of 'corpse marker' by... chris boucher! they reissued it ages ago and didn't tell me, so you can get it on kindle for £3.95! (which i did). the paper copies still seem to be very expensive - was it a limited edition? if so, why, bbc? why would you do that? rather excitingly as well, they've done an audio recording that's out in march read by none other than........ david collings! i'll have finished it by then, but i will consider getting that version as well. really enjoying the book thus far, though carnell was in the first scene (giving the thing the odd impression of being a blake's 7 novel that suddenly remembers there's a picture of tom baker on the cover - well, not of the kindle one) and has not come back yet. i am very much enjoying it, of course.

but - just come back from reading a lot of amazon reviews of this and chris's other novels. the general consensus seems to be - dull, not much goes on (not just in this, but the others). this troubles me because now i don't know whether to seek them out or not. the chief complaint which is that there are no more creepy robots couldn't bother me less - i like the way the robots look, but what i like in robots of death is stuff like 'i heard a cry'/'that was me'. so - maybe i will finish the book and see what i think. and then maybe read another one. do PDA fans and i share the same ideas of what's good or bad? do they even share the same ideas with each other?? (psi-ence fiction has some particularly contrasting reviews). mind you, i do think what chris does best is dialogue (and character creation) so it doesn't surprise me that his powers are somewhat dulled by the novel format where dialogue is only part of the stuff he has to write, instead of all of it. his kaldor city episode is definitely worse than anything he wrote for blake, but it's also much better than the other episodes of kaldor city that i heard (and i haven't heard them all). i think. my faith in my god is shattered! or is it? i am really enjoying this book.........

anyway - i haven't posted that meme thing. i feel today's question 'Five things you can’t live without' can be pretty much answered by looking at Nine things you do everyday. also - i could live without most things except food, oxygen etc, but i'd prefer not to obviously.

1. my bb
2. cat
3. extended support network, including work people
4. the internet
5. the nhs

although to be fair to that last one, three months ago my doctor sent me for an appointment that i had to take time off work for last tuesday (i.e. it had finally come round). by the time i got there, the very cheerful greek? surgeon (who was being observed by two silent medical students) said - 'oh, seems to have cleared up... temporarily anyway. you'll probably have to come back later but for now - go home and forget about it. what are we like in the nhs? ha ha'. and i was like o_0 i defended you!

Make a dragon want to retire, man.

Jan. 31st, 2015 02:16 am
gorgeousnerd: #GN written in the red font from my layout on a black background. (Default)
[personal profile] gorgeousnerd
1. It's interesting how literal the term "juggling" feels when applied to projects sometimes. I just advanced a stage on my 1D Big Bang (and it's pretty close to completion now). I also just signed up for [community profile] bandombigbang Wave One. Up, down, up, down.

(My BBB possibly won't be done in time for Wave One, and while I'm going to try, I'm not going to push too hard - getting through 1D Big Bang has been rough because I pushed harder than I probably should have. But I have writing projects I definitely want done in February to supplement my non-writing BBB, so we'll see how it goes.)

2. Something I've been enjoying a lot lately, to my surprise - Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. It's an app game where you make a character who's ~discovered by Kim Kardashian, and you work on building a career through photographic/runway modeling, acting, appearances, parties, and a visible dating/married life. I originally DLed it in December because Sister played and wanted people around, and I figured I'd delete it in like a week, but it fits really well around everything else I do in my day and has enough of a challenge (save up enough money/K stars/energy to do what you want) without leaving me feeling super pressured to buy the in-app purchases. It's also nice to get a little Slytherin-style satisfaction when I'm feeling too crummy to do much in my life, you know?

3. A meme, if anyone's interested: Never Will I Ever meme: Name three fics you think I will never, ever, ever write. In return, I may attempt to write a snippet of one of them.

I might repost on Tumblr/Twitter later when there's more people around, but I'm really curious what people think I might not write, if nothing else.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
One of the joyous things about liberalism is how broad the swathe of people it attracts. Because the fundamental basis of liberalism is that you can do anything you like as long as you don't hurt anybody else*, there is no such thing as a liberal who agrees completely with another liberal. For instance, when you apply to become a candidate for the party locally, one of the questions on the form is "Is there any Lib Dem policy, locally or nationally, with which you disagree?". I suspect the reason for that question being there is partially to get the prospective candidate to think about whether or not (s)he is really standing for the right party, but I must admit to feeling suspicious of people who put "no" or "none".

One of the big disagreements with the party line that is being publicly played out at the moment is Alex Carlile, in the Lords, doggedly pursuing the securocrat agenda and trying to ressurect the snoopers' charter, because TERRORISTS and PAEDOS mean the whole class has to stay inside over lunch country gets no privacy. I think his position on this is utterly illiberal, and even though I respect his work in other areas**, I have reluctantly come to the position that this repeated pushing of the snoopers' charter is enough to withdraw the whip***.

However, Alex Carlile is not the only Liberal who disagrees with a plank of party policy which most of the rest of the party considers to be fundamental; this is one of the things that makes me reluctant about calling for the whip to be withdrawn. For instance: m'colleague Aremay is in favour of renewing Trident. He's totally a liberal, he just happens to like nuclear weapons. I myself think an elected House of Lords is a bloody stupid idea****. To many people in the party, this is a statement which is enough to induce pearl-clutching horror.

So, my fellow Lib Dems, this is your chance. Which bit of party dogma that EVERYONE else seems to think is fundamental to being a Lib Dem do YOU disagree with? Perhaps you think that One Member One Vote for conference is ridiculous. Perhaps you feel that we should be supporting flat taxes? Maybe even (whisper it gently) you think that Paddy Ashdown's Joke is a bit rubbish?

This is your chance. I promise I won't judge, or call for you to be kicked out of the party. Tell me, anonymously if you like*****: which party policy that everyone else loves do you hate?

*note: you're free to hurt YOURSELF as much as you like. Just not other people.
**especially legal aid and access to justice, which is something I think is incredibly important and the party in parliament haven't taken anywhere near a strong enough stand on when bloody Grayling is dismantling it.
***note: not kick him out of the party, because I AM a liberal.
****I think the Lords needs reform, I just don't think election is the way to go. I favour a jury-type system of appointment, for a fixed term. I also suspect that now I have put that, most of the comments to this post will be taken up with arguments about Lords reform...
*****although DO bear in mind my comments policy

Rose and Bay Nominations Open

Jan. 31st, 2015 04:00 am
ysabetwordsmith: (Rose-Bay)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Last call! January 31 is the last day to nominate projects for the Rose & Bay Awards honoring excellence in cyberfunded creativity. If you have not yet done so, please drop by and list your favorites.

Call for Prompts

Jan. 31st, 2015 03:59 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 LJ user Lb_lee is holding a prompt call on fear.  Leave prompts, get ficlets.

Saturday 31/01/2015

Jan. 31st, 2015 10:19 am
lhune: (3L)
[personal profile] lhune posting in [community profile] 3_good_things_a_day
1) Glorious sunshine and a clear blue sky.

2) Time to watch my recorded programs this evening, yay good television.

3) I'll brave the cold and go for a walk to enjoy the sun. 

Round 6 Opens February 1!

Jan. 31st, 2015 08:43 am
pt_lightningmod: quill pen and earbuds: the pen's ink becomes the earbuds' wire; text: mod (Default)
[personal profile] pt_lightningmod posting in [community profile] pt_lightning
Pod Together Lightning, a quickfire collaboration challenge for writers and podficcers
One Month, One Fanwork!

Round 6 of Pod Together Lightning opens on February 1! Join us for a quickfire challenge featuring collaboration between writers and podficcers!

Details and Schedule )

If you'd like to help spread the word, we have two shiny promotional banners! Just copy and paste the text in the scrollbox.

Promo Banners! )
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
At Hacker School we work on becoming better programmers, help each other become better programmers, and talk about that process. Here are some of the things I've said in that context.

On a Julia Evans post, "Fear Makes You A Worse Programmer":

Back to fear - this piece by Skud includes a bit of a horror story -- bad or missing code review led to a bad deploy which led a volunteer to drop out entirely, partly due to fear of messing up again. And here's a story where paranoia by management led to the firm going out of business.

....So the distinction de Becker makes [in The Gift of Fear] is that fear is your subconscious telling you about a genuine threat, because your intuition has put together the facts faster than your conscious self has -- whereas anxiety comes from the messages on the 10 o'clock news, racism, etc. Fear is a friend and anxiety is an interloper. If I were to use that framing, I would say that one characteristic of a mature programmer would be: she has a healthy sense of fear, and the reflex to mitigate scary risks ("we need to put this into version control NOW"), but she has control over anxiety ("people say C is hard to learn, maybe I'm not smart enough").

On choosing your own learning path:

I think you might like this reflective post by Ben Rosenbaum on "the moment in which I actually started to determine my education." (And a few current thoughts, by Indian students speaking to other Indians, that by implication say a lot about breaking expectations.) I try to be conscious of how others explicitly and implicitly guided me into certain achievement paths and avoid doing that with others, avoid making assumptions (so, for instance, I have retrained myself to avoid asking, "where did you go to college?").

On Philip Guo's post about "command line bullshittery" as a barrier to research:

I agree with Philip Guo so thoroughly, especially about the demoralizing effect of the gulf of execution, and that a leader should reduce the incidental complexity that slows down the people she's serving.

....As a card-carrying fan of Neal Stephenson's "How to Win Friends and Influence People^H^H^H^H^H^H^H In The Beginning Was The Command Line", and of [readings] on the usage and philosophy of Unix concentrating on the command line, I do not consider the command line bullshit. But Philip's right to consider the specifics of *getting research software installed and set up* as incidental complexity in the context of his students' substantive work. And that process takes place on the command line. It's like me calling the process of getting across town in Manhattan "L train bullshit"; it is good that the L train exists but arrrrgh.

On better ways to ask and answer code-related questions online (and the concept of a "yak trace," understanding the series of steps a person has taken to make something or debug a problem):

basically I think a yak trace emerges most easily in conversation with a generous interlocutor, whereas many fora online where people ask for help would prefer that help-requesters' initial speech act be delivered with the concision and throughput of a paramedic running alongside a gurney

....In my experience *building even the faintest of relationships* with the asker/user makes it a million times easier to ask the question. In IRC, for example, I've had tremendous success by *starting off saying* (roughly) "Hi [person's nickname]! I'm Sumana, [thing I do] and I live in NYC. Good to meet you, although sorry for the circumstances :/" [wait for reciprocation; most people will reciprocate by giving their name at least] "That problem sounds frustrating. Do you mind if I ask a couple diagnostic questions?" Now we are people together and not just Supplicant and Expert, and I can ask about the environment, and I can say something like "the approach you're using is sort of unusual so I want to check whether you're accidentally making it harder for yourself and there's an easier way to get the functionality you want :) " (although I can't remember the last time I had to literally explicitly say that; usually by this point they are open to talking about their process, their macro goal, etc.).

IMO the affordances of a lot of online tech-help-seeking spaces discourage this kind of necessary trust-building conversation.

In longer-term dev scenarios, understanding the user's underlying goals is a task that product managers and user experience designers have a lot of tools to do. Qualitative interviews. Ethnography. Market research. Looking at traffic stats and discovering/making funnels. IMO Val's insight about what the application developers really wanted was a user experience insight (some folks call it DX, Developer Experience, for stuff like this).

The API usability chapter in Greg Wilson's and Andy Oram's Making Software influenced my thinking thoroughly on this stuff.

Words, other than proper nouns and HTML, in this post that my in-browser spellchecker dislikes: bullshittery, arrrrgh, gurney, IRC, etc., IMO, affordances, tech-help-seeking, dev, stats, DX, API.

Snow today.

Jan. 31st, 2015 12:20 am
archangelbeth: Bleach's Captain Byakuya, three-quarters view. Captioned: sigh (Sigh)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
It was nasty-nasty this morning, and they really should've done a 2-hour delay for school, but they didn't. It was better in the afternoon -- except for some idjit who left a "threat" in a boys' bathroom which included the word "bomb," which resulted in the high school decamping to the middle school's gym (there's a connecting back road) while the cops came to look. Kid reports that someone's name was called and he was taken off with the Dean (and/or the principal).

Kid was, understandably, shaken up about it. (This is the second bomb threat evacuation this school-year -- last October, some twits were apparently emailing just about every school in New England with bomb threats.) Other kids had varying reactions, including more-upset.

I really hope that they get/got whoever did it, and that he (presumably) is going to get Talked To Effectively.

Havva Quote Video -- a couple of inking videos by one of the team who does the Namesake webcomic (Watch the lower one first. Nifty!)

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )


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