So why did she get fired?

A Twitter Message About AIDS, Followed by a Firing and an Apology –

By Saturday afternoon, Ms. Sacco was no longer an employee at IAC. The company’s statement also said:

There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally. We hope, however, that time and action, and the forgiving human spirit, will not result in the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core.

[Yes, I know why she got fired. But I’m askin’ “why did she get fired”. If they know her to be a “decent person at core” then shouldn’t they have forgiven this misstep? Nah, it’s clearly expedient for the company to remove a social liability… Jobs are complicated things but it always concerned me that most companies have no moral compass of their own. Might there not have been an alternative to “off with her head?”

And BTW, don’t join a mob, you cannot control the outcome and it’ll rarely be what you expect.]

Shameless Carriers

Shameless Carriers:

I don’t know if Stephenson is speaking out of cultural deafness or cynicism, but he’s obscuring the point: There is no subsidy. Carriers extend a loan that users pay back as part of the monthly service payment. Like any loan shark, the carrier likes its subscriber to stay indefinitely in debt, to always come back for more, for a new phone and its ever-revolving payments stream.

I was told as much by Verizon. In preparation for this Monday Note, I went to the Palo Alto Verizon store and asked if I could negotiate a lower monthly payment since Verizon doesn’t subsidize my iPhone (for which I had paid full price). Brian, the pit boss, gave me a definite, if not terribly friendly, answer: “No, you should have bought it from us, you would have paid much less (about $400 less) with a 2-year agreement.” My mistake. Verizon wants to be my loan shark.

In the meantime, AT&T has finally followed T-Mobile’s initiative and has unbundled the service cost from the handset. If you pay full price for your smartphone, an AT&T contract will cost you $15 less than with a subsidized phone on a 2-year agreement. This leads one to wonder how long Verizon can keep its current indifferent price structure.

All this leaves carriers with conflicted feelings: They like their iPhone salesman but, like short-sighted bosses who think their top earner makes too much money, they angle for ways to cut commissions down.

On the other side, Apple’s teams must be spending much energy finding ways to keep generating high monthly revenues for their “victims”.

[This system remains quite a mess. Almost as bad as the same folks supplying us our Internet connectivity….]

Jim Hall, Jazz Guitarist, Dies at 83

Jim Hall - Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

Jim Hall, Jazz Guitarist, Dies at 83 –

Jim Hall, a jazz guitarist who for more than 50 years was admired by critics, aficionados and especially his fellow musicians for his impeccable technique and the warmth and subtlety of his playing, died on Tuesday at his home in Greenwich Village. He was 83.

The list of important musicians with whom Mr. Hall worked was enough to earn him a place in jazz history. It includes the pianist Bill Evans, with whom he recorded two acclaimed duet albums, and the singer Ella Fitzgerald, as well as the saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Paul Desmond, the drummer Chico Hamilton and the bassist Ron Carter, his frequent partner in a duo.

But with his distinctive touch, his inviting sound and his finely developed sense of melody, Mr. Hall made it clear early in his career that he was an important musician in his own right.

He was an influential one as well. Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield are among the numerous younger guitarists who acknowledge him as an inspiration. Mr. Hall, who never stopped being open to new ideas and new challenges, worked at various times with all three.

[Looking at the list of musicians mentioned here, it as impossible to ignore Jim Hall as an influence while taking Jazz and guitar playing seriously 30+ years ago. He was incredibly melodic, musical, and minimalist and remains refreshing to listen to all the time. Sure Pat, Bill, Sco, Mike and others were great influences, but they all pointed back to other players, especially non-guitarists. but one guitar player they all mentioned was Jim Hall. Finest Kind.]

That ain’t trivial in my book…

Meet Revolv, The Missing Link To The Modern Smart Home | TechCrunch:

The device is not without flaws. The Revolv’s current logic doesn’t recognize multiple smartphones. If I happen to leave the geofenced areas, the Revolv doesn’t know that my wife happens to still be in the house and doesn’t want the temperature to drop to 62 degrees. But those are trivial annoyances in an otherwise fantastic device.

[Really a “trivial” annoyance? Seriously people, get a grip. There’s nothing trivial about that problem. A complete non-starter for me and my first world problems.]

Generate HTML from a Folder of Markdown Files

Generate HTML from a Folder of Markdown Files:

I have some Markdown files that I’m editing and I wanted to generate a folder of HTML files. I looked around on my machine and was surprised I didn’t have anything at hand for that already.

So I wrote a script. I’m a Ruby novice, and it’s quite likely that my Ruby is weird in a dozen different ways. But the script still might be useful to you. (The script requires the RDiscount gem.)

[one of my faves is to turn those if/then statements into guard clauses:

so this: if extension == ‘.markdown’ then return true end


return true if extension == ‘.markdown’

Just a personal fave, nothing more. I find them easy to read.]


Amazon Drones, Pre-Lobbying, and fly by shootings

Amazon Drones and Pre-Lobbying:

Kevin Roose, writing at NY Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer:

So far, people seem to think that Amazon’s incipient drone-delivery program, which was announced to great fanfare on 60 Minutes last night, is either a short-term publicity stunt designed to draw attention to Amazon on Cyber Monday, or a long-term publicity stunt meant to convince us of “Amazon’s indomitable spirit of innovation,” while not actually requiring Amazon to do anything yet. (Since, by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s own admission, there’s no way the FAA will allow unmanned aircraft to deliver Amazon packages before 2015.)

Instead, I think Bezos is up to something much more practical. By unveiling a huge drone program in progress, he’s sending a message to the FAA regulators and Senate committees who are currently considering how unmanned aircraft can be used commercially. And that message is: Don’t even think about getting in our way.

I think it’s all those things. Of course it’s a stunt. Of course it remains vaporware. But I really do think Bezos wants to build and deploy these things.

[Considering how every year there’s a raft of stories about how much working in an Amazon warehouse sucks and how by promising so many jobs they get huge tax breaks that are ultimately anti-competitive etc. that drones of any sort fit in the scheme. There’s also been stories about the Kiva robots that would replace all the folks complaining about how much it sucks. And Amazon continues to improve the density of the packing in their warehouses by organizing items in the warehouse for “packability”, which means items unrelated by “what” they are are in bins together because you can fit more items in the space that way. All of which points to a computerized robotic future that, of course (!?!), includes drone delivery. I’d be hugely surprised if they’re not working on systems for 3D printing of various items as well. It only makes sense form that sort of forward looking approach.

I do not claim to know what “jobs” the workforce being displaced will be able to fill, but maybe we need to fundamentally reconsider the role of the individual contributor anyway. If the work is as difficult as it seems (boring and physically demanding), maybe we’re better off not having people do it. But I’ve got nothing beyond that…]

Source: Daring Fireball

OTOH, another approach:


I don’t own any guns, but the Amazon Air drones tempt me to buy a rifle. It would be so much fun to sit on my front porch and shoot at the drones as they buzz by.

It’s cold today in Ballard but the sky is marvelously blue. Today I’d put on a ski cap and grab a bottle of good whisky and do my part to keep the sky clean.

I might argue it’s a matter of collateral damage. I don’t know how I could tell Amazon’s harmless, happy-day drones from Google’s real-time people-watchers — or those of the police or the NSA. It’s best to shoot them all down.

Or I might argue that it’s just plain fun. So much fun.

[I’d also add that I’d probably come to hate the drones pretty quickly considering my current thoughts on leaf blowers. I’d adjust my weapon of choice to a shotgun though, it would increase the odds in my favor considerably. And no, I don’t think Brent is serious, or would mix alcohol with firearms. but you’ll have to ask him. Jim commented: “Seriously, how are they going to stop people from shooting them down. It’s got to be a problem, right?” What stops people from shooting at things now? (an arguable position depending on where you live and what you see being shot).]