AboutBuilding software to make the electric utility industry .05% less shitty
SkillsC#, Java, Kotlin, TypeScript, Python, etc etc etc
Joined devRant on 1/9/2020
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Structure: decades of programming in too many languages to enumerate. I lean functional, but only when the language doesn't fight it. No matter what I'm doing, my code is immutable in practice, if not paradigm.
Syntax: No one thing in particular. I code differently depending on the language.
When I start learning a language, I'll find the standard style checker and create a project where I write an example of every single rule.
The end result is generally a quick intro to the language and a bonus understanding of the hot sports opinion in said language. I call this an ocean boiler.
I lean heavily into autoformatting because I've worked on too many projects to care, and I have a general expectation that something which is important enough to make a code standard is important enough to be enforced in tooling. I'd rather spend my time solving problems that thinking about stylistics.4
And if you don't know, now you know
"Microsoft will adopt Google Chrome's controversial Manifest V3 in Edge"
They finally got him. Couldn't get him on drug charges, couldn't get him on murder, so they fall back on old faithful: tax evasion
Side note: It's hard to find a picture of johnny boy without guns or nsfw material.29
Primitive streams. Their need to exist is a monument to legacy failure.
OrElse and AndAlso short-circuiting operators. The language designers were too fucking lazy to process logic, so they give specific keywords for those cases.
Random Hebrew error messages
Eval. It can be used responsibly, but most of the times you see it it's because someone fucked up.
Lack of Tuple destructuring in argument specification. Tuples were added, and pattern matching was added, and it's been getting better. The gear grinding starts with how Tuple identity assignment in arguments is handled. Rather than destructuring into the current scope, it coalesces the identity specification into a dot property of whatever the argument name is. This seems like an afterthought given they have ootb support for ignore characters.
This will probably be remedied in the next version or two, but Tuple identity forwarding between anonymous scopes normalizes to arrays of union types, because tuples compile to typeless arrays. It's irritating because you end up having to restate the type metadata in functional series even when there is no possibility for any other code branch to have occurred.13
It looks like Olognion is shutting down due to the intersection of !money and !ads. I kind of feel like we could keep this site alive with a combination of a static site generation and/or some crowdfunding.
Subscribed to CBS all access just for Picard and Lower Decks. Made the mistake of clicking on the Comedy Central icon by accident.
Two minutes later: email ad in my inbox advertising the Daily Show and Comedy Central.
Fuck you CBS. Double fuck you Viacom.4
The solution for this one isn't nearly as amusing as the journey.
I was working for one of the largest retailers in NA as an architect. Said retailer had over a thousand big box stores, IT maintenance budget of $200M/year. The kind of place that just reeks of waste and mismanagement at every level.
They had installed a system to distribute training and instructional videos to every store, as well as recorded daily broadcasts to all store employees as a way of reducing management time spend with employees in the morning. This system had cost a cool 400M USD, not including labor and upgrades for round 1. Round 2 was another 100M to add a storage buffer to each store because they'd failed to account for the fact that their internet connections at the store and the outbound pipe from the DC wasn't capable of running the public facing e-commerce and streaming all the video data to every store in realtime. Typical massive enterprise clusterfuck.
Then security gets involved. Each device at stores had a different address on a private megawan. The stores didn't generally phone home, home phoned them as an access control measure; stores calling the DC was verboten. This presented an obvious problem for the video system because it needed to pull updates.
The brilliant Infosys resources had a bright idea to solve this problem:
- Treat each device IP as an access key for that device (avg 15 per store per store).
- Verify the request ip, then issue a redirect with ANOTHER ip unique to that device that the firewall would ingress only to the video subnet
- Do it all with the F5
A few months later, the networking team comes back and announces that after months of work and 10s of people years they can't implement the solution because iRules have a size limit and they would need more than 60,000 lines or 15,000 rules to implement it. Sad trombones all around.
Then, a wild DBA appears, steps up to the plate and says he can solve the problem with the power of ORACLE! Few months later he comes back with some absolutely batshit solution that stored the individual octets of an IPV4, multiple nested queries to the same table to emulate subnet masking through some temp table spanning voodoo. Time to complete: 2-4 minutes per request. He too eventually gives up the fight, sort of, in that backhanded way DBAs tend to do everything. I wish I would have paid more attention to that abortion because the rationale and its mechanics were just staggeringly rube goldberg and should have been documented for posterity.
So I catch wind of this sitting in a CAB meeting. I hear them talking about how there's "no way to solve this problem, it's too complex, we're going to need a lot more databases to handle this." I tune in and gather all it really needs to do, since the ingress firewall is handling the origin IP checks, is convert the request IP to video ingress IP, 302 and call it a day.
While they're all grandstanding and pontificating, I fire up visual studio and:
- write a method that encodes the incoming request IP into a single uint32
- write an http module that keeps an in-memory dictionary of uint32,string for the request, response, converts the request ip and 302s the call with blackhole support
- convert all the mappings in the spreadsheet attached to the meetings into a csv, dump to disk
- write a wpf application to allow for easily managing the IP database in the short term
- deploy the solution one of our stage boxes
- add a TODO to eventually move this to a database
All this took about 5 minutes. I interrupt their conversation to ask them to retarget their test to the port I exposed on the stage box. Then watch them stare in stunned silence as the crow grows cold.
According to a friend who still works there, that code is still running in production on a single node to this day. And still running on the same static file database.
Parents were awesome. Super supportive, gave me every opportunity. They were open-minded loving people who eschewed personal vice and property to give us a start. They never once abused any of us, and in a family with three girls, we were encouraged to break the mould. We were shown that women could be more than just support to our spouses and baby factories, and more than part time labor in family enteprise.
Thusly my ascendance to a life as an engineer was assured and fully supported by these wonderful people whose folkright earnestness never once inhibited their progressive encouragement of our success as human beings, not just professionals.
And if you believe that, I have a bridge for sale in San Francisco you might be interested in.
I wrote on this topic before it was cool 😋
2020 seems to be the year of the "dev who has never seen scale."
TypeA -> "Here's a reasoned explanation for a change I think we should make. Here is the current deficiency analysis, here is the desired resolution, here is the course of action and all calculations leading to the resolution + data. This will have x,y,z beneficial result according to our operational metrics."
TypeD -> "Those were words. Why do you need that? Change is bad, learning is worse. This will just slow me down, development speed is all that matters; there is no chance that a poorly considered/factored/checked design could ever require a ground up rewrite or fuck us utterly in the long term. Why do you make my life harder? We could x -> y -> zBUTI haven't done the math and I really don't see the benefit in x, so z is pointless. What even is scale?"
The consequences of the war caused by the ever-widening gap between engineers and developers is low key terrifying.13
Between plague and smoke, spending way too much time indoors. Localised co2 got pretty high in the office my husband and I share and opening the windows is dicey during giant spider season even before the wildfires.
So as a result, I'm starting a little indoor garden in each room. The succulent are going to be hydro, and the prayer and snake plant will get soil so I have some place to dump my coffee grinds other than the rose garden. In the next month or so we also want to set up some living moss panels to help control the nitrogen balance.
And of course, obligatory rpi sensor suite and irrigation is inbound as well. That'll be a shared project. 😸55
While reviewing a PR from one of our newer FE devs, I ended up spending more time than I would like mulling over its composition. The work was acceptable for the most part; the code worked. The part that got me was the heavy usage of options objects.
When encountering the options object pattern (or anti-pattern, at times) in complex scenarios, I have to resist the urge to stop whatever I'm doing and convert it to the builder pattern/smack them in the head with a software design manual. As much as I would like to, code janitor is one of the least valuable activities I engage in daily, and consistently telling someone to go back to the drawing board for work that is functional, but not excellent is a great way to kill morale. Usually, I'll add a note on the PR, approve it, add a brown bag or two on that sort of thing, and make attendance mandatory for repeat slackers. Skills building and catharsis all rolled up in a tiny ball of investing in your people.
Builders make things so much cleaner; they inform users what actions are available in a context; they tend to be immutable, and when done well, provide an intuitive fluent interface for configuration that removes the guesswork. As a bonus, they're naturally compositional, so you can pass it around and accumulate data and only execute the heavy lifting bits when you need to. As a bonus, with typescript, the boilerplate is generally reduced as well, even without any code generation. And they're not just a dumping ground for whatever shit someone was too lazy to figure out how to integrate into the API neatly.
They're more work in js-land, sure; you can't annotate @builder like with Lombok, but they're generally not all that much work and friendlier to use.9
Conversation between my husband and myself.
H: I ordered a game for the switch last week. It was delayed by USPS, and it looks like I got a partial refund due to it being late.
Moi: That's your mail privilege at work.
H: Did you really just make a mail pun? *Snerk*
Moi: This is why we work. ♥️7
This day I have received the most glorious news in e-pistolary form. For some years, I was suffering in support of a client who was, well, insufferable. My presence there paralleled the divine comedy in both essence and fact.
I opened the missive, expecting another plea to bail them out of whatever clusterfuck they found themselves in. Instead, what I found was something truly magical.
I hope this finds you well. I'm not sure if you remember a few years back, we were trying to decide between IBM Cloud and AWS. Well, after years of battling FF*, we're finally moving ahead with AWS. He failed one too many times to deliver anything visibly. After you left, there was no one left he could use to steal credit, ideas, and work.
FF is still pushing to have them use IBM cloud as a "warm backup" in the event "AWS fails." We will see where that goes.
I figured you'd like to know; you were the void in the wilderness for a long time. I don't want to think about how much time we could have saved if we had just listened.
This event represents a personal victory, albeit belated, over a few peoples' absurd amount of privilege. Towards the end, I was vicious about my contestation to the insanity of adopting a desperate hedge attempt-as-cloud offering from a failing company. Some examples:
// cloud 'strategy meeting'
Moi: What cloud platform are we looking at using?
FF: We're looking at IBM cloud and AWS as a second.
Moi: Why is that? I understand you're obligated to rep your offering first, but that decision doesn't seem to have the customer's best interest at heart.
FF: IBM cloud is a market leader; AWS isn't as good.
Moi: I see. I mean, that's the tech equivalent of the company's fleet management considering monkeys on tricycles as a strong competitor to service trucks, but I get what you mean.
// steering meeting
Director: Who can we look to as an example? Who is currently using the IBM cloud?
Moi: No one; they account for a single-digit portion of the actual cloud market. Their long game to sell you a "Hybrid Cloud," which means put some front end payload in a CDN, and buy n-frame units of IBM z servers for the DC with IBM gateway appliances acting as connective tissue. So it's not the cloud at all, really.
Director: How does it compare in cost?
Moi: It's generally 40% more expensive than other clouds, and it only goes higher as you option their software.
Director: What about Watson? I hear Watson is good?
Moi: It's a brand name. Most of the "Watson" product is just a facade on top of FOSS products like Spark, Hadoop, Elasticsearch, etc.
Director: Those were words. They sounded good. FF say it's good tho so we'll believe him because we're from the same city.
Moi: *deletes Director from LinkedIn*
Moral of the story: Never trust a vendor that only recommends their products.
*FF = FatFuck - an embarrassingly rotund individual whose girth is roughly equivalent to his height. He shit his way into an IBM architect position in his mid-20s purely due to winning the visa lottery. He had fake hair glued to his head for his wedding to hide his male pattern baldness; his arrange-married wife undoubtedly cries herself to sleep after sex.
**PeeEm - the then project manager, now portfolio manager of some satellite projects. An overall decent human being, capable.12
Only Jilano cares about this:
Sped up a little bit, but hey, it has Mega in it, so I'm all good.7
Article in Seattle Times this morning detailing the "Legacy of Bill Gates Sr." who recently passed away.
I haven't read it, but I assume it's basically "Owner of the bill-gates-contrib repository."3
Local coffee shop/tech book store says what we're all thinking.
This is pretty on brand. They're my favorite local book store. If you're ever in town, definitely visit.
Having some thoughts as I sit here, trapped in the house by equal parts coronavirus and a layer of smoke drowning out the sun. The smoke is a bit of an annual thing; every year, some irresponsible jerk will go out and put their convenience and enjoyment over everyone else's quality of life.
It's a bit different this year since coronavirus has given people cabin fever. Those same people who lose their minds after weeks of isolation and suffering the indignity of wearing a mask headed out into the wilderness for recreation in record numbers.
The result is record wildfires.
Where I'm at, it's mostly coming from the eastern part of our state. The area is typified by being on the mountain range's dry side, more rural, less densely populated. Towns have burned, people lost their homes, millions of acres of land will likely burn before it's over. It happens every year; people pack up, head out into the wilderness, and cause devastation due to a simple lack of common sense or regard for the consequences of their actions.
On the west side, we see the fallout in the form of days without sunlight and abysmal air quality. We also see it in cost; we will unquestionably and without hesitation contribute to eastern recovery efforts. The western half of the state will cover almost all of the damage in both taxes and recovery aid. Our local ethos demands it.
The mountains form a kind of natural barrier, both cultural and environmental. The fact that few people cross the mountains by choice is symbolic of that divide. Those who enjoy greenery and lakes and thriving vibrant nature prefer the west, as we have them in abundance. People who have a strong appreciation for distance between themselves and other humans prefer the east, as it affords them cheaper land and few urban environments.
Here's to hoping people learn from this in 2021.19
Re-instantiating the interesting bits from the other thing:
Time complexity of unsorted array equality operations. Go!23
I don't always listen to music while coding, but when I do, it's because things are absolutely unmitigably fucked and it's going to take some herculean effort to unfuck it.
I have this thing I've done for more years than my kids have been alive when shit really hits the fan and I need to show the staff the old lady can still lay waste.
Step 1: put on "the playlist," which consists of only the most aggressive 90s marilyn manson songs.*
Step 2: put on the headphones, which are noise cancelling and super bassy
Step 3: pound a monster (blue, obv)
Step 4: get super manic
Step 5: get in the zone and destroy several features or a flotilla of bugs in a single night
Step N: make absolute fucking magic
Step N+1: call in sick the next day and sleep til noon
What's your hero process?
*Content has less to do with it than the headspace I've come to associate with it and the fact I can't get drowsy with the constant aggression.14
.net 1.1 had the best documentation ever written. Microsoft spent an enormous amount of money and a dedicated team of skilled engineers just to write them. It was kind of a great time to be a developer, even though the technology is much better now. The current reliance on community docs doesn't hold up as well.2
Remember when Level3 was just a simple backbone provider and not a threat to the internet itself on account of being owned and operated by the incompetent fucks at the worst ISP in the US?
We really need some regulation that states ISPs, cable companies and telephone companies are ineligible to be backbone providers. Shit is too important.
Since we're limiting this to things on my desk I can't do any more deep cuts out of my calculator collection, but this one is still somewhat interesting.
The HP 32S was my friend throughout university, it replaced the 15c I used before which does not live on my desk. The notable thing about the 32s is the fact it's an RPN calculator. RPN calculators are the best way to have friends never ask to borrow your calculator. The exchange will start by them asking to use it, you saying sure, and them handing it back a few minutes later without saying a word.
There's two kinds of people in this world. People who go "wtf" in an interview when asked to create a calculator program using a stack, and people who were oddballs and for whatever reason used reverse polish notation devices.
For those not familiar, rather than entering values into the calculator in "10+10" fashion, you instead provide it a compositional set of values until an operation is provided (10,10,+) at which point it executes. The why is, this type of operation allows the calculator to more naturally process operations, and eliminates the need for parenthesis which makes the operations less error prone in practice and easier to track.
The 32s had a 4 year run before being replaced by the 32SII. In the same way using a Curta will give you a significant understanding of how radix computations and floating points work. Using an HP 32s (or any of its predecessors) will do the same for algebraic functions, because you had to program them yourself using a basic label address system that also had subroutine support.
Kids who grew up with graphing calculators don't know how good you had it 😋4
I guess I can do one of these a day or so. I've collected some novelties over the years.
First up is a Curta mechanical calculator. Before electronic calculators became a thing, these were the best portable calculators in the world. Notably, they were the calculator of choice in rally car sports.
They work by a series of helical gears that act as registers. A series of internal gears and value assignment switches apply an adjustable number of incrementations to those gears, multiplying gears and the tracking gears, once per "grind." The result is output as a number on top of the device. The "clear register" function is lifting the top ring, which releases the reverse lockout on the gears and a clockwise turn on the ring then resets them to their zero state.
They were designed by Curtz Herzstark, partly before WWII and partly while he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. He had filed a patent for it in 1938, shortly before his family's manufacturey became a weapons factory. During his imprisonment, in addition to nearly starving to death, he completed his plans for manufacturing of his calculator.
It had fun names like the, "pepper grinder," and "math grenade."16
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Brian Goetz. He's undoubtedly capable as an engineer, but he's also one of those 90's style neck beard jerks who is incapable of having a conversation with another human being and not being condescending AF.
That out of the way, this proposition and explanation is why I keep paying attention to him (well, maybe not entirely, he owns the direction of java, so yeah).
It's reasonable, well thought out, and gives credit where it's due. While a bit non-committal, it speaks to what good has happened to java since it moved out from under the original manager (though the original owner was still far superior).
Here's hoping we see more proposals that parallel this direction.3
This is irritating. Fuck you stitchfix. If I were convicted of a felony and did time, my odds of finding a job are basically zero. But for some reason (I can only surmise weaponized wokeness, or has an executives sex tape) they want to keep this fuck on who maliciously deletes half of Cisco's AWS service infra, pleads guilty and is looking at 5 years and $250k in fines.
This isn't even the first time their sourcing of resources has become a problem. Deloitte nailed them just last year with an audit that said their outsourcing had led to effectively no way for them to control their financials or secure customer data. And their response is apparently, double down.
Fucking MBA fucks.3
Was thinking about the things I miss thanks to the 'rona whilst coding. Restaurants are a big one (I haven't had an oyster in a dog's age). We've lost a ton of businesses recently, most of which will never be back. As much as I Uber eats and doordash, restaurants lose money on those mechanisms frequently due to the up to 30% order commission.
There's definitely a potential market for an epic games-store style player in that segment who wants to compete on cost and fees. Hard part would be the political weight that's coming down on those businesses now. It's a really shitty time to be in most businesses.
Tl;Dr There will never be a better name for a donut shop than "Hole Foods." RIP3