Kids Are Doing What?! How Kids Are Hiding Secret Conversations under Their Parents’ Noses



When you’re developing programs that collect data, you don’t really expect to find any juicy surprises, but it’s certainly welcome when you do, especially when you uncover the clever techniques of children. As I was scraping data online to learn more about self-published titles, authors, and series, I would randomly scrutinize the pages of books in order to validate my results. In scraping data from Amazon and the like, something interesting began to manifest from underneath the covers. I began to notice strange conversations taking place in the reviews section, amid the comments of disappointment or satisfaction. There would be the occasional remark about performing an act of sex or something which mentioned fighting animals. Say, what was this about?

“Puts dic.k vin her pussy and fucks hard and fast”
“No. Three feet of my cck in your ass. ;}”

“He heard the black stallion and galloped across the grassy plain, stopping a good distance away. He reared and whinied challenge.”

As a pattern began to emerge, my interest was suddenly piqued. You can’t expect me to walk past a door that opens to an odd theme park. I’m going to step over the threshold; there are no other alternatives. As I read further, it became apparent that there were two types of activities which were taking place: game roleplaying and virtual sex. The first was fairly innocent, as the writers pretended to be animals. My initial guess was that these review sections were an online sanctuary for furries (and for the first time, I began to feel a bit of sympathy for them). The horseplay was fairly timid, but the cats converged into “clans” and fought wars with each other:

“How long have you been RPing?”
“Yup. I started out at the Hunger Game books, then got locked out of ALL of them. But my friends lead me here…curse them…I hate RP, but I can’t stop.”

“I saw…I tried making GoreClan…But only cats with bad grammar and the wannabe ‘pure black pelt with icy blue eyes’. FAIL”

The virtual sex, on the other hand, was a facetious attempt at being lascivious, and I thought that I might be reading the lost passages of Scrotie McBoogerballs. Who would attempt to reverse engineer a reviews section into a Penthouse Forum? Some kind of bored prankster? I present only one of these choice exhibits:

“Evan started to drink Cat’s pee. Evan pulled off Cat’s shirt and bra. Cat started squirting milk at Evan and her pee stream died down. Evan took one of Cat’s boobs and his tongue drew circles around her nipple. Evan pushed Cat to the ground, spread her legs, and began to lick Cat’s pussy. Cat became wetter and wetter. Her juices flew into Evan’s mouth. Cat let out a scream in delight. Cat sucked all the cum out of Evan’s cock. Evan said, ’Hey Cat. Do you wanna walk home…naked?’ ‘Yes.’ replied Cat. Evan stuffed the trash can with their clothes. Cat walked Evan home, then she walked home. The two texted each other. Evan sent her a video of him squirting cum at the camera. Cat sent back ‘LOL’ and a picture of her boobs sqirting milk. They texted all night and the next day Evan said, [END] PESTORY 4 AT STOP THE WORLD I NEED TO PEE!!!!!”

As I read the “review”, the sophomoric side of me began to chuckle a bit. Boobs…whose inner child doesn’t find something like that amusing? And, more importantly, what child-brained idiot would use such language in an attempt to titillate someone’s loins? And that’s when I began to ponder another possibility. Maybe it’s not a child-brained adult moron. Maybe, it’s just simply a child. As I began to look further at the reviews, I found all the proof that I needed:

“xD Luckeh…and talon, we were talking bout how i was waiting for my mum to take meh to the doc since im sick. Then Slaughter said that….post below yours.”

“What’s gs? That’s a beautiful name Demon. I really like it. I know a girl name [name omitted]. She had a BF, then an 8th grader said that he caught them having se<_>x. Everyone at school said she was pregnant. She was such a sweet girl…I pissed me off to hear what they said about her.”
“If peeps are making fun of you, they must be very immature. What grade are you in? Only second graders would make fun of that. Nobody makes fun of Brad Pitt.”

“DOUBLE FIST PUMP!!!! Hey my sister and I share this [device] so we’ll be posting as SoftShine and Outt. Sorry for the inconvienence, but go ahead and KILL HER!!!!!!!”

And that’s when all the pieces fell into place (especially with certain words being purposefully mangled in order to avoid detection by parental filters). Kids around the world were using the reviews sections of books on a bookseller web site to socialize through their fantasies (whether it be surreal, violent, or sexual). More than likely, I imagine that these children had parents who were trying to protect them in some way, with limited amounts of computer usage and with parental filters put on the eReader device. But anyone who remembers being a kid knows one thing: there’s always ways around an obstacle.

Upon finding their intended forum (i.e., reviews section of a book), the child would create and then update a single review repeatedly, using it as a conduit for conversation. Once they were done, their last entry would be something innocuous, like “Great book!” or “Goodbye!”…and it would be as if the lewd conversation had never taken place. They had found a WiFi detour around their parents’ intentions of sheltering them…just as I and many others had. In a way, you could say that they had done all of us proud. Unfortunately, though, some of us were less proud. As expected, some pious adults took offense to it, and they updated their own reviews in order to scold these bawdy, heretical children:

“Listen, this is very innapropriate. Please stop. I cant live a life of horror and everyone on my [device] saying stuff that you did, [name omitted]. Please stop. I am a daughter of god and i dont need to know that kind of stuff. That was very innapropriate and i can report that. But because i know that when i make a mistake, i can repent, you can fix this.”

And some of the more gentle ranks of the roleplayers were disappointed and frustrated in their sexual peers, vowing to gather and stop their brothers and sisters:

“Do you mean [device] sex? Because that is not how you spell it it is not spelled s-e-c-k-s it is spelled s-e-x. If u do mean [device] sex, dont do it. It is terrible so dont do it and dont support it. If you r against it too, go to star res 11 to help me stop it. My code name is silverleapord.”

I know that some parents might take umbrage with this sort of thing, especially with the concern that devious adults might be interacting with their children. “How can we protect our children from this awfulness? What companies and government agencies can we yell at?” Could companies do something about this issue, by blocking children from the reviews section? Possibly. But what if they actually wanted to review the book and reach others’ thoughts? More importantly, there’s a broader lesson here which should be learned by parents. With something as ubiquitous as the Internet, children will eventually find access to it and will then interact with the rest of the world. It’s only a matter of when…but it will eventually happen.

After spending a few minutes going through these humorous comments, I was generally amused and baffled at this vibrant subculture, likely created through an eReader device. As we get farther from childhood, we forget how isolated and curious children are. In that way, I found it somewhat encouraging that children still sought to push the envelope and explore, in an age where technology encourages them to be passive. Eh, as long as it stays online, who cares? Let kids be kids…hmmm…but wait a minute…then again, what if I was the author? On a more negative point, I realized that authors might not want these kids playing in the reviews of their books, since it might have an adverse effect on sales…if I found myself in that position, my more benevolent stance might suddenly switch to “Get off my lawn, you little bastards”…

…however, context is everything. There might not be a need to stifle these kids. We know that children’s creative energy needs only to be pointed in the right direction. So, let’s do the right thing here. I can imagine a situation where ribald conversations in the reviews section might actually do some good.

“Hey, kids, Uncle Pete knows a spot where all the cool kids hang out. Right over there!” 🙂

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

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Bitcoin? We Don’t Need No Stinking Bitcoin



With the impending launch of MasterCoin, we all need to seriously start thinking about the inherent possibilities which will follow its launch. As with Uber, AirBnB, and Tesla, disruption and decentralization are the key ingredients for innovation. When any man, woman, or child can create their own virtual currency, we will see a dynamic transformation of the economic landscape. We haven’t seen the topic discussed at length yet, since we are only on the cusp of this financial revolution. Fortunately, though, I have a few ideas which I’m willing to share:

1.) DixieCoin – The South will never pull down the Stars & Bars from the flag pole, and in many ways, it will never change. So, in that case, why not embrace their desire for separatism and personally profit from it at the same time?

Logo – The Confederate flag on the front, Jesus with a trucker hat and a M-16 on the back.

Projected Usage – DixieCoin will become the only viable currency for the entire southeast portion of the United States. Where DixieCoin is not yet accepted (and until proper POS systems are installed into place), bartering substitutes can be used like RC Cola, Cheerwine, and moon pies. More than likely, the largest coin mining operations will probably be conducted by Walmart, Nascar, and Hardee’s.

Benefits – For the South, they can finally achieve the proper amount of isolation for which they have yearned during the last century. For the rest of the United States, the American dollar will trounce the DixieCoin, and it will put the finishing touches on transforming the region into a permanent alternative to Mexico (i.e., cheap vacations, cheap land, cheap prostitutes, etc.).

2.) DoucheCoin – If we’ve learned anything from the latest tech fad of smartphone apps, it’s that there will always be a group of wealthy douchebags who can’t wait to conflagrate their adjacent piles of cash. Inevitably, people will want a virtual currency simply because it will fulfill the need for elitism. Enter DoucheCoin!

Logo – Skull and Bones on the front, Obama doing the Shaka Bra on the back.

Projected Usage – DoucheCoin will be accepted at all venues and restaurants with velvet ropes and/or abrasive bouncers with earpieces.

Benefits – Rich pricks around the country will finally have a currency of their own, temporarily giving them a feeling of being special and briefly filling their collective black hole. However, as their insatiable desire for exclusivity finally reaches levels akin to the likes of Patrick Bateman, competitiveness and demand will inflate the value of the currency, causing its owners to become manic and erratic. In the end, the currency will cause them to become bankrupt and/or murderous of each other, and with patience, we can all wait on the sidelines in order to buy their possessions on the cheap. And then there will be much rejoicing.

3.) NyanCoin – For decades now, various subcultures have incubated on the Internet, eventually finding their way to crawling outside and becoming a part of the real world. Furries, cosplayers, and the like only have opportunities to convene at conferences. However, if they had their own currency, they could finally create their own Nyan society.

Logo – Nyan Cat on the front, Chris Hansen on the back.

Projected Usage – Much like Galt’s Gulch, Nyan’s Nook (whose exact location is yet to be determined) would be a place that welcomed the eccentric. It would be an entire city that exclusively used NyanCoin as its currency.

Benefits – Since NyanCoin would be worthless to the outside world, the sole benefit for everyone else would be entertainment. Once its inhabitants moved to Nyan’s Nook, they would essentially be chained to the area by depending on its currency. Then, in the fashion of The Truman Show, we would install cameras throughout the city and begin watching them for entertainment, forcing some of its citizens to follow written scripts. Who wouldn’t want to see a show called Bronyman Loves Princess Peachbeard?

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

Et tu, Sci-Fi? Est tu?

Self_Pub_Titles_In_Series

As with my first and second posts, I developed a few tools in order to scrape self-publishing data from the sites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble; the data focused on new titles released within the past few months. This time, I focused on the self-published titles which are part of a series. The patterns are starting to emerge…and once again, you wound me, sci-fi authors. But who knew that photo essays had series?

On a side note, here were the top genres, when it came to the percentage of titles which were in a series:

    Women Investigators/Cops: (63.11 %)
    Dark Fantasy: (60.1%)
    Paranormal Romance: (58.3%)
    Photo Essay: (57.6%)
    Fantasy: (56.1%)

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

More Lessons from 10 Years in Corporate IT



The previous list is here.

1.) If you have a small number of valuable employees and have a surplus budget, there is no need to provide funds which will encourage them to remain. Instead, as a manager, it’s better to increase your number of subordinates and just hire a new employee (or two) who will slow down the whole team and who will sow discontent into your ranks.

2.) If one of your fellow developers leaves your company and goes on to take a superior position elsewhere (especially if it dwarfs the power of your current boss), it’s important to never speak of it at work. Ever.

3.) If a manager gets a promotion, the whole company is informed of his/her miraculous ascension within the corporate ranks via email, his/her name is written into the sky with smoke by a plane, and the day becomes a corporate holiday. However, if you’re a developer who sweated for the company and who was the primary catalyst to a project’s success, you will get a toy from a Crackerjack box and your name scrawled in the bathroom…because, let’s face it: nobody gives a shit about you.

4.) If you have a devops department which refuses to update their tools and/or platform, you should remember their ultimate goal: to preserve old software for all posterity. Even though it may reduce productivity for all developers within the company, it’s a small sacrifice to keep old software alive for generations to come. Otherwise, much like the eventual demise of trees, one day a child might look up at you and ask “What was PVCS?”

5.) When designing the architecture for a department’s platform, complexity is never to be trusted. Instead, overreaching simplicity is always a preference. For example, a dozen bash scripts (each being over 20,000 lines), a PowerBuilder app, and several unsecured FTP servers constitute a valid architecture.

6.) In order to promote egalitarianism, everyone on a team should be regarded with the same amount of respect when it comes to technical prowess. It’s all about teamwork. Even if you have decades of experience with writing scalable C++ applications on an intense trading platform, you should remember that you are no better than that one dude who can write a killer SQL query.

7.) As for your database, it is better to create tables and then ask questions later. Leave it to the next generation of hired employees to determine which dozen of them are necessary and which of the remaining thousands need to be deleted.

8.) Communication between established departments is completely optional. If there is a problem with networking but the DBAs should be involved to help resolve the problem, the two groups should only communicate if they happen to feel like it that day. On a really good day, they will talk to each other via an elongated cord and two soup cans.

9.) Forking a code base is an opportunity to optimize the performance and reliability of software in a company. More importantly, merging that code into the original trunk should be at your own leisure, with the option being of never.

10.) In order to follow Darwin’s tenets of evolutionary theory, it’s best to create a diversified population. So, it’s a mark for progress if the developers eliminate any homogeny in their collective toolset. When each developer uses a different language, IDE, and platform, we will have created true environmental harmony.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

Do They Combine Masturbation and Writing, in order to Save Time and Meet Deadlines?

SelfPub_Genres_With_Most_Prolific_Authors

As with my previous post, I developed a few tools in order to scrape self-publishing data from the sites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble; the data focused on new titles released within the past few months. Unlike last time, though, I focused on the authors instead of the titles, looking for genres with the most prolific authors. Least surprising: the authors who put their characters in fundies and write about purple-headed warriors with love pudding. Most surprising: sci-fi authors. (I won’t name the authors who obviously pump out drivel, but as a fan of classic science fiction, I hope that a sandworm consumes all of them.) Most sad: cooking authors…because nobody has yet told them about the Internet.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

Girl Coder Empowerment to the Nth Power



In order to address the gender gap within software development, Google has decided to take a step towards building a bridge, by establishing new programs that hope to create more of a balance. In doing so, Google has inspired other companies to follow suit. Seeking to avoid being regarded as less progressive than Google, these companies have created their own programs to bolster the roster of female programmers around the globe:

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Walmart : As one of the world’s premier retailer of consumer goods, the company has closely followed the emerging IoT (Internet of Things) movement. In order to fuse their conservative consumer base with some of the company’s more progressive goals, they’ve initiated the Homemaker Einstein education program. Here, cash awards and national recognition will be awarded to the winner of various challenges. Which lady will program their kitchen, so that the oven and toaster synchronize their work in perfect harmony? Or which wife will reprogram the house’s alarm system, so that it can alert her when she’s nagging her husband? Stay tuned to find out.

Hooters : Obviously, with over 75% of its staff being comprised of women, Hooters would naturally be the foremost company when it comes to female empowerment. As management explains, they deal with many technological issues, and they don’t see why their own employees can’t be educated in programming and then be the source of a solution. “For example,” explains CEO Terrance Marks, “We have tried to create the ultimate temperature control unit in our locations. How do we constantly adjust the temperature, so that the buffalo wings stay hot but our waitresses’ nipples stay pert? It’s a real problem, but I’m sure that our ladies can figure it out. Maybe a smartphone app, with a peripheral attached to pasties? I can’t wait to see what they come up with.” As a result of this announcement, Twin Peaks has also announced their own program, promising a vacation to Myrtle Beach for the first woman who can combine a mechanical bull with a Sybian.

Reddit : Refusing to let Google be the only online company with a strong dedication to issues regarding women, Reddit has stepped forward with their own version of a merits-based educational program. Noting the popularity of “/r/gonewild” and similar subreddits, Reddit has promoted the launch of a new subreddit called “/r/gonewildwithcode”. Here, women are encouraged to share pictures which feature themselves programming in naughty, revealing poses. As a reward, popular submissions will be rewarded with a new alternative to regular Reddit karma: karma cash. Upon logging onto their Reddit account, their acquired karma cash will rain down on them as an animation, and it will be redeemable at any store which sells thongs and/or cameras. “We just wanted to do what’s right,” said CEO Yishan Wong. “Hopefully, with our help, these women can advance their developer skills so that one day, they can build voyeur sites of their own and show other women that dreams can come true.”

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

The Bloody Fight for Unicode 8.0



Some people hail Unicode 7.0 for being more inclusive, with its addition of new scripts and symbols. I can only say: it’s about goddamn time! The problem is that the bureaucrats of the Unicode Consortium have dragged their feet, and we need to push them for more action. How many years and how many lives were lost for the inclusion of Linear A, before they finally gave it to us in Unicode 7.0? We need to be more aggressive! Here and now, we need to create a list of our demands for the next iteration, and we should hold them to it:

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Klingon – The army of CUR has fought for this one long and hard. This international language has become a standard for many, and it’ll only be a matter of time before Chinese is replaced by Klingon as the future language of business. It’s ridiculous that it hasn’t been included yet.

Caveman Doodles – Obviously, we need to preserve the first script of mankind, and on par with the written languages of first civilizations, the chalk renderings of horses, spears, and hairy vaginas should be noted as worthy of preservation. Consequently, sites like OKCupid will probably dump their current implementation, since this simple script will fit the needs of their clients nicely.

Kilrathi – Granted, the language only has a few words and phrases, but someday, we will learn more about this culture of space pilot cats who were the obvious inspiration for “Laser Cats!” and who were wiped out by the merciless Mark Hamill. In order to honor them, we should include and preserve their culture for posterity within Unicode 8.0.

4Chanese – Clearly, the readers of 4Chan are an important species, and we need to welcome them into the mainstream fold of society. Their script is a strange one, but with the inclusion of its characters in the next iteration, we will all be able to triforce properly without being called “newfag” and without needing to face the ultimatum of either baring our breasts or departing the premises.

Boner Emoji – Sure, this last iteration of Unicode gave us a few emoji, and some smart people are calling for more. However, there is a need which has yet to be fulfilled: boner emoji. We need pictograms which show boners at various angles (45 degrees, 90 degrees, 345 degrees, etc.) and of various sizes (thick, long, etc.). By doing so, we can have proper conversations about sexual tactics without a lengthy, verbose conversation. Finally, we’ll be able to convey the idea of “tip-to-tip” between each other without the barrier of language.

—–

This is only the beginning, but together, we can create the necessary list for the next release of Unicode 8.0. If I’m missing anything, let me know; we’ll add it to the roster. Let’s keep up the fight.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.