More Goals for HBO’s Silicon Valley

After already introducing a measurement standard for compression and giving us a mathematical treatise on mass stimulation, the show Silicon Valley can already be considered as productively prolific, in addition to being hilariously comedic. Obviously, the show is capable of giving us so much more, and we should challenge them to surpass their own past achievements. So, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we expect at least one of the following challenges to be met by the end of the second season:

  1. To create the general specifications for the firmware of a “companion” robot being built by Jian, that will possess both the AI needed to pass the Lovelace test and the kinematic equations needed to pass the Linda Lovelace test.
  2. To prototype the first online bartering system and bartering message protocol, which Erlich will build for use in his new (and legal) business project WeedNeed (where people will exchange old mobile phones for drone-delivered marijuana).
  3. To develop (and then open source) a script utility that will allow you to create a customized set of VRF tables and DNS entries, which Gilfoyle will then use to create and traceroute a poem about how much Dinesh is gay for his code.
  4. To invent an accepted scoring system for the static code analysis of Java (probably by Dinesh), in which a minimum score of 90 will get you one free turn with Jian’s new “companion” robot.
  5. To create a simple package for script kiddies that exploits CVE-2014-6271, which Gilfoyle uses to replace the home page for JQuery with a picture of monkeys masturbating.

  6. To roughly outline a new method for software development called The Starving Startup, in which different planning stages of the business are devised at different levels of hunger and isolation of the designers. (Jared had an epiphany for this idea during his latest sabbatical.)
  7. To create an accurate measurement standard for image recognition, that will benchmark Hooli’s new IR system as it attempts to censor the Mad Bomber (who photobombs popular restaurant cams with his penis in hot dog buns).

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

Failed Software Stacks

Some software stacks, like LAMP, flourished…and others, well, they just didn’t make the grade.

Facebook, LUa, and KErberos

Google Wave, ASP, Sparrow, Truecrypt, and Encarta

Flat files, APache, and PYthon

Hadoop, Yo, PErl, Swift, and a Segway

Scala, a CHange purse, Java EE, and Tomcat

F#, Access, IIS, and Longhorn

NOde.js, BLOBs, JQuery, and some Oracle Bloatware

GO, AnguLarJS, Offers, Nest API, and Google Maps

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

If Web Development Met the DMV

Any U.S. citizen can describe the awful experiences which accompany the use of a DMV (or, in some relevant cases, a post office). The minutes or hours of waiting in a line, the callous cackle of laughter of a pensioned employee doing nothing in a back room, the complete apathy behind the counter, the ambient despair hanging in the air…these are the hallmarks of its routine service. However, I would still rather wait in the line of a DMV than pursue another elaborate web development project…for, at the very least, there is still a shroud of humanity left in the husk of a DMV, even if it’s barely clinging to the inside like the placental tissue of a pumpkin. I wonder, though, if we were to apply the tools and norms of web development to the DMV…it might look a little something like this:

  • Debugging: As you walk into the lobby of the DMV, you swing the door a bit too quickly, causing the hinge to be pulled out of the door’s frame. Some of the DMV employees give you paper clips and a stapler in order to repair it. In order to be a good sport, you give it a half-hearted try, and when that doesn’t work, the DMV staff understand the futility of it. Instead, they tell you to come back later; they have concluded that the whole DMV office needs to be closed indefinitely, since it will need to be rebuilt entirely.
  • Error-Handling: Later, when you approach the counter and ask for a change-of-location form, the clerk just stands there. The clerk could correct your mistake and inform you that it’s a change-of-address form, not a change-of-location form…but instead, the clerk just stands there and looks back at you.
  • Browser Compatibility: When you approach the counter about renewing your license, they inform you that the process involves interacting with several different people: a photographer, a clerk, and a test administrator. However, for each different person, you will need to change outfits, speak a different language, and rearrange the furniture in the room to his/her preference.
  • Lack of Online Help: While attempting to actually renew the license, you are defenestrated from the second floor by the test administrator (despite wearing a blue shirt, speaking Turkish, and pointing all the chairs to the southwest). When you ask other DMV attendees for their advice on how to resolve this problem, each one has a different answer, but none of them actually help you.
  • Using WordPress: Frustrated with your trips to the DMV, you finally give up and hire Toonces the Driving Cat. At first, everything works perfectly, as you only ask him to drive you to work and back home. However, when you ask him to take a different route one day, he quickly starts to become frustrated, and in a state of panic, he drives the both of you off a nearby cliff, where you both perish in a mass of twisted metal.

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

10 Software Hurdles for Google’s Self-Driving Cars

1.) All software for the cars must be developed with only Angular JS and Dart, using an IDE on an Android tablet.

2.) Since the self-driving software needs a plethora of data about a local area in order to drive properly around there, the neural network of each SD (i.e., self-driving) car will need to learn by driving over nearly every mile of the roads in its customer’s region before being used. As long as you’re comfortable with waiting several months after purchase and starting with 100,000 miles on the odometer, then the car is yours.

3.) In order to eat their own dog food, Google is looking to replace its entire Google StreetMap van fleet with the SD model. However, the car has yet to properly handle certain tasks of a Google Van, like taking embarrassing pictures of public urination/nudity and recording “random” samples of nearby WiFi traffic.

4.) Unfortunately, the SD patriarch Kit has reached a certain age where it’s harder to rise to the occasion, and in order for him to reproduce with the female self-driving cars, he will need to remedy his “dysfunction” with certain patches to his operating system.

5.) The OCR system will need to properly identify and react to any signs held by roadside people, like policemen warning of danger ahead or high school cheerleaders who are holding a charity car wash.

6.) Weather has been a persistent problem with the navigation system, especially with the presence of precipitation (including rain and snow). In order to address the problem, the SD model will need to recognize this perilous situation, and the current desired implementation will switch the vehicle into Transformer mode, where it will turn into a 5-story robot and commence walking down the highway.

7.) Unfortunately, the SD model is still a pervert, and it has a nasty habit of recording your sessions with your girlfriend in the back seat. Just skip the roadhead until it’s fixed.

8.) Currently, the OCR system has difficulty with the identification of pedestrians and bicyclists running on the roads, especially in that it records only 5 experience points when it runs a cyclist off the road. Cyclists are clearly worth at least 10 XP.

9.) Even though the system does not yet currently handle unexpected traffic lights properly, it will attempt to react to these lights in the best way possible, namely to follow the Starman Creed and run through every yellow light.

10.) For any legal infraction incurred during its driving, the software of the SD model is supposed to be able to automatically contest the ticket online. As this functionality is still pending, it will be programmed in the meantime to bust into traffic court Kool-Aid Man style and argue with the judge on your behalf.

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