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.

Steve Ballmer’s Syllabus for Next Semester

Fall 2014
Instructor: Steve Ballmer

Classroom: Stanford, Room 666
Office: My 300-room mansion on the top of a mountain
Office Hours: I’ll be available to students when the Microsoft App Store is a success
Contact Info: Kiss my bald head

Description: This course will provide business students with the knowledge and skills to plot the course of an enterprise, especially in how to navigate a product’s journey from inception to complete and utter disaster.

Organization: This is an unconventional course, in that there are actually no complete lectures. Instead, utilizing something called the Longhorn method, Professor Ballmer will start each lecture passionately, suddenly stop and postpone it indefinitely, and then return to it weeks later when everybody is past caring about it.

Course Objectives:
1.) To teach students on how a business can develop its own product line by copying from others, borrowing only the worst ideas and leaving the good ones behind.
2.) To introduce students on the best practices for ignoring technological trends (i.e., the emergence of the Internet) and scrambling to keep up with them when vastly behind the times.
3.) To acquaint students with the notion of being complacent when a business has reached a certain level of success and to prepare students on how to properly underestimate one’s competitors.

Grading Plan: Much like the historical practices of Microsoft, Professor Ballmer’s class will enforce the use of stack ranking. As a result, despite all actual grades, a guaranteed 10 percent will fail, and another 70 percent* will need to plead with Professor Ballmer for a passing grade at the end of the course.

* More than likely, the “adequate” 70% will become students at other universities and become more productive in those environments.

Required Supplies (one of each):
Surface RT
Surface Pro 1
Surface Pro 2
Surface Pro 3

Course Topics:
How to Reduce Costs by Reducing Market Share
Keep It Stupid, Simple: You Have to Spend Money to Lose Money
Pull a 360: How to Make Your Business Go in Circles and Never Really Go Anywhere
The Key to Marketing Is Confusing Commercials
Everybody Loves a Bully: Lose Respect in Your Industry by Being Hostile to Collaboration
Developers, Developers, Developers
Go Clippers

Classroom Rules of Conduct: Students are encouraged to be belligerent and assertive when participating in discussions. Any sign of weakness will not be tolerated, and those offenders will be sent to the corner of the classroom and forced to wear the Kin Beanie as punishment.

Suggestions for Success:
Professor Ballmer says “When it comes to making big decisions, just do everything in the opposite way that I did…oh, and remember to make friends with people on your dorm floor.”

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

Signs that Your Project Isn’t Making the Release Date

1.) Not only do you not have a QA machine, but your production environment has been nicknamed by everyone as “the vaporware” and has bets placed on it to eventually beat the record of Duke Nukem Forever.

2.) You are supposedly only a few weeks away from the alpha, and you’re still interviewing people for your team.

3.) When you look at the scheduling system for all employees, you see that the majority of management has scheduled vacations around the supposed release date. More importantly, due to the excruciating pain which it has endured from morons, you see that the project has gained sentience and scheduled some vacation for itself, booking a week-long stay in Aruba.

4.) When you return to the operations floor, you observe that the devops team, the sysadmin team, and the network team are still pointing guns at each other in a Mexican standoff…just as you had left them six months ago.

5.) Metaphorically, even though your company is standing on a beach and facing an approaching tsunami wave of destruction, your various directors still insist on planting flags in the sand and arguing over who has jurisdiction over the greatest number of shells. (And when the eventual happens, they will probably use your body as a flotation device in order save their own ass.)

6.) Management finally decides to deal with the low morale and the high rate of employee turnover, and in an effort to help with the problem, they install a revolving door on your floor.

7.) Near the beginning of the project, your boss would occasionally buy pizza as lunch or dinner for the team. However, with the looming release date, your boss has proclaimed eating as “wasting precious time”, and instead, he starts to liquefy all bought pizza and prep it in enlarged hamster bottles that are hanging in each cubicle. “Drink and work, my little hamsters! Hurry!”

8.) Your belated launch of the release candidate went surprisingly well (as customers have lined up for preorders), but your payment system currently only accepts Bitcoin. When you ask the eCommerce team about credit cards, they sadly shake their heads, but they do promise that the next iteration will accept Beaver Bucks from Hustler’s.

9.) The sysadmin group is starting to wear so many different hats that they’ve taken the more practical route of mounting a hat rack to their heads. (I know that you admins love the puns!)

10.) Even though the release date is just a few weeks away and your project is clearly headed for disaster, your company throws an impromptu celebration for all of your hard work, providing all the grape Kool-Aid that you can drink and some really comfortable pillows.

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.

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:


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.

Cubicle After Hours: Carnal Code and Sultry Script

(Warning: The following is sophomoric tripe that floats around the head of a professional man who should be more mature, but unfortunately, he is not. Discretion is advised. Now put on your best socks…because it’s business time.)

1.) if (open(pants) == CONST_GREENLIGHT) { wang = malloc(full_length); }
2.) bind(partner, &hands, sizeof(hands));

if (listen(partner, backlog) == CONST_SAFEWORD) { exit(CONST_BREAK_FROM_SPANKING); }

3.) less talk | more head
color: #696969;

5.) touch /etc/girlfriend &2 > /etc/pink &1 > /etc/stink
6.) Girl oGirlfriend = new Girl();
String strYourPackage = “pride”;

if ((oGirlfriend.show(strYourPackage) && (strYourPackage.length() < 6))

java.util.zip.Deflater deflater = new java.util.zip.Deflater();


7.) function watchJapanesePorn()
$(“japanese.man”).hover(function() {


8.) Woman oGirlInChangingRoom = new Woman();
Stack oPeepingTom = new Stack();


Police oCop = new Police();

List oBigCellmate = new List();

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 Other Unwanted Google Products

1.) ReAnimal – It’s a sad day when a pet dies, because we have to say goodbye…or do we? Not anymore! Through collaboration between the Google Chauffeur program and Boston Dynamics, your favorite little buddy will get a second lease on life. With the installation of some basic hardware into its body, the recently deceased can now move through your home again…although in an unaffectionate, frightening way that doesn’t faintly resemble anything organic and that will be sure to traumatize you, your spouse, and definitely your children.

PRODUCT DISCLAIMER: The second lease on life will be about a week or whenever the smell of rot becomes too much to bear.

2.) Spank Tank – Why would Google buy a Japanese robotic company and a company that specializes in robotic arms? Three words: Octagenarian happy ending. With the nascent industry of robots in elderly health care, old people still need to get their jollies, especially the Japanese. Just ask George Takei! The answer: Spank Tank. In addition to getting the best bedside treatment, nothing will arouse and satisfy your declining grandparents like staring into its lifeless face and getting an old-fashioned from its cold plastic hands. They don’t call it the Uncanny Valley for nothing!

3.) NowUKnow – Want to learn something but too lazy to do it? Wish that The Matrix was real? Well, NowUKnow kung fu, too! Using Bitspin tech, your Android phone can now instruct and teach you everything…all while you sleep! And it doesn’t cost you one dime! What’s the catch? You may find yourself buying unexpected products due to subliminal messages, and if you do happen to wake up with a bloody knife in your hands, remember that your beloved overlord Google had nothing to do with that or your recent bouts of sleepwalking. But who cares – now you can speak French fluently!

4.) Google Poo – You’ve heard of Google Fiber, right? Well, we’re talking about a different kind of fiber! With Google Poo, all subscribers to the program will finally kiss their water bills goodbye, after key equipment has been installed in their toilets. Just allow Google to monitor your #1 and #2, and in doing so, spending time in the bathroom will actually pay off! Drop off a few kids at the pool, and Zave Networks will now know to send you killer coupons for corn! Adopt a wide stance on the throne, and Viewdle can use their special tech to recognize and diagnose your hemorrhoids. Finally, your poo will work for you!

5.) StreetMap Eavesdrop – Many of us find it helpful to use StreetMap, especially to get a detailed view of a neighborhood or area. Of course, sometimes the visual dimension isn’t enough to get a clear picture. Enter Eavesdrop! Now, along with the images of your next destination, you can listen to snippets of conversation. See a street that looks enticing? Now listen to people talking on the street in order to make the final call. “I just put a wig, some lipstick, and a Fleshlight on the Spank Tank, and now Gramps and I enjoy it together.” Street avoided!

6.) Infogina – With the recent acquisition of Nest Labs, the increasing demand for smart biosensors can now be met with the help of Google’s mobile tech. Finally, after enduring an unsatisfied demand for decades, women now have the ability to monitor the pH of their hoo-ha via a mobile app on their phone. Plus, with a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, Infogina can supply real-time stats and measurements that weren’t possible before. “I just beat my old record of 20 lbs. of pressure with my Kegel muscles!” You go, girl!

7.) Adforcers – You want to get word of your product out there, but some people simply insist on staying in the boondocks, where the Internet just can’t reach them. It was a foregone conclusion that your company’s message would never reach them…until now! With the help of our new friends at Imperium, the Adforcers can arrive at the doorstep of potential clients and ‘coerce’ them into hearing your message. Using the patented Ludovico Technique, the Adforcers can ensure you that those inbred stomachs will get all tumbly-wumbly when they next see your competitor’s logo. You’ll have broken-spirited, loyal customers for life!

DISCLAIMER: They might also develop a strange assortment of fears (including phobophobia and, of course, phobophobophobia), but hey, that’s just another case of blowing the bridge. You did what you could.

8.) NoMind – Time is important to all of us, and there never seems to be enough of it. Using the technology purchased with DeepMind, Google can now provide you with the tools to give Chronos the middle finger! NoMind will monitor your purchase history and daily activities online, and after only a few days, it can take over those mundane annoyances in your life and save you hours of time. While NoMind levels your character in your favorite MMO game, trolls your favorite forums on 4Chan, and finds the best deals on Mountain Dew, you can finally reach your full potential by ‘photoshooping’ celebrity nudes and by creating the next big viral meme. Carpe diem, indeed!

9.) Google Gas – Once again, like Google Glass, you can enhance your senses! By simply inserting two metal cylinders into your nostrils and clamping them to your nose, you can now comfortably experience the world in a new way. Whoever smelt it dealt it? Not in this case! Experience the chance to pinpoint who in the room cut the cheese, to become a sensation at parties by sniffing for cancer tumors, and to blackmail your male friends when you smell a woman on them who isn’t their wife.

10.) UdderBot – With the rise of tablets and smartphones, PCs are on the decline. Why would anyone buy a PC? You might want to reconsider that choice. Enter UdderBot, the first totally biological PC! In addition to satisfying your computing needs, UdderBot can also secrete whole milk, produce methane for heating your home, provide smelly 3D printing, and can be a cuddlesome companion at night. Get one today!

DISCLAIMER: Though tempting, do not engage in bot-tipping when UdderBot is sleeping. Likewise, do not taunt UdderBot or have anything with a reddish hue in your home. Otherwise, UdderBot could be provoked into a mindless fit of rage and will likely murder your children and pets. You don’t think that a small fuzzy ball of cow flesh isn’t capable of murder? Think again, bucko.

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