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.

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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.

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:

—–

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:

—–

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); }
else
{
kill(PID_PARTNER_OH_NO_AN_ACCIDENT);
exit(CONST_PANIC_AND_RUN_TO_MEXICO);
}

3.) less talk | more head
4.) CSS_STYLE_ORGY
{
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))
{
oGirlfriend.chuckle();

java.util.zip.Deflater deflater = new java.util.zip.Deflater();
deflater.setInput(strYourPackage.getBytes());

pants.close();
}

7.) function watchJapanesePorn()
{
$(“japanese.man”).hover(function() {
$(“japanese.girl”).squatsClevelandSteamer();
});

$(this).myself.feelShame();
}

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

oPeepingTom.peek();
oPeepingTom.pop();
oGirlInChangingRoom.shriek();
oPeepingTom.clear();

Police oCop = new Police();
oCop.catches(oPeepingTom);

lock(oPeepingTom)
{
List oBigCellmate = new List();
oBigCellmate.insert(oPeepingTom);
}

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

Good Developer Idea, Bad Developer Idea



Good Developer Idea: As part of the open culture at a struggling SaaS startup, you give a developer the admin rights to your build and deployment servers.
Bad Developer Idea: You forget to eventually take those rights away when you go into production, and when the Feds come to raid your offices, you learn that the developer has used your servers to host a “Man Seeking Horse” dating site. (Even after you elaborate on how horses can’t use computers, the developer still stands by his idea.)

Good Developer Idea: Create a library that has reusable, generic code for your group.
Bad Developer Idea: Let the least-qualified lunatic in your group take ownership of it and ruin its whole purpose. “So, with the latest changes, you pass your name into the class constructor (like “John”), and the class executes only your code instead of the code that was written by you or Bob. See? It’s shared and reusable. Now leave me alone to snort my lines of molly.”

Good Developer Idea: Writing to log files from your UNIX program or script.
Bad Developer Idea: Porting that program or script to Windows and still writing large log files in the years B.C. (Before Cygwin). On the plus side, when you opened a 100MB+ file, you gained another hour of personal downtime for yourself.

Good Developer Idea: In order to demonstrate a particular method or style, share a project with one of your junior developers/admins and let them use it as a template.
Bad Developer Idea: Forget to stress that the variables in the configuration file are not supposed to stay the same. “Thanks for letting me use your project. Look! My new project ‘PurgeTableData’ works! What did you say about database properties in the config file? More importantly, what’s a config file?”

Good Developer Idea: In the face of a new project being discussed, you argue against the suggestion of an off-the-shelf proprietary technology that doesn’t really fit your company’s needs.
Bad Developer Idea: Even though you may be right, they press you for an alternative, and you don’t have one. Consequently, you are forever known as ‘the whiny bitch’ among your peers, and they force you to wear a burqa in the office as a reminder.

Good Developer Idea: When attempting to find a new candidate for your development team, encourage other developers to be a part of the hiring process and to provide input.
Bad Developer Idea: Not using discretion as to which developers that you encourage. “Okay, so I would eliminate the first guy, since he puts the opening bracket on the same line as the function declaration. Only idiots do that. And the chick…well…we know chicks can’t code. So that leaves the weird guy who carries around his dead, taxidermied daughter. Now that guy can code! I would pick him.”

Good Developer Idea: Working with management, you help to eliminate the method of stack ranking your fellow employees, ensuring that each one is evaluated on individual merit.
Bad Developer Idea: You forget to take into account that they are all essentially worthless, and based on the new system, they are all fired. In turn, they find out where you live, and they burn your house down.

Good Developer Idea: While at Scrum meetings in the company conference room, you use the whiteboard to create a visual map of the next iteration in your project.
Bad Developer Idea: In order to make room, you clear the current board in haste, and without thinking about it, you erase the cartoonish doodle in the corner of the board. When the CEO and his 6-year-old come to the conference room later (so that the kid can proudly show the doodle), the kid erupts with tears. In order to make amends, for the rest of your life, you must now give the kid and the CEO a piggyback ride whenever the both of them are in the office together.

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

Fun Ways to Repurpose Web Tools



1.) Convince investors from a third-world country that a mashup of MailHooks and RequestBin is going to replace texting in the near future.

2.) Start to create JSFiddle examples as substitutes for your blog posts and convince hipsters that “they need to catch up”.

3.) If you own a company, use Mirrorrr to pull down and create an exact replica of your competitor’s site, except for the added endorsement of NAMBLA on every page.

4.) When that asshat down the hall wants to “inspect” (a.k.a., “copy”) your code yet again, be sure to be a team player and give it to him…just be sure to run it through UrlEncode right before you do. If he asks you about it, tell him that you’re “l33t” and that’s how you code.

5.) Recommend HostTracker to your less tech-savvy relatives, telling them that it will protect their Facebook page like a junkyard dog and will call the cops on anyone who unfriends them.

6.) Install Fiddler onto the computer of your boss without him being aware. One day, launch it and proceed to convince him that it’s a monitoring tool planted onto his machine by the NSA. If he just gives you $20K, a gun, free hardware, and 2 months of vacation, you’ll be able and willing to put a stop to it.

7.) Play pranks on friends, asking them to help debug HTTP Posts which come to your web site. Using MailHooks, make sure that any Post ends up calling emergency services, so that your friends end up swatting themselves.

8.) Reroute your network configuration so that all addresses point to Necrohost.

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

Data Armageddon: When Users Define the Schema



Some people are advocates for the extended participation of stakeholders when it comes to implementation, but I would advise caution against that. Why do I say so? Because like some others, I’ve seen the results…

Let’s say that your company has a plan to eliminate the redundancy of existing data in several departments, by creating one schema which is to be shared among the many. After several weeks of collaborating in a state of perpetual confusion, the stakeholders of your project have met on their own without you (despite your repeated warnings of violence towards them). Together, they have stupidly consolidated their tables of sewage and finalized the schema for one massive failure that they plan to share:

Product Table

Column Name Type Example Description Notes
Product ID long 123456 The ID of the product.
Name string WidgetPlus The name of the product.
Manu_Name varchar(1024) Acme, Inc. The manufacturer of the product.
Manu_Name_Inv varchar(1024) Inc., Acme The manufacturer of the product, with its name inverted. Bob requested this column, since his group has a bunch of COBOL programs that nobody knows how to change.
Manu_Name_Bck varchar(1024) .cnI, emcA The manufacturer of the product, with its name backwards. Due to a medical condition, Steve can only read the names of companies if they’re backwards.
Product_Type varchar(256) WIDGET The type of the product.
Product_Type_2 varchar(256) WIDGET The type of the product…again. Nobody knows why it’s needed, but if it’s not there, all the legacy systems in the inventory group will implode into a massive black hole and consume us.
US_Price currency 3.99 The price of the product.
All_Prices clob (Huge XML file) The price of the product in every available currency. The finance department needs this list of prices. The values will be static, which probably won’t be a problem. Exchange rates don’t change, right?
Misc blob (Random data) A dumping ground for extra data. If anybody needs extra space to put shit, just spread your cheeks and plop it here. What could go wrong?

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

Quotes from an Outdated, Ignorant DBA



“I started to learn about MySQL, but I stopped. Somebody told me that it had been ruined by some chick developer named Maria. Are there any pictures of her out there? I heard that she’s hotter than Cassandra.”

“NoSQL, huh? How does that work? Can I just plug my Kinect into my computer and create some tables by waving my arms?”

“Finally! They’re releasing version 11.0.1 of Paradox. I’m gonna be at the launch party at my friend’s house. It’s gonna rock so hard.”

“Yeah, I’ve had some problems with sharding myself. Luckily, whenever they’ve popped up, there’s always been a McDonald’s or a public bathroom nearby.”

“Should I start getting into MySQL or PosterOgreSQL? I’ve heard that both are pretty good. What’s with the name of the latter? Was it used inside World of Warcraft?”

“Some of the suits asked me to start looking into this Memcached stuff. I don’t see what the big fuss is about. I can’t even create a schema in it with a DDL file.”

“I heard that the other departments in the company are starting to use MongoDB. They keep talking about storing the data with some dude named Jason. You know him?”

“I want to put my databases in the cloud. So, I got them all wrapped up in boxes and ready to ship. What’s the address for the Azure building?”

“Everyone talks about Javascript, so I’m gonna give it a try. I’m having a hard time connecting to a database. Are there some drivers that I need to install?”

“One of the brass keeps insisting that we use open source software for our infrastructure. I keep telling him that we already do. They’ve opened the codebase for Btrieve, right? What do you mean ‘what’s Btrieve’, you stupid punk?!?”

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