Net-Neutrality May be Dead

 

Net neutrality means:  A content producer cannot pay for preferential treatment on the network to deliver content faster to their consumers.  Also, a consumer can expect that all content delivered is not throttled and that paying more will not let any specific content to be made more available.  (I can’t pay more to add the “netflix” package to my internet connection”)

 

The topic of Net Neutrality has been discussed for years.  And for many of them, the movement has been generally in the “right” direction.  The internet is to remain open and non-discriminatory.  But lately the conversation started to hit judges dockets, and it hasn’t been going so well.

Recent FCC rulings (2010) had pointed in the right direction but didn’t strike a hard enough chord on the content provider rules… so the latest news out this month has some reversals on the language put forth in the aforementioned ruling.  These reversals are opening the door to allow providers like Netflix and Hulu to pay extra to make the rest of the internet slower.  Essentially.  If you open a fast-lane, all the rest of the traffic has less lanes to travel on.  So if they buy preferential treatment on, say, Mediacom, then all Mediacom’s customers will have GREAT Hulu speeds, but the rest of the traffic will suffer.

If the cost of entering the consumer’s home is high, this stifles new innovation (again, mentioned in the above 2010 ruling.)  Stifling innovation is not my cup of tea.  Discrimination is not my bag.  Squashing the little guy makes Brandon a dull boy…

So I learned about the debate and then I signed the petition to “save the internet”

 

Read the news that prompted this blog post here:http://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/press-release/public-knowledge-statement-on-updated-net-neutrality-rules.

Don’t let this be our future:

Surrogate database keys cause Bitcoin Exchanges to cough up cash

http://developers.slashdot.org/story/14/02/11/0015242/surrogate-database-key-not-bitcoin-protocol-flaw-to-blame-for-mt-gox-problems

 

Few people believe that there is a flaw in BitCoin’s algorithm… it’s what people do with bitcoin transactions –> cash which is problematic.  Bitcoin exchanges are, of course, just more programs.  They need to see a successful transaction occur on the blockchain and when they do, they put some money in someone’s paypal account. 

Pretty simple.  (ignoring the whole blockchain p2p bitcoin network confusion, this is just take a message, process it, send money)

But there is a piece of this process which doesn’t actually have anything to do with the transaction (the amount, addresses, timestamp), it’s an id… which can be changed and forged…  and that gets these exchanges in trouble.  They are treating the transaction ID as a proof of success.  Storing it on their database before they ever get an “Okay” from the blockchain.  Then people are “complaining” that their transaction didn’t go through.  And instead of saying “Sorry, you’re right, it didn’t…please submit another one”, they’re saying “Oh, sorry about that, here’s your money”.  It’s refund fraud on a mass level.  It required humans to make decisions to allow things that shouldn’t have happened.

Drrrrr.

Had they used the natural key of the transaction, when the nefarious attempt to re-submit a second time occurred, it would be noted as a duplicate, and rejected. 

Natural keys are best.

 

This whole post was spawned from the expectation that Mt.Gox had this happen to them.  I doubt that however.  As it would’ve required thousands of failed transactions to be customer-serviced… someone should’ve seen something fishy.   As of 16 seconds ago, some hacker groups have determined that the CEO committed fraud and actually was the perpetrator.  MtGox data hacked and published, complete with Bitcoin wallet-stealing malware

Microsoft gets new CEO, Bill Gates leaves the chairman position

Microsoft’s New CEO sends the corporate hello email.

 

 

Bill Gates pulls a “Steve Jobs” to “SAVE” Microsoft?

Guest Post – Connect the dots

Today’s guest post comes from Jessica Thurston, a talented co-worker of mine at Do it Best Corp. To any headhunters reading this blog post… no, you can’t have her, we have locked her in a cage here and never plan on letting her go.  But we do feed her well and keep a nice cot for her, so you don’t have to worry.

Jessica Thurston:Some of us were participating in a Facebook post with a past co-worker about certifications, and how they are what you make of them. They can be a piece of paper, or they can be much more to you. Just depends on how you approach your journey to achieve them. Then later I saw this image post on LinkedIn, and I thought it went with the theme of certifications.

fb29bbec-7163-11e3-baea-12313d000856-large

While Knowledge will give you the dots, actually practicing what you learn multiple times will help connect the dots with Experience. Experience is what you make of it, sure there are many different types of technologies we don’t use here (including in the Microsoft stack) . But your employer is not responsible for your experience. As Jon Fazzaro always pushed, have a pet project, make your own experiences. Now that we have the opportunity to do innovations, you can even work with co-workers or alone on helping to connect the dots on some technology.

Another opportunity that Brandon and I just experienced was #OpenHack, where you can work on anything related to technology. There is also local user groups,  Pluralsight, Microsoft Virtual Academy, and Brandon’s Web Roundtable that help at least give you the opportunity to put the dots on your map.

So go out there…. At least put some dots on your map…. And even better, try to connect them.

 

Iterative and Incremental Development–A History

“Much of present-day software acquisition procedure rests upon the assumption that one can
specify a satisfactory system in advance, get bids for its construction, have it built, and install it. I think this assumption is fundamentally wrong, and that many software acquisition problems spring from that fallacy.”

-“No Silver Bullet”, Frederick Brooks, 1986

Perhaps summing up a decade of IID-promoting messages to military standards bodies and other organizations, Brooks made his point very clear in his keynote speech at the 1995 International Conference on Software Engineering: “The waterfall model is wrong!”

In 1986, David Parnas and Paul Clements published “A Rational Design Process: How and Why
to Fake It.” In it, they stated that, although they believe in the ideal of the waterfall model (thorough, correct, and clear specifications before development), it is impractical. They listed many reasons, including (paraphrased)

  • A system’s users seldom know exactly what they want and cannot articulate all they know.
  • Even if we could state all requirements, there are many details that we can only discover once we are well into implementation.
  • Even if we knew all these details, as humans, we can master only so much complexity.
  • Even if we could master all this complexity, external forces lead to changes in requirements, some of which may invalidate earlier decisions.

and commented that for all these reasons, “the picture of the software designer deriving his design in a rational, error-free way from a statement of requirements is quite unrealistic.”

[above is an excerpt from the below linked PDF.]

I’ve heard it said that IID is less than “Agile”, that it is instead a compromise between Waterfall and Agile development.  I believe the reason for this statement is a flawed belief that a detailed project plan needs to exist which has a series of sequential steps which can be submitted as part of a project estimate.  To create timeline/dollar estimates for a system one must start detailing these steps.  The process of which artificially creates an early design specification.  Worse, a project team that egregiously attempts to use IID methodology but holds onto a “waterfall mentality” requiring a design spec begins to become muddled with cost and time estimates created by developers that don’t yet have clear vision of the whole of the system.  They will sit in a room with a list of untold/mis-stated/under expressed assumptions, stories, requirements, and scenarios, and attempt to apply hours and dollar figures to these figmental ideas of work units.  Accurately estimating individual tasks cannot occur on a 10,000ft view of an agile project.  They can only be estimated within each iteration as they are discussed with stakeholders and fully fleshed out in incremental prototypes.

Questions about how to estimate the total cost of Agile projects are questions about how to do fixed-price, fixed-scope contracts. Fixed-price, fixed-scope contracts are adversarial and often mutually disadvantageous, so I wouldn’t encourage them.  This type of contract nearly always cause badly rushed completion and baking in of final (often most important / hard to code ) features.  A follow up project is sure to arrive to fix the problems left over by the first project.  Fixed-cost, variable-scope projects can go farther down the road towards a satisfactorily delivered project, but users will never feel like they’ve got their money’s worth because they accidentally mix high priority requirements into their “wishlist” priorities and the feature gets cut to decrease scope (see above bullet list).  A systematic change must occur in an organization in order to create budgets for an agile IT department.  One where the value of the project and the ROI is considered.  A more graceful and honest way of thinking is: “If we don’t do this project, what will it cost us?  How can we break even?”, but not “How much will it cost if we do this?” or worse “We want it to do this, and are willing pay this much.”

Sources: https://www.it.uu.se/edu/course/homepage/acsd/vt08/SE1.pdf (a great read)

Estimating agile projects: https://scrumology.com/estimate-the-total-cost-of-agile-projects/

Put your mind to it.

 

Whether You Think You Can or Can’t, You’re Right
-Henry Ford

If you think something is not possible or out of your reach, you’re probably not going to commit much energy and resources to accomplishing that goal…Old habits die slowly because they are driven by an outdated mindset… In order to replace old habits though a change in your mindset, there are three steps you should follow:

1. First, begin by specifically identifying the results you want.
2. Then create and develop actions that will accomplish those results.
3. Lastly, examine your beliefs about those actions to determine if they are holding you back…

So if you want to achieve your goals, create a mindset made of beliefs that support the truth you want in your future.”

My Goals.

http://youarenotaphotographer.com/

This site does a few things

  1. Reminds me that there are really mean people out there willing to spend money to spread their negative opinions. 
  2. Reveals the fact that EVERYONE thinks they are a photographer.  Some even believe they’re worthy of having money spent on them… and aren’t. 
  3. Reminds me that if I don’t pay attention to what I post, I might end up being a case in point. 

On that last point.  When I goon a photo shoot, no less than 99% of  the images on the card are amazing immediate works of art that need no post-processing.  If you can’t shoot with that level of perfection, YOU ARE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER.

yeah right!

Without a studio environment, expensive glass, an angel on your shoulder and a pocketful of Irish gold most images will NOT come out of the camera as a ready made Rembrandt masterpiece.  I would estimate that if I shot a full day wedding.  I’d have taken approximately 600 exposures which would get trimmed down to about 300 images.  Of those 300, maybe 30 needed no post-processing before I’d ship them out.  (And I’d still be tempted to just find out if I could improve them.. )

It’s obvious that some “fauxtographers” don’t execute that level of scrutiny… and it shows in their work.  I aspire to never post a picture that could find it’s way onto a mean site like the one above.  As a matter of fact, I’m beginning to get to the point where I don’t even want to post pictures that are great, but not amazing.  Great pictures make customers happy.  But they don’t impress anyone but the client.  Amazing photographs, like the ones I aspire to create,  make everyone stop and stare.  Amazing pictures get you lost in a feeling, or take you to a place and immerses you in it.  It takes time to take your eyes off of them, and when you do, you wish you would look back. 

That is where I want to be.  That is my goal.

If you aren’t sick of Photography, you’re not trying hard enough

I mean it. If you aren’t sick of photography or film making, or needlecraft, or whatever your art is, you are not trying hard enough.

Sure, you could have a casual love affair with photography forever. Maybe you could even be obsessed with it in a way that the obsession never fades. But anyone who really dedicates themselves to their art will at some point be completely and utterly furious with the medium.

read more…

If it makes you laugh till you cry… you get it.

A Short Course In Human Relations

 


The SIX most important words: I admit I made a mistake.

 The FIVE most important words: You did a good job.

 The FOUR most important words: What is your opinion?

 The THREE most important words: Would you mind?

 The TWO most important words: Thank you.

 The ONE most important word: We.

 The LEAST important word: I.

 – Found by Professor Lela Love during her sabbatical journey in Kilkivan (Queensland, Australia) in “Choates Curios” store.

Look I got Married!!!

http://www.alleyesonyou.biz

Our photographer was the friendly and talented Suzanne Kattau-Kilcoin of All Eyes On You.  Check her out!

http://www.brandonwittwer.com/images/wedding%20pics

P.S.  I’ll be posting my own work soon.