Tuesday Apr 05, 2011
Monday Dec 01, 2008
Friday Jul 11, 2008
By sommerfeld on Jul 11, 2008
I purchased a product from DVRupgrade. I received it.
But against my implicit wishes and without any explicit informed consent they also subscribed me to their newsletter. After I unsubscribed, they then hounded me via additional email to provide a testimonal about my experience.
So, here you have it. I wanted a product, not an ongoing relationship (and certainly not additional swill in my inbox).
I recommend that you buy your tivo upgrades from someone else instead.
(Just for the record, I want them to conform to best practices for customer email address handling: don't subscribe me to mailing lists I didn't ask to join, don't make me unsubscribe from lists I never wanted to be on, don't keep pestering me after I unsubscribe, and don't keep pestering me with insincere apologies after I complain about being pestered).
Friday Jun 13, 2008
By sommerfeld on Jun 13, 2008
So, one of the things I've chosen to opt out of in life are "social networking" sites -- linkedin, orkut, facebook, evite, etc. I don't trust them. It doesn't entirely matter why. I just don't trust them -- please don't waste your time trying to convince me that they're ok.
And if the only way I can get invited to parties is to accept email from evite, I'll happily stay home by myself.
Unfortunately, a fair number of people (typically those who don't know me very well) think that just because they
I really don't understand this -- in my mind, it's horribly rude to give my contact information out to a commercial third party without asking me about it first. And I don't really put much stake in official privacy policies - if they don't owe me anything, they have no incentive to prevent my email address from being leaked to spammers, identity thieves, and similar pond scum.
So, if you want to get in touch with me, do so directly using your own email account or phone. Don't indirect through sites like orkut, evite, linkedin, etc.; I generally route mail from such sites directly to /dev/null because it annoys me.
And if you want to be respectful of others, don't assume that they have the same privacy preferences as you -- check with them before you give their email addresses to third parties, no matter how wonderful and saintly you think those services are. They might not trust the service. They might have another email address that they'd rather use with the service. Just take the time to ask individually first!
Friday May 09, 2008
Tuesday Jan 29, 2008
By sommerfeld on Jan 29, 2008
Greg wasn't a close friend -- just someone I crossed paths with now and then, starting when I was a confused and clueless froshling at MIT. He sticks in my memory as a very friendly, approachable and helpful person who could be relied on to give good advice and make me (and many others) feel at home in the high pressure environment of MIT.
I ran into him again perhaps ten or eleven years ago when he was showing off his new toy -- the first generation Palm Pilot. I was sold almost immediately.
And I vaguely recall running into him when I was in a orchestra accompanying a large-scale choral work; he would have been singing, I had my trombone.. but for the life of me I can't remember what groups were involved or what piece we were doing.
Others have written far more about him; his brother's Live Journal page is probably the best starting point.
Monday Dec 10, 2007
By sommerfeld on Dec 10, 2007
When I use my laptop at home at my desk, I usually have it plugged in to a port replicator. I have wireless but I need to plug in for power anyway.
When I undock to use the laptop in a different part of the house, nwam brings up the wireless and uses the same client ID with the wireless interface, and the DHCP server gives it the same address. There's a brief period of about 4 seconds when bits don't move, but no manual intervention (aside from the physical act of plugging/unplugging) is necessary.
And when I bring the laptop back to my desk and plug it in, the reverse transition is also automatic.
Monday Nov 26, 2007
By sommerfeld on Nov 26, 2007
So, I signed up for FiOS TV a week ago. They promised an install date of today, which I thought was a little fast.
Turns out I was right.
The installer shows up, looks around, and says that some outside wiring prep work that should have happened didn't. What's worse, the outside wiring folk apparently closed their install ticket saying "all set" when there is no evidence that there actually is an available tap in the cable anywhere near my house (the installers spent a bunch of time staring up at the poles and wiring before concluding that "construction" needed to be called to make a tap available).
Wednesday Nov 07, 2007
By sommerfeld on Nov 07, 2007
Friday Nov 02, 2007
By sommerfeld on Nov 02, 2007
So, there's this hot new newage-y (I think that rhymes with sewage-y) concept being bantered about by certain people called "Stop Energy". It seems that it's been used primarily as a non-rebuttal rebuttal to project review comments that the reviewee would rather not deal with.
Many desireable properties of large systems are not localized to any one part of the system. Security is a key example, but performance and availability are others. Senior engineers in organizations which produce such systems often have an obsessive-compulsive streak -- because they have to. In order to preserve or enhance that property, you need to get all the details right, and this often results in long list of "stuff you got wrong" coming from reviewers. It's easy to misread this as a message to just give up.
But it seems that the new thing is to instead accuse the reviewer of applying Stop Energy to the project.
Based on what appears to be the canonical definition, it occurs to me that these accusations of "Stop Energy" are .. an exertion of Stop Energy against the reviewer. The reviewer actually is trying to help, it's just that there's a breakdown of communication such that constructive criticism is interpreted as an attempt at stonewalling. So, the frustrated reviewee counter-stonewalls, perhaps with this accusation.
A more constructive response is to honestly ask "okay, so what should I do?". And then listen, and change your proposal accordingly. Maybe the requirement you just learned about overlaps with your requirements in such a way to produce a null solution set, so maybe you need to go back and adjust your requirements.
UPDATE: Perhaps I should have been clearer. My non-snarky view is that "Stop Energy", if it exists, only exists in the mind of the person who stops in response to criticism. In a large project there isn't a single frame of reference in which you can declare some action unambiguously as "forward progress". Reviewers often point out things where, in certain frames of reference, a proposed change is a big (or small) step backwards. In the large, those reviewers are themselves charged with (say) improving the overall security of the system; and in that scope, one or more proposals that introduce more insecurity form a barrier to progress. Reviewees often hear the "no, don't do it that way" part of the message and then tune out and fail to get the message about the requirement they overlooked and cause the subsequent conversation about alternatives to fail. And as a result a message intended by its speaker as "do it a little differently" is received as "don't do it at all".
Wednesday Feb 07, 2007
By sommerfeld on Feb 07, 2007
A while ago (must be over a decade ago by now), the canonical Chinese restaurant at the MIT end of Cambridge, Mary Chung's, lost its lease and was shut down for about a year before they found new space on the other side of Massachusetts Avenue. Mary's was open every day but Tuesday, though she took an annual one-week summer vacation (which was known as "the week of Tuesdays" to some of her regular patrons).
The Year of Tuesdays was painful for some but they came back from it stronger than ever in a better, larger space. Recently they were even one of the five Boston-area restaurants featured in an episode of The Hungry Detective on the Food Network.
There's not a heck of a lot you can do unless you've got connections in the commercial real estate arena, but there are a few things which come to mind:
- Keep patronizing them until the bitter end.
- Stay in touch with the proprieter during the shutdown period (easier with FdM than it was with Mary's since they have the secondary location).
- Most likely there will be some amount of town-level zoning/licensing involved in the move. Generally the only people who comment on such matters are concerned abutters; statements in support of the applicants from satisfied customers will typically make a big impression on the licensing authority.
Tuesday Feb 06, 2007
By sommerfeld on Feb 06, 2007
Monday Nov 20, 2006
By sommerfeld on Nov 20, 2006
Returning to the real target : I share Tim Bray's concerns. License enforcement by intentional denial of service has no business going into mission-critical software; we have a hard enough time coping with denial of service from unintentionally introduced "features".
Thursday Sep 29, 2005
By sommerfeld on Sep 29, 2005
The meat is in Responses 8 and 12. It appears that Toyota released a patch in October 2004 which fixed a firmware bug - apparently the stall occurred when the firmware thought the engine wasn't taking in enough air, but the "not enough air" threshold was set too high. Some of the details are in attachments that were not made public, but it's now clear that they're confident they understand the cause of the stall:
Tuesday Sep 06, 2005
By sommerfeld on Sep 06, 2005
I was pretty close to being willing to put down a deposit on a Prius to replace my Saturn, but now I'm off doing a "due diligence" of a sort. What I've learned so far: there's a software defect which causes the gasoline engine to shut off which may have been fixed in a firmware upgrade. The NHTSA's Office for Defect Investigation is on the case (investigation PE05029) but hasn't yet released a final report. Some of the documents filed by Toyota in response to the ODI's request for investigation have been made available, but there's not that much "meat" in the main document of July 22nd-- which promises follow-on updates on August 5th and/or 26th which don't seem to be available from ODI just yet.
One friend of mine who has a Prius has experienced this stall condition, and then had the firmware upgrade which may -- or may not -- fix it. He hasn't had a stall since the firmware upgrade but, well, anecdotes are not data.
I'm not so much worried that there are bugs in the firmware. Of \*course\* there will be bugs in any software system of nontrivial complexity. But are they set up to diagnose and fix defects found in the field by customers? Instructing customers to "just hit ctrl-alt-del and drive on" doesn't sound consistent with an attitude towards software quality which will get those defects fixed. I hope this particular sales guy is an outlyer.
Given the limitations of repair shops, perhaps software-controlled cars like the Prius should be equipped to "phone home" with the moral equivalent of a crash dump whenever anything odd happens....
- New Post
- new beta of globalsan iscsi initiator for macos
- On authors having a right to unpublish
- Knowing when a crash dump is complete
- A testimonial about DVRupgrade.com
- On respecting other people's privacy preferences
- Nice review of OpenOffice..
- Quick! Find my note!
- In Memory of Greg McMullan, 1963-2008
- configuring dhcp for almost-seamless use of nwam