A penny for thoughts?

About the correct valuation

Archive for March, 2008

On the road to aeronautics


Well, I’ve been “in the industry” for nearly a year now. And what do people “in the industry” do, really? They write frameworks and white papers of course. I already wrote my own framework, so the next obvious step in my ascension to architecture astronomy was to write a white paper. Which I did. I hope you all enjoy it.

Written by Smokinn

March 22nd, 2008 at 1:38 pm

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Logic – by Paul Graham


First, you need to read this essay, Paul Graham’s latest. Or at least as much of it as you can stomach before you stop.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.



See a problem with the article? I’ll give you a hint.

Paul Graham is a human.
Paul Graham likes startups.
Therefore, humans like startups.

Given the above, humans not in startups are obviously sub-human.

That was pretty much the article, just not in so many words.

EDIT: Ok, maybe not sub-human, just unhappy.

EDIT2: Paul wrote an explanation of what he was really trying to say in the essay. I guess this was another issue of the missing body language and non-verbal queues causing people like me to get the wrong message.

Written by Smokinn

March 21st, 2008 at 7:32 pm

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Good luck Jeff!

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I hope the new change works out for the best.

I guess if you follow him on twitter it’s not too hard to guess who in that list is the mysterious new partner though. =)

Written by Smokinn

March 12th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

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My first philosophical paper

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Just wrote it. Now I need to figure out where to submit it for publication.

Written by Smokinn

March 11th, 2008 at 10:03 pm

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CS Games was amazing

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I was going to write a long post about how awesome CS Games was but Harley did all the work for me.

Case in point

Written by Smokinn

March 10th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

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An Open Email About Blogs

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Recently, Larry O’Brien was on a talk radio show called unscripted. The topic being discussed was Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien’s plans to start blogging. I missed what Larry said, probably tuning in just a little too late but kept listening anyway. Eventually, someone young called in and said that she got most of her information online and didn’t think it was bad that the mayor said he didn’t read newspapers. Previously, everyone had said that that was scary. The host ripped into her for quite a while, spouting nonsense like do you really want everything unfiltered? Do you want an unfiltered fireman response? Or an unfiltered police response? (What those questions are supposed to mean I don’t quite know.) He said that blogs were useless vanity enhancers, just there to boost one’s ego.

I tried calling in several times after that but it always said that they weren’t accepting calls at that time and eventually the show ended. So instead I wrote an email. This email I wrote on Feb 25th and still haven’t gotten a reply. I don’t expect to ever get one but if I ever do I’ll add the response. It’s largely inspired by Jeremy Zawodny’s blog post here. This is what I wrote:

Hi, I’m interested in your opinion on blogs. I think you may be on the mark for it not being a replacement for serious journalism but a little off the mark as to their overall worth.

I’m a technical person that works with computers so I’m more susceptible to an online medium but that’s only because of how terrible newspapers have been at covering the topics that interest me. The newspaper cannot and will not discuss issues I care about at the level I wish to read them. In technical matters not only do they dumb things down beyond the point of (my) interest, they are often completely wrong. Sometimes this is a result of the difficulty of explaining technical concepts to a non-technical audience but fairly often it’s factually incorrect. I’ve had to explain to friends and family members many times that the technical article they read in the newspaper was just plain wrong. If they’re getting what I know about wrong, how can I trust them with what I don’t know about?

And that’s why I prefer blogs. The majority of blogs are just an exercise in writing for the person that writes it but there are many blogs written by the foremost experts in a vast number of narrow domains. This makes the information written in them incredibly useful and often very insightful. Newspapers generally cover their “bread and butter” topics such as politics and daily events better than blogs but there’s no way for them to compete in the extremely long tail of interesting topics that are outside their regular domain. There’s no way newspapers can compete with Bruce Schneier on information security or with Seth Godin on marketing since the scope of their discussion is too narrow and therefore not of general interest (but still of excellent quality).

It’s also an issue of trust. I’d like you to read this
(A blog, I know but very much on topic for this discussion.)

Eventually he concludes:

But do you see the irony here? The study making this claim was constructed and published in a way that resists all efforts to evaluate its relevance, accuracy, or authority. Which hardly matters, since none of the reporting about the study seems to have made any such effort.

Pioneering research shows ‘Google Generation’ is a myth? So far as I can see, that report says more about the researchers who wrote it, and about the reporters who reacted to it, than it says about any real or imaginary trends.

I think this comes about because they’ve never had anyone check up on them before. The difference between the pain barrier of reading a newspaper article, then heading to the library to check the claims and vague references (which would have been necessary just 15 years ago) and reading an article online and doing a google search to get more information from many more sources is massive. Articles like those are why more and more of the younger generation are being turned off of traditional media.
By the way, to disclose my bias, the reason I was listening to your show this evening was because Larry O’Brien (the Hawaiian Larry) wrote about it on his blog. [Ed. I actually learned about it via twitter but it was written on the blog too]

Thanks for your time,
Guillaume Theoret

Written by Smokinn

March 5th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

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Brand New Blog!


I’m proud to introduce my new blog, the engine for which I wrote myself from scratch. For some reason wordpress started displaying everything in reverse order without me changing anything. My old host had been having a lot of difficulty so maybe it was something that happened while they were down but either way I figured I’d take that as my queue to write my own thing.

Writing a minimal blog is ridiculously easy. The longest part was doing the layout (because I suck at graphics). I did the whole layout myself too. =)

Let me know what you think.

Oh and if you’re interested in the source you can get the full blog source here and a somewhat out of date version (I’ll commit all the changes I made to the framework for SmokinnBlog soon) of the bare bones framework here.

The one thing I’m proud of (everything else is pretty simple) you’ll notice if you try to comment. I got the idea for that kind of spam filtering from here. I still need to make a simple search box though. I used to use that pretty often.

If you run across any bugs you can let me know in the comments or by dropping me an email.

To give you an idea of what the overall blog structure is like, here’s a tree view of the source:

(You can click for biggerization)

Also, you’ll have to update your rss feeds. There’s a link to the new feed on the right or you can just right click here. Sorry about that, I know updating feeds is annoying but I don’t have a choice, I’m going to be dropping my other host in a month.

EDIT: Fixed IE bugs.

Written by Smokinn

March 4th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

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Test post

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Wow wordpress fucked up for no reason. The posts on the main page are in reverse order. Checking to see if posting something new will put it on top.

Written by Smokinn

March 4th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

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