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Overemphasis on Numbers

January 21st, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
This is primarily a response to Erik McClure's blog post on age discrimination.

I'm of the same age, followed a roughly similar path through school, and also thought that young adults in general were fully capable if given the chance. I've since graduated and moved to the SF Bay Area though; you'd be surprised just how many new college grads actually cannot think freely and critically. I'm sure you must have seen at least a few headlines pointing out some of the absurdity in Silicon Valley now. (Having lived here for 6 years now, I'd say the media actually understates how nonsensical some of the thinking around here is, but that's for another discussion.) That's not to say we should box people up even more when they're younger, just that I can see where some of the prejudice is coming from (yet it can be argued that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy from treating people like drones in the first place).

Speaking on just my own experience in the SF Bay Area though, my thoughts are not so much that the issue is a prejudice against age as much as the issue is an overemphasis on credentials, test scores, and numbers in general. The problems with education today are what I personally see more as part of an overall lack of critical and creative thinking in society - too much data driven. People just want to look at some threshold, do an if-greater-then condition, and be done. If you look at some of the most talented programmers, as an example, many actually do not have a formal degree in Computer Science or are self taught; recruiting based on numbers like we do now would never find them and actually weed them out. On the other side of things, I've met engineers from Ivy League schools who can barely code but get the job nonetheless from great marks in school; some cannot build a program from scratch at all unless you give them the skeleton to fill in the details on, which is arguably the bulk of the work.  I've come across engineers from firms as prestigious as Google who would not even dare explore restaurants without some external confirmation of their decisions, justifying their decisions with "social validation" (their words, not mine); there's actual fear in their eyes at the thought of going somewhere that doesn't have enough Yelp reviews, fear of the uncertainty and making any decision not backed with numbers. Of course, this is flawed thinking, lots of appeal to majority, authority, and other fallacies, but the sad part is a lot of our peers who do this most likely are not even aware of what things like logical fallacies are (in a non-math context). If you've read books like "City and the Stars" or "Childhood's End", it is getting quite close to that at least in some pockets of the country.

I agree with...[More]
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The City and the Stars

January 21st, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Recently Read | #
The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
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Reflections on San Francisco

December 13th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
It's been two years now since I moved to San Francisco.  It's hard to decide whether to move away as the people around will constantly tell you this is the place to be and how awesome it is.  Yet it's harder still to ignore that there's no real scene outside of tech as well as how unsophisticated (read - ghetto) many things are that you'd think would be taken for granted in a big city.

Some of the posts I've found on Quora are pretty spot on with my own experiences, though mine are limited more to the San Francisco side of it.

SF vs Chicago
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Sheeply Wolves

December 5th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Watch out for the sheep in wolf's clothing.
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Stopping File From Running

October 30th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
Recently had a case where a file kept running and spawning many instances of itself to keep from being killed.  It was probably Malware (though it called itself Chrome version 36.0.1985.143 with a random exe name Dkzbhjgkyhj.exe). 

Easy way to stop these from running is to just rename the file and extension so that it isn't an executable anymore.  Then you can kill the process in task manager before deleting the file.
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Watchlist

October 25th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
Below is a list of trends, technologies, and other developments that perk my interest and I'm keeping tabs on.  I'm mainly interested in things that are truly novel or cutting edge, not the next big app nonsense.

2019
- Cryptocurrencies down from highs about 90%.  Not too many better opportunities to invest in this year.  Afterward invest in companies directly integrating blockchain in real use cases - ie Facebook, Moneygram.
- Plant-based meats (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods) - was eating soy nuggets for a year at Whole Foods without realizing it wasn't chicken.

2017
-...[More]
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Place in the World

October 6th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Looking for my place in the world but instead only traveling farther and farther from everything I know.
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Serendipiless

October 6th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Nothing ever comes by chance.  Everything I've wanted to happen I've always had to make happen.
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El Sitiu

October 2nd, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
El Sitiu by Hevia
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Stars on the Ceiling

September 12th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
When my vision deteriorated to the point I could no longer see the stars, I stuck some glow-in-the-darks on the ceiling and made my own.
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Internet Community is Overly Saturated

September 2nd, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
Found this article here while just browsing web today.  It really hit home for me, since I've been around for quite some time.
The Internet is Opinion Saturated

I personally “grew up” on the internet back in the early 2000s (I was 12 then when I was part of various communities making games and other content together).  It’s funny because I remember people (including myself) would constantly get warned or even banned (at worst) by moderators for things as simple as being rude or lacking manners.  Now all of that pretty goes out the door when you connect online, which is very sad to see.  It’s as if all the effort back then to preserve a bit of dignity online pretty much went to waste.

Sometimes I...[More]
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Hal Finney Passes Away... For Now

August 29th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Just read that Hal Finney Passed Away from ALS today.

Very sad news.  His life story is very inspiring.  It always seems like the most amazing people don't live long enough.
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Arctic

August 29th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Arctic by SleepingAtLast
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Moon

August 28th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Moon by SleepingAtLast
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You Light Up The Sky

June 22nd, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
You Light Up The Sky by Denny Schneidemesser
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Lack of Ambition in the Bay Area

May 29th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
A year ago, I wrote of my frustrations in finding others who were hungry or wanting to take over the world.  I couldn't put my finger on why I was stuck in the situation (and still am).  I thought perhaps it was a generational gap, since my social circles mainly consisted of people who were often more than 8 years older than me when I was in middle and high school.  At other times, I thought it was perhaps society degrading overall and becoming more flakey, passive.

I'm starting to wonder if perhaps I just don't belong on the west coast though, or at least in the bay area.  I've been reading more about the east coast (and just other places in general); this article, for example, mentions how ambition is often shunned in the bay and that really hit home for me as that is the treatment I get from most my peers:
http://www.therejectionist.com/2011/09/all-things.html

Likewise the herd mentality to do what's cool or trendy rather than find something...[More]
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The Flow of Water

May 11th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
The Flow of Water by Denny Schneidemesser
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My First Mycestro

May 11th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Just got my Mycestro this week and have to say it's very impressive.  The first questions I had when I read about it was its comparison to Leap Motion.  They're very different devices.

For Leap Motion, you must remain near the device and there's a learning curve to pointing and "clicking" efficiently.

For Mycestro, you can be anywhere in the room and control the mouse.  There's no pointing needed.  It's actually easier to just rotate your wrist or tilt your hand to move the mouse as opposed to doing any waving.  Clicking is done by just actually pressing the tactile buttons with your thumb.

I'm really surprised they don't emphasize this aspect of being able to be across the room from the computer more.  It really is underutilized if you just sit at the desk and use it as a mouse replacement as shown in their marketing materials.

Can't wait to start using this in actual presentations. Grin


Update 2014/06/06: I ran into a situation once where the Mycestro seemed to be stuck in scrolling mode and I couldn't move the mouse, even if I disconnected and reconnected the dongle.  The fix was to press and hold all 3 buttons down briefly.  It sort of reset the Mycestro and got it working normally again.  Just thought I'd put it out there for anyone who might run into this! Smiley
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Google Hangouts Timeout Extension

March 22nd, 2014 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
Useful plugin for preventing Google Hangouts from timing you out if you're not there to check in every hour or so.

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/131680
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Pocket Drones

March 16th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Pocket drones are finally here.  Bahaha Grin

Unfortunately I missed the pre-order deadline, so I'll have to wait until summer probably to get one.

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