John Ohno

John Ohno

  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    Somehow, everybody missed the most obvious example of this technique being used to make money hand over fist in the tech industry: "Nobody gets fired for buying IBM". The FUD sales technique is basically: imply (but do not state) the...
  • Commented on Rejection Letter
    Why are we not airgapping these networks? Is this a matter of imaging machines really needing to be able to push data to the front desk, or is this a matter of front desk operators being pissed off if they...
  • Commented on Traveller RPG, Firefly, Dumarest, Vatta's War... are they all "Star Punk"?
    The use of 'punk' as an insult is pre-dated by its use as both slang for semen and jargon for one of the waste products of metal smelting. At certain points in the mid 20th century 'punk' was equivalent to...
  • Commented on Traveller RPG, Firefly, Dumarest, Vatta's War... are they all "Star Punk"?
    So, a big part of first-generation cyberpunk that bled into early steampunk (as well as dieselpunk) & may apply to other *punk genres is not merely that the characters have agency outside of some existing political structure but that their...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    Ideograms seriously front-load the learning curve, which makes the idea of english becoming a fully ideographic language unlikely: ideographic languages work best when either a small elite is literate or where there's a heavy cultural emphasis on literacy, neither of...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    As soon as the industry comes to its senses, those of us in your position will be the only ones with software engineering jobs. It's cheaper to do it right the first time than to pay somebody $30 an hour...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Not understanding pointers doesn't make you a mediocre programmer, because if you don't get pointers you haven't even reached an elementary stage of knowing how to code. Software engineers don't start becoming an asset instead of a liability until they...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Knowing your limits and making an effort to be safe & write clean code is, essentially, being a good programmer. Going whole-hog into complicated technical tricks without needing to is the mark of an amateur. When I say "mediocre programmer",...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Getting a CS degree is harder than getting some other kinds of degrees (and because of inflated wages and PR, CS degree programs attract lots of people incapable of completing them), but getting a CS degree is a great deal...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    It's more complicated than that. 1) Mediocre programmers can only be distinguished from good programmers by good programmers. (Degrees and certifications are next to useless when it comes to determining competence beyond a very low level.) Because even mediocre programmers...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    In the longer term (say, 25 years from now), all signs point to Vernor Vinge's concept of the "software archaeologist" to be justified: new code will need to operate with massive substrata of old broken code at a scale where...
  • Commented on I can't keep up
    With regard to the spell, a small but loud group of Trump supporters believe they put him in office with chaos magick -- it makes sense to fight fire with fire (even if, as many practitioners believe, magic even when...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    I'm going to take this opportunity to act in character as local Project Xanadu fanboy and recommend a transcopyright-style remix-centric micropayment architecture over a straight view-style micropayment architecture: you can see an article for free, but quoting it costs some...
  • Commented on Playtime is over
    There's a pretty big difference between "not a coincidence" and "centrally planned". Just as it's neither coincidence nor conspiracy that the rich get richer & the poor pay more for things, there are some systematic effects at work here encouraging...
  • Commented on The Day After
    It's important to note that Trump himself doesn't really have political positions, and doesn't seem to have the ability to be goaded into acting in accordance with anybody. He's unlikely to get a second term, and he's not a professional...
  • Commented on Just plain icky
    I could see group selection producing an age-related self-destruct, if groups are all related & share resources. As soon as grandparents continuing to live ceases to be enough of a reproductive boon to justify the food & space given them,...
  • Commented on Ever Young?
    I certainly identify with this. I'm nearly thirty. Whenever I only shallowly examine myself, I feel like my internal state hasn't changed since I was fifteen. Now, upon looking deeper, it becomes clear to me that I've gone through at...
  • Commented on Sometimes I don't know why I bother!
    How about Paul Linebarger? The son of an ambassador to China, who sent him to the USSR for a few years in order to disabuse him of a youthful interest in communism, Linebarger trained as a psychologist before literally writing...
  • Commented on Suspense is the key
    The Unnoticables does a great job with its opening -- a scene from the perspective of an unknown character becoming something no longer human. Of course, it's hard to say that this is properly in medias res since the book...
  • Commented on Writer, Interrupted
    I wonder how & to what degree being an ex-programmer influences fiction-writing workflow. OGH's fiction is very "engineered" in style: lots of moving parts interacting in complex ways, & lots of very precise depictions of these interactions -- in other...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    There's an antidote to reality sliding uncomfortably close to your fiction: stop being concerned with making sure the economics, politics, and physics in your fiction are realistic. This would, necessarily, alienate your core readership. You made sure your novel about...
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    When it comes to Thinking Fast & Slow & similar books, I prefer Intuition Pumps to the rest. The insight density is very high. (Pretty much the only section whose content was already familiar to me is the bit where...
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    I strongly recommend Stranger than We Can Imagine; the idea is that he does a history of the 20th century by focusing only on the elements that don't get a lot of coverage in regular history books (so, he skips...
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    Nonfiction: I recently read Dataclysm by Christian Rudder & Neoreaction: A Basilisk by Phil Sandifer. The former is probably the most accessible book on doing empirical sociological research with 'big data' I've read (it's by the guy who used to...
  • Commented on Competition Time!
    I misread the terms. I should note that I am ineligable....
  • Commented on Competition Time!
    CODENAME: SAFETY SCRAMBLE NAME: Emergency Anti-Summoning Prophylactic DESCRIPTION: An experimental fast-acting hallucinogen/deliriant resulting in long-term low-grade brain damage to the hippocampus and frontal lobe. Can be ingested orally, or taken intramuscularly or through the skin. Intended to be used on...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    Here's one that is thankfully pretty rare in its extreme form but that I am woefully familiar with: * Choose top management based on self-confidence and ability to make vague references to whatever is currently being hyped in Silicon Valley,...
  • Commented on But it's not April 1st yet!
    The Microsoft/Canonical thing is, honestly, the least surprising of the weird Microsoft PR things from the past two weeks. After all, wind the clock back to the early 90s and they were hyping up how NT had UNIX compatibility (in...
  • Commented on Excuses, excuses
    Do you have any tricks for keeping note of important details in previous books? I can't imagine that rereading the entire series *or* trying to keep everything in your head is really feasible right now. Alternately, would it be useful/a...
  • Commented on Long range forecast
    The automation angle is an interesting one. Historically, whenever large sectors have been automated there's been: 1) an initial anti-automation backlash, and 2) a reform movement that mitigates the harm done to workers by the automation in question while keeping...
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