Wednesday, June 28, 2017

General blog entries that aren't articles in and of themselves.

My Personal Assistant

My Personal Assistant

I've wanted a personal assistant for quite some time, now. Someone who can keep my schedule, help with travel, and generally have my back in terms of logistics. Experience and intelligence is a must, of course. I'm pretty good with travel, and an assistant who can't do a better job than I can isn't really a value-add in terms of paying for service. Someone with enough insight into my personality and work schedule is also a necessity, as I'd expect, in a reasonable amount of time, they could know my workload and limits and help schedule commitments. Someone who could say, "I'm sorry, but I know that this won't fit in Chris's workload until at least October" would be incredible.

Someone with these skills would surely be very expensive to hire. Part-time is likely not an option for such high-end service, so I'd be looking at a full-time salary plus benefits. Let's face it, I'm pretty good at what I do, but I only make the medium bucks. Until my startup is bought out for some obscene valuation, such an assistant just isn't in the works for me.

For now.

It occurs to me that as soon as we cross the real artificial intelligence barrier, such an assistant will be a simple install and configuration. We're not there yet, but it's a clear milestone, and I can't help but think that we could be five or ten years away. Sure, I'm optimistic. I believe if I can live to 65, I can live forever, as I think medical science is very close to stopping the aging process (and, I hope, reversing it so I can live forever in the body of a 30 year-old). I think AI is that close as well, especially looking at the advancements in quantum computing over the past year.

I hold out hope that one day I'll have my personal assistant. I won't name him HAL, however - that's cliche.

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Revisit and Refactor

Revisit and Refactor

Today I revisited some code I'd written about a month ago and reduced the time it takes to run a data loading job from 52 minutes down to sub-10 minutes by replacing a relatively slow API call with a direct call to local code. This is something that was "good enough" until now, but was on my radar as being eligible for improvement. Since I had a new data loading job that would take over 10 hours using the API call, I had to write the new job a better way. Copying this better code back where it could make a difference meant that all of my data loading jobs were now refactored and much faster.

The takeaway here for developers is to periodically revisit your code and refactor it. Find new efficiencies. Examine how your code has been working and consider what you might have learned since the last time you worked on it. You may notice something now that you didn't notice the last time you were in the code.

A small amount of time doing this can pay off in huge improvements.

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MicroRevenge

MicroRevenge

I just invented a new term:

MicroRevenge: The act of clicking on the ads of companies you don't like, knowing it'll cost them half-a-dollar.

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Facebook Bans Likes for Content

Facebook Bans Likes for Content

As reported by Gizmodo, Facebook is banning (in 90 days) the practice of requiring a user to like a page in order to see or have access to content.

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

Source: https://developers.facebook.com/policy

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Coding like it's 1994

Coding like it's 1994

I'd like to see a contest to see who can design the best web site using only HTML 1.0 and no more than 40k in graphics, GIF and JPG only. That's right, what's the best 1994-era web site that someone with today's skills could design, if they were sent back in time.

This should be sponsored by TechCrunch with a suitably cool prize.

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