All posts by tychay

Thoughts on Brendan Eich’s departure

(Disclaimer: None of the views here are those of the Wikimedia Foundation.)

Brendan Eich, creator of Javascript, resigned as CEO of Mozilla mostly over his unrepenting anti-gay views.

I must admit a brief bit of schadenfreude because I predicted that this change would happen on Prop 8 specifically. The only thing that surprises me from those six-year-old articles is the quickness of the sea change around this issue. Continue reading about Eich and other thoughts after the jump→

The peering story

At my first startup, I had a CTO, who was a year younger than me, used to tell me stories of his time at UUNET and what whiney little cheap turds most of the first generation dotCom billionaires were before their tiny little ISP’s sold for hundreds of millions.

This story isn’t about that.

As a Korean, he was asked to set up the asian version of UUnet. Back then Korea’s networking should have been trivial as its a peninsula and most of the population lives in or around a single city, Seoul. Instead it was terrible because none of the Korean networking companies would set up peering points with each other. “See,” he told me, “When you need to connect two networks to each other, you have to set these up, and while they’re free to run, they’re costly to build. How do you decide who pays for the point?”

You might think 50-50 is fair and propose that. If you’re a new player in this space, since you’re the one asking to set up these points, you probably benefit more than network you are trying to pair up with so they expect you to pay all or most of it. You get nowhere with this offer. This is what happened to him.

Korea wasn’t the powerhouse Internet trendsetter they are today. I remember, back then it was often faster to connect to a US site then to another Korean one because your packets to the latter would have to go through peering in the US since there wasn’t any in Korea. In other words, to talk to your neighbor, your message would be sent from Korea, across the Pacific to the US, and then back across the Pacific to Korea. This was the Korean Internet in the early-mid 90′s, all because of a lack of peering there.

On a lark, a friend of his wanted to set up a BBS or something and he dropped a server on his network for his friend to use for free.

Then one day, months later, companies that had previously refused to peer up were contacting him to peer up. As I’ve outlined just now, being the asker is a huge concession in the negotiation. He wondered what changed and looked at his traffic. It turned out that his friend’s BBS or something had become hugely popular in Korea and a lot of that network’s customers were demanding better service to it.

The lesson here is if you have what the other party wants, you hold the cards and the other side has to make the concession.

I bring this story up when I have to explain a basic business principle to others to understand what is going on.

Want to understand why Office is finally out on iOS? Look no further than the peering story.

So I got a PS4 and here's why

[This…](http://www.idigitaltimes.com/articles/21763/20140203/xbox-one-is-terrible-five-reasons-regret.htm)

> The Kinect Can’t Tell A Dog’s Ass From A Human Hand

> I wish that headline was hyperbole. I wish I was exaggerating. But in the two months of having an Xbox One it constantly confuses my dog’s ass for a human hand. Whenever one of my dogs hops on the couch, or even walks past it, the Kinect (more often than not) interrupts whatever I’m watching (because there’s no games, remember?) with a hand gesture icon. It doesn’t select anything, thankfully, but remains on the screen for a few moments and is generally just annoying. And the more it happens the more annoying it gets.

> And it’s not just my dog’s ass that the Kinect has problems with. Microsoft apparently failed to realize that actual human beings sitting on a couch might, occasionally, use their hands. I guess the Kinect test couch was in a setting without cellphones or snacks or lively conversation. If my wife makes a gesture while telling me a story, or I pull my phone up to send some texts, I usually hear the telltale “ding” and my screen goes dark and there’s the hand icon floating on the screen. And, according to Xbox support, there’s really no way to stop this from happening.

> So (nearly) every time my wife talks, or I send a text or my dog crosses the room I have to throw up a “Heil Hitler” gesture at my Kinect so I can continue watching what I want.

(I’ll tell you when it’s actually worth owning over a PS3. Right now, I’m still in [the first stage of grief, the best stage :-)](http://terrychay.com/article/relationship-clubs.shtml).)

Mailing list talk has consequences

One of my engineers was leaving the building for a late lunch and held the door open for me and another director. Before we parted, we had a short chat in the doorway about approvals on a purchase order.

“Hey, I need to see your ID!” Building security yelled at us.

“Huh? What?” H— replied?

“That’s the new policy. I need to ask to see everyone’s keycard.”

“It must be related to that mailing list thread.” I told H—, matter-of-factly. (For over a week now, an internal mailing list thread has been going on about building security. I stopped reading when someone suggested that the only way to solve this was to install lasers to detect when two people enter with one card, and another one argued that we should just make an HR policy to fire anyone who lets anyone in without proper ID. The reason I stopped was because neither post was trolling us in jest.)

The building security guy continued indignantly, “Even if I know you, even if you’re a manager—and I know you two are managers. L—, the head of the company, said I must to ask for your ID or call her down to greet you in the lobby.” (Sidenote: L— is not the head of the company. On the other hand, poor L— suggested on the mailing list that any solution hopeless because building security is seriously underpaid by the owners, perhaps to the point of illegality.)

I joked, “Even if I thought the discussion that touched off this policy was a waste of everyone’s time?”

Building security apparently has about as much humor as our company mailing list. So I reluctantly dug through my wallet and and pulled out a blank white piece of plastic, that may or may not have been my car parking card—they’re identical and I do not have an RFID reader on my person.

He let me through anyway.

That’s good, because to this day I do not know the average airspeed of an unladen swallow.

Happy Holidays: Web Programmer Complains SF Is Full of People Just Like Him

[Hat tip to the literary genius "founder" of DickWhack or whatever-the-fuck-it's-called](http://valleywag.gawker.com/happy-holidays-startup-ceo-complains-sf-is-full-of-hum-1481067192):

I just got back to SF. I’ve traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down (almost all) of San Francisco. Why the heart of our city and surrounding environs has to be overrun by crazy, entitled, money-grubbing, startup hipsters I have no clue. Each time I pass by one, my love affair with SF dies a little.

The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, this lower part of society keep to themselves. They sit in their parent’s basements, eat cheetos, program quietly, and generally stay out of your way unless you need a leash in League of Legends. They realize it’s a privilege to be in meatspace and view themselves as guests. And that’s okay.

In downtown SF these ironic-t-shirt-wearing lib(ertarian)tards multiply like tribbles, give you the evil eye (when they bother to look up from their iPhones), and act like they own the city — as if it’s their place of leisure, gluten-free, grass-fed restaurants, and Belgian craft microbreweries… In actuality it’s the live-work city for a hell lot more than a bunch of VC-funded beggars trying to make a business model around helping similar lowlifes securely send dick pics to one another. It’s a disgrace. I don’t feel safe planning out my next meal without having my eyes accosted by their shitty reviews on Yelp or nasty “tips” on FourSquare on whether or not the place accepts BitCoin.

You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover of humanity in the world, but there is an area of town for self-entitled worthless drains and an area of town for the people trying to actually get shit done without being secretly stalked by some dude wearing Google Glasses. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us with their hooded sweatshirts flaunting their fly-by-night social mobile gaming startup when their business is on the Internet and their money comes from Sand Hill. They can eat and “work” somewhere else. It’s a burden and a liability having them so close to us sucking up our LTE/3G bandwidth with their Instagrams of their latest bacon and truffle-oil infused lunch. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I’d consider thinking different, but the young trust fund white male ordering a code monkey to make a website designed for other white 1%ers like them hasn’t made anyone else’s life better in a while.