Gessel On…

…this and that.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cactus Farmer

A few years back, when I was in 3rd or 4th Grade, my brother and I went to visit David and Jesse Lenat at their Cactus Farm. While we were exploring the green houses, their dad, Richard, gave us each a cactus to take home.

Mine lived in a small pot near the window through the rest of grade school and high school and then my mom cared for it through college. It grew into a little cluster of pencil thin green, spiky pads over the years.

After I graduated, moved to California, and got an apartment in SF; I was home for Christmas one year and took one of the pads wrapped in tissue to California. It grew well there and now produces big, bright yellow flowers every year.

This Christmas, I stuffed two tiny buds into glass bottles and brought them to Iraq and planted in the yard with one of the cat’s help (paw in the background).

posted at 03:01:17 more on... cats,Geopost,photo,places  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cat day

Happy cat day.

posted at 23:05:50 more on... cats,Events,funny   Geotag Icon Map It

Monday, March 11, 2013

posthumous hack

I just got an email from a friend of mine, which might not seem particularly atypical, and this turned out to be hack-spam from his Yahoo account. What was jarring about seeing mail from him in my inbox is that he has been dead for six months.

IRL, we move people to cemeteries or other repositories of the dead and keep our interaction space for the living. On social networks and other digital interaction spaces, there’s no particular cost and some respect shown by leaving the presence of those that have passed as it was when they last touched it. But in time, all social networks will fill with the static presence of the passed on. It may be a little less cheerful to log in to facebook when your friend’s list is dominated by those who can no longer answer a poke.

posted at 16:51:20 more on... odd  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cats and Crafts


posted at 16:55:32 more on... cats,Fabrication,photo   Geotag Icon Map It

Monday, March 5, 2012

Debugging the System. Literally

My space heater stopped working. The switch’s light would turn on, but no fan, no heat. Although there were “no user serviceable parts inside,” I thought I’d take it apart.

After poking around with a multi-meter, I found that there was 120 being distributed around, but the ground wasn’t getting past the bimetal thermostat. Nothing obviously wrong with it, but careful investigation showed what looked like bits of fluff in it. Poking at the contacts, there were three ants squeezed between them (or perhaps one trapped and two would be saviors electrocuted). bugs_in_the_thermostat.jpg

One carcass was lost to the prodding, one is still visible as a fleck on the far left between the two gold button contacts, the other culprit I managed to get a clear picture of.The_bug_in_the_thermostat.jpg

Now that I’ve debugged my space heater, it works properly.

Reliving Grace Hopper’s history.

posted at 15:43:45 more on... odd,photo,technology   Geotag Icon Map It

Friday, February 17, 2012

Otherwise it won’t come

It is a childproof security feature as their little hands won’t reach.

posted at 06:25:37 more on... funny,odd,photo   Geotag Icon Map It

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I <3 Germany

Where else can you find a store like this at the airport?

posted at 04:07:17 more on... funny,odd,photo,places,travel   Geotag Icon Map It

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Urban Tumbleweed

They’re blowin’ down the street.

Watch “Good Hair
posted at 02:29:25 more on... odd,photo   Geotag Icon Map It

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Cloud is Ephemeral

Never trust your business, applications, or critical data to a cloud service because you are at the mercy of the provider both for security and availability, neither of which are terribly likely. Cloud services are the .coms of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, they come and go and with them so go your data and possibly your entire enterprise. Typically the argument is that larger brands are safer, that a company like Google would not wipe out a service leaving their customers or partners high and dry, that they would be safe.

That would be a false assumption.

“The cloud is great when and while your desired application is present – assuming it’s secure and robust – but you are at the mercy of the provider for longevity.”

It is necessary to understand the mathematics of serial risk to evaluate the risk-weighted cost of integrating a cloud-provisioned service into a business. It is important to note that this is entirely different from integrating third party code, which just as frequently becomes abandonware; while abandonware can result in substantial enterprise costs in engineering an internally developed replacement, a could service simply vanishes when the provisioning company “pivots” or craters, instantly breaking all dependent applications and even entire dependent enterprises: it is a zero day catastrophe.

Serial risks create an exponential risk of failure. When one establishes a business with N critical partners, the business risk of failure is mathematically similar to RAID 0. If each business has a probability of failure of X%, the chances of the business failing is 1-(1-X/100)^N. If X is 30% and your startup is dependent on another startup providing, say, a novel authentication mechanism to validate your cloud service, then the chances of failure for your startup rise from 30% to 51%. Two such dependencies and chances of failure rise to 64% (survival is a dismal 36%).

posted at 22:34:08 more on... odd   Geotag Icon Map It

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh Google… you’re so cute.

Sure you’re the largest data harvester in the world and you’ve convinced more people than even microsoft to migrate their personal and business data away from their relatively secure and relatively private personal computers and company servers onto your public, ephemeral servers where you make their data to every government in the world you do business with and all the hackers in China, and even in those circumstances where you do actually provide some measure of security, your services have helped eliminate any residual rational discomfort people might have had about giving Big Brother direct editorial review of every communication they have, every document they create, every question they think about. More than any other company, if only by dint of your scale, you have made an Orwellian informational panopticon reality.

But who can stay mad when you’re so damn cute.  Barrel roll :-)

posted at 03:51:05 more on... funny,politics   Geotag Icon Map It
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