The Ship Show

The Ship Show

The Ship Show, is a new podcast focusing specifically on build engineering, DevOps, release management and the tools, techniques, and tricks that go with it!

Join hosts Paul Reed, aka @SoberBuildEng, Youssuf El-Kalay, aka @buildscientist, and EJ Ciramella, aka @ecirmella, as they take a look at the news of the week, and discuss:

Why bother with release engineering?

Release engineering:  It doesn’t “just happen”.

Boredernet: Love Child of Internet Meddling

Keep Out!

I have often said I can’t remember the last time I was bored, and building on the other night’s tweet, it felt strange to associate my present condition with boredom.  I’m not sure waiting ten minutes should properly qualify as boredom, but I suppose this is a proper thing to feel waiting on line at the bank or at a store.

It struck me however, that my seconds of boredom led to fiddling with Twitter for about the length of time I had to kill.  This is perhaps the role computers have played in my life since I was about 14, keeping me perpetually occupied.  In all this time, I have never run out of things I feel I need to learn or know about.

Today we have the public Internet.  Or at least we do as I write this.  And today it’s not just for “computer people”, in fact, it hasn’t been for “us” in a long time now, which is probably a good subject for another time.  The theme I’m mining here now is that the Internet is now the entertainment of the masses.   Pretty much everything runs over the Internet already, even if it’s not getting final delivery to something that looks like a computer.  Whether you use it directly or indirectly, the Internet is now central to the life of every American.  At least every one of them with a computer, telephone, radio, or television.  I believe this is true of much of the world, because especially in cases where there’s little to no existing infrastructure,  it makes no economic sense to roll out anything but the latest technology.

It turns out though that the Internet that John Gilmore described routing around censorship was illusory, and to the extent it seemed to be true, was largely an artifact of immaturity. The Bad People didn’t know much about how it worked. The walled garden was believed to be consigned to the dustbin. But Apple and Facebook have ushered in the return of walled gardens, and the Internet is in fact very fragile. Much of its technology still assumes two utopian virtues, good faith and competent operation. Send me a postcard when you get to Utopia.

The Internet is in constant danger from its largest companies, governments, financially captured politicians, international governmental organizations/treaties, and criminals of all sorts of motivations. (Mark Twain’s ghost just emailed to tell me that last one is redundant.) Most of them want things that will turn the Internet boring, worthless, or fearful, and the rest want to shut it down and/or steal your money.

The Internet is worth saving from all of them.  But it requires vigilance, and it requires making credible threats against those who would harm it.  Right now, it seems it faces the most danger from the companies associated with it, and from governments far and wide that want to control it.  Facebook hasn’t changed because all boycotts against it have amounted to nothing.  The US Congress on the other hand, changed recently when credible threats of unseating were made against sitting politicians.  Whether this change is substantial and permanent remains to be seen, but Republican voters don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk.  So when Republican congressmen found themselves threatened with being primaried within their own party over SOPA and PIPA, Republicans in Congress energetically turned against the legislation.   Democratic voters would do well to emulate this example.  If you’re a member of one of the two major paries in the US, or eligible to vote in their primaries, remember your choice isn’t just between the guy in your own party that you don’t like and the guy in the other party that you like even less.  You can oust your congressman with someone from your own party.  I promise you, there’s someone in your party right now, that wants your congressman’s job and is willing to take it even from someone in their own party.  Make sure your congressman knows that.  Even if you can’t find anyone you like better, it’s important to remind them who they really work for by letting them know they don’t have guaranteed jobs as members of Congress.

I’m not sure what a credible threat to Facebook looks like, other than competition.  Google+ however, isn’t it.  And neither is Diaspora.  Facebook will probably remain Facebook until it succumbs to The Next Big Thing and becomes the next MySpace (thus obeying the Golden Rule of the Internet, which is that nobody is king forever).  If Internet users can’t find a way to make credible threats against its establishment companies, then those companies will be the ones who ruin the Internet for everyone.  Right now, I’m a lot less optimistic that the Internet can be protected from the struggle between Facebook and Google or the desire of the network duopoly to return to a pay-by-the-bit system than I am about protecting it from Congress.  GoDaddy, to the extent it got chastened recently, has competition.  Facebook and Google do not, and their competition rather than being beneficial to users, leads the Internet further off in the wrong direction, unchecked.

What would you do with your time, if they ruined the Internet?  Is it worth some of your time and trouble to protect it?


Relentlessness (Hope-A for SOPA, ctd.)

Y Combinator has an excellent piece on the same theme I mentioned here earlier about the relentlessness of those pushing SOPA and PIPA.

My only disagreement is their focus on just the entertainment industry.   SOPA and PIPA are about more than just the MPAA and RIAA.  The root of the issue is that we’ve got trillions of dollars worth of vested interests in the abuse of intellectual property law, of which SOPA and POPA are only a small part of.  Remember Dimitry Sklyarov?

Today we have a mobile device industry so heavily armed and so hostile to competition that even Google may not be able to remain in it despite phenomenal success with its Android operating system.  Problems like this will continue even after the demise of the MPAA, RIAA, and their members until something is done about the abusive and excessive intellectual property regime in place in the USA and being exported to the rest of the world like a disease by treaty.

(via Slashdot)

Hope-a for SOPA?

It’s far too early to predict the outcome of the SOPA/PIPA bills in the US Congress right now.   Optimists should note that what’s happening so far is not a defeat, but a calculated delay coming from a lobby that has shown itself to be nothing if not relentless.

That said, this does not presently look like the second coming of the DMCA, bad legislation the intellectual property lobby feels isn’t bad enough.   Those of us who’ve been through this before remember how easily Orrin Hatch lept into the lobby’s embrace.  This time however, Hatch has switched sides again.  What’s the difference?

Call me a skeptic, but I’m not sure Orrin Hatch would know the difference between the normal Internet and the blacked-out one if they were both in front of him.  I’d like to believe that their constituents have called Senators Hatch and Rubio and Majority Leader Cantor and made them see reason, but I’m having trouble believing that.

I believe, it has more to do with the fear of being unseated, by people who’ve delivered on the threat before.  Marco Rubio knows this better than anyone except Charlie Crist.  Politicians still fear for their seats, if the threat is credible.  To truly stop SOPA/PIPA and its spawn, there will have to be more credible threats of being primaried within one’s own party made against sitting politicians.

Pull up a chair, I’ve got stories to tell

I would not exactly say that people have demanded I start a blog. It has however, been suggested many times over the years, as I began earning money on the side in information technology when I was still in grade school, and I’ve accumulated nearly thirty years of stories. If any of them get written somewhere, this will be where it happens.

Additionally, I’m planning on doing some interviews with people doing things that are far more interesting than I am.

Quietly Open

A former boss of mine once told me that if you wait until you’re ready to do big things, you’ll never do them. This may be the most profound bit of advice I’ve ever been given.

A blog, and this blog in particular is not a big thing, but it’s a piece of a larger “thing”, and I think maybe the best way to get started here, is simply to start.

First, I need to change the white text on dark background to something else. Nobody wants to read something that look like this.

Is the ball rolling now?

EDIT: I gave up on the theme I spent $5 on, nice though it was, I couldn’t figure out the CSS to change it.