Remember Y2K? Oh, boy, I do, especially as I had to spend part of New Year's Eve in a data center on 1 January 2000.
Apparently, some of the fixes people made to their software back then solved the problem...for a time:
A Register reader, having sold a vehicle, filled out the requisite paperwork and sent it off to the agency, which is responsible for maintaining a database of drivers and vehicles in Blighty. An acknowledgement was received, which helpfully noted that it been printed in 1920.
Sadly, we doubt Doc Brown was involved in this one. A spokesperson for the agency told us that "it looked like a blip when printing the date on the letter", although we're mindful of the quick and dirty solution to the Y2K problem a large number of engineers opted for back in the day.
Rather than rewriting code to handle a four-digit year, many opted for a windowing approach, where systems would treat the 20 years from 00 to 19 as being from the 2000s.
New York parking meters stopped accepting card payments as the year turned, and some Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) sold by Trimble (formerly PeopleNet) threw a wobbly as 2020 arrived and a disconnect between GPS and server clocks left gear in a continuous reboot cycle.
In the case of the latter, it meant some US truck drivers were forced to switch to paper-based methods for logging until borked units could be dealt with.
A windowing approach also caused problems for a hardware manufacturer back in 2016...and will again in 2032, apparently...which will give them plenty to do before the 2038 problem ends civilization.
For the past seven months I've worked as a contract development lead in Milliman's Cyber Risk Solutions group. Today I officially convert to a new full-time role as Director of Product Development for Cyber Risk Solutions.
We have a lot to do in 2020, and I'll post about it what I can. So far we've started building "a new generation risk platform which uses an ensemble of cutting edge techniques to integrate what is known, knowable and imaginable about complex risks in order help risk managers identify, assess and monitor dynamic, high velocity, complex risk such as cyber," as the partner in charge of my practice says. It's cool shit, I say. And I'm happy to make Milliman my permanent home.
The role now shifts a little bit from building out the minimum-viable product to building out the team. I'll still have to write a lot of software, but I'll also expand our partnerships with teams in London, Sydney, and Lyon, and will probably have to visit at least two of those places more than once in 2020. In fact, at minimum I'll be in the London office four times, probably six. The only one sad about this is Parker.
And as an example of how great the management team is, they're starting me today so that my benefits kick in tomorrow. That was a very cool gesture.
Watch this blog for more updates.
I hate taking sick days, I really do. Fortunately, the Internet never takes one:
I'm now going to try to do a couple of hours of work, but really, I just want to go back to sleep.
That's American for the English idiom "penny in the air." And what a penny. More like a whole roll of them.
Right now, the House of Commons are wrapping up debate on the Government's bill to prorogue Parliament (for real this time) and have elections the second week of December. The second reading of the bill just passed by voice vote (the "noes" being only a few recalcitrant MPs), so the debate continues. The bill is expected to pass—assuming MPs can agree on whether to have the election on the 9th, 11th, or 12th of December. Regardless, that means I'll be in London during the first weekend of the election campaign, and I'm elated.
Meanwhile, a whole bunch of other things made the news in the last day:
- Writing for the New Yorker, Sam Knight argues that before Boris Johnson became PM, it was possible to imagine a Brexit that worked for the UK. Instead, Johnson has poisoned UK politics for a generation.
- Presidents Trump and Obama came to Chicago yesterday, but only one of the personally insulted us. Guess which one.
- That one also made top military officers squirm yesterday when he released classified information about our assassination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, including a photograph of the dog injured in the raid. The dog's name remained classified, even as it seemed clear that he was a very good boy.
- Grinnell College in Iowa released polling data today showing just how much people don't like President Trump. Moreover, 80% of those polled thought a presidential candidate seeking election help from a foreign government was unacceptable. Adam Schiff cracking his knuckles could be heard all the way to the Grinnell campus.
- An appellate court in North Carolina ruled that the election maps drawn up by the Republican Party unfairly gerrymander a Republican majority, and must be re-drawn for the 2020 election.
- Grubhub's share price crashed today after the company released a written statement ahead of its earnings call later this week. The company made $1.0 million on $322.1 million in revenue during the 3rd quarter, and projected a loss for the 4th quarter.
- The City of Atlanta decided not to pay ransom to get their computers working again, in order to reduce the appeal of ransomware attacks.
Finally, it looks like it could snow in Chicago on Thursday. Color me annoyed.
Let's see, where to begin?
Finally, RawStory has a collection of responses to the President's Sharpie-altered weather map. (This is not, however, the first time the Administration has tried to make one of its Dear Leader's errors be true.) Enjoy.
I'll circle back to a couple of these later today. But at the moment, I've got the following queued up for my lunch hour:
- The Washington Post charitably describes yesterday's press conference in France as "a glimpse into Trump's unorthodox mind." As in, he lied through the whole thing.
- MSNBC says the G7 as a whole (which ended in the aforementioned presser) shows that other world leaders have learned to manipulate the president pretty well.
- Brazil, meanwhile has become the latest country to discover that authoritarian leaders don't know what they're doing and cover it up with bluster and blame-shifting. Oh, and corruption.
- And when those authoritarian leaders (and wannabes) tank the economy, millennials will, once again, get the worst of it. (Though we Xers aren't exactly raking it in either.)
- Via Schneier, Lawfare raises the alarm about the dangers of fake scientific research.
- Adam Gopnik asks, are spies worth it?
- Meanwhile, Riz Virk argues that we need to figure out if we're in a simulation.
- Finally, Microsoft's Raymond Chen takes us back to the days when software used to cost manufacturers a dollar a byte. (That's around when TV producers paid about $1 per foot, or 2/3 of as second, for film.)
That's enough of a queue for now.
Today's Washington Post takes up the world-bending news that people put their Myers-Briggs types into their dating profiles:
The Myers-Briggs assessment categorizes people into one of 16 personality types, using an extensive questionnaire of nearly 100 questions such as, “Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?” and “Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?”
Many critics argue that people’s personalities exist on a spectrum — people possess varying degrees of both introversion and extroversion, logic and sentimentality — and therefore the Myers-Briggs test is an oversimplification.
Despite its shortcomings, the test has persisted with professional team building, employment recruiting and, now, for love.
Crafting an online dating profile is an art: Singles must whittle their most impressive yet personable characteristics into a few hundred characters. In an attempt to give a tl;dr on one’s entire essence, some daters display their Myers-Briggs personality type as a way of disclosing their essential selves.
As it turns out, people aren’t that great at figuring out to whom we’ll actually be attracted. In a study published in 2017, researchers asked singles to describe their ideal qualities in a partner. After examining daters’ stated romantic preferences, researchers created an algorithm to match participants based on their self-reported personality tastes. The machine could not predict who ended up pairing off. The researchers concluded that “compatibility elements of human mating are challenging to predict before two people meet.”
So I wonder, what's the MBTI equivalent of telling someone your sign is "Neon?"
Just a few for my commute home:
- New York Times reporter James Stewart interviewed Jeffrey Epstein on background a year ago, and it was weird.
- The Post analyzes temperature records to find which parts of the US have warmed faster than others.
- Chemist Caitlin Cornell may have discovered an important clue about the origin of life on Earth.
- The site of the city's first Treasure Island store, just two blocks from where I lived in Lakeview from 1994-1996, might become an ugly apartment tower unless residents can block it.
- Seva Safris digs into the differences (for good and ill) between JSON and XML.
- Timothy Kreider delivers a stinging rant against gun-rights advocates: "The dead in El Paso and Dayton, whether they were shopping for back-to-school backpacks or just out having beers and hoping to get laid on a Saturday night, gave their lives so that you might continue to enjoy those freedoms."
I will now return to my crash-course in matrix maths.
But I will take the time as soon as I get it:
Now, I need more tea, and more coding.
NPR and other outlets reported earlier this week that the far-north Norwegian island of Sommaroy planned to abolish timekeeping:
If the 350 residents of Sommaroy get their way, the clocks will stop ticking and the alarms will cease their noise. A campaign to do away with timekeeping on the island has gained momentum as Norway's parliament considers the island's petition.
Kjell Ove Hveding spearheaded the No Time campaign and presented his petition to a member of parliament on June 13. During the endless summer days, islanders meet up at all hours and the conventions of time are meaningless, Hveding says.
Only, a subsequent press release admitted the whole thing was a marketing campaign:
NRK.no revealed today that the initiative to make Sommarøy a time-free zone was in fact a carefully planned marketing campaign, hatched by the government-owned Innovation Norway.
The story has been covered in more than 1650 articles in 1479 different media, including CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Independent, Time, El País, La Repubblica, Vanity Fair and Der Spiegel, potentially reaching 1.2 billion people. The value of the coverage is estimated to 11.4 million USD - a pretty good return on investment for Innovation Norway, which spent less than 60,000 USD on the campaign.
Paul Koning, one of the moderators of the IANA Time Zone group--the group that maintains the Time Zone Database used in millions of computers, phones, and applications worldwide, including The Daily Parker--was not pleased:
That's very disturbing. It's problematic enough that not all governments give timely notice about time zone rule changes.
But if in addition we have to deal with government agencies supplying deliberately false information, the TZ work becomes that much more difficult.
Difficult indeed. The group has to deal with dictators changing time zones with almost no notice, political groups attacking the spellings of time zone identifiers, and all sorts of hassles. For a government agency to do this on purpose is not cool.