Boston Public Garden, April 2013. I was hoping to capture the teleprompter text in the picture, but it was impossible to get the right exposure. (Also not pictured well here: producers waving frenetically for me to get out of their shot.)
I don’t know who R. Brock Olson is, but his recent blog post, “We are not #BostonStrong,” is pretty well aligned with my feelings on the marathon situation.
His point about the ease of treating violence with an “us vs. them” mentality is pretty salient. He doesn’t get into it, but the fact that the attack was bombs, rather than for example gun violence, means it was far too easy to label the perpetrators as “terrorists” rather than just “criminals” or even “mentally unstable”–and for most people that changes the whole story.
Have you read an account of the 2013 marathon in which the bombings were just the work of deranged local asshole kids with bags of New Hampshire fireworks and nails? Of course not. The official narrative says that it was a highly organized attack against our community. It was a sophisticated enemy. That’s why we deployed hundreds of paramilitary defense forces to guard us in the aftermath. That’s why we installed the cameras. That’s why we can’t enjoy our Esplanade on July 4 anymore. That’s why we will turn the 2014 marathon into a showcase of pointless security and a giant made-for-TV pity party.
(But, you ask, how do I really feel?)
I doubt I made it into the final cut, but these are my people.
I laughed when Facebook bought Instagram for $77 million per employee. Now I see they are buying WhatsApp for roughly $320 million per employee (or $500 million per engineer).
When I see these numbers I think two things: one, why did I pick hardware over software? And two, the next ten years will bring us more of the breathless optimism, teenage millionaires, and worldwide financial catastrophe that defined the last tech bubble.
If you are an engineer and you’re really bad at what you do, read on! Choose your industry and I will predict your fortune:
Home routers and cable modems
You have a fascination with blindingly bright, narrow viewing-angle blue LEDs flashing incessantly in dark rooms.
Automated teller machines
You like needlessly loud fan noise, antiquated displays with bad viewing angles, parallax error between buttons and UI elements, obsolete operating systems, and input lag while performing simple tasks.
Printing (err… 2D printing)
You enjoy unpredictability. While your colleagues made precise, error-free image deposition possible, you worked tirelessly to ensure that only sometimes can the printer be detected on the network. To make sure the driver is cumbersome to install. To obfuscate the front-panel UI. And to guarantee that the printer drops off the wireless network periodically. You like to keep the users guessing.
Home security systems
The 1980s called. They want their beige plastic and 2-line alphanumeric LCDs back.
Heat-sealed clamshell packaging
You are a bad person.