Earlier this year, I read an article talking about the reason for computer/technology-related outsourcing. In the article, people like HP’s Carly Fiorina and Intel’s Craig Barrett suggested that the USA should pour more funds into education, particularly in the sciences, to make more workers available in these fields.

Initially, I was sorta surprised at this notion. The outcry in the USA over outsourcing, with many tech workers complaining that they’re even being forced to train their own replacements, seemed to suggest to me that the USA is doing fine – we have enough workers and enough people looking for jobs to keep the industry well-sated.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the nature of capitalism. The problem is not that there is an actual physical shortage of willing workers in the industry. The problem, rather, is that there are not so many workers as to create strong competition between workers – which is precisely what Fiorina and Barrett mean when they discuss ‘competition.’ Why strong competition between workers? Well, if you have only just enough workers to go around, obviously the wages will be higher. More workers = lower wages because of increased competition. Mouths to feed, bills to pay? You’ll definitely take a lower-paying job in a crunch. But at least your CEO will pocket some more millions. This hurts the small guy, but is great for the corporation’s bottom line.

The joy of capitalism.:-P


Seems that the programmers of the WS_FTP file transfer protocol client must be fans of the Paranoia role playing game. Note this unusual message buried in the WS_FTP transfer log during a routine FTP session.

PORT 192,168,2,225,11,146
200 PORT command successful
RETR adminapglacct.php
150-Connecting to port 2962
150-The computer is your friend. Trust the computer
150 4.4 kbytes to download
Received 4542 bytes in 0.1 secs, (440.00 Kbps), transfer succeeded
226-File successfully transferred
226 0.000 seconds (measured here), 32.06 Mbytes per second

Edit (22 September 2004@21:00:48): It occurs to me that it may be a certain *nix FTP daemon returning this code, not necessarily WS_FTP. At any rate, it’s still cool.


Okay, so everyone’s been raving off and on about this David Gelernter guy. I was advised by a friend to take a look at his “The Second Coming: A Manifesto,” which I did.

My real impression is that it’s quite overrated. Don’t get me wrong, the technologies are amazing. However, for all his talk about this grand upcoming revolution, Gelernter proceeded to patent the entire lifestream idea, essentially making it impossible for anyone to use it in the next 15 or so years without paying him a fortune (and some sources suggest that he has no interest in doing so unless you’re a major corporation). Some revolution, especially since his company seems to have folded and you cannot even buy HIS implementation of the lifestream principle anymore (check scopeware.com or mirrorworlds.com – as of this writing, those sites have been down at least a few months).

In addition – not that I have anything against conservatives – Gelernter seems to be a particularly outspoken conservative of the Republican type, as evidenced by his rants on topics as diverse as capital punishment, baby boomers and WW2, and art and the Nobel Prize. Serves him quite well in the current American climate, but his computer ‘brilliance’ aside, I somehow doubt his overall views would make him well-liked by much of the world. The world is indeed bigger than whatever chip he has on his shoulder.

While I understand that his run-in with the unabomber has probably made him a little bitter, I still find him a classic example of the type of arrogant intellectual elitist pre-geriatric who unfortunately wields entirely too much power and influence in the United States today. Sad.

A thought…

It occurred to me today that there’s a certain irony in the fact that Americans are getting fat and having severe health problems from overeating (School Cafeterias Resist Low-Carb Pressure) while people are starving overseas.

It isn’t the traditional “Oh, we are so blessed that we have food…we should help feed the hungry! *stuff face and ignore hungry*” sort of didactic anecdotal irony, but rather a real irony that comes from the fact that finally, Americans are *dying* from eating too much. See, if they’d just give some of their food away to the poor, maybe both sides would live now. Weird way that the scales have turned…

Hello world !

So I watched everyone else do this long enough, and in true Nathan style, I’ll jump in now. And, of course, probably find myself bored to tears in about a year.

Stuff to promote – Tapping The Vein, Whitesands MUD, being American in Canada, slashdot.org, kuro5hin, cats rule, and other stuff I’ll probably think of later (yes, I’m a geek, so shoot me).

Look for lots of stuff coming soon:-)