Snowshoeing around Snoqualmie Pass

I rented some snowshoes on Saturday and went with Lassy, Mr Rick, Lampy, Homer and Lassy’s Niece on a Snowshoeing trip. It was pure fun after we got off the road, between the constant twists and turns, the work of finding where the path went and the beauty of the waves of snow we saw towards the end. I really wish I had brought a camera. The snow was pretty hard and was more like a ice cone then snow.

Afterwards I found that I was starving and probably ate too much for dinner that night as a result. I need to bring more food with me next time.

Sunday was a nice visit from Debra and Jacob. Jacob is into wanting his own way in walking and staying at the playground after it is time to go. One of the more intresting conversations was about giving kids Jacob and Simeon’s age limited choices and another about a young child quizzing Debra about Divorce. “What rules did he break?”. 


Microsoft weighs in directly on the DRM paper

From the Windows Vista Blog:

It’s important to emphasize that while Windows Vista has the necessary infrastructure to support commercial content scenarios, this infrastructure is designed to minimize impact on other types of content and other activities on the same PC.  For example, if a user were viewing medical imagery concurrently with playback of video which required image constraint, only the commercial video would be constrained — not the medical image or other things on the user’s desktop.  Similarly, if someone was listening to commercial audio content while viewing medical imagery, none of the video protection mechanisms would be activated and the displayed images would again be unaffected.

This is key to me, the OS has support, but it is compartmentalized in it’s reach and effects. The real engineering challenge is to create such a system such that the OS and hardware ecosystem remains open. The comments also demonstrate that many still are confused by the initial poor examples and hyperbole. For example:

Handing over complete control to the RIAA/MPAA and allowing them to have the final say on what a Windows machine can and cannot do is completely unacceptable. I don’t care if an exploit has been found in my drivers, unless it’s to do with security in the sense of someone being able to compromise my machine I don’t expect to see driver revocation just to satisfy some lawyer.

First, they only have control over thier own content. Second, even if the driver is revocated, the only ability you lose is the ability to see thier content.

“credibility” = “investment in reputation as an idiot” meme

Crooked Timber explains why acting like a bitter dead-enders is not a worthwhile policy for democracies.

The point here is that it’s one of the more important things in game theory that a signal has to be a costly signal to be credible; like membership of the Modern Languages Association, a reputation in deterrence theory is something that is worth having, but not worth getting. People who use the word “signal” in this context (usually on the basis of a poorly understood or second-hand reading of Schelling) don’t always seem to realise that they are explicitly admitting that the costs of being in Iraq are greater than the benefits.

Because of this, in my opinion it is very difficult for a democracy to establish this kind of credibility. The reason is that although leaders are often idiots, democratic polities rarely are. It is very hard for a democratically elected leader to credibly commit to a policy of stupidity, because everyone else knows that it is highly likely that the electorate will not support it. I hasten to add that to take this obvious fact and turn it into a Dolchstosslegende, or to bemoan the lack of national vigour in the manner of Victor Davis Hanson is to get the analysis back to front. It is a good thing about democracies that they don’t in general do stupid things, and the fact that an argument from “credibility” and “deterrence” can be constructed to make the case that it is a weakness (even “a fatal weakness”) of democracies that they are insufficiently inclined to pointless military dead-endism is just another example of the Davies-Folk Theorem.

Recent Podcasts

Some IT Conversations I’ve recently listened to:

  • Kevin Slavin – Big Games
    • Using small devices and back-end server, they set up games that span real world cities. Clues to what PuzzleSafari could morph into?
  • Steven Berlin Johnson – Serious Games
    • The author of “Everything Bad is Good for You” focuses into video games, and talks a bit about Lost.
  • Bjorn Mellin – Genetically Modified Crops
    • Argentina is #2 in the world in GM crops. It is VERY popular down there.
  • Tim O’Reilly – The O’Reilly Radar
    • Trends and Themes that O’Reilly is looking at. I kept thinking while listing to it that the GPL has morphed into a way to punish software distributors while favoring Web services and properties. Since the source distribution responsibility doesn’t touch them. It becomes very obvious why the proposed new GPL is so focused on such services.

Too Much Battlestar Galatica…


You scored as Commander William Adama. You have risen to your position by being damn good at what you do. Not only that, you have the deepest respect for the people under your command. You may be a little grumpy and unapproachable, but every commander needs to distance himself. Shame that you apply that to your children too.

Commander William Adama


CPO Galen Tyrol


Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)


President Laura Roslin


Col. Saul Tigh


Tom Zarek


Number 6


Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)


Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)


Dr Gaius Baltar


What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?created with

Boat Load of Links




Links for 3/22/2006

Cringly on QoS

Cringly discusses the recent congressional lobbying over changes to telecom regulations and repeats one the basic lessons of QoS: Most things QoS tries to solve can be solved with overprovisioning, and the general rule with bandwidth is that is keeps doubling it’s price/performance. IMHO, some of the differences between the old QoS team at Microsoft and the current one is taking this type of lesson to heart.