Warhammer 40k: I don't really like the game

I have enjoyed my time with Warhammer 40k. The Games Workshop plastic models are very well produced and a joy to assemble and paint. The background lore is deep and some of its retelling is masterfully done in the Black Library publications. I particularly like the Horus Heresy stories even if they are set 10,000 years before the world I am playing in. Unfortunately, I don't really like the game for the simple reason that there are far too many stats. There are stats from the individual weapons, to figures, to units, and so on all the way up to the whole army. This makes for a great variety of play as every game truly is a unique combinatorial experience. But, I can't play a game like that. I don't have the inclination or, frankly, the time to dedicate to learning not only my faction's specifics, but also those of my opponent's army. An opponent whose army can be made up from many dozens of races.

I have decided to keep the figures. I had intended on selling them, but, the figures are very nice and perhaps I will play the One Page Grimdark Future Rules one day.

Looking for a builder

The work is a extension to the home office to accommodate an electric kiln. It is to square off the corner of the current studio, add an interior kiln room, and add more windows. The design work has been done by Frank Karpowicz and we have the building permit. If you are interested in bidding on this work, please contact me at 401-441-2062.

Existing drawings
Permit drawings (draft)
Permit 62436
Klin & Electrical Specications

A top software development position in a startup wants ...

Having just taken a job with Raytheon and lamenting my lack of success getting a top software development position in a startup a friend asked "What is needed for new startups?"

A top software development position in a startup wants several years of experience with AWS infrastructure and a comprehensive knowledge of JavaScript use (and packaging) in the backend (node.js) and the frontend (Angular, React, and sometimes Vue). The startup still want the other skills of scalable architecture design (processing and data), excellent written and spoken communication, and mentoring, but having these is not enough. I was also surprised that even startups that will hire remote staff still want that staff close to home base.

As to the Java language and its ecology, this has little interest for them. In fact, many of the infrastructure foundations that are today implemented in Java -- ActiveMQ, Kafka, Zookeeper, Tomcat, etc -- are being replaced with "lighter" Go and Rust implementations. And with the accelerating move to managed infrastructure startups care little about how these foundations are implemented. They would rather rent, eg, a queuing service from AWS or GCP, and let the provider worry about implementing turnkey, scalable performance.

Even Citizens Bank, after having recently become independent of the Royal Bank of Scotland, is replacing their Java J2EE implementation with an AWS hosted, node.js microserviced, and React front ends. I have even heard that some of their services are from a "bank in a box" supplier.

I don't disagree with these changes except for the unfounded confidence in JavaScript -- the one language to rule them all. I would not want to run my own data center and infrastructure anymore, either. Assuming, that is, I had the very sizable budget for it.

Unwelcome advertisement for throat lozenges

The content on YouTube is really tremendous. I have used it to watch tutorials for fixing a food mixer, replacing my minivan's factory radio, painting miniatures vikings and ultramarines, learning boardgames, and refreshing some math theory. I have used it to watch documentaries and fan-made movies. I have listened to audio books. Sometimes, I even listen to music and other forms of audio & video performances. Unfortunately, the interstitial advertisements are beginning to kill YouTube.

I accept the need for YouTube to generate revenue with advertising, and, as crazy as it sounds, if the ad is short, I let it play through rather than take action to skip it. What I can't accept is the jarring interruption of the interstitial ads. You are listening to a 7 minute recording of a live performance. The performance beautifully builds for the first 3 or 4 minutes and then, just when it reaches a crescendo, an ad for throat lozenges breaks into the middle and ruins the whole thing.

I will continue to use YouTube as it has so much content useful in my daily life. I am going to skip most everything else until they replace the interstitial ads.

Working at Raytheon

I am no longer looking for work. I took a job at Raytheon, a (mostly) military contractor with offices here in RI.

Phoenix Checklist

[Copied from Boing Boing.]

The "Phoenix Checklist" is a set of questions developed by the CIA to define and think about a problem, and how to develop a solution.

The Problem
  • Why is it necessary to solve the problem?
  • What benefits will you receive by solving the problem?
  • What is the unknown?
  • What is it you don’t yet understand?
  • What is the information you have?
  • What isn’t the problem?
  • Is the information sufficient? Or is it insufficient? Or redundant? Or contradictory?
  • Should you draw a diagram of the problem? A figure?
  • Where are the boundaries of the problem?
  • Can you separate the various parts of the problem? Can you write them down? What are the relationships of the parts of the problem? What are the constants of the problem?
  • Have you seen this problem before?
  • Have you seen this problem in a slightly different form? Do you know a related problem?
  • Try to think of a familiar problem having the same or a similar unknown
  • Suppose you find a problem related to yours that has already been solved. Can you use it? Can you use its method?
  • Can you restate your problem? How many different ways can you restate it? More general? More specific? Can the rules be changed?
  • What are the best, worst and most probable cases you can imagine?
The Plan
  • Can you solve the whole problem? Part of the problem?
  • What would you like the resolution to be? Can you picture it?
  • How much of the unknown can you determine?
  • Can you derive something useful from the information you have?
  • Have you used all the information?
  • Have you taken into account all essential notions in the problem?
  • Can you separate the steps in the problem-solving process? Can you determine the correctness of each step?
  • What creative thinking techniques can you use to generate ideas? How many different techniques?
  • Can you see the result? How many different kinds of results can you see?
  • How many different ways have you tried to solve the problem?
  • What have others done?
  • Can you intuit the solution? Can you check the result?
  • What should be done? How should it be done?
  • Where should it be done?
  • When should it be done?
  • Who should do it?
  • What do you need to do at this time?
  • Who will be responsible for what?
  • Can you use this problem to solve some other problem?
  • What is the unique set of qualities that makes this problem what it is and none other?
  • What milestones can best mark your progress?
  • How will you know when you are successful?
From the book, Simply Brilliant: Powerful Techniques to Unlock Your Creativity and Spark New Ideas, by Bernhard Schroeder

The splendor and complexity of networked service at scale

The splendor and complexity of networked service at scale. Josh Evans' talk Mastering Chaos - A Netflix Guide to Microservices at InfoQ.

"Contempt isn't cool"

I really like Benno Rice's talk "The Tragedy of systemd" about accepting change. I had resisted systemd only because I didn't need anything different than inet.d for what I was doing. This was a mistake and one I wish I had rectified sooner. I was missing out on taking advantage of all the other great services systemd offered. Had I switched earlier I would have enjoyed the slow, methodical accrual of a deeper knowledge and practical experience.

The link above is to a point near the end of the talk to the "Contempt isn't cool" slide. Accepting change requires to accept ones own limitations, biases, and blindspots. Do this respectfully as others have done it with you. Contempt is a destructiveness that you never want to bring into your team.

Waste Wars

I was reading the New York Times last year and came across an article about the hazardous working conditions of private waste management companies. The work is hard, the pay too little, and the time pressures too great. I don't mean to make little of this horrible situation, but, later, my mind wandered, as it often does, to Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil and the gorilla plumber. I have always been intrigued by the plumber’s statement that plumbing was the last radical trade in the near distant future. What if garbage collection was too? Could its work be made into a game?
"The year 2017 saw the rise of the litteral cut-throat waste management companies. Their goal was to grow their business by any means possible. By 2027 waste management had become paramilitarised." Waste Wars
I never completed the game development. What I have developed is more, I think, a source of ideas for an actual game developer or for repurposing an existing game.

Gluing Warhammer 40k Space Marines

Started to glue together my Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine models. I am not fond of the aesthetic of their uniforms, but the modelmakers have made good use of it whereby each successive layer can be used used to hide the mistakes made underneath.

I don't know if other hobbyists do this, but after assembly I give all the surfaces where I scraped off the mold lines a light wash of plastic glue, aka acetone. For these models this seems to further help hide the mold lines. Will know more once they are primed.

Update: Is it just mine or are all 40k space marines right handed and turning towards the right?

Update: I should not have put them on bases and attached the guns before painting them!

Update: Awaiting the enemy ...

Fiskars Easy Change Fabric Knife

The Cool Tools blog posted a review of several alternatives to the ubiquitous, badly design, barrel handle X-Acto knives. The Fiskars Easy Change Knife is the favorite and so I bought two via the posting's associates link. They both have NO grip on the blade and are dangerous. Do not buy that version. There seem to be 2 versions of the knife in the world.

I contacted Fiskars and they sent me two replacements that are awesome! The replacements are Fiskars Easy Change Fabric Knife (3 blades) 164010-1001. The only visible difference between the two is that the Fabric Knife's has a gray tinted, translucent cap (rather than untinted). I hesitate to provide a product link as none that I found show the packaging. If you do find a package image it should look like the image in this posting.

Thank you Fiskars for great customer service.