• Apple vs the FBI

    Blake Ross, Firefox wunderkind, has the best analogy for the Apple versus the FBI debate.

    There is a slim chance that there is data on a terrorist’s work phone, and the FBI wants Apple to allow a backdoor key.

    An airline pilot locks the other pilot out so he can crash the plane into a mountain, and the airlines don’t add a backdoor key to the cockpit door.

    They understand that there are too many bad people trying to get in, and it’s so rare that a good person is trying to get in that it’s not worth risking security with a backdoor key.

    The security we encounter every day — when it works at all — is usually built out of shades of gray: Lock your door. Need more? Arm your alarm. Even more? Don’t feed Fido for a day. Marginal benefits, marginal costs.

    It’s easy to assume that digital security is just another spectrum, and politicians love to reinforce that — gray’s their favorite color. Every presidential candidate is offering the same Michael Scott solution: Let’s preserve everyone’s security at once! Give a little here, take a little there, half-pregnancies for all.

    Unfortunately it’s not that complicated, which means it’s not that simple. Unbreakable phones are coming. We’ll have to decide who controls the cockpit: The captain? Or the cabin? Either choice has problems, but — I’m sorry, Aunt Congress — you crash if you pick 2.

    Blake Ross
  • Speaking of Building Apps for Production...

    A project usually has a single gamble only. Doing something you’ve never done before or has high risk/reward is a gamble. Picking a new programming language is a gamble. Using a new framework is a gamble. Using some new way to deploy the application is a gamble. Control for risk by knowing where you have gambled and what is the stable part of the software. Be prepared to re-roll (mulligan) should the gamble come out unfavorably.

    Jesper L. Anderson on Medium

    Jesper, who freaking tests distributed databases and other systems, has much more specific advice on how you should build your apps. He has good advice. Read it. (I promise not to make you write Erlang)

  • Get Paid

    But the dropping posts on Facebook prove that everybody is not a star. That the wild west atmosphere of the internet is a phase. And as things solidify, cyberspace resembles the rest of society… There’s a very thin layer of superstars/winners, a small class who believe the low barrier to entry means they can win the lottery, while the rest have checked out and are interacting one to one and consuming when they’re not.

    Bob Lefsetz

    Most startups fail. You’re not going to get rich. You’re not going to get famous. Make sure you get paid and make it’s worth it for you.

    When I graduated college I thought getting paid was making the next Facebook, but my first job paid me $62k, enough to travel overseas once a year and have substantial savings left over. I could’ve done better if I kept looking, but interviewing sucks. $62k is just right for someone straight out of college in 2008. Starting salaries in Texas are closer to $70k today.

    Then I met someone with a master’s degree making $55k at a consulting company because “That’s what we can bill for you”. They shouldn’t have let you accept that job. They know you’re going to leave for a better paying job as soon as you have a year’s experience. They just want to take advantage of your low salary and standard bill rate for as long as possible. If you’re starting that undervalued at a company, you’ll never catch up to your market rate with only the standard 5% raise every year.

    Even worse is if you work in IT. Even the lowliest programmer makes more than you. If you’re making websites in your free time and deploying them to a server, you’re qualified enough for a junior developer position, and you’d be shocked at programmer’s starting salaries.

    Talk to your friends about salary. Talk to your students about salary. Talk to your family about salary. Friends don’t let friends get paid less than market rate.

  • Resume Ego

    A long time ago, I had a manager who read way too much into resumes. When I was interviewing, he told me that he loved to start at the back of the resume and work forward to where the applicant was now. He wanted to make sure all jobs the applicant chose were congruous. Fucking prick.