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2001/2008 vibes

Walking through an empty office took me back to 2001 as I survived seven layoffs and three office moves at Critical Path. Serious triggering moment.

Recommend that folks have a Plan B, and start building support networks now.

The whole global economy is fragile and over-leveraged, and we've already used up most financial engineering tools available in 2008.


Stress Break

Relax with some therapy farm animals.. Almost makes twitter worth it.. almost.



Algorithmic Art Assembly

This looks interesting... March 27-29th...



DNA Lounge - Hackers

25th Anniversary



Adversarial Interoperability - Grunge Edition

I only contributed factual info....

Also realized that Gopher was announced to comp.unix.misc the day before Smells Like Teen Spirit came out.



We all owe a debt to Larry Tesler. RIP.

Also see



I know some of the people that did this and they never told me....



Had to disable SameSite cookies to book a flight on United.

They were using DNS names to shard their booking frontends. The 'rev' cookie was getting blocked, and then when the frontend made a request for weirdhost/rev it hit a 500 error...

Seems like there's got to be a better way of rolling this out, especially if United has a software procurement/deployment process that takes longer than 3 chrome releases....



Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 15:33:00 -0800
Subject: Firebase - Looking to hire Engineer #5 for our Core Development team

I just came across your LinkedIn profile and thought I'd reach out to you because of your impressive experience at Google.

The things you find when cleaning out your inbox...



Hacker Costume Contest....

oof... click through for that movie trailer.

Can confirm that I own that Fluke CD and it was in heavy rotation.


Hip hop

Saw Gza and Nur-d this weekend. Old school and new school. Gza is of course a legend and is also doing a Science series on Netflix. Nur-d was the headliner at the 2019 best new bands show. Weaves in the nerd culture in a very joyful way. Superb entertainer and you'll probably be seeing more of him..



(At a exhibition of 1st Avenue, the music venue)


Decentralizing Social Media

Quite the lineup tonight for the monthly DWeb event. I'm going to get to this one.


If you are anywhere near San Francisco tonight, 1/21 at 6 PM, be sure to join us for the DWeb SF Meet Up at the Internet Archive, focusing on decentralized social media. Twitter's Jack Dorsey announced he's forming the Blue Sky team to help build and use decentralized social media protocols--and they will be on hand to meet the Decentralized Web community.

Up this month:

Evan Henshaw-Plath, founder of, a decentralized social media platform built on as an open protocol. It's ready for test flights and it's founder, also known as calls Planetary the "humane alternative to Facebook."

Edward West, founder & CEO of, an app that combines group management, messaging and collaboration built on

Matthew Hodgson, founder of the open source protocol upon which the chat app runs.

Burak Nehbit, founder & CEO of a
peer-to-peer network of self-governing, interest-based communities who
elect their own moderators. It's inspired by Usenet and Reddit, but
unlike them, it also attempts to provide not only a platform, but also
high-quality discussion on an ongoing basis.


6-7 PM Dinner and Science Fair-- meet the builders! (Pizza and Beer will be served)

7-8:30 PM Presentations and Q & A in the Great Room

8:30-9:30 PM More networking

Chip in 0 to cover the pizza and beer by buying a ticket today.



Looking for anything related to a hotel in Google Search sucks. Too many people chasing referral dollars. Search for 'hotelname city' gives me:

- Google provided 'Related to Hotelname' onebox of 8 hotel images/links
- Google provided onebox of 'Your related activitiy' showing me images of my other hotel searches.
- Big KP on the right rail, with booking and more (dupe) images of the same hotel.
- Favicons.. oof
- Stars, lots of star ratings. 12 to be precise.
- 3 entries with related searches, plus a related searches link at the bottom.
- Love the use strikethrough "Hotelname City 7 (-70-) Hotel deals

I ended up asking friends for advice...


Mich Gerber

Got into MIch back in the late 90s. Fantastic performer and does things with a double bass that you would not think possible.

If you're in Switzerland I highly recommend checking out the Sadly it won't be with Imogen Heap like this clip, but it will be very, very good.


Formatting a KML file?

Hey, anyone know if there's a tool that will take a KML file and generate a pretty HTML file with a little map for each layer followed by a list of locations with the title/description/photos?



My wife Julie passed away from breast cancer last month. Today I published her obituary in the Star Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, the Rochester Post Bulletin and at

We knew right away that we completed each other and fell deeper in love for 27 years. She meant everything to me.

Thank you for bearing witness to Julie’s life, for the condolences and for honoring Julie's memory.



Culture and Information Flows

This article covers medical organizational contexts. I believe the information flows and how it relates to culture are transferable across industries and disciplines. Also relevant in the need-to-know world we find ourselves in..

From the Conclusion:

The culture, then, represents those habits of thought and action by changing the culture, virtually everything can change—trust, openness, confidence, and even competence. A generative culture will make the best use of its assets, a pathological one will not. This is what the theory predicts, and what the case studies show. But it still remains to be determined whether culture has systematic impacts along the lines we have sketched on a broader scale.If it does, then we need to pay more attention to the forces shaping the culture of our medical teams and medical organisations. We need the benefits and relative immunity that a good human envelope implies.


Local Grungy People

This post below is a copy of a Sep 17, 2014 post from the internal Google+ Team community.

I'm reposting it because today I published an Obituary site that includes some of these discussed here. What I wrote today is just as import
ant today as it was back then.

Mediating and initiating local and human connections are needed now more than ever.

[I'd also say that we need preservation too, I'm fortunate to be able to relive these memories, compared to MySpace or Snapchat users.]

Anyway, here it is after 5 years....

Subject: Local Grungy People?

...and the importance of serendipity, locals and shared interests.

warning longish philosophical post ahead...

I thought the pre-TGIF Social Presentation was weak, but it did contain one very important quote there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. If I were presenting I'd dump almost all of the mechanics about how we suck at onboarding and just tell a story about that.

Tell a story about how we go from sharing an interest to sharing your entire life together. Tell a story about how we're going to help users with this basic need to connect, and how Google can use technology to mediate this. Tell us how Google can provide just the right amount of serendipity that helps people connect on a personal level. (and then provide the rest of the infrastructure to do the private/personal thing too.)

Because that's my story. It's how a shared interest became love and a wonderful life spent together, due to mailing list: GRUNGE-L

Back then there were no profiles, but there were .signatures. So serendipitously I found myself discussing bands with someone a few miles away. Until one day I made the personal connection and sent the following email.

The rest, as they say, is history

Date: Wed, 8 Jan 92 13:04:43 CST
Subject: Local Grungy people

Hey, are there any other people from Minnesota besides you and myself
on the wonderful grunge-l mailing list?

I'm always interested in putting a face onto an e-mail address. I'll
probably be at the Babes in Toyland Show saturday, and the Local Band
showcase on Monday.


| Paul Lindner | | "You have to Spit
| | Computer & Information Services | to See the Shine" --
| Gopher Dude | University of Minnesota | Babes in Toyland
///// / / / /////// / / / / / / / / //// / / / / / / / /


A Gopher interface to relational databases

Pretty sure I was aware of good ol' Bobby Tables back then too.


Silver Linings

I wanted to use the Richard Brautigan poem I posted last week, so I sought out the rights-holder to get permission. Turns out it's his daughter Ianthe. We've been exchanging emails. What a fabulous person.

If you don't know about Richard Brautigan he was a popular SF writer. If you haven't already please scroll down and read his 1967 poem All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. It's over fifty years later and it still resonates, especially as we enter the realm of automation, AI and a completely technology-mediated world.

This poem is one of the first uses of a copyleft license. You can copy it, but only if you give it away for free.. More info at Wikipedia

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.




It is with sadness that I am officially retiring the _Healthy Stuff Collection_. It was a good place to post without [CW: cancer] before collections were deprecated. Thank you to everyone for their kindness and support for these past four and half years.

I do hope that my experience can inform others. If you are going through something similar please realize that:

- you can be vulnerable.
- you must take time for caregiving.
- you can get support.
- and you should take the time to cherish the ones you love.

Finally, metastatic breast cancer is really tough. It may have Julie's life, but it could only take her hair for a short period. It regrew more beautiful than ever and always reminded me of her fave Brautigan poem:

I want your hair
to cover me with maps
of new places,

so everywhere I go
will be as beautiful
as your hair

–Richard Brautigan

If you want to honor her memory a donation to your local animal rescue group or one of Julie's preferred charities ( or would be welcome.


Save. Your. Stuff.

If there's one thing you do over the upcoming break consider archiving your precious and mundane moments with the ones you love. You'll thank me in a few decades.

Right now I'm reading passages aloud from an mbox file from 1992. Reliving a courtship, engagement and marriage that happened all over 2000 emails. A whirlwind of bands, poetry readings, witty .sigs and much more as the end approaches.

Oh and if you're a designer make sure your products can easily archive. (Hey I'm looking at you Android Messages)

Also lament the content that never made the jump from tape to digital. Let's not fuck up Youtube's essential role in preserving this. For example this one is not available on CD


HIPAA violations

I almost wish I had not invested in Nest cams so much. I was able to use a Chromebook as the source in the hospital room since it handles captive portals..


Lehman's laws

Love this definition from the original paper:

... any program is a model of a model within a theory of a model of an abstraction of some portion of the world or of some universe of discourse.



CW: health issues

It's 2:30am 4:00am and I've just spent an hour talking and consoling my wife through a manic episode caused by brain metastasis. I sit down, exhausted and peer through the rain spattered window. I see the homeless encampment in Mosswood park with dozens of ramshackle tents.

It is with gratitude that I have the benefits as a Googler to spend time caregiving through four recent hospitalizations in the last month.

I still feel the guilt of being so less productive at work. I still feel sad that those below likely won't get the same level of care.

Care for and support those close to you and everywhere around you.


Achievement Unlocked..

Used up my FSA and hit my out-of-pocket max on the same day.


Android Phone Transfer thread

Not sure where to file feedback about things, but my Pixel 2XL screen started to fail so got a Pixel 3 XL (want to keep fingerprint sensor, plus way discounted and pink!)


Not all medicine comes in bottles.

Location Kaiser Oakland

Caption: Large white great Pyrenees with a hospital bed in the background.




A reminder that the thing with two arrows is TAB.

Oh and this is an EKG, so yeah, nothing life-or-death about confusing software.


John Henry Short Term role

Looking for a break? Want to improve fairness for Google products? Have a supportive manager? Then check out this short-term opportunity on the John Henry Team:

So what exactly would you be doing you might ask...

- Work with a system that pulls all the term lists used for blocking through Google and properly categorize them based on identity facets.
- Work with research/product partners to apply this merged, vetted Societal Context dataset. Help remove bias from underlying systems and ML algorithms
- Build tools that will help us develop System Dynamics as a common practice in policy making and the product design process.
- Have fun!

Our environment is Java+Spanner with a goal of migrating to GraphStore in 2020.

Happy to chat about this opportunity or the project as a whole.


TGIF and Variety

There's a JFK quote that goes like this:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

Now substitute internal dissent above and think about the changes that have happened in the past year. Paradoxically increasing the domination of communication channels doesn't remove the dissent, it only displaces it into channels where it is much harder to control.

This follows which states that a stable control mechanism contains as many states as the system being controlled. Recent moves like removing live questions, less TGIFs reduces the variety of the control system. Sadly it appears that to make that work we are reducing variety of the system being controlled by pushing out "troublemakers".

My suggestion? Embrace dissent. Make peaceful revolution possible. Recognize and absorb that variety instead of shunting it aside.

A really simple way is having a strong Ombudsman or employee representative. This provides a mechanism to peacefully handle the dissent and channel it towards solutions instead of revolt.



Foone had a great article about the device. So I made a joke that today they'd have your allowance on the blockchain, with an Alexa "CleanRoom" Oracle that rewarded you with "ChoreCoin".

Turns out someone beat me to it....



Hey fellow commoners. Ostrom in meme form has arrived.

If you start thinking of many of our ecosystems as commons you can also consider using these principles as a diagnostic tool. There's also our own workplace commons too....


procedure Hello is

A few days late but Happy Ada Lovelace Day to one and all.



Wow, multi-day outage for temp badges.

I came in. Said I needed a badge. Wrote my username on a post-it and was given an E badge. I now have to tailgate (!) or ask people to badge me in.


Technology and Defense (Minnesota Edition)

This is an amazing history of technology in Minnesota. The rise and decline can be traced directly to military expenditures.

It also goes into the fascinating connection between the declining streetcar industry and how those engineers created the first disk drives using electric motors and spinning wheels.

Also tune-in for the coverage of Oregon Trail and of course Internet Gopher....


Technology and Defense (Silicon Valley version)

An interesting read on the rise of SV and the role that the military-industrial-complex played in that.

Who can deny that today’s commercial Internet has largely fulfilled this cyberpunk nightmare? Someone should ask Gore what he thinks.


Platforms made of Quicksand

2 months notice for the death of Yahoo Groups. Google Group folks take notice, this is not acceptable for preserving the history of the internet.


New comment by lindner in "Solid State: Minnesota's High-Tech History"

This is a lot of history crammed into an hour. Goes from the early code-breaking work and the development of Drum Memory at Engineering Research Associates.

ERA merged with Sperry/Univac/Remington and then begat Control Data, Cray, Unisys and many others.

Also tune in for some history of the Oregon Trail by Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) and how that ties into the rise of Internet Gopher.

Oh and disclaimer: former Gopher Dude here.


Day 1 Home DiRT IRL

A few hiccups but finally have something that's stable..

Power Sources:
- Battery: B Class with 36kWh battery and 400W Inverter
- Sun: Solar with up to 1500W
- UPS: 1500W, 900Wh APC

- Refrigerator ~100-150W while running 250W peak
- Internet: 15W ONT+Router
- Electric Blanket 60W
- LED Lamps ~15W
- Laptop w/85W or 45W charger
- cords, lots of cords

I charge the car battery @1000W during the day with other loads. Using Inverter at night.

The APC UPS was supposed to provide stability, but it kind of sucks:
- slow trickle charge
- Can't charge off the inverter most of the time.
- Has a bad odor.

For now I just use it for the fridge when I have to run errands



Does our ads matching algorithm do substring matching? Or does YSL have an eau-de-napalm? (As in smells like freedom...)


120 Cell

Some extreme geometry to start your day...