26 Dec

TSA May Increase Travel Restrictions

Due to a recent incident aboard a US bound flight, where a passenger ignited an explosive powder but which was quickly doused by both fellow passengers and crew members. The TSA is evidently considering disallowing passengers from moving around in the final hour of a plane ride. Quoting from the New York Times article:

According to a statement posted Saturday morning on Air Canada’s Web site, the Transportation Security Administration will severely limit the behavior of both passengers and crew during flights in United States airspace — restricting movement in the last hour of flight. Late Saturday morning, the T.S.A. had not yet included this new information on its own Web site.

As of now I’m also not seeing anything on the TSA site to confirm or deny this statement. But let’s assume that the TSA will in fact restrict travel in this manner. You are going to restrict travelers from moving in the last hour of a plane ride due to a single failed incident in which the person could have tried to light the explosive powder at any point during their flight. So you are really just moving the threat to a different time frame during the trip. That and you are now going to make those short legs really hard to deal with since you already can’t move about the cabin during the climb to cruising altitude. That and plus the crew and passengers defeated this pretty easily and the psychology of passengers aren’t going to let them be so easily taken down (Bruce Schneier talked about this but I am having trouble finding a citation).

My point here is that

  1. this is a pretty localized and small incident that was easily stopped
  2. responding to this single act with an overly broad and inefficient measure does nothing but annoy more people.

Or we could just have the shock collars and be herded like prisoners on and off planes.

Right after I finished this I found a nice article complementing my point from MG Seigler at Techcrunch. And Schneier responds to the rules here.

15 Dec

Democrats May Drop Medicare Expansion

Well ok then to quote Marco who sums it up better that I ever could.

Democrats (in power): We want to pass this bill that makes a lot of sense. It would help a lot of people and it’s supported by the majority of the population.

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

Democrats: OK. Well, I guess we can do without this huge part over here. How about now?

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

Democrats: Fine, we’ll kill this section, even though it’s pretty much the point. Now?

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

Democrats: OK. Sorry. We’ll take out the last part. I’m not even sure if I know what’s left. How about now?

Republicans: No. You need to compromise.

07 Dec

Let’s Talk About Meetings

Meetings how about you and I talk. Why are there so many of you, why do they so often turn into present and inform sessions when they should be plan and decide. Why is it so easy to schedule one of you, 30 seconds of work and an hour of 5 people’s time is gone like that. Their productivity for the afternoon too is shot.

My new plan for meetings is pretty simple:

  1. Monday: Management, departmental and office/company wide meetings
  2. Tuesday: Client and vendor meetings
  3. Wednesday: Project meetings
  4. Thursday: Different client and vendor meetings than Tuesday
  5. Friday: no meetings of any sort, no matter what

That’s it no meetings outside of this schedule if you need to talk about something, wait a week, plan your future meetings better, discuss more over email or Basecamp or something, stop killing my productivity by having meetings.

Exceptions: informal discussions (hey let’s talk about what x looks like for 5 minutes) sure go ahead and have them whenever and wherever, formal/private meetings (firings/company closing/discipline) again do those as needed, everything else don’t do it. If you find yourself emailing a group of people and finding a time and place to discuss something it’s a meeting – pick the right day and wait till then.

The two biggest creators of useless meetings, presenting information when it could be more accurately and economically done in another fashion (video/email/phone/etc) and having people there who aren’t part of the core discussion.

Meetings in the word of Stephen Colbert “You’re on notice!”

Meetings On Notice

Meetings On Notice

06 Dec

Secret Santa Project

It’s the holiday season and that means you are buying a lot of gifts and probably along the way doing at least one gift exchange. Probably the most well known of these (at least here in the US) is Secret Santa.

My family does Secret Santa amongst ourselves and this year I decided to modernize it by writing a simple php script that would shuffle the names and emails and send an email to each person telling them who they had.

It all worked really well except for the emailing part, they kept going into the spam folder. So that was a bust.

Last night however I had some free time and I took that script and updated it into a quite nice and simple web app (and no longer do emails go into the spam folder).

You can try the code out at http://secret.yostivanich.com/ or download the whole package here.

Included in this package is unmodified versions of Blueprint CSS Framework and PHPMailer. The rest of code there is all mine and is under a href=”http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php”>MIT License, essentially do whatever you want with my code.

I’ll work on a a couple of tutorials to walk though what I what did over the next few posts, till then have fun.

03 Dec

What About the Open Web?

Facebook: FarmVille is bigger than Twitter, beyond insane when I think about it.

To prove the popularity of these extra-curricular sections of Facebook, Johnson explained: “Applications make up a huge part of Facebook. There are over 90,000 applications on Facebook. “69 million active users are using FarmVille alone, that’s more users than Twitter.” Interestingly, Facebook noted that its demographic is getting older, with the 35+ category growing the fastest and 53 per cent of all those who log on in a month come back on a daily basis.

What does that say for Twitter (and the open web) when a single application inside of a walled garden has more users? Are end users happier in the garden, is it only due to the social and community already built in Facebook, or something else?

Oh and no I don’t use Farmville.