Jay Little - Software Obsessionist
Burn's Hog Weighing Method:
(1) Get a perfectly symmetrical plank and balance it across a
(2) Put the hog on one end of the plank.
(3) Pile rocks on the other end until the plank is again
   perfectly balanced.
(4) Carefully guess the weight of the rocks.
 -- Robert Burns

2/2/2020 2:45:45 PM

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have boundaries. Part of growing older is being able to identify and knowing how to address our boundaries. Sometimes we find ways to transcend those boundaries and other times we discover, often as part of a painful journey, that these boundaries are in fact more permanent than we realized.

I've got a couple stories about my encounters with my own boundaries that I'm going to share you all today. While they both "end" differently in a sense, the reality is that neither tale has actually completed. Both are still ongoing and ever-present experiences for me in ways that I hope you'll better understand by the end of this post.

My first story revolves around my unsuccessful foray into Twitch Streaming in late 2018. I spent two months on this particular endeavor and for those two months I took it pretty seriously. I even went so far as to create a website for my online streaming persona. I am a big fan of streaming and I love to have a stream up on a third screen while I'm hacking away at a piece of code. This kind of thing is pretty common among software developers nowadays. Gaming streams make for great background noise which allow you to devote your mental prowess to the task at hand, but from time to time are interesting enough so that they aren't actually boring.

12/25/2019 12:57:26 AM

So here I am sitting in an AirBnb on Christmas Eve in North Augusta on my laptop while Annette is watches Wheel of Fortune as she likes to do on weeknights. Inside I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for a full day of Christmas related events and visits with various in-laws tomorrow and thought to myself, "This would be a great time to spew out a new blog post."

Dare I say that your opinion on that may clash with mine after you finish reading what I have to say. It's Christmas related and as with most topics I'm going to make a lot of powerful statements which I may or may not choose to back up with any real degree of supporting information. Though in this case, I probably won't be providing a lot of links and references as most of this post is likely going to consist of me preaching and I simply don't have enough time to make this a proper essay. So if you like my typical content, you may want to just skip this one. Whatever you ultimately choose to do, consider yourself warned.

Most people who know me, know me as a bah humbug. While I don't consider that to be a particularly fair or kind adjective, I will begrudgingly admit that I have earned the title over the years. To me the real problem with Christmas isn't the religious aspect of it even though I am absolutely not religious at all. The real problem I have with Christmas is the secular aspect of it. Frankly given the way that people talk about it and the tribal behaviors they all feel compelled to participate in, I don't really even see it as a religious holiday at all. In terms of every technical and historical measurement available, Jesus' birthday has absolutely nothing to do with either Christmas as a holiday or the Winter Solstice (the event we ripped off during the creation of Christmas). My firm opinion is that people who engage in the secular holiday behavior while referencing the religious aspect of it from time to time are lying to themselves.

12/12/2019 4:21:33 PM

So over the years I've had a number of people tell me that I tend to focus on the negative aspects rather than the positive aspects of situations. This feedback has been relayed to me on both professional and personal levels. Let me tell you: That this is absolutely the case. However I don't see it as a failing so much as an asset. The purpose of today's post is to both delve into why I feel this way and why clients, co-workers and compatriots feel the way they do.

The easiest way to explain my mindset is as follows. I'm a professional problem solver whose primary tool is code. People don't come to me and ask me to write code because everything is hunky dory. On the contrary they come to me and ask me to code a solution for whatever problem they are currently experiencing. When your entire career revolves around solving other people's problems (and occasionally your own) it's very hard to maintain the facade that comes with a figurative set of rose tinted glasses.

That's not to say you can ignore the positive aspects even while solving a problem. In fact I would say that doing so runs the risk that you could inadvertently create a regression that diminishes some of those positive aspects. In addition sometimes it can be very beneficial to study the positive aspects of a given situation just as much as the negative aspects you are tasked with addressing as they can provide very important hints on how a client defines success.

11/16/2019 1:49:28 PM

So in light of the exceptionally serious posts that have graced the front page of this site over the last month I have decided to do something a little different today. Consider this my official attempt to remind you all that I am actually capable of doing something other than bitching about the behavior of corporations and people. The topic of conversation today will be the MiSTer and why I'm absolutely enthralled with it.

So what is the MiSTer? Well sadly the official wiki I just linked to doesn't actually answer that question very well on its front page. This is a device that emulates other devices. So in that basic sense, it doesn't appear very different than something like a Raspberry Pi with RetroPie installed. However it is very different and very notable for a number of reasons.

MiSTer is effectively a collection of non-mass produced add on boards designed to interface with a specific Single Board Computer known as the Terasic DE10-Nano. By a traditional SBC measuring stick it appears to be relatively weak, as it is only equipped with a relatively low speed dual core ARM processor and a gigabyte of RAM. However the real thing that it brings to the table is the FPGA chip it comes with. That chip along with the amazing community around this board form the core of what makes this project so amazing.

10/25/2019 9:20:27 PM

This post marks the third in my series about the sad saga of Purism and the Librem 5. If you haven't read the first or second posts yet, I highly recommend that you click here and then click here. Give them both at least a quick skim before reading this one as they contain important background information that is required to appreciate this one.

After mulling over everything I had seen along with what my source had shared with me, I decided that I had a moral duty to spread the word as far and as wide as possible while protecting the identity of my source as best as I could. I resolved that the best way to do this would be to create threads with specific questions directed towards Purism which would help to shed some light on some the questions I now had. I created two threads, one on the Purism forums and one in the Purism subreddit.

These threads did not go well. I severely underestimated the negative feedback I was going to get for daring to ask Purism a few basic questions. The most inflammatory one appeared to be the financial question I asked which strongly implied that the project had devolved into a Ponzi scheme. Regardless, nobody from Purism was willing to answer a single question and the community refused to use their collective influence to hold Purism accountable. This is when I decided to get a refund. Prior to this, I felt that getting a refund would be immoral because I was acting on information that most people were not privy too. However after experiencing the combined negative kickback from both communities after I attempted to share the truth, I changed by mind. At this point it seemed clear that I was no longer going to be stealing from Peter to pay Paul as these people had now made a conscious decision to stay the course with Purism regardless of what facts I presented them with.

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