The Trouble With Information

The troubling thing with professors not allowing students to cite wikipedia is the underlying truth that the debate hints at: everything you read anywhere has spin, misinformation, and exaggerated half-truth built into it.

You can’t trust anything you read, unless you can prove the truth behind it. If your proof is Google PageRank style “Well these four authors say its true, so it must be..”, then you’re standing on a house of cards.

The troubling part is that some authors dare to claim they author non-fiction.

The truly troubling part is that we listen to such “news” and accept hearsay/spin as fact. We then internalize it, compile it into belief, and then act on belief, retelling the story to our peers via the grade school telephone game.

History is (re)written by the winners with the most charismatic leader. That, I dare say, is fact.

TortoiseSVN not importing some files? Fix your permissions.

Beware zombies w/ ARC.

App store rejection for immediate crash

One of the apps I work on, TumbleOn, had a new version of the app rejected during review because it “crashed immediately”.

The troublesome part with the rejection was, we couldn’t reproduce it. Every device we could find and hook up to xcode would run the app beautifully.

If you’re experiencing a similar problem, the problem doesn’t show up when your app is being installed from the run menu of xcode. The crash only occurs when the archived .ipa file is dropped on to the device via xcode’s organizer.

In our case the fix to this problem was to update from xcode 4.3.x to 4.4. We found some threads on stack overflow saying this may be related to arc migration (something we had done), specifically something about armv6 and armv7 compiler settings in the project.

However, after fixing the problem and doing an svn diff on our project’s files, we found no such change to any project properties by our xcode 4.4 upgrade.

So, in summary, just upgrade to 4.4, that may fix your problem.

The worst salesman ever.

Fair warning, this post is filed in the ‘life & philosophy’ file, and it’s going to seem a bit tangental, but stick with me. I have a feeling many a programmer and otherwise intelligent readers will be able to relate.

I hate funerals.

It’s probably safe to say most people are not fans of funerals, so let me be more specific:

I hate funerals in the south.

Your average funeral has a few friends, coworkers, and perhaps family members say a word or two about positive aspects of the deceased. Then, if the deceased was religious, or more specifically, if the person running the funeral proceedings is, a preacher will say some words and hopefully leave everyone with a little bit less pain and sorrow.

The thing about funerals in the south is, there’s a lot of good-old religion. In the predominantly conservative south, people who fall upon bad luck deserve it, for the south fears not a god of love and peace, but rather a god who seems rather preoccupied with vengeance and head count above all else. In the south, a funeral is a sales opportunity, and your salesman is the preacher.

We’re trained to fear, prepare for, and minimize contact with a car salesman, at all costs. Not all car salesmen will treat you badly, but it seems more than a few would handcuff you to a chair in their office until you signed the papers, if they could.

At a funeral, the preacher could be the ultimate crooked salesman, as you are effectively handcuffed in place, out of respect for the dead, the family, and others in mourning. You are what they call a “captive audience”, and preachers in the south seem to know and use this.

At your average funeral, the preacher may quote the bible, mention heaven, and perhaps even end in mandatory prayer. In the south, if this is your experience, you’re lucky.

Your average southern preacher, in my experience, takes the stage, starts with a few nice words about the deceased, and steadily plunges into cringe-worthy territory of specifically mentioning that the person is (or even, is not!!) in heaven.

Cringes turn to squirms as the preacher predictably moves next to clarifying that his jesus is the only way to heaven, for a number of minutes.

Squirms turn to anger as the preacher punctuates his sales pitch with the deal making one-liner about repenting and accepting christ as your saviour.

Anger escelates as the preacher clarifies that those in the room and on earth without his christ will be burning in hell and have no solace in the death of another.

And anger leads to realizations about how truly fucked up the world is when the preacher, a supposed moral leader in your community, asks everyone to bow their heads and asks people to raise their hands if they’d like to accept his offer of christ. (Yes, this is “you can’t make this kind of shit up” territory..)

Nobody’s above a quick dollar, as they say.

Funerals don’t have to be this way, and in fact many aren’t. But once you’ve seen this cancer on society a few times, it sticks in your brain and you want to do something about it.

There’s something culturally twisted about dogmatic religion being the so-called leaders and do-gooders in our society while pitching you a christ sandwich at every rotten turn in your life, and at a funeral, it’s the lowest of the low.

To me, a funeral is not the time or place to sell anything, including a the billions-sold McChrist Burger. I think the ideal funeral is a) no funeral happening b/c someone didn’t die, or b) a moment to remember a loved one, cherish their memory, and remind one’s self that life is fragile and there’s more to life than the 9 to 5, and c) full of hugs.

A funeral is a moment in time to celebrate the life of someone who has passed, not to sell jesus.

There’s nothing wrong with anyone having any particular faith, and I’m all for funerals going the way the deceased would prefer. Did the deceased believe in a god? reincarnation? gravity? Great, let’s celebrate who they were and their faith is a component of their story to celebrate as well. We don’t need to hide someone’s religion because a diverse crowd may attend their funeral. It probably wouldn’t hurt to think a tiny bit about the crowd of loved ones and what they’re experiencing though.

It’s a damn shame when the deceased, or worse, the appointed steward of their affairs, would prefer their memory be one-upped by the worst amateur hour 4 am infomercial sales pitch you’ve ever seen.

McChrist Burgers anyone?

Stopping Axis2 in unix

Personal Success

I saw a pretty great movie today that inspired me.

The past year or so has been an interesting one in my personal and professional life. In that year it feels like I’ve really honed in on what I really want in career and what personal success truly is. Personal success is not a dollar figure, or freedom from putting in your dues. Personal success, for me, is making something bigger than myself, that makes the world just a little bit better than it would be without me.

I wouldn’t say coming to that conclusion for myself has been easy. The journey from the past couple of years to here, today, has not been a story of well-calculated steps as much as a story of trying, failing, iterating, learning, and doing it all again. All the while with incredible amounts of love, support, and patience from my wife, family, and friends along the way.

I’m not exactly sure what the coming year or years brings, but I do know that I want to be something other than just another developer who gave a greedy lottery ticket a shot. I want to spend a little more time giving back to the world, as my own weird little way of saying thanks for the incredibly fortunate lottery ticket that my life has become.

For starters, I’m setting Music Roulette free, forever.

Maven build automatically removing a jar?

How to excel at bash scripting

The trick to being good at bash scripting is to realize that nobody in their right mind would ever want to write bash scripts, but someone has to.

Getting LogBack to log to console with TestNG and IntelliJ