On the ubiquity of chicken rotisseries

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Once upon a time, long long ago – i.e. 1995 – rotisserie chicken was a huge business. The trend was started with Boston Chicken (now Boston Market). The idea was making a healthier, classier, more expensive alternative to fast food. The original founder of Boston Chicken bought the idea and franchised it (not unlike Ray Kroc) because the owners were ringing up an average of $13.75 per bill. Many clones popped up in the early-90s.…

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Hubris: the biggest security risk

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A couple days ago on Hacker News, the thread about Chrome’s security for stored password erupted and culminated with one of Chrome’s security mavens posting responses. Within that chain, he posted this quip: I appreciate how this appears to a novice, but we’ve literally spent years evaluating it and have quite a bit of data to inform our position. And while you’re certainly well intentioned, what you’re proposing is that that we make users less safe than they are today by providing them a false sense of security and encouraging dangerous behavior.…

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Brain Drain and Microsoft

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I’ve been known to say silly things like “everyone must learn to code” and “STEM education trumps all other education”. BUT, hear me out on this one. The future is pretty clear: the knowledge-worker economy. In the future, people are never cogs. We’ve automated everything cog-like, long ago. The people who do that automation – who facilitate it, create it – those people are gold. Their knowledge and ability to create is what empowers the companies that employ them.…

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Future Liability Problems of Big Data for Merchants

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In the wake of the PRISM scandal, many have wondered about the trust we give to corporations that mine data. Do we trust AT&T with those same phone records? Do we trust Google with the knowledge of everything that’s in our mind (by way of evaluating our searches?) I feel fairly confident that corporations will try to act in a responsible way with that information, at least within their own corridors (maybe not when forced to give it to the government).…

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The easiest ways in the world to screen engineers

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There’s been a lot of talk about technical interview questions and such on the interwebs. Google has concluded that brainteasers don’t work. There are libraries of interview questions out there, Glassdoor keeps a record of interview questions, etc. etc. You know what? Technical prowess matters, but there are much, much easier signs of whether someone will be a great engineer or not. I wish I had the hard numbers to back this up but for now you’ll have to take my word for it.…

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I challenge all recruiters' claim that programmers are scarce

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Since we announced our funding at Radius on Wednesday, just about every recruiter and recruiting website in the Bay Area has spammed me because we’re hiring engineers (yes, we are hiring). When negotiating terms with them, I’m being fairly aggressive though. I’m only offering about half of what they’re getting from other firms. Why is that? Because I challenge this notion that programmers are a scarce resource that they somehow know to tap into, or that their website has cornered the market on.…

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Jersey Tests with Embedded Jetty and Spring

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One of the bittersweet things about using Java is that there’s a library for everything.   The good is that if you need to do something, there’s a library.  The bad is that the documentation is typically terrible, and it can take hours (or days!) to figure out how the hell to make something work.  Today’s lesson in this is testing Jersey services when you’re deploying on Embedded Jetty and Spring.…

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Pentaho won't launch on MacOS X

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Download Pentaho, unpack it.  You double click “Data Integration 64-bit” and nothing happens. When you try it on the commandline, it gives you:LSOpenURLsWithRole() failed with error -10810 for the file /Users/trimbo/Downloads/data-integration/Data Integration 64-bit.app. The solution is to give the JavaApplicationStub file execution permission. chmod +x ~/Downloads/data-integration/Data Integration 64-bit.app/Contents/MacOS/JavaApplicationStub Now you can double click the icon and it will launch. Hopefully this helps someone.…

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Why I didn't go work on Facebook games

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Many people were surprised when I left the games industry last year and moved over to a completely different kind of ecommerce engineering position. Some background. I started out of college working on computer graphics (CG) for commercials. At the time, the industry had a lot of money flowing in. Most commercials with any kind of CG in them would cost $500K, and commercials that were entirely CG would be $1MM plus.…

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Programming a Chamberlain garage door opener into your VW HomeLink

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My wife has a Volkswagen Passat and we just moved into a place with a Chamberlain garage door opener that uses a rolling code. The normal VW instructions don’t help you figure out how to program these types of garage door openers. I found some instructions on VW vortex which describe how to do this. I’m going to paraphrase the instructions here so people searching for this kind of thing can easily find it.…

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