On the Right Side of History

In 2008, I cast my vote to elect the first African-American President. Four years later, I repeated that act.

In 2016, I cast my vote to elect the first female President.

Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect candidate. There is certainly enough baggage that comes along with the Clintons. Hillary Clinton doesn’t come across as the most sincere candidate when on the stump, or giving a speech. President Obama is a hard act to follow in that regard, but even in comparison to an average candidate, Clinton is mediocre. Hillary Clinton has a tendency to be a politician at a time when people are ready for honesty and transparency, and are sick of “the same old Washington.”

You know what Hillary Clinton also isn’t?

  • A racist
  • A misogynist
  • A bully
  • Against the LBGTQ community
  • A person with zero respect for the intelligence of the American people
  • A person with zero respect for the Electoral process
  • Anti-semitic
  • Completely unqualified to be President

Even if I didn’t respect Hillary Clinton, I would still vote for her over Donald Trump, who is all of those awful things, and more [1].

But I do respect Hillary Clinton. She’s a policy wonk. She seems to really want to make the world a better place, even if I don’t always agree with her views or tactics. She’s well respected in the global community, and across the aisle when her opponents aren’t demagoging.

She’s clearly smart. She’s handled a number of investigations—some warranted, many not—with composure and a desire to keep helping the United States.

No candidate is perfect. But Hillary Clinton is more than good enough to get my vote. She’s deserving of being our first female President.

I’m with her.

  1. This isn’t debatable. It’s well documented. He’s an asshole.  ↩

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice (Free) Things

There was a little internet kerfuffle last week when Matt Mullenweg from WordPress correctly pointed out that Wix was violating the GPL. Now, he did it in maybe not the nicest way (“If I were being honest, I’d say that Wix copied WordPress without attribution, credit, or following the license”), but at it’s core, his argument was true.

A core part of Wix’s mobile editor is forked from WordPress’ GPL licensed editor library.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it. In the end, if you use something that is GPL’d in your application, you walk a fine line of needing to open source and offer your source code under the GPL as well. The GPL is a viral license (GPLv3 particularly so), and including code licensed under it is, at best, something you should do with a close reading of the license. At worst, you simply just shouldn’t include any GPL code.

Wix’s CEO posted a response and completely missed the point. As did one of their engineers. They both seem to think that intent matters. While it does matter in that it helps us understand that there was probably not any malicious intent, the GPL is the GPL and it’s pretty clear.

As Daniel Jalkut says:

if you want to link your software with GPL code, you must also make your software’s source code available … You have to give your code away. That’s the price of GPL.

Many developers understand, and view the price of GPL as perfectly justified, while others (myself included) find it unacceptable. So what am I supposed to do? Not use any GPL source code at all in any of my proprietary products? Exactly. Because the price of GPL is too much for me, and I don’t steal source code.

In my office, we’ve basically made the same rule. Even though we don’t ship code, we still stay away from GPL’d code as much as possible, simply to avoid any chance of impropriety.

I look at the GPL like Dave Matthews Band. It sucks, there’s lots of other licenses just like it that are much, much better, and it’s fans are so annoying as to make it that much worse.

Trump’s Economic Advisor

At some point in the next day or so, I’ll write up my quick thoughts on this election (i.e. please vote Hillary, don’t vote Trump).

If you need more reason to not trust Trump and the people who are guiding his campaign, this New Yorker article by Adam Davidson should be more than enough:

This is an appealing fantasy for some. But Navarro’s view is not just simplistic, it is wrong and dangerous. There’s no reason to think China would acquiesce to Trump’s threats; doing so would all but guarantee that China would face an unending series of similar threats from America and others. Instead, it would most likely respond with tariffs of its own, shutting down American imports. China already trades more with the European Union than it does with the U.S., and would shift its trading strategy even more decisively away from us. It is hard to find a major American exporter who doesn’t see China as its most promising area of growth. A trade war would shatter General Motors, all of Hollywood, the music industry, Boeing, and the entire state of Washington, which exports more goods to China than any other.

There’s more:

These are just the easily predicted first-order effects of a massive tariff increase on all Chinese imports. There are many terrifying second-order impacts. Trump and Navarro focus on America’s manufacturing-trade deficit. But the global economy has also brought the U.S. a tremendous investment surplus. Foreign governments, companies, and citizens spend much of their savings on U.S. government bonds and the stock of American companies. While this investment has not always led to benign outcomes (the financial crisis of the previous decade was, in part, caused by all that cash from all over the world seeking returns in the U.S.), shutting down global trade would, necessarily, also shut down this investment. Interest rates would skyrocket, and the U.S. would enter a painful recession, possibly a depression.

This is the reason almost all economists are against a Trump presidency. This isn’t elites from their ivory towers; these are the people who understand how global economies work. And very few of them support Trump. What he’s selling, at best, isn’t possible; at worst, it’ll cause massive economic problems in the US.

Ah-gee-lay … it must be Italian!

Like all things that become the standard, agile[1]/scrum is seeing a bit of a backlash. I just happened across a couple of interesting posts that lay out interesting arguments against the new standards.

First, a long article from OK I Give Up:

This is actually my biggest gripe about Scrum. As mentioned above, in Scrum, the gods of story points per sprint reign supreme. For anything that doesn’t bring in points, you need to get the permission of the product owner or scrum master or someone who has a say over them. Refactoring, reading code, researching a topic in detail are all seen as “not working on actual story points, which is what you are paid to do”. Specialization is frowned upon. Whatever technology you develop or introduce, you are not allowed to become an expert at it, because it is finishing a story that brings the points, not getting the gist of a technology or mastering an idea. These are all manifestations of the control mania of Scrum.

I do think there is something nefarious to the godliness of points in the Scrum process (and the immediate, inarguable counter-argument that if it isn’t working for you, you’re doing it wrong).

Put in a slightly more graphical way:


(Hilarious image from RobBomb)

  1. “Ah-gee-lay” – if you don’t get the reference, check out this video:  ↩


During an election when one of the most divisive issues is how to help groups that have been left behind by a globalized/information economy, privilege is a topic that comes up frequently. It’s a challenging situation, where (in my slightly naïve view) a group of predominantly white, rural and suburban, lower-middle class people are feeling a lack of support from the government in protecting their traditional jobs and roles in the economy. Whether or not protecting their jobs is the right approach (or whether we should be investing in training/re-training) is up for debate.

What’s I don’t think is up for debate is that this has lead to an uncomfortable schism between that group and other groups who have also been held back in the economy for various reasons (gender, race, economic status, etc). Ironically, as this weekend’s SNL showed, those groups actually have more in common than not.

But things seem to get caught up on the concept of privilege and whether or not certain groups should be getting an “advantage”.

This is a long prelude to what I think is a really great way to describe privilege, from an article by Toria Gibbs and Ian Malpass:

Privilege does not mean you had it easy. It means you had it easier. If a man grows up in poverty, and drags himself out of it, that’s impressive. That’s hard. If he’d been a woman, he’d have had to do all the same things, while also fighting society’s expectations of what women can or should do. Privilege is what you don’t have to deal with.