Don’t Mix With Texas

This past week I was in Dallas, TX for a software conference.  It was called “MIX 2012,” and yes there was free booze.  No I didn’t have any.  Even sober, I felt that things were strange enough on their own. To start with, I have lost no love on Texas.  I’m not saying it’s a bad place.  I’m sure it’s a nice place for Texans.  I recall driving from Knoxville to Phoenix one summer, and refusing to stop for gas or the bathroom until I got out of Texas.  Just for the record, Texas is big. Second, I didn’t really want to go to this conference.  I love going to academic conferences, because they’re nerdy.  They are openly and avowedly nerdy at that.  Academic conferences are where nerds go to be among their own kind.  This conference was nothing like that.  There were moments of it where the word “slick” might be appropriate. For instance the opening ceremony featured itunes-ish pop music pumping on the sound system while big screen projectors showed dancing people silhouetted against bright colors. Third, voting.  I’m a liberal.  Or as it’s pronounced in Texas, “librul.”*  I voted early in NC since I was going to be out of town for the conference.  I probably would have early voted anyway, just so I could turn my phone off and pretend the election phone-bomb wasn’t real.  But as much I want to share the peace and joy of liberal enlightenment with the world, Dallas is not the place I’d choose to start.  In all fairness though, the people who planned the conference knew it would be...

Irony

I started writing a blog about trust: trusting our software, trusting the tools we use, trusting the people around us, and even the universe we live in.  Ironically as I was going on about writing and using trustworthy software my blog didn’t save my post. Rather than re-hashing the whole thing, I’ll summarize and move on: I write software and make stuff, and people who do those things should make software and things that are trustworthy in their design, function and purpose.  Now to move on. There’s an election coming up, in case you weren’t paying attention.  Or don’t own a telephone.  If you do own a telephone, you’ve gotten personal phone calls from all the candidates and wedding proposals from a few.  But what I find interesting is that people’s trust in the government, and their own elected officials is at an all-time low.  There’s a huge amount of money being spent on getting people involved in an election that many do not have faith in. I remember reading something a while ago about the intellectual conservatism of the 50s and 60s, and the spawning of a plan to make people not trust their government (sorry, I can’t find it right now).  On the surface that seems like a reasonable conservative response to the expansion of government programs from the 30s to the 50s.  But the apparent fruit of that plan is a Conservative congress that intentionally does nothing to prove that big government doesn’t work. I only bring this up because I see Romney ads on Facebook all the time that say such hyperbolic things as, “This...