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Bruce Johnson
Works at Homebase.io
Lives in Atlanta
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Bruce Johnson

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UML is great...for drawing rough ideas on napkins. Apparently, that's the only way people do use it.
 
People have been building visualization tools for decades (my institution being non-trivially responsible for this). I've mostly never believed in them. Turns out nobody actually uses them.
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+Bruce Johnson yes agree, IMHO the best part is UML class diagram and a bit activity + sequence diagram. 

You are lucky to be able to work in Google's environment with so many passionate, intelligent devs and business analysts. I also don't think that Google people need those UML stuffs. My situation is different. You need to get your projects and products done with many of 9 till 5 people, changing devs and analysts and programming is not the main interest here ;-) So you need to be "creative" to be able to maintain apps (rework, extend, etc.) in such a situation and UML class diagram with generating codes helps a lot to get the job done.
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TIL the term "chocolate fireguard", also known as +Joel Webber's future favorite phrase describing something or other about web browsers.
A very short post on Chocolate Fireguards, which as the name suggests are objects which subvert their own function. The first example is a real fireguard, though not one actually made of chocolate....
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+Daniel Egnor I think it's "an object that is precisely worst at what it's meant to do". Agreed that that color words seemed like a non sequitur.
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Nice job on the presentation today, +Chris Ramsdale!
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You should have thrown in a "not withstanding" for good measure.
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The NSA and IRS can team up to solve their mutual PR problem: the NSA offers to produce all your documentation to the IRS if you're ever audited.

Saves taxpayers lots of time filing their receipts, etc. This is a plan I could get on board with.
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It depresses me to know that there are people who honestly want to receive tax returns with data prepopulated by the IRS and require only a signature to authorize its filing.
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Just realized Pink Floyd and Metallica are on Spotify. This feels like it should have been a tweet instead.
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A consumer security idea. Instead of baroque password syntax rules and security questions, what if end users could describe a simple algorithm they'd like to use to determine what the password should be at any given moment in time, based on dynamic inputs? For example, I could set my password to be the concatenation of: (1) the current day of the week, (2) the number of months until my anniversary month, (3) my current IP address, and (4) the current temperature at my zip code according to Google. Of course, each end user could pick some combination of static/dynamic inputs that they prefer.

I like this because it's easier to describe and remember such schemes, yet the password changes all the time, greatly increasing the cost of a brute-force crack attempt. 
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Another idea: turn on my web cam momentarily and my password could be sensitive to whether I am currently smiling or frowning. Or whether I am looking at the camera or not. Or what color shirt I'm wearing. So many opportunities to make unguessable, dynamic passwords that are still easy to remember and mentally generate as needed.
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Facts happen, sure, but conscious ignorance is where it's at. Celebrate, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, "known unknowns."

This talk is a bold reiteration to parents and teachers that students internalizing the process of asking and answering questions (vs memorizing facts) is the most important outcome of education. Just say no to drill-and-kill testing.
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Bruce Johnson

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 #AI
 
Always fun to download some new apps into your necktop.

I had vaguely heard of Searle's Chinese Room argument against AI, but it's surprisingly weak. And the System Reply, apparently the most common counterargument, is unnecessarily apologetic. My counterargument to Searle is that the premise is completely wrong: there is no such thing as "understanding" in the sense Searle requires. Thus, there is no "understanding of Chinese" (or English or ...) to begin with. Just watch Cosmos for 20 minutes to be reminded that we don't "understand" anything on its own terms anyway. Or Feynman talking about how something we "understand" like chairs, upon which we fearlessly sit, are mostly empty space that support our weight courtesy of invisible forces we probably can't name and about which we have no intuition. Where's the understanding there? Instead, we make correlations, and we have some fancy feedback mechanisms in our brains (I'm guessing) to build up very complex computations as an iterated function of those correlations. (I don't claim to know much about the brain's actual wiring – just meant as a rough sketch.) That is the Chinese Room at work. It just happens to feel a bit more special to us when it's happening inside our own brain.

In summary, I think the best refutation is this: if you can't have artificial intelligence, then you can't have human intelligence. To put it another way, there is no such thing as understanding, and we have every reason to believe we can simulate that with computers.
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You could argue for the knowledge of chairs. Absolute knowledge in fact. But, you'd have to hedge that by submitting that knowledge as conceptual and as a higher order emergent phenomenon of constituent parts. It is absolute knowledge only in that we define what a chair is whilst disregarding the constituent parts.

For the same reasons, this is how we can study biology and 'understand' it without needing to know the physics behind it all. And, this is how we can confidently sit in chairs in complete ignorance of what chairs and butts are actually doing.

Sorry for my outburst, hehe. But this is my favorite intuition pump I have on my necktop right now. But it seemed relevant to 'understanding things on their own terms".
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Does anyone have a good system for organizing family photos with Google+, especially merging photos from multiple family members, each of whom backup photos into their respective G+ accounts?

Specifically, my wife and I both have Android phones and Auto Backup is great, but we want an easy and automated way to put photos into a shared location. Having to intermittently remember to explicitly share photos with her and vice-versa is a huge pain.

Or am I completely missing some functionality that makes this easy?
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Agreed! Also would love the ability to have multiple contributors to album... Like they had in Picasa.
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Clear labeling is key. #parenting
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You write that on the container to keep the ravenous kids from eating all the leftover chicken marsala. 

My mom wrote "Dog Scraps" on a container once to keep me out of it. 

Didn't work. 
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Work
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Software development, historically development tools, but now focusing on things that makes users say "yay"
Employment
  • Homebase.io
    COO, 2013 - present
  • Monetology
    Founder, 2012 - present
  • Google
    Atlanta Engineering Site Director, 2005 - 2012
  • Innuvo
    CEO/Founder/Janitor, 2001 - 2005
  • AppForge
    Director of Product Development, 1999 - 2001
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Husband. Dad. Entrepreneur. Founder at Homebase.io. Co-creator of Google Web Toolkit and Google's Atlanta engineering office. 
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