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Paul McNett
Attended University of California, Santa Cruz
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Paul McNett

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Oh man now I gotta watch the series all over again.
Dan Morrill originally shared:
Okay, I'm just going to ask the question we dare not ask. Why can't R2-D2 talk?

I mean, he clearly understands speech since he responds to voice all the time, and in RotJ when he's socketed into Luke's X-Wing for the return trip to Dagobah, he's printing text messages on Luke's cockpit screen, so he is quite clearly capable of language. Just not speech.

They never explain this, but I like to think it's because R2-D2 is actually one motherfucking foul-mouthed sonofabitch. He actually did have a voice generator at one point, but he was so egregiously offensive that they took it out and gave him the beep/whistle thing, knowing that the protocol droids would be too polite to translate him verbatim. Luke, since he sees what R2-D2 is saying, thinks its fucking hilarious, which is why he keeps him around.

It really puts Star Wars in a whole new light, especially when you have foreknowledge of the whole story. It also explains why C3-P0 sometimes describes R2 as broken or eccentric. Here, consider some scenes from the first movie.

Rebel troopers rush past the robots and take up positions in the main passageway. They aim their weapons toward the door.
THREEPIO: We're doomed!
R2-D2: Jesus, you gold-plated pussy, just STFU for one moment, would you?
THREEPIO: There'll be no escape for the Princess this time.
R2-D2: Not with an attitude like that you gutless jackhole.

At the Jawa sale
LUKE: Uncle Owen... This R2 unit has a bad motivator. Look!
OWEN: (to the head Jawa) Hey, what're you trying to push on us?
The Jawa goes into a loud spiel. Meanwhile, Artoo has sneaked out of line and is moving up and down trying to attract attention. He lets out a low whistle.
R2-D2: Threepio, I swear to god I will find you, disembowel you, and feed your optics to the womp-rats if you don't fucking get these ignorant shit-covered goatherds to take me with you.
THREEPIO: (pointing to Artoo) Excuse me, sir, but that R2 unit is in prime condition. A real bargain.

Luke sits up and sees a twelve-inch three-dimensional hologram of Leia Organa, the Rebel senator, being projected from the face of little Artoo.
LEIA: Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.
LUKE: What's this?
Artoo looks around and sheepishly beeps an answer for Threepio to translate.
R2-D2: Fuck me, he found my pr0n stash. Uh... ask him "what is what?"
THREEPIO: What is what?!? He asked you a question...(pointing to Leia) What is that?
R2-D2: Dude, look. What the fuck do you expect me to tell him? I mean it's his fucking sister. Tell him it's nothing. Don't make me hit you again, baby.
LEIA: Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.
THREEPIO: Oh, he says it's nothing, sir. Merely a malfunction. Old data. Pay it no mind.

A great howling moan is heard echoing throughout the canyon which sends the Sandpeople fleeing in terror. Artoo makes a slight sound and Ben turns and looks right at him.
R2-D2: I can't believe this fucking douche. His father fucks up an entire god-damned village of these mask-sucking sons of bitches, and he gets pwned by a fucking Tusken scout? What the fuck am I even doing here?
BEN: Hello there! Come here my little friend. Don't be afraid.
R2-D2: Wait, what? You again? Oh fuck me, you're supposed to be dead. Look go away, I'll chill with Captain Fuckwit here.

In the Death Star
THREEPIO: I would much rather have gone with Master Luke than stay here with you. I don't know what all the trouble is about, but I'm sure it must be your fault.
Artoo makes beeping sounds.
R2-D2: What? What the fuck did you just say to me? Did you suddenly grow some kind of cybernetic backbone, you bronze asshat? I fucking dare you. I dare you to step to me. Yeah, I thought so, you know what special "utensils" I got up in this bitch.
THREEPIO: You watch your language!

...on the Death Star...
LUKE: Who do you think...
Suddenly Artoo begins to whistle and beep a blue streak. Luke goes over to him.
LUKE: What is it?
THREEPIO: I'm afraid I'm not quite sure, sir. He says "I found her", and keeps repeating, "She's here."
LUKE: Well, who...who has he found?
Artoo whistles a frantic reply.
THREEPIO: Princess Leia.

INTERIOR: MILLENNIUM FALCON, CENTRAL HOLD AREA. Luke looks downward sadly, shaking his head back and forth, as the princess smiles comfortingly at him.
LUKE: I can't believe he's gone.
R2-D2: I dunno, I mean it was about fucking time.
LEIA: There wasn't anything you could have done.

GOLD LEADER: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are snub fighters going to be against that?
DODONNA: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small one-man fighter to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense. An analysis of the plans provided by Princess Leia has demonstrated a weakness in the battle station.
Artoo-Detoo stands next to a similar robot, makes beeping sounds, and turns his head from right to left.
R2-D2: Yeah, that's right. Who brought home the motherfucking plans? This guy. Who's your daddy now, bitches?

A large burst of Vader's laserfire engulfs Artoo. The arms go limp on the smoking little droid as he makes a high-pitched sound. Smoke billows out around little Artoo and sparks begin to fly.
LUKE: I've lost Artoo!
Artoo's beeping sounds die out.
R2-D2: FUCKING A YOU COCK-NOMMING MOTHERfucking Skywa..lker...s..... ha..te..youall....

It works in the other movies too, of course. For instance, Empire:

DERLIN: Your Highness, there's nothing more we can do tonight. The shield doors must be closed.
Chewie lets out a long, mournful howl, somewhat like a coyote. Artoo begins a complex series of efficient beeps.
R2-D2: Those fucking dipshits, now they're both out there. I swear to god if I had one credit for every time a Skywalker did something retarded I'd have... well hell, let's compute it. What is it, 775 times, now...?
THREEPIO: Artoo says the chances of survival are seven hundred one.

And of course, Jedi:

INT SAIL BARGE, OBSERVATION DECK. Leia is struggling against her chains in desperation as Artoo zips through the tumult of confused monsters to the rescue; the stubby little droid extends a small laser gun and blasts the chain apart.
R2-D2: Oh hells to the yeah, baby. You can come be my slave anytime.

You will never be able to watch Star Wars the same way again.
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Paul McNett

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Here's something I whipped up a few years back but never did anything with. Helps improve your vocabulary, especially for word games such as Scrabble. SQLite, mod_python, and apache.
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The middle class is not the enemy of the rich...
DeWayne Lehman originally shared:
Why I Want the Rich to Stay Rich
Progressive Tax Reform

The current tax rate for the top tax bracket in the United States is 33%. And yet, our best economic years are behind us. What was the top tax rate in the past? (Source: Wikipedia)

From 1926 until 1932, it was lower. During the booming 20's, the tax rate for top earners was a meager 25%. In 1929, we had The Great Depression.

In 1932, during the depression, the top tax rate was raised to 56% and rose to 94% in 1944. The tax rate changed during the 50's, 60's, and 70's, but never fell below 70%.

Then, in 1982, the top tax rate dropped to 50%. By 1988 the top tax rate was 28%.

That's right, between 1932 and 1987, the top tax rate never fell below 50%. During America's rise to the world's super power all the way through to just before the fall of the Soviet Union, the United states taxed the richest Americans at no less than 50%.

These years saw us win WWII, dominate industry and manufacturing, land on the moon, spawn the PC revolution, create the Internet. There were missteps, like Vietnam, but we found our way through.

Starting in 1988, the top tax rate never went above 39.6%, and that peak was only for 2 years.

The top tax rate is now at 33%. Our government can't fund its way out of a wet paper bag. 23 years of ultra-low taxes and 2 wars, 1 of which is is the longest in US history, have taken their toll on us.

I want the rich to stay rich, just as I want to earn more money as well. But, without a middle class, there are no consumers. No consumers means no business.

There is this idea that if the rich have more money, they'll invest it. But where will they invest it if the middle class continues to suffer? Does anyone realistically think Starbucks will exist without a middle class?

What this has to do with taxes is the fact that the middle class is funded through two things, private and public sector jobs. Right now, the unemployment rate is above 9%. The private sector is sitting on $2 Trillion dollars. If that money were immediately used to hire unemployed workers, we would see the economy turn around within 12 months.

But they won't, because as I pointed out, if there are no consumers, there is no new business to justify hiring workers.

That isn't true in the public sector. There is justification for hiring workers simply by matter of work needing to be done. That work is infrastructure. Roads, bridges, buildings, sewer and gas lines.

Therefore, my official position is this: immediately raise an infrastructure of public workers by raising the top tax rate, including capital gains, to the low pre-Reagan rate or 50%.

It may sound communist or socialist, but we must take the money from the rich in order to help the rich.

It's called the Paradox of Thrift, ( ) and its going to destroy the rich and the rest of along with them.

We must take from them to save them and us. It's not punishment for being rich. Rather, it is like life saving medical treatment for someone mentally ill who is unable to make sane medical choices for themselves.

To argue that this will destroy the rich, one has to argue against the totality of US economic history. It is a tried and true method. It is what it truly means to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

And, it is not optional. There are other steps we must take as well. This is just a small portion of what we must do. But it is not an optional portion. And it will happen. If the current domestic policy as pushed by the conservatives continues, there are two outcomes.

The first outcome is complete economic collapse. The second is civil war. The outcome second will either happen on its own or as a consequence of the first outcome. And unfortunately for all of us, regimes that rise up out of such overthrows of society are often much, much worse than the original society. This is seen in Communist revolutions, and would be the greatest tragedy in America's history.

And so I can say it will happen or the country as we know it will cease to exist, just as anyone can see that unlimited deforestation or unlimited oil drilling will eventually lead to the world as we know it ceasing to exist.

The income disparity must be brought back to historically stable and sustainable levels.
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Paul McNett

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Can't wait for Wilco in January. Should I buy tix for San Jose Civic, San Francisco Warfield, or Oakland Fox? Maybe two out of three: one to bring my wife Denise to, and another to bring her half-brother Dalton to. It wouldn't be a fun experience with both of them at the same time, but they'd both enjoy the show.
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Amazon Silk sounds like a great idea. If you trust Amazon not to be evil (or incompetent) with your private data, that is.
Brett Cannon originally shared:
So they make an SSL connection on your behalf, allowing the "security provided by these particular sites to their users" to continue... except for the fact that Amazon is now reading everything you do over SSL.
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A customer installed my app (Python, Dabo, wxPython, SQLite compiled with PyInstaller and InnoSetup) on Windows XP SP3, and upon running it would get a Windows error dialog:

[Windows - No Disk]
Exception Processing Message C00000013 Parameters: 75b6bf7c 4 75b6bf7c 75b6bf7c
[Cancel] [Try Again] [Continue]

And whatever you choose, the message pops up again, apparently in an infinite loop. We couldn't get rid of it without killing the process with task manager.

Turns out that this customer, for reasons unfathomable and of their own, assigned the system drive to i: and a removable device to c:. As soon as I had them reassign the removable drive to r:, leaving c: unassigned, the app started and ran normally.

Is this even worth trying to fix?
Bruce Hubbert's profile photoPaul McNett's profile photoJackson Carson's profile photoElizabeth Gage's profile photo
What are you proposing to fix, the software or the customer? I am sad that I know what you're talking about, drive-wise.
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Have him in circles
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Paul McNett

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Our lawmakers are too dumb to realize they are making laws that effectively usurp their lawmaking privilege.
Alex Grossman originally shared:
Jack Diederich's profile photoPaul McNett's profile photo
If we were instead to randomly appoint citizens to serve a term of 8 years, where the first 2 years were spent with the prior appointed lawmaker, fully and well paid, with guarantee they'll get their old job back when done, I wonder if we wouldn't all be better off.
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Whether you are into computers or just use them, read this post.
Jean-Baptiste Quéru originally shared:
Dizzying but invisible depth

You just went to the Google home page.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know a bit of about how browsers work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play HTTP, HTML, CSS, ECMAscript, and more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Let's simplify.

You just connected your computer to

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know a bit about how networks work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play DNS, TCP, UDP, IP, Wifi, Ethernet, DOCSIS, OC, SONET, and more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Let's simplify.

You just typed in the location bar of your browser.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know a bit about how operating systems work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play a kernel, a USB host stack, an input dispatcher, an event handler, a font hinter, a sub-pixel rasterizer, a windowing system, a graphics driver, and more, all of those written in high-level languages that get processed by compilers, linkers, optimizers, interpreters, and more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Let's simplify.

You just pressed a key on your keyboard.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know about bit about how input peripherals work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play a power regulator, a debouncer, an input multiplexer, a USB device stack, a USB hub stack, all of that implemented in a single chip. That chip is built around thinly sliced wafers of highly purified single-crystal silicon ingot, doped with minute quantities of other atoms that are blasted into the crystal structure, interconnected with multiple layers of aluminum or copper, that are deposited according to patterns of high-energy ultraviolet light that are focused to a precision of a fraction of a micron, connected to the outside world via thin gold wires, all inside a packaging made of a dimensionally and thermally stable resin. The doping patterns and the interconnects implement transistors, which are grouped together to create logic gates. In some parts of the chip, logic gates are combined to create arithmetic and bitwise functions, which are combined to create an ALU. In another part of the chip, logic gates are combined into bistable loops, which are lined up into rows, which are combined with selectors to create a register bank. In another part of the chip, logic gates are combined into bus controllers and instruction decoders and microcode to create an execution scheduler. In another part of the chip, they're combined into address and data multiplexers and timing circuitry to create a memory controller. There's even more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Can we simplify further?

In fact, very scarily, no, we can't. We can barely comprehend the complexity of a single chip in a computer keyboard, and yet there's no simpler level. The next step takes us to the software that is used to design the chip's logic, and that software itself has a level of complexity that requires to go back to the top of the loop.

Today's computers are so complex that they can only be designed and manufactured with slightly less complex computers. In turn the computers used for the design and manufacture are so complex that they themselves can only be designed and manufactured with slightly less complex computers. You'd have to go through many such loops to get back to a level that could possibly be re-built from scratch.

Once you start to understand how our modern devices work and how they're created, it's impossible to not be dizzy about the depth of everything that's involved, and to not be in awe about the fact that they work at all, when Murphy's law says that they simply shouldn't possibly work.

For non-technologists, this is all a black box. That is a great success of technology: all those layers of complexity are entirely hidden and people can use them without even knowing that they exist at all. That is the reason why many people can find computers so frustrating to use: there are so many things that can possibly go wrong that some of them inevitably will, but the complexity goes so deep that it's impossible for most users to be able to do anything about any error.

That is also why it's so hard for technologists and non-technologists to communicate together: technologists know too much about too many layers and non-technologists know too little about too few layers to be able to establish effective direct communication. The gap is so large that it's not even possible any more to have a single person be an intermediate between those two groups, and that's why e.g. we end up with those convoluted technical support call centers and their multiple tiers. Without such deep support structures, you end up with the frustrating situation that we see when end users have access to a bug database that is directly used by engineers: neither the end users nor the engineers get the information that they need to accomplish their goals.

That is why the mainstream press and the general population has talked so much about Steve Jobs' death and comparatively so little about Dennis Ritchie's: Steve's influence was at a layer that most people could see, while Dennis' was much deeper. On the one hand, I can imagine where the computing world would be without the work that Jobs did and the people he inspired: probably a bit less shiny, a bit more beige, a bit more square. Deep inside, though, our devices would still work the same way and do the same things. On the other hand, I literally can't imagine where the computing world would be without the work that Ritchie did and the people he inspired. By the mid 80s, Ritchie's influence had taken over, and even back then very little remained of the pre-Ritchie world.

Finally, last but not least, that is why our patent system is broken: technology has done such an amazing job at hiding its complexity that the people regulating and running the patent system are barely even aware of the complexity of what they're regulating and running. That's the ultimate bikeshedding: just like the proverbial discussions in the town hall about a nuclear power plant end up being about the paint color for the plant's bike shed, the patent discussions about modern computing systems end up being about screen sizes and icon ordering, because in both cases those are the only aspect that the people involved in the discussion are capable of discussing, even though they are irrelevant to the actual function of the overall system being discussed.
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Paul McNett

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Just some quick thoughts on the state of online banking while struggling with poor load times and getting automatically logged off every 10 minutes.
Stephen Russell's profile photo
You need a different bank.
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"We are looking for developers to work in a collaborative environment..."
Eric Cheng originally shared:
Cross-disciplinary perception: hilarious! (can't find the source for this image)
Bruce Hubbert's profile photo
Sysadmin, FTW!
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Have him in circles
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Independent software developer
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Python programming, Dabo founding, open-source believing husband, papa, uncle, homeowner, liberal atheist carrot-nibbling bunny.
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
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