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Everett Guerny
Attended Florida International University
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Everett Guerny

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"Extreme freestyle sitting." Whoa.
Alfonso Surroca originally shared:
 
Every once in a while, I look at "sporthocking" and laugh all over again. In the case that you haven't seen one of these videos, it's essentially extreme freestyle sitting. With tricks. And they have special chairs for it.
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All I can really say is "lulz".... not sure anything more insightful can be added.
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Everett Guerny

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This is more than just a touch ironic.
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Not sure, but I wouldn't count on it. It had a hard time with the normal size paragraph of text I gave it.
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The desk, today.
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oooooooh pretty
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Everett Guerny

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Hide Kay originally shared:
 
素晴らしいライディングテクニックwwww
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I feel like I've probably played this chick online in Mario Kart. 
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Everett Guerny

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Twice in two days I've seen this word come up. The more you know, etc.
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Everett Guerny

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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 www.google.com.

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 www.google.com 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 out 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 the 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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Everett Guerny

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Linda Lawrey originally shared:
 
CyanogenMod founder joins Samsung Mobile, plans to make Android more awesome
“I’m so tired of waiting for my smartphone to get the latest update of Android. The CyanogenMod team releases updates days after the source code is available. Why doesn’t [insert handset maker] just h...
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Linda Lawrey originally shared:
 
Horsemaning On Google+
Horsemaning On Google+: In the past four days, Horsemaning has spread to Israel, Russia and NBC studios. Today, BuzzFeed and Newsweek & The Daily Beast make meme (and nerd) history becoming the fi...
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Three google+ posts in a row about Horsemaning. So strange.
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Double-Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread | Brown Eyed ...
A double-chocolate breakfast bread served with a peanut butter cream cheese spread.
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Let's do this soon!
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Mini-review: turntable.fm is awesome. If you're on there, check out the link; I'm currently among those DJing in the below room, though I'm going to have to sleep at some point. I think...
How to get in: If you have a facebook friend already on turntable, you're in! Just sign in below Login with Facebook Can't get in? You can add your e-mail to the invite list here and we someti...
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I am, aren't I? You've got a turntable friend in me, even if you do use an iPhone!
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If you didn't catch the news earlier, today I received the best get-well card ever, from one awesome four-year-old. Yeah, that's a slice of ham (okay, pepperoni) glued to the paper above the Buzz Lightyear band-aids. This makes perfect sense.

I think the ham is in a bowl, or maybe it's being held out on a mitten or being carried on the head of a beetle or something. (Refer to The Little Prince if necessary.) Whatever it is, even if it's nothing, it's awesome.

Thank you, José!!
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+Everett Guerny Ouch. Minor usually hurts as much if not more than major. Glad that's all it was, though. Milk it for all it's worth. ;)
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  • Florida International University
    Mass Communications, 2005
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