Posts about philosophy

Two software design methods

There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.

–C.A.R. Hoare, The 1980 ACM Turing Award Lecture

Two Compasses

A captain and his first mate were sailing on the open ocean. Each possessed a compass, with a third affixed to the helm. The first mate approached the captain, saying, “Sir: in my clumsiness this morning, I have dropped my compass into the sea! What should I do?” After a moment, the captain wordlessly turned and threw his own compass into the sea. The first mate watched and became enlightened.

The Psalms and Me

Every time I read the Psalms:

Hear my prayer, O LORD, Give ear to my supplications!

“Oh, maybe this will be a nice verse to uplift my friend!”

For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart is appalled within me.

“Yes! I’ll bet this message will really resonate with my friend! Sometimes we all feel downtrodden.”

Answer me quickly, O LORD, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit.

“Yes! When we are at our lowest, we should run to God!”

And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies And destroy all those who afflict my soul

“Um… David? We cool, bro?”

Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity.

“Hey… I don’t know if I meant all that…”

Scatter them by Your power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield.

Destroy them in wrath, destroy them that they may be no more

Deal with them as You did with Midian, […] they became manure for the ground

“Hold on, there, man! Let’s not get too crazy…”

How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock.


“Come on, David. Things were going so well. I mean, sure: you murdered a man to cover up the fact that you impregnated his wife… but you were sorry, right?”

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.

“See? There. That’s more like it…”

O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth; Break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD.

“No! Bad David! No biscuit!”

“Whatcha got for me, Jesus?”

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

“Aw, yeah. That’s the stuff.”

“David, have you met this guy? I think you should probably meet this guy.”

Documentation as a habit

People seemed to like this comment that I made at LISA 2013:

It’s important to see documentation as a habit, rather than as a task to be completed. Don’t ask how you can catch up on the backlog of documentation that isn’t written; just document what you do and answers to questions you’ve had to ask from here on out.

org-mode iPhone Agenda

I generally keep on top of my to-do list at work, thanks to my “keep everything in org-mode habit.” Since I spend all day at work in front of a computer, org-mode is always a few keys away, and it’s easy to review my agenda throughout the day and keep my lists up-to-date.

There was a time when that was true of my personal lists as well; but, for whatever reason, I don’t tend to have org-mode open at home any more. There will be times (like this instant) where I remember, and will open emacs, and will review my agendas; but, most often, that just leads to me continuing to procrastinate, given how far behind I already am.

I’m pretty sure that what I need is better access to my agenda; and my best guess for how to implement this is to have my agenda available on my iPhone.

I’ve tried to use mobile-org before, but just couldn’t integrate it into my workflow. Maybe that’s still the right thing, and I’ll eventually figure out how to do it. Until then, I want to just configure my agenda to automatically export to html on the web whenever I push to my central repo, and be able to review that whenever I’m out-and-about.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Helen Keller on ‘security’

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Go out and try to do that

Saw this on Reddit today:

I’m going to start sounding like a broken record on this, but read the gospels. Try this: make a list of things that Jesus commands his disciples to do. Before long you’ll get to something that sounds unreasonable. Go out and try to do that. Love somebody who’s an asshole to you. Give away a little more money than you’re comfortable giving. Take a couple of sandwiches to the park and sit down and share them with a homeless person.

If you begin living the lifestyle commands of Jesus and open your heart to him, you will slowly come into harmony with him, and he will be with you. He will be in you. This works.

~ EarBucket