Category Archives: Humor

Funny things that have happened to me, stories I’ve heard….anything

On the importance of having a good haircut

Note to future self: Don’t get haircut the week before important events take place.

After my last day of work at GeoEye, I went to get my haircut at a nearby salon. I asked for it a little shorter. Between the time I gave this brief instruction, and the time she lifted her hands to my head, a seismic, cosmic, interrupting event took place that transformed my words into: “Kindly shave my head, I have no need of hair. Please don’t ask for confirmation.”

At least, that’s what I assume happened. Before I could say anything, an electric razor had taken quite a bit off the top. It wasn’t to the skin–thank goodness. But I was on my way to a whole new look.

It was too late to fix it, so I went with it.

The next day we flew out to Seattle to look for housing with our new realtor. I had to excuse myself for looking like a skinhead.

Of course, the next Monday I started at Microsoft and had my badge picture taken. That one will be alive for a while…

And my drivers license…

And all the pictures of my wife and I in a new location…

Top 10 Things To Do My First Week at Microsoft

  1. Wear my Google t-shirt.
  2. Set my homepage to
  3. Continually ask, “Have you met BillG? Where’s BillG? When can I see BillG?”
  4. Show off my bright blue iPod Nano
  5. “Upgrade” my workstation to Windows XP
  6. Then just format it and install Ubuntu
  7. Randomly shout “Yahoo!” as I walk through the halls
  8. Add my gmail address to my e-mail sig
  9. Start an open-source project for Google Android
  10. Default browser: Firefox Safari

(I kid, I kid…)

In this universe we obey the law of commutativity

This kind of thing has happened to be a few times now, so I thought I’d share the fun.

In one of our pieces of software we have a process that looks like this:

void MyThread()
    while (true)

While FunctionA and FunctionB are conceptually similar, they interact with completely different systems.

We had a problem with FunctionA the other day–it was taking 120 seconds to do its thing instead of the normal 10 (or less) because a remote server was down. This caused problems for FunctionB because it wasn’t running as often as it should have so things were getting backed up in the system. Oops.

Now, the solution is to split these two functions into two independent threads so they don’t interfere with each other, and I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, so that’s what I proposed.

Response back: “That’s a good idea, but before we do something complicated like that, can we just put FunctionB first?

Um, no.

The time we want to minimize is the time between running FunctionB, which is TimeSleep + TimeA. Putting FunctionB first makes it TimeA + TimeSleep. Last I checked, those were actually equivalent.

How to catch a NetFlix thief

Via Geekologie comes the hilarious tale of a man (boy, really) caught stealing NetFlix DVDs from a mailbox. The comments are funny, too. Some seem like they’re obviously written by the neighbor.

One issue I didn’t really see addressed in the comments on the post is the overall issue of mail safety. People need to consider the seriousness of stealing mail. There’s a reason the fines for it are so severe. A reliable and trusted mail system is the foundation of a good portion of our society and its communications mechanisms.

Having lived overseas, and having had many family members live all over the world, I can personally testify to the need for a secure mail system. There are countries I would not mail a package to–it would just be a waste of money. The security of our system *HAS* to be enforced harshly or people will lose faith in it and it becomes a system of corruption and scamming. This kid got off lucky. If he were older or there were stronger evidence he were stealing more valuable items, or he were being less discriminating in what he stole, I think he could have gotten a far worse punishment.

6 Programming problems you don’t want in the interview

1. Write out all floating point values between 0 and 1.

2. Write tic-tac-toe in Brainf*&$

3. What is 2128 in decimal?

4. Solve traveling salesman in constant  time (O(1))

5. How many grains of sand are there in the Sahara (at a given instant, assuming constant, well-defined boundaries)?

6. Implement quicksort on a spherically linked list.

How to really have Middle East peace

With the talks in Annapolis this week between Middle East governments, peace is on a lot of people’s minds. A meeting like this, while it won’t solve anything immediately, does illustrate the point that you can’t reasonably talk and fight at the same time. With that in mind, I have a permanent solution.

How do you avoid getting things done at your job? You have meetings. You have meetings to plan your work. You have meetings to plan the meetings to plan your work. You have meetings about why the last meeting failed. You have meetings to decide to continue the meetings.

So let’s schedule everybody for a meeting once or twice a year for the next 500 years. Send them all a recurring Outlook appointment.

Of course, you’d have to make the punishment for not showing up pretty severe (like getting fired). Maybe just create an elite international team of kidnappers that will retrieve a missing president. (By the way, it wouldn’t do for the presidents to send delegations–they all have to come in person).

But what to do at these meetings? After a hundred years or so, they will have discussed everything in detail, so I suggest moving on to games. We’ll start with something formal and proper, like chess. After a few hundred years of international presidential chess (televised live, of course), they’ll begin to loosen up and we can move on to more interesting things, like Twister or water polo. Anybody who starts a war that year gets picked last.


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How to make money from telemarketers (or just annoy them)

My father-in-law is absolutely fed up with telemarketers calling. But rather than just hang up on them, why not try to get some money out of them? So he made a recording, to be played next time he gets a call:

Listen to this recording he made.

Ok, it’s a long shot, but I think it’s hilarious. If it works, he can take himself off the Do Not Call Registry!

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