Sunday, September 17, 2006


As someone who lives and solves problems with computers everyday, every time I hear about political parties gearing up for the next election I am under whelmed. I hear things like get out the vote campaigns, fund raising for tv ads, political consultants that tailor a message to “the base” or “the center”, and hot-button issues that motivate people to vote. I am under whelmed by a politician who when asked a complex question repeats a laundry list of strategically and linguistically crafted talking points designed to influence someone with a uninterested and short attention span. I also see the other world behind the public image, where a candidate’s true constituency is glimpsed and it is never a nice picture. And it could all be so easy.

  1. Vote online.
  2. Maintain a Wikipedia style neutral public record on issues, politicians, voting records, scandals, and contributors.
  3. Increase communication between politicians and the people they represent, through polls, and direct emails.
  4. Connect people who know how to solve an issue with people who have the resources to solve it.

With voting taking 5 min from any computer, an informed electorate, and representatives held accountable to their constituents, all of the issue obscuring bag of tricks goes away.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Valvano's Three Rules of Software Development

I got these three rules from a class I had at the University of Texas. The professor was Jonathan W Valvano.
  1. Choose reliability over more features.
  2. Don't make excuses to a customer for what is broke. Make a plan of how to fix it.
  3. Design for the future.
As a developer in a small startup, these three ideas have returned to significance.