Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thank Gawd For APS And Clayton

The AJC has reported ACT scores for the region and no DeKalb school ranks in the top fifteen. DeKalb's composite score of 19.8 neither topped the national average of 21 nor the statewide average of 21.4. But that's OK because we have teacher pep rallies and billboards speaking the truth--we don't really suck. That much.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump's Taxes

Remember those? Very vocal anti-Trump groups were demanding, as some kind of made-up-as-we-go-along "right," to access then candidate and now President Trump's tax filings. Inquiring minds must be in the know.

Didn't happen. Turns out not many folks in government want very many of the financial truths revealed because it looks less than unsavory as even casual examination indicates government insiders are making out like bandits. And this isn't just the sudden millionaire M. Albright or the laundering operation of past presidents. As long ago as 2004 the Wall Street Journal reported on Senators cleaning up in the stock market getting upwards of 12% better return than Wall Street pros. And it is not just the Senate. In 2011, the New York Times reported similarly over the top returns for Representatives in the House.

And it isn't just politics that pays. It is government as well. Recently the AJC reported that working stiff wages and salaries average $23.15/hr whilst government "workers" rake in $30.12/hr, a 25% markup. Benefits fare worse at $10.11/hr for us and $17.94/hr for them, benefitting them with an additional $0.75 for every dollar we work for. No wonder government employees are such fans of a big and growing government.

But it isn't just inside-the-beltway bandits. Have you ever noticed how it isn't very long before a gold dome Representative or Senator is bringing home the gold, often to a really nice second home on Tybee or up in Blue Ridge? Or how a City Councilor's wife's cousin's husband lands a cushy job with a local Audi dealership? You know, the one owned by the bloke who's wife needs a wee little favor, a business friendly ordinance perhaps to help her business. And others like it, of course. And then magically a nice nearly-new, just off-lease A7 comes available at an extraordinary price. And why wouldn't that politician get first dibs? After all a shirt tail relative works at the dealership. And this is above and beyond (or below and under-something) long standing traditions like calling utilities to task for your neighbors or jumping queue for things like private school slots. That's old school.

So maybe the folks screaming for Trump's Taxes have a point. But it may be they don't go far enough. Maybe all politicians should publish their Tax Filings and their property holdings/interests. Many do. But the next logical step is for any incumbent seeking re-election to submit to a life-style audit. That might actually go a ways towards breaking the rule that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Software Enginerr

The Equifax news has been top of many a mind for a while now. Upwards of 143 million have had their personal information compromised. To put that in context there are 126 million households in the US (88%), 11 million illegal aliens (7.7%) and 800 thousand "dreamers" (0.6%), so all things being proportional one would expect enormous outcry from the "Financial Lives Matter" activists. There are calls for criminal charges for executives, based on what is not clear but perhaps SEC violations, and everyone is settling into the calm after the storm assuming nothing will happen, nothing will change. And that is probably the case. Maybe Financial Lives Don't Matter. Maybe that is because the only folks with the time to whine and complain and march about What Matters don't have a job and don't have a financial life.

In the early days Equifax pointed their fickle finger of blame squarely at the Apache Project and the Struts framework in particular upon which that particular group of FOSS-ers broke it off by pointing out how many months ago they had released a security update. Even luddites know you install a security update the very minute it is available, after all the black hats get the word at the same time as the white hats.

So what happened at Equifax? Are they institutionally incompetent? Maybe. Are they culturally steeped in an NIH syndrome and only reluctantly use any FOSS and consequently have great disdain at being told, from the Open Source community, you better do this and do it now? Maybe. Are they soaking up the rays in the Last Millennium Lounge and just haven't a clue how you work with FOSS and how that affects your development and operational processes? Clearly.

So what can we, inside and outside the industry, do to turn down the incompetence? Some have suggested we try what we do in other domains and require that systems with significant potential for public harm should they fail be designed, deployed and operated under the close supervision and sometimes direct effort of licensed professionals. Maybe it is time to enforce our laws. You see, to call yourself a lawyer, to practice law you need a license. Same for a medical doctor. Same for a structural, mechanical, electrical or aerospace engineer. And think about it. Would you want the bridge your child drives over to be designed by some off-shore company whose employee have whatever education and degree from a school no one has ever heard of and may be as ephemeral as Trump Academy? Well that's what happens with software. But this practice is not going away and fact of the matter is the underlying FOSS is globally developed largely by folks with no affiliation to anything other than being a good programmer. Not bad in and of itself and this simply points out the real problem--it is not the professionalism of the programmers it is the professionalism of those in Equifax who selected the components, built the system, deployed it, and then neglected to maintain it.

Maybe it is time to license Software Engineers just like any other Engineer and to quit calling anybody who can drive vi a Software Engineer and prosecute companies that call them that. After all, those companies are breaking the law. And Equifax is one such company.

You think these jobs require a PE? Nope. Why not? Because the State of Georgia doesn't license Software Engineers, nor do they enforce their prohibition on calling yourself an Engineer when you are not licensed. That might be bad for bidness. They do license lots of folks but that is just for the revenue:

And yet they do not license Software Engineers. In fact, one of the only states to offer a PE for Software Engineers is Texas and they are also one of the few to enforce their own laws, at one time penalizing Novell for calling their trained Command Line Jockeys "Network Engineers."

Some will argue that the guild socialism of licensure by a permission society is outdated and superseded by industry certifications and self regulation. That argument has much merit as industry is likely to keep up with rapid changes in technology and practices while government devolves into bureaucracy and red tape. However it is neither unreasonable nor overly restrictive for the State to require that key individuals in organizations like Equifax have these industry certifications, that they are current and for the State to bring significant criminal charges against those who fail to adhere to industry practices and against the managers who who allowed, or supported, the negligence. 

Monday, September 18, 2017


Why can't Dunwoody get their act together regarding signs in the Dunwoody Village Overlay District?

Maybe they should take a field trip up the road to Roswell, GA and see how professionals get it done.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rose d'Irma

Après la tempête

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dunwoody Gets A Roundabout

A constituent in District 1 has been attempting to work with the City to address some quality of life issues directly affecting his home and family. Now this is not your ordinary whiner. That would be TOD. In fact, this bloke was one of the starry-eyed supporters of city-hood. A card carrying member of Dunwoody Yes! and Citizens for Dunwoody, participating on at least one of the pre-city-hood Task Forces. How's that for more Dunwoody than you?

A recent take-to-task issue has been the lack of enforcement of a no-truck-zone on Chamblee-Dunwoody from Roberts to Spalding. While this has been a no-truck-zone for some time, pre-dating the City, thru-trucks have sped thru unmolested as the City refused to address the situation.

Until now.

Last week the City "fixed" the problem by removing the northbound truck restrictions from that stretch of Chamblee-Dunwoody which lies entirely in the City and has imposed new, never before northbound truck restrictions on Roberts between Chamblee-Dunwoody and Spalding, which is partially in the City. This is not in the transportation plan. This was done without notice and without opportunity for public comment. This is about much more than silencing a complainer nonetheless this constituent's case is rendered moot because the offending signage has been relocated.

What Dunwoody has really done is route truck traffic in a loop. North on C-D, South on Roberts with the loop closed at the north via Spalding. And this is just the first, baby step. The full plan calls for conversion of these sections of Roberts and Chamblee-Dunwoody to one-way for all traffic creating a huge roundabout as shown in this map.

Inconvenience to residents is mitigated by the two cut-throughs (shown in red) with the Dunwoody Knoll route improved by the removal of the stop sign at the bottom of the hill. The right of way reclaimed will be re-purposed to protected bike lanes similar to those cropping up across the nation.

Note that only cyclists will enjoy bi-directional connectivity once the planned changes are completed. While there has been some discussion around sidewalk widening and other improvements that part of the plan has not been finalized as Staff remains unconvinced there is sufficient pedestrian traffic.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ordinances Do Not Apply To Private Property

Dunwoody has gone all libertarian on us. Staff charged with enforcing ordinances, particularly the sign ordinances and Dunwoody Village Overlay restrictions have indicated that these rules do not apply to private property. This comes with the backing of the incumbent representing businesses in the area at the expense of constituents who remain without representation.

So the first thing you should be wondering is "what was all the hoopla about the chicken ordinance?" After all, ordinances do not apply to private property so you can keep all the chickens or goats or geese or whatever barnyard animal you are fond of on your private property because as City Hall will gladly tell you City ordinances just don't apply to private property. And let's hope you didn't waste money on drip edge when you had your roof replaced because that ordinance doesn't apply to private property, your house, either.

Upon realizing their new found liberty a few neighbors near 'bouts Redfield are joining together to exercise their private property rights by starting an alligator farm. Now rest assured there will be chickens involved as there is nothing a growing gator likes more than a decomposing chicken.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Mysteries Solved

See all those wine, beer and liquor bottles parading in front of the recycle dumpster? Wonder why they are there? That is because the bins are filled to overflowing with their brethren.

So if you have been thinking this City looks like it is being run by troop of drunken monkeys you may be on to something. At least now we know why City Hall seems addicted to all things alcohol.