Ok, I Get It - Ruby Is Lightweight

Lightweight, simple, elegant, beautiful. Okay, I get it, rubyists. Your stuff is lightweight. I am all for lightweight - ohhhh, believe me I'm for it - but do you have to be so obnoxious about it? It seems that everything written in, associated with, or that requires Ruby all use the same words.

But just saying something is lightweight does not make it so. And those that make something lightweight must be careful not to make it so lightweight that it's useless. (BTW, as easy-to-use as Rails claims to be, I've seen some pretty fucked up configurations involving Mongrel, mod_proxy, Pound and who the hell knows what else. And this is supposed to be easier than mod_php?)

I probably shouldn't be saying these things, as I'm not familiar with the Ruby world. But it's just something I noticed after seeing Ruby solution after Ruby solution pop up.

Most times I've adopted a technology or application, it's because of a clearly-defined need. As many times as I've tried to pick up Ruby, I just haven't found a reason to yet.

Read My Blog! Make Yourself Smarter!

I usually wouldn't put these little badge things on my blog, but I couldn't resist this one.

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Statistics 101

The latest crime rankings making the rounds ("City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America", published by CQ Press), that ranks Cincinnati as the 16th most dangerous city in the nation, is so statistically unsound, they might as well have placed all the cities in a hat and drawn names to get the rankings. The AP article already mentions two flaws, and I'll add another one:

  1. Different states define different crimes in different ways. So right there your data point is inconsistent.
  2. The study assigned a crime rate score to each city with zero representing the national average, but the study excluded Chicago, Minneapolis, and other Illinois and Minnesota cities. What kind of average is that? That's like finding the average income in America and leaving Bill Gates out (which by the way is why median is usually more useful).
  3. The FBI crime data the study uses is based on per-capita crime. But in metro cities that have annexed surrounding suburbs such as Indianapolis, Columbus, and Louisville, the per-capita crime rate will always be lower than cities like Cincinnati.
I couldn't agree more with the FBI response on the findings: "Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents."

Cincinnati takes another hit.

I Love/Hate Chris Henry

Busy weekend! Sarah and I got tickets to the Bengals vs. Cardinals game from Mike. They outplayed the Cardinals, but with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, it's hard to win. Chris Henry hauled in a 30-some yard TD pass today, but he has got to be the pansiest receiver in the NFL. Whenever he feels like he's going to get hit, he drops the ball. He killed two drives today by dropping two balls that hit his hands. One was over the middle. One was on the sideline, but his back was upfield and he felt the DB coming before catching the ball.

And my stitched panorama didn't turn out so well in the cloudy weather.

Urban Planning 101

On the way back to my car, I snapped this picture standing in-between 2nd and 3rd Sts.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I just love how the neighborhood around the ballpark has taken off ever since they decided to build it on the river. So many lively bars and restaurants.

Of course, by "neighborhood" I mean "12 lanes of highway," and by "lively bars and restaurants" I mean "homeless living underneath the bridges." But whatever.

Joe Nuxhall R.I.P.

When I heard the news about Joe Nuxhall on Friday morning, I cringed a bit, and felt a wave of sadness pass through me. I went down to the ballpark - not sure why - maybe for no other reason than because it was a clear morning.

News crews were already down there doing location spots.

On Saturday afternoon, Sarah and I went for a walk and ended up back at the ballpark. By that time, the memorial had grown.

At some point, this guy from 700WLW with a handheld DVR asked me a few questions. You can see more of my salient thoughts on the video here.

Rest in peace, ol' lefthander.

Another Shot From The Deck...

OOH, I can make one of these every day and then after a year form them together to make a MOVIE...!

What I Do All Day And All Night Long

So here's what I'm working on at work:

  1. Process improvements
    1. Upgrading our version control system
    2. Upgrading our bug tracking system
  2. New project architecture
    1. General framework
    2. Business layer
    3. Web layer
    4. Testing
    5. DB/persistence
    6. Validation
    7. Authentication/authorization
    8. Logging
    9. Caching
  3. End-to-end performance improvements, starting with:
    1. Your browser
    2. To our machines
    3. To the web server
    4. To the code or static files
    5. To the database
    6. To the data
  4. System administration
    1. Upgrades
    2. Patches
  5. Urgent bug fixes as they arise
I'm just sayin'...

Michael Flannery

So Michael Flannery, whom you may vaguely remember from his kids show on Fox, has won a seat on the CPS school board. In fact, he was the top vote-getter. In fact, he earned more votes than any of the city council members. One day, I might be voting for him for mayor!

"I've been in front of boards and organizations. These people are going, 'Why are you running?' And my question is, 'Why aren't you?' These people complain about the school board: 'They're not being fiscally responsible, and look at all this money.' What partner of an accounting firm has stepped up to run for school board? Nobody. They say it's being mismanaged. What executive or CEO has stepped up to run for school board? Zero. So you get a kids' show host. I have no qualifications except I'm a parent. I care about Cincinnati, I care about the kids. I want someone in there who's looking out for the kids. That's what I'm qualified for."

But he said he's still amazed that people are questioning his ability to do the job.

"It's an unpaid position that nobody wants," he said, "and they're questioning my qualifications?"

Electronic Voting

I am not into the voter disenfranchisement thing. If you want to vote in this country, if you really want to vote, then no one can stop you from voting. I don't care if you don't have a car, move every week, work from 6 am to 10 pm every day, no one can stop you from voting. There are absentee ballots. There are provisional ballots. Polls open before most job shifts start and close after most end. Precincts should not be more than a few miles from your home (less if you are in the city). The only way to make voting easier if they brought the ballot to your doorstep and let you vote while they waited outside. If you are unwilling to take the trouble to vote, then sure you may find obstacles. If you are too stupid to figure out how to vote, then maybe you shouldn't be voting anyway.

That said, why can nobody in this country Gravatar install a reliable, electronic voting system?

Think about every time you use your credit or debit card. You swipe it in the little tiny machine, electronic records across the country are updated, and you get a paper receipt, all within a few seconds, the same way, every time.

Probably because credit card companies are highly motivated to maintain such a network. Probably the same reason we're still driving cars on gasoline in this country.

Jailhouse Not

The United States has one of the highest incarceration rates of industrialized nations in the world. Hamilton County has one of the highest incarceration rates in Ohio. Clearly, the solution to these problems is to build more jails. Not.

Let's ignore the fact that the 15-year tax would raise $736 million in tax revenue, one of the largest single increases in funding for county government programs. Let's ignore the fact that the estimated amount for direct construction of the new 1800-bed jail is $239,428,594, which is over $133,000 per bed, or more than the $128,300 median price of a home in the county.

Assuming that those ridiculous amounts of money would be okay if there in fact was a jail problem, the question remains: is there a jail problem?

In 1999, 37 percent of the county's jail population were not serving out sentences. They were awaiting trial. In 2006, that same figure rose to 81 percent. Currently, people who are ultimately acquitted spend twice as many days in jail as those who are ultimately found guilty. 70 percent of inmates are repeat visitors. Isn't prison supposed to be rehabilitative? Hamilton County does not offer specialty courts such as a drug court, domestic violence court, or night court to improve efficiency.

The county is losing population, yet the county needs more jails? Something doesn't add up. I think I'll vote no on the jail tax, and you should too.

See here for more information.