Too Fscking Clever

  • If you have six discrete crontabs for a relatively small set of tasks instead of two (or even just one) you may be Too Fscking Clever.
  • If your SQL statement has five or more JOINS in it, you may be Too Fscking Clever (or a web development framework ORM)
  • If you are asked to forward ports to a host and instead DNAT the entire IP address, you may find that your Too Fscking Clever-ness will bite your arse when the usage case changes. Thinking it won’t is a sign of severe Too Fscking Clever Syndrome.
  • “We should cache this data for as long as humanly possible (what’s stale data?)” or “We should only cache this in RAM for 5mins (and refetch from a  large table?)” are classic Too Fscking Clever symptoms.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of Too Fscking Clever syndrome, often identifiable as a frequent need to overengineer what should be a simple solution, invite design by committee or overthink a problem ignoring practical usage cases and requirements,  suggest seeking immediate help before TFC develops into Solution Looking For A Problem Disease, which can in turn lead to madness or a career in Windows Server administration.

Treatment often involves simple counselling (of the W. Venema “what problem are you actually trying to solve” method or similar), introduction to Occam’s Razor, or in extreme cases flogging the subject with a copy of Plan 9 until s/he has an epiphany and tries to simply just get the job done.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

A Koan

A novice once came to a systems software roshi seeking wisdom:

“I am troubled. My project has become large and I am having trouble reproducing the environment across test servers. I have all my sources and I’ve installed them from source in the ways our forefathers have, but some behave in strange ways and clash with other software at odd times. What can I do?”

The older  asked “Find your dependencies and bring them here.”

The novice searched for days amongst his tarballs and local installations, but could only come back with sources, some parchments containing approximate versions, notes and some ldd output.

The master took the notes and the sources, put them in a box, and put the box on the novice’s head.

“In future use these, perhaps build your own – it is not hard. They will manage your installed software better and ease your suffering if you use them wisely and diligently.”

On hearing this the novice was struck with awe.

Conan The Comedian?


This makes me want to go and get a copy of the Conan The Barbarian DVD, just for the commentary. I don’t know if Ahnuld is stoned or just taking the piss, but I know that it’s a hell of a lot funnier than Twins or Kindergarten Cop.

The “Richard Simmons Juniors running around!” quip is just golden.

(via Mefi)

Yeah, He Did.

Chill, I got this
Chill, I got this

Barry, just don’t fuck it up, k? Please bro? That last yokel really screwed the pooch.

(pic courtesy of

Three little pre-Christmas requests.

Dear Lazyweb,

I’ve set up icecast as an  IPV6-only experiment (the result of a half-drunken challenge from Mr Steven Lisson Esq.) and am streaming some Ogg Vorbis tracks off it with EZstream. Winamp and Totem Player (Linux/Gnome) work fine. Banshee (Gnome/Mono) and WMP however do not – WMP freezes and Banshee refuses to even start the stream. I can’t see why, even in the logs. Any ideas?

Dear Santa,

Please put lumps of coal in my office helpdesk operators’ stockings. They’ve been very naughty – they insult my intelligence, break things that work perfectly, don’t fix things that should and tell fibs about why things are down/unavailable/generally FUBAR. That’s bad, OK? It’s bad form to BS your systems admin I don’t want to LART them at this time of year, but if you don’t come through I will and it won’t be pretty.

Dear Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications (or soon to be “MiniTru”.)

You remember Harold Holt, right? Do you like to swim? Have you considered following his example about taking a good vigourous swim and not returning? I’ll even organize the Chinese submarine to come and pick you up this time, they like your filtering ideas after all, perhaps you’d be better off with them.

Don’t worry about sharks either. They don’t eat politicians – out of professional courtesy of course.




Tim Berners-Lee says the Internet is full of lies

He’s quite right in saying there’s a hell of a lot of unsubstantiated and downright erroneous rubbish out there – look around FreeRepublic or StormFront or RaptureReady or the Church Of Scientology for example (and despair for humanity) and his comments makes perfect sense.

But we’re not all Cecil Adams or the good folks at Snopes – I’d love to see them cloned but there’s no chance of that given the state of science funding – so we’re going to have to take another approach.

ICANN have recently pimped out top-level domains and while many have seen this as a bad move, suddenly it has advantages. How’s this for a proposal:

– Pass the hat around, register a .bullshit top level domain

– create 2nd-level “racist.bullshit”, “partisan.bullshit”, “psuedoreligious.bullshit” etc. DNS zones.

– Populate them like a DNS blacklist (“right hand side” style a-la for the techies reading) – assign them and a text record explanation “ Listed: Neo-Nazi hillbillies still smarting over the Civil Rights Act”

– Write a browser plugin to work in a similar fashion to SSL Extended Verification: Plugin looks up the domain on the various .bullshit DNS lists, if a match is found pops up an warning “Content on this site is likely complete and unadulterated bollocks: Take as seriously as 4chan threads” to warn the visitor that This Site Is Full Of Shit.

I see a great need. Who’s with me? 🙂

Quote of the Day…

From the comments on a TIME item regarding Jesus Christ’s “may-or-may not have been true or allegory” ressurrection  (via Metafilter)

I’ve already advised the Discovery Channel that if they air this I will cancel my subscription….they should be lucky that I don’t strap explosives around my waste.”

I don’t know what our fanatically-inclined but spelling-challenged friend had in mind, but all I can imagine is a turd wrapped in dynamite. Praise the Lord and pass ’em the dictionary.

(This post has, per longstanding internet tradition regarding spelling flames, at least one obvious spelling mistake)