Joonas Pajunen

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narcos, and the war on drugs

Watching Netflix’s Narcos produces conflicted feelings in me. I’m not that familiar with Pablo Escobar, but still quite sure he was a terrible person. Obviously, the character in the show is humanised, and constructed to induce sympathy in the viewer. But what’s actually more conflicting to me, is the underlaying war on drugs and clash of ideas.

What I can’t help seeing in the undertones, are battles against a crime that could be solved in much easier ways.

 humanising evil people

Main characters are seldom portrayed as completely inhuman or evil fashion. Even the anti-hero should have some redeeming qualities, and in Narcos, Escobar seems to exhibit familial love and a some kind of an ideological stance on American imperialism.

Escobar somewhat reminds me of Walter White, though Escobar was an actual person. He is shaped by real events, instead of a writer trying to keep his main

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neomania and vintage projects

Neomania, or neophilia, means the love for new things. Many hardware products reach a plateau, and the focus then tends to move to software. I’m wondering how, and at what level, does the speed of change on software and software development, begin to level. I believe the speed is only accelerating, and am also hesitant to join the scouting party on this endeavour.

For some things, there comes a point when the change is too fast and they fall behind. They can’t cope with the speed and are then best abandoned. Add to this the fact that people are willing to jump ship based on little or no proof at all. Due to neomania, technology adoption is faster than common sense and actual need would suggest. I think there’s both genuine interest in everything new, and a certain compulsive need to be one step ahead.

Fast adoption of software seems more mentally, rather than financially, taxing. The

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productivity

Productivity is a hot topic. It’s only logical we would want to maximise it, as the information growth and the pace of change is accelerating. There’s increasingly more things to do and learn, while it seems there’s less and less time to do it. I believe it’s most important to separate what’s important, and every now and then to have a day off. Instead of doing more, doing less. And the right things.

 getting meaningful stuff done

Tracking, routines, focus, constraints. There’s more than enough approaches and methods on how to achieve maximal productivity. It has become somewhat of an industry. And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’d rather minimise repetitive and boring work, or avoid waste in general.

But there comes a point when squeezing all that time out of a day turns this habit detrimental.

The worst possible scenario is that one keeps going from one achievement to another

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jack of all trades

Should I aim for specialisation, or be a generalist? Should I gather expertise on something specific, or go balls to the walls all-over-the-place? It’s something I’ve professionally contemplated for years already. Currently, I’m gravitating against the latter, as I see more positive sides to being a jack of all trades, than a master of one. Granted, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

 a small identity

I try to avoid categorising or labelling myself. It leads to emotional investment on those ideas and inhibits considering new ones. Incorporating ideas into my identity makes them a part of me, and critique on them feels like a personal criticism on me. Those with strong opinions might argue this kind of approach as having no stance or backbone. But the point is to be able to give and receive critique and be reasonably malleable, resulting in self-improvement.

I view specialisation to be

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a silly arpuger

There’s this silly “action role-playing game”, which I’ve played countless of hours to date. It’s dumb-easy to get started with, but requires effort to master. Not that e-sports effort though. You don’t directly play against human players, but you can play in this ladder/leaderboard style, where your results are compared with others’. The best part of the game is, that I can play in pretty much any state of mind possible.

I can really concentrate, think, optimise and furiously abuse my mouse, and still have a challenge.
I can be near blackout drunk, mindlessly poking around my underpowered laptop keyboard and a mouse I picked up somewhere, and still have fun.

 group effort

The best part of the game is the cooperative mode. Fire up Skype or something alike, start a conversation and launch the game. For the aforementioned reasons, the balance with gaming and conversation can sway. Which

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crypto and security

I just finished Neal Stephenson’s 900+ page book Cryptonomicon. I’ve since (and during the long read), been dwelling more on information security. Even though the book is fiction, it points out there’s been this hidden effort of espionage and information gathering, long before NSA’s recent accomplishments.

 cryptonomicon

The book’s an epic story in two timelines, mixing historical events with fictitious ones. There’s fictitious interpretations of real people and unreal characters. It spans Europe, North America and East Asia, during the second World War and the end of the 90’s. There’s Alan “Türing” and Douglas MacArthur. Reagan and Yamamoto make an appearance, as do the world’s first digital computers.

The book’s main theme is cryptography, information security and wartime intelligence. There’s a bunch of characters, and some of them represent a regular dudes’s viewpoint from the

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integrations

Why is it that integrating into another system can be so tedious? Sometimes, the integration endpoints are backed by vast financial support and professional care. Too often, though, they’re a mess that’s just been pieced together in a hurry.

Larger companies like Google, Twitter, etc., have their shit together concerning this. A substandard API would be a sign of either low effort or immaturity. Also, it would cause a mess within customer service. Public APIs are generally OK, and getting better. The problem lies within those private ones where the integration is implemented ad-hoc. Many of these APIs (that I’ve seen) are more like a nightmare of arcane old techs, crackling communications channels and pompous colleagues on the other end.

 estimating

Estimating the time required to implement an integration, even to a well documented system, can be difficult. There’s bound to be

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free will

People are products of genes, upbringing, chance, etc. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be accountable for their actions, or that it’s all just destiny. But thinking that no one chose how they ended up as they did, makes it easier to understand or withstand them.

I’ve recently been thinking about what Sam Harris has to say about free will. His thoughts can be accumulated via podcasts, videos and of course the book titled “Free Will”. I was most intrigued by the fact that we exist in a state machine of sorts. And that even though we can consciously affect that state, it couldn’t have ended up in any other way.

This is one of those things that still keeps me thinking about it.

 state

The universe, and therefore our minds, have a state at any given time. Sometime in the past, could you have decided and then done something differently? How much can be attributed to randomness? Quantum

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pattern recognisers

I’ve repeated the following quote before, and I’ll do it again:

“to understand is to perceive patterns” - Isaiah Berlin

I’m intrigued by this because of working as a programmer, after seeing Jason Silva’s many outputs, and after reading Raymond Kurzweil’s “How To Create A Mind” last year.

What Kurzweil’s does in the book is first he attempts to explain how the brain works and how the mind then emerges from it. Later, he proposes some techniques on how this could be digitally replicated and what philosophical and cultural conundrums that would create. I find both interesting, but to me, the part about what constitutes the mind is more thought-provoking.

 connections

Kurzweil argues that the thinking mind emerges in the neocortex, with it’s approximately 300 million pattern recognisers. The pattern recognisers are then linked with each other, in a hierarchical grid of sorts.

Inputs

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inflation of good ideas

Agile used to be the hottest buzzword for project planning and progression. Minimum viable product wasn’t an excuse for low quality shit. Some ideas are overused and misused, so much so that they’re losing their meaning. I’ll look into these two, as I’ve witnessed their usage most:

 agile

Agile concepts were introduced in the 80’s, and around 15 years ago within the software industry. The “agile methodologies” then quite soon reached adoption within smaller companies. These companies would ridicule the enterprise world with notions of rigidness and waterfalls.

Scrum is an example of an agile framework with strict rules promoting agility. Following them too closely and dogmatically can be an contradictory to agile. Applying scrum orthodoxically is a challenge. At best, Scrum can promote easier approximation, planning and productivity. At worst, it’s a battle of schedules and

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