What Would Jesus Bet?

Next poker game with AKMA, I’m bringing Faith Chips!

A ten-pack is going for ten bucks right now! Click the image to learn more about Faith Chips.


The Case of the 500-Mile Email

[Cross-posted to The Farm.]

The story’s a couple of years old, but it’s been making the rounds

lately, so I thought I’d point to it: The Case of the 500-Mile Email.

Here’s the introduction:

I was working in a job running the

campus email system some years ago when I got a call from the chairman

of the statistics department.

“We’re having a problem sending email out of the department.”

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

“We can’t send mail more than 500 miles,” the chairman explained.

I choked on my latte. “Come again?”


can’t send mail farther than 500 miles from here,” he repeated. “A

little bit more, actually. Call it 520 miles. But no farther.”


Email really doesn’t work that way, generally,” I said, trying to keep

panic out of my voice. One doesn’t display panic when speaking to a

department chairman, even of a relatively impoverished department like

statistics. “What makes you think you can’t send mail more than 500


“It’s not what I *think*,” the chairman replied testily. “You see, when we first noticed this happening, a few days ago–“

“You waited a few DAYS?” I interrupted, a tremor tinging my voice. “And you couldn’t send email this whole time?”

“We could send email. Just not more than–“

“–500 miles, yes,” I finished for him, “I got that. But why didn’t you call earlier?”


we hadn’t collected enough data to be sure of what was going on until

just now.” Right. This is the chairman of *statistics*. “Anyway, I

asked one of the geostatisticians to look into it–“



and she’s produced a map showing the radius within which we can send

email to be slightly more than 500 miles. There are a number of destinations

within that radius that we can’t reach, either, or reach sporadically,

but we can never email farther than this radius.”

Read the rest to see what the culprit turned out to be.

It Happened to Me

38th Birthday Party Soon

I’m working on the details. Stay tuned…

Photo: Joey deVilla at his birthday/engagement party, November 2004.

Me at last year’s bash.


“Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.”

Found: a photo of some clever public washroom hand dryer graffiti…

Photo: Hand dryer symbol instructions annotated with 'Press button. Receive bacon, Enjoy bacon.'

It Happened to Me

Slouching Towards the Geeky Mean

Yesterday, Boss Ross sent me a stack of presentations from Evans Data

Corporation’s 2005 Developer Relations Conference. Seeing as my job is

developer relations, I feel a little silly for having been unaware of

its existence and have adjusted my radar accordingly.

I went through the presentations — mostly outlines of the developer

relations techniques used by various companies — looking for ideas

that could be incorporated into Tucows’ developer relations strategy.

One slide in

particular caught my attention. Its title was Who is the Developer? and

its bullet points outlined the average developer, based on a study by

the Evans Data’s 2005 study of the developer market:

  • Male (over 90% of respondents)
  • 40 years old
  • Married (nearly two-thirds of respondents)
  • 15 years’ experience
  • Loves programming and isn’t in it primarily for the money (two-thirds of respondents)
  • Enjoys logic and puzzles (57% of respondents)
  • Skills picked up mostly on the job or self-taught (75% of respondents)

My own experience is not the norm (in fact, the master of

ceremonies at my friend Rob’s wedding introduced me as “a guy whose

life was engineered to be offbeat”), having spent most of my career at

start-ups and oddball companies. I expected that the average developer

would be thirty and single with closer to five years’ experience.

Upon further reflection, I realized that as of a month ago, I match

those stats. That’s a little frightening. Confronted with

this realization, a lesser man might admit defeat, program an “easy

rock” station into his radio, buy a Ford Taurus and restock the

wardrobe with golf shirts and elastic-waistband slacks.

But me? I’m cool.

It Happened to Me

Buzzword Abuse is Cheap Entertainment

(Alternate title: In which our hero shows that he’s been reading too many articles about these newstyle web applications)

The scene: the Tucows offices, early afternoon.

Co-worker: Hey, Joey! How’s married life treating you?

Me [making finger quotes, a.k.a. “sarcasm tongs”]: “Married life?” What is this, the twentieth century? It’s now called Life 2.0.


“Something Positive” on Anne Rice

The webcomic Something Positive has its own take on Anne Rice’s change of subject matter (which I wrote about in this entry). Here’s a sample:

Click on the image to see the whole comic.