Sunday, July 30, 2017

Notes Before Siggraph 2017


It is a tradition of Global Wahrman to write a post as I am running and late for Siggraph.

The disadvantage of course is that it is going to be pretty rough until I can get back and edit it. The advantage is that it usually expresses something that is important to me that I only realize (or feel like talking about) when under stress.

So here is (are) some of the problems in a nutshell.

On the one hand I want to show new work. It is important for that new work to be of sufficient interest and currency to catch people's attention, and yet also fit. When I am able to show new work of sufficient quality or promise then I will feel much better and it is likely that things will be better in a number of ways.

So what is the problem? The problem is not coming up with an idea. I have plenty of good ideas, I think many people do. The problem is picking one idea, picking the right idea, and somehow come up with an idea that fits the time and resources available.

Every year I go to Siggraph and find confirmation that some of my ideas are good enough to be published. But would I have had the resources to execute that idea? Would I have the ability to focus given the incredibly unstructured environment I find myself in?

The answer so far has been no, unfortunately.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Trump Demands Warm UK Welcome


I find it impossible to work with Trump as president. I can not keep myself from glancing at the world news and everytime I do, I am humiliated and offended. It is beyond my capability to function, to solve the problems of my life while my country goes down the gutter into the sewage of this moron's brain and, let us not forget, his Republican and Democratic enablers.

Even worse, because this stupid moron has “owned” some basic issues, such as anti-globallization that means that not even competent and compasionate politicians who wanted to deal with this issue can not. Of course I am not sure that there are any competent and compassionate politicians but if there were they would not be able to.

But OK, so now what do we have today. Why we have the report that Trump has demanded that Teresa May “fix” any UK visit so that Trump gets a big old hearty we love you welcome or we wont show up. Well, golly, Trump baby, maybe that means you need to stop being such a stupid asshole, what do you think?

Watchmen Porn


For years I avoided seeing the Watchmen superhero movie, because I hated the graphic novel in the 1980s. A friend made me see it as part of our remedial superhero study group and guess what, I really hated the movie. But I was surprised that she would appreciate the rape scenes so much and the sexist representation of women if that is indeed what it is.

For me, it is the latex garter belt that really sells this outfit.  

Maybe there is hope after all.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Decisions, Decisions


Which topic should I write about? "Russia has been 100 percent successful at exposing the hyporicisy at the heart of American democracy" or "What could be more important than making another Spiderman movie"?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stealing Money on the Internet


What is sad about this is that one day I really will have a friend in need but I wont believe him or her because of these criminals.

I blame #45 for this.

And yes, Karen Fox has contacted me and confirmed that she is OK and that this is a spam.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Verizon Data Leakage, Should Congress Act?


Should Congress be forced to make it illegal for corporations to grossly fail to protect their customer's privacy? That of course should not be necessary, because by 2017 we have had so many gross violations of privacy due to corporate incompetence and since we are all aware of foreign intelligence services as well as international crime organizations working to collect such data (and other forms of IP) to use against Americans, that even a stupid moron, yes, even an American Corporation should know that they have a responsibility to work with diligence and skill to protect their customers' data, in particular their customer's passwords.

So what are we to make of the latest Verizon failure to (a) protect this data and (b) when notified by an outside firm of this exposure of customer data, failing to take the steps necesssary to protect the data in a timely fashion?

The facts in the case are that Verizon did not discover the breach, an outside firm did. The problem was that a Verizon subcontractor had maintained a complete database of Verizon's wireless customers, their user ids, personal information and, crucially, their PINs / passwords, in a cloud file that was open for reading by anyone. How the subcontractor could have made such a mistake is unknown, but the responsibility does not lie with them, it lies with Verizon to see that their customer's data is secure.

But even worse, is that when notified of the problem, it took two weeks, from June 8 to June 22, to correct the problem. And furthermore, correcting the problem was, in this case, relatively easy. You just protect the file on the cloud (in terms of who has read access to it) or you remove the file from the cloud. Now in the long run you may have to do something more sophisticated to achieve some larger corporate goal, but in the short run, just remove the file.

Since Corporate America has failed to take the steps necessary to protect Americans, it is up to Congress to improve the incentives to perform. A simple and probably effective way to do this is to put the senior executives of the corporation in prison for a period of correction, so that they can learn new and better skills to help them fit into society. I would think that a top executive, the CEO or COO, would require a healthy 10 or 20 years in prison, except in extreme cases.

In this case, though, a lesser penalty will probably be applied. The senior executives will probably be forced to accept a pay raise and a 7 figure bonus. This is America after all.

Here is a report on the Verizon data leakage

Friday, July 7, 2017

Trump, Civilization and the Second Coming of the Christ


I am sure I speak for all Americans when I say how proud I am to have a vulgar sexist and bully represent us to the world.  And how beautiful that this moron would call for a vigorous defense of civilization when it is this piece of garbage and his venal friends who are themselves destroying civilization, at least here in America..

How wonderful it is to be demeaned and disgraced in front of the world. Any foolish pride we may have had reduced to the banal by this moron and his supporters, the Republicans, the soldiers who fight for God. But I wonder, what is left for #45 to achieve, having ascended to the very pinnacle of history as leader of western civilization? What is next? Perhaps he would consider becoming the Bishop of Rome, yes to ascend to the throne of St. Peter, or perhaps even reveal himself as the second coming of the Christ, the Murdered God who opens a Door back to God.

Who else could forgive us for our sins?

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Jeffrey Katzenberg Memo Part 1 (Do Good Work and You Will Be Rewarded)


Once upon a time, Jeffrey Katzenberg wrote a 28 page memo describing how he thought the industry was changing and by implication his mistakes of the recent past (or so it was reported at the time). I am not Jeffrey Katzenberg and this will not be a 28 page memo. It will however be a series of posts from time to time in which I describe some mistakes made that have gotten me where I am today. Many of these mistakes are intertwined, and have assumptions that may seem odd based on what we know today.  Some of these posts will also describe decisions I made later that I believe accurately describe reality (e.g. where the industry is going) but which may or may not be a mistake given that there are no alternatives.

The people who were involved with computer animation early felt (or some of us felt) that we had something to prove. People who mattered did not believe that computer animation would work or be worth anything. We are talking about the early 1980s here. If you do not understand that, then stop reading, because you will not be able to understand anything else I say.

So a bunch of us decided that we would prove that it did work and would do great things. There were a variety of nests of such people, several of them in LA, some in N. California, some in NY, some in Europe, etc. All of these people made sacrifices to be in this field, or at least most of them did.

I felt that I had a chance to have an impact early on and I decided to take that chance. I knew that unlike what later became Pixar, that we did not have the cash or the management to do this really well, but I figured that people would give us slack because of our good will and the situation. I figured that people would say, well if they could do this with $1.50, just think what they could do if they had real resources. It was also the case that none of this would have been possible if people (companies) had not supported us. In my case, this meant little consulting projects and genuine access to expensive hardware and other resources. At the time I knew that we could not rely on this for the future, but the hope was that we would do good work, deliver marketing value for our benefactors, and then hopefully things would become self financing.

To repeat, the fundamental assumption was that people would recognize our work, give us credit for it, and allow us to move to the next level when real projects and real capital became available. Well, it turns out that this is not what happened. We proved that things worked, but moving forward people did not give us credit for out work, many of us were not hired, we were no longer given the access to equipment or consulting (e.g. cash flow) that we had before.

So now, when people say, why not just do new work, my response is that when you are completely impoverished that is not a possibility. When you have no access to resources, you have to buy everything, and when you have no money that is not going to happen. Furthermore, every door slammed in my face 20 years ago.  Why that is, or was, is a long story and it is not very pleasant but it comes down to money. Some famous Greek once said, there is no person so brilliant that extreme poverty will not silence them. You were supposed to hire us, but you didnt.

Too bad, my mistake, I guess.

But this is not the entire story.  Some of us were not hired for reasons that are, in my opinion, problematic, but reasons nevertheless.  We will go over what some of these reasons are in a later post. Its not all "bad people failing to recognize our genius", there are other factors at work.

Neverthless, now when someone says “you must do a demo to prove that you can do this work” I laugh, bitterly. Been there, did that, didn't work. I would rather make a new mistake, rather than repeat an old one.


It turns out that this memo from Jeffrey was not a reflection on past mistakes, although that is how it was presented in the industry press that I read.  It was instead something else, as is completely obvious from reading it, which you may do here:

Non Reply Reply from Representative Hunter (CA-50)


After my fourth electronic message (and one voice mail) I got a response from my representative. It seems oddly to start out as if they actually read my messages (which I doubt). Could it be that they have an assistant do a topic sentence and then supply the boilerplate body of the letter? Or is it all boilerplate? Or am I being too cynical?

Here is the letter.

This letter really alerted me to how much I dislike this man's politics. It reads like a nightmare from hell republican bullshit agenda. How about the environment? How about helping the poor? None of that for our good Republican.

And here is my response, for what little this is worth. What is next I wonder. How do I ramp this up a bit?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Who Shall Pass or Fail the Test?


In another post, see here, I described a test I was playing on various friends and acquaintances.

For those of you who wonder how to pass the test, and need a cheat sheet, here is a short list of some of the answers, any one of which will suffice to pass the test:

Express concern and ask how you can help.
Offer to buy lunch or loan your friend $100
Suggest a friend you know who might need someone of his skills (i.e. to get a job).
Offer to pay for something that might help (e.g. internet access or a phone bill or water bill).
Offer him or her a place to stay for a week or a month.
Offer to drive him or her somewhere.
Offer to introduce him or her to someone who might be able to help (e.g. get into school, get a part time job, whatever).
Make them feel welcome or in some way try to lesson the shame when you do any of the above on behalf of your friend.

Things you can do to automatically fail the test include:

Say you dont have the time to hear this right now.
Offer to have them committed for their own good.
Insult them.
Tell them to fuck off.
Make fun of them either to their face or behind their back (they will always know, trust me).
Fail to offer to help them get a job even though they know you have done that for others.

None of these lists are exhaustive.

[It saddens me to report that this test, which has in fact been in progress for several years has been passed by only a few people.  There are a few themes that I have noticed, in particular that some people who I have been in relationships with are particularly uncaring, but I guess that is not a total surprise even if it is a disappointment.  Others, it turns out, who in some sense truly owe me nothing, if anything one might say that I owe them for their courtesy to me over the years and their contributions to my life however accidental, have turned out to be very generous.  This is hardly an observation that will be new to the careful observer of mammalian biped behavior]

Definition: All But Homeless


I am sometimes guilty of using my own sub-language, or jargon. I think most writers do at one time or another. Its hard to get a new word or term defined and accepted but the Germans, or those who speak the Germanic languages do not care. They create and use compound words with speed and facility.

Sidewalk, rocketship, doorknob, jailbait, idiot-sh*t-for-brains, etc.

I have needed a term for someone who is essentially but not quite homeless for quite a while.

If “homeless” refers to someone who is chronically unemployed and does not have the money, or for some reason the capability, to have a place to sleep, to take a shower, to keep their stuff, and to cook a meal, we call that person homeless.

I define “all-but-homeless” as someone who would be homeless, except that their friends or family is putting them up somewhere.

This might be “couch surfing”, but couch surfing has a different feeling to it. “Couch surfing” suggests someone who is 20 something and who is able to mooch on a friend for a week or a month while they are looking for work. It has a healthy, youthful feel to it. It does not suggest the helplessness of homelessness.

An “all-but-homeless” person is someone who has tried for years to make a living, who has learned new skills, worked hard, is older than is trendy, but still cant figure out how to pay the rent. He or she is now a burden on their friends or family or both but doesnt want to be and is somewhat ashamed of it.

They are certainly better off than a “homeless” person but they are far from living a healthy, actualized life. They can not travel, can not afford medical care, can not afford new clothes, can not afford to go to conferences or go on vacation. They are in a prison of poverty and can not work their way out. Maybe they are a victim of their own decisions, maybe they have a disability whether acknowledged or unacknowledged, maybe they are a victim of government policies, maybe they are just unlucky, or maybe it is a combination of some of these or something else entirely. They are certainly better off than someone who is homeless, but that is about all you can say about it.