Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quarterbacks Are Football Players Too, I Maintain

So far this weekend I've seen at least two different occasions I've seen this happen:  Quarterback drops back to pass - defensive lineman breaks free and closes in on the quarterback for the sack - quarterback executes a pump-fake - as the defensive lineman is wrapping up he notices the pump-fake and releases, thinking the quarterback has passed the ball - quarterback actually keeps the ball and completes a play for positive yardage, having avoided a sack - defensive lineman is left in the backfield shaking his head for the sack he almost had.

In fact, in one case this weekend, the lineman had the sack in the opponent's endzone - a certain safety imminent.  But he released the quarterback, who ended up making a play for positive yardage.  I am almost 100% sure that in both of these situations, the defensive lineman released because he was afraid of getting a personal foul for roughing the passer.

This is football we're talking about here.  Last I heard, it was a contact sport.  People get blocked, hit, and tackled.  It's a rough sport for tough guys.  This whole protecting the quarterback thing has gotten way out of hand.

Even Troy Aikman agrees with me.  He expressed this opinion recently during a game broadcast - that the rules to protect the quarterback are being too strictly enforced.  Now I like Troy Aikman, but that dude was a pretty-boy quarterback if there ever was one.  If he thinks the rule is too strict, then it is really too strict.

When it is having an affect on the game, like in the cases I mentioned this past weekend, it is way too much.  I know that pretty much all the decision-makers in both the NFL and in NCAA football read this blog all the time, looking for advice.  So here it is:  Let's set the expectation that quarterbacks have to be football players.  They have to be able to take a hit.  Let's keep protecting them, like other players, from unnecessary roughness, but let's stop taking special extremes to protect these guys, for the sake of a decent game.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Essential Albums: Alice in Chains "Jar of Flies"

Artist: Alice in Chains
Album: Jar of Flies
Year: 1994
Best Song You've Probably Heard: I Stay Away
Best Song You Might Not Have Heard: Rotten Apple

One day, years ago when I was living in Colorado, my old roommate Curtis called me from Atlanta to tell me that I needed to go and buy this album right away. For some odd reason I had strongly resisted the grunge movement during college so I never really had that collegiate-exploring-music time, a fact that I rather lament today. So I didn't already have any Alice in Chains music prior to Curtis's phone call. However, I took Curtis's advice and bought "Jar of Flies" soon thereafter. After all, Curtis also recommended that I read "Starship Troopers," so his advice carries merit to be sure.

"Jar of Flies" is what you get when great musicians cut loose to see what they are really, truly capable of, without restricting themselves to a genre. It is a true masterpiece. I took a stab at the song you might have heard, but the truth of it is, probably you've either heard the whole thing, because you own it already, or you haven't heard any of it.

The moods Jerry Cantrell can create with guitar are really incredible, but what Alice in Chains does best is harmony. They are able to come up with the most amazing harmony patterns that sound both unexpected and logical at the same time. Witness "Rotten Apple" or "No Excuses" to see what I mean.

Alice in Chains is a grunge band, but "Jar of Flies" is not really a grunge album - just seven songs worth of great music, and one I consider a definite must-have.

(Image credit:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Straight-Through-In-Alpha-Order-Music-Listening Experiment Update

So about a month ago I blogged about managing my MP3 collection, and at that same time I decided I should embark upon a journey wherein I would listen to my entire collection straight through, sorted in alphabetical order by band name and then album name. I've tweeted my status every so often, but probably most of you don't read my tweets, because your life is not completely lame.

So I thought I should let everyone know that after a month of listening to music at work, I've managed to make it through the A's and B's. Some people have asked, "Matt, how long do you think this is going to take?" And I've blindly answered, "Probably six or seven months." But so far it is looking a bit more like ten months, since I'm at about 700 songs of about 7150, give or take.

But, make no mistake, I simply cannot capture in words how much tremendous fun this experience is! WHOOOO-HOOOOOOO!!

Some other faithful readers have also asked me the following question: "Whoa, Matt. You are freaking awesome." To which I reply, "Thank you. However, I must point out that that is not a question."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

EMC Forms Decho

EMC has created a new subsidiary company, named Decho. The new company was created from Mozy and Pi, so I'm a part of this new company. The name "decho" is derived from "digital echo," referring to your cloud-stored data as "your digital echo" in the cloud. Decho is a cloud-computing company.

So, Matt. What do you think of the new name?

Decho should be a really fun new venture. The competition is formidable - Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Apple - in fact, formidable is a bit of an understatement. But I do really believe that there is a market for a platform-neutral cloud computing solution that makes its money by keeping your data safe, secure, available, and private, and not by mining your data for other profit ventures.
I'm on the Decho train. I've done this ride before, and I have no reason to think anything other than that this will be at least as successful as the last fully-owned-subsidiary-spinout company I was a part of before in my career, named Volera.

Yes. What about the name?

Well, Mozy is already a very successful product. We have over 1 million customers, as I understand it, and we're continuing to grow.

Alright, but let's talk about Decho. What about the new name?

Yes, Mozy is a great place to work. We're in a brand new building, there are many very cool people there, and even Alen Peacock works there. We have our own Rock Band setup on a high-definition TV in the breakroom, which is generally stocked with a variety of snacks. And it is great to work on a product that you know is being used by people all over the world - and should be used by pretty much everyone.

The name! What about the name?

Mozy's technology is truly incredible. The backups happen pretty much automatically. The data is stored in a very safe and very secure fashion. You get unlimited backup for only $4.95 a month. What's not to like?

I'm asking about the name. What do you think of the name?

I really like the name. Mozy is a nice, short word, that means nothing, is hard to pronounce wrong, and just eminates the awesome. I'm totally on board the Decho train.

Not the Mozy name. The Decho name. What is your opinion of the name?

Err, what? What was that? Uh ... ok, sorry, I have to go now.

Programmers are Typists - And More

After reading Jeff Atwood's blog post "We Are Typists First, Programmers Second" on Coding Horror, I thought I'd better go see what my typing speed was.

I took the same online typing test that Jeff Atwood took, and managed to beat him:

We'd kinda hope that someone who writes software for a living could type with a reasonable speed. I'm curious to know if my mom, who types as part of her profession but is a non-programmer, could beat me.

Even more, I'm curious to know what my typing speed is when writing code. If you were to do a test like that, "mistakes" could be calculated by the number of syntax errors your code generates if you try to compile/run it. However, I'm not sure what a "word" would be, in calculating words per minute.

Surely your familiarity with the language would make a difference in your "speed." What I find a bit interesting about this discussion is that your typing speed in this case does not necessarily equate to your delivery speed.

For example, if you, like much of the computing world, are a Javahead, in my opinion you have a bit of baggage to overcome in order to attain a reasonable delivery speed. Java's mantra seems to be, "Why do something in one step when it can be done in two - or five?" Thus if you are a Java programmer, you've got some verbosity to overcome in order to attain productivity. Fast typing speed matters for you.

On the other hand, if you are a bit more sane and prefer a language like Python, the language is actually helping you out here. It is so easy to arrive at functional code in Python that perhaps the language makes up for typing shortcomings that a programmer might have.

What about a language like C? C is admittedly terse, but it doesn't do a lot for you because it is comparatively low-level. If you don't have libraries in hand to do what you need, writing them yourself kinda removes any advantage you may have gained because of the terseness of the language. Of course C is excellent based on other factors.

I do agree with the post though - typing is important to programmers. It is important for an additional reason - and that is because good software engineers should be expected to generate documentation - design documents, API documents, test cases, and SDK documents like tutorials and explanations of sample code. In short, there's a lot more typing to be done in a software engineer's job than just the typing of code.

Now, many of you are asking, so what does it mean if you type nearly 90 words per minute AND are not handicapped by a blind adoration for Java? What if you are a fast typist AND you prefer Python?
Well! That describes me quite clearly! And apparently, it means little. Sorry.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You Too Can Be A Formula One Steward!

In Formula One, it is apparently a requirement to change the rules every single year, in a substantial fashion, and also to provide levity and general entertainment for those of us who follow Formula One in spite of the silly governing body. I can't find any actual rule that supports this assertion; I only am claiming that it is a requirement by observation over time.

2009 is no exception, and the FIA has already released some of the new rules. One of my favorites has to do with the qualifications for stewards - effectively the equivalent of referees or officials. It says:
Any national steward participating who is officiating for the first time will be required to ‘observe’ a minimum of one Grand Prix prior to their event.

Wow. I would have thought it would require a little bit more familiarity with the sport than that. But apparently, if you have watched a Grand Prix race before in your lifetime, you qualify to be a Formula One steward. Excellent! This should help matters significantly.

I can imagine a similar rule in the NFL rulebook:
Any referee who is officiating for the first time will be required to 'observe' a minimum of one football game prior to their event.
That's right! We've had it with these referees who have never seen a football game before! From now on, we will only let people be referees if they have seen an actual football game before, at least one football game, sometime in their life!

New MacBook Pro - Mozy Loves Me

Mozy loves me. She bought me a present. I anxiously opened it, and when I looked inside the first thing I saw was "Designed by Apple in California."

Yes, Mozy bought me a new MacBook Pro. Like I said, Mozy loves me. It is obvious that she wants my body, totally.

So I'm setting up the new MacBook as I speak - er, type. I'm borrowing another MacBook to do this blog posting, because I cannot bear the thought of sitting here waiting without being able to use either my new MacBook Pro or my Mac Pro workstation while the Migration Assistant is transferring files:

As you can see, I still have over an hour to wait. Anyone who knows me knows I get bored so easily that there is no way I can wait that long. So I'm borrowing this other laptop in the meantime.

By the way, did you know that the new MacBook Pro bodies are made with a single piece of aluminum? It's true. These are naturally occurring chunks of aluminum mined straight out of the ground in the shape of a laptop. They are very rare; it is no wonder Apple had to wait so long to produce laptops this way. Anyway, each should be considered a treasure, because who knows how many naturally-occurring laptop-shaped pieces of aluminum there are in the world - certainly the supply is limited.

However, the truly best part about this gift is that I should be able to avoid run-ins with the Black Ponytails next year at WWDC, since in reality I just borrowed that other MacBook long enough to get those guys off my back and spare my own life.

Yes, it is obvious, Mozy is totally in love with me. I'm holding out, though. I've got hand in this relationship. I'm holding out for an iPhone. I'm not ready to commit to a steady relationship, but if she really and truly loves me, she'll buy me an iPhone, and then it might be time to start "going steady," if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mozy Commercials

The new Mozy commercials are on YouTube now, and I think they are pretty great. Nicely done iJustine.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mozy's New Office

Here at Mozy we just moved to a new office location, about one mile south of where we used to be, which is closer to home. So every day I drive about two minutes less than I used to - hooray!

Actually we moved a few weeks ago. The last time this happened to me was when I worked at Volera, when we moved from Novell Provo campus to a new Volera building right about spin-off time. Then a week after Volera moved, they laid off 10% of the workforce. So I thought maybe I should wait to blog about the move. Then I remembered, "Wait a minute! Volera sucked! Mozy doesn't suck - Mozy is awesome!" Fear abated.*

Anyway, the new digs are great, and I was committed to not be so superficial as to allow the nicer new building to affect my morale, but I failed. I believe it now - a nicer environment really can help make your employees happier.

So when you walk into Mozy's front door, this is what you see.
We rent office space in this building along with a couple of other tenants. The Mozy lobby is actually on the second floor. Take the elevators ahead at the right to get there. But my office is just through those doors on the left. Mozy rents about 1/3 of the building.
What is to the right? I'm sorry but I cannot say. It isn't because it is a secret - it is because I refuse to promote them out of principle. The Mozy curse is that we must always rent office space next door to an MLM company, which is not that hard to do in Utah county. Anyway, I don't really want to talk about it, it is a bit annoying and embarrassing.

Here is the Mozy lobby, upstairs on the second floor. Walk through that door to get to the receptionist's desk. She knows everything.

Conference rooms at Mozy are named after famous superheroes, like Gambit, whoever that is. Also notice the world's longest whiteboard. That's right - here at Mozy we are the current world record holders for "world's longest whiteboard." If I remember correctly, it is somewhere around 787,500 feet long.

One thing you may not have known before - the world famous Alen Peacock works for Mozy. That alone should convince you to sign up. As proof I present this photo of Alen Peacock in action:

Finally, a snapshot of my office. I mean, cubicle.
These, we are told, are some of the nicest cubicles money can buy. To which I say, "Yes, but they are still cubicles." But I do have a hard time complaining about the 8-core Mac Pro, 24" widescreen monitor, or the Herman Miller Celle chair. Likewise, it is hard to complain about the three Ferraris to the left or the awesome Skullcandy Skullcrusher headphones. Of course, all that stuff belongs to me anyway.

*I wasn't really worried about Mozy, I was just kidding around. I don't speak on behalf of Mozy, I just think it is a great place to work. All that stuff was just a joke. Except the part about Volera.