There must be intelligent life down here

Remote Team Communication Essentials

Over nearly three decades of remote development work and team management, I’ve realized the importance of intentional communication for effective teamwork. Drawing from my experience with Rock River Star, a remote workplace must emulate aspects of a physical one. For instance, if a group of developers would typically exchange nerdy jokes or discuss football in person, their chosen remote communication platforms should support such casual interactions.

These seemingly inconsequential conversations actually serve a vital purpose: they foster human connection and facilitate work-related communication. Using chat applications like Slack, Teams, or HipChat for more than just addressing work questions helps build interpersonal relationships among team members. This foundation allows for better understanding and trust when tackling work issues.

The Raven Paradox in Cybersecurity

I’ve been pondering the Raven Paradox lately, which is not only an intriguing logical thought experiment but could also potentially shed light on server vulnerability assessment issues. Let me first give you an overview of the Raven Paradox and see if we can find any connections.

Imagine a hypothesis stating that all ravens are black. Logically, if something is a raven, it must be black. Taking the contrapositive, if something isn’t black, then it isn’t a raven. So, when either statement is true or false, the other follows suit. Now, consider an obvious example like “my pet raven is black,” which supports the hypothesis that all ravens are black. However, applying this logic to the statement “this green apple is not black and not a raven” might lead you to believe that it also supports the idea that all ravens are black. And logically, it kind of does.

Crafting a Morning Algorithm

I recently ditched my morning routine of playing word games, such as the New York Times mini crossword and Wordle puzzles. Instead of relying on published online tips for solving Wordle, I thought it’d be interesting to craft my own tool using a unique algorithm. This algorithm considers the number of words left in the dictionary that include the revealed letters from the Wordle puzzle, while also taking into account the frequency of those letters in other words.

Surprisingly, my algorithm has performed quite well. The Wordle bot, which seemingly aims for perfection using a “bits of information” approach, often rates my method as less lucky and skilled. However, my algorithm still solves puzzles in fewer guesses on average. I’ve reached out to the New York Times staff with screenshots of these results, but they haven’t responded. They have, though, adjusted their luck and skill calculations, yet I still occasionally outperform the Wordle bot.

Comedy, Covid, and Taste Woes

Last Thursday, I joined a comedy show at Angry Jack’s Axe Throwing Lanes. With only three other comedians and a tiny audience primarily consisting of friends, it’s bewildering that I didn’t win, given that the victor was chosen by audience vote. Nonetheless, I suspect one of my fellow comedians had COVID since I’ve now contracted it for the second time.

With the children away at college and a less stringent approach to isolation than my previous two-week confinement in the master bedroom over Christmas, my wife Berta has also developed some symptoms. Fortunately, our experience has been akin to a cold with mild achiness.

The Ghost Wolves of Ravenrood

In the dense, shadowed embrace of Ravenwood Forest, my brother and I found ourselves alone, the comforting presence of our parents swallowed by the thick foliage. Panic set in as we called out, our voices lost amongst the ancient trees. We had stopped for a rest on our way to Port Haven, our family’s caravan laden with goods for trade, when a sudden rustle in the underbrush had drawn our curiosity, leading us astray.

I could feel the fear of never seeing our parents again seeping slowly into my heart as the last of the light dimmed through the forest canopy. Evin gripped my hand firmly as we carefully made our teary way through brush and leaf, searching for sign of open road or family. That’s when they appeared—men with cruel eyes and harsh whispers, brigands who saw in us an opportunity for ransom. We were helpless to their force, our cries muffled, our spirits lost.