Joie : Audrey Tang ministre du numérique.

Audrey Tang est nommée ministre du numérique à Taïwan.

Je ne la connais pas personnellement, mais putain ça me fait couler des larmes de joie.

Audrey, c'est le nom d'une légende qui traîne autour d'une bière quand les contributeurs de Perl se rencontrent. Perl, comme PHP, apache ou mysql ou VLC font parti des outils sans lesquel internet n'existerait pas.

Et Audrey, c'est une légende.

Ce que je vais raconter peut paraître imbitable au profane mais imaginez des chevaliers échangeant leur recettes techniques pour butter du dragon (dont l'humain vient clamer le territoire). C'est un peu ça.

Audrey est une éminente développeuse Perl qui sur son temps libre et professionnel s'est investie dans la tâche d'aider les gens de manière significative.

Elle a aider les développeurs et les sysadmins à pouvoir partager plus simplement nos librairies (CPAN), elle a initié une nouvelle révolution qui est Perl6 (ça a comme tout projet de R&D une proba d'échouer de 66%).

C'est une vraie légende que l'on croise dans les conventions. Perl6 a aussi un repris de justice dans ses hackers connus, donc une transgendre n'a jamais été vraiment un sujet. Elle enflamme les foules en échangeant sur des sujets abscons, et donne de sa personne dans les couloirs pour expliquer.

Sans elle et sa passion vu comment la communauté Perl était essoufflée quand elle a lancé le projet, c'était inespéré. Perl6 a été aussi attendu que la suite de Duke nuk'em, mais le résultat semble bien meilleur.

Et pour la communauté Perl, cet investissement dans le futur était crucial.

Bref, elle est compétente sur tous les domaines des IT. Elle mérite cette reconnaissance, et je suis furax.

Parce qu'en France on a des tas de gars aussi bons que ça, et je sais qu'ils ne seront jamais proposés à un tel poste par le gouvernement.
On aura éventuellement un associatif suceur de boule qui aura écrit une phototèque trouée en PHP, ou un startupeur quelconque qui aura un peu plus parasiter le logiciel libre qu'il l'aura aider.

Vous savez je suis pas sectaire, mais moi aussi j'aimerais pouvoir dire: mon ministre il a codé VLC et c'est mon troll préféré et aussi l'ancien président d'un projet de plus de 15000 personne, ou qu'il a gagné le concours mondial de C le plus crade du monde 4 années de suite, ou qu'il contribue à openSSH et sa cuisine est la plus réputée du monde  ....

Bref, en France et ailleurs (Belgique, Québec, Allemagne, Zambie, ...) on a suffisamment de développeurs compétents qui en plus ont prouvé être capables d'empathies et d'efficience dans une communauté, ce serait cool de les avoir ministre.

Dans le libre, comme les données sont là, on a de quoi juger on peut voir les erreurs les réussites, et mêmes éventuellement trouver des écrits sur ses opinions face à des sujets politco-techniques (brevets, crypto, droits d'auteur...).

Bref, moi j'aimerais lancer une pétition pour pouvoir choisir nos ministres dans une liste de contributeurs à des projets numériques qui ont choisi de laisser leur historique publique afin que l'on puisse avoir au moins un ministre compétent et adepte de la transparence quelque soit le parti élu.

There cannot be any professional IT now

What is being a pro?

Some people define IT professions by their diploma, their best practices or tools.

Ask any dev/sysadmins/devops/managers or any IT professional; they will probably define themselves in their superior mastery in tools/knowledge.

Git, hadoop, C++, python, php, the cloud ....

Maybe to be nice the results or their work: software, apps, websites....

However, what strikes me as odd in this «profession» where anyone can enter this market is no one defines the profession's missions towards the end user's and even more the liability.

Imagine you are a mover, your mission is basically to move fast loads from point A to point B without breaking anything.

A cook? Making food for the best price, fast and without intoxicating customers.

A construction worker? Building what was asked fast without breaking what was expected ...

An engineer is expected to build for the cheapest price possible buildings that have a durability (without breaking).

A surgeon? Making someone's health improve fast without killing him.

You see the pattern a profession is a mission towards user which consequences can be dreadful if done wrong and for which there is a liability and for the least cost.

There are in some fields like telecommunications, SLA (Service Level Agreement) but  nothing about failing to protect the confidentiality of the call.

It is no secret most ISP/telco collaborate with government and basically betray their users.

What makes IT so special?

Well, they are literally artists. Like artists since the value is based on creativity no company have an obligation of results. Read any licensing agreement or contract: there is no financial or legal liability possible.

A website has security holes and fraudulent use of your poorly protected data are used? Bad luck, there is no warranty you can use against a coder for a bug and ask the company to pay back for the consequences. That is the reason why you are force fed insurance contracts to mutualize the costs of bugs. Customers pays when companies fail. 0 risks taken.

Games are buggy? Not the company problem. You lose your novel because your hardware or software crashed? Not in the IT backyard.

You use a software since 10 years and make value out of it for your business? Well, IT don't care, they will stop editing it and leave you without notice. How much software from google, facebook, mozilla have been discontinued to make an example? Hundreds of them.

IT hardware that are put in devices that are engineered for decades can be discontinued in few years. And the millions you invested in a payroll system have to be invested once again.

IT fails what makes a profession respected : liability, the capacity to guaranty some kind of correctness, durability or even cost reduction.

It is all the more difficult that IT constructions are complex and obfuscated and given the actual legal system, the burden of proving the responsibility is often on the shoulder of the victim. And trying to investigate the backend of a website without authorization is a crime.
Decompiling software in most country is a crime. And if not a crime at least some tedious costly operation.

As long as there is no legal and financial liabilities there will be no incentives for the IT to become professional, and IT companies will still on the other hand will be able to sue you for not paying the bills.

As you can guess the absence of liability favors not the one who cares about the users but the dictatorship of the companies able to hire a lot of lawyers and lock customers by growing fast thanks to cheap money (thanks the VC/hedge funds) and do not favor competitiveness. 

If you think I am wrong, tell me as an IT specialist do you have knowledge of colleagues that were sued or if anyone you know a professional whose responsibility was engaged resulting in anyone going to jail or paying money for a line of code written or typed in a terminal in a corporate environment by a customer?

Yes maybe you know some (like in the dieselgate case). Now compare how few these are compared in proportion to restaurant closed for not respecting basics of hygiene and security. And do not pretend it is because IT workers are intrinsically better, it is just it is as hard to sue any IT workers as any artists.

How I became a «vigilante» of the web and why you should do it too

I hate vigilante. The arrow (DC comics) when there are earthquakes in his city prefers to prevent banks from being robbed than help the poor dying in the shady town.

So, I am pretty much a citizen that normally don't wish to right the wrong. I normally don't like to play the knight on his high horses throwing a vibrant «you failed the Internet». Yet I did.

In the previous «fun» episodes of my life, I have been a coder, than a mover.

I like moving, but, well being paid 5€/hr overall in quite insecure conditions is spoiling the fun. I would do it for 15€/hr without a regret. And for the same reasons I learned to respect their know-how, I finally came to value my knowledge in coding, and learning. So, recently, I came back after a serious crisis on what we do in the IT industry to apply once again to «decent jobs».

Well, I tried.

When you are jobless, companies and administration seem to think you are the scumbag of the internet and that your time is free.

Websites are at best broken, non usable/accessible and most of the time insecure. And so this is the story of my small victory against the evil forces of «not caring» (this is not in my backyard, you non paying customers).

When the new Information Technologies results in loss of time and security

Almost all the websites I am talking of are made with all the latest kikoo lol UX and so called innovation. People seem to learn new tricks, yet they still do not learn the old one.

Every day I apply to «IT» function I between 1 and 3 hours worth of work:
  • selectively engaging javascript (I use noscript to avoid my old computer over heating and then rebooting in the middle of an application)
  • creating custom credentials
  • validating my email
  • feeling for the nth time my resume with custom squared wheel
  • rewriting a new motivation trying to pretend loving this company expert in UX/IT making me do a walk of shame in their pityfull poorly coded web pages.
  • then having expecting 5 minutes later a letter telling me I am rejected without any justifications.
Well my experience with applying to literally a hundreds of  job is that the state of I.T. is indeed shameful.

I am using governmental funded web site ( They redirect us most of the time either on third party proxies or  company websites.

Most of the day I say nothing. I am not a philanthropic billionaire with time to waste on protecting banks on my free time.

Basically ALL the 3rd party websites DO collect personal data. They all include google adsense javascript and don't care about no tracking policies.  Since it is a «minor» offense I always let it pass, even though I live in a country that pressure google to delete from their results fast the bullshit craps of our elites.

I am just a broke worker, I want to have a job collecting the data of poor customers to treat them through big data and neural network. I am guilty of knowingly normally putting my knowledge to the service of the bad guys.

The day you grow a conscience something is wrong

But, 4 days ago, in one of my 4th application of the day, something weird happened : I made a typo and needed to recover my password.

Then two things happened that pissed me off :

  • the mail giving me my password back was not the same as the website it was coming from, and was coming from a different domain. And, google was whitewashing probably in the name of «let's give confidence in commerce when people use our tools». 
  • my password was returned to me AS IS, let's say that it may not be clear text storage but it is too close (symmetric ciphering with a secret) for my comfort,
  • there was NO contacts available on the website to report problems,

Non sysadmins, non web devs do not see the trouble. In fact most web devs and sysadmins don't see the trouble with clear text passwords.

Let's state it clearly it is a clear taboo in the world of web development since 1996 for very good reasons. If the database get hacked, ALL passwords get stolen, and since users often reuse passwords and login, it is putting users in jeopardy if a breach occurs.

The day after you grow a conscience and need to move on

Well, I went on my local language python and bsd chans and talked with «professionals», they said to me move-on, because they told me, you know, today, it is common practice, focus on finding a job and don't get that sensitive especially you are security aware, but you are not specialized in security.

And you know what? When there is such a level of not caring, why care?

The day after the day you did not cared.

Well guess what, you have to fill another application. And rebelotte.

And then you notice it is a «very successful» company oustourcing portal for job applications.

When of the reason I was utterly pissed was the job description explicitly stated attention to security details in it was for THE BIGGEST PROVIDER OF BUSINESS SOLUTIONS for IT in Europa. Not to name it Orange Business Service.

You know what when I do job interview people are grilling me on small details that I find irrelevant in security. For me security is : make it simple stupid and manageable with strong attentions to details like : having fucking contact information to report security holes and have fucking humans on 24/7 awareness in CERT teams (Computer Emergency Response Team) in case there is a fucking security hole.

So, I saw red.

I first tried to find a security contact on OBS web sites. None.

There was a commercial contact. I used it.

They called me back expecting to do money, and discarded my alert.

I used the mail in the whois of the main domain. No answer

I used the phone number. No one at this number.

No fucking contact on the websites.

So I saw red hot chilli pepper red, jalapeno red to be exact.

Since my twitter is @obnoxiousJul I decided to be ... jul

I shamed @orange that then redirected me on @orangejobs. And I asked them:

Actually there was an answer and it fell bittersweet relieving:

Why am I still seeing 1000 Scoville red

First the dig axfr on the provider I will  not name is still having 600 websites for job application listed. Most are off, but still.

As an unemployed person being tracked with marketing tools is already pissing me off.

But, more than that, it is exposing me to insecure practice that pissed me.

This «application portal provider» is providing for major french companies pretending to care about security:

  • airport related business;
  • energy business;
  • IT business;
  • consulting in security business;
  • BANKS ! 
And before I went crazy, my fellow «so called» informally concerned peers told me to forget about it.

Seriously, the whole profession is suffering a long slow steady shift of concern. Not in using stronger algorithm, better practice, but just about the basics of security which is TO CARE.

And you see, what is concerning me too, is some e-commerce websites I use for buying spare part for my  bike as a near hobbo (like "@Retto KYA") are doing the same: clear text password and autistic IT team.

I have also been talking to pole emploi about the fact they are exposing the jobless, they discarded my concerns. So I tried the «service public» site, they seemed to not understand. 

The problem is not technical anymore: it is human. 

Actual IT is like experiencing a fire while on a plane and when you activate the alarm the steward, the passenger come coughing in the middle of the smoke saying there is no problem. 

And that is a problem. I am still seeing a huge problem in actual pedantic IT culture and if the crisis will not come from finance, it will come from the lost of trust of the users that will stop using insecure web technologies.

IT enthusiasts, it is time to wake up and stop snoring while the boat is sinking.

Moving out: earnings of sweat are earnings of fear

One year ago I was a python coder. I have my pipy packages, and am reasonably competent. I could not find a job in France because they all want PHP/C#/C++ coders with weird proprietary environment or have interviews that I would grade as bullying against which I have been adamant. Sometimes in your life, self esteem matters. So I took the first job I could find because I have no more savings: I am currently a mover. And, I am strangely glad.

Yesterday, I was on the highway with my truck. A 20 cubic meter, with an engine that has hiccups, hardly any breaks, non functioning signals, various signals on the board telling me oil should be changed, lights are not functioning and it was my first time driving this kind of truck.  Unable to direct my rear mirrors to have a clear view of the back.

I was in the middle of an heavy flow of cars,  trying to keep up with my 130km/h speed limit : my extra time on chantier not being paid. The faster I am back, the faster I can see my wife.

While I was inserting myself at maximum authorized speed on the third lane (without signals) a car chose to irrupt from my dead angle with full acceleration at 150km/h. Fuck it was scary. Afterwards a mob of  angry drivers copiously trashed me for having a dangerous behaviour.

People don't get it, I cannot lose my driving license: it is part of my way to earn money, I cannot pay for speed tickets they represents 3 days worth of work. But I don't want to lose time. Because time is life.

I don't live to work, I work to be able to live. I wish not to work 53hr/week and earn more money. I prefer to give up on cars, expensive LCD flat panels, computers, furniture, clothes, smartphones and share more time with my wife.

But, correcting with the effective time I work (14hrs+ per day) I am paid ~5€/hr ~ 7$/hr for being a mover. I sometimes wonder why I don't prefer to go on the social minimum.

I do complain, but this job is fun. I just don't understand why a job that no ones wants to do is way less paid than other jobs. In fact I know, I tried to apply to the other jobs and was cockblocked by the means of various strong arbitrary selections based often of cronyism or weird tests/diplomas/formation that are honestly useless. The job office even proposes for expensive costs for the jobless android formations based on the free IP google delivers. Paratism to the max.

There is normally a formation for being a mover. I did not have it. I learn by doing, watching, asking questions. Colleagues now ask me to work with them. It's rewarding in its way.

I move people with unopened goods still labeled in money that disappeared 15 years ago that worth more than one day work and that I so envy, like a calligraphic sets of fountain pain. I don't steal.

These customers often with level of education similar to mine are scolding us as if there education level gave them an automatic insight on everything. They don't understand the global picture. I am a ripper, I am an ant taking part in a collective intelligence made of preppers (the guy preparing the box), the tetris players (the one stacking efficiently and securely stuff in truck), the unloaders (people preparing balanced sets of boxes for efficient routing). I do small stuffs, like bringing information back and forth, giving status, moving stuff out of the way, cleaning, moving stuff fast without breaking them, doing complex practical 3D geometry with pieces of furniture.

They speak to the movers like shit. I shut my mouth: don't antagonize the customer if you want to be paid. But, for being able to compute scalar product in infinite dimensions, I respect my coworkers. They have a good intuition of geometry, better than most of my former CS colleagues, my now new customers behaving like shits to the commoners. It is funny how people with 80 cubic meters tell me how we are profiting of them while I left Canada with 1 cubic meter selling all my beloved goods on kijiji to be able to make it. Since they have a big contract, they pay less, leaving us less money and hardly tipping. It feels wrong.

On the road, they have these fancy cars, coming back from my rear nearly killing me.

They want to be able to ride over the speed limits, and they horn me, flash me, insult me for trying to get back the fastest possible to my wife with my underpowered and unsafe truck on the road.

But I keep my lane on the road obnoxiously, I do not even try to be nice to them anymore.

I have a life. I don't think of my job anymore when I am back.
My emotions are rollercoasting with the teams I take part. Team work is a weird alchemy. I am part of the mob. I try to support my colleague by untying the knots of causal anger I see forming.

Waking up at 4 am, riding at full speed, eating in 15 minutes working under 34°C moving heavy loads, and this stretched on 14 hours is tiring.

Some people to keep up, like when I was a coder are boozing, smoking, sniffing ...  I try to avoid them, and avoid to give a bad example. I may be supporting the right to alter consciousness, but in the limit of work safety.

I have nothing against this ... except when I work. I maybe making my own booze, I don't booze or even think of smoking drugs on the work. But, my brain understand why people may want to do so. So I don't judge. I try my best to be nice to them, I do what I think my hierarchy was never able to do: I encourage my colleagues all the time when they do positive stuff. Like a stupid anime character in a shounen. I tell them how good they are at their job and that I want them to teach me and help me improve, I sneakily try to make them do the cleaning of the unsafe shitty trucks by initiating it so to help them regain some pride. I only speak of colleagues in their back if I have something good to say about them.

I am experimenting something a sociopath like me never thought possible: social interaction. My weird above the average stamina and pain ignorance makes me compensate by speed what I can't deliver by raw power, I encourage collaboration, because well, I don't have power, so I rely heavily on the others to carry with me, and teach me.

And you know what, my efforts sometimes work. Sometimes I notice an effect.  I see people happy to work on chantier more than they usually are, and sometimes speaking or smiling. I give myself credit for it, but to be honest, it may be delusion. However, I don't care.

And this is part of what is making my new life worth the sacrifice I made. I finally can live in a world where cooperation matters. Where when work day is over, I will not have to reconnect my computer and work until 1am. Where my boss won't try to steal my inventions.

However, the people we mainly move whose merits are often to be born and have estates are assholes.

When I try to rent a place I am often refused to rent a place for my wife and me because they don't want a couple to leave in ... 25, 32, or even 40 m².

We actually live in 16m² and it is okay. Is it really the owner's moral judgement that should lead my life. The standards of those who owns should really not be pushed down the throats of the modest persons.

I don't need your smartphones, your apps, your internet of shit, your healthy or ready made food, your cars, your expensive bikes, cars, gadget. I just want a decent place to live in, time to spend with my wife and enough money to buy food. My computers are all falling into pieces. It is a matter of months before I might not be able to write on this blog. I don't even know if I will buy a new one.

Oh! And I would like to be respected.

My bike is my only way of moving and I am bored of cars trying to push me out of roads on purpose, or scold me for not using unsafe-slow bike path.

This is an allegory of the world we are living in: the wealthy are just bullies nowadays, whose power of nuisance is enforced by crony politicians through lobbying.

And to add the insult to the insult, I was listening to the radio and had this intellectual writer explained what it meant for him to change life. His book was full of deaths and murders saying how cataclysmic in his fantasies life changing was. It was full of clichés and condescending. And I realize most of you don't know how life is for the people: our «cultural» industry that is heavily sponsored or funded is made not by the people but by a small self designated coterie of pedantic ignorant. French movie will depict the boredom of rich kids leaving in exclusive places most of the time. The life of most of the impoverished population is held a shameful secret or fantasied in irrealistic success stories. Artists can go screw themselves. They look like «small Goebels» flooding the world of a Prozzac©® fairy tale where poor people failed by unwillingness to commit to reasonable social rules.

I see so many self called musicians lacking the burns on their hands due to practice. So many so called intellectual unable to know the difference between christianity and catholicism talking about religion. So many self called leaders scorning their workers constantly instead of helping them improve.

Well, my life is bittersweet right now. I am on the edge of becoming a hobbo.
Was it worth to abruptly fall down the social ladder? Well, I did not choose. My actual boss is the only one that gave me a chance. I have it because be it 4am, 6am and sometimes 7 am I am here ready for the call.

Wealthy people party all night preventing me from sleeping, being rude, but still I stand. Growing a disturbing uneasiness about the fact that at the opposite of the socialists in France I think class struggle did not disappeared but is getting worse.

I am getting very disturbed reading newspapers our elite seems to be totally blind to the real daily life of the common people. All political formation, even Nuit Debout seem out of touch. A silent drift is occurring under my very eyes between the population and the governing elites (administration, elected people, economical elites, artists, journalists) and it does not feel like a good omen. Social diversity is disappearing thus national concord, fueling resentment of the excluded. The first violence  fueling terrorism comes from the deny of reality of the elite.

Me? Well, I will adapt the wheel of chaos. Finding it fun. And enjoying my life with my wife even with the reprobation of the society even if landlords want me to overspend my money in something I don't need, even if bitter workers try to sabotage our works as a kind of revenge on society.

Life may have become tougher, but I love my new life ; I am freer than I was. And since I don't have a messianic wish to take the pain of the world on my shoulder and correct it, I will just take my already heavy enough personal load and move it to better horizon.