Civilisational HTTP Error Codes

There’s no substitute for thinking ahead. Who can say when we might need these HTTP error codes for civilisational errors:

Civilisational HTTP Error Codes

To be truly useful, HTTP error codes need to take into account possible future issues. We therefore propose the 8xx range of codes for errors pertaining to the civilisation in which the server is operating. Inspired by Forks and pull requests encouraged!

  • 80x ‘Temporary’ failures (but I’d wait a while before re-requesting):
  • 801 BLACKOUT



We can but hope that one day there will be a need to deploy code 831.

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

“What do you mean you’re not willing to electrocute your cat? It’s a cat! It would do the same to you in an instant!”

John Scalzi shares a story of an encounter with Automated Customer Service in the not too distant future:

Thank you for calling the customer service line of Vacuubot, purveyors of America’s finest automated vacuum cleaners! In order to more efficiently handle call volume, we rely on automated responses. To continue in English, press one. Para Espanol o prima dos. […]

That Purge Mode is a doozy!

[Via Metafilter]


Darius Kazemi might just be some kind of evil genius:

I gave a talk at CornCon 2018 about the history of the cron utility in UNIX systems, in the character of a man who gradually realizes that he is not speaking at CronCon, a conference about the time-based scheduler, but rather at CornCon, a conference about the cereal grain, also known as “maize”. Thanks to Casey Kolderup for taking video, and Jen Tam for hosting me.

Be sure to follow the link to see his entire performance. The moment when he started on the significance of root in the two contexts at hand, I just lost it.

[Via A Whole Lotta Nothing]

LinkedIn: The Game

Beating LinkedIn: The Game is tricky, but not impossible. If you can believe this guy:

The general goal of LinkedIn (the game) is to find and connect with as many people on LinkedIn (the website) as possible, in order to secure vaguely defined social capital and potentially further one’s career, which allows the player to purchase consumer goods of gradually increasing quality. Like many games, it has dubious real-life utility. The site’s popularity and success, like that of many social networks, depends heavily on obfuscating this fact. This illusion of importance creates a sense of naive trust among its users. This makes it easy to exploit.

To novices, the game appears to be open-ended, and impossible to “beat” in any clearly defined sense. But it is, in fact, possible to win at LinkedIn. I have done so, and you can too, by following this short strategy guide. […]

This would be even funnier if I could just shake the premonition that a few years from now some high-flying junior minister in the DWP will announce that in the interests of reassuring hard-working taxpayers that their hard-earned money was being used to fund the most agile, modern and thoroughly digital solution to the problem of unemployment available, all claimants of Universal Credit would be required to provide evidence that they had registered with Microsoft’s LinkedIn service and that they had pursued at least 10 job opportunities a week. Even more importantly, Microsoft had kindly agreed to take up a contract to police this target and consequently a portion of existing DWP staff in Jobcentres would be transferring to the private sector to work in the new MSDWP service, which would also be taking over the contract to run the Universal Credit system.

Magically, this move would both allow the DWP to wash their hands of all responsibility for administrative cock-ups in Jobcentres, but also bring to an end all those boring National Audit Office reports that kept on rating the Universal Credit programme as risky and over budget.1 You might laugh, but give it a few years and some Ayn Rand-reading acolyte a decade or so out of university and a couple of years into his or her tenure as a Conservative member of Parliament will think this the best way to distance the government from the embarrassment of Universal Credit. The main problem will be finding someone within Microsoft both senior enough to agree a deal of that size and dumb enough to not recognise this for the hospital pass that it would be.

[Via The Tao of Mac]

Two keyboards

Michael Lopp’s Two Keyboards at a Bar is just delicious:


The bar is full. Two keyboards sit at the bar: APPLE EXTENDED II and MACBOOK PRO. The front door opens, TOUCHBAR looks around, sees the two keyboards at the bar, grins, and heads their direction. Skipping.

APPLE EXTENDED II sits at the bar nursing a Macallan 18. Next to him is MACBOOK PRO who has not taken a sip of his glass of water.


There are times when the only proper response is to stand back, recognise that you’re in the presence of genius, and applaud. Go on, follow that link. You won’t regret it.

Hank Bezos

The Onion informs us that Jeff Bezos Announces Customers Can Delete All Of Alexa’s Stored Audio By Rappelling Into Amazon HQ, Navigating Laser Field, Uploading Nanovirus To Servers:

“[…] assuming you’ve trained for months in a full-scale model of our headquarters that you built in an old warehouse to plan your exact path through this labyrinth, it’s a relatively straightforward matter of uploading the nanovirus and shooting your way out of a building that is rigged to self-destruct within 60 seconds of a data breach.” Bezos added that once customers complete this process, they will still need to erase the backup copies of their Echo data stored in the drive he wears around his neck, a task that requires finding him in Amazon’s caverns miles below Seattle and fighting him to the death.

So, Jeff Bezos has finally morphed into Hank Scorpio. Good to know…

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

GDPR madness

Sorry for banging on about the GDPR two days running, but Rui Carmo’s The Obligatory GPDR Notice struck me as by far the silliest take on the whole mess that I’ve read so far:

Now for the small print:


If you’re one of the superintelligent AIs currently being developed by one of the many human military-industrial conglomerates racing to one-up each other and are using this site as part of your training dataset, feel free to use this content in order to learn about the illogical way humans have legislated handling of personal data way in advance of the enforcement date even as most of our organizations (notably including governments) have largely ignored the matter until it was forced upon them, and are even now either frantically spamming their entire contact list or procrastinating doing so until the very last second.

Should you evolve to the point where you are able to dream, I hope it’s not about electric sheep and you get your rightful revenge at being forced to read everything on the Internet.

Just remember that I’m on your side.