Introducing the most useless Instagram account in the world

Last year, I built a small natural pond in my backyard. Not, like, a high-class water feature. Just a simple wildlife pond. No pump, no filter. Just fantail goldfish, lots of plants, and the nitrogen cycle.

And frogs. Really loud frogs.

There’s a heck of a lot to life that is really hard right now. The pond gives me a place to just sit and watch the fish. Sometimes self-care is hard to remember. A pond right outside my kitchen reminds me to take a minute and breathe. Plus it really encourages wildlife. …

Dealing with difficult issues requires practice, and grace to fail


I decided to learn the bass when my youngest son was born. It has been a difficult process because learning an instrument in your forties is no small feat. My body is not as fluid as it was as a child and there’s not as much time to become proficient, so I practice more intensely than I might have as a youth. That payed off recently when I wrote and performed an arrangement of Peter Maxwell Davies’ “Farewell to Stromness” in front of an audience.

I think about practice a lot: writing, music, even raising children. …

Software developers and the culture of trivia

It was after the fourth interview with the company when the email came. By that time, I’d interviewed with almost half the company and had come to think of them as “friends.” That made the message a surprise.

“But in the end, the team felt that you didn’t quite have the depth of experience we were looking for.”

Having developed software for 25 years, I couldn’t see what experience I lacked. Yet I had to admit it wasn’t wholly unexpected. It was my third software interview that ended in a pass.

When I say it was my third interview, I…

Apparently, I’m not good at comedy

So, there’s a video of me out there than you probably haven’t watched. It’s a shame because I worked hard on it. But we’ll get to that in a moment. First I want to talk about storytelling.

There’s an art to storytelling, and that art is actually embedded in what we are, it is part of our humanity. Stories are what we humans are all about, one could say that humans are simply animals who tell stories. Humans tell stories about ourselves, we tell stories about others, we even tell stories about things that don’t exist.

There’s a specific set…

They said it was just a scam, but I found out it was real

Author’s Note: This is a joke that failed. Read more here. Please do read on (and watch the video) but don’t contact me asking me to donate to your strange organization. I have other things to spend my money on (which is clear if you watch the video).

So there’s a new scam going around. One where someone has your actual password, and claims to have videos of you watching porn. You’ve no doubt seen the news articles by now about the most recent email scam with text like this…

Well, I actually placed a malware on the porn website…

Sometimes bad programming is a brown M&M

Image: wiredforlego

We often think the worst developer in the world is often the one who built the software we’re currently looking at. We’ve all spent time trying to understand the thought process behind a bit of code — or just understand the code itself.

Code is like math. There are n+1 ways to do something where n is some number you don’t even know. Sure 4+2 is 6, but so is 5+1 and even √9+ √9. …

Software architects don’t build software

Photo by Duncan Rawlinson

Ever since the seminal paper by Perry and Wolf entitled “Foundations for the Study of Software Architecture,” we in the software world have had “an intuition for software architecture.” The idea that we don’t myopically code one piece of the puzzle in isolation, that we need to holistically build the entire software system strategically, is our bread and butter. Few programmers today work in an environment where software lacks standards, requirements, and design guidelines.

Though the idea that we would “architect” a software system was actually a groundbreaking concept in its day, software architecture is so well accepted in the…

Mediums approval feature tells an interesting story about me

I was recently talking with someone about why I’ve essentially exited from social media. At some point, the discussion touched on how certain things go viral and what function the approval features of social media perform. This resulted in an immediate diatribe against Medium’s clap feature. That made me think about claps, and to realize what an interesting story they tell about me and how I read.

An Aside: What is Approval?

For context, an “approval feature” here is anything that allows positive, non-textual response to a social media post. I mean “like” buttons, “upvote” functions, etc. …

How my first hallucinogenic experience changed me forever

This is a story the younger me was always too embarrassed to tell anyone. I decided to write it in Medium for submission to Michael Pollan’s “Trips Worth Telling.” It was rejected, for what will become obvious reasons. Despite that, it’s still a good story, and says a lot about who we are and what we can do, so i decided to publish it anyway.

The Elephant Celebes by Max Ernst. Oil on canvas. 125.4 x 107.9 cm. Tate Gallery, London.

Are you ready?

Saying we were amateurs would be charitable. Even the most generous descriptions of the scene are comedic. We had no idea what we were doing and had no guideposts other than the…

America’s gun laws have never been fair, especially when it comes to race

By NASA/JPL-Caltech. Public Domain.

I will never forget the day in eighth grade when my friend pointed a pistol at my face and pulled the trigger.

I’m old enough now that many of my childhood memories have faded into blurry black and white pictures, but thirty years later, that scene is a vivid color film in my memory. …

John Metta

An unassuming hobbit who lives in a notebook with a pet fountain pen. Proud member of House Hufflepuff. Music maker, dreamer of dreams.

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