Monthly Archives: June 2012

Capital Gains Tax Rates – Individuals vs. Insiders

“What is the proper captial gains tax rate?” is in the news lately.  The correct answer for all tax questions is “All taxation is theft!”  The capital gains tax has other interesting points.

Applied to individuals and non-insiders, the capital gains tax is obviously unfair.  I’m taxed once when I work and earn money.  I’m taxed again when my savings grow.

Even worse, most capital “gains” only exist due to inflation.  If I buy gold for $1000/oz and sell for $2000/oz, I owe tax on a “gain” of $1000.  It’s more accurate to say that there was 100% inflation, and I’m paying tax on the inflation-caused “gain”.

In the stock market, suppose my return is 20% while true inflation is 30%.  I owe tax on the “gain” of 20%, while my real return isn’t keeping pace with true inflation.

Applied to insiders, the capital gains tax is a great tax dodge.  If you earn ordinary income, you’re taxed at a rate of 50%.  (28% Federal, 15% Social Security+Medicare, and state+city taxes).  For insiders, most of their income is capital gains.

The CEO of a large corporation is paid mostly via stock and option grants.  When he sells, he’s taxed at the capital gains rate and not the ordinary income tax rate.  The CEO also can hold onto the shares, not owing tax until he sells.  Even worse, the CEO can use trusts and tricks to dodge taxes.

The average worker only gets shares of stock if he buys them.  The CEO gets the corporation to give him free shares as part of his compensation.  That isn’t a valid comparison, but the capital gains tax law treats both of those the same.

The average worker pays high income taxes, and then is taxed again if he has savings.  For insiders, most of their income is capital gains, leading to a much lower tax rate than ordinary income.

Via captial gains taxes, non-insiders pay tax on their labor, and tax again on their savings.  Most capital “gains” only exist due to inflation.  Insiders use captial gains and other loopholes to nearly completely dodge taxes.  All taxation is theft.  Captial gains taxes are one way that the State favors insiders over everyone else.

Do Disabled Veterans Deserve Respect?

There was an interesting flamewar in the comments on a post by Captain Capitalism.  The question was “Does a disabled military veteran drawing a disability check count as a productive member of society?”  One rule is “The amount of hostility an idea receives is directly proportional to the importance of the subject.”  If lots of people get offended by a subject, that means it points towards a forbidden truth.

I’m offended that Captain Capitalism censored one of my comments.  That puts him in the “blogs I don’t comment on” category.  I have zero tolerance for censorship.  Why should I spend time contributing to someone’s website or forum, when they’re censoring me?  There are lots of people who crack their pro-State brainwashing in one area, but fail in others.  Captain Capitalism still falls for the lie “Support the troops no matter what.”

The standard argument is “I risked my life protecting your freedom!  I deserve this disability check!”

Unfortunately, most wars are not about protecting freedom.  They are about protecting profits for US corporations and for the military-industrial complex.

For example, Gaddafi and Libya decided to nationalize US-corporate-owned oil wells, just before the US-backed revolt.  Is that a coincidence?  Blackwater and Bechtel make a ton of money off war.  Halliburton received no-bid contracts to manage oil wells in Iraq.

A pro-State troll says “Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were evil people!  We had to get them!”  Both of them were formerly on the US government payroll.  These “evil dictators” run 3rd world countries precisely because they were puppets chosen by the US government.

The politicians also hide behind fake complexity.  “We’re smarter than you!  We know things you don’t!  Murdering these Arabs is important because we said so!”  If I question the usefulness of war, the Statists claim that soldiers are the only ones preventing my murder.  I should have the freedom of buying protection from anyone, not just the State military monopoly.

A politician says “We have to occupy their country because they’re terrorists!”  The terrorists say “We have to do this, because they’re occupying our country.”  All the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq accomplished is that they’re recruiting and motivating the next generation of terrorists.

If you were wounded sincerely protecting my freedom, you deserve your disability check.

If you were wounded so that US corporations could make more money, you don’t deserve your disability check.

A pro-State troll says “A soldier is just following orders!  It’s not my fault that I was ordered to commit crimes!”

The soldier did have a choice.  He could have refused to enlist in the first place.  You don’t abdicate all moral responsibility, just by joining the military.  (That was not true back when there was a draft.  However, there were plenty of loopholes for serious draft dodgers.  In part, the draft ended because it was too embarrassing the way that insiders exploited loopholes.  Also, people who didn’t want to die in stupid wars were organizing anti-war protests.)

My parents were careful to tell me “Joining the military is a bad idea.”  If your parents were too stupid to properly educate you, then it’s natural selection at work when you get disabled as a soldier.

A pro-State troll says “Blame the leaders and not the individual soldiers.”  That is false.  The evil leaders would have no power, if not for the people who obey orders without thinking for themselves.

War is one big scam.  War is the health of the State.  If you’re opposed to war, you also should oppose the soldiers who fight that war.

I am sympathetic to people who were tricked into enlisting.  I am sympathetic to people who enlisted due to economic conscription.  (“Economic conscription” occurs when people are so poor that their best career option is joining the military.)  However, you’re still responsible for your own decisions.

I sometimes see veterans on the subway, doped up on psychiatric drugs.  I feel bad about that.  (I can sometimes tell they’re veterans based on their T-Shirt.)  It is offensive that they stupidly enlisted, and then had their life ruined.  (The stress of war causes some soldiers to start cracking their pro-State brainwashing.  Then, psychiatric drugs are used to cover up the symptoms.)

However, everyone is responsible for what they do.  If you’re dumb enough to enlist and get disabled, that’s your problem.  You should have done your due diligence before joining a criminal organization.

The economic system is collapsing.  Once that happens, payments to disabled veterans will be worth $0.

I got robbed via taxes to pay for the war.  I get robbed again via taxes to support payments to disabled veterans.  I pay more than half my income in taxes (direct and indirect).  More than half the government’s budget is military spending.  In effect, 1/4 of my labor and my life goes to supporting the US military.  Soldiers and police are only “protecting” me so that I can be milked as a tax slave.

It is very hard to criticize the military or veterans.  The mainstream media gives them an aura of invulnerability.  There are lots of hidden advertisements for war.  Like Captain Capitalism, most people react with reflexive hostility when you criticize soldiers.

“Oppose war but support the soldiers” makes no sense.  If you’re opposed to war, then the soldiers who fight that war are criminals.

War is one big crime.  If you’re stupid enough to enlist as a soldier, then you deserve all the bad things that happen to you.  Everyone is individually responsible for what they do.  If you got disabled serving in the military, tough luck.  You weren’t defending my freedom.  You risked your life for nothing.  You got disabled or killed for a lie.  You just were protecting US corporate profits.

Another Common Hiring Fallacy – “You’re Overqualified”

I’ve noticed another common hiring mistake.  They say “I’m rejecting you because you’re overqualified.”

In retrospect, I’ve been overqualified for every job I’ve ever had.  I’m not going to be fairly compensated or fairly treated unless I start my own business.  However, that isn’t easy.

At one interview, the hiring manager said “You’re overqualified.  You don’t have enough .NET experience.”

Suppose you are buying a car.  The car is really worth $20k, but the sale price is $5k.  Would you say “Sorry, this car is overqualfied.”

If someone tried to sell you a $20k car for $5k, you might be suspicious.  However, if you’re able to really evaluate the bargain, then you should buy it.  Maybe the seller is at risk for bankruptcy or has cashflow problems.

The economy is lousy, so people are forced to apply for lesser jobs than they normally would.  There aren’t any good jobs, but when you apply for a lesser job, you’re “overqualfied”.

When an employer rejects someone for being overqualified, he’s saying that he isn’t willing to accept a bargain.

When a manager is rejects you for a frivolous reason, he isn’t going to say he’s being silly.  Instead, he makes up some other reason like “You’re overqualified.” or “You don’t have enough experience in X.”

When a hiring manager says “You’re overqualified.”, he really means one of the following

  1. I know this job sucks.  If I hire someone really smart, they will be bored and frustrated.
  2. This is a dead-end job.  There’s no advancement possible here, so you’ll leave when you can get something better.
  3. I don’t want to hire someone more experienced than me, because then my own job is at risk.  If I hire you, then you might replace me.
  4. I’m rejecting you because you’re too old, but legally it’s better to say “overqualified”

There’s one important point to remember, when looking for a job. When an employer rejects you for a frivolous reason, he’s never going to say that. There’s always some other excuse. However, there are so many applicants, that employers can afford to be really picky.

I really should start my own business. For now, I’m sticking with the wage slave track.

Olympic Qualifying Flawed Competition Rules

This story was interesting.  Brian Clay missed a hurdle in the US Olympic decathalon qualifying, scored a zero in that event, and failed to make the team.  He was the defending gold medal champion in 2008.

This is a defect in the qualifying tournament rules.  If the goal is “field the best team”, then the best qualifying tournament rule would be “Each athlete runs a decatholon 5-10 times over a period of 2-3 months.  The best scores or the best average scores qualify.”

It is silly to disqualify the best athlete, because of one error.

If you want exciting TV, the way to choose the Olympic team is at a single qualifying meet.  If you want to field the best possible team, you should have 5-10 qualifying meets, and use the best scores or the best average scores.

Piwik vs. Google Analytics, A Comparison

I installed piwik on this blog.  That’s the script and cookie from  If that offends you, you may use NoScript to block it.  I also have the raw Apache logs, so I can see how many people are blocking the piwik script.

When I first set up this blog, I tried adding the Google Analytics tracking code.  However, it didn’t work and I removed it.

Some people get offended by Google.  They didn’t like it when my blog was on Blogger (owned by Google).  They didn’t like the Google Analytics tracking/spying code.  You can read my blog 100% Google-free.

However, if the police really were interested, they could subpoena the information from Linode.  The way State spying laws work, Linode would be forced to comply with the subpoena, and they couldn’t even tell me!

Around the time I started using this blog, Google Analytics overhauled their site design.  As a result, all my configurations and preferences were lost, and I couldn’t figure out how to set it up again.  Instead, I stopped using it.

After using piwik for a day, my reaction is “Wow!  Piwik is so much better than Google Anlaytics!  It isn’t even close!”

Piwik gives me a cookie, so I don’t accidentally track my own pageviews.  Google Analytics doesn’t do that.

Unlike Google Analytics, piwik lets me track pageviews at the per-user level.  For example, Google Analytics will only tell me that page X was viewed 50 times.  Piwik will tell me that people viewed page X, then page Y, then page Z.

I’m trying to figure out how to filter the “Visitor Log”, showing only users with at least 2 pageviews.  I could always write some custom SQL+PHP for that.  (I already figured out that the relevant information is in the piwik_log_visit table and the piwik_log_link_visit_action table.)

I have noticed some flaws in piwik.  It has awkward date range selection.  If I go to “Visitor Log” and select “500 results per page”, it doesn’t remember the setting when I refresh the page.  However, that could be fixed by writing my own piwik plugin or with some custom PHP.

For another example, Google Analytics only tells me my overall bounce rates and bounce rate per page.  Piwik tells me which landing pages lead to long sessions and which lead to short session.

For example, “node.js sucks” is very popular in Google search.  However, most of that traffic is bounces or viewing only 2-3 pages.  Most of the long site visits are direct traffic, i.e. people who have my blog bookmarked.  That information isn’t available form Google Analytics.

Piwik is *MUCH BETTER* at telling me which traffic sources are leading to interested readers.  There’s two possible conclusions:

  1. The programmers working on Google Analytics are incompetent fools.
  2. Google Analytics is crippled on purpose, so that people won’t realize that their AdWords spending is wasted.

I’m always willing to believe incompetence ahead of sabotage.  However, Google does profit when people can’t measure the effectiveness of an ad budget.

There’s one flaw in Piwik, relative to Google Analytics.  Google stopped telling people what search keyword was used, when people find your blog via a search.  However, if you use Google Analytics, it may not be crippled in that way.  That would be offensive, if it were true.  I haven’t checked.  However, piwik does tell me the landing page, for those “Keyword Not Defined” searches.

Also, the piwik data is stored on my server, so I can use SQL to query it, if necessary.  Google Analytics won’t let you download the raw data.  (I looked for that feature, but couldn’t find it.)

Overall, piwik is much better than Google Analytics.  I just installed it, and already it’s much better.  It isn’t even a close comparison.  It gives me much more information than Google Analytics, especially when it comes to tracking users as they read my blog, recording the order of pageviews.  Is Google Analytics lousy because Google’s programmers are incompetent?  Is Google Analytics crippled on purpose, so that people won’t know if their AdWords budget is being spent wisely?

I’ve noticed another improvement of piwik vs. Google Analytics. Piwik tells me “url parameters”, the part after the ‘?’ in a url. That’s useful when forums link to my post, so I can see which specific post linked to my blog.

Reader Mail – 06/17/2012 To 06/23/2012

Note: Due to a defect in the rawr plugin, the formatting for this post shows up wrong on the blog homepage, but it does show up correctly if you view it as a single post or in a RSS reader.
Larry commented on Clueless Employer Phrase "Hit The Ground Running".
I have been seeing this stupid phrase ("Hit The Ground Running") quite a lot now that I have been job hunting. It turns me off.

Fitty Stim commented on Brian Banks, Victim Of A False Rape Accusation.
Yeah, but who is he going to sue? You can be sure that Wanetta doesn't have that dojo anymore.

One can not sue the government for character defamation or emotional distress. He can't sue the government for false imprisonment since he pleaded "No contest".

The best he can hope for is to sue his "overworked public defender" for gross professional misconduct. He might not get any money but he just might get her dis-barred.

M commented on A Common IPO Fallacy.
I would say that common IPO fallacy is that it people believe that by buying shares they buy ownership in the company. Nothing can be further from the truth, as with almost any IPO the controlling package(i.e. that enables to appoint directors) never leaves hands of the owners. IPO=Scam

That's one of my arguments against investing in the stock market. You can't prevent the CEO and controlling shareholders from lining their pockets at the expense of small shareholders.

Some corporations, such as Facebook, Google, Viacom, and Comcast have incorporation rules that give insiders special supervoting shares. Even without such rules, insiders have a lot of influence, and a small shareholder has no influence.

Justin commented on The Latest Flash Is Buggy - v11.3.300.257 64bit.
Adobe has been suiciding flash as fast as possible it seems. Did you know they outsourced the AdvancedDataGrid component? Its 3000 lines of crap :)

I don't follow Flash programming. I decided that HTML5+Javascript is more worth learning. Also, I have to pay $$ for a Flash SDK.

Flash on phones is a problem. There's no "mousehover" operation on phones, which is a key to much flash content. Apple banned Flash from the iPhone, due to their "no 3rd party runtimes" rule.

After dealing with PDFs at my most recent job, I hate Adobe. They wanted to gouge for $30k plus a percentage of sales, to sell software that allowed PDF markup in a browser via Reader.

Anonymous Coward commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2011.
Suppose you don't invest in a diverse section of the share market.

Suppose you just invest in gold and silver mining companies.

Suppose you just invest in mining, oil and natural gas companies.

Suppose you just invest in hardware tech companies that have their part of the market by the balls and win regardless of Nokia, Windows, Google/Android, Blackberry battles?

That's a variation of "If you make the right bets, you can win at Roulette." The stock market is stacked against non-insiders. You may think "If I make the right picks, I can crush the indexes and beat gold." I don't believe that, but you're free to try. If you waste your money in the stock market, there's more gold available for those of us who don't believe everything they see on The Communism Channel.

For example, Apple (AAPL) did crush gold over the past 10 years. However, that would have been a lucky pick. There's no guarantee it will outperform over the next 10 years. I can't think of any corporations besides Apple that crushed gold over the last 10 years.

Even if a corporation has a near-monopoly, that money goes to insiders and not to shareholders.

Gold mining stocks are a bad idea. Many of them hedge future production, so you don't profit fully if there's inflation. As with any corporation, the CEO of the gold mining business can still rob shareholders via option and equity grants.

Gold has higher return and lower volatility than the stock market.

Anonymous Coward commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2011.

Thank you for your careful analysis.

The thing is with resource companies with stated mineral reserves and a known cost to extract and purify per ounce or per barrel of oil, there is a hard real floor below which the share price cannot fall. There are other things to consider such as mine failures and lack of transport links, but if you are reasonably careful your portfolio can't sink that much - assuming of course there isn't some big disaster - and of course these do occur.

Anonymous Coward commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2011.

I forgot to mention the share price can fall due to hedge fund manipulation and misleading press reports etc.

Well maybe you are right after all! Or partially right!

With mining companies, their expenses *DO* rise when there's inflation. They have to pay for salaries, equipment, etc.

You mentioned another risk. They own a mine in a 3rd world country, and the government nationalizes the mine or raises the export tariff.

If the mining business hedged with short futures, they can actually lose money when commodity prices rise.

You have the same "CEO robs the shareholders" problem that occurs in any large corporation.

This is common state propaganda. "Invest in gold mining stocks." That's a way to trick stupid people into investing in State paper, rather than investing in physical gold and silver.

When you own stock in a mining corporation, you think you own something tangible, but it's just another type of worthless State paper.

However, if you invest stupidly, that's more gold and silver available for those of us who aren't fools. Sadly, I own no physical metal (yet).

Anonymous Coward commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2011.

One Kitco forum poster recommended that people have their portfolios organized as below.

1) One-third cash

2) One-third gold and silver

3) One-third stocks

Presumably in a deflationary environment, gold and stocks will go down and your cash will be worth more.

In the event of a financial meltdown or other disaster, your gold will be worth less than food and tools, but worth something when the system starts to form again.

When the economy picks up, gold will be worth less but stocks will go up.

Anonymous Coward commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2011.

>When you own stock in a mining corporation, you think you own something tangible, but

>it’s just another type of worthless State paper.

Your thesis is that over a large number of stocks and without inside information or without the ability to manipulate the market (high frequency trading), that the little man (or woman) cannot protect himself as well as saving in gold.

However if you invest in a mining or exploration company that has good reserves and is a take-over candidate, then you can really get good returns on your investment. Even if you come in fairly late in the game, you can make 40% returns if your company is taken over.

But I do see your point. You might win one and lose one and at best just stay even with inflation. Overall you might invest a lot of your time and still not get much back.

Anonymous Coward commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2011.

What is your take on China buying up gold and the talk about India using gold to buy oil from Iran?

What is your take on the BRICS nations talking about setting up their own bank clearing system (not sure about this)?

Some of China's leaders aren't complete tools. They know hyperinflation is coming. They're keeping their currency reserves in gold instead of inflating US dollars.

When China holds paper US dollars as reserves, they're indirectly subsidizing US military power. China's leaders aren't that stupid.

I read that China is much more liberal than the USA, when it comes to individual gold ownership. In the USA, gold dealers are heavily taxed and regulated. Allegedly, in China, you can walk into many banks and buy or sell gold, which is something you can't do in the USA.

In many 3rd world countries, individuals have been though hyperinflation, and hold gold as a hedge. Without reliable banks, physical gold is the only way to save.

Currently, the US dollar has a monopoly for oil. All oil transactions are in US dollars. Other countries want to start using their own money to buy gold. Also, if other currencies are used for oil transactions, that's a loophole around US sanctions. Gold-for-oil as a barter trade is a loophole around US export restrictions.

Anonymous Coward commented on Design Patterns Suck!.
I read the Design Patterns book over a decade ago.

My first thoughts after reading the book was that very little was of use to me.

I already knew about the Model-View-Controller pattern from having to use the Swing user interface classes in Java. The Java libraries themselves have the Observer-Observable design pattern.

The thing is that learning these design patterns is not an intellectual feat.

I suspect some people go on about design patterns to try to make themselves sound grand.

The difficult part about writing software is:

a) Getting the software to work.

b) Testing it while you write it so that is really works well and there are no bugs

c) Writing lots of software but still getting it to work

d) Writing lots more software and growing the software, but making it still work

e) Writing fast software

f) Writing software that people love to use

Solving problems is difficult. Writing large amounts of software that is bug free is a talent. Learning Design Patterns for which you will only use 2 - 3 per project is NOT AN INTELLECTUAL FEAT.

If you can't write good software, you are a clown and will you bleat on about design patterns.

Anonymous Coward commented on Design Patterns Suck!.

Actually I have the attitude that when I read a book, maybe only a part of it will be directly used by myself.

I was a bit lazy/distracted when I was at university. So a few years ago I re-read an algorithms book. Despite reading the whole book, only one section of one chapter was directly usable by me in the next 6 months.

Of course I already knew the basics and so that's why reading it again only helped me slightly.

jennygold commented on Glass House Frivolous Lawsuit.
Hi -yes, i agree with you regarding the show Glass Houses - big brother is much better. Silly lawsuit. Great blog.

FSK Asks – WordPress Update?

After excessive nagging by WordPress, I decided to upgrade to version 3.4.  My questions are:

How often should I upgrade WordPress?

How often should I upgrade MySQL/PHP/Apache/Ubuntu?

The con of upgrading is that the newer version may have a security flaw.  However, the new version has new features, and the old version may have had fixed security flaws.

Nobody has hacked my blog yet (that I know).

My blogging motivation has increased lately. Maybe my motivation was temporarily ruined by working in a lousy job?

I set up piwik! If that offends you, then you may use noscript to blog

Sandusky Trial Manipulation Tricks

There were two interesting bits in the Jerry Sandusky trial.

First, the police asked leading and manipulative questions to witnesses.  The police said “X said that Sandusky did Y to him.  Did Sandusky do Y to you?”  When you manipulate witnesses like that, it’s very easy to get a bunch a witnesses telling similar stories.  However, in this instance, it’s an example of “Framing someone who is actually guilty.”

Second, the judge dismissed 3 counts, before the jury started deliberating.  What kind of message does that send to the jury?  Superficially, the judge is saying “These 3 counts have insufficient evidence.”  There’s also a hidden meaning.  The judge is implicitly saying “I think there’s enough evidence for the remaining counts.”

By dismissing some counts, but not all of them, the judge sends a hint to the jury that he thinks there’s enough evidence for the remaining counts.  The judge should wait until after the jury deliberates, and then overturn if the jury made excessive convictions.

That’s two interesting points.  First, the police can manipulate witnesses to testifying in a certain way.  If enough people repeat a lie, you can fabricate memories.  Second, the judge can manipulate a jury into voting guilty, by dismissing some, but not all, of the charges.

Glass House Frivolous Lawsuit

This story was interesting.  ABC has a new reality show called “Glass House”.  It’s a clone of “Big Brother”.  ABC hired some former “Big Brother” employees to work on the show.

CBS sued ABC for copyright infringement.  Fortunately, a judge ruled in ABC’s favor and the show was allowed to air.

This is an example of overly aggressive copyright enforcement.  Corporations try to copyright everything.  “People live together, have competitions, and people get eliminated.” should not be covered by copyright.

It’s also a moot point.  “Glass House” sucked.  I only watched the first episode due to the copyright lawsuit.  “It must be a good show.  Otherwise, CBS would not be suing ABC.”

Outside the USA, in “Big Brother”, the viewers vote on the winner.  They tried that in season 1 of the USA version, and that didn’t fly with US audiences.  In season 2, they changed it to a more traditional “reality” show, where the guests compete and viewers don’t vote on the winner.

“Glass House” goes back to “The viewers totally determine the winner.”  That concept makes for a lousy show, because there’s no sincere competition.  If the viewers pick the winner, there’s no real incentive for the players to compete and backstab each other.

“Glass House” had an amusing moment of racism.  The viewers voted on “two people most likely to be enemies”, and they picked the Jewish woman and the black girl.  That was embarrassing.  Making the viewers vote on every single detail of the show gets silly and goes overboard.

They had the old guy say “I’m 48 years old!  I’m going to die in a few years!”  That was offensive and wrong.

Also, “Glass House” didn’t do a good job picking contestants.  They went with the usual reality show stereotypes (token mother, token homosexual, token old guy), and didn’t pick interesting people.

Why does every “reality” show have a token homosexual?  Homosexuals aren’t 10% of the population, but they’re more than 10% of reality show contestants.  There’s an agenda to promote homosexuality.

This is a common fallacy.  “Copy and idea and hire a couple of people form our competitor” is not an automatic recipe for success.  You don’t just need an idea.  You also need the ability to successfully implement that idea.  The producers of “Glass House” failed to execute and made a lousy show.

Given that “Glass House” sucked, CBS’ lawsuit seems stupid.  I am offended that CBS filed a frivolous lawsuit.  The “justice” system encourages and allows overaggressive enforcement on “intellectual property”.  The correct answer is “intellectual property” is not property.

Design Patterns Suck!

Ten years ago, one of my coworkers said “You have to read the ‘Design Patterns’ book!  It’s awesome!”  I bought the book.  I got to page 10, and then I realized that it was a stupid boring waste of time.  The “Design Patterns” give complicated names to simple ideas.

In advanced Mathematics, there’s an idea called “Category Theory”.  When you do advanced algebra, there are lots of similarities among proofs in different areas.  These common themes are grouped together as “Category Theory”.  Category Theory is sort of neat, but ultimately useless.  “Design Patterns” are like Category Theory.  They group together some common themes, but are ultimately useless.

Here is an interesting post by someone else who doesn’t like Design Patterns.

At the time, I didn’t realize the difference between things popular due to hype, and things popular because they’re good.  Just like node.js and Rails, “Design Patterns” is an idea with good hype, but not much merit.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of clueless people who evaluate the hype and not the content.

The only time Design Patterns might be useful is if you’re on a huge project of 20+ people.  However, for a complicated project, you will need more than just the boilerplate Design Patterns.  Also, if you use Design Patterns, the number of classes and methods in your project increases.  Even for a large project, the cost may outweigh the benefit.

It always is amusing when the head developer at a small startup acts like he’s managing a 50 person team.  It’s amusing when they focus on tools that add bureaucratic overhead rather than getting things done.  It’s disturbing to interview at some of these flaky startups.  Are VCs really that eager to flush capital down the toilet?  A VC probably can’t tell the difference between someone with good spin, and someone who has a good idea and the ability to execute.

For example, you could use one of the complicated factory patterns.  Or, you can just make sure your objects are properly initialized and destroyed.

If you use the right Design Pattern, you can switch from MySQL to PostgreSQL, and you don’t have to rewrite all the other code!  Really?  How often do you switch databases?  In the meantime, you’re bogging down your program with an extra layer of abstraction.

The “Design Patterns” create the illusion of productivity.  You’re writing code that follows the Pattern, rather than your actual application logic.  If you use a lot of fancy development methodologies with lots of overhead,  that enables you to get the illusion of productivity when you have a large group of barely qualified fools.

It’s also a type of shibboleth.  If you think design patterns are awesome, you have a certain personality type.  If you think they’re a stupid waste of time, you have another personality type.  A stupid hiring manager wants to hire clueless people who go along with the hype, rather than people who think for themselves.

When I go on an interview, and I’m asked a “Design Pattern” question, I mentally translate to the interviewer saying “I’m a stupid retard.”  I’m polite anyway.  I noticed that the more clueless interviewers ask “Design Patterns” questions.  Working for fools isn’t worth it, so I don’t mind being rejected because I don’t know the Design Pattern that answers the question.

“Design Patterns” and “We want MVC experience.” are examples of stupid ideas polluting the software engineering profession.  Unfortunately, I’m noticing more and more interviewers asking stupid irrelevant questions.  It isn’t enough to be a programmer.  I also have to be an expert in their inefficient way of writing software.  Those fancy ideas exist to enable mediocre people to pretend they’re getting stuff done.  In my experience, those tricks add more overhead without enabling you to do the real work.