Mindless Bit Spew

Blockchain and open source

Meagan Wright

Meagan, manager of Jack’s BBQ, passed away suddenly last week. We grew up in the same part of Indiana. Her memorial service is next week – details here.

The world is a worse place without her.

Written by Ry Jones

16 May 2018 at 7:00

Posted in Life

Half the person I was before

Previously, I wrote about my experience post-BPD/DS weight loss surgery at two months post op. At one year post op, my surgeon advised me to stop trying to lose weight. At one year, two months, I’ve stopped at ~180 pounds. My post-surgery low was ~175 – literally half the person I was before.


March 2005:


September 2017:


April 2018:


I’ve discovered thin people speak in code – genuine smiles when you walk into places, for instance.

The dramatic change is why officers thought my passport was fake. I’m 2″ taller because I’m not being pulled over by my fat.

If you want to talk about weight loss surgery, get in touch.

Written by Ry Jones

4 May 2018 at 6:00

Posted in Life

The only constant is change

I’ve moved from a more technical role at my employer to a more evangelist role. This will involve a lot more travel – which I’m looking forward to. It will require nicer shirts, which I’m not looking forward to.

I’ve also been instructed to stop losing weight, which is a milestone.

Written by Ry Jones

13 April 2018 at 6:00

Posted in Life


In 2005, I had insurance that would cover weight loss surgery for the first time. It wasn’t until 2017 that I had surgery. In the intervening twelve years, my heart has enlarged, my kidneys have been damaged, and my veins will never recover. I have signed up for future knee, hip, and ankle replacement surgery by dilly-dallying. Could I have skipped some of this with surgery twelve years ago? Perhaps.

The first time I met with the doctor that would become my surgeon, he said “this can be the difference between seeing your grandkids being born and seeing them graduate college.” Good salesman.

I am two months out from surgery and I have lost half of the weight between me and my goal. I’m down to a 36″ waist – day of surgery, 44″. I’ve lost about 60 pounds – a pound a day. As of a few days ago, I am no longer obese, I am overweight (BMI <=30).

If you are obese, and have struggled to lose weight, get surgery. Stop messing around and get it. I got the most conservative surgery – the duodenal switch – which has the highest expected weight loss. There are three surgeons on the west coast worth using; I am fortunate that one of them practices in the Seattle area.

Don’t half step. This type of surgery is covered once in your life by US insurers. Take care of yourself.

I must give thanks to my sister Rayne, who was able to set aside her life on no notice and stay with me for about a week around the surgery date. I couldn’t have done it without her support. My family and friends have been mostly supportive, which I appreciate.

If you have any questions, get in touch.

Written by Ry Jones

1 May 2017 at 13:17

Posted in Life

Slightly more on the Aldridge plinth

Sandy Aldridge has died. It was by her intervention that I got to attend South, which had computer classes that were more than “learn to type”, instead of North, which didn’t. She also handed me my high school diploma on stage and wished me luck, which appears to have been overall in my favor, so far.

I’m not sure what this means WRT the plinth.

Written by Ry Jones

10 May 2015 at 12:38

Posted in Life

Sacred duty to maintain the Aldridge Plinth

Arden said she had replaced the mailbox at the Aldridge home when she was working in Indiana a couple years ago. I told her I’d replaced it when I was in high school in the 80s, and she now has to inform her first child “like my father before me, and his father before him, I have maintained the Aldridge Mailbox, a sacred duty, and in twenty five years or so you must return to our ancestral home and make sure it is in good form”

Looked at it on street view, it’s been moved across the driveway, and built to better specifications.


I think it’s more of a plinth now. Not sure what the next evolution might be.

Written by Ry Jones

4 May 2015 at 22:41

Posted in Life

Setting the record straight: Mark Slackmeyer operated a PDP-112 in July, 1972

I was looking for a comic I remembered from my childhood – in fifth or sixth grade I bought a rubber stamp I was so inspired by it, so that bound the search a little. I searched the internet for possible publication dates, and it is widely reported that Mark Slackmeyer got a job programming (or operating, depending on which version you find) a DEC PDP 11/70 in May of 1971. I looked at every single Doonesbury comic from the start of publication until I found the actual set of strips – 28-JUNE-1972 (mention of the matchbook cover text), job starting 01-JULY-1972, continuing on 03-JULY (where he’s dealing with a PDP-112), 04-JULY, 05-JULY (mention of the matchbook and salary of $7300 a year as an operator, $41k inflation adjusted to 2015 dollars; he’s actually paid $1 an hour, or $2080 annually), 06-JULY, 07-JULY (in which Slackmeyer uses the still-common debugging technique of screaming), ending 08-JULY when Mark fights a threading problem with a tape drive. I’ll point out there was no PDP-112, but PDP 7 serial #112 is famous for being preserved. I don’t know the source of the widely (PDP 11, 1998) repeated (11/70, 1990 Usenet post) error, but I hope this post starts showing up higher in results than the wrong claim.

The strip for 02-JULY does mention a now-common technology. I’ll note Slackmeyer did have an undisclosed job at his dad’s brokerage in 1971 for a single day, and he does mention IBM in that story arc, but only as an equity, not a product he’s using.

I found a book review:

Throughout the book, the famous 
comic strip character Doonesbury 
and his friend, Mark, marvel at the 
many wonders of the computer. A 
newspaper ad for computer operators 
convinces them that they have found 
their true vocation in life. "Earn 
$7,000, impress your friends. MEET 

from September, 1976. repeated verbatim in the February, 1977 issue of BYTE.

I think:

"Earn $7,000, impress your friends. MEET GIRLS"

is my new motto.

Written by Ry Jones

3 April 2015 at 21:34

Posted in Life