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Javva The Hutt January 2004

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Back to newsletter 038 contents | All Javva's articles

Wow!

"Wow!" is really my response to seeing this comment:

Karjoth and Tschudin have [... encrypted] the agent's code in such a way that it can compute on encrypted input and produce encrypted output, which, when decrypted, is the output that would have been produced by running the original input through the original code.

(in this article about agents). If you need to handle encrypted data, that could be a pretty efficient way to handle things. Although I'd guess that there is probably a performance cost in doing things this way. Still, in the list of "pretty cool programming procedures", this has got to be right up there with the best.

Quick ref

Just a quick ref to this book which looks like a very funny parody of design patterns. Haven't read it myself yet, but I probably will do at some point. Maybe I'll have a look at a sample chapter on Amazon first.

Diary of a Hutt

October 15. Agent Smith visited us. You know, the one from the Matrix? Black shades, wire coil hanging behind his ear, precise speech patterns, shady motives. There were two of them, but not identical. I've dubbed them Agent Thing1 and Agent Thing2. Only one seemed to do the speaking. I think the other did the thinking and they were somehow symbiotic. Sympathy, one of our HR ladies, brought them, and lead them to HasntGotAClue's office. About fifteen minutes later they all emerged, swung by my cubicle, asked me to join them and we all went off to a meeting room. There, HasntGotAClue told me what was up. Apparently a laptop went missing from a top security establishment. It seems that it was stolen for re-sale, and the trail has led to us. More specifically to Boris. They needed to tell me before they interviewed Boris since I was his team leader.

After HasntGotAClue told me all this, Sympathy told me all the same stuff, though from the HR point of view: contacted by a non-specific government agency, verified authority, blah blah blah. Then Agent Thing1 told me all the same stuff, but in a shorter, more terse way. As he was talking it was like the bit in horror films when you have the eerie music that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I suspect this guy has watched the Matrix a thousand times, learning Agent Smith's every move and intonation, probably hoping for Agent Smith to win each time. Then we all trooped out to go and get Boris, and bring him back to the meeting room. Only for some reason we went to a different meeting room. And I realized that Agent Thing1 and Agent Thing2 had done this three times already, first with Sympathy, then HasntGotAClue, then me. So we all went in to the new meeting room and HasntGotAClue told Boris what was up, then Sympathy told Boris what was up, then Agent Thing1 told Boris what was up, then everyone looked at me, obviously expecting me to tell Boris what was up. Kafka lived through this same scene at some point, I'm sure. So I told Boris to have a nice time chatting to Agent Thing1 and Agent Thing2, and I'd see him before he went home.

Then that was the first time I saw Agent Thing2 do anything. He got out a little notebook and wrote something in it, then put it away. For some reason this action mesmerized everyone in the room (except possibly Agent Thing1, though it was difficult to tell). As Agent Thing2's hand moved to his pocket, the silence in the room suddenly became deafening. We all intently watched Agent Thing2 take out his notebook, eyes glued to the top of his pen as he wrote whatever, and then you could see everyone's heads tilt very slightly as we intently watched Agent Thing2 put it away. Suddenly, we were all scrambling to say how busy we were, and how much work was piling up in our Inbox's which needed immediate attention so I'm sure they wouldn't mind if we excused ourselves ... Boris was, of course, left with Agent Thing1 and Agent Thing2 for "an interview".

I went back to my cubicle, and had to do some quick thinking. We had been told to keep the details of Boris's interview completely confidential, but I knew Bigmouth at least would be pestering me for details. Right on cue, I heard his "what's happening" from behind me. So I told him. I told him that this was a confidential investigation, about matters not yet disclosed, which would require any personnel who had been members of the development department last year, but who had since moved on, to be interviewed. Which of course meant myself, Boris and Weevil. Now that was a masterpiece. Possibly my best ever thinking. Within half an hour, Weevil was at my desk demanding to know what was going on. So I told him. I told him that they had already interviewed me, and that I wasn't allowed to tell him what they had asked me, then I lowered my voice to a tiny whisper and said "but they never said I couldn't tell you my answers. And what I told them was that I was never involved in any project called 'Golden Gate', that I had never even heard of project 'Golden Gate'".

October 22. I didn't see Boris again the day that Agent Thing1 and Agent Thing2 interviewed him, because apparently they went straight to his home to retrieve the laptop. Boris is not allowed to discuss any details, but he tells me he has a followup interview next week. Weevil is very anxious because they have interviewed me and Boris, but not him. I told him they are eliminating us one at a time.

October 29. Well, it seems that Boris is out one second hand laptop, but is no longer under suspicion of anything. On the other hand, Weevil seems to be under investigation by Agent Thing1 and Thing2 for something called the 'Golden Gate' project. Seems he implicated himself directly by going up to Agent Thing1 when they came for Boris's second interiew, and telling him that he didn't know anything about the 'Golden Gate' project. I guess some people just don't know when to keep their mouth shut.

BCNU

Javva The Hutt.


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