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So what’re you building that you always wanted or think humanity actually needs than another corporate piece of CRUD?

(P.S. Yeah I missed a couple weeks, life has been crazy.)


  2. 18

    I (along with a few others) started a project about 20 years ago, inspired by things like the STEPS project at VPRI, HyperCard, and similar things, to build a new kind of desktop environment. We wanted to move away from applications as an abstraction and provide documents and tools for manipulating documents. We wanted something that respected Raskin’s First Law, so there would be no save button. Documents (including their editing history) were automatically persisted, the user abstractions were not save (losing data should be explicit, retaining it should not), but ‘tag’ and ‘export’. The former associates some metadata with a revision so that you can find it later. The latter converts the document into some form for external interoperability (e.g. in a video editing app, the internal representation would be raw footage and transforms but export might give you an MPEG-4 video file).

    This required a uniform object model that different components could interoperate with it and end-user programming tools that made it easy to write custom tools that operated over the data. This is where I started down a rabbit hole that ended with my building hardware. Current MMU-based isolation is inadequate for this. I wanted users to be able to write code in safe (and easy!) languages that could use existing libraries. Unlike STEPS, I have no interest in rewriting libavcodec in a DSL so that it fits in my 20KLoC budget for the system, I want to just use it without worrying about whether it’s memory safe and, if I use it so wrongly that it crashes, get a recoverable error (restarting the library instance is fine). I joined a project that has the skeleton of the things I wanted and evolved it to the point where it did everything I needed: I could write managed-language code with object-granularity interop with C/C++ and have strong guarantees that the C/C++ could not violate type safety for my code, now all I needed was to get it into mass production.

    That’s basically what I’ve been working on since 2017 (though also on some other relevant bits). $1bn would be sufficient to stop waiting for Arm to find a customer willing to say that they’ll buy a large quantity of chips if CHERI makes it into the architecture and just tape out my own moderately competent 64-bit RISC-V core with a licensed GPU and other bits and still have a couple of hundred million left over for the software work.

    1. 5

      Waiting very patiently for Étoilé 2.0 on my CHERI laptop.

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        You don’t happen to have a spare $1bn do you?

        1. 17

          OK, I’m also waiting very patiently for a billion dollars.

        2. 1

          For those wondering about Etoile, it is Data Object system, something like HyperCard++.

        3. 2

          I’ve been a fan of Etoile ever since I read about it on HN at least a decade ago. I have Raskin’s book on my shelf because of it. It’s so nice to to see you frequent Lobsters

          1. 1

            I have been thinking about what a “HyperCard” for the Web looks like that removes machine and OS boundaries so you are fully immersed in data and projections of that data. I think LLMs will provide that bijective lens between graphical programming and having a concrete text representation.

            I think your vision is within reach using technologies available right now, Wasm, WebRTC, WebSockets, WebGPU.

            1. 1

              There are zillions of modern HyperCard analogs. For example, Decker , which can be run online: https://beyondloom.com/decker/tour.html

            2. 1

              I could write managed-language code with object-granularity interop with C/C++ and have strong guarantees that the C/C++ could not violate type safety for my code, now all I needed was to get it into mass production.

              Any pointers on this? I don’t see it on the page

              FWIW “mycpp” from https://www.oilshell.org/ has some properties like this. We write in typed Python, translate it to garbage-collected C++, and a normal Ninja build system composes it with hand-written C++. There is very little wrapping due to the “syntactic puns”.

              There are some issues regarding typedef and integer sizes, but since Unix was pretty much written with int, it doesn’t seem to be a problem in practice.

              Making your own chips would be a very good use of $1 billion :-)

              I don’t think I could spend $1 billion, though I could certainly spend $10 million

              At $1 billion you run into management problems. Now everyone wants your $1 B :)

              edit: Is it https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/security/ctsrd/pdfs/201404-eurosys2014-tesla.pdf ? At first glance it doesn’t seem like a managed language

              I’m somewhat familiar with Capsicum from many years ago, but haven’t followed the rest of the work

              1. 1

                CHERI is not a managed language, it is a hardware design for a CPU that can dynamically ensure memory safety in code compiled from C and other unsafe system languages (C++,Rust,Zig). This can make it safe for a managed language to depend on C library dependencies. I suspect that some additional software components are needed for a complete solution.

              2. 1

                You’ll get a billion as soon as I get a billion and a dollar. I want this.

                1. 1

                  Obviously they lacked most all safety guarantees, but this reminds me very much of some of the OpenDoc demos from the 1990s, conceptually.

                  1. 1

                    Yup, that was another of the inspirations.

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                  I helped to start a non-profit ISP. A billion dollars would mean we could replicate the model 1,000-1,500 times over.

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                    Fund research into curing or mitigating retinitis pigmentosa, the macular degeneration disease afflicting my wife and her kids.

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                      Pretty much building servers, OSes and languages from first principles to incorporate the knowledge we’ve gained, to shed the legacy we’ve accrued, and to bring hardware and software people closer again.

                      1. 1

                        I think that might take more than a billion dollars. You’re talking about reexamination of a lot of things, such as the von Neumann architecture itself, and making a lot of decisions without the benefit of “I can’t change that part of the system, it’s in stone.” That’s a lot of people doing a lot of work for a long time, including fabricating the results.

                        1. 1

                          You’re right, I would have to draw the line at some point.

                          Personally, I admire the work Oxide is doing. They’re building rack-scale servers, completely redesigning the cabling, network switching, boot/management process, etc. They’re also building a holistically booting microkernel, written in Rust.

                          But they’re of course not entirely bootstrapping (e.g. using AMD for their central processor). So you’re right, what I’m thinking of might be more of a trillion dollar dream.

                          1. 1

                            Last I heard they are using OpenCompute designs, which are basically open source Facebook data center racks and more

                            That’s definitely how it started, which makes sense since Facebook built at least a billion dollars worth of hardware with those designs

                            I’d be curious if they moved away from it for whatever reason

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                        At some point in the not-so-distant past I would probably be keen on self-driving cars, as road traffic injuries is one of the top 5 causes of death for people aged 5 to 29 years. After a few years of disappointment with the progress I’m not confident that a billion dollars would will suffice, so I’d probably retire and start a YouTube channel called “rich idiot builds a wooden yacht with no experience”.

                        1. 3

                          Yeah exactly, often the problem is not money, but the ability and will to coordinate and spend it effectively

                          I never tried, but from the outside it appears that in the last 10 years, raising money wasn’t hard if you could show above average ability to make things happen

                          Although it’s certainly true that some things take longer and need patient funders

                        2. 8

                          Tools for direct democracy. Most people (in the US) are unengaged in politics at all level, partially because their input is limited to a small selection of votes. I’d like to build systems where citizens can provide direct input to politicians, and possibly even get a vote of their own to supplement representative bodies.

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                            I had an idea many years ago for a system of direct democracy with arbitrary delegation. On every issue, individuals would be able to either vote directly or nominate their proxy. Proxies, in turn, would be able to nominate proxies that would aggregate their votes. Importantly, you’d be able to nominate different proxies for different classes of issue.

                            The biggest problem with our current political system is that it hasn’t scaled with the complexity of the issues. In something like the Brexit vote, for example, I doubt even 1% of the electorate and probably well under 5% of elected representatives actually understand the issues. For something like copyright reform or power company regulation that number is much lower. We need a mechanism where individuals can identify people that they trust to both understand the issues and to respect their values. The multi-level delegation model would mean that I could find someone who shared my values and was capable of identifying an expert in the relevant field to make a good judgement. Decoupling delegation from separate issues would mean that politicians would not need to pretend to be experts on thousands of things and could, for example, focus on health policy for their whole career.

                            I have no idea if this would work in practice but I’d love to try it.

                            1. 3

                              I’d like to build systems where citizens can provide direct input to politicians, and possibly even get a vote of their own to supplement representative bodies.

                              Perhaps we can put bribes in the blockchain and treat politicians as fungible tokens?

                              1. 2

                                JC Denton solved this problem in Deus Ex: Invisible War.

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                                I’d spend a billion dollars on creating a competitor to the Mozilla foundation that would fork the Firefox codebase and pay a bunch of smart developers to maintain it, without doing stupid and user-hostile things like this thing in the news that Mozilla has been known to do.

                                My other idea would be “buy out Discord, hire @arathorn and a bunch of other Matrix core devs, and make Discord become the open-source Matrix client with by far the best UX (and sell server hosting on the side)”, but I fear that a billion dollars wouldn’t actually be enough to do this.

                                1. 2

                                  By 2021 Discord had an estimated value of $7 billion.


                                  You might need some assistance from other newly wealthy lobste.rs readers in this thread

                                  1. 1

                                    Ranked choice billions spending.

                                2. 7

                                  I’d create a universal standard for electrical mesh networking in order to create a fully distributed power grid. Buy a solar panel, plug it into the grid. I wouldn’t need centralized crypto ledgers for the payment. Each vertex in the graph would know how much it had sent/received. Since we’re talking about physical connections here, you could just meter it and bill using normal wire transfers using traditional banking. If a node ended up with an unpaid balance, it would just be automatically disconnected or de-prioritized.

                                  I really want a world where rather than power outlets we have Universal Power Transfer sockets. You buy a solar panel and just plug it in. You buy a battery and just plug it in. You have a laptop? Just plug it in. No thought to it what-so-ever, no electrician needed. Just consumer distributed grid power.

                                  If I wasn’t so obsessed with consumer distributed grid power, I’d create a stenotype system with electromagnets which would allow you to read using the keyboard (like that the keys would move). I’ve already developed a low power prototype. I don’t use electromagnets to actuate the keys (that takes too much electricity and is too bulky), instead I use electromagnets to hold the keys down. You can press down all the keys and then the computer can allow some to pop up, showing you the word. Pressing the word down again causes the next word to pop up. Stenotype reading is going to be super weird, I think that it is fundamentally strange that you would read with the same exact neurological pathways that you used to write. It might also be useful for blind people, but I’m mostly curious about how it would feel myself.

                                  1. 1

                                    I like the power grid idea, could also work for load regulation, community priorities (pumping water, greenhouse lights, cpap machines).

                                    As for your stenotypereader, I could see a chorded keyboard that maybe buzzed each key. But if you found a cheaper way to build braille displays into the homerow on a keyboard. Then you could read while you type!

                                    Neat chorded Braille display http://cecitech.com/en/?product=esys12-braille-display

                                    *edit, this is neat project https://hackaday.io/project/12442-molbed-modular-low-cost-braille-electronic-display

                                    1. 1

                                      I spent a couple of years researching assistive technology (I was at one point working on the keyboard idea pretty seriously) and I think that buzzing won’t work. There were a number of non-piezo braille display prototypes that were cheaper or displayed multiple rows of characters and a major reason for the failure of new tech is that visually impaired people really hate noisy displays. Having the user provide the energy to press the key down, and then having a tiny electro magnet hold it down until it is released is quiet and it is also extremely low energy (allowing for battery powered use. It also allows the user to regulate the speed of character change, simply by pressing the keys that pop up down again.

                                  2. 5

                                    I would like to research technology that does not require attention. I would also research technology that reuses old hardware instead of throwing it away. I would also research technology that makes running the software in your own home (as opposed as in a SaaS) feasible again, possibly piggy-backing on the “reusing old hardware” research.

                                    I would love for my mom to be able to (relatively) securely run a piece of software at home without having to understand the intricacies of setting it up. Something like how my smart tv runs, at most. I know that phones home, but like. You get the idea? Kinda? Idk.

                                    More local shit that doesn’t require your attention, more software that you own on hardware that you own, that will still run when my company goes under. Peaceful, community-building things, that help you be in the real world, not suck you into a virtual hellscape.

                                    1. 5

                                      A screen reader that uses machine learning, computer vision, etc. to literally read the screen, i.e. interpreting the pixels on the screen to reconstruct the text and the UI structure. I’ve concluded that this needs to exist on all desktop and mobile platforms, as soon as it’s technologically feasible. Getting semantic information from applications through accessibility APIs, semantic markup, ARIA, etc. is a useful stopgap, and will continue to be for a while longer, which is why I’m not giving up on my AccessKit project. But getting the whole world to accommodate disabled users by implementing this kind of accessibility is a never-ending battle, and fighting against most people’s natural preference to pretend that we don’t exist gets discouraging. I want to solve the problem once and for all.

                                      Apple has already implemented a feature called Screen Recognition in their VoiceOver screen reader for iOS. Here’s their paper on Screen Recognition. They had to train it on ~77,000 screens from ~4,000 apps, using a total of 50 workers to gather and annotate the data. And as they admit, the results are far from perfect. I wonder how much better could be done with $1 billion, or how soon we’d reach diminishing returns.

                                      Edit to add: No, that’s not ambitious enough for the posed question. Let’s go for a pair of smart glasses with stereoscopic cameras, built-in bone conduction headphones, and an on-device AI, that can not only read a computer or phone screen, but describe whatever it’s seeing in real time (something akin to the audio description tracks available for many movies and TV shows), translate text to Braille and send it wirelessly to a Braille display (and maybe we should build a larger, higher-resolution tactile display while we’re at it), and use spatial audio to help with independent navigation.

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                                        I don’t think planning $1 billion up front is a good idea, but I could use $1 million to pay people to develop a shell GUI, which I mentioned here yesterday:


                                        Personally I have my hands full with the shell itself, and I don’t have the UI skills/background.

                                        Actually we have gotten 100 K euros in the from of 2 grants from NLnet

                                        I think somebody should apply for a grant to make the shell GUI. I might write a blog post about it. (Feel free to e-mail me andy @ oilshell.org if you have UI experience and are interested in our grant experience )

                                        BTW Oils is the ONLY POSIX compatible shell that has a “headless” interface can be factored like this. I just put the tests for the protocol in the CI yesterday – the GUI would communicate with a pure C++ native binary that’s 1.4 MB now. It compiles in <30 seconds.

                                        (It’s also the only POSIX compatible shell that will have a JSON-like data model, i.e. real data structures and not just strings)

                                        1. 4

                                          idk, maybe try to figure out a way for job applications to not be horrible for both sides.

                                          1. 1

                                            A service that candidates who are tired of tech interviews use, where they get tested in a variety of subject matters, all technical. Test results are strongly tied to the person taking them, which is labor up front, but helps later when being interviewed.

                                            To view a candidate’s scores, the company signs an affidavit (cced to the candidate) that they will not re-test on the subject areas involved. Personality interviews are fine, “let’s show you our process and listen to the comments you make” are fine, but no more data structures, basic technical competence, implement an API, use an unfamiliar nonsense language.

                                            If the company messes up in the interview process, the candidate can tell the service, which can choose to take action.

                                            Now the candidate has a link on their resume that gets the technical part of the technical interview out of the way.

                                            Make money off of the candidates. 5 bucks to store your test results forever. Let companies build their trust that the service did the due diligence to match the real human to the test. Eventually charge people per hundred lookups they do on the site, once some companies use it for all their hiring and only do the soft skills stuff.

                                            Candidates will think it’s worth 5 bucks to never be asked fizzbuzz again. Companies will be sucked in by being able to cut out a portion of their interviews without worrying that the candidate paid someone else to take the test for them.

                                            Ideas are cheap. Execution is hard. This above is an idea. If you make lots of money off it or this idea gives you more better ideas, I’d appreciate being made aware, and I’ll applaud any successful execution that makes job hunting nicer.

                                          2. 3

                                            I would take the money and turn it into a foundation. If you invest it and pull out 3% a year you have $30 million for projects hopefully in perpetuity. @andyc can get his million and so can 29 other people. Or maybe you have bigger projects like building housing or buying medical debt. The biggest project would be staying a normal human when you have so much money that you are giving away. The second biggest one is not letting the bureaucracy grow to the point where consume all the budget or distracts from the purpose.

                                            1. 3

                                              I’d finance another few seasons of Firefly. :D

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                                                A front-to-back open source, open hardware version of The Guide from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Basically an iPad mini-sized entirely open computing device that works as a personal computer, tablet, e-reader, and with its own federated social network and Wikipedia-like news and encyclopedia. You can dock it an use it for personal computing and games, you can carry it and use it for communications and reading, reporting, and the entire stack would be open source, federated, P2P, encrypted, etc.

                                                It irks me that in 2023 we still need a phone, tablet, and laptop/PC when you could realistically have one device to rule them all if it wasn’t in Apple/Google/Microsoft, etc’s best interest to keep all these things separate. In theory you could do (most) of this today with an iPad mini with cellular but it’s artificially limited so it doesn’t have the phone app and the iPad OS isn’t any great shakes if you want to use it as a PC. (Though to be fair to Apple iPad OS is slowly creeping in that direction.)

                                                Obviously the device would be fully repairable, to reduce e-waste. If you want to upgrade to a faster device every three years or whatever, it’d be possible, but not encouraged or required. Ideally people could use it until it’s just worn out physically.

                                                What the Internet and personal computing should’ve been, basically. I don’t know if you could accomplish this with $1bn, but it’d be amazing to try.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I want something sort of like this – a brick of storage that can accept a whole bunch of input and output peripherals; something phone sized that can be the central repository of my digital everything; a personal cloud, in a sense, that requires no connectivity. I can bring it to my desk, sit down, and work on a big monitor and keyboard, or a pair of AR/VR goggles, or whatever; and I can pick it up and carry it with me and use it as the backing storage for my phone, my watch, my whatever.

                                                  Give me something like Apple’s ecosystem without the cloud.

                                                2. 3

                                                  a stakeholder marketing risk management customer focused stock management crypto accelerated tool for real state agents to optimize the synergy of non fungible transactions. Humanity needs infinite corporate CRUDs, we’re like bees producing honey, but we make corporate CRUDs instead. That’s the meaning of life.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Kick stack as many cooperatives as possible, asking them to chip in once they are profitable to keep the trend going. If a lot of people learned to talk to each other and work together as equals, it would greatly improve our overall political climate.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      I’ve talked to some friends about housing collectives. With a billion dollars you could make some really interesting ones. The nice thing is if the housing is only subsidized (not free) then the money would go further. I worry that large scale cooperatives might be a little bit like managing social networks: much more socially complex than they first appear.

                                                      I imagine a campus style housing collective with lots of common spaces for meeting and working. Ideally plenty of green space and connections to the local community so that the energy bleeds out into the surrounding community. Perhaps some spaces are time limited so that it doesn’t become too stagnate?

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Not housing, that’s no good. It needs to be workplace collectives. Companies that enable people to make living by helping others. Because people socialize there and get money through them. That’s where they learn about doing things together and not as a competition.

                                                        Housing collectives are extremely fragile because people just behave the same way they are conditioned at job. Either leave stuff up to leadership or to try and get ahead at the expense of others. Same with political parties and other outside-job organizations as I’ve experienced.

                                                        It also almost doesn’t matter if they serve a big evil corp, unless they do something directly evil like helping loan sharks, wage offensive wars and so on. Because the people inside the client corporations are actually people as well and just by the virtue of interacting with them they get affected and might consider alternatives to the status quo.

                                                        There’s a lot to say on this topic, but this is probably not the place nor the time. I just hope to stabilize myself by the end of the year and then slowly work towards becoming member of a tech coop in like 10 years.

                                                        Well unless a capitalist psychopathic AGI will make us all obsolete and force us into gulags. Ah-ah-ah.

                                                      2. 1

                                                        Kick start* obviously. Sigh.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I thought kick stack was intentional—as in “kick a stack of cash to start some coops.” But, “kick start” obviously makes sense to more people. Just pointing out that your mistake was interpretable either way!

                                                      3. 2

                                                        In the world at large, there are much more important things to spend a billion dollars on than software, like, I dunno, malaria prevention or vaccine research. In software, I would try to make an open, complete, easy-to-get-started-with way to build everyday Web apps. The motivation:

                                                        • $product_from_work is built/operated/supported a mid-sized team (10 folks) and we’re well-served by Django, an RDBMS, and some AWS services. It still bugs me how much of what we built is still “factorable” stuff we and a zillion other teams each have to do themselves.
                                                        • Integrated “code it and go” services often lock you into a vendor and have a huge markup on the underlying hardware for steady-state uses (Lambda, Vercel–I know, the markup is how they get the billion dollars), and/or you hit a cliff where you can’t do what you need in their environment. You need it to be easy to start with, but flexible when you outgrow it.
                                                        • I’ve got a soft spot for how people who aren’t expert programmers could strap together something useful for their work in FileMaker or such, or folks familiar with a framework can churn out a CRUD site quick. People tend to pooh-pooh it as not-really-programming but if you’re trying to make the potential of computers available to as many folks as possible, degree of difficulty is a bad thing!

                                                        The project is to assemble and package up the stuff that’s missing around CRUD frameworks:

                                                        • Front-end batteries: there’s a range of widgets and form idioms that are almost universal out on the Web but still tend to take a lot of reimplementation in every app, from “decent multiselects” to complex interactions between fields (field Y is required only if box X is checed). You need to make decent forms easy w/out creating a cliff where people need to leave your framework in order to do anything custom.
                                                        • Back-end batteries: the development and operations envrionment, from things like repo, deployments, a Web cluster, monitoring and alerting, your DB setup (incl., say, backups and scchema migrations), backend and cron jobs, miscellaneous services like logging, caches. People are often either stringing this together or getting a managed environment at the cost of actual dollars and/or vendor lock-in.
                                                        • Administration and multitenancy: Many apps have at least a few types of user: customer administrators, customer end-users, and developers/operators of the application, and many can operate different instances with some degree of separation. CRUD frameworks’ authentication also needs some awareness of modern world (2FA, outside identity providers).
                                                        • Openness: The whole thing should be open source and able to run on bare metal. Not that you couldn’t use a service for blob storage, CDN, or a managed DB, but even if you don’t, you get a complete stack. As a corollary, if some bundled/“blessed” component doesn’t work quite right for you, you can integrate a different one. (This also complicates the “back-end batteries” part; you need a fallback to AWS’s or GCP’s approaches to things.)
                                                        • Using existing stuff: Despite the billion dollars, no one is writing a new database or wholesale reinventing the CRUD framework. That loses the benefits of the existing ecosystem and gives you the chance to remake old mistakes or make new ones.

                                                        I specifically think it’s not right to tackle instant/infinite/transparent scalability (vertical RDBMS and frontend/worker cluster, or one per tenant, scale reasonably large!) or to replace the programming models people are actually using. Those eat your project and are not really where the barriers to entry are.

                                                        Now if you manage to get all that done, I have a few silly specific ideas where some elbow grease could probably make things better:

                                                        • There are particular parts of the stack where I think the right way to do things may involve something not super common in CRUD frameworks now, like templating, frontend performance, and what to do about reporting when you get medium-sized.
                                                        • Once you reduce the overhead to coding, you can start to think about a super-easy entry point–“low-code” as they say these days–that ramps up to really writing code. I know various projects try to do this on top of existing frameworks.
                                                        • If you’re actually operating a large instance of this you have the motivation to work on scalability/efficiency. That isn’t necessarily Big Ideas, ‘just’ the (interesting!) loop of profiling or organically noticing pain points and figuring out how you get past ’em.

                                                        But, again, I think a satisfactory factoring of the things every mid-sized app already needs to do is an enormous already!

                                                        1. 2

                                                          A massive scalable mutation testing framework for Erlang or Elixir. Use a very big cluster to provide extremely precise coverage analysis beyond line coverage. With the goal of making quality less stressful for developers.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            One Elixir/Erlang project that I have considered: could you make a simpler Kubernetes on top of BEAM? To be clear, I don’t mean an implementation of Kubernetes, but something that has the same goals with simpler management. There are already huge clusters and tools for managing BEAM clusters. It seems like the language/ecosystem would already handle a good chunk of the complexity. It would still be a big project though.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Hi, what would you like such system to do? I am afraid my knowledge of Kubernetes is very superficial.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Ideally, allow small teams to own and operate their cluster without much specialized knowledge of the application or BEAM. Hot code reloading could simplify upgrades and make them a little less scary.

                                                                That said, it’s a high level idea without a lot of meat on the bones.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  This is a nice idea. Just leverage BEAM and OTP to make Kubernetes obsolete you mean? In that sense, I’m continuously considering using less AWS and more OTP. I am not in love with erlang and elixir as languages, but they pay back when complicated stuff arises.

                                                          2. 1

                                                            Something that watches right-wing news, stores it, captions it, and puts the scripts on a publicly searchable database so people can easily find out what X person said about Y, Z years ago, and provides the clips as needed.

                                                            1. 6

                                                              right-wing news

                                                              All news?

                                                              1. 2

                                                                You’re free to set up your own fantasy project.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Sure thing, just pointing out it is naïve to think only right wing politicians lie and contradict themselves.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    At least in the UK, there’s a fairly distinct difference. The broadly centrist publications often have somewhat dubious interpretations of statistics and make unjustifiable leaps of logic. The clearly left-biased publications will cherry pick statistics that support their arguments and make huge leaps of logic that amount to ex falsie quodlibet. The right-biased publications just eschew facts entirely and make stuff up. If you compare centre-right and centre-left publications, they will often share the same statistics and will draw different conclusions from them that support their own narratives. If you compare centre-left to further-left, you’ll still see mostly the same sources just mor extreme conclusions. If you compare centre-right to further-right, you’ll see the sources that directly contradict the narrative discounted and twitter polls or equivalents replacing reputable surveys to make point (or, the more common dodge, replacing statistics about X with polls of people’s perception of X, where the sample is readers of a publication that runs scare stories about X on their front page).

                                                                    I’d love for someone to figure out a way of making news publications financially accountable for the damage from intentionally spreading outright lies that isn’t also a mechanism for the government to censor a free press.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I think the media landscapes site is a good starting point if you’re thinking about how the UK media environment could be different.

                                                                      I think the main issue in the UK is that most news is owned privately by very rich men. Their publications represent their class interests and so our media is very strongly biased towards conservatism and capitalism. I’d like there to be rules banning any individual or org from owning more than a small part of the news market and I’d like to see some initiatives that lead to more news orgs being co-operatives and to more good local news orgs (like The Mill in Manchester).

                                                                      So it’s clear where I’m coming from, here are the large national media orgs that I think are good and what I think their political bias is: liberal/conservative: Financial Times; socialist: Novara Media, JOE; and I don’t think we have any good liberal centrist ones, but Channel 4 News and The Guardian are okay I guess. Every other large national news org in the UK is, IMO, somewhere between total crap (The Sun) and only a bit crap (The Mirror).

                                                                    2. 1

                                                                      Thanks for that added level of detail. Good thing I’m not that naïve. But to go one level deeper, I’ll just add it’s also naïve to imagine they do so in equal quantity and magnitude.

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                                                                    I mean, there’d probably be room in the budget, but you should always focus your efforts where it’d do the most good.

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                                                                      Today’s most good may be tomorrow’s least.

                                                                      Politicians lie and contradict themselves, regardless of their affiliation or “side”.

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                                                                        NYTimes foreign policy reporting is so bad though. It’s a shame that they’re considered the standard bearer. Before the Afghanistan withdrawal, they had a frontpage piece saying, “Generals say withdrawal could lead to civil war!” This is the exact opposite of the reality here on Planet Earth. On Earth, Afghanistan has been in civil war on and off since the 70s and the withdrawal led to the end of the civil war because the Taliban finally won after having their opponents propped up for the last twenty years. NYTimes foreign policy reporting is all fed by neocon hawks, so they can’t do basic reporting of what is actually happening in the world. :-( I mean, obviously the Taliban sucks, but please report on reality and not the idle musings of a bunch of guys with billions of dollars to slosh around that can’t beat a bunch of poor Afghani religious fanatics.

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                                                                          Presumably this was Goering’s argument against the US entering the second great war (“You’ll prolong the war! It would be better if we get our lebensraum!”) and this is the argument that Russia is currently making against US and allied support for Ukraine. Also the argument against supporting pro-Democracy movements in Iran and Syria.

                                                                          What I’ve learned from listening to organizations like the Taliban, ISIS, Al Quaeda, the Russian government and other sundry dictatorships is that they understand both the “left” and the “right” in the US and have some rudimentary idea of how to influence some “left” and “right” voters to their advantage.

                                                                          I know all this brainwashing makes medium sized waves on social media and the opinion pages of newspapers, but I don’t know if this actually moves strategy. It might actually all be a resource drain on those organizations, because they spend a certain amount of resources influencing online opinion in the US/Europe which doesn’t translate to strategic or even tactical advantage, because even God doesn’t know how democracies work, much less people whose core belief is that democracy doesn’t work.

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                                                                            Accurately reporting on the state of Afghanistan is not any form of Goering’s argument.

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                                                                            You are def correct, I guess I was thinking more about lies than credulous parroting of govt, corporate folks, and general status quo maintenance. There is a difference in that the Times will acknowledge their earlier position, tho I dunno if it will inform their future behavior. The advantage of a transcript of broadcast right wing talk radio, livestreams, broadcast, similar ephemeral communication, is that the worst shit is just lost, heard by their audience but unavailable for accountability.

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                                                                              Other news outlets also have interesting biases. For example, The Guardian is one of the most left-leaning newspapers in the UK (probably the most left-leaning broadsheet). If you read articles that they right on copyright law their bias towards copyright maximalism is very obvious, in spite of the fact that they’re advocating for rules that disadvantage workers and empower publishers, which is directly antithetical to their usual bias.

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                                                                                I think the Guardian’s positions makes more sense if you see it as mostly a liberal paper with a bit of leftism rather than a left paper. This explains their very spotty support for workers rights and public commons. Their environmental coverage is pretty good, tho.

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                                                                          FWIW, that kinda exists: https://www.snapstream.com/

                                                                          Just not the publicly searchable database part.

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                                                                          For $1,000 I’d look into vCard 4 support for my validator.

                                                                          $1,000,000 would fund an expert working group to develop a modern, open address information interchange format to replace the clunky vCard and similar standards with something sane and easy to use, all the way from inception (what’s good & bad about the existing standards) to tooling.

                                                                          $1,000,000,000 might be enough to develop something on the order of the next cURL or SQLite, by hiring top people in relevant fields at unbeatable salaries with the resources they need and a well-defined mission. Maybe a replacement for LDAP and Active Directory which would be easy to get started with and AGPLv3 with some sort of extension clause so extensions would have to be AGPLv3 as well. The project would make many more billions on support and extension requests from millions of businesses.

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                                                                            Maybe a replacement for LDAP and Active Directory which would be easy to get started with


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                                                                            I would develop my Qweyboard idea[1] to be suitable for production use to replace the Velotype/Veyboard for orthographic stenography. That would probably only take 50-500 k over its lifetime though so I should either get more ambitious or donate the rest to charity…

                                                                            But I think giving humansthe ability to transcribe speech live may also be somewhat of a historic anomaly that we’ll outgrow. So maybe it’s not as important as I think.

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                                                                              It would definitely be something in education. There is so much incredible untapped potential in young people around the world. I’m just not quite sure exactly what it would be. Perhaps an AI-based tutor – but one that actually, really works and is rigorously tested.

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                                                                                Maybe a suite of online courses that provide access to material currently being removed from curricula in red states.

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                                                                                A system that slowly converges humans towards an efficient heterogeneous geographical distribution within given borders. The entire landscape is evaluated for resources and potential density. Those who are part of the system receive benefits for contributing to infrastructure and living in designated areas.

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                                                                                  How does efficient go with distribution?

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                                                                                    Cover more land, access more resources, reduce traffic, reduce far dependencies, reduce costs.