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    Was good. Reading it, I was reminded of three things.

    1. How I tell people “Computers chose me. I didn’t choose them” That is, whatever I was doing, I could pick up a computer and make it better. So I ended up doing a lot of computer programming. That’s not true any more.

    2. That the hype around AI and the net in general is this: don’t bother innovating. We’ve figured out what you want (or at least what you’ll pay for). Write a check, get a subscription, and we’ll do the computer part of it. That doesn’t make good businesses great, but it might make a lot of poor businesses average. It makes everything, well, average. We may be entering what future historians call The Great Mediocrity

    3. How I used to hack on the net the same way as the author. I remember how I learned email, ftp, and a few other protocols: telnet! You learned handshakes and standards by actually walking through them, not by reading a book and buying a tool. We built the tools. Wanted some radically-new service on the net? Cool! You could build it from the port layer on up. Who’s doing that any more? Anybody? Instead it’s all https. Google won’t tell people about your pages if you’re not https, so get out of town if you think you’re going to kick-off a super-cool new net service on port xxx or something. Ain’t happening. (Or rather, it might happen, but nobody will talk about it, thereby limiting users. If you don’t show up in search results, you don’t exist for most people)

    Fun times. Zero startup overhead and the tools that run the internet all yours to poke around with as you please. Those days are gone.

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      So I ended up doing a lot of computer programming. That’s not true any more.

      What do you do now?

      We’ve figured out what you want (or at least what you’ll pay for). Write a check, get a subscription, and we’ll do the computer part of it.

      I kind of agree with this sentiment. Hacker News feels like a parody of the old-school term “hacker” because it tends to propagate this notion that technology is a raw material suitable for strip-mining. The user is not someone who is respected, they’re a resource to be harvested for data. There’s a lot of charlatans out there, and most non-tech folk aren’t able to suss them out.

      Wanted some radically-new service on the net? Cool! You could build it from the port layer on up. Who’s doing that any more? Anybody?

      I’ve seen people arguing that https should be the new default application level protocol. Yeah, OK.

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        It’s not true that others can be “forced” into computer programming the way I was, by simply wanting to improve whatever job I was in. Instead, computer programming seems to be a goal unto itself. What this means is that for the most part, programs aren’t written by practitioners wanting to improve their job or make their business kick ass. Instead, they’re written by hackers somewhere looking for the best market penetration and traction. Selling programs to hundreds of businesses of type X and writing a program that optimizes this particular instance of business type X are separate goals. Yes, there’s overlap, and unless you actually go through the coding exercise yourself you’ll never know the difference.

        What happened in programming was that something that used to be an intellectual, learning exercise became a commercial industry. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Yay technology. But for the most part it destroyed many small business and amateur’s ability to use programming as a form of learning and exploration. It’s very reminiscent of when mankind learned to write. For a long time, people who were writing were doing cool stuff; they had magic powers. Then came the dark ages and the birth of the scribe. Suddenly writing became something we stuck others in the basement to do while we did the real work. That’s functional, but to a large degree it makes everything stagnate over long periods of time and dumbs down the population. In a large way, it’s like we’re trying to outsource thinking.

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      The last part of the post seems to talk about reinventing ZeroTier. I am curious for any details on those plans and whether they can do away with (centrally managed) controller nodes.

      Edit: oh it is already there!

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        https://tailscale.com/ is the product/service they have built around WireGuard.

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        The system the author’s father built on reminds me a lot of Access and Excel. So many non-programmers have built complicated and very functional business tools on top of these two apps. There doesn’t seem to be any modern equivalent to them. If a small business owner came up to me today to ask how they could best create a form system to manage their customers and inventory, I’m not sure if I’d have a good answer besides some website that tries to do it for them in a pre-built way.

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          That comment has me wanting to pick up my work with Tabula Scripta again. It got lost over the holiday season, but I think it could be rather handy for that sort of thing. Of course, it’d take a long time to get to a point where non-developers could use it well, but even so