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    Are you planning on writing anything about any of the men involved in pioneering computing? Babbage? Zuse? Shannon?

    While I can understand the reasons behind representing women in pioneering roles, the fact that not a single man is featured feels like it’s womanwashing history a little. But clearly it’s early days, and it’s not a bad thing if it focuses exclusively on women - I just think that if that’s the plan, it might be a good idea to be more up-front about it. To put it another way, it looks somewhat odd subtitling it “Pioneers of the Computing Age” without any men covered.

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      it’s womanwashing history

      I’m sorry, what??

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        What he said. In vein of whitewashing, womenwashing would be making people think women were responsible for what men created. The article claims to show us the “Pioneers of Computing.” Most inventing or leading key aspects of computing weren’t women. So, it would mostly be men. People new to computer history reading this might think it was all women inventing stuff between the title and women-only list. So, it fits his phrase.

        The goal of the article is clearly to highlight women in computing with their gender taking priority over any man with greater, technical achievements. That’s fine with me if it’s an activist work bringing attention to women to balancing things out a bit in field with lots of gender discrimination. However, an accurate title for that would be “Pioneering Women in Computing” to honestly convey the article’s goal. The current title gives impression the list will be merit-based or inclusive of all genders rather than just one gender with merit sacrificed.

        And if someone did it other way around, you bet there would be howling about men taking credit for women’s achievements. Like when they rightly gripe that women don’t get credit for doing a lot of the programming back in the day when it was considered clerical work. Once men took over, they manwashed them out of many historical tributes.

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          Thanks for writing this, it’s pretty much exactly what I was thinking. I used the term somewhat tongue-in-cheek (and judging by threads below should’ve made it clear with a big sign somewhere in neon lights).

          We get a lot of stuff on the Internet where pieces refer to people in a field, cover just men, and women who made a substantial and valuable contributable are excluded. Rightly, we call this sort of thing out. Because the post uses gender neutral terms, then does this effectively in reverse, it stands out. I’m just highlighting the standing out aspect.

          As I said earlier, I’m happy with a “pioneering women of the computing age” piece. If the authors don’t want the odd standing out element, a change in title may be useful. If they don’t really care, then it isn’t.

          I didn’t write it, it’s not my piece, it’s not up to me to police what other people write.

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        The title of the collection is a play on A Room of One’s Own. Maybe the subtitle could be tweaked, but I think they’re being up-front with the intent.

        I’m not sure how tongue-in-cheek you meant “womanwashing history” to be, but I think we shouldn’t compare promoting minority groups in tech to erasing minority groups in film.

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          Having not read Woolf, I didn’t make the link with the title. I was however, being pretty tongue in cheek, using it as a reference to the zillions of pieces on “pioneers of computing” out there that only talk about men.

          I suspect we’re on the same page, maybe the same paragraph but possibly different sentences.

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          What would be the problem if they don’t cover men in the advent calendar? There’s plenty of content about men in computing out there.

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            There’s no problem. I didn’t take the time to write it. I certainly haven’t had the time to read all of it.

            It’s immediately clear from the link that 1 - there’s an advent calendar, 2 - it’s solely about women. As such, the combination of gender neutral language in the subtitle with gender exclusion makes for a strange juxtaposition. I don’t mind it, but it wasn’t clear to me whether or not they were aiming for it. If they are, cool. If they’re not, maybe it’s worth reviewing to include women in the subtitle. Either way, it doesn’t bother me, I just thought I’d point it out.

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              It would be the same problem as doing the same thing in reverse.

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                Let’s say the supermarket always sells milk to you .25 more expensive, the day you realise do you settle down for being charged the same as the rest of people from that moment on or would you at least want your money back? I haven’t suffered any problems for being a man in tech as some of my friends have suffered just for being women, so I welcome this kind of initiatives where they highlight the work we sometimes invisiblize. I don’t see anything negative with this, maybe programmers get offended too easily with progressive views?

                1. 3

                  Let’s say the supermarket always sells milk to you .25 more expensive, the day you realise do you settle down for being charged the same as the rest of people from that moment on or would you at least want your money back?

                  I do not follow this analogy.

                  I don’t see anything negative with this, maybe programmers get offended too easily with progressive views?

                  I would consider myself politically left-leaning and liberal. However — as do many other left-leaning liberal people — I view Affirmative Action as immoral, illiberal, and regressive, regardless of how much the Western world today insists this is “progressive”.

                  I do not believe my occupation is at all relevant.

                  If this perspective is controversial to you, I can only point you towards the wise words of this guy — who even happens to not be a cisgender heterosexual white male!

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                    I think compensating for past discrimination is fine instead of starting with a blank slate, we disagree on our views on affirmative action then :).

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                      (at @jgt too)

                      I was trying to find examples to understand the problem that could bring it to a wider audience. Here’s one I came up with on a Thanksgiving with the family: the game of Monopoly. In it, people start out equal in terms of money and turns available. Each turn, a combination of their strategy and luck lets them own property. The more property they have, the more advantage they get over other players in terms of taking their money and forcing them into lesser properties. This cycle keeps getting stronger where those with existing properties with high rent and/or people hit a lot just let them buy even more properties.

                      Applying this to reality, whites had advantages getting them more physical property, better properties, money (esp for investments), positions in companies, positions in government and so on. They’re like someone in monopoly that had most of the property. Further, they got those properties by cheating: the other players weren’t allowed to buy specific properties with high value, some couldn’t buy at all, and some had no turns to play while white player did. After so many turns and whites have most property/money, they announce they’re going to fix the situation by forcing everyone to finally play fair. Each person will get a turn and the paltry starting money with everyone following the rules from that moment on, keeping whatever they got up to that point. The white player keeps their property, money, power over other players, ability to take most of their money no matter what decision they make, and get out of jail more often.

                      Is this actually fair and equal? Would anyone continue to play a game of Monopoly with a player who is allowed to keep the proceeds of non-stop cheating? And paying them rent for rest of game on good properties while “fairly” competing over low-value properties? Or would they remedy the cheating by reseting the game or seizing control of some of their properties with fines on their earnings? In other words, wouldn’t we fix the situation the cheating caused if not otherwise punishing the player?

                      We would. That’s a table top game with low stakes. This is real life with high stakes. The basic principles apply. Even on physical property people pay rent for given the effects of redlining’s effects are still with us. Clearly, any real remedy would roll back the problems caused by the systematic discrimination. It should be done in minimally-disruptive, maximally-fair way wherever possible. That’s why I push for shifting more investments into minority talent plus blind evaluation and random promotion. Both focusing on actual, measured results of work so only those that earn it get in. If that’s not feasible, then we might do quotas bringing in otherwise good people followed by developing their talent further (aka fixing the discrepency).

                      The funny part, though, about white males saying they don’t want systematic discrimination based on politics instead of performance is that they do it all the time at the executive levels. Then they give each other piles of money they don’t earn just because they can. This is probably wasting way more money than whatever difference exists between a white or black coder doing .NET. Or doing some occasional bootcamps. Or just paying for in-person tests of folks who learned on their own time via Edx [1], Coursera, private practice, etc. Most of the resistance is to the lesser version of performance-second, politics-first philosophy. It should be going toward the racist, sexist, overpaid capitalists perpetuation most of our problems. Note I use those adjectives to differentiate them from capitalist executives and board members who are not behaving that way who are at worst overpaid.

                      [1] See what I did there applying my own recommended form of remedial discrimination? ;)

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                        Alright. In that case, I believe there’s a family in Germany who owe me a house.

                        Can you guess my heritage?

                        n.b. I’m not that disillusioned that I’ll believe any proponent of Affirmative Action would ever say it also applies to me, given that I have white skin.

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                          We usually only take things so far back under the theory that the effects of harm spread out or dilute so much that it’s hard to say a remedy really is a remedy. That was a counter to reparations solution of just giving folks in specific categories a pile of money for stuff going back to slavery days. The discrimination of the past my game was talking about is so nearby that there’s people currently alive that were either affected by it or were the people doing the discrimination. The practices also continue into the present rather than being an old thing to fix. That means we’re arguing about whether people being discriminated against today as a matter of official or unofficial policy should have another policy countering that discrimination.

                          I’ll happily take in whatever alternative ideas you have that counter discrimination in hiring and promotions with existing majorities with highly-biased reviews of such candidates. As in, they never were doing it only about fair, performance/character evaluation. They’re not today. They won’t in near future. Most people in middle to top positions got there via political maneuvering or being the in-crowd (see Silicon Valley esp). So, your method has to convince them to risk their own upward momentum and/or hire/promote people they don’t like to improve the status quo. I’ve actually tried suggesting better performance management to such people, esp like Topgrader (pdf) with blind reviews, with some support. None implemented any of them, though.

                          You indicate you’re against two strategies that worked so far: quotas on hiring and/or increased investment in minority education or career fairs. Since they’re getting results, we need an alternative that works on uncooperative, discriminating organizations at least as well as they did. What’s your solution? And we do need a solution given Civil Rights Movement was decades ago with similar problems happening today.

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                            From my cursory Googling, slavery in America ended in 1865. My great-grandfather was a slave in a Nazi PoW camp. While I didn’t meet him, I do remember his wife — my great-grandmother — and I’m still a young guy (28). She died a nonagenarian just a few years ago. US slavery is still a hot social/political topic. Genocide in Poland — not so much, even though it’s far more recent. I think the lines drawn around who gets what reparations and for how long are totally arbitrary.

                            I’ll happily take in whatever alternative ideas you have that counter discrimination in hiring and promotions with existing majorities with highly-biased reviews of such candidates.

                            I won’t pretend to have a simple solution; it’s a complex topic, and I believe the hiring biases are a symptom of a wider societal issue. This is more prevalent in certain societies than others — Americans in particular appear to be hyper-focused on categorising people. When you ask your average Joe American where he’s from, he’ll typically say something like “I’m Irish”, or “I’m Italian”, regardless of whether he has ever been there, knows the culture/language/idioms/etc.

                            I agree with your approach of blind evaluation where feasible. Beyond that, as I’ve already hinted, it’s a more general issue which warrants a more general approach.

                            You indicate you’re against two strategies that worked so far: quotas on hiring and/or increased investment in minority education or career fairs.

                            To be clear, I’m only against one of those things. I am totally in support of career fairs or similar in less prosperous communities. But then I’m discriminating against financial status, which I think is reasonable given we’re talking about careers/money.

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                        Within a generation of the Civil War, black men made up a significant portion of the government. Then Jim Crow was enacted, and we started the affirmative action brigade as soon as Jim Crow was ended. Now there are just two black Senators, one R one D, and black people have almost no representation in state governments. Things were more equal between the Civil War and Jim Crow, and that’s why I am against affirmative action.

                      3. 1

                        It’s probably the analogy where others pay for their milk in part by working more overtime, getting more hazard pay and birthing fewer children.

                        That’s why your milk should have a compensated price instead of accepting and celebrating that people want different types of milk, or that milk has been traditionally enjoyed by family units more than individuals.

                        But I can’t be sure because all analogies lie.

                        Addendum: I think the list is a fine idea. Not everything has to be super political just because it reminds us women have been more than relevant throughout computing history and otherwise.

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                          I get it, my analogy is shit.

                          1. 1

                            Addendum: I think the list is a fine idea. Not everything has to be super political just because it reminds us women have been more than relevant throughout computing history and otherwise.

                            If you see my original comment, I agreed that such a list is a fine idea. I looked at the list in good faith. It’s true, not everything has to be political, but this is political.

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                    I’d like to read interesting stories about technical pioneers, but not with any kind of political agenda behind it.

                    However, I did take a look through other things by one of the contributors (blog, Twitter feed), and I don’t see any of the usual flags of SJW craziness.

                    I also don’t know what the gender split of technical pioneers of that era is. Maybe it was mostly women at the time? I don’t know.

                    So, maybe this collection is totally reasonable. Until I see something to suggest there’s some strong political agenda here [and I don’t care to put much effort into looking], I’m taking this at face value as just a nice collection of interesting profiles.

                    edit: Actually, I’ve just seen this:

                    Advent Calendar — Help us make it a book! From December 1st until December 24th we plan to release one article each day, highlighting the life of one of the many women that have made today’s computing industry as amazing as it is: From early compilers to computer games, from chip design to distributed systems, we will revisit the lives of these pioneers.

                    So, yeah. It’s a political thing.

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                      I think focused collections like this are important because they help counteract negative stereotypes and biases against women in computing. The explicit goal is to raise awareness.

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                        they help counteract negative stereotypes and biases against women in computing

                        Is there any evidence of this? As far as I can tell, diversity initiatives divide communities more than they unite them. This was covered rather well on Penn & Teller: Bullshit! S06E07 over a decade ago.

                        The explicit goal is to raise awareness.

                        As the GP comment already noted, it wasn’t immediately made explicit. I didn’t see an explicit mention of political agenda until I read to the bottom of one of the profiles.

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                          I found their style somewhat uncomfortable so I only watched the opening part of the episode, let me know if you think I’m misrepresenting their view and if there are highlights I should watch. The gist of Penn and Teller’s argument seems to be that we should ignore someone’s physical characteristics and focus as much as possible on objective measures of skill when evaluating performance.

                          I think this is an idealistic mindset that can be dangerous. People aren’t easily able to flip off their biases, and finding clear objective metrics for evaluating performance in technology is difficult. There’s a constant risk that our decisions are being made from a biased perspective. To continue making progress, I think it’s important to second-guess ourselves frequently and consider that someone’s age, gender, race, lifestyle, everything could be influencing us, so that we can get as close to making an objective decision as possible.

                          Second-guessing myself forces me to confront a lot of uncomfortable truths. I tend to downplay the accomplishments of women on my team in my head. I tend to assume that older women on teams are in management positions or lack technical background. I tend to chat more casually with men on my team, which leads me to understand their work better and trust them more for code reviews. This feels really gross to think about and write, but I’ve seen this from myself and from other people all over the place in tech.

                          When I see collections of articles like OP’s, I realize “Oh, right, I tend to lean towards men in software when I think about computing history, but there’s a richer set of stories here”. It’s positive for people like me who struggle with bias. I guess instead of speaking in the abstract, I should have focused on myself when I said these things counteract negative stereotypes.

                          So unfortunately, I don’t have evidence to point you to (I’m not well-read and I’m unsure that the effects of raising awareness are well-researched at this point), but I have a bunch of sad anecdotal evidence from myself and others that I could spew out, sad stories of people I like getting hurt by impulses people like me struggle to control. I care a lot about this stuff as a result. I’m sad that I’m getting hung up on the discussion around the type of content instead of focusing on the actual content itself.

                          Sorry for the rant.

                          1. 5

                            Is there any evidence of this?

                            A shit ton of it. I should get it together sometime trying to filter the stuff that might be BS or wasn’t replicated as much. Alternatively, identify the best-looking ones that need more review and replication. One of the best ones I’ve seen recently was this work that proved VC’s were systematically discriminating against women with hard data. Rather than just shaming, they saw it as an opportunity to improve the situation: literally just question the women the same way they do the men.

                            Just for extra emphasis, that shit has been going on a long time with people asking the question you asked every year with nobody noticing or admitting they were treating women totally different. More likely, it was internal with them told to stop whining or get lost as is more typically the case.

                            1. 1

                              I’m sorry, I might not have been clear enough.

                              Discrimination is ubiquitous and basically self-evident. No argument there.

                              I was asking if there is any evidence that initiatives like this collection of CS pioneer profiles actually help counteract the discrimination. I’m not sure “raising awareness” that there are women who write software is an effective way of countering discrimination. Incidentally, I’m not suggesting I have an answer to what would counter discrimination either; it’s a complex topic.

                              1. 2

                                Oh that’s a more reasonable position. Ive called folks out on same thing. I think one of easiest methods is simply linking to their work, inviting good ones to conferences, trying to boost them in companies, etc. I notice some submissions are already doing that to a degree.

                                1. 2

                                  Kudos, that helps people already in the pipeline. I’m assuming the target audience for the book will be schools and the relatives of young girls and women. You buy this book for your daughter/niece/student to show them that yes, there are women in computing who have done significant or interesting things, assuming you aren’t one already.

                        2. 2

                          I suppose it’s too mildly political for me to really care ;P

                          But about the gender split, a lot of men were off fighting wars and quite messed up afterwards. I’ve heard this cited as a reason for why so many women, during and after WWII, got deeper into computing than just being operators.

                          I don’t know how true it is, never bothered to look into it, but it sounds reasonable.

                          1. 1


                            In 1965, Sister Mary Kenneth Keller became the first American woman to earn a doctorate in computer science. Keller helped develop BASIC while working as a graduate student at Dartmouth, where the university “broke the ‘men only’ rule” so she could use its computer science center.

                            Granted, if they are going chronologically (I can’t really tell, they aren’t mentioning years), she would come later. But, I predict she wont even be mentioned.

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                          I wonder if employees would be willing to stay and cut their pay if Google cancelled this project.

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                            Probably? They were already willing to put themselves on a blacklist that will likely cement any future promotion (and subsequent salary raises), by signing this.

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                              I think that’s an unfair accusation based on what I’ve seen at Google, but I might be naive.

                              1. 2

                                Yeah, I was being a bit pessimistic.

                                I do think that there are other people who didn’t sign this note but who support that, so if your superior is one of them then you are likely safe. But at the same time, if you’re high enough your superiors are now the people at the top telling everyone to think about the business…. I dunno.

                                I think “barring you from top positions in the near term” is a reasonable assumption here, given that the people at the top were trying to push this through.

                                1. 1

                                  Maybe people at the top would quite reasonably take from this that these individuals might not make decisions that would best serve the company, if they were put in high enough roles.

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                            This is actually not terrible…it’s a decent survey of design and ux issues, worth a quick skim. Suggest rant and design tags.

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                              Publishing it on medium is pretty damaging to his argument, whatever it is

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                                Imo it’s a good decision, because anybody who already avoids medium doesn’t need to read it. It’s the opposite of preaching to the choir.

                                1. 3

                                  Totally agree. I used to be the kind of person to say “it’s on Medium, though!” Like I’d say certain projects started on Linux or C with their deficiencies. I do that a lot less now because I think we have at least two types of efforts to consider:

                                  1. Those that can afford to do The Right Thing accomplishing their goals. Greenfield stuff, personal projects, endeavors willing to take high risk, and so on.

                                  2. Those that need to work within an established ecosystem, market, and so on. They often have to integrate with it or conform to its attributes to reach its users.

                                  This is No 2. More Medium users will read this if it’s on Medium. They might also comment through their Medium accounts just to boost their own profile. As a side effect, they might learn something that sends them elsewhere. Enough high-profile people doing that might start a counter-trend. So, this is an example of work within the system to change it.

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                                  I think it works pretty effectively. You get to experience their points as you read through them.

                                  1. I dismissed the full-screen popup without even thinking about it, and then read their point about the pop-up and realized the pop-up is pretty annoying, but I’ve just gotten so used to it.

                                  2. When they pointed out the sheer amount of space being used by the header and footer, I realized how difficult it was to keep one of their points on-screen at once.

                                  3. I have a habit of highlighting text when I read through it, so I got irritated by the pop-up from selecting text as I scrolled through the article.

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                                I think this is a great example of how to compassionately blog about language concerns. The author’s two concerns are:

                                • the trade-offs of inclusive vs. exclusive behavior for the hat & range operators
                                • the awkwardness of using default interface methods compared to other trait systems

                                They raise these questions thoughtfully and with reference to previous discussion. They show strong code examples illustrating their points. Their stance is not angry or self-righteous. They praise other language features and don’t call into question the intelligence of the people writing the proposals.

                                I would be much happier if all blog posts of this sort showed so much consideration towards others.

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                                  I don’t know. Isn’t picking up new skills a bit more nuanced than that? I don’t disagree with the points you’re making here, but I just always wonder how much these inspirational blog posts actually help people. Are we just setting people up to get discouraged when the simple truths you’ve laid out here don’t mesh with the messiness of the learning process? I don’t know how to write about those complications effectively, but I think they’re important for people to hear.

                                  I’m also a bit worried about the impact of hackathon culture on programming. I’ve had a lot of fun at hackathons, don’t get me wrong – they’re a great tool for adjusting to new frameworks, meeting people and building better entrepreneurial skills. But it feels like most hackathons have become about the fancy landing pages and the business pitch you give at the end, compared to the actual act of programming and development of strong systems that happens along the way.

                                  I’ve preferred game jams over regular hackathons because you can’t really bullshit a game feeling nice and polished. But either way, they also encourage unhealthy working habits that can lead to massive burnout and exhaustion. I’ve got into really tense situations with close friends from doing hackathons together, and while that can bring you closer together, it also hurts a lot.

                                  Sorry, I don’t want to be elitist or exclude people from getting involved in the developer community though. I just wonder if this is the right framework for teaching people.

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                                    Is there a reason why the Pandas data loading logic couldn’t be rewritten to use C++ underneath the hood, so you can still keep the Python API while reaping the performance benefits?

                                    1. 1

                                      I’ve often wondered that as well. I’m not sure what the development plans are for Pandas, but since its creator is now working on Apache Arrow, I expect that may become a major backend at some point.

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                                      I agree with every word of this. It’s good to have a suitable label that nicely encapsulates the concept.

                                      I would like to see some examples. I would say that https://www.gov.uk/ would be one of the best examples of brutalist web design. What do you think?

                                      1. 3

                                        I was worried that I clicked into a spam site when I visited it!

                                        1. 3

                                          Like the sibling comment, I, too, had my “parked domain” flags triggered. However, the actual practice of using the gov.uk constellation of websites is fantastic. Very easy to use.

                                          The login.gov stuff and related things in the US are catching up to the usability of the UK sites.

                                          1. 2

                                            Like the sibling comment, I, too, had my “parked domain” flags triggered.

                                            I agree, but once you scroll down it improves a lot. Nice site.

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                                          Great idea!

                                          I think being more explicit about what “fresh and clean” means in the README would be helpful. I was unaware of the nonfree software part until I clicked into this thread, and assumed it was about code quality.

                                          It would also be reassuring to see some comments around strategy for keeping this up-to-date with new features, bugfixes etc. from the main filezilla repo (if that is the plan).

                                          1. 3

                                            Videos are back online now.

                                            1. 4

                                              I really like having the Q&A in text so I can read through it without having audio to watch the video! I’m not sure how much effort it is for you to maintain though, feels like the sort of thing that could get exhausting to write quickly.

                                              It’s not super-related to formal property verification, but I’ve been messing with bats lately to do some quick tests for one-off Python scripts that I write. It’s kinda like functional testing for bash scripts, verifying that certain lines are output and that the right error code is returned. Here’s a good tutorial, and here are some tests that I’ve written with it.

                                              1. 2

                                                It’s amazing to me how little code is involved for this! What a client.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I’ve been trying this recently but it’s extremely difficult! I’ve always been a really slow-starter when it comes to programming - I take forever to adjust to codebases and digest a problem. I need to spend a while reading through and thinking about things to map out a solution in my head before I start coding. I also take a while to adjust to new workflows and build up a groove for getting fixes out quickly. And sometimes it’s those later hours that give me the room to avoid distractions.

                                                  Maybe that’s just a sign that we need better tooling and I need to improve my ability to focus though. I mean, I am on Lobsters right now.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I’m like you and used to also grind pretty long hours in the beginning (when encountering a new codebase, now paradigms, etc), but I tried to do something similar to what this article suggests (for me it was motivated more by carving out personal time for side projects) and developed some skills to help me get into a new problem. Delivering on time with a balanced work-life balance is its own skill and it’s a shame the industry doesn’t try and develop it more.

                                                  1. 6

                                                    Employers think the elder employees have families and want more work-life balance, so they won’t work over-time without complaint like fresh graduates.

                                                    It’s true. I’m 34 and I do care more about getting a weekend hike in or working on my book than rendering additional hours, for free, unto capitalism. Even in terms of career investment, I’m generally more adept at investing in my own career than some duplicitous corporate manager who says he has my back but is really out for himself.

                                                    Older people know more. They’ve made their bad decisions already. (Some of us have made more than enough for two or three lifetimes.) All that stuff makes us better at everything… but harder to take advantage of.

                                                    The reason the pre-20th-century geniuses like Keats and Galois peaked so early is… they died. Before 1900, the age of 50 was fairly old and you were very lucky if you got to 60 with your health intact. (It happened; it wasn’t common.) We live in a different era and the intellectual peak seems to be quite late– at least 30, probably around 50– with the decline being extremely slow (if not nonexistent) in people who stay in good health.

                                                    1. 9

                                                      As a 24 year old, I hate the fact that enough people my age work long hours such that it is almost expected of me. Everyone is free to do what they want, but I can’t imagine not having enough hobbies so you willingly fill time doing work. Even with my strict 8 hour schedule I feel like I don’t have enough time to do what I want!

                                                      Also, almost every young programmer I’ve seen put long hours to “impress” bosses has failed. Software doesn’t work like that and most spend the extra time tabbing in and out of Reddit anyway.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Everyone is free to do what they want, but I can’t imagine not having enough hobbies so you willingly fill time doing work.

                                                        :( as a 25-year old who doesn’t have enough hobbies and fills his time sometimes doing work, ouch.

                                                        1. 4

                                                          I relate to that (as a 26yo that was doing +12h/day). I read some books about work life balance (Off Balance) and others (Dream Manager, The Rythm Of Life) from Matthew Kelly, and then tried to apply.

                                                          When I changed job recently, I decided to add a challenge and directly told my future manager that I won’t work more than the legal 8 hours per day. He was comprehensive and even if he overworks a lot, I don’t feel pressured to do the same.

                                                          At the beginning coming home earlier was a pain, I wondered what to do, and spent hours reading HN/Lobsters/The Guardian, watching YouTube/Netflix etc…

                                                          Then I started to cook a bit more complex stuff and challenged myself to impress my girlfriend with it, I started to contribute on Github (very small things but I cleared myself from computers at home so I do my PR from and iPad now!), I’m reading more than ever, I now sleep much better, probably because I’m out of screens earlier, so I can wake up at 6 and go to the gym…

                                                          I really think that if you try to un-focus from work, you’ll find things to do. Play a musical instrument, help a local community, or if you still want to dev, dev for yourself or the community !

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                                                            He was comprehensive and even if he overworks a lot, I don’t feel pressured to do the same.

                                                            That’s an interesting choice of words.

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                                                              Oh sorry, got messed up in the translation! I meant understanding!

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                                                      This is so awesome. A total goldmine of great tips around building a better mindset as a software engineer, wrapped in an easy-to-digest & share format.

                                                      I remember seeing the pages around asking good questions linked around a year or two ago, and as someone who always felt worried about coming off as dumb, it really helped improve my mindset! I’m definitely going to share this around.

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                                                        One thing that worries me slightly about nesting helper functions inside of other functions is that it can break up the flow for the reader. Generally when I read a function, I expect to see a list of statements that will be executed, creating code flows. Nesting a helper around these statements always trips me up a bit, because I have to skip over its declaration and find its usages to trace the code execution correctly.

                                                        That being said I think it’s fine for small one- or two-liner helpers, especially in languages that have a concise syntax for lambdas. And I definitely agree that polluting the top-level scope with lots of helpers can make your code feel really cluttered and messy. So there’s a balance(as with everything style-related).

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                                                          It’s also problematic if you want to test the nested function. Most languages don’t provide (sane) ways of accessing them.

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                                                          Well, to take something positive out of it, I didn’t know that @coraline ’s team was responsible for first-time contributor badges and the new repo invite email process! Thanks!

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                                                            Yeah, it sounds like she got a number of good changes implemented while she was there! I’m sorry her experience was so terrible. It’d be great to still have her there, pushing for this sort of change.

                                                            Reading between the lines a bit, it sounds like GitHub leadership may have made the move to hire her without really getting buy in from the company about the need for a greater degree of empathy and consideration for marginalized groups. So she comes in having gotten a great song and dance about how they want to change, but the rank and file are hostile.

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                                                              I see it both ways:


                                                              They were probably hostile to any changes due to whatever lack of empathy or consideration they had. Maybe some deliberate discrimination, too. Who knows but I assume some to a lot given SV’s demographics. ;) Then, they see a possibly-recognizable, political extremist that attacks or censors anyone disagreeing with her on a campaign to benefit everyone but them. She’s also loads the team up with people as unlike them as possible who all agree people like them are the problem. This combo is a powder keg for political infighting.

                                                              This story has enough villains who think they’re heroes to be a lot worse than it was. I’m glad it stayed as civil as it did with some benefits coming out of it. That said, your comment totally neglects the aggressive politics and censorship she pushes in your description of why there would be resistance. I remember one story submitted to Lobsters that thankfully didn’t get upvotes where the author talks about having “two, token, white men.”


                                                              I looked at that thinking, “Really? They say they’re about inclusiveness and equality but just said the word token followed by a race with no serious consequences?” Maybe it was a joke. I doubt it given the article similarly acted like Coraline’s opponents appeared out of thin air and only wanted to stop good deeds. So, again, her political aggression w/ censorship goals and apparently anti-white-male attitude should be considered when assessing response in an organization with lots of people who might not cooperate with such things.

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                                                                Maybe it was a joke.

                                                                Token white men is an obvious joke. Yes, it is not a joke when it refers to minorities but it is a joke when it refers to white men. Yes, in an imaginary world where all races are equal this wouldn’t be a joke. Perhaps the joke is about the fact that we do not live in that imaginary world. Perhaps getting worked up about the diction by an entirely different writer in a one-year old article is completely irrelevant to this thread and has no bearing on the author’s supposed hidden political agenda and anti-white-male attitude.

                                                                I honestly do not understand why anybody would give Github the benefit of the doubt. How many awful things are we going to hear about Github, written under the bylines of people who are risking their careers and their reputations – authors who know that anonymous commenters on threads like these will drag their names through the mud a million times over, dredging up old posts and using shitty three-letter acronyms invented by angry white men –, before we start believing that they might contain a kernel of truth? A comment on Lobsters asking Coraline to be more like Martin Luther King, Jr. has 54 upvotes right now; at least 54 people have bought into the idea that if you are less morally upstanding that Martin Luther King, Jr. then you do not deserve to publish an article on your own blog detailing your own experiences. This is a two-billion dollar company that does not need your help defending it. To the people who are writing screeds against the author here, this single blog post is not some sort of silver-bullet shot fired at your culture: You have already won. You have the money, the executives, the jobs, the social networks, the access. You are winning. Congratulations. Jesus fucking Christ.

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                                                                  “Yes, it is not a joke when it refers to minorities but it is a joke when it refers to white men.”

                                                                  That’s exactly the kind of structural, reverse racism I’ve had to deal with. Also a double standard. They’re in a position of power, they’re minimizing any white/male people as much as possible, they write up an article about what they’re doing, and mention token, white males as a joke. Discrimination ain’t funny. Calling them out on hypocrisy is certainly worth my time.

                                                                  The bigger part of that article wasn’t the joke so much as it’s a bunch of people with SJW politics misleading readers into thinking they’re taking hate just because they’re minorities or getting people to play nice. They leave out political domination, launching mobs against Github projects, etc. Supports their false narrative where they’re the victims of attackers rather than the attackers themselves meeting both political resistance and just self-defense by those they’re targeting or trying to control.

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                                                                    I think there’s a very thin line that needs to be respected when discussing these topics. This same argument has frequently been used to diminish the arguments of minorities who rightfully speak out against prejudice. I don’t know enough about this particular instance to comment about it, but we should be careful about the vocabulary that we choose in these discussions, because some phrases have unfortunate implications.

                                                                    In particular, “SJW” has frequently been used as a catch-all phrase to disparage people who speak out against racism/sexism. I think if we’re going discuss this topic on this site, we should have a better understanding of the connotations our words carry.

                                                                    A lot of this same argument, with the same sort of vocabulary, was invoked by more extreme members of the GamerGate community, who did a massive amount of damage to minorities in the gaming industry. Seeing you use it here damages the credibility of your position for me.

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                                                                      “This same argument has frequently been used to diminish the arguments of minorities who rightfully speak out against prejudice. “

                                                                      Which doesn’t really matter if it was coming from obvious racists or sexists ignoring data or selectively using it to push their agenda. They can be called out on those grounds. The SJW’s actually like that, though, since it lets them just associate such people with any use of the term and then ask people stop using it. You’re doing that as well but maybe for more honest reasons.

                                                                      “I think if we’re going discuss this topic on this site, we should have a better understanding of the connotations our words carry.”

                                                                      I’ve been very specific in at least two comments about what kinds of people SJW term is about. I’ve also linked to examples of their behavior involving forcing a minority in a minority view on people, using sophist tactics, censoring opponents, and going after their jobs or projects. These are not people just fighting racism or sexism that provably exists. I’m one of those people. I obviously wouldn’t dismiss just that with some BS label.

                                                                      “A lot of this same argument, with the same sort of vocabulary, was invoked by more extreme members of the GamerGate community,”

                                                                      It’s funny you mention that because it was my first realization these people existed in some big trend. I’ve studied and countered disinformation tactics for quite some time but not known about assaults on media, forums, and so on. The GamerGate reporting I read about in gamer-oriented media was extremely one-sided only showing what the feminists/activists said. I thought it was about minorities expressing some opinions, a relationship breakup w/ revenge porn, and the examples from gamers were all pure hate mail that apparently came out of nowhere. Some smart folks I know sent me a video that blew my mind:


                                                                      In this video, new information is introduced that I didn’t see in half a dozen articles I read. The author mentions at least two women involved were claiming gamers were unnecessarily violence-loving, sexist, and racist. Whether true or false, that was an attack which has predictable consequences for anyone who knows gamers. One had an academic paper saying how games should be done in a totally different way or developers + players were just evil. On top of it, the females developing games were doing some of the same behavior on the list of No No’s to make money. Interestingly, they also ignore that the supply side responds to market demand, the games that are like their list don’t sell, the games doing the complaints do, and that demand side includes a huge chunk of women. So, they were claiming bad things about all gamers, ignoring women gamers’ views on the matter, and hypocritically doing what they said shouldn’t happen for money. And then the hate rolled in.

                                                                      Quite justified although obviously not supporting the extremist stuff. The regular gripes, mockery and so on makes sense with that backdrop. The thing that shocked me was it wasn’t reported in the articles I read from publications for gamers. Somehow, the gamers’ side of things with very, legitimate counterpoints was censored. Why was that? Why were these people not mentioning their negative claims about gamers or how they did the same things for money? Why were they only mentioning how they tried to do some nice things about (social justice stuff here) with the gamers just doing horrible things because they’re evil males and stuff who were unprovoked? Then someone told me they were SJW’s with this being their default tactic of looking like a victim, making news afraid to report whole thing, and causing big shitstorms. More research found similar attacks on many social issues where one side made a decree then declared holy war on enemies always claiming harassment, asking foes be censored, and so on.

                                                                      If you thought GamerGate was evidence feminists were treated unfairly, then it damages your credibility for me because you may have never known what those select few did to gamers, you may not know why the information was censored at media level, and you would’ve been griping about their victims while supporting the original perpetrators. I can’t blame you as I did it early on not knowing anything about how these deceptive, manipulating “activists” operate. Thanks for reminding me about my wake up call on the subject, though. :)

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                                                            This is a great example of somebody who really knows their shit making what would prove to be an incorrect long-term choice.

                                                            Not only that, but it would land Id in legal dispute with Creative Labs because of a patent problem, which they settled.

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                                                              I’m a graphics dummy - how are shadows handled nowadays? I tried to get more context from the Wiki article on shadow volumes[0] but nothing really stood out to me as an explanation for where this falls short.

                                                              [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_volume#Depth_fail

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                                                                Shadow maps (for rasterized/realtime graphics) have overtaken shadow volumes in most cases. There’s a decent summary of why here.

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                                                              Also worth a read is this paper on GOOL, the predecessor to GOAL. It doesn’t have the same crazy compiler that GOAL does, but still very cool.

                                                              This comes from the excellent “Making Crash Bandicoot” series of blog posts.

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                                                                I strongly admire the amount of work he put into this, and as he says at the end of the article, the knowledge he gained from it will certainly be helpful towards his(hopefully Googley) career.

                                                                However, please heed his advice and don’t do this, as he says several times. It is an obscene amount of work to put into just preparing for an interview. I can’t begin to imagine the heartbreak that would follow if you failed afterwards. Even the Google Interview University page he links seems like complete overkill, although I can only give my perspective from having done the new grad-level interview twice.

                                                                I failed my first on-site with them because I had built it up to be some amazing haven that I absolutely had to get into after university, or else I would be a failure. The sheer amount of pressure made it extremely difficult to stay calm and collected. Every time I made a mistake, I couldn’t recover from it and reset my thinking, because I couldn’t take a step back and relax. The tech interview, for better or worse, is largely testing your mindset under pressure.

                                                                Yes, Google is a great company that tries to recruit great talent, but at the end of the day it’s still just one of many large tech companies. The people I know who have done the best on the interviews had done some amount of preparation from the standard resources, but most importantly they went into it thinking of Google as just one of many options open to them. This helped them relax and stay composed, which leads to a much more comfortable interview atmosphere.

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                                                                  This would be a good reason to switch to crystal (although i think this is at least the 3rd just like ruby but static language I’ve seen, so maybe wait a bit). Going through all this work to find bugs in ruby code, and then continuing to develop the ruby version sounds downright painful though. You’re going to add another feature to the ruby code and then do this all again next week?

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                                                                    Ruby has the advantage of being a significantly more mature language, with all of the pros (and cons) that brings. So I still think it’s a reasonable choice in the end. As always, it depends.

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                                                                      i think this is at least the 3rd just like ruby but static language I’ve seen

                                                                      I’m curious, what are the other two?

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                                                                        One of the jruby devs was working on one. You can get some speed ups by calling methods normally instead of reflection for everything. :)

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                                                                          Mirah is the one from the JRuby folks.

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                                                                            Ruby folks named it after a gemstone in Japanese, eh? Last dynamic one used in mission-critical stuff just straight up said Gemstone:


                                                                            A lot of things get named same thing in IT. Maybe just sheer volume of stuff we make. Btw, I saw Braintree on Basecamp’s Bootstrapped and Proud article. It was one of my favorites, esp owners' strategy of upselling on people who really knew why they needed product. I was thinking about trying something similar but as a non-profit or public benefit company chartered carefully for long-term safety of customers. Maybe franchise as well for growth strategy. Braintree could do that. Good luck to yall anway. :)

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                                                                              And to you as well

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                                                                        It’s hard to say with a contrived example but the syntax looks close enough to make me wonder if you could have ruby ignore the type annotations - test and check with crystal but develop and run with ruby, maybe?

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                                                                          For some reason, as I continued to read through the post, I assumed that the “second opinion” phrasing was a joke that was going to end with “you might as well use Crystal”.