1. 1

    This is neat. Does it only work for certain sites?

    1. 2

      It works on any site that uses microdata (i.e. itemtype="https://schema.org/Recipe) or some of the more common recipe card patterns from WordPress, etc. There are some sites that put too much info or have unusual styling inside the recipe area so the modal comes out looking funny; that’s why I included a button to disable it for a given domain.

    1. 2

      The most frustrating aspect of this photograph competition is that the only images published on the official site are low resolution. Downscales like this just don’t give appropriate credit to the photographer: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/epsrc/cache/file/504AC1E7-3623-4C88-AB2D3FF808A296C1.png

      Has anyone located the originals online?

      1. 2

        The largest version of the linked photo I could find on Tineye is at The Guardian’s page here (direct link here - 1920x1440).

        The other contest winners are on that page, likely in similar dimensions.

        1. 1

          I’ve not been able to find higher res versions of that photo, but I did find this one: http://content.assets.pressassociation.io/2018/02/11175054/f7f7c86b-dc52-4355-a622-9e3cb9a876fc.jpg

        2. 1

          It’s possible they only post low res to give the photographer a chance to sell higher quality versions. I would easily pay for a high quality poster.

        1. 3

          This is pretty interesting and I appreciate Position being worker run and owned - not to mention the work life balance, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. It’s just a shame that it’s onsite only. I’d apply if I were near NYC.

          1. 5

            Thanks! We don’t really have the processes in place to make remote work a possibility but maybe someday. Tech Coop Network may have some similar cooperatives that are more remote friendly!

          1. 17

            Do I plan on working a lot this week? No, not really.

            Oh, I’ll have spare time then, will I learn a lot of new technology this week for fun? Also no.

            But I will certainly spend this week to improve my family life and make deeper connections with my friends? I mean… also no but now I’m starting to feel bad about being in this thread.

            1. 2

              I support you in this non-endeavor.

              1. 1

                Following in Peter’s footsteps? ;)

              1. 3

                I’ve got a pretty unreal work-life balance for someone in the tech industry, so while I don’t think my work is making the world at large a better (or worse, really) place, it certainly makes my world a better place. I’m not sure there’s any lifestyle change I could make (aside from retiring if financially possible) that would improve my life. So while I don’t wake up thinking “I am going to help society by doing my job today,” I do wake up happy nearly every day.

                1. 1

                  I think I’d have a significantly improved chance of career happiness if I were in your shoes, contributing to humanity aside 🙂 congrats!

                1. 1

                  The end is near… We should totally escape to Mars then.

                  1. 3

                    I hear the weather on Mars isn’t great, either 😛

                  1. 0

                    If you are doing something somebody will pay for, then that means that whatever you are doing is good for that somebody, otherwise why would he pay for it. So the more money you make, the more meaningful your activity is.

                    So the more money you make, the more meaningful your life is. Don’t trust your brain internal measure of meaningfulness, it was evolved when we were hunter-gatherers and it is incapable of correctly measuring meaningfulness of your activities in the modern world. Trust your bank accounts or crypto-wallets.

                    Some people think that giving food to random starving children around the world is ‘meaningful’, but it’s not. You are just doing genetic socialism and propping up bad reproductive strategies that are proven to not work. In continuing to propagate the information embedded in the DNA of those starving children, you are actually allowing the bad strategy to be more widely implemented, and thus making the problem you are trying to solve worse. And what does your bank account say? It says you have less money. Brain: 0, Bank account: 1

                    But that’s just one way of defining ‘meaningful’.

                    In reality life in inherently meaningless. You have been lucky (or unlucky) to be born into a time and place of plenty that allows you to ask yourself a question with no answer. If you had been born in a pre-industrial farming community, then you only care about surviving the next winter. You have no time for such pointless thought processes as asking yourself what is a ‘meaningful’ life.

                    You can try reading philosophies but those are just the rambling non-answers of those who came before you who asked the same question.

                    You are just a robot who was built to replicate information embedded in DNA. You by accident was given a nervous system capable of asking questions like “What is the meaning of life?” and “How do I live a meaningful life?”. Those questions are just syntactically correct enough to convince you that they are meaningful questions, but they are not.

                    Don’t worry though, sooner or later your children will come home from school and your neural “let’s make sure the children are well so they will propagate my genes” system will fire and you will forget about all these silly questions.

                    Life is without meaning, and any attempt to find one is just your mind incapable of accepting the fact that you are mortal and small, and wanting to be large and forever.

                    1. 10

                      This perspective is vulgar:

                      Some people think that giving food to random starving children around the world is ‘meaningful’, but it’s not. You are just doing genetic socialism and propping up bad reproductive strategies that are proven to not work.

                      Social Darwinism is a sickness.

                      1. -3

                        Social Darwinism is a sickness.

                        That is strange, when it is essentially impossible for natural selection to not apply to humans. If an all pervasive and always applicable by definition effect is a sickness, then the word sickness has such weak boundaries on its definition as to render it pointless as a word.

                        1. 3

                          What you might call a “sickness” is the tendency to over-simplify important and complex issues in the real world into a few convenient logical predicates and them arrive at serious conclusions, which if taken seriously, would result in actual people actually suffering.

                          I also once were a robot like you, but then I realized that the real world is many orders of magnitude orders of magnitude more complicated than I could ever hope to analyze or even observe, so I’ve learned to trust my hard-evolved feelings to take care of the complexity, and I only use my logic to choose between the alternatives that feel right relying on the predicates that feel right. As a matter of fact, anything that involves people suffering has a very little chance of feeling right.

                          1. 0

                            Does it feel right to chase away a predator in order to save a cute prey?

                            1. 1

                              If I witnessed a wolf chasing a cute rabbit, I’d probably save the rabbit if I had the means. But if I had the means to save all rabbits from being eaten by all predators, I’d definitely not do it since it’d have a terrible impact on the environment. But then, if you came to me and convinced me, through logical arguments, that saving that one rabbit from that wolf will have a significant negative impact on anything I care about, my feelings about the former issue could change and I could let the wolf eat the rabbit.

                              Now, hypotheticals aside, there’s no universe in which I could be convinced that children dying from starvation could be the solution to anything. Even if you made very good arguments about why them not dying from starvation would cause something very bad, I’d still try infinitely many ways to find other means of avoiding that very bad thing. But children dying from starvation is off the table. In general, convincing me to support the suffering of people would take far more that some juvenile arguments coming from an extremely simplified and naive interpretation of the very complex phenomenon that is evolution.

                              1. 1

                                Why is the wolf starving to death preferable to the rabbit being killed by the wolf?

                                1. 2

                                  You don’t get the point, I’m not pushing that wolf to starvation by stopping it from eating that rabbit. It has a whole forest to hunt. If the circumstances were such that me saving that rabbit means certain starvation for that wolf, I’d feel differently about the issue. To save you the trouble, you really should stop wasting your energy trying to come up with simplified dilemmas to draw logical arguments about complicated situations. And that’s actually my whole point. Logic is an illusion, it’s a tool our pathetic brains use to overcome our inability to conceive even a tiny fraction of the world around us.

                                  1. 1

                                    Logic is an illusion,

                                    well if you reject logic, then what tool do I have to argue against you? My feelings?

                              2. 1

                                Since we’re really talking in metaphor, I wouldn’t just chase it away, I’d kill it. You have failed to understand the role and nature of social interaction. You will be discarded, just as you have discarded others unless you change.

                                1. -1

                                  So it’s okay for predator to starve to death because they are not cute?

                                  1. 2

                                    Survival of the cutest my friend.

                            2. 2

                              It’s funny given your ideas on genetics if you were right you’d be the defective one because failing to realize social implications is a pretty obviously material defect. Thank goodness you’re wrong because you’re totally uninformed about modern science. You can improve!

                          2. 9

                            I used to engage in this sort of nihilism and it was a sad and depressing way to live, so I sympathise, fellow robot. That’s the trouble with too much logic and not enough context (indeed, how robotic!). Once I learned that my conclusions hinged on blatantly false unexamined assumptions, I was able to shift my views to something more constructive.

                            Having children doesn’t stop questions about meaning, by the way.

                            1. 1

                              Once I learned that my conclusions hinged on blatantly false unexamined assumptions,

                              Now if only you would be so kind as to state those false assumptions and why they are false, I would be enlightened.

                              But you chose not to.

                              1. 6

                                I thought it rather unlikely that you would be enlightened by a stranger on the internet. It was far more likely to result in a pointless argument.

                                Anyway, for me there were two primary false assumptions:

                                • That it’s all about me - my individual fulfilment, freedom etc. This is plainly against where the human evolutionary path led us - we’re a social animal, not a solitary one. Caring about others is essential to us.
                                • That the meaning is to be found somehow. Clearly, the universe just is, as you also point out, so there’s nothing to be found, but that’s beside the point because we have the capacity to make up the meaning. When we have this capacity and the alternatives are so depressing, what’s the point of refusing to make something up?

                                Once I got rid of these assumptions, it turned out that contributing to the sustainable future of the human race or ensuring that I personally see a continuation of my family is actually pretty meaningful if I let it be meaningful. Even better, it aligns well with what it means to be a human robot, as you suggested regarding DNA propagation.

                            2. 4

                              You are just doing genetic socialism and propping up bad reproductive strategies that are proven to not work.

                              There’s something odd about someone calling themselves libertarian but espousing racial collectivism. Or is your username meant to be ironic or something?

                              Life is without meaning, and any attempt to find one is just your mind incapable of accepting the fact that you are mortal and small, and wanting to be large and forever.

                              This may be true.

                              Don’t worry though, sooner or later your children will come home from school and your neural “let’s make sure the children are well so they will propagate my genes” system will fire and you will forget about all these silly questions.

                              This is completely false.

                              1. 2

                                They aren’t a libertarian just like the nazis weren’t national socialists. It’s just a way for them to spout bullshit and hope naive libertarians will buy in to it without questioning the line of reasoning. While I do have reservations about libertarian ideology, this person is just a classist racist bigot and frankly has no place on lobsters. I’ve yet to see anything they’ve spouted to actually be libertarian anyway.

                                1. -1

                                  There’s something odd about someone calling themselves libertarian but espousing racial collectivism.

                                  You are clearly projecting here because there’s nothing racial about my comments.

                                  1. 4

                                    You claim that starving children are starving because they are genetically inferior.

                                    1. 6

                                      This user probably isn’t worth replying to. Expect to be sealioned to hell.

                                      1. -3

                                        I never said they are inferior, but that the reproductive strategy embedded within their DNA has proven to fail by the very fact that they are starving.

                                        You really are projecting.

                                        1. 10

                                          I intended to stay out of this but there’s nothing genetic about any of:

                                          • being born into an unstable, grossly unfair, or failed nation-state.
                                          • experiencing a famine or a natural disaster.
                                          • being surrounded by a civil war.
                                          • having your ethnic group despised and persecuted.
                                          • not acquiring a useful education when basic needs are unmet.
                                          • having children when birth control is unavailable or proscribed.
                                          • being unable to emigrate or prevented from emigrating.

                                          These are exactly the sorts of situations that produce the kind of human suffering that people respond to with generosity. You might argue that in some cases aid perversely subsidizes and supports corrupt regimes and allows the situations to fester that prevent these people from having a reasonable life longer than if there were no aid and the society/state collapsed (with an even greater degree of short-term misery) but it’s not “embedded within their DNA”.

                                          Restating OP’s argument, “Fuck them, they’re unlucky. Let them die out of my sight and don’t you help them because they’re undeserving by virtue of being unlucky. Now go tend to your lucky off-spring.”

                                      2. 2

                                        Said the horrible racist. Get banned already please.

                                    2. 2

                                      Your ideas around genetics are outdated and wrong.

                                    1. 4

                                      I find my work meaningful insomuch as it allows me to work with people I get along with, gives me opportunities to learn and improve the lives of my co-workers, and it enables other more meaningful things in my life. Things like spending time with family, not having to worry about paying the bills, being able to work on side-projects, and not having to rush every moment.

                                      For me, I’ve noticed that meaningfulness of work gets removed most when I’m isolated from being able to interact with my co-workers on a meaningful level.

                                      I work at a tax and payroll software company, where the mission is, among other things, to reduce the amount of paperwork in play for organizations. There’s a little bit of meaning there, I suppose, but by far the better aspect of is that I get to work with competent co-workers who care about the health of the team on multiple fronts.

                                      1. 1

                                        For me, I’ve noticed that meaningfulness of work gets removed most when I’m isolated from being able to interact with my co-workers on a meaningful level.

                                        This happens for me, too. I’m very much a social coder.

                                      1. 30

                                        How do I phrase this without sounding like a horrible show-off? I’ll try to make my job sound not meaningful and meaningful and you’ll find some truth in both and have to judge for yourself.

                                        Modern, JavaScript-capable Web Browsers: An experiment to download untrusted code from the web and run it on your computer, without allowing the code to take over your computer. Still trying.

                                        Most, if not all other relevant web browsers exist purely to support a business model, strengthen vendor lock-in, get user data beyond search orgenerate revenue for shareholders. I’m working for the alternative web browser, which answers to no one but its users. We’re competing with the biggest and most valuable corporations in the world and I think we’re doing rather OK. I help this product being a secure choice for hundreds of millions of people.

                                        1. 11

                                          I just want to pipe in and say thanks for working on the development of Firefox. I have been a long time advocate and never really jumped onto the Chrome (or Chromium) bandwagon. As a web developer, FF has always been a much better platform to debug in (starting with Firebug and then its integration into the default FF inspector and dev tools), and new HTML/CSS/JS features always seemed to hit Aurora instantly. That statement always seems to start interesting debates with Chrome-jockeys where they tend to show me things I already have in FF.

                                          I see by your hat you’re on the security team, but I thank you nonetheless.

                                          1. 2

                                            Ditto. I get tired of watching people take pot shots at Firefox because it’s a big target. From where I sit it is the last best hope for a truly open web browser that has anything like mass market penetration, and that’s important in all caps, bold and with flames erupting from every letter.

                                          2. 9

                                            I tried to answer the “is your work meaningful” question.

                                            What I’d find more interesting: Do you find your own work meaningful (personal view in contrast to assuming objectivity) and what aspect makes it meaningful to you.

                                            1. 1

                                              I think that’s a fair update to the question!

                                          1. 11

                                            Oh god, no. My work is 99% dealing with complete nonsense, 1% doing something mildly interesting. They have this catch phrase here: “change banking for good,” but I’ve never seen anyone do anything to that end or even mention it beyond the ra-ra corporate meetings.

                                            I actually am in the middle of getting a new manager right now. I love my old manager and am really unimpressed with the new guy. Realistically, I’m looking at finishing my year out here and moving on.

                                            1. 5

                                              “change banking for good,” but I’ve never seen anyone do anything to that end or even mention it beyond the ra-ra corporate meetings

                                              If you’re working for a run of the mill, state-enforced cartel member bank, then yeah, they’re not interested in changing anything.

                                              1. 1

                                                Hmm, I’m not sure which banks you’re referring to. I work at Capital One for what it’s worth.

                                              2. 1

                                                Oh god, no.

                                                🤣

                                              1. 10

                                                I have found meaning by:

                                                1. Letting go of thinking that I, at 34, will do something that will meaningfully change the world. I am too late in my life to realistically expect me to have one of those Big Ideas, and I came too late to the party of realizing I found meaning in making the planet better (I am really ambivalent about humanity, whereas when I grew up I felt like technology would improve everything for everyone, which is not a belief I hold anymore). I think you and I have had very similar feelings, I felt very much like the world wasn’t benefitting from what I did, so why bother?
                                                2. Assuming I won’t have that impact I think I should make, my best bet is to act as an enabler for someone who can. So I work on foundational products like cloud systems, backend APIs, that sort of thing. The cheaper and more accessible foundational systems get, the more likely I can enable someone that will do something amazing. That way I don’t have to buy into the vision of a consumer product in order to get meaning. Consumer products come and go and very few are ever going to make the world a better place (maybe the last one was Facebook or even as far back as Google Maps). Two years ago I took a position to try and optimize for the day-to-day (working on smaller systems after burning out on a big one) that caused the enabling dimension to suffer, and I lost my sense of purpose and meaning. That has affected my excitement about my work much more negatively than the issues of what I left.

                                                I think of projects like Mozilla, cloud, even something like Tensorflow or Kubenetes, as being these kind of enablers.

                                                Sure, the most meaningful thing in my life is my family. The most meaningful things in your life are almost certainly going to be outside of work. I’m trying to do more meaningful things like Hour of Code and encourage girls and minorities into STEM (again following the enabling track). But it is important, I think, to find some sort of thing you can extract from the day-to-day as worth it to you, otherwise you’re just going to stop getting out of bed.

                                                1. 3

                                                  I think when I posed the question, your second bullet point is what I secretly wanted to hear the most.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Last night, I saw that @cflewis and @freddyb as two sides of same coin in terms of doing meaningful work in IT. One is making sure it’s easy to create things that benefit humanity using technology. One is making sure it’s easy to consume them. In each case, you want what you make to be designed for high uptake for one. Usability, marketing/branding, and cost trumps internal tech on either of these almost every time. Then, if dollars and/or code contributions are rolling in, you can use your influence to make sure whatever it is goes in public-benefiting rather than predatory directions.

                                                    Firefox is actually a good example where they make money off ad-driven search but let you do private search easily. Always having an affordable, private version of anything ad driven is another example. On organizational side, you might charter or contract in basic protections/benefits for everyone from employees to users. On the technology stack, you might build on better foundations to shift more money or effort into quality tech that deserves it. Quick example from my field would be things like routers most half-ass with shoddy tech instead using OpenBSD, secure admin interface, and automatic updates. On web side, it might be those using tech like Erlang to be efficient and highly-reliable with big, success stories getting more people investing in its tooling.

                                                    There’s a lot of possibilities that involve doing something that people want to use or buy that’s just more effective and/or less evil than the norm. Sadly, the norm has so much of those two that there’s plenty of ways to differentiate on those. The relief being that there’s plenty of ways to differentiate on those. :)

                                                1. 57

                                                  Meaningful is…overrated, perhaps.

                                                  A survey of last four jobs (not counting contracting and consulting gigs, because I think the mindset is very different)

                                                  • Engineer at small CAD software startup, 50K/yr, working on AEC design and project management software comfortably 10 years ahead of whatever Autodesk and others were offering at the time. Was exciting and felt very important, turned out not to matter.
                                                  • Cofounder at productivity startup, no income, felt tremendously important and exciting. We bootstrapped and ran out of cash, and even though the problems were exciting they weren’t super important. Felt meaningful because it was our baby, and because we’d used shitty tools before. We imploded after running out of runway, very bad time in life, stress and burnout.
                                                  • Engineering lead at medical startup, 60K/yr, working on health tech comfortably 20 years ahead of the curve of Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, a bunch of other folks. Literally saving babies, saving lives. I found the work very interesting and meaningful, but the internal and external politics of the company and marketplace soured me and burned me out after two years.
                                                  • Senior engineer at a packaging company, 120K/yr, working on better packaging. The importance of our product is not large, but hey, everybody needs it. Probably the best job I’ve ever had after DJing in highschool. Great team, fun tech, straightforward problem space.

                                                  The “meaningful” stuff that happened in the rest of life:

                                                  • 3 relationships with wonderful partners, lots of other dating with great folks
                                                  • rather broken family starting to knit together slowly, first of a new generation of socks has been brought into the world
                                                  • exciting and fun contracting gigs with friends
                                                  • two papers coauthored in robotics with some pals in academia on a whim
                                                  • some successful hackathons
                                                  • interesting reflections on online communities and myself
                                                  • weddings of close friends
                                                  • a lot of really rewarding personal technical growth through side projects
                                                  • a decent amount of teaching, mentoring, and community involvement in technology and entrepreneurship
                                                  • various other things

                                                  I’m a bit counter-culture in this, but I think that trying to do things “meaningful for humanity” is the wrong mindset. Look after your tribe, whatever and whoever they are, the more local the better. Help your family, help your friends, help the community in which you live.

                                                  Work–at least in our field!–is almost certainly not going to help humanity. The majority of devs are helping run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale (myself included). The work, though, can free up resources for you to go and do things locally to help. Meaningful things, like:

                                                  • Paying for friend’s healthcare
                                                  • Buying extra tech gear and donating the balance to friends’ siblings or local teaching organizations
                                                  • Giving extra food or meals to local homeless
                                                  • Patronizing local shops and artisans to help them stay in business
                                                  • Supporting local artists by going to their shows or buying their art
                                                  • Paying taxes

                                                  Those are the things I find meaningful…my job is just a way of giving me fuckaround money while I pursue them.

                                                  1. 14

                                                    I’m a bit counter-culture in this, but I think that trying to do things “meaningful for humanity” is the wrong mindset. Look after your tribe, whatever and whoever they are, the more local the better. Help your family, help your friends, help the community in which you live.

                                                    Same (in the sense that I have the same mindset as you, but I’m not sure there is anything right or wrong about it). I sometimes think it is counter-culture to say this out loud. But as far as I can tell, despite what anyone says, most peoples’ actions seem to be consistent with this mindset.

                                                    There was an interesting House episode on this phenomenon. A patient seemingly believed and acted as if locality wasn’t significant. He valued his own child about the same as any other child (for example).

                                                    1. 9

                                                      I pretty much agree with this. Very few people have the privilege of making their living doing something “meaningful” because we live within a system where financial gains do not correspond to “meaningful” productivity. That’s not to say you shouldn’t seek out jobs that are more helpful to the world at large, but not having one of those rare jobs shouldn’t be too discouraging.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        Meaningful is…overrated, perhaps.

                                                        I think specifically the reason I asked is because I find it so thoroughly dissatisfying to be doing truly meaningless work. It would be nice to be in a situation where I wake up and don’t wonder if the work I spend 1/3rd of my life on is contributing to people’s well-being in the world or actively harming them.

                                                        Even ignoring “the world,” it would be nice to optimize for the kind of fulfillment I get out of automating the worst parts of my wife’s job, mentoring people in tech, or the foundational tech that @cflewis talks about here.

                                                        Work–at least in our field!–is almost certainly not going to help humanity. The majority of devs are helping run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale (myself included).

                                                        I think about this a lot.

                                                        1. 10

                                                          In general I find capitalism and being trapped inside of capitalism to generally be antithetical to meaningful work in the sense that you’ll rarely win at capitalism if you want to do good for the world, no matter what portion of the world you’re interested in helping.

                                                          A solution I found for this is to attain a point where financially I don’t have to work anymore to maintain my standard of living. It’s a project in the making, but essentially, passive income needs to surpass recurring costs and you’re pretty much good to go. To achieve that, you can increase the passive income, diminish the recurring costs, or both (which you probably want to be doing. Which i want to be doing, anyway.

                                                          As your passive income increases, you (potentially) get to diminish your working hours until you don’t have to do it anymore (or you use all the extra money to make that happen faster). Freedom is far away. Between now and then, there won’t be a lot of “meaningful” work going on, at least, not software related.

                                                          [Edit: whoever marked me as incorrect, would you mind telling me where? I’m genuinely interested in this; I thought I was careful in exposing this in a very “this is an opinion” voice, but if my judgement is fundamentally flawed somehow, knowing how and why will help me correct it. Thanks.]

                                                          1. 8

                                                            Agree re. ‘get out of capitalism any way you can’, but I don’t agree with passive income. One aspect of capitalism is maximum extraction for minimum effort, and this is what passive income is. If you plan to consciously bleed the old system dry whole you do something which is better and compensates, passive income would be reasonable; if you want to create social structures that are as healthy as possible for as many people as possible, passive income is a hypocrisy.

                                                            I prefer getting as much resource (social capital, extreme low cost of living) as fast as possible so you can exit capitalism as quickly as possible.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Are you talking about the difference between, say, rental income (passive income) and owning equities (stockpile)? Or do you mean just having a lot of cash?

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Yes, if you want to live outside capitalism you need assets that are as far as possible conceptually and with least dependencies on capitalism whilst supporting your wellbeing. Cash is good. Social capital, access to land and resource to sustain yourself without needing cash would be lovely, but that’s pretty hard right now while the nation state and capitalism are hard to separate.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Do you ever worry about 70’s (or worse) style inflation eroding the value of cash? In this day and age, you can’t even live off the land without money for property taxes.

                                                        2. 3

                                                          Work–at least in our field!–is almost certainly not going to help humanity. The majority of devs are helping run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale (myself included).

                                                          This 100%. A for-profit company can’t make decisions that benefit humanity as their entire goal is to take more than they give (AKA profit).

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Sure they can. They just have to charge for a beneficial produce at a rate higher than the cost. Food, utilities, housing, entertainment products, safety products… these come to mind.

                                                            From there, a for-profit company selling a wasteful or damaging product might still invest profits into good products/services or just charity. So, they can be beneficial as well just more selectively.

                                                          2. 2

                                                            I think you’re hitting at a similar truth that I was poking at in my response, but from perhaps a different angle. I would bet my bottom dollar that you found meaning in the jobs you cited you most enjoyed, but perhaps not “for humanity” as the OP indicated.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              What is the exact meaning of “run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale”? I like the phrase and want to make sure I understand it correctly.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                So, arbitrage is “taking advantage of the price difference in two or more markets”.

                                                                As technologists, we’re in the business of efficiency, and more importantly, efficiency of scale. Given how annoying it is to write software, and how software is duplicated effortlessly (mostly, sorta, if your ansible scripts are good or if you can pay the Dread Pirate Bezos for AWS), we find that our talents yield the best result when applied to large-scale problems.

                                                                That being the case, our work naturally tends towards creating things that are used to help create vast price differences by way of reducing the costs of operating at scale. The difference between, for example, having a loose federation of call centers and taxis versus having a phone app that contractors use. Or, the difference between having to place classified ads in multiple papers with a phone call and a mailed check versus having a site where people just put up ads in the appropriate section and email servers with autogenerated forwarding rules handle most of the rest.

                                                                The systems we build, almost by definition, are required to:

                                                                • remove as many humans from the equation as possible (along with their jobs)
                                                                • encode specialist knowledge into expert systems and self-tuning intelligences, none of which are humans
                                                                • reduce variety and special-cases in economic and creative transactions
                                                                • recast human labor, where it still exists, into a simple unskilled transactional model with interchangeable parties (every laborer is interchangeable, every task is as simple as possible because expertise are in the systems)
                                                                • pass on the savings at scale to the people who pay us (not even the shareholding public, as companies are staying private longer)

                                                                It is almost unthinkable that anything we do is going to benefit humanity as a whole on a long-enough timescale–at least, given the last requirement.

                                                              2. 1

                                                                Care about your tribe, but also care about other tribes. Don’t get so into this small scope thinking that you can’t see outside of it. Otherwise your tribe will lack the social connections to survive.

                                                                Edit: it’s likely my mental frame is tainted by being angry at LibertarianLlama, so please take this comment as generously as possible :).

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Speaking of that, is there any democratic process that we could go through such that someone gets banned from the community? Also what are the limits of discussion in this community?

                                                              1. 2

                                                                I do have sensitive files on my cloud storage, and never got around to figuring out an ergonomic solution for my needs, so thanks for writing this!

                                                                I also like the proposed solution, to use PDF encryption, but how secure is it? And can you put arbitrary files into a PDF?

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Although you might be able to put arbitrary files into a PDF, I’m not sure why you’d want to do that. The point of converting the images/docs to PDF is so that you can still work with them on other devices including your phone (previewing, printing) without special software.

                                                                  If you need to encrypt files that don’t need to be previewed so to speak, I would use OpenPGP as it’s very straightforward to encrypt any file.

                                                                  With how I lined out the instructions, qpdf (for Linux or Mac) you get full AES 256 bit which is good enough for top secret government data Office 2013 uses AES 128 bit which is still very good and virtually unbroken “would take billions of years to brute force on current hardware” and the newest versions of Office (2016+ AFAIK) use AES 256 bit.

                                                                  Obviously, the strength of your password plays a crucial role!

                                                                1. 22

                                                                  In November of last year, RC announced that they’d be experimenting with “mini” one-week batches. Being away from work for just one week felt very reasonable - it’s about as disruptive as going to a conference, but much more educational! It seemed like my time had come!

                                                                  Well, this suddenly makes attending the Recurse Center much more appealing.

                                                                  1. 6

                                                                    You should attend! It was a great experience.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      I would apply if I could find a project I thought I could focus on! As a mere self-taught web developer, I feel like I’m not ready yet. I have a long way to go in terms of basic knowledge (mostly low level languages, some algorithms) before being able to focus on something meaty for a week. But I would like to do something compiler related.

                                                                      1. 7

                                                                        As a mere self-taught web developer, I feel like I’m not ready yet.

                                                                        If you knew you were ready then there wouldn’t be anything to learn. :)

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          NAND2Tetris is a pretty popular choice for people wanting to learn more low-level computing. And I don’t think “mere” is a good word to describe someone learning enough of a complex topic with several different paradigms at work like full-stack web dev up to a level that they can be gainfully employed at it.

                                                                          Edit: Also, I think people see the applying similarly to tech job interviewing. The shape is there, but Recurse doesn’t strongly filter on technical ability. If someone can write programs and want to learn more, that’s enough.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            NAND2Tetris is a pretty popular choice for people wanting to learn more low-level computing.

                                                                            That is a neat book. It would definitely be a fun project for RC given it covers several areas simultaneously… CPU, compilers, low-level software… without overwhelming reader.

                                                                            Only thing skimming it made me wonder was what would be next thing to read on that topic to build digital design skills. Something that was an incremental step giving useful skills instead of a huge leap. Did you or anyone else here get a solid recommendation about what to read next?

                                                                          2. 3

                                                                            I would apply if I could find a project I thought I could focus on!

                                                                            That’s me. The write-up’s people have done about the RC experience make it seem pretty incredible. I’d love to go there to just chill, focus on some projects, and listen to all those other people are doing. I’m just not sure what one or two things I’d focus on with a whole week of free time and good environment. I’d kind of want to make that time really count with the right projects. Staying focused is also a personal weakness of mine, though, as many have probably noticed.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              Then find the time for it. Take an hour out of your free time to organize your free time, i.e. find what you can cut out of your schedule to start working on “the right project.”

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                That’s good advice. I guess it’s a discipline thing I gotta work out. I’m too easily distracted esp by good learning opportunities. :)

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        Odd there’s no mention of Regl (http://regl.party), as it’s pretty much the core React concepts applied to WebGL, and it’s fast!

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Thanks for the comment, this library looks pretty interesting!

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          macOS users updating to Sierra were in for a rude awakening when their DolphinBars suddenly stopped working. What happened?

                                                                          For some reason, IOKit changed the device location values, which made all four HIDs exposed by a DolphinBar have the same device path. As Dolphin relies on paths being unique to identify remotes, it was unable to use more than one Wii remote.

                                                                          Add this to the slew of bad developer experiences in macOS recently.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Any updates?

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Hey there, not yet, but I will post a new thread when it’s ready. I haven’t forgotten!

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                Thanks! Glad to hear it. I’ll take any excuse to visit Toronto ^_^

                                                                            1. 40

                                                                              Thanks to the Recurse Center for inviting me to speak and for making the video. I’m here if anyone has questions.

                                                                              1. 21

                                                                                A very non-technical question: Why should Xi “only” be an editor for the next 20 years? In terms of text editors, that’s not that long. People, like me, use Editors that are nearly twice as old as I am, and the reasons don’t seem to be tied to performance or the internal structure of the implementations, but rather a core “philosophy” regarding how things are done, or how the programmer should relate to text. What does Xi have to offer regarding these “practical” qualities, that have made, for example Emacs or Vi(m) last for so long? Does Xi see itself in such a certain tradition, having a certain ideal that you aspire to, or do you set your own terms? These could seem important if one intends to write an editor that should be practically used, which is what I gathered from the video, as opposed to being a “purely academic” experiment, which would obviously have different goals and priorities.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  Do you plan on doing a Linux frontend yourself and would it matter performance-wise? I saw that some people are working on a gtk+ frontend but I was wondering if it will be as fast as the mac one.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    In my ideal world, there’d be a cross-fertilization of code and ideas so the linux front-end would be just as nice and performant as the mac one, but it’s unlikely at this point I’ll take it on myself.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      I just tried xi-gtk and it’s very fast. Not sure what it’s like compared to the swift one but it’s a whole lot faster than gedit.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        nice, thanks!

                                                                                    2. 4

                                                                                      Also, here is a cool demo of async loading of big text files – you can navigate and I think even edit while loading:

                                                                                      https://youtu.be/sPhpelUfu8Q?t=1601

                                                                                      Using immer, Clojure-like immutable data structures in C++:

                                                                                      https://github.com/arximboldi/immer

                                                                                      The editor is a demo of the library: https://github.com/arximboldi/ewig

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        I just watched the video. It looks really interesting, although a lot of it was over my head!

                                                                                        I more or less understand the process model, async architecture, and distributed data structures. I like that part – very Unix-y.

                                                                                        But there were a lot of rendering terms I didn’t understand. Maybe because some of it is Mac-specific. But also some of the OpenGL issues. Is there any background material on text rendering you’d recommend?

                                                                                        Also, I don’t understand the connection to Fuschia? I was under the impression that Fuschia was more consumer-facing, and Xi is more developer-facing. That is, I imagine most consumers don’t have text editors installed. There is no text editor on Android or ChromeOS.

                                                                                        Or is xi more general than a vi/emacs replacement – is it meant to be used as part of a browser for implementing text boxes?

                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                          Glad you enjoyed the talk!

                                                                                          Unfortunately, there really isn’t a lot of material on text processing, especially from a modern perspective. A lot of what I learned about rendering came from reading other code (alacritty in particular), and talking to people like Patrick Walton and my teammates on Chrome and Android.

                                                                                          There is an EditText widget on Android (a good chunk of my career involved working on it), but you certainly wouldn’t want to write code (or long-form text) in it. My goal with xi is to make a core lightweight and performant enough it can be used in such cases, easily embedded in apps, yet powerful enough for cases where you really do need a dedicated editor application.

                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                          I feel like it’s fairly out of my league, but I’ve been thinking about implementing a Sublime Text-like editor (multiple cursors, smart brackets/quotation marks) for arbitrary text fields in web sites. Would it be possible to use Xi as a backend for something like that? Perhaps via compilation to WASM?

                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                            Eventually it is my hope that something like that could work. There are some technical details (the current implementation uses threads), so it’s not an easy project. In the meantime, the excellent CodeMirror does multiple selections, and is very widely used embedded in websites.

                                                                                        1. [Comment from banned user removed]

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            The last two comments I’ve seen from this user seem like the inverse of the friendlysock experiment. If this isn’t intentional, I’d highly recommend reading the blog post and reconsidering your posting style.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              I would like to know, why are you people down-voting stefantalpalaru for that comment?

                                                                                              I am not a native speaker nor in the US, that remark was insightful for me - am I missing something except it (the comment) being slightly snarky?

                                                                                              1. 32

                                                                                                I’m sort of used to people making fun of my writing style (people complain about my use of exclamation marks on the internet every month or so, complaining about question marks is a new one :) ) but in general I find technical comments on my posts much more interesting.

                                                                                                I’m honestly a bit disappointed by this comment – i tend to think of lobste.rs as a place where people try to have more substantive technical discussions about posts, as opposed to hacker news where comment threads frequently get derailed by conversations about irrelevant things and I end up not learning anything by reading the comments. To me the point of tech discussion sites like this is to discuss the technology! (for example: how could a kernel bug like this happen? have you run into other similar bugs on Mac/Linux? How did you debug them? Can you use dtrace to discover more about what’s going on inside the kernel?).

                                                                                                There are so many interesting questions to talk about, and I think it’s kind of a shame to waste time making nitpicky comments about the use of a question mark in the title :)

                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                  As a linguist who’s read enough language written without punctuation (Latin and Greek), I’d like to thank you for your use of punctuation, and to encourage it.

                                                                                                  Latin, fun fact, has two words to introduce questions, one that introduces questions where you expect an affirmative answer (“nonne”), and one that introduces questions where you expect a negative answer (“num”), and the interrobang was only invented millennia later. It’s always useful to have a metachannel conveying subtext, and punctuation is compact.

                                                                                                  “I think I found a Mac kernel bug.” sounds definitive, and immediately puts a team of kernel hackers on the defensive. “I think I found a Mac kernel bug?” sounds rather surprised at oneself, and emphasizes the incredulity that you’d posted on Twitter, that it was 4 days from kernel hacking to finding a bug, that you’d expected that people would have found it, and generally is the spirit of humility and exploration that has made your writings so interesting to read!

                                                                                                  Thank you for exploring syscalls :)

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    So, however insignificant, this issue has, believe it or not, been (low-key) bugging me since this (sub)thread happened. I’m purely concerned with the linguistic question taken at face value, since I vaguely concur with the annoyance at the question mark (in the sense that I would feel odd to write in that style that myself, though I don’t care to tell anyone else what they should prefer). The reason it’s been bugging me is that it’s obvious that “just drop the question mark” can’t work, precisely because it significantly alters the quality of what is being expressed – as you stated. So how would I say that?

                                                                                                    And I think I just realised the answer: the way to correctly express that sentiment in a more formal register is simply “Have I really found a Mac kernel bug?” D’uh, I guess.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      Absolutely. And there’s “I think I might have found a Mac kernel bug” in slightly more formal colloquial registers, “Discovery of potential Mac kernel bug” for a title of some Technical Letter to a journal 50 years ago. More formal titles have fewer questions.

                                                                                                      And we’ve been repurposing punctuation to convey pitch of a sentence when spoken, useful to convey one’s meaning when writing. Sometimes it’s a question mark to convey High Rising Terminal, sometimes it’s comma splices and lack of terminal period to convey a fading train of thought, it’s a fun writing constraint, you should try it

                                                                                                  2. 8

                                                                                                    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I was asking because I felt I might be missing some language slang/common use that was pointed out here.

                                                                                                    Regarding your blog posts: I love reading them, your technical content is sound, delivered in a fun way and a dive into things I rarely look at myself - I’m following all your ruby profiler posts. Keep up what you are doing, the silent majority appreciates it ;)

                                                                                                  3. 11

                                                                                                    the high rising terminal - often associated with “valleyspeak” - is stereotypically associated with shallow, unintelligent women, especially in american pop culture.

                                                                                                    If anyone else on the site had asked about this, I’d wager we would see far less common contentious voting patterns. But hell, let’s call a spade a spade: I’ve seen enough of OPs previous comments to have a pretty good guess at what he’s doing when he made that comment - and I wager the downvoters did too.

                                                                                                    1. 7

                                                                                                      As a meta-discourse thing, I don’t really like this kind of comment even from people whose good faith I’m confident of. It’s really easy for a forum to fall into a pattern where 90% of the discussion is about pretty superficial aspects of the posts, especially in a dismissive way. I wouldn’t say that kind of thing is always off-topic, but I guess I try to think: is this observation novel and non-obvious enough that someone reading the comment learns something? Usually when I’ve been tempted to post a comment complaining about superficial aspects of a post (and there are definitely things I dislike and am tempted to comment on!) it’s hard for me to argue with a straight face that the answer is “yes”.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  I’m a Chicagoan, so I don’t know if you’d want me, but I love Toronto 😛 I’d tentatively interested if I could get the logistics figured out.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    Chicago is one of Toronto’s sister cities, so I don’t see a problem. ;)

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      I’m from Chicago, too and I drove to Toronto for vacation a few years back. I can potentially see myself living in that area someday. I wish I could work out a way to visit again and meet people from the GTA.