1. 7

    Mostly I just jot down ideas in my current notebook (I have scores of notebooks full of things) and that allows me to stop thinking about that particular thing because I’ll get around to organizing it into my todo list sometime very soon. Then, months later but also seemingly in the blink of an eye, I’ll remember that I wanted to do it and feel an oppressive guilt wash over me for never even starting it. The feelings of shame and regret swirling around all the tasks become denser and more opaque until they dwarf me and I live in their shadow every waking minute. There is no light here, only tasks. Melville knew my plight: “they heap me; I see them in outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing them.”

    1. 2

      I follow this exact workflow pretty much, but I skimp on the notebooks as an unneeded I/O step.

      The savings in wasted paper I pass on to my therapist.


        I mostly use notecards for that.


        Someone just mentioned this thread to me on IRC and I wish I’d seen it earlier because this article is no longer accurate for me. Owning a smartphone prompted me to replace Trello (it was very bad on my mobile browser when last I looked and it doesn’t have an app in F-Droid) with SimpleTask Cloudless, an app implementing the todo.txt format. I miss project colors, but otherwise am very satisfied by plain text. I’ve replaced the daily/monthly cadence with a daily/weekly/quarterly cadence. Daily habits are now tracked in the Loop Habits app. On busy/important days I do timeblocking that’s based on Cal Newport’s and the book Time Management For System Administrators.

        And yet, with all this, I have not gotten around to the six-month-old task “write new personal workflow post +blog” or any other blog posts because they haven’t been a priority. No regrets - the strategy of priority is probably much more important than the tactics of workflow.


          A while back I found two graphs like the one drawn here. But, yeah, this site is not doing a good job at satirizing the actual criticisms and predictions people make about Ruby.

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            I was also at Deconstruct! It was a fantastic conference with speakers from a really diverse range of perspectives and experiences. A few that stood out to me:

            Sandi Metz gave what I thought was a really solid analysis of what a lot of teams get wrong in OOP. It definitely had some immediately actionable takeaways for me and the code base that I work on in my day job. I really like the idea that conditionals -> complexity and that you should try as best as possible to remove them from the procedural-style code that orchestrates objects and move it into deciding which types of objects to create in the first place. It mostly consisted of her most recent two blog posts: Breaking up the Behemoth and What does OO Afford?

            Nabil Hassein’s talk was really powerful. I don’t really know what to write about it here but it was a pretty sobering look at how we in the business of creating technology affect the world around us, and how we in the “Global North” consume resources far in excess of those in the “Global South”. The talk seemed to really resonate with the crowd and he received a standing ovation afterwards. When the video comes out I’ll definitely be sharing it with people.

            Allison Parrish’s talk seemed to be a big hit with a lot of people. As far as I can tell it expanded on some work she has previously talked about with applying algorithms to the case of poetic manipulation of English text. She’s previously talked about it in terms of apply JPEG-like compression to text to see what happens. She talked about her recent efforts to apply machine learning techniques to this end via semantic analysis, as well as some playful text transformations via searches/random walks in semantic space as well as pronunciation space. The resulting poetry was very impressive!

            Tom 7’s talk was pure fun, technical weirdness. Halfway through, he gave us the punch line which was that his slides were being run through a video output of a NES. He stuck a Raspberry Pi inside of a NES cartridge, emulated a SNES, and played it back through the NES! There was some meta-analysis of his own humor and of the presentation itself (as it was happening!) in there too, which I thought was both funny and interesting.

            Pablo Meier talked about distributed systems and what we might desire in a programming language that treats distribution of work as a first-class operation (spoiler alert: he ended up talking about golang). He expanded on how a lot of these ideas come from Erlang and the interesting, perhaps underappreciated/underutilized innovations also present in Erlang, relating back to its supervisor process model and how.

            Elle Vargas’ talk surrounded the history and investigation of the 2016 election interference, focusing especially on DEFCON 25’s “Voting Village” and the frankly disturbing findings (voting machines compromised within minutes, and even some real voter data found on one of the test machines which were procured from previous state elections). She had a great call to action at the end in terms of how technically-proficient people can be civically engaged.

            Anjana Vakil, who has a background in linguistics, talked about the relationships between human languages and programming languages, especially with respect to how a language can shape your thinking. Her thesis was that programming languages are fundamentally human languages intended for human consumption, and that we should examine how those languages inform our reasoning and how they can affect or be affected by our cultural contexts.


              Sandi Metz has posted her slides for “Polly Want a Message”. It’s an interesting refactoring and I hope video of the talk is posted online. As I read, I was mentally doing a functional refactoring, mostly centered on a Line type with a line number and string. From there, most of the strategy objects she extracts instead become functions to be composed. Her final version of Listing on slide 297 reminded me strongly of a blog post I wrote a few years ago on composition.


                I hope that the talk ends up in video form at some point, because I think there something missing from the slides.

                I didn’t quite put together a functional refactoring in my head, but I was wondering about one the whole time. There was something that felt a little… uncanny about the preponderance of strategy objects in play.

                I wasn’t sure how I felt about the “now we’re down to one execution path” slides. This is a refactoring, so the same number of decisions are being made, and the same combinations of execution paths exist in the code base, they just being selected for differently. The increased isolation is good for testability, which means that if the code is properly isolated you can get away with a linear increase in testing as opposed to a quadratic one. But I’m split as to if the numbers at the end are a fair assessment.

                The code does seem somewhat improved, but it also hides complexity more now.

                Thought provoking slide deck, and I’m very curious as to what didn’t make it to the slides.

            1. 11

              I’m updating my “Days Since Last Code of Conduct Story” sign from zero to zero. If someone would like to write the Standard Code of Conduct Epitome, I would take it as a kindness.

              And I’m being a little silly, but the other story’s conversation stayed pretty good and had people explaining their positions and sharing new thoughts without starting a flame war, so I hope that continues.

              1. 1

                Once it’s been beaten to death it would be nice if at some point these are considered off topic. Not saying that moment is now, but there will be a point where people get fatigued from the wound being continually reopened by people who mostly want to stir the pot.

                1. 9

                  Banning discussions about CoCs is only dumping more fuel into the fire while proving that the concerns of people who are against CoCs are valid.

                  At least this site makes it really easy to hide content one is not interested in, either via tags, or by using the hide button (which a few have used on this very story already).

                  I would not mind a “coc” tag, which would be more suitable than the “culture” tag used here.

                  1. 4

                    Given that I can’t really tell one COC thread from another, I would be quite happy if there was a COC tag so I could filter on it.


                      There’s a ‘hide’ link under every headline. It will also remove comments from /newest, /replies, etc. (and anywhere they’re missed is a bug). You can review your hidden stories at /hidden.


                        I’m aware. I like tags and being able to filter on them as its a one time thing and I don’t have to hide similar stories each time.


                          There are only so many discussions to be had about positions on CoCs. It becomes draining to participate, and it’s hard to stay open to new ideas when the same points are rehashed. The ability to filter on a coc tag would definitely be helpful for my emotional being.

                    2. 2

                      It’s not uncommon for a forums to bar discussion after a subject becomes hotly debated for basically forever. It’s not about validating or unvalidating fears it’s about preventing a single issue from keeping a community in constant conflict. A CoC tag would probably just accelerate the problem since users who feel obligated to speak up on either side will simply search for the tag.

                1. 11

                  overreaching Code of Conducts.

                  The author realizes that you don’t have to follow the code of conduct to use the software? Also 80% of the items on the freebsd code of conduct are illegal. the four that stick out to me that aren’t are these.

                  Comments that reinforce systemic oppression related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.

                  Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.

                  Deliberate misgendering.

                  Deliberate use of “dead” or rejected names.

                  Author basically feels that if the developers can’t get intimately involved with another developer’s personal life without consent then the author does not want to use the software. Frankly it seems like you could just create a code of conduct with the line “Thinking code of conducts are bad” and you’d filter out everyone who apparently wants to get in your grill.

                  The other rules are okayish but would rule out basically everything if applied strictly.

                  1. 11

                    Also 80% of the items on the freebsd code of conduct are illegal.

                    Code’s of conduct don’t have anything to do with law, though. An organization can block your participation in it for any reason they see fit. There are restrictions for businesses and employers, but they don’t apply to open source projects.

                    1. 17

                      Right and if you don’t agree with those reasons you don’t have to contribute or you can create your own organization. I was saying 80% of them are illegal to do as an individual. Sexual harassment? Stalking? Threatening? A lot of the CoC is basically just “We won’t enable your criminal behavior and allow you to use the organization as a way to find targets”. The 4 here are basically, “Don’t purposely be an asshole to other members, here are four ways of being an asshole that are explicitly not allowed.”. If you think Open Source means “I get to be a dick to other people and get away with it because it’s not a job” then you’re honestly doing more harm than good and should do something else with your life.

                      1. 6

                        Oh sorry, I misunderstood what you mean by illegal. I thought you were saying much of the CoC was illegal.

                        1. 14

                          The 4 here are basically, “Don’t purposely be an asshole to other members, here are four ways of being an asshole that are explicitly not allowed.”.

                          That kind of playing with definitions is one of reasons I fight broad Codes of Conduct. It’s not how they play out. Instead, those promoting or enforcing will be specific groups of people having specific, political views on everything from words to identity to societal structures, expecting the entire world to comply with those views, and punishing anyone in their immediate setting who doesn’t using whatever methods are available. Those methods range from shaming to exclusion to removing their ability to pay bills.

                          To me, that sounds like being assholes that shove their politics down others’ throats telling them to get lost if they don’t like it. Even more so when I see plenty of people be civil without going that far in mischaracterizing or banning other groups’ means of expressing themselves. Then, a person supporting such politics shows up saying it’s just about not being an asshole. People reading that get a different impression than “no political disagreement or differences are allowed in this list of categories whose reach increases whenever we say.” I don’t expect more honesty from most promoters about the goals since subterfuge and “end justifies the means” is the norm in that group.

                          1. 12

                            What about it shoves politics? I would think all the points I mentioned are basically apolitical. There’s no rule against “political disagreement” within the CoC. You can be super hard line conservative and still follow these rules. I’m specifically talking about the FreeBSD CoC.

                            1. 7

                              It’s not really based on “politics”, but on basic respect. If you’re a conservative who is respectful of people’s preferred names and doesn’t shit all over people because of their lifestyles, you won’t have a problem. If you’re a liberal or Leftist who is super racist, anti-Semitic (hello, tankies) or constantly judges poor people overly harshly (of which there are many), you will have one.

                              That said, if you feel that trans people asserting that we should be called by the names we choose for ourselves is somehow a political act, then yes, the purpose of the CoC is to “shove politics down your throat”.

                              1. 2

                                if you feel that trans people asserting that we should be called by the names we choose for ourselves is somehow a political act

                                Isn’t it? I have no problem with calling you as you like, really.

                                And I’d like it would be the common ground of our international culture.

                                But it is Politics. I’d argue that it’s the best expression of politics at all, as it establish a kind environment where we can confront on.

                                On the other hand, “keep the discourse on topic or you will be banned” should be a pretty good CoC, everywhere.

                                Now, if we can go off-topic, and you tell on a public space (say IRC or a mailing list) you do something I consider bad, you are engadging a discourse. You can’t say “I like eating people, cannibalism improve my health” and than invoke the CoC if anyone object.

                                People should understanding that speaking in public implies a will to listen.
                                More exactly, speaking implies a will to challenge own opinions, putting them at stake in the conversation.

                                If you don’t want to listen any objection, if you don’t want to change your mind, why speak in the first place?
                                Are you doing propaganda? Marketing? If so, you are the problem, not who engage with you.

                                Also, if we can go off-topic, and you tell you like to hurt your children, I’ll comment on that, whatever the CoC. After the denounce obviously, with all the reference I can get to find you (including your email, ip, os, whatever I can get through my technical knowledge and tools).

                                So in general, the CoC is a political tool. It could be used for good or evil.

                                But it doesn’t fix the lack of a democratic culture of dialoge in a community.

                              2. 1

                                Without a CoC you are at the mercy of the hidden political views of the project owners. Their decisions to ban start looking arbitrary. Either way, you deal with political views. Wouldn’t you prefer to know what they are before engaging? Worst would be spending a lot of your time on a project only to find out you get banned because you said something that was in disagreement with the owners of the project.

                          2. 14

                            They are too broad (e.g. large swaths of the population would violate it by with their daily interactions), which puts selective enforcement at charge. If its selective enforcement, then its just an power instrument with the rule makers at the power end, even if the contents of the CoC are all well-meaned and good in their intentions.

                            Its not directly about the contents of the CoC, its about taking peoples moral autonomy.

                            1. 12

                              I think it’s reasonable to treat open source work within an organization with the same level of respect and dignity that you would expect from a job. You could get fired at a job for nearly every one of these. Using dead names even, if an employee asks you to stop and you don’t and they file a complaint against HR, HR might decide that you’re creating a hostile work environment for basically no reason. Most people don’t get fired for misconduct, so I’m going to actually say that you can’t possibly be right about that claim.

                              Keep in mind that the responses are

                              A private reprimand from the working group to the individual(s) involved.

                              A public reprimand.

                              An imposed vacation from FreeBSD Project controlled spaces (e.g. asking someone to “take a week off” from a mailing list or IRC).

                              A permanent or temporary ban from some or all FreeBSD Project controlled spaces (events, meetings, mailing lists, IRC, etc.)

                              A request for a public or private apology.

                              A request to engage in mediation and/or an accountability plan.

                              These aren’t that extreme. Sure you can be banned but that can happen in any OSS project where they can say “We won’t accept pull requests from dirt bags like you.”. In this case the things you can do wrong are at least actually laid out so that you know what behaviors to avoid and which ones to follow.

                              1. 16

                                Still, the CoC assumes moral authority over me, which is an no-go for freedom lovers and hackers like me. That people like you don’t exercise their own moral autonomy and fail to understand that others do (with different results) is the reason why CoC create unnecessary controversy and drama.

                                And yes, the FreeBSD CoC makes me feel violated in my moral autonomy, and yes, the FreeBSD CoC embodies political views i do not share.

                                1. 9

                                  A CoC has no moral authority and frankly morality isn’t even a real thing. It’s merely a set of rules that people who work together have agreed to follow while working together. You don’t have to work with them and you don’t have to use their software, but since you wanted to be on record disagreeing, I wanted to be on record agreeing with CoC and why I feel the way I do.

                                  1. 4

                                    Again, this is a strong pro-CoC statement. If they are successful in excluding people like you, they are working as intended.

                                    1. 10

                                      I was hoping to keep things civil. Perhaps there’s a more generous way you could phrase this?

                                      1. 5

                                        Not really, given that the author has emphatically stated their disagreement with either the values motivating the rules, or the rules themselves. Regardless, such a person is a real risk to the health of the community, and it’s nice that there’s such an effective repellent.

                                        1. 18

                                          I’m honest about not being a feminist. I consider the concept of gender harmful (from an philosophical standpoint), but people like you seem seem convinced that not sharing your point on that makes me an bad person.

                                          But thanks for determining i’m a hazard to community, it surely helped me to recognize the superiority of your standpoint.

                                          1. 7

                                            By “considering the concept of gender harmful” you are willfully ignorant to the way that society works and by effect you are a part of the problem creating inequality and fostering an environment where harassment and hate crimes can thrive.

                                            You don’t get to invent your own reality and pretend this one doesn’t exist.

                                            1. 16

                                              Yeah also you can consider gender harmful without refusing to respect how other people would like to be referred to. For example I will now out of respect for your disdain for the concept of gender refer to you strictly in non-gendered nouns. Notice how I disagreed with your viewpoint but didn’t invalidate your identity.

                                            2. 1

                                              I don’t care about your honesty. I don’t care to have you recognize the superiority of my viewpoint; I know nothing I can say will sway you. I care to prevent you from contaminating the spaces I care about.

                                              1. 22

                                                You’ve and @liwakura have both explained well how you differ fundamentally, and I appreciate that. This comment is pulling that discussion into a dark place, please don’t continue on this theme casting someone as an unredeemable danger who must be eradicated. Lobsters is not good at being “Tinder, but for finding a nemesis”.

                                              2. 2

                                                You don’t fight the concept of gender by standing on the sidelines watching those that do have the concept of gender dominate half the population. Just because you believe there isn’t gender, doesn’t mean people who consider themselves women aren’t getting the short end of the stick in our society.

                                              3. 3

                                                thanks, that’s much clearer. :)

                                        2. 6

                                          You could get fired at a job for nearly every one of these.

                                          Depends on the job. Many employers won’t punish people who have political differences. Especially in Mid-South where we’re quite a diverse bunch of liberals, conservatives, white, black, latino, etc. The rule is that we either avoid those topics entirely to keep things civil or you better be able to take the kind of discussion you were dishing out. Essentially, we recognize those claiming disagreement is “offensive” to just be silencing their opposition. They’re trying to attack and control the other person. People still try that but don’t get far.

                                          So, in such a truly, inclusive environment, people will be saying things that bother others since there’s conflict on a deep level. My relatives and I have worked in many such places. They’ll have heated arguments sometimes. It almost always ends up “agree to disagree” with them making up for it being nice to each other later. Sometimes people figure out who each other are underneath, permanently dislike each other, work together just enough to get the job done, and avoid one another otherwise.

                                          People almost never quit over this sort of thing. It’s also not what most gripe about. Those griping or quitting over assholes bring up people who folks in every group agree are assholes. We wouldn’t need a CoC to deal with them. Just decent managers or owners that respond to employee complaints. If managers or owners aren’t decent, then no policies or CoC’s are going to make the work environment better.

                                          1. 13

                                            I really don’t understand how you got this from the CoC mentioned. There is no rule in the CoC that you must conform politically. I would be very shocked to hear that the entire FreeBSD team is not conservative. The rule is merely that you treat other people with dignity. I live in the south and every single one of my workplaces would fit this CoC save for maybe the rules around transgendered folks. Frankly even when I was a deeply religious and hardline conservative I would have no trouble following these rules. I never treated anyone less than human because they had different views than me. Furthermore that “rule” you gave is a kind of CoC and CoC’s matter once the size of the organization grows. Its very easy to fall into a tyranny of structurelessness as an organization gets larger. This is because nobody can agree on what is right or wrong or what the response should be to a problem. By having a CoC you can agree as an org what actions are against the group and what a good response looks like. If you don’t have any response strategy mob mentality kicks in and things can escalate to threats and violence. After all if someone is a huge asshole and nobody is doing anything about it it would seem natural to find a way to make them stop.

                                            Frankly there’s nothing in this CoC that has any bias against conservatives whatsoever. Nothing in the CoC says you have to be a liberal, and it specifically protects people from false claims. Your micro-CoC actually fails to protect individuals from false claims.

                                            Publication of non-harassing private communication without consent.

                                            Publication of non-harassing private communication with consent but in a way that intentionally misrepresents the communication (e.g., removes context that changes the meaning).

                                            Knowingly making harmful false claims about a person.

                                            1. 11

                                              Depends on the job. Many employers won’t punish people who have political differences.

                                              This is such a disingenuous frame shift of the issue that it invalidates everything else about your argument. Being respectful is not political. Enforcing consent in interactions is not political. Being gay or tolerant of same is not political. Asserting that any effort to shift culture away from the status quo is an out-of-bounds “political” act is a cowardly way to attempt to silence those that you disagree with. You are personally guilty, to an incredibly advanced degree, of every evil thing you claim to be against.

                                              “Politics” is the process by which humans come to consensus for shared interests. Shitting on the less powerful and providing moral or intellectual cover for those that seek to do the same is not politics; it’s craven thuggery disguised as keeping things peaceful.

                                              1. 1

                                                Politics is whatever action affects the polis, and by extension any group of humans.

                                                Thus being respectful is political.
                                                Enforcing consent in interactions is political.
                                                Being tolerant of anything is political.

                                                In Italy we have the same kind of differences that @nickpsecurity describes, and we are used to joke about our differences a lot. And we debate harshly about many things, but usually these debates grow our relations.

                                                As an example, I had a girlfriend that was a deeply religious Catholic when I was atheist (and rather angry at Church). And we talked a lot about religion and politics back then, without that affecting negatively the relation.

                                                One of the best engineer I worked with voted for the worst political party we had in Italy for decades. I had the opposite view. We debated a lot. We debated so much about politics that when we had to design a framework together to under a huge pressure, we keep debating with the same style. And after 10 years in production, the framework still rocks the customers are satisfied and we can’t find anything remotely on par with it around.
                                                Why? Because we were used to listen deeply and respectfully the other’s opinion.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I grant that being tolerant is political, and so it follows that everything is political. Which means that my point is still relevant: it’s disingenuous to dismiss concerns about behavior as “political”, as though that made it irrelevant.

                                                  In Italy, you are allowed to have those debates because the stakes are much lower: you’re less likely to die from poverty, your livelihood is less contingent upon social approval, etc.

                                                  In the United States, it’s not like that. If you lose your job, you could die. If you are systematically excluded from high-paying industries, like digital technology, your quality of life massively suffers in comparison to those who are welcomed by that industry. All policies must be considered in the context of an entrenched and reactionary old guard that dominates all other effects. Any overt attempt to improve the lives of the marginalized is treated as a threat to the old order, and rightfully so. The stakes are literally life and death.

                                                  Mr. P. Security doesn’t work in the the industry, and largely speaks from a position of willful ignorance about these issues.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    In Italy, you are allowed to have those debates because the stakes are much lower

                                                    I do not know United States enough for a comparison, but sadly we have poverty here too. Our livelihood is not based on social approval, but it’s often strongly based on social relationships.

                                                    We just know we are all on the same boat.

                                                    So I don’t know if we are free to talk because we have lower stakes, or we have lower stakes because we are free to talk.

                                                    In any case, an international project should not be ruled according to the issues of a single country.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      In any case, an international project should not be ruled according to the issues of a single country.

                                                      I don’t understand what this is in reference to, or what it could possibly mean in terms of what kind of governance structure or details. I was pointing out that there are cultural differences that make it easier or harder for people who are forced together to have disagreements about their values, or be able to set aside those differences in order to do something together.

                                              2. 10

                                                The CoC is about civility, not politics. And I can’t believe you don’t know that. So what is your purpose? Are you standing up for the right to humiliate people or be rude to them? That’s a principle for you?

                                                1. 0

                                                  Just decent managers or owners that respond to employee complaints…

                                                  Poor employees, at the mercy of their benevolent dictators.

                                              3. 3

                                                Wait, you believe without a CoC, owners of a project have less power? An owner of a project already has views of what kind of behavior they think is good and what they think is bad. If they don’t write it down in CoC, you are still at their mercy, but now you have to guess what the hell they are thinking.

                                                I’m not sure how a CoC increases any power they already have. You still don’t have moral agency because we live in a society where there are owners and non-owners. There is still a power differential. If you want democratic rule, then you need to fight against ownership by paper.

                                                1. 2

                                                  Even without a CoC the project owners selectively enforce hidden rules. I’m not sure how making the rules hidden is better than making them explicit.

                                              1. 2

                                                Last week and this one:

                                                • Got my motorcycle running by jumping it. The Clymer manual’s troubleshooting steps were wrong; f you haven’t used a Clymer manual, this is a shocking betrayal. Now waiting for April showers to go away so I can ride more; I feel like seasonal lag in Chicago has increased by 2-3 weeks over the last 30 years I’ve lived in Chicago, but will probably never make the time to research this.
                                                • Formed my LLC for the TBA project. This week I’m testing the three key tools and prototyping my integrating code.
                                                • Met with a potential client, very unlikely to come to anything. Contacted out of the blue with an excellent opportunity I am cautiously optimistic for.
                                                • Migrated from irssi to WeeChat as the Slack IRC gateway was disabled. (I thought I had to the end of the month, oops.) Now WeeChat handles my IRC, Slack, Twitter, and Fediverse chatting and I’m very impressed with WeeChat: great docs, a polished interface, meets all my needs. Minor win: merging buffers is great for tidying a dozen+ very quiet chatrooms; minor loss: bitlbee’s Twitter integration can’t follow saved searches, so I’ve lost useful alerting for my name, interesting conferences, and Lobsters.
                                                • Didn’t redo the calendar, turns out radicale is Python and pip didn’t want to cooperate. Going with DAViCal instead. Bunch of other similar yak-shaving of tech setup.
                                                • Finishing the Aubrey-Maturin series I started reading during my batch at Recurse Center. I’ve really enjoyed the period language, manners, and plotting and am sad to have reached the end. Probably going to read through Terry Pratchett next; I’ve only read Good Omens.
                                                1. 1

                                                  Finishing the Aubrey-Maturin series I started reading during my batch at Recurse Center. I’ve really enjoyed the period language, manners, and plotting and am sad to have reached the end.

                                                  Those truly are great books. Did you read the last (incomplete) one? I didn’t think it’d be worth it.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I’m about 50 pages from the end of book 20. I probably will look at the incomplete one out of curiosity.

                                                1. 7

                                                  Going meta: this is a great use of the story description to add context, thank you.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    Thank you! Ive tried hard to find ways to use but not abuse it.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    Lucky for them that U.S. patent #5718633 prohibiting minigames in loafing screens is safely expired.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I’m still surprised nobody managed to knock that one out on prior art, I remember fastloaders for 8-bit computers that had a built-in minigame.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Yeah, the Wikipedia article has noted prior art. It’s the typical problem of bad patents being so expensive and long to fight that even a successful dispute is a significant loss to the one company doing it. The overall benefit outweighs that cost, but it’s spread across all the end users and the company’s competitors.

                                                    1. -10

                                                      I know you get a lot of pat-on-the-backs when you implement stuff for the disabled. But I just feel like it’s rarely worth it unless you are at a large scale where the disabled population will offset the man-hours. Not to mention that different segments of the disabled have different requirements and the same special interface will not couple with all of them.

                                                      So to me, I can’t help but think that whenever some megacorps implement these solutions, it’s more likely virtue-signalling rather than altruism or legit economic advantage.

                                                      The problem of course, is that if we could solve this problem economically, then we would have solved it forever, but if it is virtue-signalling, then the incentive isn’t really to provide solutions, but to provide the appearance of caring, and so the mismatch will eventually result in the problem not really being solved long-term.

                                                      1. 10

                                                        I don’t understand this comment at all. If it’s not profitable, why do you think companies are “virtue signaling” and not caring? ISTM you’re reading an awful lot into their behavior, under the odd belief that doing something good has to be for egotistical reasons, and not because you want to help someone out.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          To expand on what I believe @LibertarianLlama is saying is, it’s possible this comes out of their marketing budget as a kind of loss. The upside of this would be that the PR leads to other sells, not necessarily of this product, but others.

                                                          In the end it doesn’t really matter. It’s a local choice of the company, not trying to solve a problem globally in an economically sustainable way.

                                                          It should also be remembered that helping people can be egotistical, in which case it’s a win-win! I find it personally strange when people sometimes boycott beneficial things because they’re suspicious of the underlying motives, when the motives clearly aren’t arming belligerents in a foreign war, or something else clearly evil.

                                                          1. -2

                                                            why do you think companies are “virtue signaling”

                                                            because they think creating an image will give them financial rewards.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              I’m truly sorry you’ve never had the opportunity to work somewhere that prioritizes results over optics.

                                                          2. 9

                                                            Did you read the article? The controller is heavily customizable (it’s a platform, really), precisely to accommodate as many people’s needs as possible.

                                                            1. 13

                                                              I think you’re right, but I SO don’t care!

                                                              As a partially blind person, there is SO much of the gaming world that’s closed off to me. That’s OK. I still sleep just fine at night knowing I will never be a Call of Duty GOD :)

                                                              However, when game developers and console makers bother to make adaptations available to allow me and others with disabilities to enjoy the beautiful mix of art and science that is most modern video games, I really appreciate it.

                                                              So, virtue signaling or not, this is a laudable move on Microsoft’s part, and I for one think we should all recognize that.

                                                              Almost makes me want to own an Xbox again. Only problem is that I haven’t had time to play a game on any platform in ~6 months :)

                                                              -Chris (Aside from iPad gaming in waiting rooms sometimes)

                                                              1. 6

                                                                I think you’ve put your finger on a significant contradiction in libertarianism. You want to judge the worth of the enterprise by economic returns: success is denominated in dollars and the market is the only neutral or efficient judge of value.

                                                                However, the other name for “to provide the appearance of caring” is marketing, and of course good marketing enormously multiplies the returns of a product, the world being annoyingly reticent to beat a path to the door of entrepreneurial mousetrap makers. Even in the very unlikely event that sales of this controller wouldn’t cover the costs to design and manufacture it (given that video gaming is measured in the tens of billions for the U.S. and this product looks overwhelmingly superior to competitors for the mostly-untapped wallets of tens or hundreds of millions of humans with motor control injuries), Microsoft could get a positive return on investment just from the increase in warm, fuzzy feelings from the majority of the market with no need for this product if they go on to buy ever-so-slightly-more copies of OneDrive or Office. The existence of marketing and cross-promotion means that the value of these products can’t be judged solely by the invisible hand of the market discovering prices for goods and driving firms out of business. You make this point in reverse; the long-term existence of marketing points it being economically valuable. There are externalities not on the books of a single product, just like how, in reverse, the market overvalues a polluter because the externality of cleaning up toxic waste or reversing climate change isn’t charged to the company and so can’t be reflected in the stock price.

                                                                But whether or not the economics work, perhaps in this instance we can settle for helping make an entire art form accessible because it’s a small act of basic human decency and we’re not unthinking monsters.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  I’ll probably get downvoted, but here goes…

                                                                  I think you’ve put your finger on a significant contradiction in libertarianism. You want to judge the worth of the enterprise by economic returns: success is denominated in dollars and the market is the only neutral or efficient judge of value.

                                                                  However, the other name for “to provide the appearance of caring” is marketing […]

                                                                  Libertarianism is actually about the freedom to property and its action, where the individual is his or her own property. Economics is more a description of the market that emerges from action and property. Be it a free market or not, depending on the freedom to the underlying rights.

                                                                  So when you point out a contradiction, there really is no contradiction. It barely exists on the same plane of reality. Anyone in business, who wants to stay there, knows about marketing, cross-promotion and all that. It’s a business strategy.


                                                                  Libertarianism is not a game of winners and losers where money is how we keep score.

                                                                  But in a hypothetical world where it were, Microsoft would likely end up winning with this device. As would the customer demographic.

                                                                2. 1

                                                                  Even if I disagree with you, I don’t understand why you are being downvoted for this argumenter opinion of your. Anyway… thank you for expressing yourself on the topic.

                                                                  To me it’s mostly about having a customizable solution for gaming controls, that can be used for players with disabilities. If you look at Nintendo, they recently launched this thing with customizable objects in paper to enhance the gaming experience, this is just how the Microsoft gaming team is implementing it! Bold move from them!

                                                                  1. 9

                                                                    Even if I disagree with you, I don’t understand why you are being downvoted for this argumenter opinion of your. Anyway… thank you for expressing yourself

                                                                    Because it’s incorrect, and baseless bloviating in order to shit on the idea of not needlessly excluding the marginalized.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Already got a solid desktop feed reader, but I’ll keep an eye on this for my wife’s sake. She’s always griping about how there’s never any decent news on her phone, but won’t consider using a feed reader. It might be worthwhile to borrow her phone while she’s sleeping, install the Android app once you have one available, and set up some feeds that aren’t full of clickbait.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    How well do you like Newsboat? Would you recommend it over Thunderbird as a feed reader?

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      I’ve been using Newsboat and the now-defunct Newbeuter that it forked from for about ten years. Back when I was posting a dozen stories a day on Lobsters, the majority came from tracking 400+ feeds. Coming from vim and mutt it feels very comfortable. I like that it has near-instant response to keystrokes and no images, I can very quickly skim through hundreds of posts for the handful that are interesting.

                                                                      It does, unfortunately, have two bugs. One is a crash I’ve seen a few times about a corrupt doubly-linked list, the other is a recent annoyance with custom keys that I’ve just reported, so thanks for that reminder.

                                                                      If it helps any, here’s my current config:

                                                                      # no automatic reloading
                                                                      refresh-on-startup no
                                                                      auto-reload no
                                                                      reload-time 360 # minutes
                                                                      # reloading
                                                                      reload-threads 8
                                                                      reload-only-visible-feeds no
                                                                      show-read-feeds no
                                                                      download-retries 4
                                                                      # notification
                                                                      notify-screen yes
                                                                      notify-xterm yes
                                                                      # storage
                                                                      max-items 5000
                                                                      # display
                                                                      article-sort-order date-desc
                                                                      feedlist-format "%S%n %11u %t"
                                                                      articlelist-format "%D %f %?T?;%-17T; ?%t"
                                                                      datetime-format %m-%d
                                                                      color background white black
                                                                      color listnormal white black
                                                                      color listfocus black white
                                                                      color info black white
                                                                      color article white black
                                                                      # interface
                                                                      confirm-exit yes
                                                                      bind-key k up
                                                                      bind-key j down
                                                                      unbind-key o
                                                                      bind-key o open-in-browser-and-mark-read
                                                                      bind-key O open-in-browser
                                                                      bind-key a open-all-unread-in-browser-and-mark-read
                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I’ve never used Thunderbird as a feed reader. I don’t even use it for mail; when I want a graphical mail client I use Claws Mail. :)

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          I was using Claws, too. Seemed faster, too.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            I’ve used claws before but, I really like Thunderbird right now because it also integrates nicely with Firefox.

                                                                      1. 8

                                                                        Similarly, this brief intro and the UK’s explanation are good.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          Here’s the full release notes.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            This sounds like it aligns closely with the mission of the Lobsters community. I’ve emailed to explore options for collaboration. I’ve had to timebox my Lobsters coding to my Wed + Thu morning code and coffee time and it would be great if this foundation could fund some time from me or junior devs trying to build up their resumes.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              I’m overall loving what’s in there. I’d definitely support it. It seems like a more realistic thing of hackers supporting other hackers instead of hoping society will change to. Great stuff.

                                                                              “The Foundation will help to create environments where hackers are welcomed, supported, nurtured and celebrated. Creating a safer, more supportive and accepting world for hacker will help to reduce depression and suicide among hackers, and enable hackers to live fuller and happier lives.”

                                                                              I still think someone should bring up one point when stuff like above is mentioned. The corporate media and Hollywood, the most powerful influencers, have totally redefined the label “hacker” to be criminality to a point where it’s probably beyond salvage. If anyone uses it, the laypeople hearing it will immediately have a negative mindset that creates a harder conversation for that person. Its constant association with evil by media makes me think of it as the geek N-word or something in terms of average person’s negative usage or reactions, hackers arguing about why they identify with positive version of it, and media fueling fires for ratings and profit. Although I got good at explaining real meaning, I’ve found that there was no real effect among the hundreds of laypeople I tried that on. There’s not enough of us doing it to counter media’s reach. Being uncommon and marginalized group means that will remain true a long while.

                                                                              This is a marketing problem more than anything. A brand was trashed but people keep using and defending it. Marketing practice (and results!) say we need new brands so we start fresh in the minds of the audience to get broader support. I’ve been using the words thinker, inventer, technologist, and recently maker. Three already have positive connotations which correspond with what people will be doing on software and hardware side. Lay people might be happy to invest in locations, equipment, and support for (those words) among the nation’s youth. Ive found that maker generates confusion (“What’s that?”) that lets me explain the concept with positive examples from makerspaces. So, it’s weaker initially and requires a little work but that can be as simple as linking to a story. So, there’s some options.

                                                                              I say we keep the hacker term among ourselves while garnering mainstream support with the kind of words they understand and would back. I’ve already been doing it with positive results. I see others doing it, too, even though many wouldn’t call themselves hackers. They’re just folks recruiting youth to let them do group projects, dream big, and so on. Happens in many fields. It’s a proven model. If we use it, though, we might not call them hackerspaces given that name leaking out to external supporters could cause conflicts or damagen. We’d have to use makerspaces, invention/technology centers, and so on… which again is already happening in many places. Hacker stays internal. Alternatively, we take those little conflicts using them to educate people on the term with positive examples risking losing support or funding on principle. If so, I argue we don’t explain the term: use examples of people who built amazing things that countered the status quo using their inquisitive attitude and deep understanding. A number of them showing up in the media overtime coming out of these (words here)-spaces might positively define the hacker spirit in the new terms and/or slowly undue damage to original term.

                                                                              It would also help if we kept collectively pushing the media for distinction between positive and criminal hackers. Showing more of the inventive ones plus their disdain for the damaging ones. Least there’s hackers on the cop shows saving peoples’ asses. That’s… something… I don’t think they understand good hacking, though. I see hints of it with characters that use tech or deep knowledge to bypass limitations of an obstacle or tool. Maybe hackers can keep coming up with ideas like that for major shows forwarding them to the producers. Trickle examples into stories with wide audiences. Similarly, keep forwarding inventive folks to local and national media outlets so they highlight them slipping in words like maker or hacker. Need a positive pushback against what media is already doing preferably in a way that they co-opt it into their own, standard practice due to positive ratings. In the end, they’ll be taking credit for their show elements with us rolling our eyes at least being grateful that we’re a bit safer and more appreciated for our efforts.

                                                                              Just some thoughts I have after years of fighting this battle with the general public looking at what worked and didn’t. We need to do more of what works. It’s more about perception and influences than facts or tech. Our methods must be likewise. Just the way it is.

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                I am not enthusiastic about the word “hacker”. I like some versions of the idea, but I don’t think the word is redeemable, the mainstream is too big and the term is too entrenched there.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  In at least this respect I think that the lobste.rs community does not align with the No Starch Press Foundation.

                                                                                  The word hacker is used 40 times in that announcement and clearly references an intention to protect people who otherwise might be prosecuted by peers and mentors.

                                                                                  A hacker likes to push boundaries, pick locks (for fun), and find ways to control hardware and make it do things that it wasn’t intended to do.

                                                                                  That implies a certain rule-breaking attitude that is more political (and includes wearing the divisive label) then the somewhat broader lobste.rs community.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    Fair point. We’ve got a few people who live that ethos and love the word, but it’s definitely not universal.

                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                    Appreciate the link. I also like the Chicago vs Bay Area write-up. Glad you’re putting this stuff out there.

                                                                                    I think we also have a bigger, recurring problem where technical people think they’ll solve all their problems with technical arguments or technology itself. Most of these are people problems, esp with word “hacker.” They gotta learn it takes completely different skills to win political and media battles. Some know and do it but they’re rare. I about want to joke they’ll be better off accomplishing OP mission if they hit Barnacles instead reading everything under tags marketing, business, and pricing. That kind of stuff, online or actual books, focused on non-profit goals with lots of practice. Then, they’ll get some stuff done.

                                                                                    Past few years gave me the hard realization that most of us wanting to change things were building the wrong skills. Gotta fix that in near future.

                                                                                    EDIT: Speaking of your linked article, another one just showed up on HN about Ghost that I thought was a good example of some of your points. Worth a Barnacles submission. :)

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                Could you please specify what you would like to happen by posting this announcement?

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  Sorry for the confusion - itistoday cannot make announcements. I’ve edited the title to fix.

                                                                                  @itistoday, please don’t pretend to be a moderator.

                                                                                1. 27

                                                                                  What are the advantages to making it federated over the current setup?

                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                    In terms of content and moderation, each instance would be kind of like a “view” over the aggregate data. If you want stricter moderation you could sign up for one instance over another. Each instance could also cater to a different crowd with different focuses, e.g. Linux vs. BSD vs. business-friendly non-technical vs. memes vs. …. Stories not fitting an instance could be blocked by the instance owner. Of course you could also get the catch-all instance where you see every type of story; it might feel like HN.

                                                                                    The current Lobsters has a very specific focus and culture, and also locked into a specific moderation style. Federating it would allow a system closer to Reddit and its subreddit system where each instance has more autonomy, yet the content from the federated instances would all be aggregated.

                                                                                    So of course such a system wouldn’t be a one-to-one replacement for Lobsters but a superset. Ideally an individual instance could be managed and moderated such that it would feel like the Lobsters of today.

                                                                                    1. 18

                                                                                      The current Lobsters has a very specific focus and culture, and also locked into a specific moderation style. Federating it would allow a system closer to Reddit and its subreddit system where each instance has more autonomy, yet the content from the federated instances would all be aggregated.

                                                                                      If federation results in a reddit-like site, I’d much rather that lobste.rs doesn’t federate. It’s a tech-news aggregator with comments, there’s no real benefit in splitting it up, especially at it’s current scale.

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        I get what you’re saying. I think OP framed the idea wrong. People come to Lobsters because they like Lobsters. The question is whom would the federated Lobsters benefit – it would mostly benefit people who aren’t already Lobsters users.

                                                                                        It’s just that the Lobsters code base is open source and actively developed, and much simpler than Reddit’s old open source code. So it’s not unreasonable to want to build a federated version on top of Lobsters’ code rather than start somewhere else.

                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                          it would mostly benefit people who aren’t already Lobsters users.

                                                                                          Well that was my point. Any spammer or shiller can create and recreate reddit and hacker-news accounts, thereby decreasing the quality and the standard of the platform, and making moderation more difficult. This is exactly what the invite tree-concept prevents, which is quite the opposite of (free) federation.

                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                            We do have one persistent fellow who created himself ~20 accounts to submit and upvote his SEO spam. He’s still nosing around trying to re-establish himself on Lobsters. I’m very glad not to be in an arms race with him trying to prevent him from abusing open signups.

                                                                                            1. 1
                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                        Based on my experience in community management, including here on Lobsters, I do not believe it’s possible for an individual instance in a system like you describe to have a coherent culture which is different from the top-level culture in substantial ways, unless you’re okay with participants feeling constantly under siege. The top-level culture always propagates downward, and overriding it takes an enormous amount of resources and constant effort.

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          Have you used Mastodon at all? If that’s used as a model, it seems each instance can have a distinct personality, as Mastodon instances do today. Contrast with traditional forums, and Reddit to some extent, which do more-or-less have a tree structure and where your concern definitely applies. With federation there doesn’t necessarily need to exist a top-down structure, even if that might be the easiest to architect (although I don’t know if it is the easiest).

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            I have used Mastodon, but not enough to have a strong opinion on it. It’s been a challenge for me to pay enough attention to it to keep up with what’s happening; it’s kind of an all-or-nothing thing, and right now Twitter is still taking the attention that I would have to give to Mastodon.

                                                                                      3. 7

                                                                                        Biggest argument in favor is probably for people that want to leech off of the quality submissions/culture here but who don’t want to actively participate in the community or follow its norms. That and the general meme today of “federated and decentralized is obviously better than the alternative”.

                                                                                        Everybody wants the fruit of tilled gardens, but most people don’t want to put in the effort to actually do the work required to keep them running.

                                                                                        The funny thing is that we’d probably just end up with a handful (N < 4) of lobster peers (after the novelty wears off), probably split along roughly ideological lines:

                                                                                        • Lobsters for people that want a more “open” community (signups, etc.) and with heavier bias towards news and nerdbait
                                                                                        • Lobsters for social-justice and progressive people
                                                                                        • Lobsters for edgelords and people who complain about “social injustice”
                                                                                        • Lobsters Classic, this site

                                                                                        And sure, that’d scratch some itches, but it’d probably just result in fracturing the community unnecessarily and creating the requirement for careful monitoring of what gets shared between sites. As a staunch supporter of Lobsters Classic, though, I’m of course biased.

                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                          So “federation” is what the cool kids are calling “forking” nowadays? Good to know ;)

                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                          I’d be quite interested to see lobsters publish as ActivityPub/OStatus (so I could, for instance, use a mastodon account to follow users / tags / all stories). I don’t see any reason to import off-site activity; one of the key advantages of lobsters is that growth is managed carefully.

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            Lobsters actually already does this with Twitter, so that seems both entirely straightforward to add and in line with existing functionality.

                                                                                            (Note that I don’t use Twitter, so I can’t speak to how well that feed actually works.)

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              The feeds already exist, just have to WebSub enable them…

                                                                                            2. 1

                                                                                              It won’t go away entirely if the one, special person who happens to own this system decides to make it go away for whatever reason of their own. It won’t die off if this specific instance gets sold or given to someone who can’t handle it and who runs it into the ground.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              Last week:

                                                                                              • Found a couple corner cases in the Stripe Atlas LLC setup but worked through it, LLC’s on its way.
                                                                                              • Motorcycle won’t start. If I bridge the starter solenoid I get sparks but no noise from the starter, so either the battery’s not holding enough charge or the starter motor’s dead. I’m going to pick up a hydrometer to measure the battery. I’m really hoping that’s the problem after it sitting on a tender all winter, because if it’s the starter motor I’d have to remove the tank, fuel pump, exhaust, and cylinders just to get at it, which I don’t have the experience to do.

                                                                                              This week:

                                                                                              • Replacing my motorcycle battery or listing it for parts/a project repair on Craigslist.
                                                                                              • Continuing LLC formation process, probably be done this week. Following up on a consulting lead and starting on the TBA project.
                                                                                              • Replace Baikal with Radicale for the calendar I share with my spouse. Baikal has been frustratingly unreliable for us.
                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                Previously. I did end up creating a list of sister sites using the Lobsters codebase.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  The author has followed up with subscripting and superscripting in conceal and an introduction to writing them from scratch.

                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                    How about a tools tag; which covers other things a programmer would use, like build systems and editors?

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      I feel like tools would get too noisy because of how general it can be.

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        What description would you write for tools that wouldn’t include pretty much everything tagged with software or release, and a big chunk of unix?

                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                          Tools for developing software.

                                                                                                          • release is for new release announcements

                                                                                                          • unix is for tools already a part of the Unix toolbox

                                                                                                          The kind of articles you would submit to it are things about non-vi/emacs text editors, build systems, etc.

                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                          I really like this approach. We have a lot of stories that would benefit from such a tag, and if we get a large enough volume of just text editor stuff we can break it into it’s own tag.