A bunch of 44CON stuff, but what I’m doing in the evenings is writing a django-based app to replace the writefreely instance at chargen.one. Writefreely is great but it’s apparent that very few of the current members are comfortable enough with go to fix the problems and for the community to take it forward. I hope to have some form of MVP ready in a few weeks.

    1. 4

      It seems that regardless of actual availability, this is a feature people seem to want. Is this something the mods are willing to implement?

        1. 1

          It’s open source. Literally anyone here can implement it… Why is it the mods’ jobs?

          1. 2

            Anyone here can implement it… on their own instance. For it to be implemented here the mods would presumably have to accept and deploy submitted changes.

            1. 2

              It’s a good question whether the mods will allow this feature, but I would call that question whether they will “accept”, “merge”, or “deploy” the feature. In the usage I’m used to, the word “implementing” means writing the actual code.

        1. 1

          Thanks for taking the time to write up these thoughts. My wife and I have been working on healing our relationship with our phones recently. We have a docking station in the living room and are trying to keep them there most of the time when we’re in the house, and also when we are going to bed. This article just inspired me to get the “What do you want to pay attention to?” lock screen, as well as to do a pass on cleaning out unnecessary apps, and putting infrequently used ones in a “Misc” folder on a separate home screen.

          The biggest thing I’ve had to accept is that this is a work in progress. Sometimes I’m going to fail. I’m going to get into arguments on twitter. I’m going to spend too much time on an app for no good reason. There will be times when I’m physically with people, but mentally absent. It’s ok. What’s important is that I recognise it, and try to stop it happening next time.

          Totally agree. Being able to observe the workings of your own mind (mindfulness) is such an important tool, not only for kicking phone-addition, but for so many other areas of mental and emotional health. I recommend mindfulness meditation if you haven’t tried it. Here are some guided audio meditations that I’ve found helpful: https://chrisgermer.com/meditations/

          One small error I noticed:

          Firefox supports add-ons on mobile, such as uBlock Origin.

          When I visit https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/ on Firefox for iOS I get a big red banner that reads “Firefox for iOS does not currently support add-ons.”

          If there’s a way to get this working on iOS I’d love to know!

          1. 2

            If there’s a way to get this working on iOS I’d love to know!

            Since all browsers on iOS use a system web view, you could use the system’s native content blockers, which enforce it for all web viewers, AFAIK.

            1. 2

              Wow, thanks for reading this!

              I’m sorry about iOS. Unfortunately I’m using firefox on Android, which does support add-ons. On iOS you do have access to an equivalent app called Better, which is worth getting if you can afford it.

            1. 9

              I’m using writefreely for my chargen blog, which is an open source version of write.as. C1’s in closed alpha for now while I bend my head around the codebase, but the plan is to create a place where people can:

              • Write about things that interest them
              • Federate everywhere (RSS, Activitypub etc)
              • Read the content without popups or tracking
              • Read content the way they want to (Gopher, FTP, epub, audiobook)

              So far I have the basic writefreely working on OpenBSD, which wasn’t easy as it’s a young product and OpenBSD isn’t supported. RSS works, activitypub isn’t working as well as I’d like. Working on templates and gopher support at the moment.

              If that’s something that tickles your fancy, drop me a message and I’ll send you an invite so you can poke around and see if it’s for you. Write.as is mighty fine though.

              1. 1

                very cool! sending you a message now.

              1. 4

                So I wasn’t sure whether or not to say I’m the author here. I’m not the author, but I am running the instance of writefreely on OpenBSD. I’m hoping to build this into a federated space for others interested in reading and writing medium-high quality content, particularly around the BSD community.

                I’ll have an open beta from April, but if anyone’s interested in writing content here, drop me a line for an invite. It’s totally open, all your data is yours, you can read content without javascript and there’s no visitor tracking beyond post view counts accessible only by a post’s individual author.

                It’d be really nice to get some people interested in writing about lesser known operating system experiences, Open/NetBSD use, less common FreeBSD use and so on.

                1. 2

                  “So I wasn’t sure whether or not to say I’m the author here. I’m not the author”

                  You’re the author if you wrote the content, built the tools, etc. That’s probably the original intent. It’s also the usage in almost all situations I see “authored by.”

                  1. 3

                    Yeah it was h3artbl33d that wrote the piece, hit publish, I just gave him an account. It’s the submit tick box I’m unsure about. I don’t want to claim authorship, but certainly there’s a connection and I’m not sure the best way to make that clear.

                    1. 1

                      Maybe you/chargen.one can be seen as a publisher, comparable to the publisher of a journal.

                1. 2

                  This week, we’ve got 3 new courses added to 44CON’s June training schedule, and just launched the September conference CFP.

                  Putting everything together for our 1-day March 44CONnect event (if anyone here wants an invite drop me a message).

                  That aside, I’ve got some client work going on this week, and am hoping to get the time to look into setting up a public non-logging DNS over TLS server.

                  1. 6

                    This week I’m writing a lot of content, doing some CAD and a bit of devops:

                    • Our early bird 44CON tickets go on sale tomorrow, so I’ve got a blog post and mailshot ready to go.
                    • I’m doing some work on the HIDIOT documentation this week.
                    • I’ve been working on a conf badge framework that people can learn to solder with, so I need to do a PCB design for the generic model
                    • I need to start on some container-based honeypot management automation and a workshop session for a customer and local technology college on it.
                    • I’m also doing stuff on the 44CON CFP, sponsor followup and other bits and pieces
                    • If I get to the end of the week with spare time I’m going to write something for chargen

                    I fell down the stairs just over a week ago and my foot’s still swollen. Haven’t left the house since, so I’m hoping to be able to wear shoes at some point this week too. Then I can at least go out for a walk or something.

                    1. 2

                      Wow, it’s a surprise to see you here! I believe I met you and your lovely partner at SteelCon :) Good luck with the work and get well soon!

                      1. 1

                        Nice to see you here too!

                    1. 8

                      Working on laarc. https://www.laarc.io/

                      Around 300 people show up each day now.

                      traffic graph for laarc.io at 1.5 months


                      traffic graph of Hacker News at 6 months

                      There’s an interesting discussion about two-way string matching: https://www.laarc.io/item?id=1197

                      You can view multiple tags at once now: https://www.laarc.io/l/essays|classics

                      And you can search stories and comments: https://search.laarc.io

                      Today I’m setting up json endpoints for our iOS app. Here’s an album of WIP screenshots: https://imgur.com/a/5L5v65N

                      1. 2

                        Ooh I like this!

                        1. 2


                          • fix RSS thing. Expected: a few entries (say, the recent ones of the last 3 days) Found: 700+ links up to “Test post please ignore” dated 61 days ago

                          Feature request:

                          • add something more than a title/link (keywords? quick abstract? reason why the article was suggested?)

                          Super feature request:

                          • a “category”, similar to a tag. Every submission will be tagged to a single category. There will be no more than a couple dozen categories. Every category will have a RSS feed. Use case: “only bother me with videos, news, rants”.
                          1. 2

                            I added RSS feeds for tags:



                            It’s experimental; let me know if it works how you expect.

                            1. 2

                              fix RSS thing. Expected: a few entries (say, the recent ones of the last 3 days) Found: 700+ links up to “Test post please ignore” dated 61 days ago

                              That was actually my idea, which in hindsight might not be a great one. Is it a bad idea for the rss feed to show everything? I figured “Why not” since most RSS feeds do. But a news site might be fundamentally different from someone’s personal blog in that respect.

                              add something more than a title/link (keywords? quick abstract? reason why the article was suggested?)

                              You can. One diff vs HN is that you can submit text along with your URL.

                              The trouble is that it’s hard to notice. It doesn’t show up as a comment, so people rarely check the actual story. I could show the text on the front page, but then the front page would be less information-dense at a glance. That has ill effects on stories lower down the page, since the top 10 stories end up becoming the de facto frontpage.

                              a “category”, similar to a tag. Every submission will be tagged to a single category. There will be no more than a couple dozen categories. Every category will have a RSS feed. Use case: “only bother me with videos, news, rants”.

                              There are actually two feature requests embedded in this excellent suggestion: an RSS feed for tags, which I have always intended to do and can re-prioritize now that it’s come up again. And categories, which were recently introduced via tag combining operators:


                              ^ that’s laarc without programming, dev, or news.



                              It feels much more freeform than categories, and users can configure them how they like.

                              The idea is that you should be able to add /.rss to the end of a link like https://www.laarc.io/l/essays%7Cclassics and get an RSS feed, similar to reddit. Would that work for your suggestion? (Tag-combining operators weren’t exactly what you asked for, and categories might be worth considering.)

                          1. 2

                            I’m planning out a talk on honeypots for devops teams. A lot of devops teams I deal with are curious about what attacks actually look like, so the plan is to walk them through deploying a honeypot that matches their infrastructure services, so they can get a rough idea of what to look for when facing real-world adversaries.

                            I’ll probably give it at a few internal places for specific teams, and possibly as a workshop at a couple of colleges and Unis I help out with.

                            1. 2

                              I was supposed to go to see my folks, but I fell down the stairs a week ago and my foot is still too sore to wear shoes, so I can’t go and see them as it’s a 2 hour drive.

                              Instead, I’m going to migrate some of my static sites over to my new openbsd.amsterdam vps to free up an old server. I’ll probably write something for the blog hosting platform I’ve set up if I get the time.

                              If I feel up to it, I’m going to go through the SSD1351 OLED display datasheet and look at building a library for the ESP32. I like the screen, but I’m having trouble with the libraries I’m using. I’d like to have something to use sprites with.

                              1. 3

                                Nice write-up, I thought I saw somewhere recently that the OpenBSD project was making a reimplantation of rsync. Might be nice to add deltas to your backups.

                                1. 2

                                  I should be able to do that, but tbh the amount of data involved isn’t worth it. If rsync is in base for 6.5 I’ll give it a go and update accordingly. Thanks for the heads up!

                                1. 17

                                  Be ready to wage wiki warfare to defend the notability of Lobsters.

                                  1. 5

                                    I think it might be better to be deleted. I’d be worried about the Eternal September effect.

                                    1. 13

                                      Just don’t… invite people then?

                                    2. 4

                                      I’m fully aware of that, I’ve created more articles in the past. It seems that the English Wikipedia is far less difficult to deal with than the Wiki community of my native language (Dutch).

                                      1. 3

                                        I’ve been at (albeit small) companies which strongly avoided a wikipedia page because of the difficulty of winning the notability argument after having lost it once. I don’t know if this is still the case, but community contribution might have to be all-in now that this wiki page exists.

                                        1. 3

                                          FWIW, the only secondary sourxes I’m aware of are academic work from MIT and UofC, both linked from /about.

                                          1. 1

                                            Thanks, that’s useful for the wiki article

                                        1. 2

                                          I was supposed to be doing a ton of stuff but am full of a cold. Instead, I’m fighting a cold, ditching Shopify on the Raw Hex site and switching it over to being self hosted and setting up the marketing for the next 3 months for 44CON training this March.

                                          I’ve got a small supplier review gig to work through some docs on too, and put into some form of coherent structure, so I’ll do some of that too, but I need to get better first for that.

                                          1. 2

                                            The Art of Execution by Lee Freeman-Shor.

                                            1. 4

                                              This is a really nice read, and damned handy for my handheld CHIP-8 emulator I’ve been developing for the Atmega1284p. Thanks!

                                              1. 1

                                                my handheld CHIP-8 emulator I’ve been developing for the Atmega1284p

                                                This sounds amazing, are you documenting it anywhere publicly? I wrote a CHIP-8 emulator for PC a while back and have been toying with the idea of making one for the ESP8266, but the Atmega sounds intriguing.

                                                1. 2

                                                  Just a few posts on Mastodon earlier this year - it’s been left to one side while the day job stuff took over. I have a breadboard prototype which does CHIP-8 and hires (64x64) mode, but my next step is to refactor the debugger so it’s not just a constant stream of instructions and values but a proper interactive debugger and get the 128x64 Superchip display working properly all within the Atmega1284p’s 16kb of RAM. After that I’m going to try hooking up external RAM and seeing if I can get some other stuff running, like an MS-BASIC interpreter with keys mapped to the 4x4 keypad per program.

                                                  So far I’m using a 4x4 keypad, a beeper, SD Card reader and a 128x64 OLED screen. Once I’ve got Superchip working I’ll design a PCB with the goal of running the whole thing of a pair of AA batteries.

                                              1. 1

                                                I’m gearing up to launch some new 44CON training in March, working on sponsor pack info and (hopefully) working on some procedural image generation work using p5 to generate photo-inspired art for a project I’m going to run next year.

                                                Also working on moving away from Shopify, because fsck Shopify.

                                                1. 5

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

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

                                                  1. 12

                                                    it’s womanwashing history

                                                    I’m sorry, what??

                                                    1. 6

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

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

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

                                                      1. 2

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

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

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

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

                                                    2. 6

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

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

                                                      1. 1

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

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

                                                      2. 4

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

                                                        1. 1

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

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

                                                          1. 0

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

                                                            1. 5

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

                                                              1. 3

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

                                                                I do not follow this analogy.

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

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

                                                                I do not believe my occupation is at all relevant.

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

                                                                1. 2

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

                                                                  1. 5

                                                                    (at @jgt too)

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                    1. 1

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

                                                                      Can you guess my heritage?

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

                                                                      1. 1

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

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

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

                                                                        1. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                    2. 1

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

                                                                    3. 1

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

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

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

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

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        I get it, my analogy is shit.

                                                                        1. 1

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

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

                                                                2. 5

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

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

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

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

                                                                  edit: Actually, I’ve just seen this:

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

                                                                  So, yeah. It’s a political thing.

                                                                  1. 8

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

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      they help counteract negative stereotypes and biases against women in computing

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

                                                                      The explicit goal is to raise awareness.

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

                                                                      1. 6

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                        Sorry for the rant.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          Is there any evidence of this?

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

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

                                                                          1. 1

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

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

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

                                                                            1. 2

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

                                                                              1. 2

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

                                                                      2. 2

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

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

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

                                                                        1. 1


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

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

                                                                      1. 5

                                                                        Finishing up my talk for BSides Lisbon on Microcontroller firmware reversing and a badge for the event. The badge comes with a built-in memory monitor. If you can find the serial port and get it working, you can pause execution, drop into the monitor and play around with on-chip SRAM and EEPROM, then inspect the flash memory. By manipulating structures at the top of SRAM you should be able to get it to execute arbitrary code from flash memory.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          I switched laptops back at the end of september and only signed in because of this thread and the palantir one.

                                                                          For my tuppence worth, not being signed in has reduced the amount of time I spend on this site considerably, and for quite a large volume of content on here, this has been a positive experience. While I’d say Lobsters is one of the better online communities, it’s not immune to the problems of others.

                                                                          If the powers that be decide to shrink the community size and delete my account, I’m cool with that. Now I’m signed in I’ll probably start participating again. I think I’ll be more selective in posting though.

                                                                          Here’s the thing when it comes to threads containing things you don’t like: stop participating in them. Don’t click on them. Do not read the comments. Do not reply to them. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it.

                                                                          Also, f*ck Palantir, but I’m not going to give people who work there shit because they work for a shitty company.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            I finished 44CON last week but we’re extending our CTF for another week. It’s a blockchain heist ARG based on a soldering token we built. Sign up at the CTF if you want to join in, and start here. There’s still about $6k in crypto left to win, although that figure might be different by the end of the week ;)

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              Oh hey! I just discovered CTFs and I really like them. Is there a niche community that shares or creates them? I’d like to do more! Also, are non-con attendees allowed to participate in that CTF?

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                There’s a subreddit that’s worth a look.

                                                                                Non-con attendees are more than welcome, although there were clues there that you’ll have missed. Should be able to spot them with some creative OSINT though.