1. 5

    0038 Have you ever talked into an acoustic modem?

    0039 … Did it answer?

    My school’s WiFi in 2005 had an 802.1x authentication scheme that required a software client to connect. While my PDA had a client (literally named Funk Odyssey) that claimed it was compatible, it wouldn’t work for some reason.

    Realizing that I had a spare PCI 56k modem which could answer as well as dial, a flip phone with Bluetooth modem capability (exposed as an emulated COM port), unlimited cell phone minutes, and a landline I would never use, I set out to make my own mobile network by tethering the PDA to the phone.

    Unfortunately it didn’t work: the connection wouldn’t establish, and since dial-up modems stopped playing handshake noise in the mid-2000s I couldn’t debug what was wrong. To test the receiving modem, I called up my landline and whistled. Happily the receiving modem started the connection but human mouths can’t get much further than that.

    I later tried issuing AT modem commands to the phone directly and noticed they were ineffective. My guess was Verizon disabled the functionality of the device (either permanently or temporarily as some kind of paid upgrade). This was back when carriers had complete control of the device and did whatever they wanted. I recall when phone cameras first debuted you had two options to get photos off the device: MMS them (costing upwards of $1 per message) or connect a cable from your phone to your computer. Verizon disabled the photo transfer capability on the device I had (presumably to make you pay a buck a photo) but there was a loophole: putting a photo in a draft MMS copied the photo to a location visible from the computer-mounted filesystem. You could only do this for one photo at a time, by doing this tedious process for each photo you could copy all of them to your computer. I’m always astonished how much free time and patience I had in youth.

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      As someone who buys expensive headphones I have sympathy for the author, but I don’t really buy the chain of reasoning in this post. I’m not saying planned obsolescence isn’t a problem, it just feels like the author started with a motivation to complain about that issue (and to work in some criticism of Apple) and then worked backwards to their headphone problem.

      Is it fair to compare something that costs $180 to something that costs $1,500 (Commodore 64 in 2018 dollars) and say that you expect the same engineering quality in both? Do we have any idea what the reliability of Commodore 64 or Amiga computers really was? The parts were a lot bigger, but there was probably a lot of hand-soldering, too. Saying that “some of these things, of which millions were sold, are still working” and then concluding that it’s because of a now-lost built-to-last principle seems like a big stretch to me. Also, these headphones are exposed to a lot of physical wear and tear. There must be a lot of stress on tiny wires that are constantly being twisted and pulled. It’s not the same as a computer that largely sits in one place for its entire life. The author basically picked an arbitrary length of time for how long something that costs $180 should last, and then wrote a blog complaining that it didn’t last that long.

      There’s no real evidence of planned obsolescence in these headphones, or Jaybird products in general, is there? To counter anecdote with anecdote, I’ve had a pair of tiny Jaybird bluetooth headphones for about 4 years, not the same model, but very similar. They’re beat up, bits of plastic have broken off the tiny controller (I can see the circuit board), I’ve occasionally carried them around in my pocket without a case, and they still work just fine. I assume that because of the tiny size they’re not very user serviceable, but I wouldn’t trade serviceability for bigger headphones - I bought these for the size.

      With a broader market of consumers, the cost of high end electronics has not really gone down substantially in the past few years. We’re hitting the limits of what new innovative technologies can be crammed into our portable hardware, so manufactures are relying on continual releases and the rampant consumerism of their general customer base to keep their sales growing. People from the technology sector who seek to minimize waste are fighting back with projects such as PostmarketOS, which attempt to bring new life to old cell phones that have been abandoned by their manufacturers.

      It’s amusing to me that the author previously spent a whole section criticising Apple, when as far as I know they have by far the longest software support lifetime for their phones. The latest iOS supports back to the iPhone 5s, which was released in 2013, and it brought a lot of performance improvements to older devices.

      1. 8

        Well and lets be clear, this is cherry picking. There were plenty of things in the 1980’s that were expensive trash. Pretending like you can evidence that anything has changed with a single example is pretty dishonest.

        1. 3

          Thanks, I had the same thought. Perhaps amusingly, as it’s also audio-related, a lot of expensive “hi-fi” speakers from the 80s (and 90s?) would probably fall into the “expensive trash” category. Cheap, poorly-constructed enclosures with bad drivers. You’d probably get a way better speaker today for less than you paid in the 80s, even adjusting for inflation.

          Anyway, the whole post is completely misusing the term “planned obsolesence”, which is supposed to mean “a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time.” There’s just no reason to believe that Jaybird designed their headphones to fail once they were out of warranty, and the technology certainly isn’t obsolete - it’s not like the industry dropped Bluetooth in the meantime, in order to force people to buy new products.

          I think it’s also pretty unlikely that Apple has a policy of planned obsolescence either (I bring up Apple again as the author singled them out for criticism). Yes, there was a problem with iPod hard drives 14 years ago, and Apple got dinged for it, and probably deservedly so. But that’s not the same thing as designing it to fail, or if it is then you’d have to conclude that they ended the policy, because they moved to flash storage and buttons instead of the click wheel, and those little no-moving-parts iPods lasted for ages (I bet a lot of them are still going).

          By far the most likely scenario IMO is that the author broke their own headphones somehow. Sucks that it’s out of warranty, but it’s probably not evidence of a conspiracy to rip you off.

          1. 6

            Yeah I don’t particularly like apple but my fiance has had her macbook for a gooood long while now. They have many faults but I’m not quite sure planned obsolescence is one.

            1. 3

              AFAIK Apple is using planned obsolescence for all of their computer products by stopping updates after 6 years no matter what. E.g. my colleague can now trash his Mac Mini within the next year as Apple prevents him from updating to Mojave even though the hardware is capable of running the OS which means the box will become a security liability. This I’d call planned obsolescence.

              1. 2

                That’s so bizarre. With a PC, you can always update Windows because of the standard hardware and BIOS (now UEFI). I also have a post about getting Linux running on a MacBook and their hardware is far from standard:


                Your MacMini might have been on the market long enough that some people in the community have added Linux kernel support for it and you could just install Linux on it, but most normal consumers will either trash it or keep running it without security updates.

              2. 2

                The new macbooks are really terrible. The keyboard becomes useless if a spec of dust gets stuck under one of the paper thin keys. And to remove it you have to disassemble the entire bottom half of the laptop, rip the old keyboard out, remove the 150 rivets holding it in, thread all of the rivet holes so you can put screws in them and put the new keyboard in.

              3. 5

                Author here.

                Yes, I did tend to pick on Apple a bit, even though all cell phone manufactures are guilty of limited life of their products (many Android vendors not supporting phones after only 2 or 3 years).

                As far as planned obsolescence, a good example is Dupont and the material they originally engineered for women’s stockings, which was de-engineered to not last as long because sales were falling. Maybe a better term would have been negligent obsolescence? Let’s be clear, look at the Jaybird product reviews on eBay/Amazon/various hi-fi forums and there are a lot of problems. You’d need to do surveys and check distributions of product owners to get real scientific data, but I think a good hypothesis is that the design quality had suffered, either though intentional cuts or bad decisions. But if you still sell just as much shit, why bother making it better? Negligent obsolescence can have the same profit margins as planning for it.

                I think the Apple point is still a valuable one because there is evidence (the Linus Tech Tips situation is really telling) that Apple hasn’t learned a thing from the iPod lawsuits on batteries and is going back to all those old tricks to rake in the money, and it’s particularity bad because they are such a big player. If they get away with it, it’s a bad example to every other manufacture essentially saying, “Hey, play dirty to win.” CBC news did an amazing video show the problems in their stores where they’d recommend people purchase new hardware for fixable problems; and they go so far as to interview the iFixit crew too.

                In the case of Jaybird, I was told, “There’s no option to repair. You have to buy a new one,” and that’s shitty. Why can’t I just get these fixed? I’m willing to pay for it. The first response should not be “buy a new one.” There is so much waste out there, and as mentioned in other comments, many countries require manufactures to stock and sell spare parts or offer repair services. (They can say, “we can’t repair this” of course, but they need to make a good faith effort).

                Telsa is another big company that’s shitty about this. You can’t order many parts from Tesla, even in states like New Jersey with right to repair laws, because those laws are worded to ensure consumers can buy anything a dealership can by (as far as parts and tools go). Telsa has no dealerships since they sell direct; so they don’t have to comply with right to repair.

                Maybe my Jaybirds are the wrong example, but there is a real problem here that’s leading to waste and throwing out products that aren’t ready for the bin.

                1. 6

                  One aspect you might be overlooking is the fact that designing for repairability can, in some cases, affect product decisions. There is some marketing spin here (Apple being very persuasive with theirs), so perhaps a less electronic example will be better: the Swatch Sistem 51. This is an analog, self-winding watch that is made far cheaper than normal because it cannot be opened without destroying the watch. By forgoing screws, the watch can be made with plastic and glue which is far cheaper to work with. Since all the components are sealed by a glued-on bezel, no dust or contaminants can affect the mechanical action of the watch. This is much harder to accomplish with screws. The side-effect, of course, is that you can’t open the watch without destroying parts of it.

                  I don’t think your Jaybirds will be destroyed if opened, so it’s likely “can’t be repaired” in your case means “it will cost more to pay a person to repair them than to buy a new product.” Paying repair staff, managing spare part inventory, and dealing with accounting and shipping costs money; why do that when the things come rolling off the factory line at hundreds a minute?

                  The analog to Apple products would be that adding springs, contacts, and extra case material to allow for removable batteries would make Apple products thicker and reduce available space for the battery. Given the choice between a customer-removable battery or a thinner device with 10% more battery, I think many consumers would choose the latter. You can argue that Apple should provide a customer-removable option to give consumers that choice on their platform, but that’s a different argument than the hardware design one. Further, fewer mechanical connections tend to mean a more reliable and cheaper product.

                  I agree that it’s an overall bummer that the trend in consumer products is toward monolithic, disposable, non-repairable items. I want to say that this trend is usually to make them cheaper and smaller, not because of planned obsolescence. As mentioned several times in this thread, the software support timeline of electronics is the true planned obsolescence – Apple would love to have a far more reliable hardware product that can be phased out with software than a less reliable hardware product that requires a costly support and repair pipeline.

                  I think you’re the victim of design for a specific cost target instead of planned obsolescence.

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                    Yup. I’ve developed mechanical IP65 enclosures that are not repairable. There’s much broader design space for ingress protection once you drop the requirement that the device can be opened.

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            The GeoIP tip was smart, I hadn’t thought of that before.

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              This issue also led to tools like Speedtest connecting to the wrong test servers many states away and severely underestimating performance.

              Semi-related note, I have been using https://fast.com lately and I’m much happier with the information it provides and how quickly. The settings can be changed after your first test is completed.

              1. 1

                Yeah! Used it recently to find out that I had 1 Gbit/s in my apartment. Been using it ever since. The concept is just great; enter fast.com and watch the speed.

                1. 3

                  Fun fact: Netflix also bought slow.com for the same service :).

                  1. 1

                    I did not, and will from now recommend that to the next person who needs a speed test. :-)

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              Fair Trending: Objectively-Ranked Trending Fortnite Videos

              (jokes aside, cool project!)

              1. 1

                Haha yeah. Very true. I would never have guessed fortnite drove this many views.

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                Hey @bndr, nice article! I learned a few things that I hadn’t thought about before.

                One thing I disagreed with is the “passion for programming” part. While that certainly helps, I think having a passion in the company’s domain can fuel a desire to program just as much as a passion for raw programming can. Obviously if the company is an infrastructure (or otherwise computers-for-computers-sake) company this applies less, but I know someone who was motivated to learn programming because of a background in the medical industry. They felt that software engineering was a way to improve the healthcare system and that impression drove them to get a degree in CS. I wanted to highlight this, since I think it’s an undervalued source of motivation.

                Looking forward to the next post!

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                  Two things: 1) if a company is concerned you’re doing too much outside work, fuck that place. You can tell straight off the bat they’re toxic and will want you to commit 60+ hours ever week. You do not want that shit.


                  If they disagree with you about something, they will call you a Nazi or a troll, like a 17th century villager crying witch.

                  This is the exact thing that happened with the Redis guy.

                  Even if you disagree with Dalmore’s manifesto, the backlash for his simple opinion was crazy. If you want to argue his arguments, that’s fine. Just make a good, calm case. Don’t be all like “You can’t argue with racists/fascists” .. no that’s ad homonem and learn how to debate with people in a civil manor.

                  I don’t really agree with this post in the sense of being anonymous. Although my contributions are more limited than this guys to the OSS world, I still feel like what I do have out there will help me avoid shitty jobs and get jobs that respect my time and my value.

                  Maybe avoid Twitter and don’t reply to political posts on Mastodon either. Learn to walk away.

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                    Just make a good, calm case. Don’t be all like “You can’t argue with racists/fascists” .. no that’s ad homonem and learn how to debate with people in a civil manor.

                    Unfortunately, modern political debate is defined by the side-channels of logical thought (attention span, framing, Overton windows) instead of the logic itself. A good, calm case made without awareness of these realities will lose every time, and debating without awareness of these realities puts you at risk of wasting your time and energy unknowingly furthering an objective hidden to you.

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                      Having just read a book about the McCarthy era in the US, I can say that the political debate wasn’t magically better 60 years ago…

                    2. 1

                      Even if you disagree with Dalmore’s manifesto, the backlash for his simple opinion was crazy.

                      I saw dozens of posts and all of it was people frustrated at his terribly vague website and lack of substance behind his claims. I never saw any personal attacks. Maybe they were deleted by moderators, or I didn’t see them because I’m not on Twitter, but Twitter is a hellhole and should be ignored by everyone.

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                      In the article is a donation link to the Alpine Linux maintainers: https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/Alpine_Linux:Developers. I had no idea so few developers were maintaining it.

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                        that seems like a common refrain for most OSS.

                      1. 3

                        My resume page is pretty good on wait time – 14 seconds

                        1. 5

                          Neither this post nor https://lobste.rs/s/dtqqih/chrome_now_strips_common_subdomains_e_g has a ready link to why the Chrome team wants to do this. As far as I can tell (and please chime in if you know more), it boils down to an attempt to remove (what the Chrome team considers) redundant information from the UI in order to highlight more critical parts of the origin. It’s my understanding that the www. is targeted here because many pages automatically redirect to/from www. or mirror it entirely, making it not “user-controlled.” It would be nice if someone from the developer relations team explained this change a bit more (with examples).

                          A relevant link is https://www.chromium.org/Home/chromium-security/enamel#TOC-Eliding-Origin-Names-And-Hostnames.

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                            Most sites redirect but some have completely different things on www and the root. there were a few examples posted on a thread on reddit.

                            1. 2

                              edirect but some have completely different things on www and the root. there were a few examples posted on a thread on reddit.

                              I think some ntp servers will display the webpage on the www and the actual ntp on the root.

                              1. 1

                                I agree with you, I’m just trying to suss out the particular motivations behind this change given that there isn’t much context around it.

                                1. 1

                                  That’s true, but enough users already assume that www and the root are equivalent. Sites like that are already broken.

                                  And the NTP pool moved their main website off of www.pool.ntp.org and onto (www.)ntppool.org because people kept hitting random third-party servers when they expected to get the pool’s website.

                                2. 1

                                  I also haven’t seen any argument, convincing or not, about why they want to do this. The irony in it all is that google.com redirects to www.google.com. You’d think if they wanted to get rid of an “ugly” www that they would start with their own domain.

                                  1. 1

                                    I think they’re trying to blur the line from URL and AMP URL. “User Agent” my butt, it’s a Google Agent now.

                                    I just don’t get it (AMP, Omnibox changes). They’re basically lifting content from publishers, calling it a “privacy benefit”, and going through W3C to make it “standard”. I find this GIF downright misleading.

                                    I think these changes are very frustrating, even as a Firefox user. Can you imagine if my blog showed pre-loaded Google Search Result Pages (for 1k most common words, or something, &c), changed the URL to show google.com and avoided any traffic to their domains? They’d sue the shit out of me if I didn’t cease & desist. (Didn’t some guy do that? And they blocked his entire domain?) But they have leverage over publishers, who don’t seem to care.

                                  1. 5

                                    This is an interesting perspective. Especially the part where some people think writing some tests slows things down.

                                    Imo tests are a safety harness, don’t always work but they allow you to move faster without the PTSD that the author describes in their post. Tests are not 100% bulletproof, but they aren’t exactly useless either.

                                    1. 5

                                      I once stood in astonishment when I asked an engineer that moved within Google to Android how he liked his new team: “It’s awesome! We don’t have to write our own tests [like engineers on regular Google products do], so you write code so much faster.” When I immediately told him about my bootlooping Nexus 5x, his only response was a concerned “oh, it shouldn’t do that.”

                                      1. 3

                                        Wasn’t the 5x a hardware failure though?

                                        1. 1

                                          Most of the issues around the 5X were due to issues with heat dissipation, yup. Overheating would cause things to fail pretty badly; most of the time it meant the phone was CPU-throttled to keep heat down, but sometimes it would heat up so quickly on boot it would trigger a watchdog which would power down the phone.

                                        2. 3

                                          I used to work on Android, and I definitely had to write unit tests for some of the stuff I wrote. The tests we didn’t write were integration and UI tests; instead, we would write specs for QA people to run through on a daily or weekly basis. I would agree with your friend, though: not writing UI tests but still getting the benefits of having the UI tested was 100% a delight.

                                      1. 4

                                        I don’t think there are excuses for not publishing the code your results were obtained with.

                                        In experimental science, there’s always a risk of accidentally, or even unknowingly omitting a crucial detail of the experiment setup (e.g. unknown impurity working as a catalyst), but I don’t know anyone who would withhold details of an experiment setup from peers on purpose. When experiment setup is a physical device, people realize that to have anyone repeat and confirm their findings they need every detail.

                                        With code, repeating findings and reviewing the setup is much easier, and yet some people purposely make it harder.

                                        1. 1

                                          Reminds me of that great address made by Feynman.

                                          1. 1

                                            Well, the science they are doing is genuine. A methodology mistake doesn’t equal cargo cult science. It’s the standard of communicating that science that I have a problem with.

                                            1. 1

                                              Sure, I guess the point in that address I wanted to zoom in on was the experimental protocol Young discovered and published – had he not done that (or left out parts of his setup), there would have been no standard to hold other studies against (even if Feynman claims it was ignored). I didn’t mean to disparage the scientists involved, I just wanted to bolster your point that withholding experimental setups (knowingly or not) can lead to bad effects down the line.

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                                          Someone who writes ostensibly production-ready code in PHP or Perl should be treated like someone who refuses to vaccinate their children: their behavior should be considered acceptable only if they are extremely careful and they have a very good excuse.

                                          I think the author is a bit melodramatic, and that is the toxic part – there’s criticism, and then there’s criticism without concern for the humans receiving the criticism. I agree with the author that there’s a vast majority of programmers who could benefit from better tooling (I put myself in this camp), but how that knowledge is conveyed makes all the difference (as they mention in the article itself).

                                          It sounds like the author has knowledge and wants to spread it – either by mentoring or teaching directly. To be successful at that, they need to understand where a mentee/student is and jump into their worldview before moving them forward. There is a huge difference between “here is where I think you are, which means you’ve probably seen these kind of frustrations pop up, why not try X instead” and “hey you’re doing this all wrong, here’s the best way.”

                                          Sidney Dekker talks about how people don’t show up at work to do a bad job – everyone is usually trying their best, but is working within constraints (“my boss won’t let me use X”, “I haven’t heard about this,” “I have outdated knowledge about this,” “I don’t want to support this organization for moral reasons,” “I’m under a tight deadline and can’t afford the rewrite,” etc). People will only be receptive if you acknowledge that they are doing their best within constraints, and you are removing a constraint. “You use PHP, therefore you are bad” statements make you feel good and self-righteous, but are less effective than “do you hit these kinds of errors?” “yes!” “then you might consider this other language, it’s easier than you think.”

                                          As I write this I feel a bit hypocritical as I’ve spent a long time criticising {large, well known software product with a defensive, tribal culture} for not doing {well established modern software engineering practice} and releasing a buggy and infuriating product. My ranting and raving did nothing. Absolutely nothing. What was effective? Another team got merged into that one and started flooding the mailing lists with “you thought {software engineering practice} was impossible at this scale but it’s actually doable.” It worked. That’s how you effect change in organizations that might even be hostile to you: meet them where they are, treat them as doing their best within constraints, and show how to remove the constraints.

                                          1. 4

                                            I think the author is a bit melodramatic, and that is the toxic part – there’s criticism, and then there’s criticism without concern for the humans receiving the criticism.

                                            Absolutely. I fell into that trap recently. The organisation I was in was using PHP, and I engaged what I thought at the time as collegial bitching at that poor language. Turns out they were mostly humoring me and taking a minor bit of offense at each nag, and the taken offense piled up in time.

                                            It was a lesson for me obviously, but there’s something to be learned on the other side of this fence: if you’re getting offended by something your colleagues do, bring it up very early and don’t just assume the offender is aware of how they’re affecting you.

                                            1. 3

                                              I actually make this point later in the essay:

                                              I consider this really to be an issue of beginners graduating to higher levels of understanding (and systematic pressure making it harder for certain groups to graduate out of the beginner classification), and one way to help this is to be extremely clear in your criticisms about the nature of the problems you criticize — in other words, rather than saying “PHP users are dumb”, say “PHP is a deeply flawed language, and PHP users should be extremely careful when using these particular patterns”.

                                              When we are talking to individuals, I think we have the responsibility, as @stip says, to “understand where a mentee/student is and jump into their worldview before moving them forward”. However, one-on-one mentoring is not where programmers of any level learn most of their habits these days (and I’m not sure it ever was!). Instead, the most powerful shapers of industry and community norms are publications (ranging from comments and blog posts to books and standardized lesson plans) and myth (ranging from hype and stereotypes to stuff like programming epigrams and The Story of Mel). Publications shape myth through hyperbole, so if you’re writing for a very general audience, it pays to be melodramatic enough to be memorable.

                                              (While overwrought, I don’t think the comparison to antivaxxers is unfair. Using insecure tools in serious projects because you think it doesn’t matter bites you in the ass when the project suddenly acquires scale and problems start affecting every install, in the same way that an individual decision to avoid vaccination becomes a failure of herd immunity at scale. The fundamental mistake is the same: evaluating decisions about interactions with a group from only an individual lens.)

                                              Something I originally meant to address more directly in this piece is a flaw I see in articles of the type it criticises – namely, I think social pressure is extremely valuable because it performs soft enforcement of rules, and articles critical of gatekeeping in tech often ignore the social dynamics of this. The particular article I’m responding to only bumps up against the problem.

                                              Ultimately: when your software doesn’t matter (when it has zero or one users, or all its users are also its core developers, and when nobody ever pays for it, uses it for important tasks, or gives it sensitive data), then tool choice also doesn’t matter. This is great! But, when your software matters (when people depend on it working), making sure it’s reliable and secure matters more than your ego and personal preferences. At this point, so long as they properly modify behavior in the appropriate direction, social pressure (to the point of hostility) is justified.

                                              When I see people complain that they get criticized for using in a serious project & their defense is that they’re a beginner and don’t know how to use something better-suited for the job, my basic response is that when somebody is depending on a project, it shouldn’t be implemented by someone who doesn’t know how to implement it reliably. (Making sure the thing works is more important than even profit: if you can only do a half-assed job without going broke, you shouldn’t do it at all.) In the extreme case, you work on it until it is reliable (by learning new techniques and tools) and discourage people from depending on it (by marking it alpha) until it’s actually release quality.

                                              (And, of course, on the other side: when nobody depends on it, we should encourage beginners to expand their horizons by using all sorts of tools – particularly tools that are a poor fit – since dealing with a poorly-fitting tool when both the tool and the problem are new to you is a very productive learning experience.)

                                          1. 2

                                            I have an alias called git map that maps to

                                            git log --graph --branches --tags --color=always --date=short "--pretty=format:%C(red)%h%x09%Creset%C(green)%d%Creset %C(yellow)%cd%Creset ~ %s"

                                            It usually does what I need to do, but I’d be happy to hear about better GUI tools.

                                            1. 9

                                              This article is a good argument against treating a lack of gender diversity in video games as a problem to be solved. Men and women are systematically interested in different types of video game experiences, and game creators who cater to one type of experience or the other will naturally have a gender imbalance in the sorts of players who want to play that type of game.

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                                                It’s a sign of bizarre times that this isn’t obvious. Boys and girls have always preferred playing with different toys since the dawn of time.

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                                                  There’s nothing obvious about it, and re-examining unfounded claims is not bizarre. We know that, historically, plenty of claims made were just plain wrong (consider the anabolic-catabolic “theory”).

                                                  Boys and girls had very different /roles/ since the dawn of time for obvious reasons. If you tried, as a girl, to play with the “wrong” toys you could see quite a bit of resistance.

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                                                    I’m not saying this is wrong (I haven’t done any research so I don’t know) but it seems very likely that kids are pushed to play with specific toys by society. We label toys as boys or girls, we market toys as being played with by either boys or girls and we give kids toys that we associate with their gender.

                                                    I saw a video this year where young babies were placed in a room full of a range of toys. Each time the baby was dressed in either pink or blue and given a female or male name regardless of their actual gender and a babysitter was in the room as well to help them play with the toys. Each time the babysitter would tend to help the baby play with toys stereotypical for their perceived gender. After the babysitter was asked which toys they thought the baby liked and they would say the baby seemed to prefer the toys of the perceived gender regardless of what the babys actual gender was.

                                                    Now that’s not really a scientific study but it does seem to suggest that things are not as “obvious” as they seem. It’s a little hard to test because really you would have to raise a kid in an alternative society to see what differences it makes.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      There’s also evidence that toy choice is gendered along the same lines that we in our culture are familiar with among chimpanzees, suggesting that toy choice has something to do with biological mechanisms of gendering bodies that are older than the human-chimpanzee split.

                                                      Anyway, this entire article is already presupposing that gendered differences in toys (well, video game tastes, but is a video game not just a more sophisticated toy?) exist and are important. As per the title, what men and women consider hardcore gaming are not the same.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        Could as well be the kids wanted to be nice to the babysitter who helped them play. The type of play also needs to be accounted for. There are studies as well which show that very young kids tend to gravitate to certain types of play.

                                                        Of course there’s going to be some overlap and gray areas, but what’s the harm in acknowledging the idea that maybe play and preferences have something to do with biology?

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                                                          but what’s the harm in acknowledging the idea that maybe play and preferences have something to do with biology?

                                                          There is no harm in thinking maybe it might be true and maybe it might not. There is harm in things like OPs comment stating “It’s a sign of bizarre times that this isn’t obvious.” When it’s extremely complex and not obvious at all.

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                                                            There is no harm with acknowledging that they “have something to do with biology”, the difference is how much weight is put on it, and the problems are caused when that is used as an excuse for things like exclusion, whether that’s subtle coercion of “oh I wouldn’t bother with that, because it’s been shown that people like me are bad at that sort of thing”, to the deep personal exclusion of “I will never be able to do X in a good way because of my biology, so I should not try”.

                                                            Equally, what is the harm in acknowledging the idea that maybe play and preferences have something to do with culture?

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                                                              I don’t know where coercion or exclusion came from here.

                                                              And surely society has some effect, but reading something like The Blank Slate makes me think it’a not such a huge factor.

                                                              Next someone will probably point out Pinker is a white supremacist or something and I’m done with this already.

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                                                                I don’t know where coercion or exclusion came from here.

                                                                Do societal consequences not matter, just because they’re societal?

                                                                reading something like The Blank Slate makes me think it’a not such a huge factor.

                                                                The Blank Slate, last I checked, ignores a lot of hard evidence done in the social sciences in favour of bashing Pinker’s strawman of the subjects. In addition, I’m not sure how someone can place a single reasonably cited book as a justification for ignoring 70 years of hard evidence. Especially when such a book’s argument is strongly contested.

                                                                Next someone will probably point out Pinker is a white supremacist or something and I’m done with this already.

                                                                Does someone’s political views not have any bearing on their research? Surely years of study have found bias in study construction extremely easy. I take the attitude that it must be so, for politics is how we view and frame all manner of parts of the world. Whether or not someone is a racist matters deeply as to the purpose behind the arguments that they make, and the ways that they approach certain details. Likewise if I am a monarchist you would surely wish to know that when arguing about matters of state, since my arguments might be led by conscious or unconscious motivations.

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                                                                  I don’t think Pinker has a political horse in the race, but I do understand he can be misunderstood to have one even if he didn’t. So as far as anyone should care, the discussion could be limited to the science.

                                                                  I’m just not particularly interested anymore, because something like infant behavior, sex vs gender, toy preference, biology, anthropology, primatology and who knows what “always” gets conflated with coercion and exclusion.

                                                                  It’s essentially impossible to discuss matters online, text-based, time-delayed and without real interaction. More so when it starts to feel like something someone wants to win. The easiest win is to claim the other party doesn’t care about something not immediately related yet important and he’s therefore a bad person by implication.

                                                                  That’s why I’m done.

                                                                  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and men and women choose different toys, ways to play, subjects to study and careers to follow.

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                                                              Yes as a hypothetical, and in a context where social coercion doesn’t exist your statement would be totally fine and good. Saying it with certainty, even though it runs contrary to the scientific consensus lacks epistemological responsibility. It’s fine to say I’m not sure I agree with the scientific consensus, however it’s irresponsible to say that the scientific consensus is certainly wrong without any evidence. Once you add in the fact that some people will try to use such claims as a way to pressure a demographic out of an activity, then you have the risk of real harm. I’m not saying you’re the kind of person who would do that but it’s important to be aware that people will try to use your message there to exclude others who are wholly capable.

                                                            3. 0

                                                              I mean there’s no reason to believe that there’s real sexual dimorphism in the toys children choose to play with. I’ve seen boys play with dolls and girls play with trucks. Gender is a construct, that’s the scientific consensus and those saying otherwise value tradition over evidence.

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                                                                There are also a lot of arbitrary gendered items that change over time or across cultures. For example skirts of some form have been either male or female clothing depending on the culture/location. Also pants have been male clothing but are now neutral.

                                                                There are no doubt very real differences between genders. The obvious one being physical strength/body shapes but I am willing to bet that a majority of the differences between genders today are formed by tradition and not biology.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  The differences in gender as you said are formed by tradition. When you talk about physical strength and body shapes however that’s sexual dimorphism, unless you are referring to the cultural mores that pressure men to bulk up and pressure women not to. Sex informally speaking is the bits between your legs, sexual dimorphism is the physiological difference that often (but not always) come along with that like testosterone or estrogen production, gender is the cultural construct we have around sex. You can have sexes without having gender, which I’m sure has existed and you can have many genders within a single sex if you’re like creating a sci-fi culture.

                                                                  You weren’t wrong in any way I just thought it would be useful to be clear.

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                                                            The reason there’s a push to solve it is the profit motive.Given that roughly 50% of women play games if you could create an experience that tailors to both cultures you could make a lot more money than if you didn’t.

                                                            Though I personally also enjoy playing games with people with different backgrounds. Sometimes a different cultural outlook also can have refreshing outside of the box ideas. It looks like for example that according to this survey while women value competition and challenge, they also value looking good while doing it, and going all the way to completion. That would mean if you want to hook women, make sure to add robust customization options or ways to build or design things. I think the completion aspect is already in most games, cheevos. Notice that they don’t disvalue destruction, but they find it less interesting than a well written story.

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                                                              Indeed, it is like complaining chick flicks get chick viewers, which is absurd.

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                                                                I haven’t heard that particular complaint, but one I hear often is that it’s quite absurd to have a genre lineup that resembles something like “action,” “comedy,” “drama,” and “not for men,” as if “not for men” were its own genre (it’s obviously not literally called that, but you provided your own example above). Deciding to use a “not for men” genre immediately creates its counterpart, “for men,” which is every other genre.

                                                                You logically have two choices here:

                                                                1. Accept the dichotomy and make explicit the implicit labels: “action for men,” “comedy for men,” “drama for men,” and “not for men.” You’ll have to train your brain to see this everywhere, as the implicit labels are extremely implicit. Along with appeal to the targeted demographic comes license to exclude the other – after all, if your genre is “not for men” then you don’t care if your movie makes men uncomfortable (this is different than making it desirable for not-men). If your genre is “action for men,” you don’t care if your movie makes women feel uncomfortable. It’s not for them.
                                                                2. Reject the dichotomy, and distribute the “not for men” qualities into the core genres – “action for men” just becomes “action”. Along with this comes the lack of license to exclude. This has made some movie watchers/videogame players mad – even though there is still plenty of content around (and more being made every day), the consumers of the previously “for men” genres see this as dilution and loss. Some of the things they liked excluded people, and instead of trying to untangle the good from the bad (or learn to coexist with new expressions of things they liked before) they’ve decided to double down and defend everything.

                                                                Whichever decision you make will impact how you see the modern media landscape.

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                                                              I strongly disagree with the author’s stance, in part because I effectively implemented this in a previous team and it went poorly.

                                                              I was made team lead of a small subset of an infrastructure team. We had internal features we worked on (mostly efficiency and reliability improvements, sometimes major undertakings), as well as bugfixes from clients of our infrastructure. When I was made team lead, I inherited a twice-weekly “bug overview” meeting that served as a kind of standup/planning meeting for the team. I immediately declared it wasteful and unnecessary, because we could just work on the bugs “as they came in” (I even wrote a Chrome extension to watch the bug tracker for new issues).

                                                              What happened? Plenty of client bugs went neglected for weeks, with increasing anger from said clients. Some engineers worked all the time on feature work (ignoring clients), while some worked all the time on client work (making no progress on features and heading toward burnout). The team as a whole had no place or time to identify prioritization errors and have it be effective. After a few months I realized what had happened, reinstated the bug overview meeting and things started to recover (I’m simplifying and condensing a lot here, but reinstating the regular meeting did improve the situation greatly).

                                                              Psychologically, a standup provides a socially acceptable space to provide feedback on other’s priorities and receive feedback on your own. It can be really, really hard to stay focused on previously set goals, and I find some kind of regular planning meeting opens up opportunities for the team to help itself stay on track.

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                                                                A planning meeting shouldn’t be the same as stand-up, though? If you kill the meeting that puts the work in order then, yeah, I’m not surprised that things went off the rails. I imagine you could have killed the stand-up part and kept the prioritisation part, and things might have been fine.

                                                                Psychologically, a standup provides a socially acceptable space to provide feedback on other’s priorities and receive feedback on your own.

                                                                I don’t think this should be part of stand-up. I think this is part of planning, when you (should) have all the stakeholders in the room.

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                                                                I might be in the minority here, but I don’t mind whiteboard puzzles. I’m not saying they’re effective as a hiring tool (I’m also not not saying that), but I’m always surprised when people say they stress specifically about them over other interview methods. I’m genuinely curious what exactly people dislike (other than ‘it’s not representative of the job’, which I agree with). Is it the stress and time pressure? Or the reliance on past knowledge? Would it be possible to construct a good whiteboard interview for you, or is the format itself distasteful?

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                                                                  I think for the majority it’s because a lot of their knowledge is stored on the internet with their working memory copy simply being how to quickly look up the documentation to get the right answer.

                                                                  I think for the majority it’s because the internet has become an extension of their working memory and without it they flounder simply because they haven’t needed to commit to memory the details, or anything much more than were to find them when needed.

                                                                  The best analogy I can come up with is mental arithmetic, it used to be that you could take someone to the white board and ask them to work out a long division question or complex multiplication and most would be able to do so with little to no stress. With the prevalence of calculators nobody bothers to remember how to do long division or factorisation of difficult multiplication because they know how to use a calculator that does it quicker (we are animals of path of least resistance after all.)

                                                                  A white board interview where you’re describing abstract concepts would probably solve a lot of the worries, because that tends to be what most people remember, with the details filled in by a few searches of the documentation.

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                                                                    A white board interview where you’re describing abstract concepts would probably solve a lot of the worries, because that tends to be what most people remember, with the details filled in by a few searches of the documentation.

                                                                    This makes sense to me – I feel like if you handed someone a marker and said “explain {something from their resume} to me,” a whiteboard interview would be a lot less intimidating.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I’d certainly expect people to be able to do a long multiplication on a whiteboard, though. It’s pretty standard stuff. If they couldn’t, I’d hope it was due to a mind blank under stress and not because they literally don’t understand how multiplying numbers works.

                                                                      And I think that if you can’t do basic programming without the internet you’ll struggle to be productive. That’s not to say that you should just know everything, but far too many people I’ve seen can’t do any little basic bit of programming without googling the most basic things. I like that programming competitions, if nothing else, at least force you to learn to write the basic ‘glue’ code quickly without having to look up e.g. how to print something to two decimal places or how to read a float from standard input. Basic stuff you should just know. They also are an okay litmus test. I’ve never met anyone that did well in programming contests that was a bad programmer. But I’ve definitely met good programmers that didn’t do programming contests. It has a high false negative rate and a very low false positive rate, I expect.

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                                                                        I personally haven’t had to do long multiplication on paper in well over a decade and while I can describe three different methods in abstract I wouldn’t be able to do them without looking up simply because I have forgotten the details over the years of resolving to use a calculator.

                                                                        The same can be said for some with programming, maybe they use a framework that provides verbose abstractions but no longer remember how to do such things (e.g sessions, http, file handling) on “bare metal” without first looking it up.

                                                                        Having a decent memory isn’t a bad thing but as Einstein supposedly once said “Never memorize something that you can look up.”

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                                                                          Einstein probably never said that. However he did say. (In response to not knowing the speed of sound as included in the Edison Test: New York Times (18 May 1921); )

                                                                          [I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. …The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.”

                                                                          Basically don’t labor over learning dumb facts. I also though think it’s wise if you find a free moment to understand how and why things work.

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                                                                            That is a much better quote, it also encompasses what milesrout was saying in a separate thread.

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                                                                              It’s also likely that Einstein never said “Never memorize something you can look up”, so it’s not really fair to call it a quote. If you had to create a pithy new phrase from his quote it might be something like “Facts are no substitution for reason and understanding.”

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                That is the reason for why I wrote “Einstein supposedly once said”; I wasn’t trying to pass off something that may not be true as fact. However it is certainly something that a small amount of searching found to be a popular phrase attributed to Einstein and that is the reason why I quoted it.

                                                                                The New York Times reference you provided was much better not only in being easily traced back to the man himself but also because it better conveyed the point I was trying to make. Thank you for sharing it :)

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                                                                                  Yes, sorry for being pedantic. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t being misunderstood there. I had assumed that you said it in good faith. Thank you for being patient.

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                                                                            The ‘details’ are essentially that 2134 * 34 = 2134 * 30 + 2134 * 4. I really don’t think you’d have any trouble if you thought about it for a few seconds.

                                                                            The problem I’ve seen is that people don’t even think about something. They either know it and do it or they convince themselves they don’t know it and don’t try to work it out. That, the predilection to giving up, that is the danger sign, not that they don’t know it.

                                                                            The same can be said for some with programming, maybe they use a framework that provides verbose abstractions but no longer remember how to do such things (e.g sessions, http, file handling) on “bare metal” without first looking it up.

                                                                            I mean if you’re doing high level stuff you shouldn’t expect to know the details of writing low level code. If people are testing your algorithm knowledge at a Javascript webapp gig, then it’s just bad interviewing. But people testing your algorithm knowledge at a routing algorithm gig seems pretty fair.

                                                                            Having a decent memory isn’t a bad thing but as Einstein supposedly once said “Never memorize something that you can look up.”

                                                                            But if you asked Einstein some basic physics he wouldn’t look it up, he’d know it. Because having fully internalised the basic principles of physics is just part and parcel of understanding physics at the level he understood physics. Like, if you asked a mathematician the epsilon-delta definition of a limit, they’d be able to explain what it is, and what it meant, even if perhaps they couldn’t write it down formally left to right in one go if they hadn’t recently taught a course on analysis. Not because they’re geniuses that remember everything but because it’s just the most basic fundamental knowledge that everything else is based on.

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                                                                              I think we are both on the same page, possibly I am bad at explaining what I am trying to say.

                                                                              people testing your algorithm knowledge at a routing algorithm gig seems pretty fair

                                                                              Agreed, the problem I think many see with white board interviews is that they are largely used to test knowledge that isn’t pertinent to the job at hand for example testing your algorithm knowledge at a job where you’re largely expected to write high level web apps where everything is wrapped in an closed source abstraction you’re going to need to learn on the job anyway.

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                                                                                Exactly. They used to test how an individual candidate goes about problem solving, but nowadays they’re just a litmus test to see if you’ve memorized all the graph algorithms you might be asked to regurgitate.

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                                                                                But if you asked Einstein some basic physics he wouldn’t look it up, he’d know it.

                                                                                All of my physics professors and PIs looked basic stuff up all the time. There’s a reason we were allowed to take two pages of equations into exams.

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                                                                        I’ve only recently calculated that the majority of emissions I generate comes from long-haul air travel. Most of this is personal travel, but occasionally business travel as well. I plan to strongly prioritize conferences in Europe in the future (allowing for rail), and will opt to see talks from remote conferences online instead.

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                                                                          It is, for example, perfectly possible for pro-life and pro-choice advocates to collaborate on a software project. They just have to leave their opinions about abortion at the door, and this should not preclude them from freely sharing those opinions on social media without fear of disciplinary reprisal

                                                                          I wonder if this is true. Richard Stallman said, regarding an abortion joke in glibc:

                                                                          GNU is not a purely technical project, so the fact that this is not strictly and grimly technical is not a reason to remove this.

                                                                          I asked this:

                                                                          must one have the same political views as Stallman to be part of the GNU project? What if we simply believe in the four software freedoms, is that not enough? Should members who are against abortion be excluded?

                                                                          and he replied to every single post in the thread except mine, so I don’t know what the answer is.

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                                                                            I wonder if this is true

                                                                            It happens all the time in the general workplace. The South has one of the most heated histories you’ll find in things like race and gender issues. We mostly get along anywhere from tolerance to being friends. My government class was mostly split 50/50 on abortion debate with most staying friends after within days. Reading from people pushing CoC’s for political reasons, you’d think that was impossible. Yet, we do it every day in any places where peoples’ differences are tolerated. So, they’re wrong about that part. That simple.

                                                                            The author’s concerns about discrimination are my concerns given I’ve watched almost every group in a dominant position down here reward members of their own group and discriminate against others. Non-whites or non-males were no exception. Their acts of racism and sexism just don’t make the news or waves on social media. Those that didn’t do this were rare, truly-inclusive folks that went out of their way to care about and understand people that were different. I love those people even if their beliefs or political moves piss me off at times. Many get along with or love me, too. I’ve learned a lot from them.

                                                                            The tech industry, esp in Silicon Valley, is just strange to me vs what I normally encounter in general workplace. They seem to think only young, white males are capable of anything while preaching meritocracy and saying/doing anything without consequences. Then, the other haters, err activists, opposing them seem to think all white males are overprivileged people to minimize while giving opportunities and social dominance to every other group. Well, many of them even bring in just select groups (esp white women) ignoring other groups. Plus, carefully controlling speech and action in all forums with assumption every human is too weak to co-exist with those that disagree. With these factions, it’s as if there’s nothing else possible aside from these extremes despite massive number of counterexamples mostly outside of tech but also some in it. That includes the millions of minority members that seem to have a different opinion about minority or diversity issues.

                                                                            Note: This is a tech site. I’m talking general trends. If you’re an exception, you know who you are. :)

                                                                            So, I keep talking about it to try to shake people out of this binary, extremist thinking on opposite ends. For now, I don’t know what else to do given the beliefs are deeply social and emotional. That traditional and social media keeps putting them in bubbles seeing only people they’ll like the most or piss them off the most isn’t helping. One of best things I ever learned to do is keep people who oppose or aggravate me on social media. I watch their reactions to every hot topic, reading what evidence they post. Very enlightening. Plus, keep bringing the counterpoints in nice-as-I-can way to folks on the other side targeted to their perspective and terms rather than mine. Think on theirs carefully. I don’t what else to do about the herd or extremist mentalities many are about.

                                                                            Btw rain1, I don’t know if you were back in time for the last thread on this but it was more interesting than most political ones. I experienced a jaw-dropping surprise or two there.

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                                                                              One of best things I ever learned to do is keep people who oppose or aggravate me on social media.

                                                                              Be careful with this. Like cultists, an entire generation of pundits have developed that take advantage of psychological weaknesses we all possess. They use the “you have to listen to all sides!” argument to claim a right to your cognition, when doing so opens yourself to manipulation via framing or even simple repetition (and if these have emotional impact, like being aggravating, they’re more effective). Listening to many sides is in general very beneficial, so you have to constantly identify if the person is arguing in bad faith or not. This can be hard to do, and I won’t offer any strategies here because they tend to be extremely personal and subjective.

                                                                              Critical thinking doesn’t make you immune to this. At the risk of using an engineering analogy, a logically secure input parser is still susceptible to denial of service. So keep your eyes open and try to get input from a variety of sources, but make sure you understand their biases and whether they’re arguing in bad faith or not.

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                                                                                “They use the “you have to listen to all sides!” argument to claim a right to your cognition, when doing so opens yourself to manipulation via framing or even simple repetition (and if these have emotional impact, like being aggravating, they’re more effective). “

                                                                                This is a weak argument. You can always be tricked by any side, especially your own since you trust them more. The result is you still have to listen to different people. Further, you should look at evidence they present more than what you speculate about their biases, bad faith, etc. If evidence looks wrong or especially badly-intentioned, then you might start ignoring that person or group a bit more. You might still glance at their info in case something useful comes out. Totally ignore them when noise ratio is too high. That way, we get to your last sentence without censoring those that disagree with us based on bad assumptions about their motives or whatever. That’s often just ad hominem for political gain disguised as something reasonable.

                                                                                Looking at the political stuff, the people on the left are often citing sources that are full of shit. The people on the right do that as well. I know each set of mainstream sources are intentionally biased trying to tell their audience what they want to hear to keep their advertising revenue up. For others, it might be book sales, numbers on social media, status/image, and so on. Then, there’s sources that are pretty honest with just human biases. They can get more dishonest if they get emotionally charged, though.

                                                                                The irony of your warning is that you probably use some of those sources that are definitely operating in bad faith to support your political beliefs. I do, too, but that fits the model I just described of assuming everyone has error or agendas sifting the wheat from the chaff. For instance, I’ve read a Huffington Post article followed by a Ben Shapiro video on a topic since I knew both would have numbers useful to me. Then, I had to check every claim since both are full of shit. The good news is the bullshit itself is often repetitive since they aim for talking points that will spread virally. As in, the claims you have to fact check go down over time until getting good info out of semi-reliable sources is fairly efficient or not as bad at least.

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                                                                                  For helping to filter out those acting in bad faith I found it helpful to sometimes ask yourself “what if they are right” and then research on the topic. Pulling up surveys, studies, essays, etc.

                                                                                  That does make you able to recognize these arguments more easily while also increasing your literacy and giving you ammunition.

                                                                                  Generally I think it’s most beneficial if people would ask themselves that more, esp. if they are in one of the political extremes. To try to imagine what the other side thinks and feels. Empathy and understanding are something the world lacks these days.

                                                                                  (Also be careful to not throw political centrists under the bus by simply throwing out “you have to listen to all sides”, we’re usually quite nice people even if we’re not always on your side!)

                                                                                  Of course, I also feel that the most important issue is that we learn to work together more. Plenty of people disagree politically on a number of issues and work together. That can be whether or not Fiber Internet should be subsidized or not up to much more controversial statements. I don’t think such disagreements are a reason not to work together. If they bring that sentiment to work and poison the team effort by splitting the team over it, then of course, stop working with them.

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                                                                                    be careful to not throw political centrists under the bus by simply throwing out “you have to listen to all sides”

                                                                                    I’m saying listen to most sides, not all sides. Like the record in GEB that destroys the record player itself, our sense of fairness and aversion to hypocrisy can be exploited and destroyed with the right arguments. This happens in the real world, more often over time, and we should recognize it before we’re stuck in endless mental gymnastics trying to break out of political nihilism.

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                                                                                Richard Stallman said, regarding an abortion joke in glibc

                                                                                IIRC he was strongly of the opinion that the joke was not about abortion, but about censorship.

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                                                                                  I am very positive this is true. Granted, the own Weltanschauung truly reflects in one’s coding style in most cases, however, both pro-life and pro-choice advocates can have e.g. a profound desire for simplicity in their designs regardless of their opinions.

                                                                                  Things like this, in my opinion, are more rooted in self-discipline and habit, which is more or less not correlated with one’s opinion.

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                                                                                  In a slavery, the ultimate threat is the threat of violence. You can beat a disobedient slave. You can beat the gulagees or the prisoners in reeducation camps.

                                                                                  What is going on here is that some people who have terrible starts at life, were given an opportunity to make their lives relatively better. But these opportunities are relatively worse from the position of a western developed worlders. So these westerners then complain about the from-their-view-poorer conditions.

                                                                                  Do abuses exist, yes. But I know a teenager who works at a retail store who’s not realising his full leverage as given by the laws. His parents also let it slide, because they think it’s good for him to learn ‘how it is like in the real world’. So from a full-on lawyer perspective, one could say the guy is being abused.

                                                                                  The workers have to work a low paying job with bad condition because her financial situation, the relative wealth of her birth country and other factors reduce her negotiative power. But despite any of that, she’s better off working in these poor conditions with low pay than she would be back at her village. She is better of being given this opportunity.

                                                                                  The labour of developed countries back when the countries were developing had to endure such conditions too. And their leveraged that to give their children and themselves better lives in time. Every society has got to go through this process. If you try to impose enforced better pays and conditions, the employers will move to another country or another labour pool, and these poor workers will lose their chance to improve their lives. The surplus of poor people will always ensure that there’s some people ready to be ‘abused’ for $2 a day, because the alternative is even worse.

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                                                                                    I think your comment could be a valuable historic source in the future.
                                                                                    It shows pretty well the kind of rationalization “western developed worlders” do of the oppression they foster and benefit from. Teenagers abused in retail stores learn “real world” just as girls that were abused in Nigeria.

                                                                                    Just because criminals do it, it’s not something we should teach.

                                                                                    In a slavery, the ultimate threat is the threat of violence.

                                                                                    Some consider tortures as a form of violence. And starvation is a form of torture, you know?
                                                                                    Just because it’s inflicted by a community instead of a deputed soldier, it does not means it’s less violent.

                                                                                    She is better of being given this opportunity.

                                                                                    You should really read more carefully.
                                                                                    These people pay for this “opportunity”. They literaly take loans on their house to pay for it.
                                                                                    And, it turns out, they pay to be enslaved. The product does not match the promises. They are tricked.

                                                                                    Because you know, when private people have the power to remove your civil rights if you don’t do what they want, you are a slave. And if they can remove your civil rights when you get pregnant, you are a slave. And they can force you to pay for a job, you are a slave…

                                                                                    Every society has got to go through this process. […]
                                                                                    The surplus of poor people will always ensure that there’s some people ready to be ‘abused’ for $2 a day..

                                                                                    Honestly I find this argument pretty disgusting.
                                                                                    Exploting people weakness just because you can is not something that have a place in a civil world.

                                                                                    As someone who claim to “fight for freedom”, you should really consider what kind of freedom you are supporting. The freedom of western consumers? The freedom of western IT companies? Who’s the freedom you care about?

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                                                                                      It shows pretty well the kind of rationalization “western developed worlders” do of the oppression they foster and benefit from.

                                                                                      So how do you rationalise all the stuff you consume that were produce through this process?

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                                                                                        Creating a demand is not inherently wrong. How companies choose to go about fulfilling the demand is where the concern is. One thing consumers do have is the power to choose which companies they spend their dollars with. Some companies are better than others.

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                                                                                          Why should I rationalise?

                                                                                          I actively minimize the blood footprint of my purchease. And I only buy what I really need. Often used.

                                                                                          Also I actively teach people to be “Ads Adverse”: the more people try to convince me to buy something the less I’m going to buy it. Culture, knowledge and critical thinking are the key to freedom.

                                                                                          Indeed each marketing campaign convey (at least) two message:

                                                                                          • one is specific to one product: you need this shit to be happy (whatever it means to you)
                                                                                          • one is general capitalist propaganda: you are the shit you own

                                                                                          Both are ridicously false! But propaganda’s goal is always to make the oppressed internalize the oppression so that they cannot challenge it effectively. As you can see in yourself, it’s pretty effective.

                                                                                          I do not rationalise the means of oppressions that oppress me, you and Malasian immigrants.
                                                                                          I study them. And I actively fight them through culture. I make them evident.

                                                                                          I do not think that the solutions to the bloody issues of Capitalism can be found in free market.
                                                                                          That’s groupthink. The solutions are in culture, knowledge, understanding.

                                                                                          Meanwhile I call people with their name, be it “murderer” at Uber and Tesla, “slavist” at Apple and so on…

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                                                                                            I actively minimize the blood footprint of my purchease.

                                                                                            Do you?

                                                                                            Because the very fact that you are capable of replying to me, shows that you have not minimised your blood footprint.

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                                                                                              I know it might seem impossible to people used to represent all values through the same unit, but in fact you can optimize several dimensions at once.

                                                                                              Also, in a complex system you have leverage, multipliers and so on to consider, so that you can have a zero (or even negative) sum over a dimension while having non-zero magnitudes all over the other dimensions.

                                                                                              But if all this math seems too complex for you, consider I have legally free access to several internet connected public and private computers that I did not buy and I do not own.
                                                                                              I let you as an exercise to guess how it is possible… :-)

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                                                                                          many employers also confiscate and hold workers’ passports in order to keep them from leaving an untenable situation

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                                                                                            Work makes freedom - as you point out.

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                                                                                              This might be the cleanest Godwin call-out I’ve ever seen. I tip my hat to you.

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                                                                                              The surplus of poor people will always ensure that there’s some people ready to be ‘abused’ for $2 a day

                                                                                              I know that I won’t convince you to change your worldview by typing into a text box on a website where you have put your very worldview into your username, but please consider the possibility that poverty is intentionally created and sustained to maintain a cheap labor market.

                                                                                              What would that look like? Who would benefit? What would they say to keep it going? Does that imaginary world match what you see in the real one?

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                                                                                              Of a similar vein, if you’re into these kinds of posts: http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/. One of my favorite images shows how a tool fits a problem and a person.

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                                                                                                Haven’t read the post yet, but that video he links at the start of the post is so uninspired and vaguely dystopian. I can sum it up as “let’s put screens everywhere and make sure people spend even more time staring at them!” This would fit well into a Black Mirror episode. But I guess this kind of video can be a useful study of what we don’t want to happen because it makes it so obvious.

                                                                                                EDIT: After reading the post, I noticed that it’s from 2011. It’s interesting that so far we’ve pretty much gone down the path shown in the video, rather than what Bret was suggesting.