Do you think climate crisis will lead to violent activism?
"The Ministry for the Future" by Kim Stanley Robinson has a bunch of amazing ideas in it. One was that no-one used private jets anymore, because they got blown up a lot. Such a hopeful book, recommended.
Wegovy and Ozempic (semaglutide) are associated with a 50-56% reduction in alcohol addiction
This is terrible news for an economy that depends on constant consumption. So they're gonna start cracking down soon enough. If they can just take back FDA classification like they're doing with Plan B, they'll take it from semaglutides also, all to protect The Industry™.
Engineering for Slow Internet
I can tell our industry is fucked because I can’t imagine convincing a product manager or manager to prioritize a ticket called “making the product usable from slow satellite uplinks”. “What’s the expected ROI on that?” “I already promised features X, Y, and Z to customers for this quarter.” The only times I’ve been able to convince leadership to work on stuff that didn’t directly affect our bottom line were when external regulations demanded it.
Lisbon, a city dying from its own success
>but the general flattening of cities into predictable, quality consumer products seems to be happening everywhere, not just Lisbon. That's not the main problem. IMHO the bige one is that cities are no longer people's homes and hubs of culture, but have turned into highly efficient wealth extracting machines (from the tourists and immigrants, as well as from the locals) where the owning class try to extract as much money as possible from the have-nots, like you point out the rents shooting up. Once everything becomes about making as much money as possible at the expense of everyone else around me, where the locals don't work anymore to support local business in their community but work to help bulldoze piles of money into the hands of a few foreign multinational corporations with HQs in tax heavens, then things inevitably turn to shit: society becomes low-trust, people more divided, wealth inequality increases, crime increases, ghettoization, homelessness, political extremism, communities and family units breaking up, social services decaying, loneliness epidemic despite living in a large city, etc. And all these things can happen despite or maybe even because, an economy and GDP going up. This isn't something new either but has been going on for 20+ years AFAIK. Not sure how to fix this though since it seems like the effects caused by an unregulated globalization which seeks to MIN/MAX everything, creating huge gaps between the winners and the losers of the new order, both at national levels, and at individual levels.
dax (@thdxr)
the world has improved a lot but i think global aesthetics are at an all time low and it’s hurting everyone’s souls more than we admit
derek guy (@dieworkwear)
something i've learned from owning a lot of nice clothes is that you only have one body and 24 hours in a day. maybe you can change clothes once and wear two outfits in a day. but at some point, an exorbitant amount of things you don't regularly use becomes not a joy but a burden
Noi: an AI-enhanced, customizable browser
I don't want an AI browser, per se. I want an AI agent that slips into every pane of glass the platform companies own (Chrome, iOS, Windows) and works for me against the advertisers and attention stealers. I want an advocate that detects and nukes advertisements. That filters clickbait and rage content. Something easy enough that everyone can install, so we can all be collectively free of this nonsense no matter what tech stack we use. Imagine if AI became the ultimate anti-advertising, attention-preserving, sanity-defending weapon. "No Google, you're not allowed to advertise to my person." Or, "these comments are toxic drama, so let's not expose our human to them." This would be a great new technological era.
2024-05-18T20:50:20.510931Z (@iridienne)
That new Apple ad is well past "tone-deaf" and into "actively sadistic", in this cultural moment. Just absolutely vile. The fact that they destroyed genuine, irreplaceable vintage instruments and equipment to make it is just icing on the shit cake.
Gergely Orosz (@GergelyOrosz)
Feels fitting that Apple produced the (probably?) the worst ad in its history right as the company is facing its first global revenue decline in a long time. Terrible ad: it symbolises Apple destroying creative equipment for… a slightly thinner iPad (that no one asked for).
hai lai (@holdinontostars)
Suzanne Collins knew exactly who the west was when she wrote the Hunger Games. The Met Gala is happening while Rafah is being bombed and all I see on my timeline are people criticizing fashion pieces.
NYU professors who defended vaping didn't disclose ties to Juul
It really is amazing. We were thiiiiiiis close to having a generation that wasn't addicted to nicotine for the first time in hundreds of years (like, since trade between North America and Europe really became a thing) and these guys pulled this thumb drive that tastes like cotton candy out of nowhere and every young person is just jonesing. And the regulatory/public opinion environment isn't what it was in the 80s and 90s when we decided to take on cigarettes. Imagine a company being told today that they now have to stop advertising on billboards, can't advertise to kids, and have to pay a fifth of a trillion dollars over 25 years for the harms they caused to Medicaid. Can't, can you?
they/them might be giants ☭ (@[email protected])
“Pitching tents in public places is violence” is an interesting line of reasoning to follow as climate change and rising rents displace more people, as cities grow increasingly aggressive about criminalizing their homeless populations, and as more climate and war refugees arrive.
Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn)
These guys still don't get it. For Gen X and Boomers, apathy and "keeping your life and opinions out of your work" was how they ran things. Gen Z is not like that. They don't have employment stability. They don't think a boss is going to be in their lives for more than a few years at most. They're not invested in bootlicking for a miserable job they're going to leave anyway. They are going to be very clear on what they think and what they like and how many hours they're willing to work and if you don't like it, they won't bother to work for you.
روني الدنماركي (@Aldanmarki)
Occupying a campus building is only a "violent protest" If you value property more than human life
Corporate Open Source is Dead | Jeff Geerling
None of these blogposts (including this one) have any realistic solution to the problem of making OSS software and being able to live from it, and prevent others from exploiting you in the process. Hyperscalers like Amazon exploit OSS projects by reselling them as a cloud service and they earn a gigantic sum in the process. But this is not a neutral thing to do - the OSS project is still responsible for maintenance! (And in many places, the "no warranty" clause seems completely disregarded - users and corporations demand bugfixes since it's a "critical library") The most telling sentence is "Open source culture relies on trust. Trust that companies you and I helped build (even without being on the payroll) wouldn't rugpull."... where is any trust in exploiting someone's work without giving anything back? the hyperscalers routinely break the OSS social contract, but because they abide to the letter of the licences, they get a free pass and many white knights from even the OSS community and even OSI itself. A business model of "you can see the source, you can modify it but you can't offer it as a service or resell my work" is much more honest and trustworthy than the "develop a library, a cloud service picks it up then pressures you with PRs and issues until you permanently burn out from the whole thing" This is partly addressed by the post - "But you know what? I'd just prefer honesty. If revenue is so dependent on selling software, just... make the software proprietary. Don't be so coy!". This is not honesty though. Claiming that anything not party-approved.... I mean OSI-approved is not open source and it's proprietary is very myopic thing. For users and developers, it's much more beneficial if they can see or even modify the source even if they don't have an unrestricted right to use and modify it however they want. This absolutist, black-and-white approach could potentially lead to many pieces of software becoming fully proprietary, all-rights-reserved in the future since the open source community harasses source available projects quite frequently, and not many have the patience to put up with that. And that would be a sad outcome indeed for user freedom, repairability, portability and other values RMS and the FSF dearly holds.
Paul Bauer (@[email protected])
A capitalist company in (kind of) Communist China is going to US federal court to defend the First Amendment and free speech against the US government. We truly live in the dumbest timeline. #tiktok
inverted vibe curve
I don’t understand. we banned TikTok but the kids still think ethnic cleansing is bad. time to send in the cops I guess. I’m a liberal
The Seattle Public Library Is Reducing Our Maximum Digital Holds. Here’s Why. – Shelf Talk
Honestly at this point, I feel like the ethical thing to do is "steal" digital and buy/borrow physical, the copyright surrounding digital goods has been so thoroughly gamed in the favor of publishers.
Mitchell Hashimoto (@mitchellh)
Cloud pricing applied to literally anything else, i.e. the coffee shop: coffee is $5, but if you stay it’s free and we charge $0.06/minute unless you’re using internet then it’s $0.09/minute. First timers get 30 minutes free. Talking to others in the cafe is free. Voice calls outside the cafe are $1/minute unless its to our other cafe locations then its free for the first 12 minutes then $0.50/minute thereafter. If you have any problems write your issue on a napkin and throw it straight into the trash. If you pay for a premium support plan (contact us) then please step into the personalized Lamborghini to talk to your account manager. Enjoy your time at Cloud Cafe, please complete the survey on your way out.
Amazon owes $525M in cloud-storage patent fight, US jury says
The concept of intellectual property is antithetical to how humans have progressed socially and technologically for millenia. It's a wasteful aberration that strangles innovation with red tape and hands control of our culture over to those with the financial mean to claim to own it. The day we wrest back that control will be a good day.
Lol, doordash wants me to do their bidding
I'm no business expert, but maybe having a third party that is doing neither the cooking nor the delivering charging huge fees just to facilitate the transaction via software is making food delivery too expensive to be appealing to customers.
OneDrive has stopped working on non-NTFS drives
There is a strongly utilitarian argument to not allowing such false statements. It devalues the products of people that aren't bullshitting you. Say with fake-unlimited the "real limit" is 4TB before they start terminating you, but a different provider provides 5TB of capacity. Because the former is allowed to outright lie, there is no way for the latter to effectively communicate that they are in fact offering a better product, instead they too have to make a bullshit "fake unlimited" claim to compete. Now because nobody has to actually back their claims with anything, they are infact massively incentivised to cut the "real storage" limits, because it will cut their costs, and they can still keep making the same claims. Its a market for lemons[1] race to the bottom, and everyone loses, producer and consumer because scamming liars cannot be reliably assessed beforehand. So consumers lose faith in the entire market segment, and providers offering actual legitimate services become unsustainable. [1]
US Gov announces $8.5B preliminary CHIPS investment agreement with Intel
WRT to lack of a skilled workforce, here is an interesting anecdote. I remember back in the late 90's, Intel had to fire most line workers in their FABS, and hire people with Ph.D.'s in solid-state physics. I actually knew one of these people who were fired: She was our housecleaner. And--like the supper-smart garbage man of the Dilbert Cartoons, she was very smart. Smarter than me. I know because she helped me solve some problems I couldn't solve on my own. Why was she cleaning houses? Tragic story. No doubt she could have gotten a Ph.D., but she was older, had some health problems which wouldn't let her work 60-80 hours a week. And she was black, perhaps discrimination was a factor too. I'd hate to even think of how smart you have to be to work in FABs today, but let me tell you, not even $8.5 billion is going to create more of these people. Best you can hope for is you can pay them enough to get them to work for you.
8 Google Employees Invented Modern AI. Here's the Inside Story
> "Realistically, we could have had GPT-3 or even 3.5 probably in 2019, maybe 2020. The big question isn’t, did they see it? The question is, why didn’t we do anything with the fact that we had seen it? The answer is tricky.” The answer is that monopolies stifle technological innovation because one well-established part of their business (advertising-centric search) would be negatively impacted by an upstart branch (chatbots) that would cut into search ad revenue. This is comparable to a investor-owned consortium of electric utilities, gas-fired power plants, and fracked natural gas producers. Would they want the electric utility component to install thousands of solar panels and cut off the revenue from natural gas sales to the utility? Of course not. It's a good argument for giving Alphabet the Ma Bell anti-trust treatment, certainly.
Meredith Whittaker (@[email protected])
There's no such thing as an AI startup, just guys with models competing to be absorbed by one of the three actual AI companies 😇
Should organizations relating to the defense sector being able to sponsor NixOS?
I do not want any of my work associated with arms dealers and/or the deaths of others. Having any sponsorship from a military entity steps over that line. I would much prefer that the NixOS Foundation set ethical guidelines for accepting sponsorship. I do not believe it is absurd to suggest that we shouldn’t take money from people who are responsible for the slaughter of others. Rejecting sponsorship from weapons manufacturers should be a reasonable standard. I would like to be clear here: this is a significant problem for myself and many others and will result in community fracture if it is not resolved. I’m sure we would all prefer to not split into two groups of “people okay with killing others” and “people who think killing others is bad”.
Should organizations relating to the defense sector being able to sponsor NixOS?
Nobody is suggesting that anyone should be banned from anything or be prevented from contributing. The question is whether arms dealers should be able to run ads on the nix foundation. I personally do not think that they should. However, if a majority truly is in favour of an “apolitical” arms-dealer-friendly stance, I would repeat my suggestion from last time around: Actually follow through and own that, making bank in the process. Just taking on one US dealer is not only short sighted and way too political - it is leaving *so* much shooty-shooty-boom-boom cash on the table. To name a few, both the Chinese & Russian sectors would be *very* interested in having visibility, a presence, and undoubtedly pay significantly for the privilege. Failing to explicitly invite them would be a disgrace. I have more ideas for other opportunities & sectors if this is the path chosen.
Google fires employee who protested Israel tech event, shuts forum
> My old manager put it best: No politics and religion in the workplace. No politics for you. The corporate strategy, governance, hiring, dealmaking, etc... will all be politically informed. All your work will contribute to the political beliefs of leadership. It's such a strange abstraction to believe that you're somehow separate from that.
Nintendo is suing the creators of Switch emulator Yuzu
> As a result, Nintendo ... is demanding that the Yuzu emulator is shut down. When corporations like Uber violate multiple laws, do they get shut down? When Amazon treats its employees poorly, does it get shut down? When Google forbids manufacturers to pre-install competitor apps, does it get shut down? Well, it seems that as long as copyright is not infringed, everything is ok. Also it seems to me that Nintendo might themselves violate antitrust laws by using their monopoly power on market of Nintendo-compatible games, and not allowing enough competition there.
Frugly vs. Freemium
One thing I noticed about having different tiers and free options: government institutions will be required to acquire whatever the cheapest version, even if they have tons of money and your product directly supports their mission/goals. So if you want to have government customers, realize that their duty to taxpayers may prevent them from purchasing if you have a free version.
Institutions try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution
I had same experience at a large company. Guy had a very simple project. He came to me and asked for "help." I found an external vendor who specialized in solving that problem (building a basic product extension) and got it done in two weeks. When I gave him the solution, he immediately stopped talking to me and wanted nothing to do with me. It turned out he had gone to a VP, cleared a 50 person team to work on this problem. He had a weekly call with like 10 people (tiger team he called it) to do nothing but this and nine months later they released the solution and had a giant party. Everyone got credit, high fives all around. AT that point I realized that work is a huge scam at large corporations. He was optimizaing for a "promotable event" that "spreads the credit far and wide." Nothing to do with solving the problem efficiently.
Trading trust | Seth's Blog
I've been thinking about how excess capitalism erodes trust. I believe capitalism is important and powerful, but it does cause people to be constantly fighting and trying to destroy each other. Plus, trust doesn't show up on a balance sheet - so might as well erode that to get some cash. Capitalism leads to Apple maintaining a 30% App Store take rate (thus eroding trust and perhaps sinking the launch of Vision Pro), profitable tech companies doing layoffs (thus eroding trust but increasing profits further), and military contractors building better killing tools (thus eroding trust but making more money). Perhaps, in an age where we have the technology to feed everybody in the world, we need to increase the societal guardrails to make people's lives more stable - and thus increase trust. Apparently Maslo updated his eponymous pyramid of needs before his death to add "Self-transendence" above "self-actualization" [1], which you could interpret as "moving from only caring about yourself to caring about other people." I think there's an angle here where perhaps the USA as a whole is stuck on "self-actualization", i.e. caring only about each person and individual success, and is failing to have a shared identity where people care about each other. If we don't solve our trust problem, I think people will stop having kids in the USA and we'll eventually end up like Japan - in population decline and having all the associated economic problems with it. I think that can be directly be linked to excess capitalism - if we focus so much on making money, then we don't have time (or stability or resources) to raise the next generation. [1] [][1] [1]:
Trading trust | Seth's Blog
Amazon and many other companies went from investing heavily in being reliable, trustworthy and fair to taking persistent steps to trade these valuable assets for quarterly results. It’s worth being clear about this–they did this intentionally. They decided that the confidence consumers had placed in them wasn’t worth as much as the shortcuts they could take to increase profits instead.
Dana White (@ItsDanaWhite)
Doesn’t matter how “financially literate” you are, when your rent is half your income.
Trading Trust
Trust is a valuable and precarious thing, It's hard and slow to build but easy to destroy. It's our greatest advantage against authoritarian regimes, and that's why destroying trust is a long term strategy of non-linear warfare against our culture. Like fossil fuels that take millions of years to form, but can be burned in half a century, trust is burned (enshitification) as cheap accumulated social capital by those without higher loyalty. This for me is why financialisation sucks the life out of nations and why greedy and selfish big-tech companies are some of the most treacherous of all entities.
Trading Trust
Watching large tech companies seemingly just destroy everyone's trust in them has been equal parts fascinating and depressing to see. People actually liked Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc at one point. Sure, they didn't like them all equally, (Google's reputation was usually a lot better than Facebook/Meta's), but there was something of an expectation that they did good work and offered good products/services. Now it seems an increasing percentage of the population outright loathe them, and see them as basically everything wrong with the modern internet. Criticism of Google search is way more common now, criticism of Google shutting down products quickly is way more common, complaints about knockoffs and poor quality goods on Amazon are way more common, etc. It's just wild to see.
Jauwn (@Jauwnio)
Your employer is getting a tax benefit for bringing employees back into the city, and they likely have a vested interest in keeping the building they spent millions of $ on occupied.
Adrianna Tan (@[email protected])
“ Then [..] work for a tech giant for your whole life, get free kombucha and massages on Wednesdays” And now, the dream is over. All that’s left is: work for a tech giant until they fire your ass, like those 12,000 Googlers who got fired last year six months after a stock buyback that would have paid their salaries for the next 27 years.”
شبير (@abolishnato)
“Israel” paid for a Super Bowl ad while they conduct a genocide. The NFL allowed it. Never forget that from sports to Hollywood, the entire entertainment industry is complicit in genocide, and furthermore imperialism worldwide for the sake of the American ruling class
hayat • حياة (@hayxtt)
They told us that sports isn’t the place for politics but then turned around and ran ads for nations that are facilitating genocide during the Super Bowl. Funny how that works.
𝐿𝒶𝓃𝒶 "not a Crab Monster" (@[email protected])
Capitalism as a system has no inherent bias toward increasing consumer spending. Capitalism rewards wealth *hoarding*. You win in capitalism when you *have* more and *spend* less. That includes spending less on labor. That is why pure free market capitalism will always trend toward economic stagnation. The last 80+ years of wage stagnation are a feature, not a bug. If they could legally pay you less, they would.
Heather Buchel (@[email protected])
I see a lot of folks making the argument that yeah, a lot of layoffs are happening, but it's due to irresponsible hiring. And yeah, it's true that you shouldn't hire a bunch of engineers that aren't doing anything; which usually isn't the case. I think people don't understand just how unbelievably BAD the tech grift is right now for people in leadership positions. It's not just that they hired a lot of people, it's that they also tasked them with working on the wrong things.
Tim Ellis 🦝 (@[email protected])
#Layoffs are such BS. If things are going so badly at a company that they truly need to eliminate hundreds of jobs, then the VERY FIRST person that should get the axe 🪓 is the CEO that got the company into that situation. But the CEO almost never gets fired in a layoff, even when they've been so bad at their job that the company has multiple rounds of layoffs.
Glenn Fleishman (@[email protected])
Boeing’s #1 problem is not that they lack a culture of accountability. It’s that they *hate unions* and *hate criticism.* So many of Boeing's major actions in the last 20, even 30 years have had to do with their attempts to break unions and escape political pressure in Washington State. The payoff is pressing workers without enough training, denigrating and overruling the work of union employees, and outsourcing work to avoid increasing union employment. This has cost them $10s of billions.
EVHaste (@[email protected])
This is the...fourth one I've witnessed personally, now? I was laid off with even less grace than this over a year ago. I can call it out because I've got no skin in the game anymore. I'm not getting rehired; I don't need to cultivate a professional image on the net anymore, so I'll tell y'all what you need to hear: Unionize. If your work doesn't have a #union . Make one. Start right now. Collective action is the only thing that will protect you from your boss's greed and incompetence.
Roger (@[email protected])
I'm very, very lucky and privileged in many ways. I can afford gadgets to simplify my life, I can afford services to reduce or eliminate chores. And yet, I barely have time to exercise and engage in side interests. I'm literally in the top ten percent of earners in my province, and I can barely afford to take care of my aging and increasingly decrepit mortal form, let alone my mental health. I can't imagine what life is like for people who make half my income. What the fuck.
FAQ on Leaving Google
That was an absolutely spot-on description of what it was like when I joined in 2007 or 2008. Within 2 year of joining, I had approval to use all the idle cycles in prod for protein design, folding, and drug discovery, and I had a front-row seat with some of the best programmers in the industry. By and large, employees were fun people to interact with, and the management was generally understanding of our hijinx. The main struggle I had was to convince the leadership to move faster into the cloud ("But we have appengine!" and "But profits aren't as good as ads", until MSFT ate their lunch). As soon as it was possible, I built and launched the cloud product I had wanted Google to make even before I joined! It really did just feel like grad school with better funding. For me it lasted until around 2014 (wow, 10 years ago) when a director stole my ideas and bad-mouthed me to a bunch of senior folks. I hung on a bit longer (working for a close friend of the author of this FAQ on 3d printing and making stuff) and then a couple stints with ML hardware, before I finally concluded that the company was well on its way to enhittifying everything it did. Sundar is sort of the complete opposite of this. He wants a large pool of completely anonymous programmers and a small number of directors who know how to turn those programmers into growth products, but those directors don't have a clue. For example, with gChat, one day the head of chat told TGIF that chat was changing, that japanese teen girls were the primary target, and they wanted emojis. He didn't even get that there was this enormous number of professional workers using gmail/gchat/gcal/gdocs and that by fucking up the product, he lost their trust. Oh well. Sundar is why we can't have nice things.
sidereal (@[email protected])
Everyone who has ever been laid off was laid off because of mismanagement.
Confession: Love my employer, but they don’t pay great.
I’ve found that the more a job pays for a person that better off you’re usually treated.
Marcus Hutchins :verified: (@[email protected])
Am I the only one who feels like still using employment rate as a metric for a healthy economy is basically just gaslighting at this point? Employment used to mean you had a good chance of affording a home, maybe two kids, and potentially even on just a single income. Now you can have a full time job and still need food stamps or a side job just to pay bills. Then of course, because salaries are so low relative to the cost of living, it makes employment numbers look even better because people who wouldn't have been forced to work now are. You have households where both parents have full time jobs, people with disabilities forced to work because they can't cover bills, students dropping out of college because it's now unaffordable. Then some goober economist comes on TV and goes "well, unemployment is at record lows so obviously everything is fine"
Joan Westenberg (@[email protected])
Here's the thing. I have spent 4 years working in and on crypto. When I criticise it, I know what I'm talking about. I was drawn in by the idea of a new financial system that didn't rely on traditional banks. I was excited by the idea of rebuilding digital ownership in a post-streaming world. In the end, I came to realise my idealism had blinded me. The philosophy was largely false. And outweighed by the scams, thefts, fraud and grift.
Khalid ⚡ (@[email protected])
I wonder if the “Right to Repair” laws will extend to software. At some point, software gets abandoned, and maybe codebases should be made OSS after a certain period. This will become more critical as vehicles are more integrated with software and services that will one day shut down.
Cloudflare employee posts layoff call with HR and goes viral [video]
I resent the judgmental attitude being expressed in some of the top comments. In the US at least, we’ve been socialized into believing workers need to “watch their manners” while corporations can get away with murder. Here, a worker is clearly being wronged and some random HR goons want the whole thing to proceed as a normal, matter-of-fact 15-minute meeting. They’re going to email severance and equipment return info anyway. Take advantage of these opportunities to make them miserably uncomfortable. In Britt’s case, they never even knew her, so it’s not like she’s going to reach out to them for a recommendation.
Discord is laying off 17 percent of employees
Rank and yank 1. Rank everyone 2. Layoff bottom 10% or so 3. Reward the top 4. Keep it secret or the workforce will adapt by hiring bad people and sabotaging good people Used at most companies with performance evaluations. Taught at MBA schools. Trivia: MBAs have accomplished nothing throughout human history. Only creating overpaid executives that avoid taxes, corrupt the government, ruin the environment, make people poor, sick and make other countries richer. If all MBAs retired tomorrow 90% of obesity, pollution and corruption would stop.
Ben Carlsson / 90 > 100
I can't be 100% vegetarian. But that's no reason to stay at 0%. I can cut meat from the ~90% of meals that don't cause any of these issues. So I became flexitarian which for me means "vegetarian except when it would inconvenience people". If 90% of the world could become 90% vegetarian the benefit would be nearly that of 100%/100% but orders of magnitude easier to achieve. We need to adopt this strategy more. It's similar to the 80/20 rule, but 80/20 optimizes bang-for-buck when building things. 90 > 100 is about recognizing that impact per success is a worse thing to optimize for than success rate * impact per success.
Google Cuts Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions
“Your job is NOT safe.” I read once somewhere that the phrase “my job”/“your job” is one of the biggest oxymorons ever termed in America. You do not possess the job. You do not own it. You never did. There never was a time where anyone did. The “job” is owned by the employer. You may be assigned it. It may be unassigned by the employer. Or reassigned by the employer. Or redefined by the employer. “Your job” never was. On the flip. It’s your life. Own that. We came up with the ideas of continuous integration, apply that to the relationship. Constantly renegotiate how your life overlaps with your employers job.
Google Cuts Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions
The easiest way to follow this advice is to take it to its logical conclusion and just offer your services on a contracting basis, as a single member LLC or a small partnership. At this point in the US tech industry the relationship between employers and FTEs is so tenuous that there isn’t much difference between the two legal arrangements in terms stability. I’ve kept my best clients much, much longer than my longest tenured FTE jobs. And there are lots of benefits to being independent legally. Tax benefits aside, the pay is usually much higher, and you can/should take on multiple clients simultaneously. This leaves you less exposed to the whims of a single C-suite, and lets you stack up silly amounts of money when times are good.
Google Cuts Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions
Be loyal to people, not to companies. Companies will cut you in a random layoff at the drop of a hat. I've seen this enough times in my career. It doesn't matter if they promise its the only/last/whatever cutoff, or it was for performance only, or whatever.. People in your network will pick you up and refer you / hire you on at the next gig. My prior employer just did a wave of deep cuts and the stories I heard out of management were pretty crazy. Directory level people were basically given an hour to cut $X Million off their people budget from their directs and all their skip level staff. They then begin laying them off the same day. This was not a well planned or thought out process. So obviously the people I saw getting laid off were a mix of underperformerss, great-but-expensive, random personal grudges from the director, and unfortunately biased towards a lot of "lifers" who'd been there a long time.
Google Cuts Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions
There's this phenomenon where employees earning higher than their friends and family OR at least doing work in a clean and safe environment tend to believe that they are not workers and they oppose regulations and unions because they feel like its beneath them. At the company of a friend of mine, the white collar employees do charity events for the blue colar ones and while the blue colar ones participate on labour day events the white collar ones are too cool to be with them. But when the actual non-workers feel like they can make more money by laying off some white collar workers, they go through the exact same process as the blue collar ones. Also, these are not even high earning white collars, they just happen to work in a pleasant environment. Many blue collar workers make more money from them and are closer to the non-workers since they can actually do highly paid short term contract work. There's a strong cognitive dissonance going on among white collar workers, having trouble to process the signals on if they are the cool elite or the working class. In Europe, this is not as strong because of the unions and regulations pushing all workers to earn more like the same and work in safe and clean environments but in places outside of EU there can be workers which are 10x or 100x beter off than those at the bottom and get too confusing.
Google Cuts Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions
My firm made billions last year too and just laid off hundreds of engineers (a decent %) Some of the best engineers, those that I respected the most, went. People who make no sense. After last year's layoffs they told us they were "done" and it was "all behind us". Last year then turned out to a better year financially than 2022 (we have access to the top line numbers) You can't trust anything anyone above you in the management chain tells you. Not one thing. Not ever. Even if they're being truthful they were probably lied to themselves or told a half truth. Never get invested emotionally. SWEs in particularly no longer live in a world where you can expect to have a rewarding career working for >=5 years at any given firm. Take their fucking money, build a big emergency fund, save, invest, and focus on the rest of your life outside of work. You can be somewhere for 10 years. have glowing performance reviews, feel like you're making a difference, think it'll never happen to you, not even be aware the company is in shit, and then... tomorrow you're gone. Your job is NOT safe.
Najma Sharif (@najmamsharif)
Why can’t people make the connection between the lack of third spaces and hyperconsumption. These people have no time, few friends and nothing to do. They’re going to collect cups and other things they don’t need to feel alive. They’re crying out for help lmfao
Cecile is a rando 🇪🇺 (@[email protected])
Back when I was a kid, games were pirated all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean *literally* everybody was pirating games. But TV was almost never pirated, everybody bought the connection Nowadays games are never pirated, traditional TV has become very rare (literally no one I know use that, they are all streaming), and I absolutely know no one who's not using pirated streaming services
27 years ago, Steve Jobs said the best employees focus on content, not process
Corporations, at their root, are an arbitrage on the fact that other corporations follow the bell curve. The entire goal of salaries and “teams” in my experience, is to ENSURE that high performers get diluted and averaged in with mediocre performers so the company can pretend the high performers don’t exist. This was my experience in (large co). I have seen situations where a single IC is dragging a division of 30 people yet still being compensated for doing the work of one IC. Management of that group took the approach “it’s a team effort!” And get the credit for that output. Their boss looks down and sees Director managing 30 people and getting amazing result X, where X is 90% the effort of the one super star. Eventually super star gets fed up and leaves, and gets paid what everyone else gets somewhere else “hoping to be valued.” Management still win. They get the credit for the super stars work. Frustrated super star leaves. Mediocre management is still there. A decade later nothing but the WORST and LEAST talented garbage are left. No one remotely talented would ever join that company because it’s a trap - you just get averaged in with mediocrity. The “averaging the great in with the spectacular” to reduce the relative power of the spectacular is the entire point of “management.” You have a team of six, pretend the work of the super star is “everyone working together” and attempt to grow your headcount off that super star. That has been my entire career. Never seen it go differently.
Amazon's Silent Sacking - Justin Garrison
My FAANG adjacent company is following the exact same practices. The goal is to "manage out" without paying a severance. They do this by making people miserable - fake PIPs, constant blaming, putting everything on "performance" etc. My coworker got fired this way but I learned something amazing from him - his management was ready to cull him as soon as his project finished. This guy quickly figured this out and instead of quitting, he essentially stopped working hard. Then, he started giving fake status reports leading the management to believe that work is getting done. One fine day, he was let go. But management was left picking up the pieces after his departure. With few engineers around, it led to lots of outages. Suffice to say, my company is losing b2b customers because my company decided to fire people who were keeping the services up and running.
C Ⓐ T (@[email protected])
Capitalist entities use culture wars as a distraction from the class struggle because it diverts attention away from economic disparities. By emphasizing social and cultural differences, the focus shifts from addressing systemic inequalities and exploitation inherent in capitalism. This diversion can maintain the status quo and prevent solidarity among different socio-economic classes, hindering collective efforts to challenge the power structures that perpetuate economic inequality.
d@nny "disc@" mcClanahan (@hipsterelectron)
the reason it took artists and the new york times to get people talking about "AI" and corporate automated labor extraction is because programmers are an astoundingly apathetic group who saw github copilot and didn't immediately start forming a coalition
Why do programmers need private offices with doors?
Not to create too much of a political tangent, but the lack of private offices, or rather the ubiquitous mandatory nature of open offices, and its universal unpopularity with non-managers, is evidence imo that tech could use a union or professional association or guild or something. Oh sure you can talk about high comp and career mobility. But where does all of the vaunted labor power of software engineers go when they ask for something as simple as a cubicle?
Why do programmers need private offices with doors? (Do Not Disturb)
I particularly enjoyed a recent company meeting that spent considerable time talking about the importance of flow state. It had an awkward pregnant pause when someone (usually very quiet) unmuted to ask, "is the policy to increase the number of days we must spend in our open-plan office kind of undermining this?". Literally all of our directors just shifted on their seats hoping another would answer that. Eventually, HR director stated "Not at all, that's what headphones are for!" Which was particularly delightful, as our tech director had only 20 minutes before stated how he would like to discourage people sitting in the office in silos with their headphones on.
The falling nutritional value of crops
If you repeatedly harvest crops from soil without working on building it, this is what happens. Each crop progressively removes some nutrients from the soil with the result that the soil nutrients, and nutrients in the derived food gradually decay. Most petroleum/chemically derived fertilizers do not replace such. It is a known phenomena organic farming circles. Organizations like Rodale institute are working to correct this my improving soil health - but in general we’re been on a long program of “withdrawing money from the bank account without paying in”.
Apple partly halts Beeper's iMessage app again, suggesting a long fight ahead
Because Apple embraced texting by supporting SMS, then extended it by forcing all the text conversations that they could into their own proprietary infrastructure, and is extinguishing it by using punitive product design to create pressure on communities of people to all use their products so that everything goes over their proprietary network. I don't want an over the top chat app, I just want to text people.
Etsy is laying off 11% of its staff
> I appreciate that our industry has developed a norm of generous severance What if you had unions or proper labor laws that actually guaranteed this? As an European it's weird to see you having to rely on the "kindness" of the company to not get fcked over.
Avdi Grimm (@[email protected])
For a long time I had trouble with the concept of unionizing programmers, because it felt like we're already so privileged compared to blue-collar workers. What I realize now is that all that privilege vanishes like a mirage the moment people start talking about unionization. Or the moment interest rates go up.
Ciara (@[email protected])
We need a word for real-life enshittification caused by online culture. Like being unable to find an organisation’s info because they’ve Instagram but no website. Or panicked people being sent a videolink to download to their phone when they ring for an ambulance. Or being excluded from residents' association news if you're not on Facebook. Or having cash payment refused. Or staff in the business you’re physically standing in telling you to find the answer to your question on their website.
Apple cuts off Beeper Mini's access
youtube-dl, NewPipe, and uBlock Origin exist solely for the purpose of empowering the individual, yet they are constantly attacked on HN as being tools used unfairly to harm Google's profitability. Open-source projects like Matrix, PeerTube, Mastodon, are built to be free and open-source for the benefit of end-users and lack of vendor lockin. Yet each is derided on HackerNews for not being enough like their corporate counterparts. Yes, there are those here who don't do that, but as cynical as it sounds, I do think this site's audience is mostly folk who like the status quos set by FAANG-types and don't really care about hackerism outside of toy websites.
Bethesda is once again adding support for paid mods to Skyrim
Paid mods is almost never a good thing for the game itself. Almost every mod out there is addressing some (real or perceived) deficiency in the base game. Good game studios look at what's popular and either pull those features into the base game, or work with the modder to do the same. Adding a paid mod system changes that cooperative relationship into an adversarial one, where modders see their revenue stream attacked by the game maker. (Except maybe the make everyone nude mods)
Launch HN: Slauth (YC S22) – auto-generate secure IAM policies for AWS and GCP
Not to knock on the OP but in general, if you are doing a startup in 2023, you cannot do it without AI otherwise no one will take your seriously. I am not joking. AI is the new Gold Rush that blockchain used to be. Personally, I do think that AI is awesome and has lot of great use cases but unfortunately, most VCs/Investors are looking for that keyword if you wanna get funded so I feel a lot of startups are forcing AI into their stuff.
An Update on December 2023 Organizational Changes — Spotify
I still cannot fathom any board allowing the CEO at the helm of a public that made cuts of 17% to remain in place. That's a huge pivot in organisational structure by any measure and shows clearly poor judgement.
An Update on December 2023 Organizational Changes — Spotify
I wish CEOs would resign when layoffs happen. It should be like some governments where the whole cabinet resigns. If layoffs are a necessity, then the CEO and the top management should show the example and take responsibility for taking the company into the wrong direction, leading to layoffs. That would be fair and more understable than a "thank you for your hard work and commitment".
Why does sleep become more elusive as we age?
I’ve slept better as I age because there isn’t a government enforced mandate to force me to wake me up early in the morning and go into a room with my same age peers. Not being in poverty helps as well. I found children were set up to fail so spectacularly when it comes to sleep that I wonder why it would become more elusive with age.
Nowhere Girl (@[email protected])
The big threat of "AI" isn't it taking over the world, it's it wasting enormous amounts of water and electricity to make a handful of people rich because they cashed out before the suckers. You know, like crypto.
company is ending their 401k match, how should I respond?
Great sentiment but it is all for naught. I wish it was different. Nothing said in an exit interview will help coworkers. Those informed by the interview have no voice. Also, those that decided to terminate the match don't value employee retention metrics. Only when the resignations have an impact that hiring can't resolve will they be motivated to do anything differently.
Bending Unit (@[email protected])
I left my #union job a few weeks ago. More or less good work, just not a good fit for me. Here's the kicker though: I'll still be insured through them for MONTHS because of money left in my health and wellness account. This is a stark contrast to leaving a job and having to pay huge shakedown prices for something like COBRA coverage. The moral of the story is #ORGANIZE, my fellow workers. #DirectAction gets the goods that begging capitalists NEVER WILL.
I worked in Amazon HR and was disgusted at what I was seeing with PIP plans
> But I had a huge stock investment coming up. So there was no way I was going to rock the boat in any way, shape, or form just trying to get to this date. So the employer has a financial inventive program to encourage people to stay in the organization long term, and some hyper-rational VP repurposes that reward as a kind of tenure cliff forcing people out just ahead of it? All the pieces are in the article, just waiting for folks to put them together. If you're someone considering moving to a company that aggressively uses "performance management" like this ... the target of this system is you, not because you're bad at you're job but because you're new. The human toll of people in positions of trust essentially gaslighting their colleagues about their performance to confiscate special comp or satisfy the gods of analytics.... Deeply misanthropic.
Labor unions are pushing hard for better pay and hours – and winning
Software engineers often have a strange attitude, thinking they don't need unions, when pro athletes who make $millions per year all have unions. There's a myth that with unions, everyone will make the same compensation, but that's not even remotely true in pro sports. The reason to have a union is that no matter how much money you make, the owners of the business have more money and power. Collective bargaining is a counterweight to the power of ownership. And it's not just about money, it's about working conditions. For example, labor unions could fight back against back-to-the-office demands, whereas without a union, employees are forced to individually consent or lose their job.
Do people have a problem with the GNU Affero v3 license?
The AGPL is often misunderstood. Here is my 3 bullet point AGPL: * Users interacting with a modified AGPL program over a network must be offered the source of the program. * Unmodified AGPL programs don't have such source providing requirements. * Otherise GPL rules apply. Programs that access AGPL programs over a network don't become AGPL themselves. People understand that the GPL is "viral", so they assume the AGPL is "network viral" when it's not. The virality rules are the same as the GPL. Once you understand this, the AGPL is actually fairly narrow. E.g. if you use an AGPL database, it probably doesn't matter because * Users don't access the database, so you don't have to provide them source * You probably don't modify the AGPL code, so you don't have to provide source * Any modifications you would make are fairly minor and you could just offer the source. That said, the institutions that rule your life don't understand this. E.g. some "creative" mongodb lawyer probably scared your company's investors/clo/ceo before, so they will insist that you don't use any AGPL code for anything.
The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work — Ludicity
I think every engineering manager has either worked for or interviewed with a company that believes this stuff. Software dev is still at the craftsman[0] level. It might move out of that, eventually. But not yet, and probably not in the next 20 years or so. We haven't solved some intrinsic problems around defining a problem completely, precisely and succinctly without having to write code[1]. And getting five engineers to write a single piece of software is exactly as complex as it was when Fred Brooks wrote about it, I think the only improvement we've had since then is Git. [0] craftsperson? that doesn't feel like the right gender-neutral expression. I guess "artisanal" but that looks rude. Suggestions? [1] The "I got ChatGPT to write this application without writing a single line of code" phenomenon is interesting, but it seems like an alternate skill path - you can write code, or you can write prompts. The complexity is the same, and the amount of effort is within an order of magnitude. I'm not sure, though - I haven't managed to get ChatGPT to solve a single technical problem successfully yet.
The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work — Ludicity
Programming is still a craft, not engineering, or manufacturing. A software house should work like bespoke tailoring, or fine cabinetry, or glass blowing. There's still no better training for programming than the equivalent of master/journeyman/apprentice. Apologies for the gender specific terms, but they are specific to how tradespeople operated from medieval times. The worst thing to ever happen to the practice of business is the invention of the MBA. MBAs are imbued with the misleading axiom that management is a craft and science of its own, independent of the type of process or practice that is being managed. Combined with endless selling of the latest buzzword theories by consultants is why we end up with JIRA-Driven-Development, nonsense like t-shirt sizes, 2 hour wankfests called "Sprint Reviews", let alone all the scrumming and standing-up and backlog-refining and endless make work.
The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work — Ludicity
One key problem is nobody, none of the suits anyway, want to believe that there are essential, hard problems that can't be outsourced, can't be commodified, can't be shortcut in any way. It's the business version of the get-rich-quick scam course hucksters. The truth that there's no silver bullets can't compete.
The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work — Ludicity
There are harsh realities to grapple with, and society runs on commodification, but anyone that thinks that you can run on pure commodification, without any understanding of their specific craft, or the human complexities, needs, and frailties of the people around them, who think that you can just buy more enterprise licenses and that giving someone a salary is enough reason for them to subjugate the entirety of themselves as they turn up to work every day... Well, you're wrong, and you can fucking bite me.
The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work — Ludicity
They just buy a license for bad software, say that they've successfully implemented it since no one can really check, then leave before the ambient hatred radiating off the people forced to work with the system reaches a level that they can't tolerate.
The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work — Ludicity
"You can get rid of thousands of lines of all that SQL you hate!" - no I can't, fucko, because your application is still connecting to Postgres so it's just writing the SQL for me with another layer of licensed abstraction on top of it. Why would I pay to have more abstractions designed for you to sell software to multiple clients, you blue-suited dementor? Eight times out of ten, I want to pay you to remove them from my codebase.
OpenAI researchers warned board of AI breakthrough ahead of CEO ouster
> OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks. Are we really defining intelligence as economic value at this point? This is completely ridiculous. We have yet to decide exactly what human intelligence, how it manifests in the body, or how to reliably measure it. I get that people want to justify developing artificial intelligence before understanding intelligence itself, but now we assume that economic value is a proxy for intelligence? Seriously?
Nowhere Girl (@[email protected])
People don't really care if "the economy" is healthy if they personally can't afford rent and groceries, and telling them to feel otherwise is just a way of reminding them they don't matter to the people in charge.
We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam to return to OpenAI as CEO
Developers are clearly the weak link today, have given up all power over product and it is sad and why software sucks so bad. It pains the soul that value creators have let the value extractors run the show, because it is now a reality TV / circus like market where power is consolidating. Developers and value creators with power are like an anti-trust on consolidation and concentration and they have instead turned towards authoritarianism instead of anti-authoritarianism. What happened? Many think they can still get rich, those days are over because of giving up power. Now quality of life for everyone and value creators is worse off. Everyone loses.
Return To Office Mandates Can Take A Hike
Offices today are merely a justification for managers (the useless kind, which is about 90% of them) to not become redundant, and for the C-suite to keep getting those sweet sweet tax breaks. Which answers the question by itself. "Should we be loyal to companies...?" No
Return To Office Mandates Can Take A Hike
Offices, along with mass transit, are superspreader sites, but we're asked to pretend that they're not, even after going through a pandemic during which we were told to be in constant fear of killing grandma and potentially everyone else we come into contact with. It's amazing how quickly things like caring for the environment disappear the instant they become inconvenient for businesses or governments, and the same is true for just about every single thing that was rammed down our throats during the pandemic that should be forgotten so managers can look out over their underlings and extroverts can get their unspoken fringe benefit of using the office as a place to socialize. COUGH COUGH! Oh well, none of that pandemic stuff really matters anymore, right? Which is weird considering how much messaging there is around everyone needing to get more boosters. Can't even go grocery shopping with it being announced. So, what is it? Over or not? If it's still on, why are superspreader activities allowed, especially when there's a viable option of not maximizing office attendance?
Return To Office Mandates Can Take A Hike
Here is an argument in favor of WFH that I hardly ever see: Growing up in a second rate city in a country with little tech scene, my and my colleague options to advance our career was to leave our city or our country behind. Having to choose between family/friends and career is a pretty tough choice to face. My sister in law moved to the capital for 2 years and had a distance relationship until she was able to transfer back to our city. WFH makes this much less of an issue. Now someone can have a successful career more easily even if they live in a small town. Having more choice of career while not sacrificing friends and family is something I wish I had 15 years ago. At the same time people starting their career tend to be the ones who benefit the most from an office setup, so there is probably still a tradeoff to make.
Return To Office Mandates Can Take A Hike
I have a 100% remote job, but I had them set me up with a desk in a coworking space. I just felt that being alone all day was just a lonely way to live my life. It was great at the start to have so few interruptions, but y'know we're not building the pyramids. Everything we make in tech becomes legacy pretty quickly and eventually forgotten about and lost. I think a lot of life is what happens in the interruptions. That's where you find out about the guy that goes ice fishing and get invited along, or about someone who plays in a band and introduces you to a weird new music scene or something like that. I think everyone should get to work however they feel they need to within reason (I like the coworking space vibe myself), but I just hope people aren't giving up more than they realised.
Loyalty is Reciprocal — Dispatches from the Frozen North
What many executives don't understand, though, is that loyalty is reciprocal. Loyalty is a mutual (if unspoken) agreement to take each other's interests into consideration. Loyalty cannot be bought, but can only be earned through an ongoing demonstration that the loyalty is mutual. I'll be loyal to you if you're loyal to me.
Return To Office Mandates Can Take A Hike
When it comes time for a possible raise, how many companies still give them out, and when they do are they enough to mitigate the cost of living increases due to inflation? In a way, companies in today’s market by their behavior drive employees to look for other jobs to get a raise or improve their skillset. There is little investment in employees or their future beyond the HR skill training website and generally you are considered a ‘cog in the machine’ – I don’t think we should be loyal to that sort of setup or treatment. I don’t really know why or how things got this way, but if you work for a company that is not like this – consider yourself lucky.
Return To Office Mandates Can Take A Hike
Should we be loyal to companies who would lay us off at the drop of a hat to pad their quarterly earnings? Companies who decide the projects we work on have no merit but can’t be bothered to reassign us to more critical work after spending the time and money to get us in the door? Many of us feel the need to be loyal but what are we getting in return?
Proposal: an HTML element for spoilers - Seirdy
Ad companies probably won’t want to hide ads containing sexual/erotic, anxiety-inducing, or shock content behind spoilers; they profit from what spoilers protect against. Sites with such ads probably won’t benefit from hiding such content behind spoilers if ads are exempt. A good solution would be for ads to identify themselves as such along with the psychological weaknesses they prey on (porn addictions, anxiety, eating disorders, gambling addictions, etc.) so that user-agents could selectively or globally block them. For some reason, I don’t think adtech companies would like this very much. More research is required to find a form of basic compassion that allows dominant advertising business models to exist.
Tragedy of Return to Hostile Offices
I like the phrase "serendipity is not a strategy", it gets to my biggest complaint about the arguments for going back to the office. Your shitty open plan office was never MIT Building 20 before the pandemic, and it's not going to become a womb of creativity after the pandemic just because you want it to be so. The way I know that is because you have to threaten people to come back to it, if it was special at all they'd come back on their own.
꩜ ˙𖦹 ⋆꙳ (@nauseahassan)
consuming anything american at this point feels disgusting….i feel it in everything i reach towards: music, movies, books, food etc.
Sophia Armen 🇵🇸🇦🇲 (@SophiaArmen)
I feel this so much. And the mainstream music on the radio right now, devoid of any feeling or reference about what is going on. Completely detached from our generation. Just corporations churning out pop culture. Where are the radical artists in mainstream?
Goodbye Spotify
I feel we're entering a 2nd great renaissance of media piracy and torrent sites. Fair streaming services were a great solution. But for a variety of reasons that all has slowly been corrupted and become obtrusive. I've recently cancelled my Netflix account after subscribing for over 12 years. Private torrent sites are reporting a significant increases in active users.
سمسوم☪︎🪂🔻 (@maghrebimarx)
muslim/arab stem students that work for defense contractors and adjacent companies are the absolute weakest links bc how could u sleep knowing your aiding in death and destruction around the world, including ur own brothers and sisters in faith, for a paycheck
سماح (@samah_fadil)
may the lie of diversity, equity and inclusion training finally be relegated to the dustbins of history
What is one thing other cities have that you wish Seattle had?
I find that volunteer park and cal Anderson act as this for people in cap hill. A specific lawn at volunteer park fills up in the summers with people sunbathing and having a picnic, it’s so full of people just enjoying the sunshine and playing music and playing games. Cal Anderson is where people with dogs congregate, and young people sit on the terf in the evenings. People play sports at cal Anderson, people bring their food to the park to sit, people start their protest locations at cal Anderson. When it snows we all go to these 2 parks, too.
The US government can't legally pay the salaries required to find AI experts right now (just look at the salaries on the open positions). So all this work will end up being done by contractors who _can_ pay those salaries while the contractors skim off the top. The US really needs a special schedule for software developers if they want technical expertise in house (and they really should have technical expertise in house)
Giving a Shit as a Service (2022)
why is everybody so obsessed with scale? the good things in live don't scale, like relationships. the dream of scaling everything to a 1 billion business is just greed talking. caring about a craft and building relationships will be more fulfilling than a billion in the bank
Giving a Shit as a Service (2022)
I know a lot of people here are writing about how this can be done for small consulting companies, but I also saw it in Big Tech. Amazon until 2022 really genuinely exemplified this. I saw it for more than a decade leading up to this. Just an unbelievable collection of people that truly Gave A Shit. Publicly we called it "Customer Obsession" and through that lens you could move mountains around here in the pursuit of Doing The Right Thing. The first sign of trouble was 2021. Salaries skyrocketed in the industry. Amazon didn't keep up. A lot of great people left because they got obscene offers, and you know, who could blame them? Our core of "intermediate" engineers (L5 here) got decimated - why bust your ass for a promotion when you can just get a Senior offer from one of 100 over-funded Unicorns for more money than you would've made here. Sensible. Then in 2022 the stock price dropped in half and a bunch of folks who seems like were only putting up with the bullshit as long as the stock grew indefinitely left too. Then 2023 brought layoffs. There's still a lot of us around that Give A Shit, but I feel like we are outnumbered more and more by those that just want to punch in and out and no longer Make History. I get it. I can't blame anyone individually. But I miss it.
Jayjen (@jayjen_x)
"It's not fair that Software Engineers make so much more money." That's what my friend Mark told me two years ago as we were grabbing brunch on a Saturday morning. Mark was a product manager at a Fortune 100 tech company. And back then, I was a mid-level engineer at Meta. "We're working the same 8 hours a day, but engineers make so much more than other roles. It doesn't make any sense." A lot of thoughts raced through my head, but I didn't say anything at the time. I was privileged to make nearly $300k a year as one of the "Software Engineers" he was talking about. Fast forward to today. Now with an entrepreneurial background, the answer is so crystal clear. Everything has to do with leverage. You can wait on tables for 14 hours a day and be the hardest working server in America. You still won't be rich. And that's because of leverage: the ability to get more out for the same number of hours put in. Engineers write code. And code works for you (or for your company) whether you're at your computer or you're sleeping. They bring visitors to your site, push for signups, and bring cash into the company's account. But when you're a waiter off your shift, or a product manager sleeping in bed, that's it. No robots, no passive income. When you stop working, so does the business. No one said it better than <a href="/naval" title="Naval">@naval</a>. "Forget rich versus poor, white-collar versus blue. It’s now leveraged versus un-leveraged."
The war on stolen content
It's simply a matter of community. [The Third Place][1] has declined in part because people will seek that form of third place through some sort of online community. Be it a forum, imageboard, or a streaming personality. It may seem fleeting or superfluous for someone with physical connections to rely on, but that simply seems to be enough for a modern person. It's helpful that it becomes easy to disengage at least. Fwiw, there is more obvious allure for certain personalities outside of being funny. Some are experts (speedrunners or pro players) and you watch someone who performs at a level you can't hope to reach. Some work in industry and their commentary can reveal some nuggests of wisdom you won't find among most f the internet. Some may have fluffier stream content but are bound to compliment it with a more thorough retrospective later on. also the other obvious caveat from the "proper" channels is advertisement. If you are a growing channel, for instance, and some million+ subscriber youtuber wants to react to your content: well, that just works out for both sides of the equation. big youtuber gets content, smaller youtuber gets more people piped to their content. Maybe even people not subscribed to either of them simply because the algorithm will favor the larger youtuber's content in feeds. [1]:
To bring socializing back to social networks, apps try A.I. imagery
As a person with an audience – you get to a point where the audience feels like an insatiable beast that just wants wants wants and never gives back. Soon you feel like a monkey dancing for peanuts to a jeering crowd that will move on to the next monkey immediately when you stop. You are only as good as your last [new] piece of content. Social media has long since stopped being a bazaar of ideas and stimulating exchange. These days to most people it’s passive entertainment fueled by semi amateur creators. It’s no linger social media, now it’s social media. It's pretty draining if you’re on the creator side.
It's okay to make something nobody wants
A fellow I knew would build boats. Sailboats. I don’t know much about boats but I’d say that these were something like 25-30 foot boats. These were not dinghies. He started from raw plans, build the hull ribs, layer on the fiberglass for the hull (he bought his resin in 50 gallon drums). Now, of course, he has to sand and finish the fiberglass. Once he got to that point, he’d build a rig around the hull out of wood that allowed the hull to rotate in place around its axis with a hydraulic Jack. He did all of this alone. Once upright, he’d have about 5000 lbs of lead delivered to be placed and secured in the keel. At this point he gets the top parts of the hull and deck in place so he can weatherproof the interior. The interior is all hardwood. Mahogany and such. His two car garage was a dedicated woodworking and cabinetry shop. The boat was in his fenced backyard. When it was all said and done, 4-5 years later, a truck and a crane would come, lift it out of the backyard, and take it to the local harbor, 30 miles away. Then, he’d sell it, start over, and make another. He didn’t sail. I know he made at least 3 of them. I’m sure he profited on raw materials, not so sure on time, certainly not on time/value of money. He was a software developer by trade. He wrote accounting systems.
It's okay to Make Something Nobody Wants
I think it’s okay to make something that nobody wants. All you need to do is to make sure you’ve fully expressed your emotions in this product.
It's okay to Make Something Nobody Wants
Products seem to be made for users, but I think this might be an illusion; they are more like a medium for self-expression. Different expressions, conceived by various minds, undergo a form of natural selection, with the surviving expression being the one that resonates most with users. I mean, the process unfolds like this: you create something not because “I think they might need this,” but because “I find this so fucking interesting.” Then, when others use your product, they feel the same emotions you did, and they say, “I find this so fucking interesting.” From this perspective, a product is like a container for emotions; the creator puts them in, duplicates it a thousand times, and users extract them from the product. You can’t be devoid of emotion and expect users to experience emotion after using it.
Amazon Prime Video content to start including ads next year
This is equivalent to shrinkflation: pay the same, get less. Streaming platforms want to retain most users, but also extract more value from them. Slowly a new threshold for what's "normal" is set, and perhaps then -more- adds can be added. There's no need to speculate where things go from there. Just look at where cable TV is.
Ask HN: Why did Visual Basic die?
Visual Basic is one of the best arguments for open source and community ownership in the history of computing, IMO. Microsoft's decision to tank it was hugely painful for companies that had made major investments in it -- no company should make that kind of investment in a proprietary platform that can be killed off by a single company and not forked and maintained by others.
Can We Talk to Whales? | The New Yorker
Communication established: "sorry for the genocide, but we needed the candles and BTW, those stomache cramps come from microplastic. Oh and we caused a global warming, so.. Good luck?" if any sea life had a fully conscious society it would wage guerrilla war against humanity.
Mum fumes as school sent daughter home for wearing £100 Vivienne Westwood shoes
The whole uniform thing seems to be a bit of a scam. Why is it that one shop / supplier in a city is allowed to carry the specific uniform the school demands? Why does this uniform cost many times that of an unbranded one from ASDA or wherever. Why are some schools investing so much time making sure kids are wearing the expensive version of the uniform, what does that accomplish. I guarantee there are kickbacks and parents are being robbed. Just like with all the new academies under the Tories employing a family members company for IT etc...\~:text=The%20Education%20(Guidance%20about%20Costs,high%20costs%20of%20school%20uniforms.
Towards a New Socialism
The key difference is that the ideals of communism were scarcely even approached, whereas the key component of capitalism – that is, private ownership of the means of production – has been undoubtedly met in several countries today. Sure, we could always poke at the definitions and see how they stretch (e.g. how do we measure "classless"?), but that doesn't change the fact that capitalism has been implemented far more "fully" than any form of communism has on a national level. Even then, this leaves out how the countries and their populations see themselves; be it Cuba, China, Vietnam or any other country with a communist ideology at the helm, none of them will tell you that they have achieved communism. By contrast, the United States is capitalist by any reasonable definition, and it and its people will tell you as much.
Doctors on TikTok
The end result of most social media is to make all relationships exploitative.
Desperate Chinese parents are joining dating apps to marry off their adult children
> about 44% of young urban women respondents said they do not plan to marry, with many citing anxieties over the financial costs of raising a family. So many words but no mention of Laying Flat? Korea: [Sampo][1] - giving up on courtship, marriage, and having kids Japan - [satori generation][2] : "young Japanese who have seemingly achieved the Buddhist enlightened state free from material desires but who have in reality given up ambition and hope due to macro-economic trends." And China's [Lay Flat][3], with common 6 common tenets of not buying a flat, not buying a car, not marrying, not having kids, not spending money. (不買房、不買車、不結婚、不生娃、不消費). A more common three tenet format is not getting married, having kids, nor buying a flat. [Note that a flat is like an apartment or condo unit, meaning all real estate, and is not related to the "flat", the body posture, in laying flat.] What all of these, as well as "acting my wage" in North America, have in common is that young people are fed up and can clearly see that the game is rigged, and refusing to participate. Runaway capitalism has sucked all the possible wealth from their generation up and they can recognize a losers' game of monopoly when they see it. If any country wants to see more kids and more participation, they gotta stop it with the wage theft and the squeezing of the middle class and the ridiculously unaffordable housing crises. What I particularly love about lay flat is this idiom: "a chive lying flat is difficult to reap" (躺平的韭菜不好割. If young people can clearly see the relationship between them and the state is one of merely a vegetable cash crop waiting to be harvested, then the best way forward is to make the harvest as difficult as possible. And anyway the parents-apps are far less darkly hilarious dystopian than the [meat space version][4] with black on white papers everywhere like some sort of huge disaster happened and they're looking for lost children. In this case they're looking for lost grandchildren caught up in bad economic storms I guess. the video is fairly surreal too ([][5]) The Shanghai one has its own wiki entry lol [][6] [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]:
شرق‌زده sharghzadeh (@sharghzadeh)
In White/Christian New York, you rarely see kids, and when you do, they're usually only children. Dogs are more common. In Arab, Jewish, etc areas, you see groups of children in every corner. Dogs are rare. The future of this country is very different from its present.
How the “lazy girl job” took over work
We are doomed. But a lot of people have decided, that before the system finally collapses they could be parasites on the system. And it is hard to blame the people for making this rational decision. Late stage capitalism looks very much like Soviet Union in 80-ties. The economy doesn't make sense, the system is wasteful, no one believes in official propaganda, there are no values that you could follow. But a little guy can at least take it easy and relax a bit. As the saying goes - They are pretending that they are paying us fair wages, and we are pretending that we are working.
How the “lazy girl job” took over work
> most people don’t actually do much work at work and that it was all one big game This much is true. Most people don't do much work at work. The difference between working in the office and working remote is that when you're at the office, your "pretend to work" time is spent discreetly browsing social media on your phone. When you're at home, you can spend it on things more conducive to your health like going to the gym or walking your dog. I have a hypothesis that the top 10% of performers (could really be as little as 1%) in society are usually very upset by the fact that 90% of people want to do as little work as possible, and those top 10% performers are holding the rest of us hostage via in-office requirements and constant electronic monitoring, but I think since 2020 these people are now losing that battle and the 90% no longer have to pretend to give a shit what the 10% think anymore
The remote work dominates on HN:Who is hiring? – 69% jobs in 2023 are remote
> I was able to move closer to my church community, so my "human interaction" need is being fulfilled richer than ever now. This is what the "but you need human interaction" return-to-office crowd doesn't understand. WFH !== Being alone WFH means surrounding yourself with the people you choose to be around. Whether that's your church community, fellow hobbyists, intramural sports teams, the local co-working space, etc. Plus, that can include "my coworkers" for anyone that wants to make work a bigger part of their life, like those working in startups. However, this should be the exception, not the rule like it has been. It should be your choice...
Food companies ‘sweetened the world’ and increased the risk of disease
I would like to live in a world, with very little tempting foods when i walk around. I would like to live in a world where me and maybe a person i trust, could together limit of the foods i can buy, and than program that into my credit card. I would like to live in a world, where instead of scientists and engineers and businessmen working on optimizing the addictiveness of food, which isn't a good social goal, would work on optimizing the long term happiness derived from food. And sure, while I would lose some freedom and fun in this process, given the role food plays in mood and health, over the long term i would likely be happier, much happier.
Istanbul's Blue Tile Paradise - by Kiefer Kazimir
I was in Istanbul recently, and what surprised me was the absolute depth of the cities attractions. I stayed in the Kadıköy and Sultanahmet districts, and it was so incredible to walk through a society which had been Monkey Patched through millennia. The runtime behavior of the objects, streets, buildings and the city had been adapted time and time again. Roman temples becoming Churches becoming Mosques becoming Museums, sometimes simply with some new tiles or a freshly laid down carpet. Each layer rich in artifacts. My favorite attraction was the Great Palace Mosaics Museum, some of the most detailed and vibrant mosaics I had ever seen. I hope to return soon.
HK (@[email protected])
Given the late stage of #capitalism we live in, I read every "Why has Mastodon failed" article as "No private company has found a way of monetizing the platform and their users", and I think that's beautiful.
Creative Good: Why customers don’t want chat bots
Workers don't want open-office plans either but they keep building them. And there's a vocal minority that want to be able to buy a smaller truck in the United States, but they keep on building monstrosities with beds too short for a sheet of plywood. Time to start realizing that Capitalism doesn't really offer consumer choice or optimizes for the best outcomes for people, it optimizes for the best outcome for the business.
Piracy is Good:The Moral Imperative of Sharing Knowledge
Ironically, for old stuff at least, Piracy is the only way it's reliably preserved. Even if you do want to buy it new to support the creators, oft-times you can't. It's because I *can't* buy it that I turn to piracy. Not just for old games, but sometimes old comics and manga too. Occasionally Anime that's no longer licensed or available. Plus, it's only going to get worse now, with Streaming services and online platforms delisting anything even that might not make a profit because they don't want to pay residuals. I'm not big on pirating new releases, but that's because I think we should support artists. I also think we should call for the creators to be paid more of the profit share vs. the money people at the top who seem to do nothing but fire people and shoot down good ideas to try to make everything the same carbon copy live service. I also don't have to pirate new stuff, because it'll old stuff on sale at half price (or less) soon enough, and with all the bugs fixed and the features added the way it should have been at launch. My backlog is so huge that I won't have time to go through it anyway before I die. So there's another reason I don't care much about new games. If I'm still interested in them a year or more later when they're on sale and fixed up, I'll buy it then. As for stuff like Anime and Manga. Anime subscriptions are surprisingly cheap, and so are monthly manga subs if you know where to look. Viz's Shounen Jump ($3) Vizmanga ($2), ($5), Mangamo (also $5 last I checked)... so long as you only subscribe to one at a time and rotate, you'll probably never run out, and it's a lot cheaper than buying it one volume at a time $10 each or whatever.
Nifflas (@[email protected])
When an app asks for permissions, the OS should not only let you answer yes or no. Every category should have a "yes, but feed the app fake data" option. Want my contacts for no reason? Have these generated fake ones! Wanna listen to my microphone? Here's random ambiance sounds! Location? I'm on a tiny 5x5m island! Hell yeah! Put it all in your databases mfers! Actively punishing services wins over boycotts any day. Didn't want that junk in the database? Don't ask for it!
Sourcegraph is no longer Open Source
Never found a startup on the premise that someone else's product will be inadequate forever. The recent rewrite of github search has probably made sourcegraph irrelevant. If you may recall, original github search used almost the most horrible algorithm possible. It dropped all punctuation and spacing and just searched for identifiers. No patterns allowed, no quoting allowed. One of the only meta-arguments was filename:xyz. Now that github has improved its basic search functionality, sourcegraph might be doomed. I used sourcegraph at Lyft which (at the time) had unlimited money to waste on software tools, and installed the open-source version at Databricks but nobody cared.
YouTube is testing a more aggressive approach against ad blockers
I block ads because they're psychological warfare that corporations wage against me. I don't care how unobtrusive the ads are. I don't care if the ads don't track me. I grew up changing the channel on TV when ads came on, and ripping adverts out of magazines before sitting down to read them. I vote for billboard bans whenever I can. I have zero tolerance for ads of any sort. Advertisers have no morals, they're completely depraved. They'll eagerly exploit a teenager's self-conscious body issues to sell useless beauty products. They sell sugar water to fat people and at every turn promote the rampant consumerist culture that is destroying our planet. They're lower than pond scum and I never want to see a single ad from them ever.
Ask HN: Why Discord instead of a public forum?
> And the cost is lack of discoverability, basically forever. Sadly, this is actually a feature. Discoverability of content adds an incentive for SEO-style spam. It's very hard to implement technical solutions to this kind of incentive problem. I'm part of a few discords where there's a lot of valuable knowledge about purchasing certain consumer products. If this content were discoverable by millions of people it'd be someone's full time job to game the system.
Google is getting a lot worse because of the Reddit blackouts
On the contrary, I think it speaks to how necessary and sought-after guaranteed actual-human information is. Reddit's communities did the leg work of having genuine, non-advert-based information that could be easily parsed through to find what was needed. There was inherent trust in it, or at least the people that posted there. Where else can you go to find reviews of products that you *know for a fact* aren't either outright fake or paid-for? Even if you're like "huh, this guy sounds like a shill" you can then quickly check the poster's history and see if it's a real account-- an actual person.
June 2023 Data Dump is missing
This, along with recent Reddit goings-on has made me realize a major risk with the current structure of online communication. Take either Reddit or Stack Exchange as examples. They build a platform, and users contribute their time, thought, energy, and knowledge to build a community on that platform. Those companies can then gatekeep and restrict access to all that the community built, when all they did is provide the platform, and store the data. We need to rethink this model. The thought and knowledge of communities and users need to belong to those communities and users. To people they intentionally and thoughtfully delegate to and trust. We need to decentralize our communications, like how the internet used to be before the arrival of social media and mega forums. We need to revert to small, focused forums, with less anonymous, more persistent communication, run by people we trust. Otherwise, we will continue to see mega companies harvest our data and use it (or not provide it) against our wishes. If we don’t work to mitigate that dynamic, we have nobody to blame for the poor outcomes but ourselves.
Apollo will close down on June 30th
When your landlord raises your rent from $2000 to $8000, they're not really hoping to raise your rent. They're evicting you. I think the new API pricing model was developed with a single purpose: extinguishing third-party apps to improve the official app's install/usage metrics before their upcoming IPO.
Apollo will close down on June 30th
This makes me indescribably sad. Apart from mourning the loss of a fantastic app by an awesome developer, to me it signals the end of a golden era of small indie client only apps. Since the APIs for the likes of reddit, twitter (RIP tweetbot) and others were available for free or a reasonable fee it spawned a whole cottage industry of developers who made a living selling alternate front ends for these services. These apps invented many of the conventions and designs that eventually percolated to the official clients. Sometimes these innovations even became platform wide conventions (pull to refresh anyone?). The writing was on the wall for a while, but now the door is firmly closed on that era - and we will all be poorer for it.
Reddit will exempt accessibility-focused apps from unpopular API pricing changes
> alright, we'll let you fix our broken s** site but only if you take a vow of poverty. I'm so glad someone brought this up. Every conversation I've seen about Reddit's API pricing on HN has had at least one person asking, "well, how are they supposed to fund the site then?" And that's not Reddit-specific, it's a really common talking point whenever a property/platform starts cracking down on fan/volunteer work. But that question never gets asked about the fan/volunteer work. It's interesting to look at what ventures we as a society think have an almost moral right to make money, and which ventures we almost think of as being morally obligated to not make money. Sometimes it's really arbitrary. If 3rd-party accessibility services are important for accessing your service, those 3rd-party developers should be allowed to make money off of their stuff. Sometimes "non-commercial" clauses are appropriate for some projects/terms, but sometimes they get really abused and it's worth taking a step back in many situations and asking why they were included in the first place. Community-focused devs like to eat and have housing too.
Tom Welsh is writing stories for Nivalis (@CalmDownTom)
I'm not sure if anyone is telling young developers this, but, on balance, posting on Twitter is more likely to lose you an opportunity than gain you one. I've never seen a Tweet that made me say "we need to hire them!" but I've seen plenty "Let's never work together" tweets.
Tom Welsh is writing stories for Nivalis (@CalmDownTom)
I often get asked for advice on how to get started in games writing. Most of it boils down to: Don't write for free. Think carefully about what you share on social media. Approach small teams with promising projects and show them good writing samples.
Noise is all around us
I think of ambient silence as the most valuable sound of all. Think about what it'd cost you to get freedom from your neighbor's lawnmower, traffic, sirens, construction, dogs barking, and the rest of the mindless noise that involuntarily assaults the average person's brain all day. You might think you can move out to the country, but most of the homes you might buy still have plenty of it. Neighbors will have bigger lawns that require even louder diesel tractors to mow, large dog ownership is at a higher ratio, recreational gunfire is more common, or you might hear a chainsaw running all day. In fact, it might be even more noticeable due to its irregularity. I hope the future is a quieter place. Electric motors replacing internal combustion engines is a step in the right direction. I suspect we'll need a full cultural shift and actual noise ordinance enforcement to get there though. Otherwise, it only takes one guy with $100 buying a leaf blower to ruin everyone's day.
It’s Time to Embrace Slow Productivity
This glosses over the fact that jobs are a central piece—if not _the_ central piece—of many people's identities in the States. We've lost religion and communities as things that define and provide structure and purpose, leaving us clinging to jobs. Is this good? No! It's terrible! We should fix this! However, I'm not convinced that workplace stress is a matter of hours … it may be a symptom of lack of life beyond work—and I don't mean in the "there's not enough time" sense. I appreciate what Cal Newport advocates for, but it always feels a little surface.
Sam Altman goes before US Congress to propose licenses for building AI
This is quite incredible Could you imagine if MS had convinced the govt back in the day, to require a special license to build an operating system (this blocking Linux and everything open)? It’s essentially what’s happening now, Except it is OpenAI instead of MS, and it is AI instead of Linux AI is the new Linux, they know it, and are trying desperately to stop it from happening
Tiredness of life: the growing phenomenon in western society
Regarding socialization, suburbs are anti-social. There is almost no chance for spontaneous interactions with strangers. Even small countryside towns are more social b/c there is a main street where people hang out on the street. If you have to get in a car to "do something", your chances of spontaneous interactions go down exponentially. I washed my bicycle outside last week and some 70-80 year old started up a conversation with me. Other times, going to the laundromat, some 80 year old lady chatted with me. But if I had to get in a car to get coffee or ride my bike, these kind of interactions would not happen. I want to live in a city when I get old and die on my feet.
Please Let Me Monetize My Hobbies
People want to do meaningful work and improve their skills and lives. However, incentives are not lined up to promote and reward this for quite a lot of people. Workers look around and see that working harder just means you get more work and maybe a pizza party. Raises don't beat inflation or are non-existent. They might be scheduled or classified in a way that makes them ineligible for health insurance. Pensions don't exist and "the market" ruined plenty of people's paths to retirement. Their free time is disrespected with inconsistent and last minute scheduling or with on-call duty. Their leaders can decide that inflation is caused by high salaries with layoffs as the solution and their employer obliges. They can work full time and still be in precarious positions when it comes to basic necessities like housing and healthcare. I stopped at a McDonald's to use their WiFi and a group of high school kids were there, and I overheard a girl get very upset because her mom was laid off from the job she worked at since the girl was born, and can't retire, keep her health insurance or home. She was crying for her mom and herself. She yelled about how her mom worked crazy hours and put up with abuse. Then she said something to the tune of, "what's the point of giving yourself to your job if you will just be thrown out like that?" This was in a middle/upper middle class neighborhood.
He wrote a book on a rare subject. Then a ChatGPT replica appeared on Amazon
A lot of technology disruptions happen by a "bait and switch" approach. A new technology appear that promises to produce something at a much higher efficiency and much lower cost. Only after it already took over the market did people discover that it was not the same product. The disruption, while often has genuine merit, also sneakily changes some fundamental assumptions that people held over the product. This is not new: for example, products of industrial farming are often significantly different from products of traditional farming. However, it is a better product in the sense of market competition. This mechanism is considered the engine of growth for society. I think products that consists of human communication are fundamentally different: this assumption of "disruption is good" is more likely to be false. Even existing technology that aim at changing human communications, like emails and social networks, end up having serious negative effects. AI based culture and communication product is changing one of the basic assumptions of human communications: that the communication is produced by a human. I can't help but being sad and pessimistic about that future.
Google wants to take over the web - by Paris Marx
But Google’s plan for the future of search shows us there are going to be very clear tradeoffs if we embrace the vision advocated by these companies. After building its business on the open web, Google has now scraped it onto its servers and will serve up paragraphs plagiarized from the very websites that used to depend on it for traffic. In the process, it will make it unnecessary for many users to continue beyond Google to those other websites, but will allow Google to sell more ads against the content it’s generated based on other people’s work.
yosh (@[email protected])
If there is inflation, but you're not getting a pay rise, what you're experiencing is a pay *cut*. When talking about profits and revenue, companies often talk about "constant currency" to account for inflation. Us workers would do well to talk about "pay cuts in constant currency" rather than the more loaded: “pay rise to match inflation”. Because what it's usually about is not an increase in compensation, but a preservation of the existing compensation. The language we use should reflect that
Do the weirdest thing that feels right
If you’re not being strongly compelled from within by an idea, then I wouldn’t pursue it. I don’t think it has to be weird necessarily. I’ve been working on a side project and there are so many little problems that creep up that it really feels like you’re running an ultramarathon or climbing Everest. If you don’t have that very strong and deep calling from within I don’t think many will make it through that, and so you’ll just end up burning a lot of mental/physical/emotional energy on something that doesn’t pan out.
The New Humanitarian | We need to talk about international aid and refugee self-reliance
There is also a glass ceiling for refugees when it comes to working at INGOs. Many INGOs will hire refugees as interpreters, community mobilisers, or data collectors, but only as ‘incentive workers’ who are given a monthly stipend that is substantially lower than an INGO salary, not as full-time employees. The jobs provide very little long-term stability and no opportunity for advancement. And INGOs will not hire refugees for more senior positions where they would have decision-making power, regardless of their qualifications.
Dan Schwarz (@dschwarz26)
I bet I'm not the only one that has convos like this: Me: LLMs are generational tech. I'm excited and terrified. Them: You're worried about a Terminator / Kurzweil scenario? Me: A bit. I'm more worried about chaos in the next 2-5 years. Them: What exactly do you mean? It's a good question, what am I worried about? Well, let me share a scenario. It's April 2026. I wake up in the morning and check Hacker News. "Hundreds of Starlink satellites burn up in the atmosphere." I click the link to Wired. The article is clearly GPT-assisted, I don't trust it. I click back to the HN comment section. The top comment says Starlink is down, satellites are crashing, but they'll all burn up safely. The second comment says people on the ground are in danger. I sign into my meta-search app across Bard, Bing, Alexa, Meta's model, and the Stanford open source one. Some say there's a massive cyberattack against Tesla and Spacex. Others say it's Starlink routine decommissioning. Some say it's safe. Others say stay indoors. I get an alert from my bank. I scroll through a dozen spoofed bank notifications that my on-phone assistant tells me are socially engineered. The NYSE dropped 10% and trading was halted. (The NASDAQ has been halted for weeks due to "sinusoidal" trading.) This drop looks real. Slack chimes. My engineer in Chile tells me she can't work today due to mass protests. Me: What are they protesting? Her: I'm not sure. People are saying the hospital systems are down and no one can refill their meds. Me: Are you safe? Her: I think so. I locked my door. My phone buzzes. It's my Dad, and I answer. He starts talking, but I cut him off. Me: What's the code? Dad: Let's see -- the one from last week? "Orchard" Me: Ok continue. Dad: Dan, stay home. I'm seeing crazy things in the news about Teslas going haywire on the highway. Me: Did your assistant verify the news? Dad: Some yes, some no. Just stay home to play it safe. Me: Ok. For our next call, let's use "lizard" as our code. Dad: Ok, lizard it is. Do we really need to do this? Me: Yes, Dad. <I sigh.> Remember what happened with that call from "me"? How you gave your Amazon password to "me" without checking? Dad: Yeah, yeah, alright. I can't believe that wasn't you. It sounded exactly like you. Me: I know, I know. Remember, "lizard". Dad: Ok. Bye. I get to work. My AI assistant is coding a new forecasting tool. I check every ~30 minutes and give it code reviews. Analytics alerts are firing again. Users are acting erratically. Their browser automation must be clicking random buttons. I trigger another forced reauth flow. I keep checking the news. More claims about financial turmoil, SpaceX satellites down, Tesla draws driving off the road. I want to ask my friends if this is real. I can't be bothered to call & verify myself to them, but they won't respond to unverified text messages. Ugh. The lights in my office go off. I check the circuit breaker - power is out. I turn on my mobile hotspot and tether my laptop. I check the PG&E outage page. It says everything is online. Of course. I hope my mobile data keeps working. Good thing I didn't switch to Starlink yet! Meta-search is inconclusive, so I tell my assistant "Browse the web for news on cyber hacks against Musk companies. For each claim, spawn a task to verify sources. Summarize the claims and give probabilities." It goes to work. I learn back in my chair. I wait. Another Tuesday.
Nostr (“Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays”) – An Introduction
> Resilience is provided by the protocol being simple enough to implement in a weekend, in your language of choice. Platform lock-in is impossible, since any client can republish any note to a different relay if one misbehaves or enacts a disagreeable policy. That's a wonderful sentiment but we said the same thing about the web and email and both are effectively controlled by large companies. Twitter is centralized due to being the creation of a single company, but that's not the fundamental problem. The web and email got effectively centralized because distributed protocols create problems of search, filtering, abuse, identity, community continuity, etc. You can't easily solve them in a distributed way, and even if you _can_, you can't easily get everyone in the network to upgrade. Hence, providers arise that say "We're Nostr, only better!(tm)" or "We're the best way to find what you want on Nostr!" and they work on locking in their customers. If you want to be resilient to monopolization you have to show how you're going to solve those other problems.
Replacing my best friends with an LLM trained on 500k group chat messages
While I love all these stories of turning your friends and loved ones into chat bots so you can talk to them forever, my brain immediately took a much darker turn because of course it did. How many emails, text messages, hangouts/gchat messages, etc, does Google have of you right now? And as part of their agreement, they can do pretty much whatever they like with those, can't they? Could Google, or any other company out there, build a digital copy of you that answers questions exactly the way you would? "Hey, we're going to cancel the interview- we found that you aren't a good culture fit here in 72% of our simulations and we don't think that's an acceptable risk." Could the police subpoena all of that data and make an AI model of you that wants to help them prove you committed a crime and guess all your passwords? This stuff is moving terrifyingly fast, and laws will take ages to catch up. Get ready for a wild couple of years my friends.
Incompetent but Nice
I used to think the same way as you, and then I started a company and had to pay out of pocket for employees, and the sad truth that I almost hate myself for admitting is that if you have to pick between incompetent but nice, and competent but a jerk, you take the jerk. And yes, multiple people will even quit because you picked the jerk over the nice guy, and I still found it's worth it to take the jerk because of how competency scales. A good/competent software engineer can genuinely do the work of many, many mediocre developers and you're almost always better off with a small number of really solid developers over a large number of nice but mediocre ones. Now of course we can always exaggerate things to an extreme and compare a racist, sexist, jerk who swears nonstop, to someone who is mildly incompetent, and there are certain principles and boundaries that are worth upholding with respect to how people treat each other regardless of their productivity, but in actuality that's not really the difficult choice you end up facing. The really difficult choice you end up facing is someone who is nice and gets along with people but is ultimately too dependent on others to do their job versus someone who works independently and does an excellent job but is very blunt and can be an asshole in regards to the expectations they hold others to. Good software developers often expect their peers to also be at a high standard and will speak in very plain, rude, and blunt language if they feel others are not pulling their weight. And finally, I have observed that in the long run, competent people tend to prefer to work with others whose skill they respect and they feel they can learn from because they're really good at their job, compared to working with someone who is pleasant but is always dependent on others. Being nice is a good short term skill to have, but people get used to those who are nice but they never get used to someone who is incompetent.
I would love to have enough time and money to go to an office to work all day
In my opinion, my ideal walkable/livable community is the university town. It has everything you need in walking distance. Most people who work in the community live in the community. Public transportation is well-used, to the point cars are often outright forbidden. Lots of greenspace, with good wifi through the whole town. Well managed library and IT infrastructure. Very inclusive and welcoming community, as they are arranged around the idea of incorporating new people into the community on a regular basis. I'm one of those lifers that went to college and never left, now entering my 5th year as a professor. That's a lie -- I had 3 years in industry, and I just hated it. I mean, the people were okay, but "the real world" seems to be a euphemism for having to put up with the shitty systems and communities that everyone else has to. But here's the thing (and sorry to rant for a minute), calling academia an "ivory tower" in contrast to the "real world" is an admission that we have to accept the shitty systems and communities past generations have built for us. Because with all of the craziness in the banking sector and tech sector lately, it's hard to convince me that academia is any more divorced from reality than other large industries out there that are trying to run the world. How is academia any more of an ivory tower than silicon valley? And aren't those silicon valley bankers and billionaires the ones who are trying to shape the world in their image, while crashing banks and laying off hundreds of thousands of people? To me, that is a dark tower, and one we should not be trying to emulate at a country scale; whereas my community, the places I walk, the people I work with every day, the relationships I build with them -- that's the real world. Or at least my world. /r Yes academia is a bubble and unique, but at the same time, that's what allows it to be a place where you can have the things you say you want. Is it sustainable? You know, probably not, but at the same time many of these communities are over a century old. I know my University has plans for sustainable growth for the next 100 years. There's surely still work to do to make such communities more sustainable, less costly to manage, and larger and more widespread. But still, the university town is a model that proves we can at least build walkable communities in America. They definitely exist!
Ask HN: What is a specific use of GPT-4 that you think is remarkable?
Call center employees are pretty much as good as gone once the price comes down on GPT4. You can pretty easily give it a good prompt that allows it to answer very specific questions about your company, or interact with external APIs to schedule services, make changes based on the customer's requests, etc. Throw some Speech to Text and Text to Speech services in front and behind it, and voila you have an AI receptionist that blows literally every automated answering service out of the water today. IMO, 90% of call center employees will be out of work in the next 10 years.
CEQA Is an Abomination That Hurts Housing - The Atlantic
Residential projects should be excluded all together from CEQA, because right to housing is above environmental rights. Environmentalism embodies equality, we can clearly tell homelessness is not equality, so residential buildings (with enough affordable allocation) have no conflict with environmentalism.
Signal says it'll shut down in UK if Online Safety Bill approved
In the UK if you want to buy food in the supermarket you have to have a HD video camera pointed in your face (often two cameras). When all major supermarkets introduced these cameras a couple of years back no one even discussed it, or thought it was odd, because here there is no assumption of privacy. I was telling a coworker recently that I always use a VPN while browsing the internet. He was genuinely confused, and was asking why I would care about privacy unless I have something to hide. And this isn't just one person. I've had similar reactions when I've told people I only use signal, or refuse to use cloud storage, or won't list employment history on LinkedIn for privacy reasons. I get that I have an extreme preference for privacy, but people in the UK don't even understand why someone like myself value privacy. This attitude is also adopted by our leaders and businesses, who by various means, mass surveil the public, typically citing "safety". The issue with the UK isn't just that our government don't value privacy, it's that as a people we don't even understand the value of privacy.
Emma Dabiri (@EmmaDabiri)
There are many individuals who might be perceived as belonging to “oppressed minorities” in the Global North, who are in-fact members of the rapacious, extractive elite classes of the Global South countries they come from.
Browsers are essential and how operating systems are holding them back (2022) [pdf] (2022)
> Nothing any OS vendor or browser vendor has done in the last decade has been a user-focused positive experience. They have become delivery tools for revenue only rather than information access. Succinctly put. I've felt this shift everywhere; it killed the fun and curiosity I felt when I first encountered computers and the web. I can't recommend anything in good faith. When I open a new website or program I dread to think what it is collecting from me... who is looking at it, where it is stored... forever. It just seems so powerless to resist, especially when so much of wider society expects you to use $CHATAPP or even $DATING_APP. I can't imagine a first date where I scold the lady on her use of proprietary software: "Please install this XAMPP-Mastodon-Matrix chat app from the F-Droid store or I won't speak to you again"
Poor people pay higher time tax
Closely related to the toilet paper metric. The poorer you are the more you pay per sheet, on average. A middle-class person will drive to a place like Costco a few times a year, buy a few large packs, and they're set. For a poor person this has an number of hurdles. Costco membership is an up-front cost. Can't fit three large packs on the bus so expensive cab fare. Less likely to have the time when the store is open. They won't have as much storage space. And $60 of toilet paper is a rather big outlay when you're broke. You can buy two rolls at the convenience store for $4 though. And again the next week. And again. Which prevents them from saving up for the bulk purchase and cab fare so they can escape the vicious cycle of over-spending on TP. It's very expensive to be poor.
Remote Work Is Poised to Devastate America’s Cities
Right now, yes and no. I live in a mid sized town in the Midwest. People who are renting, and not tied down by things like having kids in school, are fairly likely to move if a job change alters their commute. However, it's complicated by the fact that they are also influenced by the amenities that different neighborhoods offer. For instance do you prefer lots of hip restaurants, or lots of green space? Once people are more dug in, they will often just eat the longer commute. However, there is a sizable "transient" population that is as likely to move to another town when they change jobs. This is true of people like academics, doctors, and so forth. There are certain occupations that are fairly centralized, due to being the seat of government and home to a large university. My spouse just changed jobs at the U, and we already live close to there.
Remote Work Is Poised to Devastate America’s Cities
Remote work has the potential to make neighborhoods more dynamic. With more people at home, there's more demand for nearby coffee shops, entertainment, food options. I prefer the decentralized neighborhood approach to the hub and spoke model where you commute to a big city from the boring suburbs.
Why Did So Many US Men Quit Working? Social Status May Hold the Key, Study Says
Hope is everything. The ability to sell yourself a story about future success determines a huge portion of the human personality. If you stand in San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by shuttered shopping malls and half-built-and-now-abandoned projects, it's incredibly hard not to be cynical about the future. Sit in the cafeteria of Stripe HQ and it's incredibly hard not to be optimistic. No mystery why the political beliefs of both places match the on-the-ground reality. The greatest threat to a stable society isn't economic collapse - it's the collapse that follows: the collapse of a belief that things can get better. The exact second you don't think things can get better, the entire game changes, and there is no reason to do anything other than help tear down the system that left you so hopeless in the first place. It's not that we pay so little that people can't make ends meet. It's that life costs so much, and can be so good, that people can't make dreams meet.
Why Is Everything So Ugly? | Issue 44 | n+1 | The Editors
To latch on to this great post there are a couple of other worthwhile discussion points: We're still in a nuclear war mental model. We can't build beautiful things if we think they'll be destroyed in a war. We still have a societal level PTSD from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and other things. World War I veterans came back with horrific problems. That's why architects like Frank Lloyd Wright built bunkers that blended in with nature. As they entered into professions like architecture they avoided symmetry, and this was cargo-culted into the present day where we build very weird, stressful objects like Boston City Hall [1], suburban homes that are incoherent and have hidden front entrances (although the car is very prominent) or throw a bunch of scrap metal together and call it art. I'm not religious at all but right now we face a crisis of what we are building for (as opposed to constructing buildings and temples to the glory of some god or gods). I'm hopeful that either the environmental movement or our desire to become a space faring civilization will reinvigorate the passion of our species. There's also no point in building a very beautiful building that will last a long time while you are living in Austin, TX if you think in a few years you'll move to Seattle or maybe Washington DC before finally settling down in Kansas. I have been encouraged to see that remote work has caused people to change their location priorities and invest in their current homes instead. Major headwind is just that most homes that were constructed are either in isolated, car-dependent suburbs and/or they are built using the cheapest materials possible. But you can see that people are willing and want to invest via new offices, garage gyms, etc. I'm really disappointed in our financial overlords who haven't built a single beautiful building for society anywhere in the US. Even their own houses typically look like architectural garbage. [1]:
Why Is Everything So Ugly? | Issue 44 | n+1 | The Editors
It's worth mentioning that a lot of modern architecture (in single family & small-to-mid multifamily developments) is essentially dictated by money: what sells the best (typically the design that maximizes square footage), what is cheapest to build, and what is capable of passing for a given state and municipalities zoning and building code. People shop by location, price, and square footage as their primary search criteria. Safe & bland architecture with no unique craftsmanship reflects the fact that these things are not relevant for the financing, construction & sale of most housing. Edit: a few other things to consider. 1. Our relationship with the outdoors has shifted considerably since the invention of modern heating and AC. This has implications on modern architecture. 2. Our relationship with our housing (namely, how many hours we spend in what parts of the house) has shifted immensely in the past century. This has vast implications on modern architecture and construction. 3. The average person's relationship with art and beauty has completely changed in just the past few decades. Consider a pre-war world with little-to-no television in the average household, where you yourself had to look in the world around you and decide what was beautiful; versus the modern world where you open your smartphone and scroll down an instagram timeline or a pinterest board (or watch a show on HGTV) and instantly have an idea of what's "expected" from a "good house". Mass media (including social media for the most part) has a homogenizing effect on culture.
Beyond Meat is struggling, and the plant-based meat industry worries
I married a vegan, and I eat a lot of vegetarian food. (I also still eat plenty of meat, just not every day.) One extremely frustrating aspect of plant meat is that they tried to aggressively push out traditional veggie burgers on restaurant menus. A familiar refrain I've heard in restaurants in the last few years is "we used to have a nice veggie patty, but they replaced it with the beyond/incredible/whatever patty." The thing is, vegetarian food is incredible without needing to taste like meat. When I've had these products, I've always walked away feeling like they taste inferior to traditional vegetarian burgers / sausages that don't try to taste like meat. > Some say the slowdown in sales is a product of food inflation, as consumers trade pricier plant-based meat for less-expensive animal meat. Normally vegetarian food costs less than meat. It's because the animals need to eat (surprise surprise) vegetables! When you eat the vegetables directly instead of having the animal eat the vegetable for your, it's cheaper. IMO, I think the "meat in a vat" system where animal tissue is grown in some kind of factory setting is a much better approach. When I want to eat meat, I want to eat meat.
Brian PJ Cronin (@[email protected])
All the talk of leaving the birdsite vs. staying on the birdsite to “fight” makes me think of Barry Lopez: “The amount of energy that goes into the defeat of an enemy is energy that would be better spent in doing something that makes the enemy irrelevant.”
Brian PJ Cronin (@[email protected])
All the talk of leaving the birdsite vs. staying on the birdsite to “fight” makes me think of Barry Lopez: “The amount of energy that goes into the defeat of an enemy is energy that would be better spent in doing something that makes the enemy irrelevant.”
No cure for loneliness
So, while every country in the world has issues with social isolation and loneliness I think the US seems to have a particularly large problem with it. I have no evidence to back this up but it seems to me that family structures in the US are less solid than they are in other countries. And for the people who say "I'm from X immigrant community and we have very strong familial bonds", imagine how much stronger they would be had you not come to the US, and will the next generations bonds be as strong or stronger than your generations bonds? There is a self-reliance in the US which when it works seems to work ok (although even "successful" people can be very lonely), but when it breaks down very quickly leaves people with no where to turn. People often travel long distances from their families. Often relocating across the country again for work breaking whatever bonds they formed in University. People see their families once or twice a year (because the distances are so great). People prioritize economic needs over family and societal needs and this weakening of familial and societal bonds is the result. Often you end up living far from your family with a spouse and kids. If that doesn't work out - say you break up - you can find yourself alone very fast. I feel that the homeless problem in the US is a symptom of this - although it also has many other causes. In societies with much stronger societal bonds, people don't let people live on the streets. I don't have a solution for it, it's just something I've noticed and think about a lot when I listen to stories like this one. And don't get me wrong. Every country has problems like this. It's very easy to get isolated in large crowds of people, I just think the US has a pronounced case of it.
Thomas Fuchs 🕹️🔭:verified_paw: (@[email protected])
"Mercedes locks faster acceleration behind a $1,200 annual paywall"[1] What's next? - Oven only goes above 300F with a $50/month "Heat Plus" subscription - Dishwasher can only be used more than once a week with a "Sparkle" plan - Insulin pump that requires active Internet connection and a $5/day "Sugardaddy" service charge [1]
Is Our Definition Of Burnout All Wrong?
Perhaps more like... 'engagement fatigue'? When it's truly rote or mindless work your brain can disengage and be somewhere else. With knowledge work you don't have that luxury, even when the work itself isn't what we could consider 'engaging', you nevertheless are obliged to be engaged mentally to carry it out. Do that long enough without deriving any satisfaction, it seems a perfectly sane reaction to want to escape the situation, or just plain shut off. It makes sense for our brains to realize we're spending a lot of brain focus and time on something that isn't activating any reward centers, and insist we stop doing that. That really seems like a fundamentally sensible and healthy response from a brain functioning properly.
Is Our Definition Of Burnout All Wrong?
I've noticed a similar discrepancy in my life: Mental burnout wasn't present in my early, physical-labor jobs. It also wasn't present in my early coding jobs. It only started to appear later in my career when my pay was highest and my actual time spent producing tangible output (whether physical labor or code) was lowest. One theory is that I became less physically active over time. Exercise is well known to have a protective effect against burnout, and physical labor jobs are a lot of exercise all day. I was also going to the gym much more when I was younger. Another theory is that my later career burnout came from what studies would call "social defeat stress". I was most burnt out when I spent most of my job time trying to navigate dysfunctional companies, deal with incompetent bosses, and fight against dirty office politics. Changing to a job where my boss was more demanding but also more competent unexpectedly reduced my burnout symptoms rather than worsening them. Something about being in a socially consistent environment makes everything easier to stomach. On the contrary, being in weird office politics situations where Bob in management gets to insult your work and upend your priorities every week just because he's got a certain title leads to burnout. It's like the burnout is a response to dampen your expectations and efforts in response to situations where more engagement will only produce more stress and frustration. Physical labor jobs, on the other hand, have a property that more input will usually result in at least some tangible forward progress.
Is Our Definition Of Burnout All Wrong?
Reframing burnout as what’s getting in the way of your wellness and a symptom of inadequate support led Aviles to conclude that the problem isn’t the burnout. It’s an economic system that makes individual workers essentially dispensable, so that the workplace becomes a site of survival struggles. “I really think it's a tool of oppression, to keep folks constantly busy, and we're overworking and underpaying them,” she explains. “You're not allowing people to rest and relax and rejuvenate and refresh their minds and their bodies, [and] oftentimes, you can't make clear decisions if you're in that state.”
Is Our Definition Of Burnout All Wrong?
“One of the biggest differences between exhaustion and burnout is that it is strongly associated with inadequate support in your environment,” Aviles tells me. You can address exhaustion through rest. To address burnout, she says, you need to step away from work.
Is Our Definition Of Burnout All Wrong?
“Who can take time off from work to recuperate from burnout?” says Dionne when I bring this up. “I think when we are talking about impoverished people, many of those people are indigenous folks, Black folks, brown folks — exhaustion is the baseline so often because capitalism is eating these people alive,” she says. “There is no safety net for those folks, so it really is either work yourself into the ground, or starve.”
Tools for Thought as Cultural Practices, not Computational Objects
The past is a different country, and anything that happened before your grandfather was born happened in a different culture altogether. The people who lived in your general geographic area ages ago are not your people, and it's useless to try and set the record straight for them.
Kris Nóva (@[email protected])
Watching this many people come to #Hachyderm because they trust me and believe in me is the perfect “fuck you” to the VCs and rich men who have put me down in the past. Last year I had a group “throw stones” me because “nobody would want to work with her”. Just funny to see this play out. Deep down I knew they were wrong, however this is also nice. 😅 Just wanted to say I love you all, and it’s wonderful to see good people in the world again. Sincerely it’s made an enormous impact on our family.
BORG (@borgposting)
socialism will never take root in america because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as The Main Character
The Rise of Influencer Capital
I strongly disagree with Galbraith's argument essentially about "the end of quality". We did not reach a zenith of product quality in the 50s. What did change was the coverage of mass media. Instead of relying on long and expensive genuine user feedback loops to generate positive buzz around a product, advertising manufactures that buzz directly. This is why is it everywhere, and influencers are just the latest innovation. Not because product quality/QoL reached a high point.
The Rise of Influencer Capital
This is only tangentially related, but this article reminds me of Galbraith's "The Affluent Society" which should frankly be required reading for undergrad social sciences. In it, he argues that, at the time of writing (late 50s), the industrialized West has largely solved what had previously been the main preoccupation of economics - improved standard of living. As evidence, Galbraith points to advertising. The argument is simple: when important productivity improvements take place, say the invention of a new way of baking bread, they don't need advertising to gain mass use. Their benefits are so obvious that they don't need to be sold. Demand doesn't have to be created, because demand comes from human existence. The existence of advertising, in contrast, shows that the thing being advertised probably isn't that important. Indeed, the item is so trivial as to require advertising to create demand for it. This then leads us to wonder what benefit is being served by both creating this product and the demand for it; Galbraith argues that we've essentially fetishized economic growth at all costs (a holdover, in his view, from the early days of econ which was concerned with our metaphorical bread making instead of our metaphorical advertised widget making). He then attacks planned obsolescence as the dumbest outcrop of this process, because now we're purposefully wasting materials on things which we hope to replace in the near future for no reason other than to keep making the things, things which we don't need anyway - as evidenced by the fact that they're advertised. Anyway I think this fits in perfectly with the whole influencer economy phenomenon, because that's literally all they do. Their raison d'etre is to generate demand for items nobody needs or even previously knew about.
The Rise of Influencer Capital
This is only tangentially related, but this article reminds me of Galbraith's "The Affluent Society" which should frankly be required reading for undergrad social sciences. In it, he argues that, at the time of writing (late 50s), the industrialized West has largely solved what had previously been the main preoccupation of economics - improved standard of living. As evidence, Galbraith points to advertising. The argument is simple: when important productivity improvements take place, say the invention of a new way of baking bread, they don't need advertising to gain mass use. Their benefits are so obvious that they don't need to be sold. Demand doesn't have to be created, because demand comes from human existence. The existence of advertising, in contrast, shows that the thing being advertised probably isn't that important. Indeed, the item is so trivial as to require advertising to create demand for it. This then leads us to wonder what benefit is being served by both creating this product and the demand for it; Galbraith argues that we've essentially fetishized economic growth at all costs (a holdover, in his view, from the early days of econ which was concerned with our metaphorical bread making instead of our metaphorical advertised widget making). He then attacks planned obsolescence as the dumbest outcrop of this process, because now we're purposefully wasting materials on things which we hope to replace in the near future for no reason other than to keep making the things, things which we don't need anyway - as evidenced by the fact that they're advertised. Anyway I think this fits in perfectly with the whole influencer economy phenomenon, because that's literally all they do. Their raison d'etre is to generate demand for items nobody needs or even previously knew about.
Scaling Mastodon is impossible
Mastodon is messy. The world is messy. We have cities with different rules, different mayors, different odds of existing in 50 years. It's nice to have all the cities follow all the same rules and customs if you agree with them, and nice to have another city to move to if you don't. Email as a decentralized medium has survived for decades. You use a big provider like Gmail, choose a host in another region, or an organization like Proton Mail that does thing somewhat different. It's OK that Mastodon is messy and at times chaotic. It's organic.
Scaling Mastodon is impossible
Mastodon is messy. The world is messy. We have cities with different rules, different mayors, different odds of existing in 50 years. It's nice to have all the cities follow all the same rules and customs if you agree with them, and nice to have another city to move to if you don't. Email as a decentralized medium has survived for decades. You use a big provider like Gmail, choose a host in another region, or an organization like Proton Mail that does thing somewhat different. It's OK that Mastodon is messy and at times chaotic. It's organic.
Why are U.S. transit projects so costly? This group is on the case
It partly has to do with the bidding process - the drive to get the lowest bid. Competent companies know the cost won't work and are unwilling to put up the surety bonds to take on a project. It leaves with the boldest incompetent company to make the lowest bid who gets their foot in the door and then jack up the cost overrun later on. Often the project failed due to cost overrun or sheer incompetence. At the end the cost of doing business go up for all parties involved. I've seen transit projects with hundreds of millions budget fell apart with nothing to show at the end, and have seen a transit project that doubled the cost and tripled the schedule to get to completion, and that was a good project.
The Age of PageRank Is Over
You can't compare the good faith web from 1996, which consisted of a bunch of nerds blogging, to today's web. Everything of any importance in our society moved online, and much of it needs monetization. And since on average users won't pay a cent for anything, ads it is. We very much have a role in this outcome ourselves. Even in a hypothetical situation where ads would no longer be the driving force of algorithms, something else will. As soon as something gets large enough, it will be gamed. If not for commercial reasons, it might be cultural/political influence. I will end by reminding ourselves that us techies should spend some more time with ordinary folks. I agree with everybody here that Google Search has been getting worse and worse for years now, especially for our niche searches. It's a mistake though to think that this is widely experienced as such. My mum looks up an unknown ingredient in a recipe and within a second sees a picture of it. That means it works. All kinds of personal data might be shared in the process but since you can't really see that, it didn't happen. From her point of view, Google Search works extremely well and is close to magic. The point being, Google doesn't give a shit that you don't get the best answer for your query on JavaScript closures. Nobody searches for that, and those that do, block ads.
Nowadays we have the concept of "vegging out" (relaxing while doing very little), but it's usually associated with TV/video games/mass media. Did similar forms of relaxation exist before the 20th century and mass media? If so, what did people do to "veg out"?
Before hand held computers, before video games, before television, before radio, mass entertainment required you to go somewhere, often dressing up to do so, for movies, silent movies, opera houses…colosseum events, religious festivals — the exact opposite of vegging out. What did exist over many millenia that was comparable was oral story-telling. These existed in more formal settings but also took place at night while gathered. Wilson (2008) suggests there are three levels of stories. At the highest level are sacred stories, which are specific in form, content, context, and structure which must never vary in how they are told. At the second level are mythical stories that teach morals, lessons, or events. They can be shaped by the storyteller – drawing on the teller’s or the listeners’ experiences – but the underlying message of these stories does not change. The final level of storytelling is personal stories or personal experiences. This is still the predominant form of vegging out groups not exposed to mass media (indigenous communities) or those who reject it (like the Amish). King, T. (2003). The truth about stories: A Native narrative. Toronto: House of Anansi Press. Lewis, P. J. (2006). Stories I teach^live by. Qualitative Inquiry, 12, 829–849 Wilson, S. (2008). Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Halifax, NS: Fernwood.
Coby (@Cobylefko)
A Yokocho is a narrow Japanese alleyway that’s packed with intimate small bars and places to eat. They’re magic realms hidden away from the world, free from the traffic & anonymity of big city life. How lovely would it be if all of our cities had such places?! Each street & shop has its own personality, but the charm & intimacy of the typology is consistent. Far from architectural marvels, they excel because of their urban form. With warm light, a sense of enclosure, connection to a community, we’re innately drawn to them! Food halls in the west have tried to replicate the yokocho, to varying degrees of success. Most fail to understand the success of the form isn’t because of 5-star chefs, or Instagram worthy food, or even the trendiest design aesthetic. These places are no-frills & affordable. The success of the yokocho is due to a connection between small businesses & consumers in intimate surroundings. We feel protected, warm, & together when eating in such places, as opposed to the exposed sterility of food halls. The relationship isn’t transactional, but genuine. Yokocho: the powerhouse of urban planning. Immensely efficient use of space, leading to high tax revenues on small areas of land, sustainability by not sprawling out these used into malls & stroads, community building through intimate connection, & beauty through warm enclosure!
Dave Temkin (@dtemkin)
We built Netflix streaming from scratch without ever spending a night in the office. Any employer that tells you that you need to do otherwise is toxic and you deserve better.
Dave Temkin (@dtemkin)
We built Netflix streaming from scratch without ever spending a night in the office. Any employer that tells you that you need to do otherwise is toxic and you deserve better.
amos ([email protected]) (@fasterthanlime)
I wish everyone discarding Mastodon as weird and bad and "not a replacement" a very change your mind and do it anyway. Twitter is not territory that's yours to fight for. You never owned it in the first place. I'm sad too, but rebuilding your audience takes a while — don't wait.
‘Westworld’ canceled at HBO after four seasons
It's interesting to compare US tv to UK tv. In the US you create a world with interesting characters and then write stories within that, and hope you can keep it interesting enough over time to keep getting renewed. In the UK you have a story that you want to tell, and that's your series, and then it ends, unless it's super popular and then they'll shoehorn a weird second season in. (*ahem* Broadchurch) There are obvious exceptions - the US does some great "miniseries" (like Dopesick is amazing, 5 days at memorial is pretty good), and the UK has had some weirdly long running sitcoms (Only Fools and Horses 20 years, Last of the Summer Wine 35 years, Mrs Brown's Boys only 12 years but feels like a god-awful eternity) I'm in the UK so that's what I'm used to and I think I prefer it. I feel like the US system can lead to lack of coherent characters, or weird conflicts between people driven by the need to create conflict rather than any intrinsic character or plot driven thing. It can also lead to stuff being kept on because it had a great first season, and maybe they'll get back there, let's give them one more try. I do think some of the US services should focus a bit more on the miniseries as a format. This may help with diversity of writing, directing, acting - diversity of stories. One of the problems of the UK is that there's a lot of formulaic content where there are fairly minor cosmetic changes. Here's a cantankerous detective, and he's a recovering alcoholic. He solves murders in a beach town. Here's a cantankerous detective, and he's lost his family. He solves murders in the English countryside. Here's a cantankerous detective, and she likes opera. She solves murders in the northern city. (But you can't tell which northern city because all the accents are a bit wonky). Or, it's a detective show with a quirky angle. Here's a British detective, but oh no! They're stuck on a Carribean island. Here's a British detective, but he's a stage-magician's assistant. Here's a British detective, but he's an antique dealer. ((Wait. I know I've just typed all this out and said "this is what happens in the UK" but I'm a bit dopey, aren't I? *Exactly* the same happens in the US too. Here's a detective but he's got OCD; here's a detective but he's good with numbers, here's a detective who knows bones; here's a detective but he's in a wheelchair; here's a detective and he's bald; etc etc. I'll leave it in because for some reason I still think it's a problem with the UK system even though I've just realised that it's also a problem with the US too.))
Incidents caused by unappreciated OSS maintainers or underfunded OSS projects
our model of society is not compatible with open source there needs to be a massive shift and appreciate more the work of volunteers, contributors and benevolent until then, these problems will amplify and i'm not talking about github sponsors since it's opt in, and it's more of a popularity check than anything else i'm talking about that dude who will randomly appear to send a PR that fixes something important, the dude who decide overnight to open source his work but is agoraphobic, that other dude who help write documentation, that other dude who help triage issues, countless hidden people who never are rewarded
Too Like the Lightning: Book One of Terra Ignota - Ada Palmer
You have seen Lifedolls before, but have you touched them? Each bone, tendon, and muscle of a human body is reproduced precisely, so a hand squeezed folds just as a friend’s hand folds, and ingenious systems even keep it warm. Lifedolls are the pinnacle of man’s long quest to craft synthetic love. A child with a Lifedoll cries less when ba’pas head out for an evening; a twentysomething with a life-sized Sniper stashed at home rebounds faster when love turns sour. You may call it sick when grown men and women hold these dolls as dear as bash’mates, or, with the fully anatomical Sniper-XX and Sniper-XY models, lovers. And you may be right to call it sick, but should a sickness be cured if makes its sufferers happier than healthy men? When the Lifedoll labs first decided to mass-produce a version of the vice director’s two-year-old, they thought no more of it than that the child was exceptionally cute, good therapy for lonely kids and childless couples, especially because his hybrid face, mixing Asia, Europe, and South America, let small changes in costume make him seem like almost any couple’s child. When it proved their best seller ten times over, they marketed the child again at age four, again at six, at eight, and it took only one fan to recognize the original on the street to open the doors to young Sniper, instant celebrity.
Don't Be A Free User (Pinboard Blog)
I love free software and could not have built my site without it. But free web services are not like free software. If your free software project suddenly gets popular, you gain resources: testers, developers and people willing to pitch in. If your free website takes off, you lose resources. Your time is spent firefighting and your money all goes to the nice people at Linode.
Don't Be A Free User (Pinboard Blog)
I love free software and could not have built my site without it. But free web services are not like free software. If your free software project suddenly gets popular, you gain resources: testers, developers and people willing to pitch in. If your free website takes off, you lose resources. Your time is spent firefighting and your money all goes to the nice people at Linode.
Don't Be A Free User (Pinboard Blog)
If every additional user is putting money in the developers' pockets, then you're less likely to see the site disappear overnight. If every new user is costing the developers money, and the site is really taking off, then get ready to read about those synergies.
What “work” looks like
Look how many comments here are something like: "Well, of course leisure is good - because it helps me work harder!" It's sad. It's that "work-is-noble" ethos. These people are effectively saying that they are at-lesiure in order to work better - they have it backwards! I don't know about you, but I work in order to be-at-leisure; I am only ever not-at-leisure in order to be-at-leisure. Refreshing and recharging is good - because it's the end, not the means!. But so many here seem to be framing leisure as the means, the end being work itself. Work itself is not noble.
What “work” looks like
Software development is creative work. Creative insight can come anywhere, any time. Better ideas can make difficult things easy. And make the impossible– possible. So the most important thing on a software team (or really any team creating high technology products or services) is an environment where team members feel safe to be themselves– psychologically safe, where they can try out new things, make mistakes, fail, and not be punished or belittled. Say their ideas and have them improved by others, not criticized. It's an environment where team members take care of themselves so they can be creative– sleep enough, exercise enough, be with friends and family enough, play enough. You have to be at your keyboard or lab bench or whatever enough to make things. But if you are there too much your creativity plummets. This is what I try to get across to my teams.
The pleasure, the pain and the politics of a digital detox | Psyche Ideas
Moving towards 24/7 connectivity means more work is required to disconnect and find compensatory alternatives. Hence, the possibility of digital detoxing is unequal. While many cannot disconnect for work or social reasons, the affluent can send their kids to offline schools or seek refuge in offline cultural or natural experiences.
A global house-price slump is coming?
It's sickening that this is always marketed as bad news, even though we've been in a bubble for the past 20 years. The bad news is that we decided that owning a house is a retirement plan instead of giving people proper retirement plans. Somehow every non-homeowner has to be a policy slave to the passive income of some wealthy person. And we defend it by claiming that old people who are worth enough money not to work are not wealthy, as if we care about old people. We only care about old people as model "savers" who can be used to morally justify policies that directly and overwhelmingly benefit the very wealthy to the obscenely wealthy. And also, there's a problem with revolving credit (i.e. a 2-year mortgage), such as Australia or Britain, or anything that is floating along with some interest rate. But these are a) intentional problems that the people making the loans hope will make them rich, and b) problems with pricing, because people are expected to take decades longer to pay off a house than it would take for them to build it alone with their own hands in their spare time.
Too Like the Lightning: Book One of Terra Ignota - Ada Palmer
In 2266, when the work week finally shortened to twenty hours, and crowds deserted those few professions which required more, the first Anonymous, Aurel Gallet, rushed to defend ‘vocation’ with a tract which is still mandatory reading for three Hive-entry programs. Why is a calling passive, he asked? Why is one called helplessly to one’s vocation, when surely it is an active thing? I find my calling, take it, seize that delight, that path before me, make it mine. I call it like a summoned magic, it does not call me. His new word ‘vocateur’ (one who calls) was born to remind us that a person with a strong vocation is not a victim driven helplessly to toil, but a lucky soul whose work is also pleasure, and to whom thirty, forty, fifty hours are welcome ones.
People Staring at Computers
In 2011 I was still under the false belief that all varieties of law enforcement are designed to protect the public from harm. It was a sign of my privilege, and of my naive faith in the system. How many other people have pointed the Secret Service to incriminating evidence on their own laptop, and literally given them passwords in an effort to help? I thought we were all on the same side. In some ways this is a story about how I began to learn that law enforcement is there to protect some specific people (and companies), and not the general public as I imagined.
The millennials in sexless marriages - BBC Worklife
This article really resonates with me because most of my relationships have ended based on my “low libido.” One of my partners would even try to shame me by saying I have erectile dysfunction despite the fact that I was clearly attracted to them and would often try to express that in other ways besides simply having sex. I think the problem for me is more important than anything else in a relationship is a sense of emotional security and trust. It has to do with the emotional abuse and neglect I got in my childhood. And so for me what is much more important and attractive than sex is just being able to lay in the arms of someone and be able to tell them about the stresses of my day or my fears in life and know that they won’t run away or try to quickly change the subject. And so much of sex, in my personal experience, has been sort of the opposite of that. It’s almost something transactional, because in our increasingly busy lives there isn’t time for that boring emotional intimacy stuff, so when we have a few hours to spend together we better make sure we have sex because that’s the sign of a good relationship. Then after that we can just, like, watch TV or fall asleep or whatever. For me sex feels like something that should grow out of the intimacy and strength of other aspects of a relationship, and it’s just ridiculously hard to grow those other dimensions when both partners are working full time, and we’re trying to balance all of the other aspects of our lives. So sex sort of turns into this glue that is supposed to hold what little we have together, it’s supposed to be what separates “us” from just two buddies who go to movies together that happen to like each other. And I honestly can’t stand it. It feels so brittle and arbitrary as opposed to romantic and meaningful. So I’ve had to do a lot of self reflection and therapy over the years to try and break the image that I’m somehow “broken” or incompatible with so many of the people around me. It’s taken quite a lot of emotional energy to get back up again and again and try to meet new people despite so many of them just not getting my emotional needs and us being sort of emotionally incompatible (if not abusive) to the point where I know they’re talking about me and my lack of libido behind my back to their friends. But I always do feel a little relief when I see articles like these or Reddit posts where I see that I’m not the only one, and that it’s actually systemic more than a personal failing. It makes me feel less alone.
Your account is permanently suspended
It's only hard if your business model is "growth & engagement" and you need to maximize user and engagement numbers at all costs. If that's not your business model, abuse prevention is trivial. You can operate the network like a members' club where people gain privileges (such as posting links, media, etc - anything that can be used to spam or harm other users/the platform) over time as they prove themselves and acquire trust (Stack Overflow calls this number "reputation") and you can then use this trust number as a weight in automated decisions, so that high-trust users (who are unlikely to suddenly burn their hard-earned account) will not be impacted by an automated ban. Forums in the good old days were ran by volunteers were able to deal with spam/abuse just fine with a combination of bans and privilege levels (it will take time & effort to level up an account to where it's able to post links/etc and be useful for spamming), there's absolutely no reason current social media companies can't do the same, if it wasn't for the fact that their business model to a certain extent relies on moderation being both unfair to users and subpar at effectively suppressing bad content (hint: bad content is nice to have around as long as it's not too visible, as it generates tons of outrage and thus engagement - it's only a problem when powerful people get wind of it and then you delete it and issue a fake apology).
Your account is permanently suspended
It's only hard if your business model is "growth & engagement" and you need to maximize user and engagement numbers at all costs. If that's not your business model, abuse prevention is trivial. You can operate the network like a members' club where people gain privileges (such as posting links, media, etc - anything that can be used to spam or harm other users/the platform) over time as they prove themselves and acquire trust (Stack Overflow calls this number "reputation") and you can then use this trust number as a weight in automated decisions, so that high-trust users (who are unlikely to suddenly burn their hard-earned account) will not be impacted by an automated ban. Forums in the good old days were ran by volunteers were able to deal with spam/abuse just fine with a combination of bans and privilege levels (it will take time & effort to level up an account to where it's able to post links/etc and be useful for spamming), there's absolutely no reason current social media companies can't do the same, if it wasn't for the fact that their business model to a certain extent relies on moderation being both unfair to users and subpar at effectively suppressing bad content (hint: bad content is nice to have around as long as it's not too visible, as it generates tons of outrage and thus engagement - it's only a problem when powerful people get wind of it and then you delete it and issue a fake apology).
Why we're leaving the cloud
Of course it's expensive to rent your computers from someone else. But it's never presented in those terms. The cloud is sold as computing on demand, which sounds futuristic and cool, and very much not like something as mundane as "renting computers", even though that's mostly what it is. But this isn't just about cost. It's also about what kind of internet we want to operate in the future. It strikes me as downright tragic that this decentralized wonder of the world is now largely operating on computers owned by a handful of mega corporations. If one of the primary AWS regions go down, seemingly half the internet is offline along with it.
Remote work may have aided the reversal of America's long decline in birth rates
I can understand that it's probably easier to track the numbers of children born to 'women' instead of 'parents', but my observation has been that remote work has resulted in a sea change as to what it means to be a full time working parent. My boss works long hours and now has 2 kids under the age of 4. Pre-Covid he would have been out of the house from about 7-7 and only able to have moments of interaction at the edges of the day. Now, he works about the same hours, but when he takes a break, when he gets lunch or coffee, when his wife is busy, he can spend time with the kids. Play a little peek-a-boo, read some Dr Seuss, watch them grow. Our company is pushing back-to-work policies and he's pulling every string to get exceptions for our group. I think if push comes to shove then he's gone. My brood is older but boy I like being there to help with the math homework. Even 10 minute to go though the process of "Here's the strategy, here's an example, here's why it works this way" makes a huge difference. I let them work out the problem by themselves, and 10 minutes later they come back with "I got it!". My partner, the scientist, is in his element. If we're not careful the kids are going to be going back to class and correcting their teachers. It's redefined what it means to be a working parent. I hope it sticks. I'm old enough that I'm seeing the regrets from parents who quit their jobs to stay home and are in a unenviable situation post-divorce.
Ask HN: Why don't I see gold at the end of the remote working rainbow?
Hot take this is the right line of thought. Restructure society so we work less, not so that we can work more.
Ask HN: Why don't I see gold at the end of the remote working rainbow?
You're conflating not wanting to be in an office with being mediocre at their job, and that's simply not true. Some of the best developers I've met were remote long before COVID, and I'm certain it's because they were so good at what they did, they could just command such a work benefit. Now that such a benefit is widespread, the majority of people get to design their own lifestyle for the first time ever, and they really enjoy it, instead of designing their lives around the needs of their employer (or your needs). It's not just commuting, it's moving closer to the office; its time away from family; it's cost saving conveniences because they're short on time; it's expensive lunches when they forget their brown bag; and feeling obligated to hang out with people they really just have a business relationship with (and maybe one they don't want). And yes, a lot of people's mission in life is their family, but that doesn't make them 'less than' you. Remote workers aren't enough to outsource, outsourcing is not a new thing, it's been around for a very long time. There are a number of reasons why a company might not outsource such as tax incentives, cultural clashes, work style clashes, and logistical challenges. I would encourage you to do some introspection as to why you think you need the office in the first place. Why do you need the social aspect of it? is something missing from your outside-of-work social life? Design your life around your own needs. Co-working spaces are still a thing, and I even go to them sometimes.
Ask HN: Why don't I see gold at the end of the remote working rainbow?
What if I can't fit in a shoebox and can't afford anything larger? What if I have a dog and want them to have a yard that doesn't require me to leash them every time they want to go outside? I don't mind sharing a yard with neighbors, heck I would even share a kitchen space if I knew it would be maintained well and available when I need it. But none of that is even an option. I don't buy the idea that only hyper-dense cities can be walkable. The fact that NYC, Boston, Chicago, etc. are the closest thing we have to anti-car living speaks directly to OP's point about the US not prioritizing building comfortable communities.
Ask HN: Why don't I see gold at the end of the remote working rainbow?
Most of my distaste for WFO comes from two places: - the USA's failure to provide even a single city that's pleasant to live in and travel around without a car - tech company insistence on open office layouts that are not conducive to deep work The first one sounds like a commute problem... but it manifests in more ways than you think. When you have to travel around in a car, everything is expensive. Parking is a pain. There's a certain amount of effort required to hop in a car, leave the parking garage for work, find a parking space near a lunch spot, etc. It's a huge financial burden in maintenance and feeding with gasoline or electricity. The economics of cars also impact how much space cities can devote to housing, how dense we can make downtowns, etc -- which has knock-on effects on housing prices and rent. Open offices make me never want to come into the office because I can't concentrate. They're always the wrong temperature. I can't personalize my desk or my space into something that best suits me. I can't leave stuff out on my desk, or even in unlocked drawers overnight because apparently the janitor might steal Kafka secrets and sell them to competitors. I actually like the idea of walking or biking to an office (with an actual office for me) where I can collaborate with coworkers in person. But modern society and tech companies have externalized so many costs -- car ownership, commuting time, comfort, rent -- onto workers that I'd rather just work from home. The last city I lived in had massive car theft and crime problems at night; it's not like I'd "hang out" with my coworkers for dinner downtown even if we all showed up.
Ask HN: Why don't I see gold at the end of the remote working rainbow?
This is why it’s controversial. For someone working remotely, a meeting with someone remote or in an office is irrelevant. For someone working in an office, it makes their “in the office” experience irrelevant and meaningless. It is not controversial because of the people who like working remotely; it’s controversial because of the people who dont, because they force their choice on other people. You know how many people have to work remotely before it has to be a zoom meeting to be inclusive? 1. So, in order for you in office preference to be meaningful, it has to apply to everyone. No one likes having their choice overridden by someone else’s preference. Thus; controversial. When you say “I want that old school in office experience…” what it means is “I want you not to have that flexibility”, “what I want is more important than what you want”. That might not be the intent, but let’s be blunt and realistic: The blue sky dream of that in office experience doesn’t exist any more. It can only exist if everyone is in the office at the same time. Personally, I think the cat is out of the bag now. What are the chances that everyone will go back into the office full time? Not big. That means the blue sky dream of the in office experience is probably gone forever. It’s probably time to start trying to figure out an alternative set of practices and social outlets for people who like in office work.
Ask HN: Why don't I see gold at the end of the remote working rainbow?
With all due respect, this is mostly my problem with the "work-from-office" (WFO for ease) crowd. Generally, the stance of the WFH crowd is that each individual should get a choice of what makes that individual happy. Very few, if any, of the WFH crowd want mandatated WFH, it would make no sense. But then the WFO crowd often says no, I don't care what makes you happy, because you being in makes me happy. That doesn't seem right. Of course you could argue that if some people work from home, the WFO people arent happy, but thats not because they lacked choice, whereas with the alternative, thats exactly the reason. I don't want that to come across as aggressive or anything, that just the way I see it, and I think thats why its sometimes met badly. If what makes you happy is a condition in which someone else is unhappy, that person is unlikely to react well.
darryl li (@dcli)
saw ted chiang give a talk yesterday where he basically told a bunch of ai bros, "we are nowhere near having real ai, and what we call ai today is just a tool of capitalism. i don't fear ai, i fear capitalism" and the ai bros got their feelings hurt. it was great.
Mental Illness Is Not in Your Head - Boston Review
Harrington and Scull surely did not intend for their books to be read this way, but we might understand them as a call to defund biological psychiatry in the United States—to refuse yet another promise of a “revolution” or “renaissance” that would save an academic project that has done little to help and lots to harm. We do not need to be neuroscientists to know that psychological and emotional suffering is “real” or “legitimate,” and that a pill, however effective, cannot abolish the carceral and capitalist system that is the source of so much trauma.
Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel (The Murderbot Diaries Book 5) - Martha Wells
(I know, it’s a logo, but I hate it when humans and augmented humans ruin things for no reason. Maybe because I was a thing before I was a person and if I’m not careful I could be a thing again.)
Take a Break You Idiot
It's funny isn't it. Recently in a job with "unlimited" vacation, because of a dubious message from one of my two bosses who was a bit of a dick, I was too scared to take a real vacation. Until Christmas. Then I decided I was going to take some. It had been a rough year, isolating from Covid, not enough money, and living in shitty circumstances. It was the first PTO I'd had in over a decade, as working as a freelancer/consultant often means no PTO, so I decided to savor it, come what may. I took just under 3 weeks, like almost everyone else: there was a shared vacation calendar where I could see everyone else's Christmas break. My reward when I got back? Low performance metrics "in December" were cited when laying me off. It wasn't just about December, but December was the month they decided to measure and "give me a chance". They didn't take into account the break, and the only way their "assessment" could be satisfied would have been to work through Christmas. I then worked my ass off to ship a technically difficult, world-record-beating feature during my notice month, which they told me if I delivered it would surely be impressive, and turn it around. I did ship it, but not until the very end of the notice period, which was too late. If they had cared, they would have seen it was on track. If they had kept me on, let me relax, and worked with me rather than their choice of how to assess work, they would now have a world-beating product. It's their choice of course, and I now don't think they were serious about trying to build a real product. I think it's a bit of a smoke-and-mirrors scheme to keep grant money flowing in. After all, in about 4 years nobody has ever run the product on the real data it is designed for, except me, and I had to pay for servers from my own pocket to run those tests. Even now, I believe I'm the only person ever to run it, or even be able to run it. It's been interesting to watch how the product has stayed in the doldrums since I left, and how the folks working on it are now starting to implement things for which I have had working, high-performance functionality for months in my private fork since leaving. (It's open source.) It will be particularly interesting to see if their version is ever able to run on the real world data it was created for, or if their perpetual optimism will be forever misplaced. Ironically, I'd say the company had the nicest, most helpful HR, legal and accounting teams I've ever seen at any company. There was a lot to like, and I'm sad to have had to leave. But I don't miss feeling constantly afraid there. And, as a person who really enjoys creating things, I don't miss watching another team member shipping garbage commits that usually didn't work, and doing fine, while I was the only person on the project providing real functionality but not scoring well on the right metrics, because I spent too much time solving the product's blocker problems. To score well I'd have to ship garbage too. Oh well.
Take a Break You Idiot
There was a time a dozen years ago when I was working alone on my (over-elaborate, uncontrollably sprawling) graphics software product. One time I wrote a multi-thousand-line refactoring of existing code into a new class and felt very happy about getting it done. The next day I discovered that I had already done the exact same work the previous week, just as a slightly differently named class. That wasn’t an isolated memory loss experience in those days. I ordered lunch, sat down, then five minutes later just stood up and left, assuming I’d already eaten. An hour later I realized what happened. Long-term productivity is impossible without proper rest, including regular vacations where you’re truly out of work mode preferably for a week at the minimum.
Take a Break You Idiot
There was a time a dozen years ago when I was working alone on my (over-elaborate, uncontrollably sprawling) graphics software product. One time I wrote a multi-thousand-line refactoring of existing code into a new class and felt very happy about getting it done. The next day I discovered that I had already done the exact same work the previous week, just as a slightly differently named class. That wasn’t an isolated memory loss experience in those days. I ordered lunch, sat down, then five minutes later just stood up and left, assuming I’d already eaten. An hour later I realized what happened. Long-term productivity is impossible without proper rest, including regular vacations where you’re truly out of work mode preferably for a week at the minimum.
Take a Break You Idiot
After long bouts of work—months and months uninterrupted—I become a slug person; small hurdles spike my anxiety, my anger flares at the slightest confrontation, I notice fewer jokes, fewer attempts on my part to make people laugh. My memory goes to all hell too and I can’t seem to concentrate on prolonged amounts of anything. Books fall off my radar, I stop listening to music. My phone is in my hand at all times, scrolly-anxiety-inducing apps become impossible to avoid.
Apple AirPods Pro Are As Unrepairable As Ever
I still struggle to understand the appeal of wireless earbuds, Airpods or otherwise. Under my value system, the costs are significant while the benefit is small: * you have yet another battery to keep charge * you have another object to lose * you have yet another flaky wireless connection to contend with * you must pay a good fraction of $1000 for the mediocre audio quality supported by said wireless connection * you have to live with the knowledge that after two years you will have introduced yet another sliver of unrecoverable minerals to a landfill somewhere While the last consideration alone is, for me, enough to summarily rule out wireless earbuds from my purchasing options, apparently there is no shortage of people who feel that the benefit had in being rid of a cable outweighs all of these costs. Given that any decent set of wired earbuds will have a relatively tangle-free cable and carrying case, I can’t help but wonder whether I am failing to see some key benefit beyond not having to occasionally manage a cable.
Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder - Nassim Taleb
Authors, artists, and even philosophers are much better off having a very small number of fanatics behind them than a large number of people who appreciate their work. The number of persons who dislike the work don’t count—there is no such thing as the opposite of buying your book, or the equivalent of losing points in a soccer game, and this absence of negative domain for book sales provides the author with a measure of optionality.
André Staltz - Software below the poverty line
Marx wrote a famous piece called "Fragment on Machines". It actually predates Capital volume 1. He talks about the mix of knowledge and labour to produce machines that are capable of transforming nature (doing labour). From here, Marx explores a world where labour can be produced entirely (or almost entirely) by machines, for him machines are capable of undoing capitalism. The so called post-scarcity society. I think the key part here is that software is actually capable of replacing large portions of labour; think about how much book keeping work is saved through Excel. But what happens when capital owners own all the machines, what happens to people? This is a fundamental problem that Marx explores through out his whole work. I think OSS is actually what machines should look like for Marx, available for everyone at the cost of production and upkeep of the machines which in our case is the cost of copying and storage of the bits that compose the software. But Marx through out his work also explores deeply the relationship between labour and capital, and obviously producing machines requires labour! I know you're probably joking, but I we can learn a lot about OSS from Marx. I mean, a big part of Stallman's philosophy behind the free software movement is inspired by marxist ideas.
André Staltz - Software below the poverty line
This is why I think that open source / free software is the greatest trick that late stage capitalism ever pulled. It exploits the generosity and naivity of devs who have committed to a particular ideology that, while well motivated at the start, has nevertheless turned out to be extremely easily exploited by corporations who now essentially get an enormous amount of labour for free. What's more there is intense social pressure from large segments of the dev community to both contribute to open source and to publicly endorse and promote "open source values". Even the author refuses to acknowledge that the problem with open source is open source licensing. Dropping the non discrimination clause in open source licenses and demanding payment for labour from large companies, would be enough to solve all these issues. But that is anathema to the ideologues who dominate the conversation.
André Staltz - Software below the poverty line
This is why I think that open source / free software is the greatest trick that late stage capitalism ever pulled. It exploits the generosity and naivity of devs who have committed to a particular ideology that, while well motivated at the start, has nevertheless turned out to be extremely easily exploited by corporations who now essentially get an enormous amount of labour for free. What's more there is intense social pressure from large segments of the dev community to both contribute to open source and to publicly endorse and promote "open source values". Even the author refuses to acknowledge that the problem with open source is open source licensing. Dropping the non discrimination clause in open source licenses and demanding payment for labour from large companies, would be enough to solve all these issues. But that is anathema to the ideologues who dominate the conversation.
André Staltz - Software below the poverty line
There are two alternatives possible. One is that we collectively decide to stop shaming software developers for having the audacity to want some level of ownership over the product of their work. We don't shame authors for wanting copyright on their books; we don't shame musicians, artists, designers, or aerospace engineers for asking for some copyright protection for their creative babies. Yet when a software developer does it: fuck that guy! He's trying to take control of what's running on your computer (or the internet server that you're sending requests to ...). Nobody throws a hissy fit when J.K. Rowling has (gasp!) copyright over the Harry Potter books that are sitting on your Kindle. It's your Kindle! Shouldn't you have the right to copy off the words in the books and re-sell it to other people for much less money, undercutting Rowling? How dare she try to get some legal protection that says you can't do that! It's fucking ridiculous when we talk about authors that way, but somehow it's OK to talk about software developers that way. Do you think "open source authors" would make a living from their books? It's already difficult enough for new authors to get any notice; how much worse would it be if prominent authors (who were already rich) came out and founded the "Free Books Foundation" that comes out and says every young author who's trying to sell her books for money is being a greedy asshole and we should fight against them and every author needs to spend a significant portion of their free time contributing to "open books" or they're assholes? Of-fucking-course it's not sustainable. That's because it's always been OK to want copyright on your creative work. I'll be the first to say patents are a huge problem right now and we might be better off without any patent law, but copyright is not the same. Yes, the terms are way too long, and the family of Marvin Gaye proves that "copyright trolls" are possible, but the fundamental concept of copyright is actually critical if we want creative people to ever get a paycheck. The other alternative is Universal Basic Income, so that making "below the minimum wage" doesn't mean "fuck you, you get to die sick and homeless in a tent on the side of the highway". Then people could actually just contribute to OSS because they want to.
André Staltz - Software below the poverty line
The struggle of open source sustainability is the millennium-old struggle of humanity to free itself from slavery, colonization, and exploitation. This is not the first time hard-working honest people are giving their all, for unfair compensation. This is therefore not a new problem, and it does not require complicated new solutions. It is simply a version of injustice. To fix it is not a matter of receiving compassion and moral behavior from companies, for companies are fundamentally built to do something else than that. Companies simply follow some basic financial rules of society while trying to optimize for profit and/or domination. Open source infrastructure is a commons, much like our ecological systems. Because our societies did not have rules to prevent the ecological systems from being exploited, companies have engaged in industrialized resource extraction. Over many decades this is depleting the environment, and now we are facing a climate crisis, proven through scientific consensus to be a substantial threat to humanity and all life on the planet. Open source misappropriation is simply a small version of that, with less dramatic consequences.
Apple's director of machine learning resigns due to return to office work
Warning: Hot Take. I genuinely believe many people who prefer working in an office versus at home have unfulfilling social lives or bad home lives. The social dynamics, competition, in physical offices fills the void in their lives. Also seems like most of the people clamoring for a return to the office are also climbers & middle managers. For some work a physical presence is required not just preferable, but for most of a software engineer's day to day there really is no unquestionable upside. I'll quit before I go back full time. I've never been happier or more fulfilled with my work/life balance, and I've never been more productive with my time. I'll even take a different remote position at a 20% pay cut and a reduction in equity, at least, to retain WFH. Most I'm willing to give is a day a week in office, and maybe temporarily longer in rare circumstances where the benefit in performance is clear.
Gen Z does not dream of labor
> “My dad got a job straight out of high school, saved up, and bought a house in his 20s,” said Anne Dakota, a 21-year-old receptionist from Asheville, North Carolina, who earns minimum wage. “I don’t even think that’s possible for me, at least with the current money I make.” I think this is pretty much the whole story. It’s very hard to be motivated to work when you could save your entire adult life and still struggle be able to afford such “entry level” things as a house or even a new car. People are willing to save and/or hustle for 5-10 years to get material rewards, but beyond that it feels pointless. Why be miserable grinding for two decades just so you can get one hand on the ladder? Instead people look for ways to have a life they find interesting or satisfying now.
Neubrutalism is taking over the web?
> "People simply get bored with how their apps and websites look after six to seven years. They need a change" Real world objects rarely change design because of the costs involved. When they do, the change needs to justify that cost. For example, I'm not going to change the buttons on my microwave because I'm "bored" with them. The costs of changing software design is far less impractical and expensive, and therefore isn't driven by the same high level of justification. I strongly suspect then, there are two reasons for these design changes we see every couple of years in software: The first is easy, and most of us probably already agree; designers gotta design. They have to justify their salary _somehow_. The second is more philosophical. The west — and especially the U.S.A. — looks to alleviate existential crisis with distractions. Shiny new toys keeps us from having to face uncomfortable truths about the nature of reality (if you're not religious).
Neubrutalism is taking over the web?
> "People simply get bored with how their apps and websites look after six to seven years. They need a change" Real world objects rarely change design because of the costs involved. When they do, the change needs to justify that cost. For example, I'm not going to change the buttons on my microwave because I'm "bored" with them. The costs of changing software design is far less impractical and expensive, and therefore isn't driven by the same high level of justification. I strongly suspect then, there are two reasons for these design changes we see every couple of years in software: The first is easy, and most of us probably already agree; designers gotta design. They have to justify their salary _somehow_. The second is more philosophical. The west — and especially the U.S.A. — looks to alleviate existential crisis with distractions. Shiny new toys keeps us from having to face uncomfortable truths about the nature of reality (if you're not religious).
Hydration is pure overhead
if none of this makes sense to you - don’t try to make sense of it or you’ll be disappointed do you need 2000+ of dependencies to essentially show a HTML page in a web browser? why should you have to wait 5 minutes to generate a static website? Netlify and Vercel are well aware of these inefficiencies and offer you a “cloud” solution that promises to solve the problems you shouldn’t even have had in the first place if you think you need things like Gatsby or Next.js you’ve been brainwashed by capitalists
Windows 95 – How Does It Look Today?
I lol'd at your comment. Poor UX designers. In an age of gentleness, I wish I could barge into their houses and rearrange all their furniture, toss the contents of their refrigerators into the bathtub, and spraypaint their bedrooms a cheap pink color. Because that's what they do to my computer interfaces at random intervals, and I have no power over it anymore.
Windows 95 – How Does It Look Today?
I lol'd at your comment. Poor UX designers. In an age of gentleness, I wish I could barge into their houses and rearrange all their furniture, toss the contents of their refrigerators into the bathtub, and spraypaint their bedrooms a cheap pink color. Because that's what they do to my computer interfaces at random intervals, and I have no power over it anymore.
Is my advice too mercenary?
There was a time in America a generation or two ago when you could give your all to a company. Here in Michigan there were a number of small towns where a single employer would dominate. If the town needed something, like a baseball park the owner would simply write a check. If a loyal employee had a health crisis that insurance didn't cover the company owner would write a check. When there were tough economic times the employees would rally to help the company knowing in better times it would have their back. Then one of two things happened, the owner died with no capable heirs and the company was sold. Or after NAFTA the company wasn't competitive with low priced foreign labor and folded. If the company was sold a couple of MBA's came in to run the store and ruthlessly ran it exporting all the profits. Eventually the jobs would go overseas or to another part of America with lower wages like the South. Either way the people eventually lost their jobs and entire towns would collapse. I have seen it here in Michigan happen over the past forty years again and again.
How Ebooks Have Poisoned Electronic Ink
I sometimes wonder whether the invention of the public lending library could happen today. Had the concept not been given a prior place in our minds, the very idea seems otherwise inconceivable in contemporary society dominated by corporations. The lack of consumer-oriented legislation is the proximal cause for devices phoning home, spying on you, locking you out of the goods you've purchased (that is, dictating how you can and cannot use the good) and which resist the user's need to repair or extend. The author's solution is to apply duct tape and glue to arrive at "ethical reading" (really, it sounds more like ethical vending). However, I think it is a problem which consumers can't buy themselves out of; pro-consumer legislation is required. Being choosy about where you buy your ebooks is fine, but we didn't get better automotive safety standards by just being choosy about the kind of cars we buy in the first place. It was a political -- not a consumer -- process that brought about change.
Be anonymous
It's good advice. The problem with anonymity in an environment of ubiquitous surveillance is that it's paradoxical. The point of anonymity is achieving freedom, but staying anonymous expends energy and makes you a target, so you can't actually do any things that anonymity was supposed to get you. If what you really want is sovereignty, which is what most people confuse anonymity with, the goal is to be like what Ernst Jünger called the anarch (in contrast to the anarchist), which is someone who complies and renders herself indifferent to authority, rather than standing out and drawing attention. A much better practice is to be as open as possible about the boring stuff, so you're not constrained and can do what everyone else does. Trying to be absolutist about anonymity is automatically like wearing a straitjacket.
I automated my job over a year ago and haven't told anyone
This story is a pretty accurate fable for the pointlessness of the modern economy and its inability to provide real value to anyone. Man spends all day playing video games, because he automated his largely superfluous job at a law firm which itself likely only exists to deal with bureaucratic or unnecessary cases (assuming this is true, as they have a single absent IT person who handles their entire infrastructure.) On top of all that, this story itself is probably made up, created to get attention from other people in pointless jobs. It’s a meta-exercise in pointlessness.
Tech workers warned they were going to quit. Now, the problem is spiralling out of control. Tech workers complain of toxic work environments, unrealistic demands from employers, and a lack of career progression. Research suggests that they may have reached their limit.
It’s not just a lack of career progression for the technically inclined. It’s also the fact that extroverted project managers with no technical skills tend to shoot up into higher ranks despite holding a fraction of the experience of the technical staff. We’re literally being led by loud-mouthed idiots whose defining traits are that they don’t think deeply, they talk over people, and they thrive off meetings. If I have one more manager state, “I don’t understand technology, hahaha,” I’m going to scream. We’re a technology company. You work managing developers. You should understand technology! No manager working with developers in a tech company should feel comfortable admitting they don’t understand technology, let alone mention it to the whole team repeatedly. In fact, they shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. They damn sure shouldn’t be promoted!
I write code 100 hours/week, here's why I probably won't stop
I’m no longer able to live like this for the usual reasons (family, kids) but agree with everything here. I’m more likely to burn out from other responsibilities than I ever could from coding. Coding *is* my main relaxing activity, my main hobby, the thing I spend most unallocated time doing. Coding for “work” did break this in me for awhile. Just like reading for school can kill a love of books for awhile. But with some space from toxic environments like school and soul-sucking jobs they have both come back and now I read books and write code for myself again.
Facebook going down meant more than just a social network being unavailable
Was talking about this with a friend today, and I think this incident highlights why I sometimes get really depressed about my career and technology. I'm a Gen X-er, and I started my career in the late 90s. Before that I was a ham radio operator in junior high and HS (back when they had Morse code tests!). I remember the heady euphoria around the Internet then, and the vision of "tech utopia" was certainly the dominant one: the Internet would bring a "democratization of information" where anyone with a computer could connect to the Internet, publish a website, and communicate with people across the world. Really cool new services came online frequently. I still remember the first time I used Google, and at the time I was blown away by how good it was ("like magic!" I said) because the results were so much better than other search engines of the time. But these days, the older I get the more and more I feel like tech is having a negative impact on both society at large and me personally. In the 90s we all thought the Internet would lead to a decentralization of power, but literally the exact opposite happened. Sure, telcos sucked, but there were tons of them spread across all corners of the globe. Now there is 1 single megacorp that a sizable portion of humanity depends on for phone/text communication. It just makes me sad. Sure, there are pluses to tech I'm ignoring here, but I just think that how reality turned out so 180 from the expectations of the late 90s is what really hurts.
Facebook going down meant more than just a social network being unavailable
Was talking about this with a friend today, and I think this incident highlights why I sometimes get really depressed about my career and technology. I'm a Gen X-er, and I started my career in the late 90s. Before that I was a ham radio operator in junior high and HS (back when they had Morse code tests!). I remember the heady euphoria around the Internet then, and the vision of "tech utopia" was certainly the dominant one: the Internet would bring a "democratization of information" where anyone with a computer could connect to the Internet, publish a website, and communicate with people across the world. Really cool new services came online frequently. I still remember the first time I used Google, and at the time I was blown away by how good it was ("like magic!" I said) because the results were so much better than other search engines of the time. But these days, the older I get the more and more I feel like tech is having a negative impact on both society at large and me personally. In the 90s we all thought the Internet would lead to a decentralization of power, but literally the exact opposite happened. Sure, telcos sucked, but there were tons of them spread across all corners of the globe. Now there is 1 single megacorp that a sizable portion of humanity depends on for phone/text communication. It just makes me sad. Sure, there are pluses to tech I'm ignoring here, but I just think that how reality turned out so 180 from the expectations of the late 90s is what really hurts.
A monk’s guide to office life
I think the biggest problem in modern society is car dependent infrastructure. Cars are the ultimate form of isolation. They isolate us from the intermediate spaces where we interact with other people. Parks, paths, stations, cafes, downtowns, and all the other free public spaces we used to use to meet with other people have been devastated by cars. I can go a week in my suburban home without ever interacting with anyone. Take away the office and the supermarket and you can go for years without talking to anyone. Then I get on my bike, or walk somewhere and suddenly I meet more people in 30 minutes than I did in 3 months.
I just don’t want to be busy anymore
One thing that helped me is not to care so much about my employer's goals. It's almost heretical. But once you embrace this mindset, it does wonders. Or at least, it has for me so far. I think a lot of us want to be proud of the work we do, and we feel that if we slack off, then we shouldn't be proud. But it's the other way around. I think the slackers have it right. You're probably not going to get rich from working a day job. You're replaceable, and if you left your job tomorrow then you'll soon be forgotten. This is true for the majority of software engineers. In that context, why do so many of us take on so many unnecessary responsibilities? It's tempting to say "Well, my employer assigned them." But how often do you tell them no, or try to present a different approach that just so happens not to involve you? I know someone who is a chronic yes person. They will almost never say no, and they're pretty stressed day to day because of it. Whenever I point out that they're taking on too much, they say that they disagree and that it's their career. That's true, but they won't get rich from that career, so I don't understand why they care so much about it. Just remember to say 'no' for yourself from time to time. You often don't need to take on as many responsibilities as you have.
If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs (2020)
As a minor counterpoint: I've come to dread blogs and newsletters because so many of them are written by grind culture freaks who only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to. These days the only blogs I trust are the ones I see on the top of HN or lobsters, which is unfortunate because I have interests beyond tech and I find it very, very difficult to find good blogs I can read about those interests. I think that shows there is a problem with blogging that goes beyond just the medium. Consider that blogging is a decentralised ecosystem, so you have no central place for discovery outside of Google specifically and search generally. Being on the top of Google is an attractive proposition because it means many eyeballs and lots of ad revenue. Therefore it is natural that many new blogs exist to game the search engine, hence the term "blogspam". Some of the same incentives exist with large social media sites as well, but on Twitter and the like if you mute/block enough big people and follow only those you care about, your feed will eventually become clean enough to look at every day. So I think it is much more important to solve the discovery problem with blogs if you want them to get more traction.
Was Germany’s 19th century industrial expansion due to an absence of copyright?
I think the notion of proliferation of broadly available technical knowledge is correct, but I'm not entirely convinced whether literature in particular was so relevant. In How Asia Works, a great book on industrial expansion in Asia, Studwell notes that when Taiwan was moderately prosperous and dominated by industry half of the workforce could not even read. What really benefited East-Asia was a grey-collar culture, a national, egalitarian educational system and corporatism rather than a white-collar, classist and academic culture more common in say, England. This is something you also find in Germany. The education system was designed to be broad. Schools were universal and focused on practical knowledge, with few ivory towers. Knowledge was historically and is still spread around between institutes (Frauenhofer say), firms, and industry-friendly universities, dispersed and practical rather than concentrated, theoretic and elitist. This Prussian style system which is really where most German institutions come from also was quite literally copied by a lot of now industrial powerhouses in Asia.
ByteDance in talks with banks to borrow over $3B
I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives.
Does someone else feels "wasting life time" at work?
Definitely. Almost all the work we do is completely meaningless business optimization and will be forgotten in a few years. I've come to terms with that. I don't try to look for meaning in capitalism. You need a good job to live comfortably in society so I put up with it and put in a decent amount of effort. If I had the choice I would not work another day in my life. I'd still code some projects for fun like I did as a kid. The ways I've seen people try to solve it are: FIRE, philosophy (engineers seem to love zen buddhist, stoic, existentialist ideas), drugs, workaholism. In about that order of efficiency. I'd love to have a 4 day work week. Sounds like a great improvement. Maybe something worth pursuing.
58% of Hacker News, Reddit and tech-savvy audiences block Google Analytics
There is a German movie about the system that is used to gather TV ratings. It's a special box that some users get which reports what they are watching. Small sample size goes into a big statistic (not sure how accurate the portrayal of the system in the movie is). These boxes are given to the people who pay the German public TV fee, which excludes i.e. students (they don't have to pay) and some other groups. This group of critical people figured that out and started to hack into these machines to fake ratings. They faked the ratings away from stupid trash TV towards some higher quality stuff, documentaries, culture, ... Obviously in the movie then the country saw a renaissance, everyone got smarter, yadda yadda, you get it. I feel like this is similar. All tech savvy people block ads and analytics and at least the known tricks they use against us. So the internet only tracks the defenseless people and is then built to serve them (and or exploit them). Maybe we should engage in large scale AdWords fraud. Send come fake traffic away from Facebook and over to Wikipedia.
Burning Out and Quitting
This is a powerful piece that resonates with my own experience. I went through a period of severe burnout that took me a couple years to recover from. One of my later insights was that burnout doesn't merely entail working too much (although that's certainly part of it); burnout often involves pouring too much of your heart and soul into something that does not love you back. I describe burnout now as a kind of "unrequited love." So many of us go above and beyond for our companies/projects/teams/whatever. The author here describes overcommitting at work. We might have the best of intentions, but at some point, we don't see the returns we yearned for and start to question what all this self-sacrificial giving is for. That is when burnout really sets in. I've had friends burn out while working for hostile or indifferent managers, startups that are trending the wrong direction, companies that engage in illegal or unethical behavior, etc. A second insight was that burnout can play a positive role in our lives. It's like a circuit breaker that trips to protect us from a damaging situation. When we feel burnout coming on, it's a warning to pay attention to an important misalignment in our lives.
The case for mutual educational disarmament
This is basically right. Quite a lot of education is a waste, it's window-dressing actual learning. For instance, you might have spent some time getting exam prep advice: read the instructions, skip questions that are hard and come back later, try to memorize this or that formula / molecule / map / argument, if it's multiple choice strike out obviously wrong answers, look for hints to part 2 in part 1, if you can't figure out the integral guess that it's 0 or 1 (LOL a lot of high school integrals are elegant). You have to spend real time learning this kind of sharpening exercise in order to do exams, or you will get less than what you should get, given what you actually understand about a subject. There's no value to this time. You'll never need to remember how to reverse a linked list, because in real life when it comes up, you will just find it in a browser. Similarly with most things that require a precise answer, the effort in sharpening the answer is way more than what might reasonably be worthwhile in a real-life setting. Eg. I needed a Bessel function at one point in my career. Could I write down its form from having seen it at uni? No, of course not. Did I spend time doing just that at uni? Yes. The real damage is we end up not educating people. We give them a bunch of answers to memorize and never test them on how the question is important. Did anyone ever examine you on why complex numbers are a big deal? Or what the big gap between classical and quantum physics was? I bet you only had exam questions about how to do the calculations and derivations. Get a number or a formula, that's easy to test. Whether this formula makes sense to use, that's hard. The part about education being positional is also important. There's quite a lot of jobs that could be done by someone with no degree at all, including mine. My first boss in the City still has no degree, and didn't need it despite options trading having a reputation for being mathematical. All that's happened is nobody wants to not go to uni, and nobody wants to hire a non-degree holder to trade options anymore, because both groups think that going to uni signals that you're smart. Neither group actually thinks you need any of the actual skills you learn in uni, though.
Thoughts of work invaded my life until I learned how to unplug
I struggle with this daily. As the founder of a startup, I would routinely pull 100 hour weeks. I remember being invited to a Halloween party and just showed up as "exhausted software person" because I had no time to prepare a costume. I took a break for 8 years from startups, because I was unable to create boundaries in my mind. This April, after what I thought was a long enough break, I just joined another one. I'm writing this right now because I woke up early in a panic attack about an announcement from one of our competitors. We have a big launch coming up this week, and I'm afraid that we're already too late. I feel my stomach clench and my mind race when I think about the next steps for the company. The problem is that I'm only 4 months into the startup and I've already alienated my partner enough that I have to move out. My whole life has become devoured by this puzzle, and I'm always checking Twitter and Discord to see what I can work on next. I can't slow my heart-rate down and just work at this job normally. If any of you have a good way of "turning off" in order to keep your family stable and mental health okay, please let me know. And I'm not looking for a run of the mill response -- I really would like some advice from people who have really dealt with this before. It's easy to give advice if you have good boundaries, but I would like some help from those who have really struggled. I love my work, but I don't like how it makes me feel. Thanks for your help, everyone.
Australia is becoming a surveillance state
Since leaving Australia (and started living in Europe) I have come to the conclusion that Australia is not a "real" country - it is just a continent owned by corporate interests that happens to also have people living on it. Corporate interests own the media, politicians, food production, education etc. and no one cares, because Life Is Good. Why expect anything to change, or people to care about strong democratic institutions, when there is no incentive for them to care about abstract concepts such as privacy or governmental oversight. Decades of bull markets, house price increases, a decline in public education, torpedoed communication infrastructure and complicit "independent" media has resulted in a wealthy, ignorant and complacent society who allow their representatives full control over their lives. It is not that they don't care about these issues, they are not even aware they are issues at all. But who cares, when you can go to the beach?
Building a vision of life without work (2015)
I was 2nd employee at a unicorn startup and have been on a work-hiatus for almost a year. Now, I live amongst Amish people in the country. My biggest insight has been a mindset change. Previously my underlying approach to life looked like: "I will do X which will enable me to do Y so that I can finally do Z." I now approach my days with "What will make me happy?" This is an experiment I'm performing. A structured life feels safe and orderly - but what if living life and letting things unfold more 'organically' is better? It is a weird/uncomfortable shift because I can't predict what is coming. As an example, turns out I really enjoy building dams. A couple months ago I would not have been able to tell you that I'd be building a dam. I have no idea what it is that drives my own interests or affinities, but now instead of attempting to manipulate them for whatever X, Y, or Z goal... I just roll with wherever they take me. And they always seem ready to take me somewhere. My point is: In a life without work (in my experience) stuff will come up. Follow what arises, see where it goes. It certainly feels better.
Some Days I Can’t Do Life – When everyday life becomes a struggle (2020)
I have caught myself riding the snooze - alarm clock pattern. Its my favourite part of the day, the 'waking up in warm bed' time. When I am just barely conscious and its feels good to be in warm bed - it feel blissful. When I wake up in the morning I will hit 10min snooze, just enough to fall asleep and wake up. Just to get more of that feeling - because I know thats the only time I will get it. I am doing it for an hour on weekdays and often for hours on the weekends. I just can't force myself out of bed, out of that state where it doesn't feel bad. I talked to people who are going through the same. Some skip work to stay in bed because they cant do it anymore. I did it few times too, and I am terrified I might slip into that state of apathy. That fear is the only thing that keeps me going, I can only hope this fear will stay. I dont have any wisdom or advice for anyone going through this, I just wanted to vent my thoughts and say that you are not alone in this, stay strong.
On working too hard: finding balance, and lessons learned from others
A friend of mine who fell for the "work hard forever" idea just wrote a lengthy post venting about what this did to her: when you spend all your free time working/studying, and constantly turn down invitations to go do stuff with friends, people stop inviting you to things. And you drift out of friend groups because of this. Your social skills atrophy, you have no idea how to try and make new friends on the rare occasions you pry yourself away from work. Work becomes your life. And even if your work is something you love to do, that never involves a toxic workplace or moral qualms or any other problems, there's still emotional needs work will never, ever fulfill.
Japan government backs 4-day workweek
It's an open secret at least in the tech world that absolutely no one is putting in a productive 40 hours of work a week. This was true well before the pandemic and is more pronounced than ever now. Everyone needs to be "present" for 8 hours a day 5 days a week, but spends their time in pointless meetings, preparing documents and powerpoints that no one will read, faux social/teambuilding events, hour long lunches, goofing off on the internet, all to maintain the pretense of office culture. Companies that shuffle things up to prioritize productivity over simply showing up will be set to succeed over the next generation.
Ask HN: What huge mistake did you make early in your career?
My biggest mistake, that I made again and again, was not leaving a job when it was time. I thought I had something to prove, but there was never any point to it. You don't owe anything to an employer. You can't prove anything to an employer. They have absolutely no loyalty to you, and care less than nothing about what is right or wrong, wise or foolish. So: If you ever think things might not turn out as well as you hoped, move on. There is so much else going on in the world that is at least as interesting as what you are doing, where you have a much better chance of making a difference, that spending time on things that you might not end up proud of is a terrible waste of your short time on Earth.
Employees Are Quitting Instead of Giving Up Working from Home
They want to build that familial model where you live and die for your teammates and wfh hampers that because you aren't forced to trauma bond with a bunch of strangers. Facebook/Google learned early on that building campuses that look and act like colleges increased worker retention and productivity because they built their whole lives around the company. Shopping, Doctors, Recreation all happened on campus. All your new friends were made on campus after they forced relocation.
Bernie Madoff has died
Here's the one lesson I really want us to all learn from this: the only thing the rich fear is prison because prison robs them of time. Fines are just the cost of doing business. There are many other scandals: the whole subprime disaster, pollution from plants and the like where no one went to prison and people really should've.
“It's Not Cancel Culture – It's a Platform Failure.”
Twitter rewards being a dickhead. It was fun when everyone was allowed to be a dickhead, but now there's a protected class that cannot be criticised and freely sends death threats and the like to whatever bad guy they think they have that day. This wouldn't be so bad, but there's now a bunch of normies who weren't raised on the mantra of keeping internet shit on the internet
The Miseducation of Americas Elites
My belief on the topic of increasingly extreme left social ideology in unexpected places (and hopefully this doesn't get me blacklisted or something, posting under my real name) is that the institutions of power in the US see Progressivism as an actual threat. They are giving ground in some spaces and even getting ahead of the curve in others as an act of self-preservation. A giant corporation is happy to add one non-man and one BIPOC (ideally as a two-for-one) if that allows the power of the rest of the board to be preserved. They'll put all their employees through sensitivity training, celebrate every holiday and tweet anything you want if it has even a chance of keeping the minimum wage from getting increased. Prep schools for the elite will teach radical ideology if it keeps a target off their backs during education reform. For people trying to move America towards a more liberal and just society: these institutions are not your allies. Do not be fooled by their language, their tokenism, the sincere people they hire as mascots. They're taking half your message and saying it back to you twice as loud to drown you out.
The Space of Developer Productivity
The problem starts with name. Developers are creating not producing. They don't make the same widget every day. When you are measuring productivity instead of creativity, you hinder creativity and therefore output.
Do less and do it better
As an individual, I sometimes feel as though I’m trying to prepare a large field and plant seeds there using a poorly hand-constructed and inefficient plough made of the wrong sort of wood and bits of string, combined with a seed drill made out of old toilet rolls and sticky tape. Not only that, but I’m trying to plant across the entire field, 50 furrows wide, as I move along. Needless to say, the ploughing doesn’t go very well, and the seeds are planted imprecisely, sometimes superficially, mostly wastefully, resulting in poor distribution, low growth and high energy expenditure. But if I were to abandon the idea of going wide, and instead go narrow, focusing on just a handful of furrows, I could afford to take the time to correctly plant each seed, nurturing & watering each one, producing strong plants with deep roots and healthy growth.
Honesty in craft |
A skilled carpenter doesn’t always want to build a factory. Their craft is creating something personal, for themselves, on their workbench.
The Buy Nothing Project
These groups are awesome, but they're also fragile. Our little English town had an amazing Freecycle group running for a while that got us through the "baby clothes" issues that people are discussing here. But the next town over had a "Sell & Seek" group that was essentially the same, but for small cash payments instead of goodwill. One woman saw the arbitrage opportunity and started accepting pretty much everything that came up on the Freecycle, only to re-list it on the Sell & Seek. My wife gave away a big basket of washable diaper stuff and watched as it all popped back up, one item at a time, for $5-$10 each on that Sell & Seek. Think about the emotional ride that puts you on, from thinking you'd single handedly sorted some new young mom, to realizing you'd been suckered by this... well, not nice person. Then multiply it by every member of that group that gave anything away in good faith. The Freecycle just sort of went away inside of a month, and now all that's left is that paid version from the next town over. All it takes for one person to do this and your community dies. Notice that she didn't ever do anything illegal or even "wrong" from her viewpoint. Just the same sort of "disrupting" and arbitrage that we see praised here all the time. But it completely ruined a nice thing.
E Ink has developed a 2nd generation Advanced Color E-Paper
E-ink is one of those techs that only advanced when large batches of patents expire. E-ink the company has tied up the tech stack in so many patents, NDA's, and exorbitant prices that no one wants to touch it. E-ink the technology wont go any where for 10-15 years when that next big batch of patents expire. Its just like 3D displays and VR there will be a massive consumer push new batches of patents will be filed progress will grind to a halt as no-one can afford everyone else's patent licensing fees on a unproven market until the next wave expires and better products can be built again repeat
Moral Competence | Evan Conrad
> The signature move of the morally incompetent is to be told about existing solutions that they were previously unaware of and then soldier on without any critical examination of any added value they're providing. Others working on the problem are ignored entirely or seen as a threat to their own solution. Really hit the nail on the head for the non-profit industry (of which I am a part). A lot of non-profit leaders are totally insufferable because they take anything less than fawning over them to be an attack on their identity as savior. You get some of these people everywhere, of course, but there's a way higher concentration in non-profits.
How New York became a metropolis of stoops | Ephemeral New York
Stoops can have a dramatic impact on the culture of a given block. When you have stoops, people sit on them. This means more conversation outside in public, creating community. When I was young, it was normal for a group of kids to sit on any stoop if the front gate was open. (This has mostly gone away) Older people might spend hours sitting on their stoop, and basically end up being a neighborhood watch. Neighbors get to know each other, and are more likely to quickly identify someone being violent and call the police. Overall, I would always choose a block with stoops over one without, everything else being more or less equal.
What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism? ‹ Literary Hub
I have checked her site, it has references to Facebook and is full of trackers. She is just some self promoting woman that has found a niche in privacy, where she doesnt follow what she preaches. Yes Survailance Capitalism is a nightmare and a real thing but such fake stars should be weeded out. It is just a shame how low can some people go.
What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism? ‹ Literary Hub
Privacy is a form of power, and that whoever has the most personal data will dominate society. If we give our data to companies, the wealthy will rule. If we give too much of our personal data to governments, we will end up with some form of authoritarianism. Only if the people keep their data will society be free. Privacy matters because it gives power to the people.
What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism? ‹ Literary Hub
Privacy is about being able to keep certain intimate things to yourself—your thoughts, your experiences, your conversations, your plans. Human beings need privacy to be able to unwind from the burden of being with other people. We need privacy to explore new ideas freely, to make up our own minds. Privacy protects us from unwanted pressures and abuses of power. We need it to be autonomous individuals, and for democracies to function well we need citizens to be autonomous.
Building the Middle Class of the Creator Economy - Li's Newsletter
A 1981 paper by Sherwin Rosen, an economist at the University of Chicago, offers a prescient explanation of how the “superstar phenomenon” would become more pronounced as a result of technology. Rosen argued that in markets with heterogeneous providers, like most creator economies, success accrues disproportionately to those on top: “lesser talent often is a poor substitute for greater talent [...] hearing a succession of mediocre singers does not add up to a single outstanding performance.” This phenomenon is further exacerbated by technology which lowers distribution costs: the best performers in a given field are freed from physical constraints like the size of concert halls—and can address an unlimited market and reap a greater share of revenue.
Building the Middle Class of the Creator Economy - Li's Newsletter
The sustainability of nations and the defensibility of platforms is better when wealth isn’t concentrated in the top 1%. In the real world, a healthy middle class is critical for promoting societal trust, providing a stable source of demand for products and services, and driving innovation. On platforms, less wealth concentration means lessening the risk that a would-be competitor could poach top creators and threaten the entire business.
I used to work really hard. I then requested a small raise of my below-market-average salary, and I found out the people in charge of the company have decided to freeze salaries for the time being. I no longer work that hard.
I am French and got a top education by French standards (two Grandes Ecoles (the equivalent of Ivy League in the US) and a PhD). I worked really hard to get it, especially to get into the first school due to the completely crazy and unique French system (prépas - two years of suffering taken from your young life). My son who is 14 had very, very average marks last year. He is a very bright and capable boy so I was really dissapointed. This year he is top of his class with an average mark of 18/20. As you can imagine, I am all happy and everything and I told him that I am proud etc. - all the right things a parent says. To what he told me that the marks in the class he is in this year decide which high school he will be admitted in. And he wants to be admitted to the best one. So he obviously started to work hard to get good marks. That lead to the best high school. Where he will be probably average until the marks start to have a meaning again etc. I was initially bemused at this approach, so far from the work ethics his father tried to instill in him. And then, after some thinking, I think he is right (which is a major change in the way I was thinking). Grades are nothing more than a gateway to the future and ultimately do not mean anything more. So "hard work" when it makes sense to do so.
For me, having alignment means being a startup founder because I'm ambitious and there are specific things I want to build—I'm not satisfied by working on whatever the company that hired me happens to be building. But all that being said, alignment is important for everyone, regardless of what your individual goals and desires are. As with most hard things, there's no formula for alignment. You have to figure out what it means for you and how to get it. But being aware of the concept is at least the first step.
I hypothesize that the real problem with many of Bronnie Ware's patients wasn't that they worked too hard—the problem is that they worked too hard on things that, at the end of the day, weren't as important to them as they thought. Notice that the #1 regret was "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." Perhaps the regret of working too hard was really just a symptom of this deeper regret.
Pornhub Just Purged All Unverified Content From the Platform
I think the decline of moral argument and the rise of this general "anything goes" attitude has been a negative for society. We have to decide to draw a line somewhere. Even porn companies that feature of-age performers are highly exploitative and uncomfortably close to human trafficking - see the case of Girls Do Porn, and they're just the one that got caught doing it. I don't think it's unreasonable to argue that some sexual behavior should be considered "bad" - voyeurism, selling yourself for money, extreme fringe interests/fetishes, etc. I don't buy the idea that Pornhub is just an innocent business trying to run their website. They have built an empire on human exploitation.
Pornhub Just Purged All Unverified Content From the Platform
I read most of the Nickolas Kristoff editorial in the NY Times (don't confuse editorial with actual reporting, in the NYT or anywhere - editorial has 'license' to do hit pieces). While I agree that online porn is a horror show, Kristoff oddly omits what looks like the biggest problem to me: (This might be upsetting. Read at your own risk.) What I've seen of online porn sites is a strong emphasis on the real physical and sexual abuse of women. It's advertised brazenly in video titles: I am confident that if you search for something as horrible as 'woman gets the crap beaten out of her', you'd find lots of videos, and I'm not using more stomach-turning and sexual examples that I'm confident would find equal success. It's shown in the videos (at least the still frames that are part of the video title): Women expressing pain and showing bruises and even bleeding. I understand sexual fantasy, and that to widely varying degrees and frequencies people enjoy these fantasies - PornHub has many customers - and that a few people even consensually engage in them in a safe, controlled manner. That is all people's private business, not mine or the public's, and I have no objection to it. But these are not fantasies - these are real people, real human beings, getting hurt and abused, physically and emotionally, for others' entertainment. It's on an enormous scale. We can argue to ourselves that they are actors and it's all made up, like a Hollywood movie. We can say the women choose to do these things. And I will tell you what I told myself: We are full of shit and we know it. Almost everything we see and read tells us otherwise, and yes many of these people are assaulted on camera by any definition of the word; many are beaten and tortured. Also, if you think Amazon workers are vulnerable, imagine the situation of these women. Are they going to take the video producers to court? Call the National Labor Relations Board and file a complaint? Has it ever happened? If it has, it's a drop in the ocean of porn online. From what I understand (and see), these are among some of the most vulnerable people in communities with limited resources. The world and the system tell them (wrongly): You're work in porn, you are the lowest of the low, we don't care. Imagine Amazon treating employees this way - and then selling the videos for profit. I don't want to speak for the people in the videos or define them; I encourage you to find online them speaking for themselves. They are all different people with different responses to different experiences, but a lot of it is much worse than this HN comment. Also, imagine seeing someone you know or love being hurt like that; imagine how you would feel if it was you, beyond the pain. These are people just like us and our loved ones; they feel the same things. It's straightforward: It should be illegal to hurt people, and to distribute videos of it, and to do it for profit. It's not hard to understand. It is happening on a wide scale and publicly. It's a horror show, and it's real.
We’re Optimizing Ourselves to Death – Zander Nethercutt
Amen to that. One life, live it well. To me that doesn't mean 80 hour weeks, 40 years of working and dropping dead of exhaustion the day I retire. I'm alright for that, thanks. Would rather be slightly poorer financially (some might say "less optimised") and richer for time. Time I can spend with my kids, looking at the sea, making music, reading. I'm ok for optimisation. If there's anything covid should teach us, it's that optimisation to the max leaves us collectively and individually extremely fragile. We all need time and space and quiet and contingency, not "optimisation" and "growth", not all the time, anyway.
Playmaker: The Reality of 10x Engineer | by Ofer Karp | Nov, 2020 | Medium
10x engineer is underpaid senior working as middle/junior. or underpaid architech/principal workong as senior engineer.
Winning back the Internet by building our own | ROAR Magazine
For a very long time, no one paid for Internet access because Internet access was not something that was sold. It was like a public beachfront at the ocean. If you were near it, you could jump in, no credit card required. The nature of the technology itself meant that if you had a computer running an operating system with a TCP/IP software stack installed, like any modern Windows, macOS, or GNU/Linux distribution, you could extend the Internet. All you had to do is connect your computer to another computer already pre-attached to it. As with BitTorrent, there was no other special software or hardware required, and everyone who wanted to download files could, by definition, also upload files. And, more importantly, this is still true about internetworking software today.
Winning back the Internet by building our own | ROAR Magazine
In short order, Internet access itself was commercialized and the telecom industry waged legislative war against community groups and municipal governments that prevented them from erecting their own networking infrastructures. The logic of the telecom monopolies was simple and devastatingly effective: to share, you must first connect, so instead of losing the battle to share, they would win the war of connectivity. In other words, they recognized that they could not win against a rapidly rising number of increasingly sophisticated people using ever-improving encryption and privacy tools, but they could install themselves as toll collectors for Internet access itself.
End Micromanagement: 6 Signs You’re a Micromanager + How to Stop it
The common pattern of behavior I have observed with micro managers is a fear of perception, such as a fear of looking bad. Most commonly this manifests as the boss wanting a hyper selective output they wish they could do themselves because either they do not trust the employee and/or because they cannot communicate what they want. Contrast that against excellent managers who provide proper direction and allow their employees to safely fail for growth because you learn more from failure.
No More Free Work from Marak: Pay Me or Fork This
Seriously. What's the point of open source if companies just steal it, build billion dollar industries on top, and then lock everything down? Apple is telling us we can't run our own software on their goddamned devices, yet they built their empire on open source. Look at Facebook, Google, Amazon. They've extracted all the blood they can and given us back scraps. AWS is repackaged software you pay more for. Yes, it's managed, but you're forever a renter. They've destroyed our open web, replaced RSS with DRM, left us with streaming and music options worse than cable and personal audio libraries. The web is bloated with ads and tracking, AMP is given preference, Facebook and Twitter are testing the limits of democracy and radicalizing everyone to cancel one another. Remember when the Internet was actually pleasant? When it was nice to build stuff for others to use? Stop giving your work away for free when the companies only take.
So you want to buy a farm?
Also, I suspect many of us here "spent" time learning programming as children/teenagers and honed it as early twenty-somethings. At those stages of life time is essentially free and unlimited. You can easily pull allnighters and 40 hour hacking weekends and 80 hour weeks - and you do it because it's exciting and fun, and it has only very minor opportunity costs - you might miss a school or college assignment deadline, or a few shifts at your minimum wage part time job. Your bedroom at your parents house or you college dorm is paid for already (even if just by usurious student loans). Once you get to the "disillusioned with the damned tech industry" stage of your life though, you have responsibilities and rent/loans/bills to pay and probably family you need/want to spend time with and a circle of friends who're in the same stage of life who can't on zero notice order in pizza and mountain dew and hack from 6pm on Friday thru to midnight Sunday catching only naps on the couch as needed. I reckon there's almost as much of a hill to climb for a "woodworker since junior high" looking at programming as a way out of a woodworking career they've become jaded with - as there is for a thirty-something software engineer dreaming of building timber boats for a living instead of being part of "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads." -- Jeff Hammerbacher (But yeah, you don't need to buy new timber when you accidentally "move fast and break things" as a programmer. On the other hand, at least the tools you buy as a woodworker will still work and be useful in a decade or century's time...)
Technical debt as a lack of understanding
In a go-go-go product cycle, that loss of understanding begins to create problems that have literal and figurative costs. A general sense of confusion builds and builds. The developer economics are fairly simple to quantify; either you slow down and pay someone to refactor and document the code after every major iteration, or you pay every developer who works on the project until the end of time to stare at the code for a few hours and wonder what the hell is going on. That dumbfounded staring at the codebase compounds over time. Organizationally, you pay in velocity and turnover; talented people are going to leave after a few rounds of bullshit.
Goodbye IFTTT
> For me, the biggest downfall of IFTTT was how many services started locking them out of useful hooks. Absolutely. The 2000 - 2010 time range was filled with such great hope for APIs, for expanding humanity creativity. The last decade though has been shuttering & closing & withdrawl of computing, the systems receding, getting further & further away from general usability, a retreat into the walled garden, systems effervescing from manipulability, going up, into the cloud. I've been calling the before time the Pax Intertwingularis era, the peace of intertwingularity, interoperation, interfacing of systems. When we were all excited to build & interconnect & share, when the hope, what we all saw, was humanity getting better & better from the power to wire ourselves together in new & changing ways.
Goodbye IFTTT
> but as time went on and services removed many useful hooks, it lost a lot of value Worries me that with post-smartphone technology it’s more valuable for companies to remove interoperability than to foster it. Look at Instagram, you can’t even post a hyperlink because it’s more beneficial for them to prevent a fundamental internet feature.
Surviving disillusionment - spakhm's newsletter
Once you observe the darker side of human nature in the technology industry, you cannot forget or unsee it. The subsequent cynicism can be so disheartening that the romance of the computer revolution is beat out of people completely. I've met many engineers with extraordinary talent who decided to stop making software. They wanted to program computers all their lives. They were born for it. After spending six, eight, ten years in the industry, they quit for good. Now they're running breweries and hydroponic farms, with no desire to ever again touch a compiler, let alone get back into the fray.
We Were Builders Once, and Strong
I cant recall who but some ingenious game developer wrote an article arguing that a design with land tax makes people (players) do interesting thing with land. Without it the game world just ends up owned and stale. I see a parallel with [insane] real estate prices but also with taking land from one person and giving it to another.
The Need for Touch
My running theory is that western society is built around depriving men of certain emotions that say "you are good enough as you are and should be appreciated just as you are"; be that touch, sex (how many times have I heard this cultural fetish that men should transmute their sexual energy to something "better") . Like cutting branches from a young tree so that it grows taller or straight -- to serve an ulterior purpose. The ulterior purpose for cutting emotional branches of men is to increase productivity and yield from men, increase obedience to authority figures for fighting wars and so on.
You Reap What You Code
The curb cut effect was noticed as a result from the various American laws about accessibility that started in the 60s. The idea is that to make sidewalks and streets accessible to people in wheelchairs, you would cut the part of the curb so that it would create a ramp from sidewalk to street. The thing that people noticed is that even though you'd cut the curb for handicapped people, getting around was now easier for people carrying luggage, pushing strollers, on skateboards or bicycles, and so on. Some studies saw that people without handicaps would even deviate from their course to use the curb cuts. Similar effects are found when you think of something like subtitles which were put in place for people with hearing problems. When you look at the raw number of users today, there are probably more students using them to learn a second or third language than people using them with actual hearing disabilities. Automatic doors that open when you step in front of them are also very useful for people carrying loads of any kind, and are a common example of doing accessibility without "dumbing things down." I'm mentioning all of this because I think that keeping accessibility in mind when building things is one of the ways we can turn nasty negative surprises into pleasant emerging behaviour. And generally, accessibility is easier to build in than to retrofit. In the case of the web, accessibility also lines up with better performance.
You Reap What You Code
Rather than having a merchant bring goods to the town square, the milkman drop milk on the porch, and markets smaller and distributed closer to where they'd be convenient, it is now everyone's job to drive for each of these things while stores go to where land is cheap rather than where people are. And when society develops with a car in mind, you now need a car to be functional. In short the cost of participating in society has gone up, and that's what an oppressive monopoly is.
You Reap What You Code
Ivan Illiches introduces the concept of an "oppressive" monopoly; if we look at societies that developed for foot traffic and cycling, you can generally use any means of transportation whatsoever and effectively manage to live and thrive there. Whether you live in a tent or a mansion, you can get around the same. He pointed out that cycling was innately fair because it does not require more energy than what is required as a baseline to operate: if you can walk, you can cycle, and cycling, for the same energy as walking, is incredibly more efficient. Cars don't have that; they are rather expensive, and require disproportionate amounts of energy compared to what a basic person has.
A ritual for your product increases satisfaction and spending
This is quite disturbing. It is an example of marketing as a form of social conditioning, where our brains our conditioned to perform repetitive actions until they become unconscious. While this can be useful for some things (e.g. touch typing), when it is designed to sell you some kind of shitty cookie, phone, or whatever other focus-group-designed consumer product, it is disturbing to me. It's training people to consume as a replacement for spiritual or other introspective, healthy rituals in order to make private companies profits. It just seems so soulless to me, to ritualize consumerism and monetary transactions in this way. Can't we just make useful things instead of creating new branches of pseudoscience in order to sell more shit that people don't need? Imagine all of the brainpower that has gone into developing rituals for this stuff. In the future, I can imagine this kind of marketing morphing into a sort of consumer religion, where these rituals begin to take on a spiritual element.
Distance traveled |
There are so many forces pushing us to move as fast as possible, but little about doing good work is about getting places as fast as we can.
YouTube is shutting down crowdsourced captions
What's incredibly insane here, is that "low usage" is the excuse being used to terminate an accessibility feature. Accessibility features will always be low usage, but it's still important to provide them. This is kinda like a restaurant removing their handicapped ramp because it's "not used often". Of course, that'd be illegal.
Work on what matters | StaffEng
For a while you can try sleeping less or depriving yourself of the non-work activities you need to feel whole, but you’ll inevitably find that your work maintains a aloof indifference to your sacrifice rather than rewarding it.
Toward a Technological Cage for the Masses
Computer hardware and software makers have always known they can make more profit by selling computers and software that we don't really want but that we will tolerate because we have no other options. So, while they compete based on price, I don't see much evidence that they compete based on functionality, repairability, upgradeability, quality, or other factors.
Toward a Technological Cage for the Masses
First, the computer industry is not and never has been governed by an efficient market. By that, I mean that the market for computers has always been controlled by a small group of manufacturers who by-and-large determine which computers they will make, hence which computers we can buy.
Working from (your parents’) home
I'm my early 20s and in the UK. I earn more than my Dad who is in his 50s. He managed to get a house, have money left over for an expensive hobby, decent car, the odd holiday etc. I'm a 90th percentile earner. Will 95+ percentile earner in a few years time. Yet it feels like I am not as well off as I should be. I don't live in an expensive area either. Yet I need to save so much money to even have the opportunity to buy a house. Then I also need to save a tonne of money for a nice retirement as government pensions get absolutely gutted. I'm not going to pretend I won't have a good amount of disposable income even after maxing my pension contributions and paying a mortgage. But it just annoys me that I'm a relatively high earner and yet the money won't go very far. The most expensive thing I'll ever buy would be a brick box, and one that's not even as good as my parents.
The software industry is going through the “disposable plastic” crisis
In the micromanaged world of agile, ticket velocity is more important than any other metric. At least everywhere I've worked. Open source is the only place I regularly see high quality code. There the devs are allowed to love their code like pets not cattle.
The software industry is going through the “disposable plastic” crisis
The lie we tell ourselves is that the quality of code matters to non-engineers. It seems it doesn't. The most uncomfortable truth of our field is that there is no floor for how bad code can be, yet still make people billions of dollars. Because that's the outcome everyone else is seeking - making money. They don't care how good the code is. They care about whether it's making money or not.
Taking my home work setup seriously
Inside us all there is a void. People want to complete themselves and fill this void with spirituality, or hedonistic pursuits, or material things. If you’ll indulge a metaphor, this is not a void that can be filled - its nature is more akin to a black hole of the cosmic variety. Feeding it things - for example, expensive ergonomic equipment - will simply add to its mass and pull. Only if left alone might it slowly evaporate. You must learn to live with it. Materialism is the belief that something outside yourself will finally bring you permanent satisfaction, and we don’t want to be materialistic.
Taking my home work setup seriously
Humans are endlessly adaptable, for better or worse. Before setting out, know this: you might sink days of research and thousands of dollars into your work setup, but it will never be quite perfect. Just accept this. Live with it. It’s called hedonic adaptation. Even if your monitors end up an inch too close to your face, remember that the whole setup is massively better than sitting at your kitchen table or couch with a laptop. Buying things is fun, and spending money begets spending more money. It’s a good idea to let a setup sit for a couple weeks or a month before rushing off with further tweaks & improvements.
‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special over Being Happy
This is such an American perspective. Happiness doesn't have to be your #1 goal, or even in your top 5-10. The article seems to undervalue the idea of making a positive impact in the world or lasting change. It seems to conflate achieving goals with the idea that you'll move the goal post, and that's necessarily bad (e.g. the Sisyphean concept). Personally speaking, I much rather have a long-term positive impact on humanity than to be happy but a blip on history's radar. I should be so lucky. Many choose to value their own family's success over their own, or their community. Others dedicate themselves to noble causes with high potential fatality risk.
‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special over Being Happy
Put another way: many people choose to pursue a meaningful life over a happy life. The English word "happy" covers a wide range of states and I'm not sure the original article has even settled on one definition. They reference terms like 'life satisfaction', 'orginary delights', 'relationships and love', 'hedonic treadmill', etc. The article seems to be coming from a good place, but I think the deeper message got lost in the noise: "Work for a sense of personal meaning, not outward achievement" (paraphrased). Happiness and success don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Spotify CEO: musicians can no longer release music only “once every 3-4 years”
This is sad and feels to me like a dumbing down of everything due to short attention spans. I still prefer to listen to full coherent albums, and one of the highlights of my week is my Sunday run, which gives me time to listen to an album start to finish with no interruptions. I hope some of my favorite musicians will continue to conceptualize albums that have a 45+ minute arc, even if market pressures mean that they'll initially need to release the tracks one at a time.
Spotify CEO: musicians can no longer release music only “once every 3-4 years”
LP's or long form collections by artists capture a moment in that artist's creative point. Typically, the cycle was release a record, tour a bunch, write new music, and repeat. This meant by the time that next LP came along, the collection of songs on there could sound fairly different as the artist changed, got better, heard new songs and got inspired etc. Then there's the recording and engineering challenges around mixing and mastering an album. Albums need to sound cohesive even if the songs aren't necessarily the same genre even. The best albums are those ones that flow between softer or more upbeat music but still feel tied together as a whole. Forcing artists to pump out strings of singles and EPs diminishes music as an artform. It takes away the format that's allowed some of the best modern music to be created that likely would never have been created if artists were just constantly pumping out individual disconnected songs. Even today, you can still find some pretty amazing albums that are being made where each song individually would stand as less, but together as an album they come together to make some great art.
ZSA Moonlander: A next-generation ergonomic keyboard
I've been getting deep into the home office ergonomics hole now that I'll be working from home indefinitely. There's a real danger here - I generally pride myself as someone who is conscientious of consumerist tendencies, but it's become clear that my drive for better ergonomics is no longer about the actual facilitation of work or avoidance of injury. I have spent more time researching ergonomic setups than could ever be saved by marginal improvements in productivity, and my poor posture is by far the greatest risk for injury. It's become about completing myself. Filling the void. Materialism: the belief that acquisition of something outside myself will finally bring me permanent satisfaction. But if you'll excuse the metaphor, the void we try to fill is a black hole of the cosmic variety: its pull grows as it is fed. Shoveling in expensive ergonomic equipment is little different from shoes or bags or guns or radios or funko pops. Anyway, this next $250 I spend on an endlessly-adjustible retractable keyboard tray & fancy ergonomic keyboard will surely address all my complaints...
The futility of “I told you so ” in software engineering teams
The real trick is that caring about anything in the modern corporate workplace is a mistake. Unless you hold equity and board position in the company, then you are completely replaceable at any time for any reason. The only thing you should be doing is ensuring that the chain of decision making is documented so blame flows upwards. And exercise some discretion in ensuring you get away from managers with a track history of poor decision making. Workers don't own the company, and they have almost no power (nor the time to engage in the politicking which would give it) within the decision making structure there. Look after yourself first, and plan to leave when people who do think they have an ownership start making bad decisions.
Come for the Network, Pay for the Tool
Whether coming at it from the angle of social media, brand, or content creator, building and managing a community is its own skillset. Organizations which try to bolt on community or social networks to their existing business model without building the capacity to understand and engage the people who make it up are likely to fail.
It’s time to hear what adolescents think of mindfulness in schools
I've seen it suggested in other articles here before that mindfulness programs for employees are often a way for employers to try and get their staff to be more accepting of crappy conditions, or unpleasant, meaningless or unethical work. It sounds to me like the same kind of thing might also apply in schools. I'm sure the school teachers and administrators mean well. I'm sure they don't consciously realise what a nightmare their institutions have become for many of the students in their care. Even if they do realise, they didn't choose for it to be that way. The sad fact is that modern life has become a horrible nightmare for many people, grownups and kids alike. Mindfulness has become a popular attempt to paper over the problems, but in truth, many people who are having coping problems coping or exhibiting "mental illness" are just having understandable reactions to the dysfunction they're sensing in the world. To be clear: I'm in no way averse to emotional wellbeing techniques that are effective and that increase the agency of participants. I've gone very deep on this kind of work in my own life, and have benefited greatly. But I think the outcomes, and indeed the intentions, of mainstream mindfulness programs are quite different to this, and are sadly far more focused on maintaining the status quo for institutions and modern mainstream society.
The Return of the 90s Web
What I miss most from the early days of the Internet is the content. It was all created with love. My theory is that the high barrier to entry of online publishing kept all but the most determined people from creating content. As a result, the little content that was out there was usually good. With today's monetized blogs, it is often content for content's sake. People don't try, or they write about topics which they are not really interested in, but did just to have a new post. Or often the writing is bad. Maybe today's problem isn't the blogs, but the SEO that puts the crap blogs at the top of the search results. Or maybe I'm misremembering and the old content was crap too, or maybe my standards are higher than they were in my teenage years.
Repression Is Not A Brand - Steve Salaita
There’s nothing romantic about persecution, whether mild or catastrophic. It makes a person feel one step from destitution, at least among those lucky enough not to have become destitute already. Performing anxiety in front of strangers as a way to derive credentials (usually in the absence of accomplishment) isn’t something most victims of actual repression want to do.
After 10 Years in Tech Isolation, I'm Now Outsider to Things I Once Had Mastered |
Big advertisers are using metadata to collect and map any given users’ Internet behaviors for content marketing purposes. I, too, used to steal users’ data. But it was a crime when I did it. Perhaps if I had sent them an ad or two it would have been less illegal?
Avoiding the Global Lobotomy
Modern western society - and maybe others, I really only know the west - has built what must be one of the most powerful abstracting bubbles ever for separating people from the real world. For a wealthy westerner - if you don't want to know how your food is grown - you don't have to know. If you don't want to know how your shirt is made - you don't need to know. Don't want to know about the political systems that are keeping the world ticking over? Don't need to know. Anyone who is in a position earning more than ~$60k/annum can be totally isolated from the real if they want to be and all their problems start becoming social ones, except disease and the grim spectre of eventual death. Even then we're starting to abstract away disease as well - look at how the wheels fell off politically when disease popped through the walls of the bubble on a mass scale. Been a long time since that sort of threat has been meaningful (maybe AIDS in the 80s?). Good luck, in both sarcasm but also all sincerity, convincing people in that robust of a bubble that there are real problems that need to be fixed. People have no north star to fix a direction. They won't be able to organise anything in reality; they'll get caught up on social problems.
Anxiety Driven Development
I think the serenity prayer, sans unnecessary theological content, is relevant here. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the ones I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. For a lot of software products, there is no winning in the long run. You've got good product-market fit and customer loyalty, but your code base is a huge mess and the hard technical problems are solved by third-party libraries. Your tech is a liability and eventually someone with better tech will be smart enough to study your customers, or the students who will eventually replace your inevitably-retiring customers on the front lines and push adoption going forward. And this is okay. The advantage corporations have over government institutions is that they can be created and destroyed with much less friction. If you're lucky, your growth curve looks like double-sigmoid table-top. Probably it looks like an asymmetric Gaussian. What it doesn't look like is an exponential. Understand where your product is in its life-cycle, and maximize ROI.
Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is hurting independent developers
Application signing is a mafia protection racket, plain and simple. If you aren't signed by an "authority", every user is told by default automatically that your code is unsafe until you pay money. It is 100% analogous to thugs walking into your store saying "It would be a real shame if something were to happen to scare people away." The message is "We Protected You" and "Unsafe". WHY? Because "WE don't recognize" it. Application signing certificates cost money. Always. And if you're making something for free either out of the goodness of your heart or because you like making things, that money has to come out of your pocket just so the thugs don't stand in front of your door with bats. Nobody should be ok with that. AND FUN FACT: malicious or incompetent actors can and do also pay money.
People Drawn to Conspiracy Theories Share a Cluster of Psychological Features
If human language can be manipulated for commercial gain, it will be. Taken to its logical conclusion, the economically contested term ceases to have any meaning. Think of SEO search keywords or fashionable technology buzzwords (cloud, big data, AI). The adversarial weaponization of language by economically motivated actors should not be confused with the use of language for communication. Real humans have an amazing ability to communicate even on noisy channels.
Where Did Software Go Wrong? | Jesse Li
The startup founder, no matter how much they claim to love code, love humanity, or love the thrill of the hustle (and they may even believe themself when they say it), loves the growth of capital most of all. The tech founder is a capitalist proper, but capital does not love them back; capital cannot love at all, and the odds are stacked against our hero capitalist. “The larger capitals beat the smaller … It always ends in the ruin of many small capitalists, whose capitals partly pass into the hands of their conquerors, partly vanish” (Marx 1867, 621). Capital accumulates and concentrates, and in the midst of frothy competition, the startup either dies or gets acquired by Facebook or Google, leaving nothing behind but a bullet point on LinkedIn and a blog post signifying an incredible journey. So much for changing the world.
Where Did Software Go Wrong? | Jesse Li
For many of us fortunate enough to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak, our only interface with the world outside our families and homes—the relays of connection between us, our families, communities and societies—have been filtered through our screens and earbuds. It is apparent now more than ever exactly what software does for us, and what kinds of inequalities it reinforces. Through Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and other grocery delivery services, we can use an app to purchase a delivery driver’s body for an hour to expose themself to the virus on our behalf. Unsatisfied with even this, some developers have written scripts to instantly reserve the scarce delivery slots on these services. One developer wrote to Vice’s Motherboard “I designed the bot for those who find it extremely inconvenient in these times to step out, or find it not safe for themselves to be outside. It is my contribution to help flatten the curve, I really hope this’ll help reduce the number of people going out” (Cox 2020). Is that right? Does a bot really reduce the number of people going out, or does it merely change the demographics of who gets to stay home, favoring those with the resources and technical skills to run a Python script and Selenium WebDriver? With a constant and limited number of delivery slots, Joseph Cox points out that these bots create “a tech divide between those who can use a bot to order their food and those who just have to keep trying during the pandemic” (2020).