Sunday July 14th, 2024

Obituaries OTD

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Saturday July 13th, 2024

I'm guessing that AntennaPod is giving

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I'm guessing that AntennaPod is giving me these Apple Podcast recommendations because they get some money to shovel this shit at me, but... The Joe Rogan Experience? Like what if Art Bell but malicious? Ben Shapiro? Inflicting intergenerational trauma rather than pursuing therapy? Big media hates us, is the only answer I can come to, and truth is I will consider podcast player recommendations if I can get away from this shit (or get good recs).

All this talk about Web Rings is making

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All this talk about Web Rings is making me realize how much I miss Nibelung. Not sure I will ever forgive JavaScript for taking that from us.

Friday July 12th, 2024

Not all heroes wear... anything

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San Francisco is healing: ‘Nailed the guy’: Nudists tackle ‘pirate’ after random attack on tourist in the Castro

The naked samaritans—Pete Sferra of San Jose and Lloyd Fishback of San Francisco—were letting it all hang out on a July 2 stroll through the neighborhood when they spotted a “crazy kind of pirate guy” threatening a man with a blowtorch.

Dear Zapier I'm gonna suggest that a

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Dear Zapier: I'm gonna suggest that a 1.6MB RSS entry that's packed with pages of inline CSS is perhaps not in the spirit of the format?

I'm kind-of in a pissy mood this morning, but in what kind of dumb-ass world do whatever dipshit decisions that led to this particular asshattery allow people to rise to decision-making levels?

JFC, people.

Huge AT&T data breach

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AT&T says criminals stole phone records of ‘nearly all’ customers in new data breach

Stolen data includes millions of AT&T customer phone numbers, calling and text records, and location-related data.

Some speculation that maybe this involved a breach of their law enforcement portal data, this appears to be via AT&T's use of Snowflake, which "...Provides Faster Insights While Lowering Estimated Annual Costs by 84%", and, of course, observations except for the poorest 10%, phone number is a pretty solid long-term identifier, so, yeah, if you communicate with someone on AT&T, your social graph just leaked.

With the regular Nixle alerts about AT&T's 911 service going up and down like a horse on a merry go round, ya gotta wonder what's happening with AT&T these days.

Wrong names

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RT Alice McFlurry

Who cares that Biden accidentally used the wrong names?

I use the wrong names all of the time and my husband doesn't even care because he's just happy to be having sex.

Vertical landing model rocket

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High schooler lands a thrust-vectored solid fuel model rocket vertically: JRD Propulsion — I Landed A Model Rocket! (YouTube video) (mad props that it starts with the money shot). Two stage, one engine for ascent, one for descent.

More stuff at JRD Propulsion . com

Via /.

no use found for GOING FAST

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RT Graham Sutherland / Polynomial


observeable side effects are unavoidable.

years of spex-ex bugs and no real world exploitation because it's effort.

wanted to break systems anyway, for a laugh? we can do that already, all the user code is buggy AF.

"SRBDS/MFBDS in SGX EGETKEY. we targeted RAPL with PLATYPUS" - statements dreamed up by the utterly deranged.

"Hello I would like one STIBP please."

"Please give me some IBRS/IPBP."

They have played us for absolute fools.

RT green-threaded gay

@gsuberland stop doing speculative execution. years of security holes and no use found for GOING FAST

Propane tank bowl gongs. https

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Needs running but got some preliminary

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Needs running, but got some preliminary sounds from the propane tank tongue drum. #hankdrum #tonguedrum

Thursday July 11th, 2024

RT Florian Haas

You know, some Germans are really grumpy and obnoxious when they're old, but do you ever wonder what they were while young?


Kinda miffed at OhmConnect right now

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Kinda miffed at OhmConnect right now: We put our fridge on a smart plug so that they can turn it off during high load periods. We had a power outage last night during said high load period. Refrigerator never came back on. I just rolled out the fridge and yanked the smart plug, but this seems like a pretty bad failure mode.

Started a new podcast Derelict on the

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Started a new podcast (Derelict) on the walk to work yesterday, and just not feeling grimdark. I don't mind peril, but...

So looking for fiction podcasts with heart and humor. Examples: Where The Stars Fell, Unwell, Kingmaker Histories, Amelia Project, Super Suits, Starship Q Star, Murder on Sex Island, Moonbase Theta Out, Midnight Burger, Girl in Space, Fawx & Stallion, Alba Salix, The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Unwell...

Mad props to the PGE crew chasing the

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Mad props to the PG&E crew chasing the short circuit around my neighborhood last night for 7 hours... The log of a outage update text messages last night, with changing numbers of affected customers tells a story...

The Know Before You Grow forum went on without slides, glad it was an in-person speaker.

Wednesday July 10th, 2024

AllHere not all there

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Whistleblower: L.A. Schools’ Chatbot Misused Student Data as Tech Co. Crumbled

Through an algorithm that analyzes troves of student information from multiple sources, the chatbot was designed to offer tailored responses to questions like “what grade does my child have in math?” The tool relies on vast amounts of students’ data, including their academic performance and special education accommodations, to function.

So, not like "here's your child's current grades" on whatever platform's being used for grade tracking?

Via Pivot to AI on the demise of AllHere and their "Ed" platform

Cybertruck review

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Giggle: SFGate: I drove a Cybertruck around SF because I am a smart, cool alpha male

SFGATE columnist Drew Magary drove the (in)famous Tesla vehicle around the city and lived to tell the tale

Shades of the 2002 Car & Driver review of the Cadillac Escalade EXT that I've mentioned previously.

Linksys Velop routers sending credentials in clear to AWS servers

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Linksys Velop routers send Wi-Fi passwords in plaintext to US servers.

According to Testaankoop, the Belgian equivalent of the Consumers’ Association, two types of Linksys routers are sending Wi-Fi login details in plaintext to Amazon (AWS) servers.

Given that we've known that TCP/IP MitM attacks, let alone snooping, are real and occurring and have been happening for a while now, wow does software like this get deployed? What is broken in Linksys's internal processes to let something like this happen?

Fingerprints are fingerprints

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Tuesday July 9th, 2024

That is not science

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Patricia has been tooting observations about various economics works she's been reading recently, a lot of good stuff in her threads, but I'm also seeing some of the "aha" that I had when recently reading George's Progress and Poverty (and, of course, the path that led me away from Rand's work), that trying to build right and wrong from "first principles" is far too often just rationalizing privilege and circumstance: RT Patricia Aas

Which brings us back to the thread yesterday: Capitalism and Communism are methods to conform the actual world to simplistic economics models, because the models themselves are wholly unsuited to say anything meaningful about the world.

They are forcing the world into a dress that doesn’t fit and then blaming the world for being the “wrong” shape.

That is not science.

On replacing Biden

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Mekka Okereke has an interesting thread on potential replacements for Biden, and how white voters vote for racism, so the Democrats win on Black voter turnout. This echoes other numbers I've seen for Harris as a potential replacement for Biden (the candidate who's as or more popular than Biden), but points out that she'd raise GOP turnout.

Also delves into Buttigieg's history in South Bend, replacing the Black police chief who was trying to reform the department, and works down the list.

Twitter size

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RT ResearchBuzz @researchbuzz

Remember when Elon was spouting nonsense about a billion Twitter MAU by 2024? Pepperidge Farm does.

Business Insider, November 2022: Elon Musk predicts 'Twitter 2.0' will have 1 billion users by 2024

This was in the context of a Google News fail, labeling investor complaints about Twitter growth stalling at 320M users as 4 days ago (actually 2016) when searching for articles about the current complaints of 250M users.

$9T value from Open Source

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Harvard Business School Working Knowledge: Open Source Software: The $9 Trillion Resource Companies Take for Granted

This caught my eye both because yesterday I linked to the $700B on targeted advertising and $600B needed to justify "AI" investment and it's interesting to keep numbers in perspective, but also because I've been thinking a lot about how value gets generated, and where revenue is associated with value creation and where it isn't, and... No answers.

Monday July 8th, 2024

Productivity and hours worked

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Good to see DeMarco & Lister mentioned in this. It's amazing how much modern software development stuff ignores things that we knew back in 1987: RT david_chisnall

@bbbhltz @hacks4pancakes When people join my team, I tell them to go and look at productivity studies. Across different industries (I originally thought this was solely for knowledge workers, but I recently chatted to a researcher who has reproduced the same result in the construction industry), they all show roughly the same shape:

Productivity increases up to 20 hours a week.

It then plateaus up to 40.

It then starts to decrease and is typically negative by about 60.

This is the total net productivity, not the delta. If you are working 60 hour weeks, you would probably be more productive if you just stayed in bed all day.

For programmers, just think about how long it takes to fix a bug that you introduced when you were tired. Fixing mistakes (in any field) is often slow and expensive. Reducing the likelihood of making mistakes is usually much cheaper.

This is for sustained periods. People can often be productive for a 60-hour week if they are well rested, so if you have a one-off urgent deadline, it *may*be okay to work longer hours to meet it, as long as you take enough time off to recover. Averaged out (factoring in the recovery time), this tends to be less productive overall (ignoring the secondary impacts on people who have other commitments, like to see their families, and so on), so it’s generally a bad idea.

I want the most productive 20 hours of each employee each week. I don’t care when they happen (I’ve worked with some people who find they are most productive 2-4am, and that’s fine). Employees are responsible for getting enough rest to make sure that they can be productive for 20 hours each week.

I wrote our vacation policy to be explicit about the point of leave. It is not a gift from the company. It is not a reward for good behaviour. It is an obligation from the employees to the company to ensure that their brains are taken care of so that they can be productive. My contract (which is the model for new employees) has a minimum amount of leave I must take each year and a maximum time I can go without taking at least two days of leave.

The book I most recommend to new managers is PeopleWare and the most important point in that book is that, as a manager, it is not your job to make people work. Most people take pride in their work and want to do it well. Your job is to remove obstacles that stop them from being able to do good work. I don’t think it goes quite far enough because sometimes the biggest obstacle is the employee. If you’re hiring smart and motivated people, the most likely failure mode is that they work too hard and don’t notice their productivity dropping off. Sometimes you have to force them to take a week off (and you need a leave policy that supports you in doing so).

Sorry for the long rant, I haven’t had coffee yet and bad management annoys me, even when it’s depressingly accurate satire.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts

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Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of DOMs? The .shadowRoot knows...

In other news, just had to follow up a el.elementFromPoint(...) call with an "if you didn't find it there, call el.shadowRoot.elementFromPoint(...) and try to find it that way" strategy.

Eye dentist

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RT Shrig 🐌

Forgot the word "optician" for a moment and settled on "eye dentist". Close enough, it'll do

Pop goes the bubble

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Where's your Ed at: Pop Culture

A week and a half ago, Goldman Sachs put out a 31-page-report (titled "Gen AI: Too Much Spend, Too Little Benefit?”) that includes some of the most damning literature on generative AI I've ever seen. And yes, that sound you hear is the slow deflation of the bubble I've been warning you about since March.

The essay goes on to talk about how not that long ago, Goldman Sachs was on the "AI is showing ‘very positive’ signs of eventually boosting GDP and productivity" bandwagon, so for them to concede that the hope is gone is a big thing.

And, of course, that when we talk about how much better than GPT3.5 GPT4 and then 4o and then Anthropic's Claude and whatever are, we're talking in grades of "sucks less" with absolutely zero indications that the there's any progress on changing the core underlying flaws of the LLM technologies.

(But we're apparently supercharging the shit out of 1990 era sentence template "AI" technology.)

I realize I'm the cranky old man who

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I realize I'm the cranky old man who hollers about "programmers" typing "npm install ..." without having any idea of what they're doing, but... I'm having trouble figuring out WTF is.

Best I can tell it's selling a concept to the C-Suite so that your outsourced coders don't have to know how to type "apt install ..." (or the RPM equivalent) and "CREATE EXTENSION postgis;"

It's not that Google returning a

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It's not that Google returning a shitpost as the first result is a novel thing, it's that they're burning down rainforest to amplify the shitpost.

When I do the search with &udm=14, that result is pushed even further down, so, yeah: the old results continue to be better in every way.

Thread from Cecilia Tan on the 24th

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Thread from Cecilia Tan on the 24th anniversary of the "Paddleboro" warrantless raid by Attleboro MA police on a consensual BDSM party, including charges for "possession of instruments of masturbatory use," and assault, for a consensual wooden spoon spanking.

And now they're coming after all recreational sex.

scale AI & targeted marketing

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$700bn delusion: Does using data to target specific audiences make advertising more effective? Latest studies suggest not. I know that getting interminable ads for a product category that I just bought seems silly to me, apparently data backs this up.

But the reason that article caught my eye was that I've seen similar numbers thrown around recently: Tom's Hardware: AI industry needs to earn $600 billion per year to pay for massive hardware spend — fears of an AI bubble intensify in wake of Sequoia report. Sequoia Capital: AI’s $600B Question (which isn't as skeptical as the articles reporting on it).

Awful Systems: [long] Some tests of how much AI "understands" what it says (spoiler: very little) is, yeah, the sort of silliness we often see when asking LLMs questions, but something stuck out: There seems to be a bunch of micro-iteration on pattern matching, which seems to be done shy of model retraining. I remember back when we did English parsing with large pattern databases (and, frankly, for most applications I think we got better "plain English" interfaces), but that micro-iteration sure looks like we're back to pattern matching.

Sunday July 7th, 2024

Cut up 2 propane tanks nobody got

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Cut up 2 propane tanks, nobody got blowed up, between the baking soda and the bleach, the mercaptan is pretty neutralized. Looks like good seams for rejoining them after we cut the tongues.

But one of these tanks is just gonna be tone bowls.

Cutting the propane tank

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Cutting the propane tank...

Antihistamines and Covid

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Whoah: American Society for Microbiology: Host-Microbial Interactions : Research Article : The histamine receptor H1 acts as an alternative receptor for SARS-CoV-2

To verify whether other antihistamine drugs could also inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection, we evaluated six first-generation antihistamine drugs, namely, brompheniramine, clemastine, cyproheptadine, diphenhydramine, promethazine, and triprolidine, as well as five second-generation antihistamine drugs, namely, acrivastine, astemizole, azelastine, desloratadine, and loratadine. The PsV inhibition assay showed that all of these antihistamine drugs potentially inhibited SARS-CoV-2 PsVs infection...



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In role playing games, whether person to person like D&D, or online in MMORPGs, you play the hero, wandering from town to town, engaging in combat to build skills to level up. This is all fun and games, until someone says "murder hoboes".

A teenager who has this realization probably giggles a little, and carries on. An adult may... start playing their character differently.

Back in 2016, a game called "Stardew Valley" was released. Building on the whole farming thing, the premise is that you, the player, inherit a farm from your grandfather, and over time restore it to its apparently former glory, all while building relationships with the local townspeople, and exploring the local mines. When you buy an animal (or when one is born on your farm), you're asked to name it, and there's no meat: the pigs dig truffles for you, the sheep and goats and cows are for milk (which, of course, you can process to cheese) and so forth.

It's a game that's kind-of impossible to lose. There are things to unlock, but if you stay out too late or run out of health, you're returned to your bed, perhaps wallet a little lighter, with a note on your mailbox saying that you overdid it and maybe don't do that again.

So it's all cozy and awesome and giving gifts to the non-player characters (NPCs) to get more hearts with them, until...

As one progresses downward in the mines, first the space is natural and the enemies are crab things, your first strikes (or explosives) de-shell them and they run and cower in the corner, or they're slime monsters, but then there's a level all carved stone, with bipedal skeletons, some wearing capes.

And I started wondering "wait, are these part of the civilization that built this space? Am I just a colonial, rampaging through this civilization for ore and gems?"

Another plot point in the game involves "Junimos". These are "forest spirits" who give tasks, and those tasks are fulfilled various parts of the town get repaired and the player gains more access and skills, and then at some point they're so grateful for the assistance that some of them come help on your farm.

So you build them little huts, and you get free harvesting labor. Okay, interesting...

And, oh, look, you can even ... wait ... change the color of them by placing gems inside their huts?

This is where I go from pondering colonialism to staring straight at the camera.

I don't know whether "Concerned Ape" (aka Eric Barone), the author of this game, did this intentionally. It could all just be a reflection of the culture around us, but that's the moment where I realized just how deeply the colonialism was embedded in my expectations.

Which brings me to this Partial Historians interview with Stephanie McCarter, translater of a version of Ovid's Metamorphoses, about deliberately trying to avoid gendered language in her translations when it wasn't in the original.

Which, of course, is reminding me of all sorts of places where the myths as I was originally taught them sure have some assumptions in them. Deep assumptions.

Saturday July 6th, 2024

Sierra Leone ends child marriage with

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Sierra Leone ends child marriage, with jail terms for grooms, and fines for parents and wedding guests.

Thinking about how fraught trying to implement similar legislation in the US would be...

Flammable liquid with hundreds of

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"Flammable liquid" with "hundreds of uses around the home", you say? Hell yeah I'm in.

Car brain gone wild Real estate sign

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Car brain gone wild. Real estate sign advertising a location in terms of 21,000 cars average daily traffic.

Not all the foot traffic that could be in this space ...

Friday July 5th, 2024

civil disobedience

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RT Felicity Shoulders

If Americans showed the same energy for civil disobedience about anything else that they do when it comes to setting off fireworks against the laws of city, state, courtesy, and self-preservation, we would have a three-day workweek, robust national healthcare, and a twenty-year plan for solar-powered luxury space communism.

neighbor is out of town so we went and

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A neighbor is out of town, so we went and checked on their pets before bed, and texted a question. At 11:30, Charlene got up to go to the bathroom, checked her phone, and we got dressed to walk up the hill for a bit of follow up. The fireworks explosions were numerous, with some very large air bursts, so I popped up Watch Duty to see where the local fires were.

We're not gonna make it as a species, are we?

Lots of stuff in the shop today that

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Lots of stuff in the shop today that doesn't photograph well ("really bland doors. I want them unremarkable."), but I think these door pulls are working, even within those parameters.