Maybe it’s just me, but Ontario wants to build 1.5 million homes by 2031 to help the housing market and all I can see is that it’s adding fuel to the fire. More homes without more regulation won’t make prices come down, it will perpetuate the problem. Crack down on house flippers and foreign buyers instead who use housing to make a buck at the expense of regular people who need a place to live.

There’s this really annoying autocorrect bug that I think started in iOS 16: Typing “love” in Messages always gets changed to “live”. Sure there is a certain poetry to it but still, “I live you” is usually not quite what I mean.

I figured out that it’s because I have “Love” in my contacts as my wife’s nickname. Removed it and it stops. But really, removing it is a non-starter so I’ll have to keep living with the bug until Apple fixes it. 🤞🏻

I love Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car à la McSweeney’s. 😄

This car is your ticket to anywhere. Just cruising in it feels like you’re entertaining yourself. It speeds so fast it feels like you’re drunk. Which, let’s be honest, is not recommended. I don’t want to feel like I’m drunk or buzzed while I’m driving; I want to feel safe and secure and, hopefully, get good gas mileage. I’m thinking maybe a Hyundai Kona or a Mazda CX-30.

Many things in politics make me want to cry, so I’ll gladly take this opportunity to laugh. Thank you, British humour:

Boris warmed to his stupidity theme. […] He wasn’t responsible for his own actions. Besides which, he had no idea what the rules and guidance were because he hadn’t yet worked out who had been prime minister at the time.

COVID is part of my daily reality. Not because I have it, but because I still do what I can to avoid it. Long COVID especially. I have seen what it’s like to have a long-term debilitating disease and I know the hardship of caring for someone in that situation.

Lately I learned that Diana Cowern, aka Physics Girl, has Long Covid. I find it very touching to see what she and her husband are going through. I hope she will pull through and be able to make fun and interesting science videos again.

I’m so glad I never bought a Tesla. I can’t imagine how I’d feel driving it knowing the antics of the deranged lunatic that Musk has turned out to be.

Confession time: I used to think he was smart. Now I’m horrified I ever thought that. It’s gotta be a disease, something must have flipped in his brain, right? How could he sleep at night otherwise. Is it money? If it is then I will never complain again about being in debt.

Just stumbled upon this bit from 2015 by Felix Salmon that potentially rings even more true today than it did then:

If your way to conquer global inequality is for rich people to get together and conquer it for you, then it’s not going to happen. Really.

I was searching online for a specific cable. I only found it at Walmart and Amazon. The latter was more appropriately priced but I don’t have an Amazon account so I asked a friend to order it for me. The purchase was not made on my computer nor using my email address, but within the hour I started getting junk mail from Amazon. Fuckers.

Considering that I already use content blockers and log out of sites when browsing, I decided it’s time for the next step in this arms race: clearing cookies. 🔥

This cry from the heart about the state of the Internet? I get it.

And that sucks because there are no real public spaces on the internet. Here in reality, I can fuck off to a park and hug a tree and sit on a bench and do stuff without ads, without anyone trying to track me, and without having to pay a dime. There was a time within my memory when people tried to make websites feel like semipublic places.

It’s not just that accounts are required on so many web sites. It’s also the ads and the tracking that you have to block. It’s the literacy in privacy that is needed to fend off the inevitable cookie prompts. It’s the algorithms taking control over what we see online. It’s the countless requests for a “good review” whenever you buy anything. It’s distinguishing the lies and the self-serving bullshit from the good stuff. The web now is so user-hostile.

Lately I’ve been noticing things that, if invented today, would require an account to use, but do not because they were invented before the digital age.

Example – Charging stations: You need an app and an account for every single brand of charger you want to plug your car into. But at gas stations, you can fill up, before paying even, and all you need is cash or a credit card. No credentials required.

Next up – Radio: Can you imagine if someone invented today a way to transmit sound over the air? It sure as heck wouldn’t be free.

Ever been told or hinted by a doctor that you’re fine and you should see a psychologist? This hits home for me because I’ve supported my wife through things like this.

According to Dr. Matthew Burke, a cognitive neurologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, it’s one of the most neglected areas in conventional medicine: How pain or other factors can modulate the brain.

“We’ve failed, really, to address some of these complex border-zones between medical and neurological illness and psychiatric illness,” he said.

This is so important. I’ve been there, home from the hospital after a health scare, trying to handle unexpected mental or physiological repercussions, and finding ourselves on a bumpy road to recovery without a map.

There are protocols for people recovering from cancer or heart disease, he said, yet when he was discharged from the hospital, there was little follow-up, and no discussion of potential mental health ramifications from his illness.

When you’re shopping for a car:

Hey come buy our cars, they’re so reliable you won’t believe it. Quality is what we do. Here’s all the awards that we won repeatedly. When you buy with us, you get peace of mind.

When you’ve made your choice and you’re negotiating to buy it:

Oh we really recommend that you get the extended warranty. Think about it if anything breaks. Repairs are so expensive, and you never know, things happen. That console display? That’s $5,000 right there. The manufacturer warranty only gets you so far. You really need to protect your investment.

Sometimes you want to link to a web search but not impose your choice of search engine onto your readers. Seems like we need a way to launch the user’s browser default. We have mailto for your email app. Why not search for your favourite search engine?

I watched The Good Nurse today. That’s two movies in a row based on actual events. And I realized that those are our documentaries now. We watch a Hollywood movie and walk away thinking we know what really happened, when what we actually get are variably fictionalized accounts.

Seems dangerous. But at the same time, I don’t see many people willing to sit through a 2-hour documentary. Best to use the movie as a platform to dig further into the real thing.

She Said is one of those movies that should not be rated or ranked. But as someone who did not know how Weinstein was brought to justice and how #MeToo started, I found the movie to be really well told, well paced, and incredibly acted.

I can’t imagine how emotional it must have been to do many of these scenes. It’s absolutely unacceptable that women live in fear in any aspect of society, but unfortunately it continues. Let’s keep hearing these messages until it hopefully stops.

I read the beginning of the piece about the architecture of the Facebook iOS app and stopped reading in disgust. It’s not true that an app like Facebook has to be that complicated. I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a codebase that could not be simplified. The reality of software development is complexity tends to grow linearly with time passing, either because it’s left unchecked or because it’s glorified. The Facebook app sounds like the latter.

I started porting Climateer from UIKit to SwiftUI and I’m using it as an experiment to check the feasibility of doing it top-down. I started with the App struct holding everything else, rewriting some views in SwiftUI and wrapping others in UIViewControllerRepresentable for the time being.

It’s like having two entry points into my app. I can comment out @UIApplicationMain in my AppDelegate, uncomment @main in my App struct, et voilà, I run from SwiftUI. No complex project configuration or plist incantation needed. Apple did a nice job making it easy to go full-SwiftUI at the app level.

Several years ago I was contracting at a software development shop. The place was infested with interesting problems that I won’t go into here, but I’m reminded of the day where a Q&A was held with the director of engineering. Someone asked what attracted him to work in technology. His response was, verbatim:

Because I like to build cool stuff?

He said it like a question too. This exemplifies the culture that surrounds tech.

I have been critical of the culture of technology for years. Especially in software where we tend to explore whether we can do something much more than whether we should. This wonderful post by @[email protected] hits the nail right on the head:

However thoughtful or well intentioned, a developer lives, works and is accustomed to a space where having fun “tinkering” is habit, using the “parts”/patterns already lying around the norm, and making tools/features that are seemingly magical to use in their ease or laziness the aim, but, deep consideration of the system wide design uncommon.

A developer sees themselves more like a young person hacking away at something for fun. This is still held as an ideal. They don’t tend to see themselves as a professional contributor/operator of an important social system with serious responsibilities.

I keep seeing ads on the boards during NHL game broadcasts that say “The oilsands are on their way to net zero.”

Yes! Oil is not the problem! Let’s keep producing it, but completely clean this time, somehow! Easier and cheaper methods of producing clean energy exist, but let’s keep burning oil ya?

Are we insane?

A Paw Print Apparition

After my dear 8 year-old cat passed away in September, we made arrangements to have her cremated. Considering what she meant to us, and still under the shock of her loss, we wanted it to be a private cremation where we could be present. After much research, my wife found a pet crematorium run by a lovely couple located on a large wooded property well outside the city. That was perfect.

The day of the cremation, it was raining. We were allowed to take our time saying our last goodbyes and we were able to place her ourselves into the crematorium. It was surreal. It didn’t seem possible to me that she was gone. While we waited, we took a walk on a trail that they had through the woods. Being surrounded by nature was soothing, even though it rained a little bit.

On our way back, we walked without hurry on the gravel path to the house. And there, among thousands of other ordinary rocks, I spotted one. It was flat, round, about 3/4 inch wide. On its face, a pattern was drawn. One medium circle with four smaller ones arranged in a fan around it. Clear as day, a perfect paw print.

I stopped walking, staring at it. I stood there trying to understand what I was seeing. My wife had seen it too. Out of a million rocks, we were both struck by the same one. And before either of us could formulate any coherent words, she instinctively reached down. She barely touched it, but in an instant the image smeared. Rain drops. The tip of her fingers had released the surface tension that held the manifestation in place, causing all the drops to combine and spread. And now it was just another wet rock.

It’s only then that we looked at each other and realized we had both witnessed the same thing. As perfect and implausible as it seemed, for us it meant something. Our precious darling was OK.

I believe in facts and science. But I also believe that we interpret the world the way that we need to in order to make sense of it. Not all that exists needs to be explained rationally. Not everything that happens has to make sense. That day, five rain drops fell from high up in the sky and landed in a perfect artwork on a single rock. We shared a moment that was real and that made us feel more at peace.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. My wife was acting a little strange. As I walked into our bedroom, she was following me closely. And there on the bed was the sweetest little kitten, seemingly only a couple months old. Instantly my heart melted at the sight of this little bundle of fur staring at me with her big round eyes. Inside I worried, was I ready for this, after such a difficult loss?

That’s when my wife revealed how she had found this kitten. And more specifically when she was born: the same day we had cremated our other cat.

She hadn’t looked for a litter born on that date but there it was when she visited the breeder’s web site. She went to see them and she said she knew. As she related all this, we both remembered that improbable paw print on that rock among a million others. Some things just don’t need an explanation.

That night our new kitten fell asleep in my arms. She instantly became my companion and has since been following me around everywhere. She’s laying down right next to me as I write this. And you know, I’m a rational person but let me tell you this.

I lost many cats over the years who meant a lot to me. And in this kitten I keep seeing traits from all the other ones. We see her do something, and anyone in the household can instantly tell you which of our previous cats that comes from. It can be a pose she takes, a sound she makes, a habit she has. She’s only three months old but seems aware and smart way beyond that.

I am acutely aware that we sometimes see what we want to see. But that paw print, it will always mean something to me. The pain I felt losing my orange fire was devastating. And somehow she knew that. I thought that paw print meant she was OK, when really, now I know it was her making sure that I’m going to be OK.

Finally! I’ve been saying this for years to whoever will listen. Craig Hockenberry saw the light:

Federation exposes a lot of different data sources that you’d want to follow. Not all of these sources will be Mastodon instances: you may want to stay up-to-date with someone’s, or maybe another person’s Tumblr, or someone else’s photo feed. There are many apps and servers for you to choose from.

It feels like the time is right for a truly universal timeline.

Honestly, the news that Tesla is dropping prices by as much as 20% pisses me off. I know it’s capitalism 101. Demand drops, prices drop. But really, is that the world I want to live in?

I’ve been shopping for my next car. The used prices are decisively insane right now. A used car is more expensive than a new one because of shortage and demand? This is real people’s livelihood this system is toying with. Fuck that.

Unsurprisingly, hardware controls are found to be safer and faster. No way.

In 2016 I was one of those people who put down a $1,000 reservation for a Tesla Model 3. Until the car was revealed the next day and I asked for a refund.

Having a background in industrial design, it made no sense to me then to sacrifice safety by eschewing all physical controls.

Form follows function is the first thing we learned in design school. Give me buttons that I can feel and manipulate without looking.

The Increasing Urgency of The Emergency

It’s hard to disagree with anything in Extinction Rebellion UK’s latest announcement:

[D]espite the blaring alarm on the climate and ecological emergency ringing loud and clear, very little has changed. Emissions continue to rise and our planet is dying at an accelerated rate.

Their latest plan to have 100,000 people occupy the UK Parliament in April is bold. And for the life of me, I can’t think of a reason not to try.

Despite Extinction Rebellion actions, despite Greta Thunberg, despite marches all around the world, despite countless governmental declarations of a climate emergency, despite climate technologies springing up, despite some news organizations finally giving climate change a serious look, what progress have we really made?

Global emissions are still rising, our carbon budget is still being spent at an alarming rate, social inequality is still growing.

The maddening thing is that many of us would change career in a heartbeat if doing so could make a difference. Most of us would choose a better way of life if the choice was made available. All of us would pull the right levers if we only had the means and power to access them.

I buy LED lightbulbs, I avoid eating meat, and I drive electric, but really, it’s not what every single one of us does that will make a difference, it’s what governments and businesses do.

Moving My Social to a Canadian Server

After years of being on for social media, a few days ago I moved to, a little Canadian corner of the Fediverse. 🇨🇦 This site is still the source of truth, and as always you’re welcome to follow me using RSS. But now whatever I post here gets cross-posted to instead.

That was way overdue. I had been looking to move for a while. Thanks to the growth of the Fediverse, there are now thousands of servers catering to all kinds of interesting communities. The server is a very general instance with people from all over the world. Nothing inherently wrong with that. But it has less of a community feel and its local timeline lacks an underlying theme. Which really is one of the points of the Fediverse, a collection of independent and interacting communities.

My interests are varied and I didn’t see myself joining a server specific to design or software development, for example. When I’m on the web, being Canadian is a big part of my outlook, so I was pleased to find When I read that it has official backing from CIRA, that made it a no-brainer for me.

It’s very pleasant to finally look at my local timeline and feel commonality with other people who are posting. We’re all people who care about Canada experiencing the same weather and going through the same events, whether it’s sports, politics, what have you.

In a more general sense, it’s been both odd and instructive to read the impressions of people who are new to Mastodon coming over due to The Great Twitter Meltdown. Social media doesn’t have to be owned by a corporate entity. Social media should be by the people, for the people. And who knew that buying Twitter for $44 billion and running it like a personal playground is what the world needed to realize there are better options?