Steve Roy

Yesterday, CBC broadcasted the Rebellion episode on The Nature of Things. Interesting timing and interesting tone considering Biden making climate a priority again in the US, and Canada announcing new targets this week along with a fair amount of money for climate initiatives in the new budget. I’m glad to see this issue come to the forefront again, despite the pandemic!

I love that the NHL made a North division so all Canadian teams only play against Canadian teams for the entire season. I know it’s because of COVID and probably temporary, but deep down I really hope we keep it that way. I love it.

I love this so much. It perfectly expresses thoughts I’ve been having about the madness of human complexity, and how straightforward common sense is too often lacking.

The boat is stuck.

That’s all there is to it.

I installed Microsoft Edge on my Mac yesterday to test something and was surprised to see that it uses an installer and the dreaded Microsoft Updater thingy. Also the app comes up full screen, hiding everything else. So not Mac-like. Apparently Microsoft is institutionally unable to make anything simple and self-contained. I uninstalled and cleaned up but now I feel like my laptop has cooties.

LinkedIn has this new “Remember and sign out” feature where “You won’t need to enter your sign in information the next time you visit LinkedIn.” So, huh, how does that count as signing out again?

I always find it interesting that “mortgage” has the French word for “death” in it. I looked up the etymology. It is indeed from the Latin “mortuus” meaning death, but I can only surmise that it means engaged in this contract until death. Great.

I intuitively would have guessed that reading code partially involves areas of the brain related to language, but it appears not to be the case. From an MIT study published in December 2020:

Instead, it activates a distributed network called the multiple demand network, which is also recruited for complex cognitive tasks such as solving math problems or crossword puzzles.

However, although reading computer code activates the multiple demand network, it appears to rely more on different parts of the network than math or logic problems do, suggesting that coding does not precisely replicate the cognitive demands of mathematics either.

The fact that understanding code is a distinct skill makes sense but it’s interesting that there is evidence of that in brain activity.

With the US presidency shit show behind us and their return to appropriate climate policies, I’ve been reflecting how little action (none?) there is from the Canadian government. It’s very much clear that there is no plan. And let’s be clear, the bare minimum of a carbon tax is not a plan. We’re not working to reinvent our economy, we’re just riding the oil train as far as it will take us without proactive emergency action.

When I bought our last TV a couple years ago, I was amazed how dumb TVs have for all practical purposes vanished from the market. One way was to pay well over $1,000. The other was to get a commercial monitor. But then those things are not necessarily designed for quality home viewing so the screen specs and viewing angles are not as good. It’s sad that Grandma Sally and Uncle John have no idea what’s going on when they buy a “smart” TV.

I saw that Dash 6 is out and for about 12 seconds I hoped that they ditched the browser-like search bar, but no such luck. The Dash 4 and prior UI allowed for 1-click navigation between search results and that tended to accommodate my documentation searches better. Too bad, I used to be a big fan of this tool. I’m starting to wonder if I should write my own. What do you use?

It’s been years and I still don’t understand why macOS updates mess with Apache config and you have to manually put it back the way it was. Never mind that we can talk to our devices and send spacecrafts into space.

Mark Carney’s piece is right on for me but this particular bit has been on my mind:

[T]o put the market into service of humanity and once again have society’s values drive value.

Has society ever had a say in what has value? I’m not a historian but it seems to me that value is historically defined by those in power. Today that includes businesses. I think we are at a unique time where more of us want the people to decide what has value. Far from a done deal though. Those in power won’t give that up easily.

I was just reading Gruber’s Apple report card. His D grade for the Apple TV is about right. It really feels like they don’t have a team assigned to this product. I don’t get it. They introduced this OS years ago with game support and it seemed like it was the beginning of finally putting their weight behind this thing. But no, they just let it languish there and the UX is still frustrating.

The whole range anxiety thing pertaining to electric cars is weird. How is that different from a long trip with a gas car wondering if you’re going to make it to the next gas station?

I heard from a recruiter today for a job “with 100 fortune of Canada”. Also no punctuation. And yes, I am a language snob. But if your job requires communication skills, why does this happen all the time?

English is my second language too so I feel entitled to complain about it. Words matter.

If it wasn’t already obvious, it is now painfully clear that the United States have lost the moral high ground when lecturing other countries about democracy.

I just finished re-reading Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. I had forgotten how good the short story is, and how much of it was used almost verbatim in the movie. Such genius. 👌🏻

Everybody’s doing a conclusion to this year from hell so here’s mine. What happened in 2020? It’s like I didn’t do anything. Didn’t travel, didn’t have drinks with friends, didn’t go to any weddings, didn’t attend any memorable concert, didn’t see any great movie, didn’t go to the gym, didn’t go to any climate march, didn’t, didn’t, didn’t. I have no memories. 2020 is a memory hole. So there.

Maybe once it’s all over and the frustration has subsided, I can look back and actually remember the things I did do.

What a waste of focus and attention this Brexit saga has been. The time and mental energy people have had to put into this would have been much better used advancing climate and social issues. Seriously.

It came up a couple times recently that junior developers can do the easy stuff, “like the UI”. I’ve seen that happen often and I couldn’t disagree more.

UI is the integration of all sub-layers and it’s hard to do it well. It’s also the area that is the most nuanced and that most affects the users’ perception of your app.

Don’t put cheap money on your UI. Do it right.

When I was young, I used to wonder how factories could keep producing stuff day after day after day and no one seemed to be worried about it. The word “unsustainable” wasn’t in my vocabulary at the time. Now I keep thinking “anthropocene” and that our parent’s generation had no concept of human beings having the capacity to shape a planet.

Now human-made stuff outweighs the Earth’s biomass. Think about that.