Kids menus are a weird idea. Is it just a North American thing?
There is a menu, use it. Kids could get anything they want from it, albeit as smaller portions for say half the price. Wouldn’t that be easier than making a separate menu and restricting choices to junk food?
A little gem from Helen Czerski today:
The key point that I think a lot of engineers still don’t get is that their job is not about making widgets that get plonked on top of the world. This is about changing the shape of things inside a working system (Planet Earth) to shift how it operates. Those widgets become part of that system – it’s like operating on a living human. The engineers of the future mustn’t see their job as creating things external to the world.
Which perfectly matches another post I highlighted earlier this year:
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.
So much nodding here, I’m going to need physical therapy.
Daring Fireball had this quote today:
Our expectations for software are different from other products we use in our daily lives.
I forget where I wrote about this before but I remember comparing software with a toaster. Everything in our lives is a toaster: always the same, immutable. Software is the exception. Nerds were fine with its ever changing nature, but computer culture has now been pushed to the population at large. And I would argue that there is a whole class of users—not just your grandmother—who wishes software was like a toaster.
Runaway Jury is one of my favourite movies because it’s about standing up to the corruption and the nonsense that keeps guns in people’s hands. And doing it by fighting corruption with smarts, and just plain old sticking it to them. I so wish it was true.
I’m looking forward to see the PWHL, the new women’s hockey pro league, get started in January. So much work it must be to start a league from scratch. Can’t wait to see the schedules and what arenas the teams will play. Finally some good hockey without undue violence at a good ticket price. Will definitely go see some games.
The last time I saw a live hockey game was women’s Canada vs US at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in 2019! 😱
Independently and a week apart, both my daughter and wife asked what country I’d like to visit and I said the Netherlands. Both responded the exact same thing, and I quote: “You might never come back!”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how much they know I’d love to bike everywhere.
Kottke is opening up comments as an experiment:
Some days, my inbox is the best thing on the internet and I want to bring that vibe to the site.
I’m thrilled to see how this turns out. The web sometimes (too often) feels less and less like the people-centric place it used to be. It’s great to see Jason pushing back because his site is one of the very best things about the Internet.
I puzzle at why RSS fell in popularity while evidently newsletters delivered by email are still very much alive.
The Magic Editor feature on the Pixel 8 exemplifies perfectly the kind of tech that we create not because it’s particularly desired or useful, but because we can and it’s cool. There is no interest here in capturing and celebrating the beauty of the human experience as it really is. Forgotten also is the social responsibility of creating a record of our reality for future generations. No. We can and it’s cool so let’s do it is the extent of the thinking being presented. It’s a sad lack of values.
I don’t know why anyone would want to read the work of Walter Isaacson after the shit job he did for Steve Jobs’ biography. He hadn’t done his homework. And I’m hearing now the same comments about Elon Musk’s bio.
Fool me once, fool me twice, and all that.
My wife was commenting that our dog would have turned 32 yesterday. She knew because her iPhone notified her, thanks to having set the birthday in her contacts and enabling the birthday calendar. That happens to me too, for pets and people. It’s been a problem for years.
And I’m surprised it’s not something that has come up yet on Apple’s radar. Surely higher-ups at Apple get birthday notifications for deceased loved ones too. I’m curious why it hasn’t been addressed. Especially considering that the solution seems pretty straightforward: add a death field to the contacts database.
I picked up my iPhone 15 today. Having carried around an iPhone X for the last 6 years, I love the improved camera. The 15’s front camera is better than the X’s back camera. 😄
However I’m surprised that it doesn’t feel like much of a speed bump. It might just be that we passed the point where phones were “fast enough” for regular use a long time ago. If it wasn’t for the fact that the X can’t get iOS 17, I would’ve been happy to keep using it.
Maybe I’m just a word nerd, but the expression “traffic calmed neighbourhood“ reads to me as “neighbourhood calmed by traffic”, which makes no sense. It should be “calmed traffic neighbourhood”.
And while “traffic calming” fixes the subject of the sentence, traffic is not a living thing capable of emotion, so calming it is just weird. ”Reduced traffic” or “slowed traffic” would be more to the point.
That’s all I got.
Me, every time Siri asks me if I want to send a reply to a text message:
“No, thank you.”
Then I spend the next 2 minutes pondering whether it makes sense and if it’s necessary to be polite and say “thank you” to a computer.
My mom and dad are in their 80s and walking is a skill that they cannot take for granted anymore. That’s been on my mind a lot as I walked and biked around the last two weeks. There are places I can go that are now simply out of reach for my parents. One day that’ll be me. It reminds me to cherish these moments when I’m walking my dog and riding in the woods somewhere.
I pulled out my old Nexus S and Nexus 5 phones today for some testing.
Nexus S conclusion: Cute little device that fits well in the hand, but that screen was incredibly smudgy. It finds oil on my fingers like no other device.
Nexus 5 conclusion: Still one of my favourites, good size, light, no case needed. And since I installed /e/OS on it a couple years ago, it’s nicer and runs Android 7 instead of 6 which is where Google stopped supporting it.
I don’t care much about the AI bandwagon, but I do strongly believe that calling what we have now artificial intelligence is a great exaggeration. We are nowhere near sentient, let alone thinking, machines. All we have is an incremental improvement in automation. We won’t be able to use it appropriately until we see it for what it really is.
Hot take: I suspect that shampoo is more about packaging design than soap science.
Good interview with Meredith Whittaker. In my view, tech is in the process of cementing our biases and flaws. Once anything has gotten through the LLM and AI process, it’s deemed true and accurate. It’s money laundering for data.
These algorithms are trained on data that reflects not the world, but the internet – which is worse, arguably. That is going to encode the historical and present-day histories of marginalisation, inequality etc.
It struck me today that capitalism is something we have to survive. Because if we don’t work and spend most of our waking time making money to put food on the table, we will be on the street and die.
Whereas climate is the other big one we have to survive. But most of us spend virtually zero of our time and energy on the problem, largely because the levers of power to the solutions are not within our reach.
We would love to help the revolution so the human race can survive the climate, but we’re all too busy trying to survive capitalism.
Climate vs capitalism is the ultimate battle and contradiction.
It’s easy to forget now, but before 3 years ago, finding remote work was very difficult. I should know, I’ve worked remotely 75% of the years since the 90’s but I was lucky. Or stubborn. Or both.
Nowadays I love that job postings almost always specify whether it’s onsite or remote. And in software, remote seems to be the default. What’s not to like if they get a larger pool of applicants and lower office costs.
In my continuing quest to be self-reliant after dropping Feedly, today I installed FreshRSS on my domain!
Install and configuration was actually pretty easy, thanks to the browser-based install UI.
I’ll experiment with this for a few days and see how it goes.
Since I dropped Feedly, I had been using iCloud Syncing from within Reeder. However I found it too slow and too battery intensive because Reeder essentially had to fetch from each of my hundreds of feeds. I’m excited to go back to a backend aggregator, one that I host and control.
I cannot stop thinking about this video of the timeline of the universe. And with that perspective in mind, how ridiculous it seems to think of Putin’s war, Alberta’s oil obsession, the U.S. debt ceiling, the AI bandwagon, and so many other pursuits that mean nothing other than hasten our own demise.
We don’t lose when the human race disappears. We lose every day when we don’t cherish and respect the very gift of our existence within the vastness and perpetuity of the universe.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
– Carl Sagan
Two unrelated posts I read today converged to absolute meaningfulness.
On a 6.9 km long timeline of the universe, modern humanity, all of art and knowledge and religion and discoveries and society and love and you and me, all of that fits in the last few centimetres.
All of that, and capitalism.
All of that fitting on a minuscule speck called Earth. So little time and so little space, and yet capitalism assumes, no, demands infinite growth.
Infinite growth. On a tiny speck.
It’s just not possible.
For design work, it seems like all I hear is “Figma this” and “Figma that”. I’ve tried getting used to Figma and Penpot, but you know, my go-to is still Sketch.
I hadn’t visited their web site in a while and I’m impressed. They’re doing a good job telling and showing why Sketch is great. It’s still the best in my opinion and am putting this bit out there to do my part talking about it! ✍🏻
I was looking up Yoko Tsuno, which I was a big fan of as a teen, and am gladly surprised that the English Wikipedia entry has a description that neatly explains what I loved so much about it.
Despite the often exotic settings and science-fiction plot lines, the stories generally remain realistic on the personal level between the characters and friendship, love and spirituality are some of the key themes of the series.
Apologies for the bit of self-promotion, but last April marked 5 years since I started hosting my social posts on my own site. 🎉
Five years later I’m still as happy with this decision as I was then. I post to my site, and it gets cross-posted to social media. Today that means Mastodon. Eventually it may mean something else. But no matter what, steveroy.ca will always be the source of truth.
Before anyone asks, I don’t cross-post blindly and I interact with people where they respond.
I was in a conversation about phone cases today. I miss phone designs that didn’t require a case.
I would argue that, today, we have to use a case because most phones are not easily grippable without one. My iPhone and my Pixel are nice but, without a case, I find that picking them up from a table requires too much dexterity. What I often do is use two hands.
The Nexus 5 is one of my favourite phones ever, in large part because it was light, had great grip, and I didn’t need a case.
What is wrong with Bettman? It’s clear the people in Arizona don’t care about the Coyotes. It’s been going on for a decade. Why the insistence on keeping them there? Meanwhile in Canada there are cities full of hockey-crazy Canadians who built arenas that are just waiting to get an NHL team. Thirty year-olds in Canada have never seen the Cup of their national sport being paraded in any Canadian city. That’s a whole generation. The damage Bettman has done is immense.
30 years without a Canadian team winning the Stanley Cup. That’s the legacy of the Bettman era.
22% of NHL teams are in Canada so, mathematically, we could expect to see a Canadian team win every five years on average. But obviously the proof is in the pudding: the Bettman era has stacked the deck against Canadian teams.
The NHL is too pricey, too big, too showy, too American. We produce enough players; I would welcome a Canada-only Pro league, WHA-style.