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:

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.

All of which is essentially unfit for someone trying to affect the culture of a social space that emphasises the importance of culture over convenience. Arguably, the archetypal developer struggles with that very idea.

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?

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 Micro.blog, 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.

It’s odd that Treehugger.com does not have an RSS feed. They used to have one, which I followed assiduously. But a few years ago it just stopped. I wrote to them about it but never heard back. 🤷‍♂️

Vegan shepherd pie was on the table for dinner tonight. So good and it never ceases to amaze me how going vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean letting go of the usual staples. In this case, green lentils are a great meat replacement.

It just came to my attention that Mazda finally has an EV in 2022, the MX-30, but it only has 160 km of range. Is this a joke?

I have an old Leaf from 2016 that can go further. Who is going to pay $40k in 2022 for this little range?

That might explain why I haven’t heard of it until now, let alone seen one on the road.

Seeing all these new people land on Mastodon, I really hope that companies will realize they should host their own Mastodon instance instead of their employees creating accounts on random instances all over the place. I’m thinking of news organizations, for one.

It’s absolutely fantastic that we endeavour to explore space and I’m excited that we’re going back to the Moon. I hope Artemis has a successful launch!

I can’t say I’m not apprehensive though. Because what’s not cool is the debris that every launch leaves orbiting around the Earth. And if we trash the Moon the way we trashed Earth and its orbit, I will be less than pleased.

We have to clean up after ourselves. It should be like camping: leave it the way you found it.

SteveRoy.ca and AptApps.ca are now running on a faster server with more resources. My provider HostPapa has been on my case for some time due to the increase in traffic. I tweaked my Cloudflare configuration to cache as much as I could, but I was still hitting the limits of my plan. In the end, HostPapa suggested I switch to a beefier plan for half the price. Who am I to say no?

I don’t think these recent issues have impacted visitors much, but if nothing else the sites should generally be snappier.

With Twitter in crisis since the acquisition by Elon Musk, it’s been great to see the large number of people who decided to give Mastodon a whirl. The influx of new faces has brought a lot of scientists, artists, engineers, and journalists, among other things. I find that it gives my timeline a bit of a different flavour, in a good way.

Initially I was a bit worried that the mob might bring with them some of the bad side of Twitter but, so far at least, it’s been great. Most new people seem to be pleasantly surprised that Mastodon is a more human, more safe variety of social media. It’s made of smaller communities that are well moderated, and there is a much lower tolerance for negative behaviours.

Having left Twitter and other such social media silos in 2018, I’m happy to see more people trying out ethical platforms. Whatever happens I hope it has a permanent impact.

Even though I left Twitter years ago, I do feel sadness regarding what’s happening. It’s tragic and worrisome that anyone with enough ego and money can come in and deface a place that means so much to people.

It’s actual lives that are impacted, through the jobs lost, the follows gutted, and the social fabric eroded.

Here’s to hoping we can all learn the lesson that the Internet was always meant to be made of small interconnected sites—a worldwide web!—not giant siloes.

Curious to address my iCloud dependency, a few months back I set up my own Nextcloud instance via Cloudamo. So far I’ve only experimented with uploading some of my contacts and calendars. With CardDAV and CalDAV, it integrates just fine with all my devices. For $4/month, I own my data and I can easily go back and forth between iOS, Android, macOS, and Linux. I should take the time to go all in soon.

With yet another instalment of the Twitter Shit Show in full swing, I thought I’d look up when I walked away from that. May 21, 2018 is when.

I can also say that this other post from the same period is still holding up very well:

Not that Twitter is the yard stick by which other social sites should be measured, but it’s now been three weeks since I closed that account, and it’s been… just fine. I miss a few people who had interesting takes, but I’m slowly discovering new people on Mastodon and Micro.blog. 🎉

The great failure of the Internet is that the tools to make your personal home on it never evolved.

Think about it. When you create an account on something like Facebook, you automatically get your own space where you can post and follow people. There is no reason for personal web sites not to have played that central role instead.

But the tools to set up a web site never got easy enough for regular people to use. And we invented RSS to follow other web sites, but that never evolved to be bidirectional and interactive.

I’m reading yet another article that tries to argue that multithreading is too hard and too heavy so we need fancy concurrency frameworks to rescue us from that complexity. Yawn.

My question is, when did you last write an app that was doing such intensive concurrent work? If you work at SpaceX on rocket guidance systems, maybe. But for the rest of us mere mobile app developers, we make simple requests to populate a list with some text and images. Hardly rocket science, so can we stop pretending that we’re all struggling with multithreading please?

I’ve kept this tab open in my browser since my cat passed away a few weeks ago. I was web searching for anything related to coping with grief, and this woman’s lovely words led me to the wave analogy of grief that someone posted on Reddit. It resonates with a lot of people, including me.

Keeping this tab open forever doesn’t make sense, but I do want to remember the path that led me to it and to that Reddit piece. So this is my bookmark.

So, the NHL now displays virtual ads on the boards of game broadcasts. In principle, that means they can show ads specific to your market, which I could understand. In practice though, that means the ads are constantly changing and they are animated. This happens during the play. It is incredibly distracting and takes away from the game. It falls in the category of it’s not because we can do it that we should. I purchased a $200 subscription for this shit?

My daughter suggested we start a company that makes TVs that automatically replace commercials with cat videos.

I think she’s on to something.

How are we to have faith in politics when Tories take three months to pick Liz Truss but she turns out to be so incompetent that, weeks into the job, the country is falling apart and everyone is ready to give her the boot?

How do we believe in politics when Conservatives elect Danielle Smith, whose lack of belief in science and understanding of social privilege promptly lands her the nomination for the most offensive thing a politician to have ever said?

How can we ignore politics when it produces the Putins, Trumps, and Bolsonaros of this world, who would rather kill, lie, and profit at the expense of the very life we all hold dear?

I’m sad that the Green Party of Canada has been self-disintegrating since Elizabeth May stepped down. I care much more about issues than political parties and I’ve been using The Green Party for years as a way to vote symbolically for action on climate and social issues. If they fall apart, I worry who I will vote for.

What makes some workplaces fond of acronyms? I regularly see or hear phrases at work that are so full of jargon as to be incomprehensible if you’re not “in the know”. It makes me feel like it’s a private club, and new hires have to pay the price by constantly asking what they mean or risk not being in the loop. Why not optimize for clarity and call things what they are?

The redesigned remote that comes with the Apple TV 6th generation is such a large improvement over the previous version. Every aspect that was bad has been made pretty much perfect: the weight, the size, the interaction, the buttons. And they managed to keep and improve what was good about it: the touch pad. I love to see industrial design done well.

I’m not proud of how long it’s taken me to finally do this, but today I scheduled my first blood donation. I have no excuse but I’m looking forward to it. I created an account with Canadian Blood Services and installed their app in the hope that this will remind me to do it regularly.

What spurred me to finally do it is the frequent radio ads they run. There is currently a real urgency for blood across Canada. Combined with the alarming hospital staff shortages, and how helpless I feel, donating blood really seems like the very least I can do.