Max Tegmark (he of the “Our Mathematical Universe” book) weighs in further on the need to stop asking about the meaning of things, and to just ”Shut up and calculate” (somehow, I don’t think people are going to stop asking about the meaning of things …)
On the “old tech nostalgia” theme, if you first encountered the internet in the early-to-mid 90s, you might recall Gopher: “Remembering the web that wasn’t” (I was nostalgic enough to push a related pic as the cover image for this blog post).
I feel the old “static typing vs dynamic typing” debate has gotten more nuanced recently with ‘spec’ and ‘schema’ in Clojure (i.e. better, fine-grained, runtime constraints). Also, as this article shows, there is a different “sweet spot” for different companies/people, which colors their perceptions of usefulness.
Cool antique stuff: check out this machine that debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
A fake interview with Linus Torvalds on Linux and Git, which made me smile 🙂
This, from almost twenty years ago, is the result of an internal Microsoft satire competition. I feel like copy-pasting the whole damn thing here, but maybe I’ll make a separate post for it, it’s that good.
I wish I understood this better, for now I’ve just shelved it on my “to-read” list: one of those “how is everything really connected” pieces. I’ve stalked blog posts by John Shutt for a long time now, love all the insights in the past.
I’ve started and stopped reading The Elements of Programming a few times, but here’s someone who’s demonstrating the concepts (pun intended) in there.
Connecting programming language design to architecture.
I just don’t have time these days, but I do want to watch “The Orville”; here’s Seth McFarlane discussing it, and the possibilities for science fiction today.
This one tickles a very old itch of mine: a lot of natural processes can really be seen as computation
This one is just … I don’t know what to say. Trekking across the desert and finding an abandoned space shuttle is like some indie video game, not real life. And yet, and yet …
This one is a blast from the past (about twenty two years ago), when Java was launched. But what to make of the following little paragraph?
Herb Sutter put out a real teaser about upcoming metaprogramming abilities in C++
Finally, a short but important article reminds us that regardless of the machine underneath, we program in metaphors, and there’s no point trying to deny that.
You must master the art of metaphor selection, of meaning amplification. You must know when to add and when to subtract. You will learn to revise and rewrite code as a writer does. Once there’s nothing else to add or remove, you have finished your work. The problem you started with is now the solution. Is that the meaning you intended to convey in the first place?
I used to think that I alone struggled with various tools and apps to manage, track and digest all the things I want to keep track of, but I now suspect this is a pretty common source of discontent.
Every few years I go through a phase of ‘churn where I signup for something new, with the hope that now, at long last, my cognitive load will lessen, ideas will be remembered, snippets and quotes will be stored and retrieved, and so on. Yet inevitably, after some initial enthusiasm, the experiment ends in deadlock and decay.
In the best case, the tool or app becomes inconvenient and sluggish, while in the worst case everything laboriously entered in is los forever. So after about a decade and half of this ridiculous waste of time, I thought I’d try to think through to figure out what exactly it is that I’m looking for.
There’s no point pretending that the one true, great tool out there will solve these problems. So this post isn’t about finding solutions, but just listing problems.
I need away to remind me to do something on a one-off basis
I need to be able to track a small group of related tasks
I need to be able to make lists of things, sometimes collaboratively
I need to be able to write medium size posts, like this one, with minimum fuss
I want to be able to save bookmarks (lots of them!) and find them later, by date and ‘tag’
I want to be able to save quotes or extracts from web pages
I want to be able to save pdfs and later search within them
I need an easy way to make short notes without making an official ‘doc’ about something with a title, etc.
I want to be able to quickly snap a photo of something, annotate it, and file it away, sometimes with a reminder
I need to make notes about a certain topic as I go along, sometimes sigh snippets of text or code, and retrieve his later by date or by ‘tag’
Sometimes emails have to be be turned into tasks
I have to be able to quickly capture thoughts and ideas for future retrieval
I don’t want to be locked in to proprietary formats or hidden libraries, as far as possible
It should be possible to ‘sync’ between devices
I don’t necessarily want to keep everything ‘in the cloud’
I want a lot of photos around, forever, accessible from everywhere
I need to be able to search across text, images, pdfs, but without always doing a huge amount of tagging up front
I want to be able to create small ‘projects’ with tasks, but without having to fight some rigid ‘true way’ of defining them (fluid due dates, deferred dates, priorities, easy capture and editing)
I need recurring reminders too (sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly, sometimes biannually, etc)
I don’t want to think too much about where to file a given snippet, all I care about is being able to look for it later as if I had filed it correctly to begin with
I want to avoid the risk of some one going out of business and taking my data with them (stick to regular files and plain text as far as possible)
Yeah, a lot to ask for, but also … it’s not all that much, there has to be a way to get all this to work somehow.
This from an article in Verge on how the App Store is “more like a lottery” now, though an observation in the comments section shows the focus on apps is really too narrow, it’s all of media that has become more like a lottery.
I see your A/B-tested apps, and I raise you our A/B-tested news article. May the most click-bait-y one win!