Software development tends to be regarded as an engineering practice. But something dear to me is that it’s also creative work. Writing words, creating entities, giving them behaviour and meaning, that is very much what an author does when writing fiction. It’s an art and a craft. That’s personally why I like doing it.
This engineering vs art duality is not recognized nearly enough. Computers talk in ones and zeros, but writing software is far from an exact science.
An awful advice I read recently for software developers was to write blog posts and articles, because it positions you as an authority. You write about it, you’re an authority on the matter. See how easy it is?
If you think you’re concerned about the products and devices that access and use your life’s data, you’re probably not concerned enough.
Damning words from Nemonte Nenquimo, Waorani leader in the Amazon:
[W]e have a word for you – the outsider, the stranger. In my language, WaoTededo, that word is “cowori”. And it doesn’t need to be a bad word. But you have made it so. For us, the word has come to mean (and in a terrible way, your society has come to represent): the white man that knows too little for the power that he wields, and the damage that he causes.
It’s sad how much of Stack Overflow is filled with people repeating already given answers. More and more I see the same response with minor variations. Not surprising though when you realize the system encourages people to use it as a tool to up their reputation.
It’s also sad how much of a focus there is on quick fixes, but not understanding. Too often I see advice that only works in a specific context and the poster is oblivious to that.
The true value of work has been on my mind lately. Is it worth doing as the primary activity of our lives? Work is not a cosmic good and it’s not a requirement for living. It pays the bills, supports my family, but beyond that what do I get out of it?
Most companies make it sound like the work is mission critical and has to be completed on schedule. But it’s a hamster wheel. What I was doing 20 years ago, I still did 10 years ago and I’m still doing it today. Has that work changed the world? Not really.
Maybe it’s time to realize we’re just feeding the machine. Capitalism and infinite growth are human constructs. As such, they can be reconsidered. Right on queue, The Guardian has an article on that.
Many people think using Google, Amazon, Facebook et al is the only way. But that’s not true and we have to be more vocal about doing it differently.
I don’t use Google or Chrome, I don’t shop at Amazon, I don’t ride with Uber, I’m not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And you know what, life is fine.
Always room for improvement, but this is what I do currently.
- I follow news and people using Feedly, and I read it when I very well please.
- I host my own email and my own microblog with WordPress.
- I use non-algorithm alternatives like Mastodon and PixelFed.
- I block ads and tracking with 1Blocker, Better Blocker and DuckDuckGo.
- I prioritize buying local and I encourage a variety of vendors. Let bookstores sell books and grocery stores sell groceries!
I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix last night. I highly recommend it to everyone, even if you think you know the deal. The social fabric is eroding while unregulated corporations watch and monetize everything you do. This isn’t science fiction, this is right now. It’s not inevitable. We all have to wake up and demand regulation.
Capitalism, endless growth, systemic racism, ecological destruction, none of it is inevitable. There are other ways to build a world. It’s important to change that story we’ve been told. Here’s one I can get behind.
I started following Beautiful News a while ago and it’s really well done. I love that it’s not just blanket statements; they give the data points and link to the source.
This one about fruits reducing your risk of diabetes is cool.
If you tried connecting with me on LinkedIn and never heard back, my general policy is not to accept invites unless I can vouch for your qualities.
That rules out people I’ve never worked with. That also rules out people who work at the same place as me but who I have not worked directly or closely with. I even ignored the CEO until I had met him in person and had experienced his leadership.
Plastic companies knew recycling wouldn’t work since the 1970’s.
The industry’s awareness that recycling wouldn’t keep plastic out of landfills and the environment dates to the program’s earliest days, we found.
This is on the same level as oil companies knowing about climate change the whole time. This has to be punished.
The deliberate avoidance of work roadmaps that they do at Basecamp resonates with me. First because I’ve always actively avoided what I call “putting things in boxes”. Make a goal but only use it as a way to propel you. Go with the flow and be flexible. Second because I’ve seen many projects try to pin things down too far ahead and ending up being a ball and chain instead of encouraging insight and creativity.
“Climate fires” instead of “wildfires”. I like it. There is also an interesting video buried at the bottom of this article where the Governor of California makes an emotional case for climate change to be considered seriously.
I’m happy to see voices asking for climate action rising again after many quieter months due to COVID-19. Extinction Rebellion had a good week in the UK and another one is coming.
I’m only sad I won’t be able to attend the next Global Climate Strike on September 25th because I’ll be away helping my mom move. Make some noise!
I’m so used to browsing the web with my content blocker fortifications, whenever I use a browser that shows full content I cannot believe how bad things are and I’m amazed anyone is able to put up with the web that way. (Hi mom!)
I use Safari and my blockers are 1Blocker, Better Blocker, and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials.
The designer in me is convinced that Firefox’s ugly tab UI is one reason for its poor/dwindling market share.
On the plus side I just found MaterialFox. It’s a little much on the Chromy side, but better that than the Firefoxy side.
I released a major update for an old app of mine, Abee, a tool to import contacts into the macOS address book. Useful if you’re coming to macOS from another platform or need to regularly sync from another platform.
What convinced me to dust it off and update it is actually an old customer who contacted me and reminded me of its usefulness. I’m actually pretty proud that this app has been around since 2003!
We had a Corolla loaner today while my car was in for repairs and I can’t get over how bad the design of the interior is. Too many textures, too many shapes, red indicators for normal situations, unaligned graphics and letters. The whole dashboard is a driving distraction. Design this bad should be illegal.
I like that this definition of privacy reminds us that it’s simply about being human:
Privacy is having the choice – it is the right to decide who we tell what, to establish boundaries, to limit who has access to our bodies, places and things, as well as our communications and our information. It allows us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us, and to define those relationships on our own terms.
“Uneventful” is an odd word. “Eventless” makes much more sense.
The concept of shifting baselines as it relates to climate change has been coming up in my timelines lately. It reminds me of the huge snow banks we used to get when I was little, so high that we couldn’t see across the street. Kids’ baseline is much different today than what my baseline was, and same for my baseline versus that of my parents. And nobody panics because it’s so gradual.
I hate Facebook. I’m not even on it. But I despair at the harm they do to society and I despise that they take advantage of my family and friends who are on it.
If I was forced at gun point to choose a job between Facebook and Amazon, I would chose Amazon hands down. I stay away from Amazon like the plague, but that’s just consumerism.
The Climate Strike license is “a software license that developers can use to prohibit the use of their code by applications or companies that threaten to accelerate climate change through fossil fuel extraction”.
Via Kottke.org Quick Links.
Over the last 25 years I’ve heard first-hand from Americans how bad they think the Canadian healthcare system is. Always to my surprise. Especially with the Affordable Healthcare Act that is a step in the right direction but such a drop in the ocean. Good to see one of the peddlers of these lies coming forward with how they purposely wanted Americans to believe this.
The amount of trash left behind by people on a typical UK beach is measured in tons per day? I never would have guessed that sitting in the sand and catching a few waves was that heavy on the environment.
Glad to see Unilever pulling away from Facebook, but it’s appalling that the batshit craziness dial had to get to 11 times 10 for something to happen. Unilever pulling back is not even a good thing, it’s just a bare minimum, if even.
I just watched the first episode of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. I really do appreciate the effort that is being made to educate white people like me. I’ve watched and read a bunch of things that have opened my eyes in recent weeks and hope this will keep coming.
I know I keep saying that kottke.org is the best web site on Earth, but seriously, reading the pandemic stories that readers sent in is inspiring and soothing and human. There is love and grace and eloquence in the world, if you only stay away from the news.
I think this title is telling. America doesn’t have a health care system. I’d complete it with: “it has a healthcare business”.
So apparently the climate crisis is not important enough to host COP26 online. Let’s wait until we can fly again instead!