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2021 April

  • Without Their Permission is a 2013 book by Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. The central thesis of the book is that modern-day internet breaks down barriers and allows anyone to accomplish great things without having to go through traditional gatekeepers like publishers and such. I actually read the first part of the book a few years ago, and just resumed reading the book now because I saw in iBooks that it remembered where I had stopped. The first part covered mostly the author's involvement in two successful startups - Reddit and Hipmunk. The middle part of the book is dedicated to

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  • Blogs of Yesteryear

    During a recent session of spelunking through old web stuff, I managed to find some older versions of the blog that I hadn't found before (and hence aren't available in the ancient archives). Screenshots of those old versions have been inserted back in the timeline. I guess it's one of those things I never bothered to archive because in theory all of that content had already been exported from Blogspot to Wordpress and eventually to the current site. But there was some content from this archive I hadn't recovered before: the list of blogs I link to in the sidebar!

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2021 March

  • 2021 Site Update

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2021 February

  • Walkaway is a novel by blogger Cory Doctorow. It tells the story of a near-future world and a trend of people going "walkaway". This term means walking away from what they call "default society", characterized by late stage capitalism, massive inequality, ever-present surveillance, and a world controlled by what they call the zottarich, or simply zottas. Not too far from our own present reality of course. Later, the novel also delves into the near-future (?) concept of humans being to upload their consciousness into machines, effectively allowing them to cheat death by running as a "brain in a jar" on

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  • Decentralization

    Will Schreiber argues that decentralization is a narrative mirage: Human history is a story of increasing centralization. From roaming the plains of Africa, to settling down and building homes, to buying food in central markets, to instituting courts of law. Progression is compression. How can I make it so everybody isn’t making their own shirts? Deciding their own justice? Tabulating their own spreadsheets? I've argued a few times on here in favor of decentralization (see 1, 2, 3), and the whole concept of movements like Indieweb is a preference for a decentralized internet where everyone has his or her own

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  • Newsletters, Redux

    A while back I wrote about how I wasn't a big fan of the recent trend of newsletters. Since then, I've realized Substack actually publishes RSS feeds for their newsletters, so I've been following a a bit more of them. I thought I'd recommend a few that I've found to be quite interesting/useful: Money Stuff by Matt Levine. The only non-substack entry on today's list, this Bloomberg column covers financial matters like stock market and investment stuff. (It was certainly useful when following the whole Reddit/Gamestop stock market saga!) Levine likes to go in-depth and long-form, so his columns are

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  • Sincere Blogging

    On Feb. 3, 2021, 11:11 p.m. I wrote: Please write more. Not just on social media, FB, Twitter, whatever. Write on your own sites and blogs. On your tumblrs, wordpresses, whatever. Long-form, rambling, incessant. The world could use more sincere blogging. The above was written mostly as a response to finding so many of my friends' old and inactive blogs in my RSS reader. I like the term I coined there, "sincere blogging". I'd define it as any blogging that isn't for any kind of commercial purpose like for selling something or to generate ad revenue. Sincere blogging can be

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  • Book Review: The Year Without Pants

    "The Year Without Pants" is a book by writer Scott Berkun about his time as a team lead at Wordpress.com back in 2010-2012. This book came out in 2013, and the conceit of the book back then was that Wordpress.com, run by Automattic, was a fully remote company, something that was still a rarity at that time. It's weird reading this book in the context of the current pandemic, where remote work is now the norm among tech companies. So one of the things I like about the book is it's kind of a time capsule back to an era

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  • Link Rot

    1 For a while now, I'd been meaning to go through the links section of this site and clean up/organize all the bookmarks I've logged there over the years (first via delicious and later via pocket). One of the first things I had to do was to go through and identify any broken links. So I wrote a quick Python script to ping the URLs and it turns out there were a lot of them, unsurprising given the archives go back to 2004. I'm not happy with it, but I know link rot is a natural part of the internet,

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2021 January

  • Discussions on tech censorship came to the forefront in recent weeks due to the aftermath of the Jan 6 capitol insurrection in the US. I've been writing down a bunch of thoughts about the complicated issue, let's see if I can hammer them into a blog post. (I also wanted to defer posting about it until after the Biden inauguration, in case more things of interest happen.) Here's where I am now: Trump Ok, so first Trump (or anyone) getting kicked off Twitter (or any service) for TOS violations (inciting violence etc). it's kind of a free speech issue, except

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  • Regular Reviews and Tracking

    One habit I now have that I wish I had started much, much earlier in life would be conducting regular, periodic reviews. These reviews are a sort of written introspection of the time period in question, the target audience being future me. I'm reminded of the important of this because I had been going through old files the last few months and I really enjoy reading through some older entries and basically traipsing through younger me's mind. It's kind of a time machine in a way. And it helps me by providing a sort of foundation for my thinking, so

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  • 2020 Word Clouds

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  • Goodbye Flipboard

    I've been using the Flipboard iOS app as my daily morning news reader pretty much since I first got an iPad. It offered a nice, magazine like UI where you can flip through pages full of images and short article blurbs until you can find something you want to read. The past couple of years and iOS versions though, the app has been performing terribly. Crashes a lot, reader view often fails to load, or flickers and reloads continuously and so on. Just not a very good experience. I'm sure it's not entirely their fault; recent iOS versions (starting from

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2020 December

  • Ephemeral Echoes

    Last week, Twitter added Fleets, their own version of stories (short-lived posts). As could be expected, it's not something I can relate to. I did post one (saying "This is dumb.") just to see what the interface was like, but that's it. I thought about writing a blog post about how I dislike this sort of ephemeral social media, but it turns out that something I'd already written about before. Things don't change I guess, and they just come around. I still can't relate to this kind of thing, since I really prefer having a record of things I've posted

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2020 November

  • I recently did a server migration since I moved to new hosting, The move was from managed/shared hosting to a VPS, these are some notes I took during the process, which I figure might be helpful if I ever tried to do this again. (And maybe someone else finds it helpful too). Links and references to helpeful resources are included. Setting up a webserver and WSGI container I already knew I wanted to use Nginx (managed hosting on the old server always used Apache), that meant needing to choose a WSGI container for the Django apps. The choices were either

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2020 October

  • Leaving Hugo It's been a bit under two years since I migrated the site from Wordpress to Hugo. As discussed in this post one year ago, I was very happy with the general workflow of managing posts through markdown files in git, but had big problems with the Hugo build time, largely a consequence of my social media archiving. At that time, I didn't want to invest effort into migrating to a different backend, but the problem has only gotten incrementally worse since then, so I decided to take the jump and started working on it last month. Migration goals

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2020 September

  • On Mobile App Development

    This post is just quite a few thoughts on mobile apps and mobile app development, all mishmashed together. I don't claim to be a mobile app specialist, at best I've dabbled in them, but enough to form some opinions I guess? A Bit of History My first exposure to mobile app development when I got pulled to help my then-company's then-fledgling mobile team with cleaning up the codebase for their iOS app. This was back in maybe 2011? It was one of those projects where some devs built a quick proof-of-concept demo using new technology, then management liked it and

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2020 August

  • Filed under "Things I Don't Really Grok" Podcasts and audiobooks These 2 are kind of in the same boat. Their main sin is that they are audio-only. When consuming content, my order of preference for formats is roughly: text (+images I guess) (most preferred) video (with audio) audio only (least preferred) I think these preferences have to do with information density: I'm pretty sure I prefer text because text can convey the most amount of information in the least amount of bits. I'll also watch informative videos, to a point. If it's movie-length, it better be damn entertaining. That leaves

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  • On Mozilla and Firefox

    Mozilla made the tech news recently for laying off a whole lot of people. (Official statement). People were alarmed and worried about the future of what is the last major independent browser and the open web, bit it looks like it isn't that bleak. Most of the layoffs were to teams other than those working on Firefox, things like the experimental browser engine Servo, devtools, and MDN. The core Gecko team seems to be unaffected. Not that these things aren't important. MDN, if you're not familiar, is a set of documentation of web standards and browser support, available online, that

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2020 July

  • I was going through some old emails and found some receipts for things I had purchased from the iTunes App Store for my iPad, and I wondered how much have I actually spent on apps/games on the App Store? I went through all the receipts and decided to write mini-reviews for each item as well: Purchase Date Name Price (USD) Still Available on App Store? Notes 2010/10/30 Alien Blue HD - Reddit Client (Unofficial), v1.1.0, Developer: Morrissey Exchange Pty Ltd (17+) 3.99 N Wow, my first ever App Store purchase was a Reddit app! Appropriate since I reddit a lot.

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