Posts Photos Archives About

Subscribe: RSS JSON

2021 September

  • Mobile and Tablet Browsing Annoyances

    1 There was this link that did the rounds a couple of weeks ago: How I experience the web today. It's an accurate depiction of the many issues with the modern-day web. Such issues are already annoying on desktop web, but are often exacerbated and hence much worse on platforms such as mobile or tablets, especially given the more limited screen real-estate. Not just screen space, system resources are often scarce on these systems too. All of the popups and ads and whatnot inevitably tend to slow down the mobile / tablet experience. The worst case scenario has to be

    read more (1020 words)

  • Jeremy Keith wrote about the cage of algorithmic recommendations: But that’s not true. You don’t ask “the algorithm” for a recommendation—it foists them on you whether you want them or not. A more apt metaphor would be that you walked by a record shop once and the store worker came out and followed you down the street, into your home, and watched your every move for the rest of your life. What Peter describes sounds great—a helpful knowledgable software agent that you ask for recommendations. But that’s not what “the algorithm” is. And that’s why it feels like a cage.

    read more (895 words)

2021 June

  • Deleting Old Content

    Kev Quirk writes about why he deletes old content: This blog is intended to provide a semi-permanent, point in time snapshot of the various thoughts running around my brain. As such, any thoughts and opinions expressed within my previous posts may not be the same, or even similar, to those I may hold today. I like keeping around my content for a similar reason as above: they may reflect thoughts or opinions that are not the same as those I hold today. They reflect a past version of me and my thoughts and I like that past me lives on

    read more (256 words)

2021 April

  • Blogs of Yesteryear Part 2

    This is a follow up to "Blogs of Yesteryear". This is the remainder of my blogroll from 2004/2005. I feel like the second half is less interesting than the first half, but I figured I might as well go through them as well. geekiness I think the blogs under this session are about general geeky topics. Absurd Genius - looks this was a tech and gaming-focused blog that featured a web portal for the PSP browser. But I couldn't find anymore information about the author. It was formerly hosted on, but that domain doesn't seem to have any content

    read more (1313 words)

  • Google Chrome and FloC

    Google Chrome is adding a new feature that lets their browser target you with ads without using third-party browser cookies. Here's some more info: How to fight back against Google FLoC. But basically it comes down to: if you're a web user who doesn't want your browsing history to be used to target you with advertisments, stop using Google Chrome. There are many alternatives. I'm a Firefox boy myself. For site owners, you can add a Permissions-Policy: interest-cohort=() response header to opt-out of your site being included in the data collected about your Chrome visitors. I've updated this site to

    read more (140 words)

  • 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

    read more (382 words)

  • 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!

    read more (1528 words)

2021 March

  • 2021 Site Update

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

    read more (643 words)

  • 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

    read more (423 words)

  • 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

    read more (398 words)

  • 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

    read more (276 words)

  • 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 back in 2010-2012. This book came out in 2013, and the conceit of the book back then was that, 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

    read more (212 words)

  • 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,

    read more (653 words)

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

    read more (1699 words)

  • 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

    read more (617 words)

  • 2020 Word Clouds

    Jan. 5, 2021, 5 p.m. / / blog / #tech-life / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 124 words
  • 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

    read more (341 words)

    Jan. 4, 2021, 8 a.m. / / blog / #tech-life / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 341 words

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

    read more (207 words)

    Dec. 3, 2020, 8 a.m. / / blog / #tech-life / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 207 words