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I never set out to do this, but somehow I've ended up practicing songs on four different instruments. (Recently got a ukulele for my birthday. Fretting and strumming are hard.)

Maybe universal basic income is what acceptance looks like in a nationalist, capitalist society? You are a citizen, so you are ok and can buy stuff.

skybrian boosted

One of my favorite subtle changes that Firefox and Chrome made recently, and which I really appreciate, is making it so the backspace button doesn't go back anymore.

Can't tell you how many times I've been editing a piece of text, lost focus, pressed the backspace button, then the browser navigated back and I lost my work. Alt+left exists; I don't need the backspace for this.

skybrian boosted

Protecting private (incognito mode) browsing in Google Chrome: The cat and mouse game is going strong. 🐈 🐁

It is very difficult to correctly write to a file. Also, most filesystems are broken:

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U.Alaska budget gutted by 40%:

From the Chronicle story, the total amount cut over the past five years (including this new biggest cut) is more like 63%, from $522M to $192M. And from the NPR story, the likely response is to close one of its three main campuses and all 13 smaller community campuses.

Ironically, the cause is right-wing insistence on a universal basic income of $3000/person from fuel extraction revenues.

skybrian boosted

New blog post: "Tech veganism"

Wherein I try to understand what makes a "tech vegan" (i.e. someone who avoids closed-source software and big tech companies, i.e. probably you), and whether there are parallels with real veganism.

Damnit I forgot the first rule of IT work: never deploy changes to production on a Friday. Hoping we don't have to wait until Monday to get Mom's phone service working again.

"Then in the fall of 1973, I started working on what came to be called CLU. So here was this proposal for a programming language with just a few hints of what might be in it and some statements about “It’d be nice if it had polymorphism. It’d be nice if it had exception handling.” Exception handling was also… people were trying to figure out what that meant in those days. That was another area in programming languages that people were thinking about but had no real idea of what should be done. So the next step was to sort of really get down to brass tacks and figure out what all this stuff was."

"And by the summer of 1973, we had figured out that it was possible to do this with a compiler by having a notion of a linguistic structure that implemented a data abstraction and the compiler would just ensure the abstraction barrier, and the code on the outside would only be able to call the operations. It was nevertheless just a sketch. I mean we didn’t have a language. We just had a proposal for a language. And in that paper, we talked about some issues we didn’t know how to handle. In particular, generics and polymorphism."

"Well, we read the paper on Simula 67, and that didn’t quite have data abstraction in it even though it was about classes and subclasses, and you could see how they could be data abstraction. It had no encapsulation, which is a very critical component if you want modularity, and they were mostly interested in inheritance, which we
saw as a red herring, so we ignored that." - Barbara Liskov

Pretty amazing interview. (I read the transcript.)

And this one explains why it's useful in a UI. Cancellation is important and needs to be handled by default.

Accordion song of the day is "l'Heure Bleue," a nice simple blues tune that I stumbled on looking for accordion samba:

"The name Sgr A* was coined by Brown in a 1982 paper because the radio source was "exciting", and excited states of atoms are denoted with asterisks."*

skybrian boosted

The Supreme Court’s Math Problem:

Jordan Ellenberg explains why, in testing for gerrymandering, asking about deviation from proportional representation is the wrong question. Democratic systems naturally concentrate power to the majority rather than being proportional. The right question is whether that concentration is at the natural level, or is artificially accelerated in one direction or another.


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