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It's been 10 months since I last posted about Halt and Catch Fire and, well, here we are again.

Without getting too deep into things, a few thoughts that have come up in my recent watch:

* The search for self-acceptance by all the chars and how relational the show is resonates deeply for me.

* The thing I miss most about teaching is the community-building, interpersonal aspects of the work.

* Also, teaching allows me to center joy of exploration over features / traffic / growth.

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Been rewatching Halt and Catch Fire with a friend and got into a conversation about why it holds
such sway over me.

There are many reasons but a crucial one is this:

It depicts a time in the history of computing where discoveries were still being made and development was "hacker focused" more than "entrepreneurship focused".

I find it borderline impossible to feel anything novel is being done in webdev these days. Also maybe text chat and basic pages are 95% of what I want from the web 🤷‍♂️

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techwork griping 

@vilmibm oh hello there! 👋

Thinking about the CS academia stuff, I realized that most interest/research is toward helping us build bigger systems by either improving:

1. Correctness
2. Performance

I feel really weird because neither of those things interest me. Software is eating the world already anyway.

My concern: software is the fastest growing store of "how to" knowledge on earth and is mostly inaccessible, not only to the general population but programmers too. 🤔

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It's been a little bit hard to figure out how to explain that my on-and-off hobby project for the last 6 years (with a 4 year break) has been a Nintendo emulator in Common Lisp.

I think that's because the emulator isn't the thing it's the thing that leads to the thing.

The real goal is being able to play a ROM and answer questions to help a constraint solver construct a _model_ of the control/data flow of the game. I don't know if this is possible. To quote Zero Cool, "Fucked if I care, man."

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Hi, I'm Brit. 31, cis/het white male, born into more privilege than even that descriptor signifies.

I write code for money but miss teaching.

Too much is important to me and I still don't know how to best honor myself.

I delight in looking at trees, watching dogs run, reading Milosz and Neruda.

I can soak in headphones for hours seeking beautiful sounds.

I instinctively distrust many social structures but I love people madly.

I'm anxious about change and always changing. <3

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And for those who really want to see a mess, I've uploaded to my wiki the org document with all the scheme code used to generate the loops:

pbat.ch/wiki/looptober_2021/

Show thread
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random thought, the "punk" in things like cyberpunk is about having your own agency in spite of world that tries to stop it

🤔

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Marceau, Fisler and Krishnamurthi, "On novices' interactions with error messages"

cs.brown.edu/~sk/Publications/

A rare empirical study that I found extremely useful.

Outside of a univ course, my lessons are slightly different from the paper's:

* Maintain a map of error messages for a project, use this to minimize the vocabulary of error messages.
* Be enigmatic rather than risk misleading
* Make affordances beyond error messages optional. Color-coding has a cost. Not highlighting may be better.

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"I think you have to say: We don't know what programming is. We don't know what computing is. We don't even know what a computer is." And once you truly understand that, and once you truly believe that, then you're free, and you can think anything." - Bret Victor

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@akkartik there's a restatement of the problem in the Glen Chiacchieri episode of the Future of Coding podcast. Choice quote (around 1:45:50):

"Code is open source, but who cares? Nobody can understand it."

futureofcoding.org/episodes/02

I think that I am here, on this earth,
To present a report on it, but to whom I don't know.
As if I were sent so that whatever takes place
Has meaning because it changes into memory.
- Czeslaw Milosz, Consciousness (excerpt)

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Someone recommended the SimEarth manual as noteworthy and I was like “oh, sure, it’ll just have some basic biology fluff” and instead it immediately slams you with “IN ORDER TO HAVE A HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF OUR BIOSPHERE, YOU MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND THE LIVING GODDESS EARTH”

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Just found this new blog post by Sean Costello (ValhallaDSP) with a list of resources on artificial reverberation:

valhalladsp.com/2021/09/22/get

Super grateful that he is so generous with his knowledge. He probably knows more about reverb design than any other person on the planet.

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On the failure of environmental projects that don't involve the communities they purport to serve: "[E]nvironmental justice is not just about the distribution of bad stuff, like pollution, or good stuff, like forestry projects across disadvantaged communities. It’s also about the distribution of power among communities that have historically only been the subjects and experiments of power structures."

bloomberg.com/news/articles/20

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"Programmers do not understand the difference between an abstraction and a wrapper and a generalization. Abstractions are powerful; generalization or wrapping without abstraction is _taking power away_."

lobste.rs/s/3zpeio/models_abst

"When I buy a book, I want to go to a book store and ask for the book I want. With nix I have to go to a printing press and provide instructions for printing the book I want. This is insanity. This is not progress."

lobste.rs/s/sizjqf/migrating_f

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so many people convinced they are "building the future" are actually just rehashing the present and the past. like every new supposedly planet-scale system that is ASCII only on some level, or the cryptocurrency community who's wildest dreams for a future society still involve money, hierarchy, wealth disparity, centralized control. this isn't progress.

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