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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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“Hertzbleed: Turning Power Side-Channel Attacks Into Remote Timing Attacks on x86”

When constant-time crypto code doesn’t run in constant time…


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The best way to align incentives for software companies - that is, to bring "most functional, useful software" in line with "most profitable software" - is to require that most classes of software have robust data portability guarantees, both in and out, before asking for money.

Only when most software is built in such a way that users can simply, easily, and quickly move between comparable solutions will software companies be forced to optimize for utility to the user, rather than lock-in or network effects.

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I'm moving all my public git repositories away from GitHub, to the little git forge hosted on

The move isn't complete and the new destination isn't pretty yet either, but I have already gone ahead and removed everything from GitHub.

Feels good, and gives motivation to tidy up, and publish what I think is useful to keep.

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Why does "AI" currently feel so dismal? Can we make it better? 

AI with reduced problematic biases, more in the control of users requires different structures & architecture. There are promising paths for that, I highlight some here:

The main problem: centralized players are *disincentivized* to fund accountability.

I still highlight Leilani Gilpin's PhD dissertation as being the right kind of experimentation and thinking:

It's a great read. Uses propagators to build explanations of why a machine learning system made the decisions it did (amongst other things)

Source code is not virtuous on its own. It liberates only in proportion to the time we have to reverse it. From something I wrote recently:

The code is an artifact, the leftover cocoon of the program being written.
I would like, as much as possible, to have tools for exploring the shape of a process as it lives, exploring the data it operates on, and understanding the constraints of the problem, rather than relying on code to understand one specific approach to solving that problem.

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Episode 47: What is Lisp?

A light dive into Lisp's history, what makes Lisp so powerful, and the many, many kinds of Lisps out there!

(ALSO!!! @cwebber is giving a "Intro to Scheme" tutorial at the NEXT Hack & Craft meetup!)

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Software is just an idea that you've taken out of your head and turned into a machine. That's all it is. Somebody's idea that has been turned into a machine.

When you're making decisions about investing in software - with time, money, trust, anything - you're making decisions about the people behind it, and their ideas.

If you learn something about the people and their ideas, that gives you pause? Revisiting your investment in the software in light of it is totally reasonable.

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The thing about large language models like GPT-3 and Lambda describing the experience of being self-aware is they can also describe the experience of being a squirrel.

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sure it sucks that we have to use computers for everything but you have to appreciate the commitment to the bit

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I think we should think about "reverse engineerability" when we design software. it should be possible for a programmer to read through code and get an understanding of data and code paths

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i’m the guy whose online experience is holding onto a goldfish bowl on the back of a jeep

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Hi, I’m gwil. I’m a programmer, illustrator, and father of two.

I used to work at a war crimes tribunal, a few e-commerce places, and am now using my practice to build alternative distributed #p4p systems.

Right now I’m working full-time on Earthstar, a FLOSS tool for offline-first, small, undiscoverable networks.

I also used to have the time to make a lot of odd-format, narrated webcomics like this one:

Thank you for letting me in here! #introduction

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I guess as you get older, dealing with "code rot" starts becoming a larger and larger part of your life than it did when you and the Internet were younger.

As does the quiet, pervasive background hum of terror it brings you when you realise that all the knowledge and skill in our global civilization is now Code, and is Rotting.

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