Archive for March 2017

Self Driving Trucks will Change our Economy

I think some of the claims are exaggerated in the video above [ No, ‘truck driver’ isn’t the most common job in your state ]

but still, the impact will be huge, especially when you add into consideration the rest of the supporting infrastructure surrounding it, gas, cafes, clinics, etc. especially in many small towns.



Nick Denton believes the ‘good internet will rise up again’

“Facebook makes me despise many of my friends and Twitter makes me hate the rest of the world,” Gawker founder Nick Denton said.


…“On Google Hangouts chats or iMessage you can exchange quotes, links, stories, media,” he said. “That’s a delightful, engaging media experience. The next phase of media is going to come out of the idea of authentic, chill conversation about things that matter.”

“Even if we’re full of despair over what the internet has become, it’s good to remind yourself when you’re falling down some Wikipedia hole or having a great conversation with somebody online—it’s an amazing thing,“ he added. ”In the habits that we enjoy, there are the seeds for the future. That’s where the good internet will rise up again.”

Source: Gawker founder Nick Denton believes the ‘good internet will rise up again’ | Macworld

The Twelve-Factor App

In the modern era, software is commonly delivered as a service: called web apps, or software-as-a-service. The twelve-factor app is a methodology for building software-as-a-service apps that:

  • Use declarative formats for setup automation, to minimize time and cost for new developers joining the project;
  • Have a clean contract with the underlying operating system, offering maximum portability between execution environments;
  • Are suitable for deployment on modern cloud platforms, obviating the need for servers and systems administration;
  • Minimize divergence between development and production, enabling continuous deployment for maximum agility;
  • And can scale up without significant changes to tooling, architecture, or development practices.

The twelve-factor methodology can be applied to apps written in any programming language, and which use any combination of backing services (database, queue, memory cache, etc).

Source: The Twelve-Factor App

Password Rules Are Bullshit

If we don’t solve the password problem for users in my lifetime I am gonna haunt you from beyond the grave as a ghost

Source: Password Rules Are Bullshit

Tech Bros: The Indicator Species

It’s not so much that tech bros are bad in and of themselves, it’s that they’re a indicator species for an ecosystem. Like an algal bloom, their overabundance is a sign that the balance is amiss.

The Silicon Valley startup ecosystem depends on venture capital. If VCs are putting in money, they want to see a return (and a big one, because of the expectation that nine out of ten companies, at a minimum, will crash and burn). And they want to see it ASAP, because that’s how the time value of money works, and because companies are burning money like liquid hydrogen as they try to achieve lift-off. So there’s an enormous pressure on founders to produce, which inevitably selects for people who are prepared to sleep under their desk for the chance of having a breakout company (and, not incidentally, making an enormous return for their VCs, who are presumably sleeping soundly in their nice Design Within Reach beds). The system doesn’t select for women, for people who have families or lives outside of work, for thoughtful people. And by not selecting for them, it actively pushes them out, creating a culture that rejects and is intolerable for them (witness the much-documented sexism and ageism of tech culture). On top of all that, we as a culture socialize boys to be over-confident in themselves and to be deeply messed up about gender, and then there’s the Dunning-Kruger effect, and then we give them a bunch of money. So it’s not surprising that tech bros (or be both more precise and less ad hominem, techbro behaviors) come out of this system.

Source: Metafoundry 4: Indicator Species

911 Exploit Could Have Caused Grave Problems Across the US

Apple promises to fix a 911 exploit soon. Back in October, an iOS exploit caused thousands of iPhones to dial 911 without user input. The situation got so bad that some U.S. call centers almost went offline. These are the findings of a four-month government investigation, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Source: 911 Exploit Could Have Caused Grave Problems Across the US

What do Uber, Volkswagen and Zenefits have in common? They all used hidden code to break the law.

Coding is a superpower. With it, you can bend reality to your will. You can make the world a better place. Or you can destroy it.

You may be able to fool the regulators, the police, the judges. You may be able to fool the general public. And you may be able to go on doing this indefinitely without being caught.

But that doesn’t make it right.

Developers have great power. And they must use this power responsibly.

If you’re a developer, or working toward becoming one, I strongly recommend you read Bill Sourour’s article “The code I’m still ashamed of.”

And if someone asks you to build something that is clearly illegal?—?or downright evil?—?go to the press. The developers in all three of these cases could have done this and saved the world a lot of heart ache.


All new net electricity capacity in the USA has been from clean energy sources since 2009

When subtracting retirements of coal and natural gas from additions of these fossil fuel sources, we get all the way back to 2009 before capacity additions starts to outpace capacity retirements. In a simple way, all of the utility-scale electricity generation capacity added to the United States grid since 2009 has been clean energy.

The electricity generation industry – mostly in retiring so much coal and replacing it with natural gas – has managed to lower overall emissions by 12% since 2005. During this time, US electricity demand has stayed mostly flat. It was only very recently, 2015 or so, that the volumes of wind and solar power installed became considerable enough to dent the amounts of fossil fuels being burnt – meaning not only has a flat amount of fossil fuels been installed, its also been running less.

Source: All new net electricity capacity in the USA has been from clean energy sources since 2009 | Electrek

Does Facebook advertising even work a lick?

But what about those numbers, those video views, those “engagement” numbers? Facebook has always been very purposely opaque and doesn’t share its methodology and algorithms with anyone, which makes it impossible for anyone to do any objective reporting — or regulating — of those numbers.

Then last September, right about the time it was announcing that its first three quarters profit was near $6 billion, up from $3.69 billion in 2015, it also reported a big whoopsie: It had been inflating video view numbers by 60-80 percent (94 percent in Australia).

Source: Does Facebook advertising even work a lick? – Digiday