Pinned post

On being "lazy" about software freedom:

Everyone lives a full life. Not everyone gets the same opportunity to pick what fills their life, though. People are busy. They have things they like to do or find easy, & things that are unpleasant or difficult.

People whose life is filled differently than yours, who have different priorities than yours, aren't any more lazy than you are lazy for not picking a more compassionate way to talk about the challenges standing in the way of software freedom.

Pinned post

I'm interested in software freedom aka FOSS. A great deal of my interest revolves around its emancipatory & empowering aspects, the ways it supports both autonomy & community. I think about it a lot, write about it, & talk about it. I've even gotten paid, some, for teaching about it.

I've come to view with suspicion, though, those speaking mostly of their love, support, or even use of FOSS in their bio. I've seen too many present very narrow, privileged ideas about what freedom means & who it's for.

Show thread
Pinned post

One of my distractions is working with polycaprolactic acid aka polycaprolactone (PCL) which is a thermoplastic (think fizzy drink bottles, plastic take out containers, and the stuff that certain types of 3D printers squeeze out).

The neat thing about it is that it is workable at fairly low temperatures, less than what water boils at; comfortable hot soup or hot beverage type temperatures. This makes it hand-workable.

Good for a variety of uses, but I just find it a lot of fun to play with.

Pinned post


I wish we saw more love for this sort of incrementalism, to be honest.

The giants didn't get giant overnight, we aren't going to get to their better successors overnight.

The giants are giant! Even diverting a fraction of the commerce and attention they draw can still be a lot!

We need to feed everyone's imagination as to what else is possible. A single step into the world outside the silos is a huge step.


Pinned post

I've got an account on a large general instance and a small boutique instance, but neither of them is super diligent about blocking certain instances.

Thought it would be good to have an account where I run into less crap like that.

uspol, FOSS 

you know, going after license violations ... I guess that's a thing you can do, in a "by any means necessary" way. If it helps, great.

But to be absolutely clear, a Trump Mastodon instance is still entirely shit even if it respects the license(s) scrupulously. The license violation isn't why it's bad.

they are *both* a problem because of their betrayal of our common good, but one pales nearly to insignificance compared to the other

ranting about wacked out FOSS promotion 

repeating this, but boostably:

software freedom is good, okay, but in support of, not in opposition to other human rights.

get a grip, people, get some perspective, fix your priorities


Show thread

uspol, 'truth' 

welp, news is landing more broadly now

good job getting out ahead of it, folks


Reuters World (@ReutersWorld)

Former U.S. president Donald Trump launches 'TRUTH' social media platform

@reuters_worldnews 🔗
Former U.S. president Donald Trump launches 'TRUTH' social media platform


corporate branding shitpost, more cursing 

(this shitpost includes forward looking statements subject to assumptions, risks, uncertainties, and poetic license. Future results and your own fucking sense of humor could result in a drastically unsatisfying experience. Offer not valid in all states. Please consult your own humor advisor before looking to assist others. You are now free to walk about the timeline.)

Show thread

corporate branding shitpost 

alphabet? more like alphasurething!

wordplay shitpost 

uniformed? more like uninformed.

OK, there. I'm sort of played out on this for now, the Muse has flown, whatever.

Not sure it went quite where I was thought it might but at least I hit the high points.

Gonna pull back and maybe I can see some of the mentions that happened despite my trying to wave people off.

Oh, the replies. They happen regardless. So relatable. I know y'all just can't help it <3

Show thread

Same with performance automobiles. There's barely room in one of these things for the driver, let alone for groceries, a few bags of mulch or whatever, or the kids you're dropping off from soccer practice. To say nothing of getting a ding from a rogue shopping cart.

I can see the appeal of a self-driving car for the task-doer, though.

But extrapolating these helpful technologies for the performance car makes it all...go away. At what point does that just become a ... I don't know ... a theme park ride?

Show thread

This is where we hit a bifurcation in how we approach technology. I can well understand "I just need to get this task done I don't care about the internals". This is the difference between flying commercial versus learning to fly: Few learn to fly because it's the cheapest, most convenient option for covering a lot of ground. .

Show thread

Getting back to the now not-so-standard transmission: One can measure some aspects of efficiency that manual transmissions used to have over automatics. So, that part of the discussion didn't rely on the experience as such.

What we're seeing now, though, is that embedded computing has enabled us to close that gap. Automatic transmissions can be made fuel efficient and reasonably responsive. This is how they've made their way into these top-end, so called "performance" cars.

Show thread

Most to the point, chances are you can't relate that experience in quite the same way to others. This, then, means a loss of the human side to these particular pieces of material culture.

Even though one sees a common response to this sort of discussion, noting this difference doesn't make someone who has done these things *better*.

It isn't gatekeeping to point out that the experience cannot easily, or even at all, be substituted.

It's about appreciating these various components human experience.

Show thread

And this is my point: If you've never done an acid-base titration by turns dumping in titrant, overshooting or going drop by tedious drop; if you've never composed a pipeline at the command line; if you've never driven a standard; if you've never felt the drop in altitude from doing a slip in a light aircraft on final approach; it can be explained to you in a way you might, in some fashion, understand. But you can't replace the experience.

Show thread

Which doesn't mean that I can't, eventually, write it down or speak it aloud. But these two aspects of my attention and ability have to have a kind of conversation about it.

If you don't have that experience, you can't have that kind of understanding, and you can't have that kind of conversation.

It's *different*. But it's real. And it's valuable.

Show thread

In other, daily aspects of my life there is one experience I find well demonstrates the difference though:

I literally cannot tell you with any reliable precision some of the passwords I use *daily*. My fingers know them, my articulate conscious self only has a vague notion. Is that letter lower case or upper? fiik. I *have* to type it to get it right.

Show thread

In the video at the top of this thread they have sequences of a Mustang enthusiast trying to convey the attraction of driving a standard. To be honest, I can see how it might come across as only so much "woo".

Show thread

This is where the metaphor comes in. Kahneman, writing about his & Tversky's work in "Thinking: Fast and Slow" talks about this. Or, for an easier going treatment, Michael Lewis in his presentation of their lives in "The Undoing Project". They aren't the only ones doing this work of course, so see those for more.

There are others who have intuited this same idea, which is:

There is a distinct difference between conscious, intellectual, attentive "book learning" and hand's on learning.

Show thread

But most of all, even if a standard shift transmission isn't the one you drive all the time, having the opportunity to drive one helps develop an intuition as to what it feels like to be in any of a number of different states with regard to vehicle speed, acceleration, deceleration, engine speed, engine power output at given revolutions, the need for power due to load or incline or lack of overall momentum. You learn about the 'friction point' using the clutch.

Show thread

In either of these mixed cases, you get the other benefit of having a manual even if a lot of the driving was in an automatic: The experiential, educational benefit. The opportunity to compare and contrast the two ways of operating the power train of the vehicle. An appreciation for what an automatic does for you when you aren't driving stick.

Show thread
Show older
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!