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  • A few photos from a weekend in Charleston, SC.

    The sunset from Folly Beach.

    The “Angel Oak” tree, which is 400 years old and hard to capture in a photo.

  • The Easy Roll and Slow Burn of Cassette-Based Software | Internet Archive Blogs

    But nestled in a relatively short span of time is the era of cassette-based loading, where actual audio tapes could have data stored on them, and played back to load into computers. In terms of adoption, the cassette-based software period is marked by people entering it and almost immediately clawing their way out of it as soon as they can afford to.

    My earliest computing memories are thoroughly in the floppy and hard drive era, so this was a fun read of what life was like just before this and how it connects to modern emulation.

  • I’ve been using the Arc Browser as my daily driver for the past few months. It’s a game changer for me. I’ve never felt like I’ve had my browser tabs so under control. If you are interested in an invite, let me know!

  • I’m reading about the Nostr protocol.

    I don’t really feel the need for another social network in my life. But UseNostr shows some use cases for the protocol beyond social networking. Not sure how compelling any of this is…but maybe worth keeping an eye on.

  • I built some prototype stuff with Deno (a modern JavaScript/Typescript runtime) and Fresh (a server-side/edge rendering web framework) this week and it was a promising experience. I’d bet this is going to be popular.

  • 🌎Happy Earth Day🌍

  • Currently reading: The Apple II Age by Laine Nooney 📚

    The hardcover book "The Apple II Age" standing next to a cup of coffee.
  • Kottke's 25 years on the Web

    Kottke is celebrating turning 25 years old which is an interesting look back at his experience with the web and how it has changed over the years.

    I especially enjoyed the linked 2016 post about the web as it appeared on Halt and Catch Fire. I loved that show when it was on the air and reading this made me miss it.

    Despite the nostalgia, this post ends on a concerned note:

    But the open Web enthusiasts and advocates missed an opportunity to take what the Web was in the 90s and make that available to everyone. Instead of walled gardens like Facebook, Pinterest, and Medium (which echo the closed online services like AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve that predated the Web), imagine a bunch of smaller services bound together with open protocols where individuals have both freedom and convenience. At this stage, building an open Twitter or open Facebook is nearly impossible, but it wouldn’t have been 10-12 years ago. I hope I’m wrong, but with all of the entrenched incumbents and money pumping into online services, I’m afraid that time has truly passed. And it’s breaking my heart.

    It’s interesting to look back and think about how the open Web landscape has or has not changed since 2016. As recently as the past year, I felt that the open Web was in a more precarious position than ever. Between mobile apps and strict “app store only” policies, Web3 (which really seemed to be more about walled gardens accessed by crypto rather than the open Web), and social networks, things felt dire.

    But today? It feels like there’s a little more hope in the air. Perhaps I’m overly weighting the decline of Twitter and rise of Mastodon/ActivityPub (even RSS is getting more attention recently!), but it feels like things are shifting in a positive direction.

  • Imported my tweet archive here…and then decided, you know what I don’t think I actually need to preserve these in a public place. It’s a history that was of its time and not useful to anyone else outside of that time.

  • Random thought of the day: are incandescent light bulbs totally phased out in the US or do I happen to just shop at stores that no longer carry them?

    I prefer the LED bulbs for numerous reasons, so I won’t miss the incandescents. But I’m just surprised that stores stopped carrying them.

  • Some bits on AI

    Microsoft has, from what I’ve seen, the most compelling use case of AI to augment work: YouTube announcement video

    I can definitely see myself using an AI assistant for work tasks like they demo. My big question is how accurate and trust worthy will it be? Will it hallucinate summaries of a missed meeting and lead you to the wrong conclusions? Seems it has the ability to cite it’s references, which is great if you want to double check or dig deeper into something it’s highlighting. But I’d also need to have enough trust in the system to not feel the need to follow references just for validating its conclusions.

    Next, is Mozilla funding an AI startup (via Michael Tsai) with the goals of creating trustworthy and open source AI models. I’m glad to see this effort launch. If AI is really going to be as impactful as people think it will be, it shouldn’t be a technical capability that is only owned by corporations and governments.

    I’m still on the fence about whether this manifestation of AI will usher in the future of human computer interaction, or it will be a fruitless experiment that results in cool demos but nothing more.

  • 📷 Day 13: Connection

    Here’s the Connection Machine computer on display at the Computer History Museum. Sadly it was not powered on to see the blinky lights.

    Connection Machine at the Computer History Museum
  • Hemlock Falls

  • Found another chronolog this weekend on the South Peachtree Creek Path trail: MMP-103

  • The Last of Us episode 3: holy moly ❤️😭

  • Views from Arabia Mountain, GA.

    The third photo is from a chronolog station. First time I’ve seen this, it’s a cool idea!

  • Tina and some random daffodils we found along the trail.

  • 🫡 tapbots.com/tweetbot/

  • Kermit

  • I watched an interesting episode of the Waveform podcast last night that gives a look into ICANN, DNS, and a key signing ceremony. I learned that the DNSSEC key signing ceremonies are posted in full to youtube.

  • Been home for a few days, but wishing I was back on the beach.

  • Southwest Airlines and Technical Debt

    Michael Tsai on Southwest Airlines and Technical Debt

    This is a really interesting take on how technical debt directly contributed to Southwest’s terrible week.

    From Zeynep Tufekci’s article on the NYT:

    It’s been an open secret within Southwest for some time, and a shameful one, that the company desperately needed to modernize its scheduling systems. Software shortcomings contributed to previous, smaller-scale meltdowns, and Southwest unions had repeatedly warned about the software. Without more government regulation and oversight and greater accountability, we may see more fiascos like this one, which most likely stranded hundreds of thousands of Southwest passengers — perhaps more than a million — over Christmas week. And not just for a single company, as the problem is widespread across many industries.

    This problem — relying on older or deficient software that needs updating — is known as incurring technical debt, meaning there is a gap between what the software needs to be and what it is. While aging code is a common cause of technical debt in older companies — such as with airlines, which started automating early — it can also be found in newer systems, because software can be written in a rapid and shoddy way, rather than in a more resilient manner that makes it more dependable and easier to fix or expand. As you might expect, quicker is cheaper.

    I think what’s so insiduous about technical debt is there’s not always an obvious, clear measurement that you’ve taken on too much. Every software system has some amount of technical debt, but it’s a challenge, even for experienced software engineers, to guage the level of debt. It’s not equivalent to the physical world where you can see if something is crumbling or has some other type of defect.

    In some cases, software’s technical debt may be obvious, for example if its running on hardware or software that is no longer available or updated by it’s developers. COBOL running on a mainframe is a good example.

    However, as Tufekci’s article states, even newer software can suffer from technical debt. On the contrary, it is possible for old software to be well maintained and have an acceptable amount of technical debt. For example, many modern operating systems (such as Linux) are decades old yet remain well maintained and cutting edge.

    It’s likely that Southwest runs on programming languages and operating systems that are actively updated, but the debt lies in the software that they’ve written and runs their business. This is probably the case that a lot of companies in the 10-20 year old range fall into, and they would not be unique if they had technical debt that has gone out of control.

    It’s an industry problem. We lack the tools and techniques to appropriately guage tech debt in quantifiable ways. How much technical debt is too much and how much impact it may have on a business boils down to opinion. Different engineers will debate with each other on this topic. There’s no standard, industry bechmarks or regulations to turn to, unlike other fields of engineering.

    Perhaps our field will develop such standards, but my hunch is that software is unique enough from other engineering disciplines that we may never be able to develop such standards. I’d like to be wrong about this.

    Does anyone know of productive cases of measuring tech debt? Or systemic ways to keep it within a maintainable limit?

  • Currently reading: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 📚

  • Went to the far end of La Chiva beach today.

  • Hope to see this sentiment more in 2023!

    Bring back personal blogging - The Verge