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Cake day: Dec 25, 2020

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This is not correct.

MYTH: The natural immunity I get from being sick with COVID-19 is better than the immunity I get from COVID-19 vaccination.

FACT: Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a safer and more dependable way to build immunity to COVID-19 than getting sick with COVID-19.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

Emerging evidence shows that getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection to your immune system. One study showed that, for people who already had COVID-19, those who do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more than 2 times as likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get fully vaccinated after their recovery.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/prepare-for-vaccination.html


There’s https://www.mercuryos.com/

Mercury OS is a speculative vision designed to question the paradigms governing human-computer interaction today.


If you’re wanting to self-host a cloud service, then Nextcloud is second to none. You can use NextCloud together with Cryptomator for easy client-side encryption, but If you need automatic syncing look into rclone instead.

If you are planning to use this for backups, check out borg backup and vorta(easy to use GUI for borg).


Unfortunately, despite forced interoperability being a recommendation by the FTC and a senate committee, the judge in this case has already limited the scope of the case to exclude anything regarding interoperability.


Currently I’m using VS Code because VS Codium does not have a native M1 Mac build, and electron apps running through Rosetta 2 saps my laptop battery at least twice as fast as native apps. I could build VS Codium myself following this page, but I would rather continue using Homebrew to manage as many packages as possible.

I’ve been considering learning Vim, is it more productive and worth it to learn in 2022?


At least in my circles and where I live it’s pretty normal to shit on mainstream apps. Most people still use them, but if my opinion of those platforms comes up I never feel judged. In fact, since the social dilemma came out and after Facebook’s most recent controversies and name change I’ve heard more and more people speaking poorly of social-media, smart phones, and algorithms in general.

In my experience it’s almost as if using social-media is perceived the same as smoking was in the 80s-90s: everyone knows it’s terrible for you, but it’s normal. Now, in conversation there’s almost a prestige in saying “I don’t use Facebook” that causes people who do use Facebook to immediately justify using it by saying things like “Yeah, I only use it to keep in touch with family”, or “I don’t check it very often”.

Many of my friends and family half-joke about their addiction to their phones and apps, it seems pretty widely recognized now.

I don’t believe alternative apps, services, and platforms are necessarily better, so if I bring up the fediverse it’s usually in the context of me advocating for government forcing interoperability between social media sites to weaken the tech-giant oligopoly. Most people’s response is basically “huh, I didn’t even know that was possible”.

For using Linux I used to catch flak from my friends when trying to play games with them, but we don’t play games nearly as often anymore and anything we do play generally works on Linux now, so I don’t get teased anymore. Amongst every single non-techie friend I have they could not possible care less that I use Linux.


In order to identify systemic / cultural discrimination against certain demographics. If these types of questions were never asked we would only have personal anecdotes to guide decision making.

e.g. We are better prepared to address the gender disparity within the industry when we have surveys and studies reporting the massive imbalance of men and women. By asking the same questions year after year we are able to tell whether diversity programs and policy changes are working.


Ecosia. I am willing to sacrifice some privacy to support their cause. For sensitive searches I might not want associated with my user profile I usually use duckduckgo through Tor.


How did you become class conscious?

I was thinking this morning of when I first became class conscious. …


I’ve only seen this in larger cities with lots of people experiencing homelessness, it’s more of a housing issue than anything. In most of the country, and where I live, businesses don’t make you pay to use the bathroom.

I used to work for a retailer with free bathrooms, I went into the bathroom during my shift and found a homeless man half-naked giving himself a sponge bath from the sink. I startled him, he startled me. We locked eyes for a moment, it was awkward, so I shrugged and walked across the store to use the other bathroom to give him some privacy.

Businesses want to avoid those sorts of interactions, protect their bathrooms from damage, and they don’t want people making messes that have to be cleaned up. The guy that I saw bathing in the sink got water all over the floor that had to be mopped up after he left. Once a few businesses restrict bathroom access every other business in the area is overburdened by people only coming in for the free bathrooms until they too decide to restrict bathroom access. In most of the US our public infrastructure completely neglects people experiencing homelessness, so their needs are passed onto businesses which also refuse the obligation.

We have a federal government that does virtually nothing for people experiencing homelessness, state governments that do as little as possible for the homeless, local governments confused and unprepared to deal with the causes of homelessness, and finally businesses (which are the least able to meet the needs of the homeless) that discriminate against the homeless.


I’ve been using and following cryptocurrencies since 2014, cryptocurrencies today are no longer trying to make decentralized currencies. Today, most cryptos are hyper-speculative “get-rich-quick” schemes with virtually no practical and legal use cases. The environmental impacts of cryptos have been discussed ad nauseum, so I won’t beat this dead horse. What I find most insidious is that the crypto ecosystem at its core is no longer an effort to create a decentralized currency, but to commodify literally everything in the world. e.g. Grid Coin, Sweat Coin, Ethereum NFTs such as Propy.

I started with libertarian views, but I have been overwhelmingly convinced that this universal commodification and market making is incompatible with ethical and equitable resource distribution. Most cryptos I am aware of are fundamentally regressive designs that favor early adopters and wealthy investors by disadvantaging the average user.

Below are my notes on various consensus algorithms: Proof of Work = Fundamentally unscalable, incredibly wasteful. Proof of Stake = Fundamentally regressive. Byzantine Fault Tolerance = Federated / Centralized, this defeats the purpose of crypto. Proof of Capacity = Fundamentally regressive. Proof of Burn = Fundamentally wasteful and deflationary. Proof of Activity = Hybrid POW & POS, incredibly wasteful and fundamentally regressive.

Proof of Elapsed Time = Probably the most promising, but currently very rare.


Wishing for the country to burn is wishing for the suffering of hundreds of millions of people. Most people in the US are in favor of significant reforms, Much of the struggle we are witnessing is the disagreement about which changes should be made, and obstructionism to prevent reforms from being enacted.

You’ll be more helpful through compassion and solidarity with those Americans who are working to change things for the better.


edX has all sorts of engineering courses for free, no torrents required.


My understanding is that voice interfacing is already the most common way to interact with a smartphone in China. Chinese (and other non-alphabetic languages) are notoriously tedious to type, and all sorts of keyboards have been invented to make it easier, but they all have a learning curve. Instead, it is far simpler to simply use voice recognition. Over the last decade many companies have pivoted their focus towards the Chinese economy, so a lot of the voice assistants, customer service platforms, and other software innovations we enjoy in the west are the direct result of companies trying to break into Chinese markets (and other emerging markets) with voice-driven designs that are accessible to billions of people for whom typing is an insurmountable friction.

Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant’s User Friendly is a really good book for learning about state of the art UI / UX design and the current trends that are likely to determine what our computer interfaces will look like in 2025 - 2030.

https://fuchsia.googlesource.com/ , Fuchsia - Wikipedia - Another really interesting project. This is Google’s new operating system they are building from scratch to replace Android, ChromeOS, Windows, and perhaps even server Linux. Fuchsia is being built from the ground up to replace the traditional desktop metaphor with a conversational or “story driven” metaphor instead. The ultimate goal is to be able to tell your computer in human language what you want it to do and have the computer do it. e.g. “Ok Google, open the survey results Sarah emailed to me. Ok, now plot a histogram with markings at each standard deviation, oh and a pie chart too. Great, save that and email it to Kyle.”

I’m not aware of what Microsoft, Apple, or any other tech giants might be working on, but Fuchsia is at least currently open source under BSD, MIT, and Apache 2.0 licenses.


I was looking into getting an eink display for my rasperberry pi so that I could have a minimalist terminal only computer similar to the light phone. Now, I’m really looking forward to getting a PineNote, loading a compatible distro on it, and avoiding having to build my own case!


I had never heard of Darebee before reading your comment. +1 for Darebee, I’ve had success with similar resources before, and I’m having fun starting Darebee thanks to you!


Thanks for the suggestion! On the surface it looks like such a cool organization, I picked up a copy of William & Kathleen Whyte’s Making Mondragon, I’m looking forward to reading it after the holidays.


If you haven’t heard of Confessions of a Recovering Engineer yet, it’s a really good read to understand how things got to be the way they are. The road to hell was paved with good intentions, but at every opportunity we’ve doubled down on critically flawed designs.


These are really problems with stroads, car-centric infrastructure, and car culture rather than with the vehicles themselves.

I like to watch Not Just Bikes, he has a lot of well-done videos exploring why car-centric infrastructure causes all sorts of problems, and showcasing how The Netherlands successfully re-built their infrastructure to prioritize pedestrian traffic and public transportation.


Anyone know any good books about cooperatives & other collaborative business models?

There are libraries full of books written about hierarchical business methods, practices, and models. I’m curious to learn more about the practical application of alternative business models. …



I have some noise-canceling ones that I use to listen to audio books while doing passive tasks. I love being able to listen to a book while vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, etc. It makes the chores fly by and gives me things to think about.


Center for Humane Technology: Foundations of Humane Technology.

This is a free course offered by the Center for Humane Technology, the same group behind The Social Dilemma. …


Fall 2021 - Democratic Left Magazine

Democratic Socialists of America is the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA is a big-tent organization that represents beliefs across the entire leftist spectrum. …


The Facebook Files: Tech's Big Tobacco Moment

The Facebook Files are the Wall Street Journal’s investigative exposé of Facebook’s own internal documents detailing the societal harm they are responsible for. The series is limited to Facebook and Instagram, but ALL of the major social media platforms use the same techniques that devestate the…


The Social Dilemma is a documentary created by the non-profit Center for Humane Technology. The movie contains many interviews with engineers & designers from the tech giants who explain the individual and societal harms of social media platforms. …


Resonate is a really cool co-op and they could really use some volunteers & users. …


The World Community Grid is a BOINC project that enables anyone with a computer to contribute to cancer research, find treatments for COVID, improve weather forecasts for African agriculture, and many other humanitarian efforts. All research done through WCG is published in the public domain free of…


How much does your ISP charge for internet?

I recently got an email notifying me that my ISP has implemented data caps on all plans, and since I routinely exceed my new data cap of 1024GB/mo they will be charging me $10/50GB overage starting next month. …



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New_Public’s latest article presents a field guide that likens all the users and behaviors we see on social media to diverse species of birds observed in the wild…



Favorite Personal Finance Management Software?

My credit union recently shut down their in-house personal finance management site because it was too much work to maintain and they don’t see it as competitive with freely available sites like mint.com. …


Alternative Front-Ends for Facebook?

Many businesses, non-profits, and local government offices where I live use Facebook as their primary, or exclusive, online presence. I don’t want to make a Facebook account, but I would like to be able to see some of the content that is posted there; are there any alternative front-ends that won’t …


Redirect social media links to privacy-respecting alternative front ends, or redirects to an alternate service such as Google Maps -> Open Street Map…