I mostly write about Swift, Objective-C, iOS, open source, and other software development topics. Sometimes I write about the ethics of tech, labor, and politics. I also write personal essays and notes on what I'm currently reading.
Over the past few years, Apple seems increasingly willing to cooperate with authoritarian governments, uninterested in protecting its own users, and unwilling to actually standup for human rights in broad terms, as often portrayed by its marketing department or direct statements from CEO Tim Cook.
I have been periodically deleting my tweets for a while now. Yesterday, I finally found a reliable solution for deleting my Twitter “likes” as well and I spent some time deleting all of them. Long ago, I also deleted all of my content on Facebook and Instagram. If you are interested in purging your social media accounts, here are some options.
Oakland has been anything but normal over the past year during the pandemic. But we are starting to see glimpses of normality. Little by little, the whole country is returning to “business as usual”, as they say. And the first real indication that normality is on the horizon for the US was a recent story out of Arkansas.
Earlier this year, I decided to re-implement analytics for my site after discovering a viable privacy-aware (and open-source!) alternative to the user-hostile spyware garbage that we call Google Analytics. I have really enjoyed using GoatCounter and I highly recommend it. Now that I have this data, I thought it would be fun to share my top 10 most popular posts in 2020.
After reading my recent satire piece, a good friend of mine (and tech worker) asked if I had a list of books or other resources to learn more about labor history and capitalism in the United States, and how the tech industry operates in this broader context. I had been meaning to write about this, and I figured others would likely be interested, too. So, if you are interested in these topics then this is post for you!
Dear COMPANY NAME team:
Hello employees — or should I say independent contractors?! (More on that shortly.) I’m writing to you from my second mansion located in ECONOMICALLY DESTABILIZED COUNTRY IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH EXPLOITED BY UNITED STATES IMPERIALISM! I see the poor children here, and it just reminds me how privileged all of us are to live in a virtuous place like Silicon Valley (at least when I’m there, lol) where we pretend homeless people simply don’t exist. And if they do, it’s because they didn’t try hard enough to do a startup or they didn’t have enough generational wealth to do financial crimes.
You know, the thing that is actually most disheartening, disappointing, frustrating, and plainly sad about Apple’s surprise announcement today is that we will not receive any sort of response to our collective dismay. There will be no public acknowledgment, much less an apology (not that it would help much). Only silence.
I am infuriated. Yesterday morning I woke up to the news that in my hometown of Louisville, KY Breonna Taylor was murdered by the police while she was sleeping. Because she was Black. She was shot 8 times. I do not need to list the names of every innocent and unarmed (or sleeping!) Black human being who has been murdered on the streets or in their own homes by the police in this country. You already know them. This has happened so many times before, from the lynchings in the 1800s to LA in 1992 to Louisville today.
The other day Slack went down and I tweeted to express my dissatisfaction and sarcastically comment that non-native apps are the future. I should have known it would get as much attention as a tweet about Elon Musk. People argued about the merits of native versus non-native app development, which seems like a never-ending a controversy. However, I really do not care which technologies are used to make an app. I only care about the quality of an app and the user experience it provides — which is the problem with Slack.
As some of you may know, I recently quit my job in San Francisco to pursue personal projects, freedom (sort of) from our collective capitalist nightmare, and self-determination. But I’ll write more on that later. This post is about dealing with health care as an independent software developer in the United States.
I’ve been eating vegetarian (and often vegan) for a decade now. I don’t talk about it much. This is a choice I’ve made for myself and my own reasons. What I never imagined happening is the growing popularity and wide availability of vegan/vegetarian food. It is simply remarkable.
I deleted my LinkedIn account, well sort of. I kept my account open, which I will explain below, but I left it mostly empty. You could say I am now officially linked out.
There’s a place called North Berkeley Frame in downtown Berkeley on Shattuck. It’s a framing shop and gallery (sort of) run by this guy named Lars. He’s older, probably mid-fifties or early sixties. He has gray hair, a gray beard, and a gentle face. I’ve had him frame some prints and other artwork for me. He’s always helpful in choosing the right frame, and his work is excellent. Like many older folks I know, he loves to talk.
Fifteen years ago today my sister died. Most people don’t know about her — Amy. I don’t talk about her much, because talking about death makes people uncomfortable, especially when the loss was so traumatic for those left behind. I was 14, she was 16. It feels like it happened a lifetime ago and that it just happened yesterday, all at once.
I haven’t read the book, The Four Agreements, but I will eventually. However, simply knowing what the Four Agreements are has been tremendously helpful for me. They may help you, too. I want to write them down to share, but also to remember them better and have a reference to revisit in the future.
The mayor of San Francisco called out feces on the sidewalks as a core problem to address in the city and wants homeless folks to “at least have respect” and “clean up after themselves”. It’s an unfortunate response, but I’m sure a lot of folks agree with the sentiment. No one relishes walking through the dirty streets in this city and it certainly is a concern, but this kind of rhetoric is actively harmful. It deliberately shifts responsibility for the problem onto the victims and away from the system that produced it. Homeless folks are among the most vulnerable in our society. In addition to their lack of housing, persistent precarity, mental health issues, and emotional struggles, the city is now going to ask them for respect and cleanliness?
I had a great time at WWDC this year, meeting new friends and catching up with old ones. Those experiences are the ones that matter the most to me. The newly announced tech is interesting and fun, but ultimately fleeting and ephemeral.
Earlier this week, the Tech Workers Coalition and UNITE HERE! in San Francisco hosted a panel discussion on how we can use our power as consumers to support hotel workers in the Bay Area and across the United States. The tech industry is full of remote workers, as well as conference organizers that host thousands of conferences each year — meaning thousands of programmers, designers, product managers, and others travel all the time to attend these conferences or attend their own company’s events. By choosing to stay at a fair hotel, you can make a significant impact on an industry where workers are struggling to negotiate fair wages and benefits.
There has been a ton of debate on the swift-evolution mailing lists about access control in Swift. A couple of days ago, the proposal SE-0159: Fix Private Access Levels was rejected. I want to share my thoughts on this, as well as thoughts on the larger story for access control in general. But first, let’s begin with a brief history of access control in Swift.