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.
I decided to finally get my first Apple Watch with the Series 7 this year. I am typically never one to get a first-generation product — my first iPod back in the day was the iPod Photo and my first iPhone was the 3G (or maybe the 3GS?) — but I rarely wait this long if I’m interested in something. The original Apple Watch had little appeal to me at the time, and the mere existence of the $10,000 gold Edition model made the entire thing feel all the more ridiculous. But over the years as the watch hardware and watchOS improved, and as I got more into fitness, I became more interested. I’ve always felt like there’s a lot of hype around the Apple Watch — people really seem to love it. After wearing and using one for about two months, now I understand. It’s pretty damn good.
Everyone in tech seems to have a “terrible tech interview” story. The topic quietly orbits in the ether of our industry and periodically bursts through the atmosphere in the form of a tweet or blog post that goes viral. Despite universal loathing of our industry’s impetuous and heedless interview processes, few seem willing to improve the current standard. A recent tweet in my timeline reminded me of a story that I’ve never told.
Sometimes living in the Bay Area, the home of Dreamforce, is like sleep walking through life. Mostly because you want to fall asleep when a nearby stranger starts talking about their new startup idea or how cryptocurrency is definitely not a pyramid scheme.
After the second worst fire season ever recorded, we are now facing unprecedented disastrous storms in California. I was watching reports last night from various local Bay Area news stations. In one segment, a reporter casually mentioned that police would be doing extra patrols to prevent looting. The same thing happened in Louisiana. Don’t let them loot, they said, as their streets became rivers.
Here in Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area, more and more restaurants, bars, venues, and various events are requiring that people show proof of vaccine before entering. (As it should be.) Thankfully, all businesses and events allow showing proof digitally rather than carrying around your physical COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card from the CDC. This means you can take a photo with your phone and present that instead of your singular paper copy. This is great, but the tediousness of tapping around my phone to find and display it has been annoying. So, I made an iOS shortcut to present it instantly.
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.