turing complete with a stack of 0xdeadbeef

Writing by tag

On non-native apps: JavaScript doesn't suck but your app might

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.

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Simple, private, and open source analytics with GoatCounter

I removed Google Analytics on this site over two years ago. It was doing more harm than good. I did not want to jeopardize readers’ privacy. I did not want to be part of the bullshit web. I did not want to contribute to Google’s massive data collection and its take over of the open web. I did not want to be Google’s product. (Because fuck Google.)

I rarely even looked at those analytics back then. However, since going independent last year, I have more interest in knowing and understanding the traffic on this site. I found a fantastic solution for analytics that is simple, private, and open source called GoatCounter.

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Linked Out

Or why I'm getting off of LinkedIn

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.

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Choosing a VPN service

Net Neutrality is officially over in the US. As the EFF notes, it will likely manifest as a slow, painful decline of the Internet. We can call congress to demand that they reverse the decision and act in the interests of the people. But whether or not that succeeds, everyone should be using a VPN regularly now to fight against the growing threats of Internet surveillance and censorship. We know better than to trust corporations and governments.

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When your app is used in unexpected ways

PlanGrid as a digital archaeological tool

PlanGrid is a productivity app for construction fieldworkers. The easiest way to explain it to software developers is that it’s like an IDE, Git, and GitHub or JIRA — but for construction. Think of all the amazing software tools we have to do our jobs as programmers. The equivalent tools for construction simply did not exist before PlanGrid, and they still have a lot of room to grow.

As software developers, we build software for specific purposes. We anticipate that people will use an app in certain ways. Yet, we often discover that users are behaving differently than we expected. They hack a custom, “unsupported” workflow to workaround an app’s unintended limitations. Once we realize this, we have the power to turn these user workarounds into first-class features. However, sometimes we find that our apps are being used in totally different, unimaginable ways.

At PlanGrid, we recently discovered that the app was being used as a digital archaeological tool.

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Data & Society: Media Manipulation and Disinformation online

New report from the Data & Society Research Institute

Data & Society recently released a stunning report, Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online. I highly suggest you read it if you care about understanding the rise of neo-fascism, the ‘fake news’ phenomenon, and manipulation of the media that plagued the 2016 US Presidential Election — and how Silicon Valley, particularly social media platforms, facilitated the rise of the alt-right movement and the spread of fascist propaganda. Don’t let the more than 100 pages deter you. The core report is only 50 pages, followed by a few pages of case studies, and finally a whopping 45 pages of citations and bibliography. (Direct download)

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A Fair Hotel

Choosing a place to stay for your next conference

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.

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Sleazy recruiting

LAMP stack for an iOS developer

Today I found out that I’m part of a class action lawsuit against a service that I never signed up for called TalentBin. As you have likely experienced, most recruiting in the tech industry is debase, disingenuous, boilerplate garbage. But this — this is definitely a new a low.

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