turing complete with a stack of 0xdeadbeef

Writing by tag

NFTs and web3

16 January 2022

I mostly avoid interacting with and discussing the world of NFTs and cryptocurrencies — it’s not for me. However, a couple of blog posts caught my attention recently and I highly recommend reading them.

Continue…

Users, Privacy, and Consent

14 January 2022

In today’s issue of iOS Dev Weekly, Dave wrote “What it does prove, though, is that people don’t care much about privacy.” I agree with Dave’s sentiment here, but I don’t think this is entirely true. There is more to the story. I think people do care very much about privacy. What software over the past decade has actually proven is that people do not understand privacy — or perhaps more broadly, they do not understand software nor the various technologies they use daily.

Continue…

iMessage spam and reporting abuse

How many taps does it take to block a bad actor? 13 January 2022

iMessage is in the news again recently with a revival of years-old stories about “green bubbles” versus “blue bubbles” — and the social dynamics among teens who prefer blue bubbles while ostracizing their peers with green bubbles. There’s a lot to like and dislike about iMessage, but one thing that amazes me is that there is still no way to easily report abuse and the process for blocking spam is needlessly difficult.

Continue…

My first Apple Watch: thoughts and reflections

29 December 2021

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.

Continue…

My worst tech interview experience

01 December 2021

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.

Continue…

Radical readings for the Tech Worker

26 November 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!

Continue…

Seasons Greetings from your CEO at TECH COMPANY

An email from your boss's boss's boss 24 November 2020

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.

Continue…

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

16 May 2020

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.

Continue…

Simple, private, and open source analytics with GoatCounter

08 May 2020

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.

Continue…

Linked Out

Or why I'm getting off of LinkedIn 13 August 2019
Updated: 04 June 2021

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.

Continue…

Choosing a VPN service

24 June 2018
Updated: 08 October 2021

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.

Continue…

Replacing Google Search with DuckDuckGo

And how to add a custom DuckDuckGo search box to your site 25 February 2018
Updated: 23 October 2021

I’m not interested in being an advertising product for Google to exploit. I’m also not interested in the company’s unsavory practices, in general. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for over a year now, and I’m incredibly happy with it as a replacement for Google Search — not only for personal usage, but also for implementing a custom search component for this site.

Continue…

When your app is used in unexpected ways

PlanGrid as a digital archaeological tool 24 September 2017

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.

Continue…

Data & Society: Media Manipulation and Disinformation online

New report from the Data & Society Research Institute 13 August 2017

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)

Continue…

A Fair Hotel

Choosing a place to stay for your next conference 28 May 2017

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.

Continue…

Sleazy recruiting

LAMP stack for an iOS developer 09 February 2017

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.

Continue…