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"Apps Getting Worse" by Tim Bray

My wife and I have a running joke where she'll complain about some awful new "feature" in an app that makes the experience worse, and I'll say "Somebody got a promotion for that." The sad thing is it's probably true.

"I Hope That Makes Sense"

I’ve done a lot of different jobs over the years (appellate public defender, blogger, teacher, tech consultant, project manager, research and data coordinator), but I’ve always said the thing that made me good at any of them was my understanding of systems and how they interact.

This can mean a lot of different things! To the point that some might claim it means nothing! But I really do believe that the only way to understand what is happening in any given situation is to unpack how top-level, unrelated rules and structures can trickle into surprising places and interact in big ways. I (and others) sometimes call this “systems thinking.”

For example: a county government might cut a public-defender office’s budget because the office is reporting decreasing caseloads. But sometimes caseloads only look like they’re going down because the numbers in a column on a spreadsheet are decreasing. And sometimes that column comes from a field in the case-management system that is only filled in from the “Case Opening” screen, which has bug in its PHP (introduced in a code push that only two people knew about) that fills in the wrong case type sometimes. So after a long time agonizing, an office might find that debugging one line of PHP is an easier way to fix a funding crisis than writing a ton of new grant proposals. (This is a hypothetical example, but it brings together actual, real details from things I have worked on in various places over the years.)

This is an example of an annoying problem that requires deep inquiry into things that bore many people, like the PHP of the actual case-management software or the structure of the data and reporting systems. But it also requires some thinking about how, at a larger systemic level, public defense is actually funded, which bores many people for different reasons.

I would also argue that some of my core beliefs (anti-racism, abolition, anti-capitalism) are really beliefs about what systems are supposed to do and what totally reimegined systems could look like.

These things are very interesting to me. And I do not know if they are interesting to anyone else. But I figured if I’m going to spend hours reading about these sorts of things, I could also spend a few minutes writing about them sometimes.

As is basically my catchphrase, “I hope that makes sense!” If you are signed up for this newsletter, thank you very much, you can expect stories of varying interestingness at a very intermittent rate.

I recently got a Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 9 laptop. On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS it was overheating under load. It took me a few hours but I figured out a fix. I blogged about it so hopefully no one has to comb through forum posts to solve this problem again.

I'm happy to announce that the administration team of - @dustin, @evilchili, @rgggn, and me - have decided to upgrade the club by migrating to the Hometown fork of Mastodon, which is a community-oriented fork maintained by @darius that adds a number of features that should enhance the vibe of the club nicely.

My lesbian road trip RPG "Get in the Car, Loser!" will be coming out this September! Learn more at

Ubuntu complaining 

Wow whatever Ubuntu did to their gui software center thingy in the ~8 years since I last used Ubuntu is awful! There is hardly any software, and it segfaults when I try to install something. On a clean OS installation!

Am I missing a secret way to get the old functionality back? I mean I can use `apt` for sure but I did like being able to browse cool software.

(Please do not recommend other distros. The ONLY distro I am allowed to use on my work laptop is Ubuntu 20 LTS.)

ehehe im evil hehe *frets 24/7 about the morality of sliding into someone's DMs unnanounced* hehe.. evil ..

postgres & elasticsearch question 

I recently learned that Postgres supports full text search:

(It's supported this for a long time but I'm late to the party.)

The single biggest pain for me running a small Mastodon/Hometown instance is running Elasticsearch alongside it. I was wondering: has anyone looked into either 1) supporting postgres for text search on Mastodon, 2) providing an API frontend for postgres that mimicks the Elasticsearch API?

We need a term for the now clear divide between two very different kinds of masto experiences. What do y'all like? (Reply with alternatives)

well it looks like I'm upgraded/migrated to **Hometown** 1.0.5+3.4.0!

Proper rendering of articles vs notes (toots/posts)!

local or federated posts!

exclusive lists!

Thanks @darius for sharing your masto fork with the world!

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Italo Calvino: LLM temperature ⟶ 1.0

“The true literature machine will be one that itself feels the need to produce disorder, as a reaction against its preceding production of order […] to free its circuits when they are choked by too long a production of classicism.”

There is a really bad privacy bug in the new “official” #mastodon #ios app. If you reply to a dm it defaults to totally public. This is honestly a really awful bug that has already resulted in mistakingly posting publicly something I meant to be private.

Ideas for federating #Lemmy to the #fediverse .. do you have some too? Join the brainstorm at:

"Appeals to decentralization too often fail to contend with the power structures that can take hold of supposedly liberatory projects."

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Friend Camp

Hometown is adapted from Mastodon, a decentralized social network with no ads, no corporate surveillance, and ethical design.

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