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“A decentralised movement about returning freedoms to individuals can't also be about elevating a single individual to near-magical status. Heroes will always end up letting us down. We fix that by removing the need for heroes in the first place, not attempting to find increasingly perfect heroes.”

Important exception: the new Watch, which is a real thing and looks like an incredible feat of engineering.

My bias against linear algebra saves me from almost all new tech hype. Exhibits A, B:

Apple: "we made a phone with a literally physics-defying computatinal camera"
Me: "...using linear algebra. *yawn*"

Apple: "...we also made this processor one gazillion times faster"
Me: " multiplying matrices."




Of course, I’m also excited for the work, doing actual research and all that, but that will probably not fully settle in until after the first pay check. Right now, all I can think about is how screwed I am if they change their minds and won’t accept me after all.

I’m looking forward SO MUCH to having a practically guaranteed monthly income for the coming five years. I’m turning 31 this year and this PhD position is my first real job.

It’s been ~10 years of living in a shared kitchen, having a shower that folds out, and 12 m2 to share between a desk, a wardrobe, and a bed. I know a lot of folks have it worse and I’m grateful for what I have but gosh dang it having my own real apartment with my own kitchen would be great. I could have guests. GUESTS!!!


Neal Stephenson’s Hieroglyph, an antologi of ”optimistic” science fiction starts out with a short story by Neal himself about...some annoying entrepreneur guy building a space elevator skyscraper. Can’t say I’m massively impressed so far.

Also, I may just have promised the students of my course a gold star if they show me cool editor configurations, and now I have to find someone with a 3D printer who can make one in case they actually deliver.

Since I haven’t finished my master’s thesis yet, I’m not officially a PhD student so my supervisor just scrounged up an old disused hardware lab I could work in.

I see layers and layers of informal structures built around ineffective and flat out stupid formal rules (“we can’t give you a key because that requires interaction with this and that person who is away now and you are not formally an employee”).

They key idea here is to have multiple interfaces to interact with the same data. This is a direct consequence of having clean APIs and decentralised data processing.

I also want an email-like interface to Matrix.

I strongly believe in the unix philosophy of small applications interacting and I don’t think it died with mobile OSes or graphical user interfaces.

I wish I had more free time and iOS skills so I could make an actually good Matrix client. I want: two separate apps, one for groups and one for one-on-one messages (it’s two completely different things and should have different UI conventions), and good OS integration (share sheets, Siri shortcuts, contacts integration, etc).

This should also be an easy one, because Microsoft Word hasn't gotten better in the last 19 years, so catching up should have been easy. By now bloody google docs, running in a BROWSER, is strictly better than LibreOffice.

Also, and this is an honest question, does anyone understand why is so bad? The UI looks awful (definition: non-native look and feel on, and this baffles me, all platforms it runs on), it's incredibly slow (why does a word processor need a splash screen?!), and it crashes frequently.

I would argue present-day Linux systems are practically strictly better than Windows systems in everything but application support.

I think aiming for 2013 MacBook is good, because almost nothing has gotten better since then, and many things have in fact gotten worse. It is also strictly better than Windows in terms of everything except application support.

I honestly don't understand how Windows can be so rubbish, given how big it is and how much money Microsoft has.

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