Notes for Jan 20th 2023

  • I mentioned Adobe's new policy of using user data for their own means, and proving an opt-out for it. Upon further thought, governmental/GDPR type policy should explicitly state that "opt out" availability is not the same as explicit consent.
    • Opt out: I'm going to shove this ice cream in your face, if you want it removed, let me know.
    • Opt in: may I shove this ice cream in your face?
  • Parcel Motel was the first "parcel forwarding" service I had known of and used. And boy, did I use it a lot! Then Brexit happened, and it effectively shut down all routes from the UK. As in, they wouldn't even accept parcels to forward because paperwork and import duty stuff was too rough. They might have picked up in the meantime, but I was lost as a customer. And now, they've shut down.
    • Interestingly, the social commentariat is blaming Amazon on it's enormous distribution centre (which stops the import taxes being applied to Irish customers, who are keen ecommerce users broadly), but Parcel Motel has been an effectively dormant business for years now.
    • My bet is the rent was due on lots of locations for their collection box units, and they've decided to pack up now.
  • I joined omg.lol just to see what the fuss was about. It's very nice, though expensive ($20/yr). However, the IRC community has been worth the price of entry alone.
  • This week saw wind generation being equal to making 95,217,144 slices of toast per hour apparently. If there's 16 slices of bread in the average sliced pan, we're knee deep in base16 units of measurement. Which not only uses my computer science qualifications for the first time since graduating about 15 years ago, but also will rile British and American imperial measurement weirdos.
  • A very random memory of the Netscape browsers' loading animation (stars zooming past an N) sprung to mind. It reminded me of the early internet, and how awful it was while being simultaneously magical. How everyone was a beta tester for something that would come down the line and become utterly disastrous as economic factors impacted them.
    • Social media is a great example. ICQ, AIM and even IRC were pre-cursors to modern, closed-off businesses masquerading as "social media services." All of them were genuinely better than what we have today, bar IRC which is largely the same.
    • There have been several efforts to improve IRC with a new ircd version, but there doesn't seem to be enough consensus. Libera, I assume the largest IRC network by volume today, is probably the network to get things done on that front.
      • I imagine the big things are usability with users. For example, removing NickServ & ChanServ and replacing them with something more secure and fundamental to the network topology. Today they are, despite being critical, fairly decoupled from the actual network operating mechanics.
      • I also think someone needs to invest in a more ubiquitous web app and desktop/mobile interface that everyone can get on board with. Slack-esque, friendly, embedded media, etc. etc.
  • Tesla dropped their prices, eating into their margin to continue a huge growth curve into 2023 before their presumed Q1 earnings call in a few months.
    • Despite their woes, and I've written about this a few times, their cars are still years ahead of the competition. And that's not down to one man. Tesla is a big company with thousands of smart people solving very difficult problems, while being budget constrained in a way the incumbents like VW etc. aren't. No manufacturer has yet to solve the quandary of future-vision (self-driving, ish), infrastructure and services in a vehicle quite like Tesla has. Everyone else, frankly, is copying them. Or trying to.
  • For the first time in my adult life, I came off my bike en route to work. This was due to icy conditions. Nothing serious, but I have a slightly sprained writst, cut arm and cut knee.
    • For northside Dubliners, it was on the road beside Fagans pub into Drumcondra. There's a wide footpath, but a narrow road, so cars hug the side of it. I tend to pop up onto the footpath to skip by the cars, and get back onto the road at the traffic lights. But a car pulled in really tight to me before I even got there, forcing me further to the edge of the road... where there was ice. Kablamo. This won't deter me from cycling but will continue my dislike for Corsa drivers.
  • In a career discussion, a colleague asked me how to be smarter in meetings. I had a threefold answer:
    • 1) be tactful, respectful and empathetic towards all participants, 2) be prepared, pre-read any necessary material and even adjacent material & 3) when folks make a point, think of a reasonable contrary position -- if you like that thought, say it to inspire discussion, if you don't, the current speaker is probably right with you.
  • Twitter seems to have formally shut down third party app support. Or limited it in such a way as to deem it useless to support for developers. Prompting my own fave, Tweetbot, to start advertising their Ivory app, which will sit atop of Mastodon's infrastructure. And the end of Twitterific.
    • Elon & team are idiots.
    • The people using those apps probably represented the top 10% of feverish users, and now they're all on Mastodon (straw poll according to my experience, this isn't scientific). Those are the users journalists wanted to engage with, brands wanted money from and other users came to the platform to listen to. Baffling move by Elon.
    • Outside of this, I just can't fathom what the end game is here. The company is contracting by 30% per quarter in revenue, it has a skeletal staff running a global platform, and it's providing a horrific and scatterbrain user experience.
  • Next month will be insanely busy with work. I'm in San Fran on week 1, we're in Cork in week 2 for a naming ceremony, my wife is in Berlin on week 3 and I'm in Bangkok on week 4. I'm tired just reading that out.
  • This week marks 10 years since HubSpot launched in Ireland. I was part of that initial team in 2012 (official launch was Q1'13). I've an enormous fondness for that company, the people and those early days. The 10 or so of us at the start have all grown so much, have wonderful careers and, dare I speak for everyone, are proud of what's come since. It was certainly hard work, but I'm delighted that I was lucky to have been part of that journey.
  • Speaking of HubSpot, I still chat to many people there. Including some former colleagues that I coach/mentor. And one of them just got promoted into an interim director position. Which is absolutely fantastic for her, as opportunities go!
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