Notes for July 7th 2023

  • An article cropped up about Intercom, the Irish-founded software business. Their CEO (who, by all means, has a bit of an odd alt-right persona looking at his social presence -- which, granted, is a poor measure of anyone) had decided to erode all ERG and social programs to focus wholly on the companies mission. On one hand, I'm totally in for focus and attention being put onto a job. But then, that becomes a job. Not a career. ERGs are bottom-up social groups where people get together to do something as part of an identifiable group. At $company, we have ones for black colleagues, latin colleagues, LGBTQ+, parents, etc. All of which are great resources for folks to learn, develop and balance work against other things on their mind, with like-minded folks.
    • Intercom also dropped their support of Pride. Both from a corporate branding perspective, as well as internal flag-waving. All because it's "political." This, coming from a CEO who has bashful photos of him meeting deranged alt-right political figures.
  • Twitter has self-immolated again. Elon seems to be in the lurch for a $1bn bill to GCP for hosting. But instead of paying, he's decided to cut costs by rate-limiting the service for logged-in users (who can now only see 600ish Tweets per day, unless they pay to see more) and completely disabled viewing content for non-logged-in users. Which kills a lot of SEO goodwill the service has, as well as embedded tweets on news sites and the like. The world's town hall doesn't like when people listen-in, apparently. The net result of all of this has been users incessantly refreshing Twitter because that's all the prompt says to do; thus causing the good-natured users to actually DDoS the service, thus costing Twitter more in service bills.
  • The above brought a flurry of new users, or lapsed users coming back online to Mastodon. Which was great to see on the service, where my account sits. My only gripe is the sheer volume of people -- mostly good natured -- who are trying to "explain" federation, how ActivityPub or Mastodon works, etc. It's like people over-explaining flight mechanics to a nervous flyer, instead of just giving them some wine and a movie to watch. That said, below is the stats for Mastodon growth.

  • I'm increasingly of the opinion that the glut of car YouTubers focusing on EVs are missing a simple trick. The car journos they aim to emulate aren’t “car” journos. They’re journalists who found a niche in cars. Too much of the content put out is just PR nonsense equivalent to the PC World salesperson reading the ticket to tell you how much RAM is in the computer.
  • Reddit forced the shut-down of several popular apps to access the service. Including my beloved Apollo. I've not done a proper deep-dive into alternatives to Reddit, but /kbin seems to be the one that looks/feels the most useful. And being federated through ActivityPub means it's got a lot of reach already. Lemmy seems popular too, but murmurs of the primary maintainer being a bit of a weirdo with right-leaning intentions has put me off.
  • In many cases, the best way to get more done is to do less stuff. Doing less allows you the freedom to focus where it matters, and that's when you have the ability to get work done. Doing less is doing more.
  • I'm travelling to London once again on my monthly(ish) pilgrimage. Luckily, it's just for the day so I'm in & out to my own bed after a busy day. But I was curious as to the viability of the Irish government working with the UK government to build rail networks together. It would be a huge dual advantage to improve the sea crossing from Dublin to Holyhead to a high speed rail line into London, Shinkansen style.
  • Looks like Bear 2 is coming; after a number of years without significant update. 2 years ago I would have fallen over myself in excitement for this. But I've since gone all-in on Obsidian, which is just fantastic, open-source and has an enormous community around it. I'm not sure I could ever switch.
    • Which brings me to the weird part, that text editors are weirdly, bizarrely emotive.
  • I got access to Arc, a new browser by what appears to be an incredible team of engineers with impressive pedigrees. It's a very, very interesting prospect. Totally different to what you're used to in a browser. It's pretty well polished, despite being early access. Under the hood it's effectively Chromium, which does bother me, but also means everything will work smoothly out of the box (including a huge community of extensions).
    • It has some mad features like 'spaces' to group tabs and your web experience (think a social space vs a work space, etc.) as well as 'boosts,' which allows you to edit specific pages/sites to your needs, like changing the font on your mail tab.

  • My wife & I have been working through the new series of 'The Bear,' which is fabulous. Not only because the culinary world is fascinating and deeply interesting to me. But because the way it's acted, written and shot is so unique to this show. You feel like you're in the room and it's evident that the actors are given a lot of scope to explore the scene. It's just gorgeous.