Google Antitrust Notes · I just read the US antitrust “Complaint” against Google. This is obviously just the first chapter of a very long story, but here are early observations ...
[7 comments]  
Trickster · This is a recommendation for 2½ books and a just-launched TV series, and for the books’ author, Eden Robinson. As a consequence of watching the TV pilot I’m now re-reading the books, which is strong testimony. While this is pretty Canadian stuff, I think the story of a disadvantaged and hard-pressed young aboriginal person, lost in strange spaces, would resonate in plenty of other landscapes. Anyhow, it’s dark and entertaining, with sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll and supernatural creatures you would not want to meet on a dark night. These are page-turners, keep-you-up-too-late stuff ...
[1 comment]  
Long Links · Welcome to the fourth monthly “Long Links” instalment, in which I take advantage of my lightly-employed status to enjoy high-quality long-form pieces and point out a few that seem worthwhile in the hope that you might fit one or two into your busier lives ...
[2 comments]  
I Hate My MacBook · In March I bought a 16" MacBook Pro, reasonably well tricked out: 2.3GHz 8-core Intel i9, 32G RAM, Radeon 5500M with 8G, 4T of disk. I hate it. It is slow and buggy enough that I wonder if maybe it’s a lemon? Herewith the gripes, for no particular reason other than it makes me feel like shouting at the world ...
[28 comments]  
Won’t Subscribe · Since I’m lightly employed these days, I enjoy keeping up with the news. In recent weeks, I’ve been blocked by the paywalls of the Wall Street Journal, Globe & Mail (closest thing Canada has to a national newspaper), the Times/Sunday Times (of London), the Telegraph (also UK), Business Insider, and Bloomberg. Recently I got a bit of inside info on how these publications think about the economics, and I’m here to explain why they’re wrong ...
[29 comments]  
Workflows in AWS and GCP · Recently, Google launched a beta of Google Cloud Workflows. This grabs my attention because I did a lot of work on AWS Step Functions, also a workflow service. The differences between them are super interesting, if you’re among the handful of humans who care about workflows in the cloud. For those among the other 7.8 billion, move right along, nothing to see here ...
[5 comments]  
Slow Drone Soar · I recently invited you to read a thousand-page novel without much in the way of sentences, so I think it’s perfectly reasonable to point you at a 69-minute drone-metal album that largely lacks melody and rhythm. I refer to Life Metal, a 2019 release from Sunn O))). Because in 2020 we really ought to be sharing good things with each other, and this is a good thing; the new music I’ve enjoyed most this year ...
[4 comments]  
Studying Water · I have the good fortune to live in a seafront city, the further fortune to travel often by boat to a cabin by ocean’s edge, and still further, to work in a boat/office, many hours a week within arm’s reach of salt water. The water exhibits mysteries and tells me things I don’t understand but would love, given another lifetime, to study ...
[5 comments]  
Long Links · I seem to have fallen into a monthly rhythm of posting pointers to what I think are high-quality long-form pieces. One of the best things about not having a job as such is that I have time to read these things. My assumption is that most of you don’t, but that maybe one or two will reward an investment of your limited time ...
[3 comments]  
, the fact that... · I’ve been reading Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann since January of this year and finished it earlier this evening. I’ve taken breaks from it to read other books and quit my job and launch a sideline in activism. The book is over a thousand pages long and mostly composed of a single sentence, an endless flow of phrases many introduced by , the fact that… I enjoyed it a whole lot! While most people won’t be eager to wade into something this big and complicated, the fact that it’s OK to take months and months to wander through it may make the idea less intimidating. I hope to tempt you further. Also a few notes about me and books ...
[3 comments]  
Yalochat · There’s financing news today: Yalochat closed a $15M B Round from B Capital, with follow-on from Sierra Ventures. The reason I’m writing this is that I’ve signed on as an advisor to Yalo; they’re a fun outfit and it’s an interesting story. Also, they’re hiring ...
 
Welcome to the Podcast · I was wondering if podcasting is still a thing, so I tweeted “When do people listen to podcasts, now that nobody is commuting? Housework? Exercise?” Newsflash: Yes, it is. The tweet got lots of traction and only very few of the responses said they were listening less. Given that, I decided to make an audio version of what you are reading and call it a podcast. Turns out to be pretty easy ...
[4 comments]  
Cloud Traffic · I recently watched Build an enterprise-grade service mesh with Traffic Director, featuring Stewart Reichling and Kelsey Hightower of GCP, and of course Google Cloud’s Traffic Director. Coming at this with a brain steeped in 5½ years of AWS technology and culture was surprising in ways that seem worth sharing ...
[2 comments]  
Long Links · Back in early July I posted ten links to long-form pieces that I’d had a chance to enjoy because of not having one of those nasty “full-time-job” things. I see that the browser tabs are bulking up again, so here we go. Just like last time, people with anything resembling a “life” probably don’t have time for all of them, but if a few pick a juicy-looking essay to enjoy, that’ll have made it worthwhile ...
[2 comments]  
Not an Amazon Problem · The NY Times profile quotes me saying “We don’t really have an Amazon problem. What we have is a deep, societal problem with an unacceptable imbalance of power and wealth.” But the URL contained the string “amazon-critic-tim-bray” and the HTML <title> says “Tim Bray Is Not Done With Amazon”. I feel like I’m being pigeonholed and I don’t like it ...
[11 comments]  
Polishing Lawrence · I edit Wikipedia as a hobby, and recommend that hobby. (Fifteen or so years ago I was an early defender in the days when many scoffed at the Wikipedia idea.) I spent much of this past weekend on a long-running editing project, the entry for T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. When I finished up on Monday I felt like a milestone had been passed so I decided to share, because the story behind it seemed worth telling ...
[2 comments]  
Safari Tabs Are Weird · Recently I switched from Chrome to Safari because on a 2019 16" MacBook Pro, Chrome has nasty video glitches; apparently Apple and Google are blaming each other for the problem. My first impression of Safari is decent, subjectively it feels faster than Chrome. But browser tabs act in ways that that feel somewhere between “weird” and “badly broken”. Here are a few of the issues I’ve encountered ...
[10 comments]  
Long Links · Having recently quit my job, I have more spare time than I used to. A surprising amount of it has been dedicated to reading longer-form articles, mostly about politics and society, but only mostly. I miss my job but I sure have enjoyed the chance to stretch out my mind in new directions. There are plenty of things in the world that need more than a thousand words to talk about. Anyhow, here is a set of lightly-annotated links that people who still have jobs almost certainly won’t have time to read all of. But maybe one or two will add flavor to your life ...
[1 comment]  
Just Too Efficient · On a Spring 2019 walk in Beijing I saw two street sweepers at a sunny corner. They were beat-up looking and grizzled but probably younger than me. They’d paused work to smoke and talk. One told a story; the other’s eyes widened and then he laughed so hard he had to bend over, leaning on his broom. I suspect their jobs and pay were lousy and their lives constrained in ways I can’t imagine. But they had time to smoke a cigarette and crack a joke. You know what that’s called? Waste, inefficiency, a suboptimal outcome. Some of the brightest minds in our economy are earnestly engaged in stamping it out. They’re winning, but everyone’s losing ...
[30 comments]  
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