Random insight of the night: every couple years, someone stands up and bemoans the fact that programming is still primarily done through the medium of text. And surely with all the power of modern graphical systems there must be a better way. But consider:
* the most powerful tool we have as humans for handling abstract concepts is language
* our brains have several hundred millenia of optimizations for processing language
* we have about 5 millenia of experimenting with ways to represent language outside our heads, using media (paper, parchment, clay, cave walls) that don't prejudice any particular form of representation at least in two dimensions
* the most wildly successful and enduring scheme we have stuck with over all that time is linear strings of symbols. Which is text.
So it is no great surprise that text is well adapted to our latest adventure in encoding and manipulating abstract concepts.
Been writing some parsers in Rust with Nom recently. Very impressed with the new changes this year in versions 5 and 6. The error handling features are particularly good now for custom parser errors, although I wish there was cleaner "Nom for Haskellers" migration guide for people used to mega/atto/parsec. Perhaps I'll write one one of these days when I know the library a little better.
Imagine a world where universities are ranked by their willingness to openly share knowledge and collaborate.
The Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI) aims to move higher education incentives towards open.
"These machines are the first general purpose computers ever where you have to make an exclusive choice: you can have a fast and efficient machine, or you can have a private one... Short of using an external network filtering device like a travel/vpn router that you can totally control, there will be no way to boot any OS on the new Apple Silicon macs that won’t phone home, and you can’t modify the OS to prevent this."
I think the #Haskell community looks very intimidating from the outside. There are lots of articles about how we do incredibly clever things just for the beauty of it, which is cool. But most of what we do productively is hid behind a curtain. We need to talk more about this.
I believe that the next big technological revolution (on the same scale as computers, petrochemicals, electricity, steam, etc.) will be a transhuman/biotechnology/AI revolution.
I clump all these possible technological paths together as "artificial life", because the specifics don't really matter that much. I don't know which specific kind of artificial life will win out, but I think that even the slow, conservative biotechnology is going to have a massive impact as it continues growing apace.
#Encryption is a personal right. As much as self-defense is. As much as having curtains, walls and locks on doors is.
Legislators are trying to take that right away from you - do *not* let that happen. Use end-to-end encryption, promote it, teach it, develop it. Here's my part: a command-line symmetric encryption program that is simple to use and secure.
4. The 500 character limit feels much less constraining than 280. There's less compression of thought, more natural cadence.
I've even seen a few posts that exceed that limit, which I think is done with content warnings? Still figuring out how to use all the new tools of expression this platform gives me.
3. I think it's very difficult to make sense of current events without noticing the effect of certain centralized platforms on our minds and relations with one other.
If we all use systems which cultivate bad patterns of behavior across our society, then we shouldn't be surprised at the result.
That's not just a comment on e.g. US politics. There's a lot of unhealthy/exploitative communication patterns in just the world of software, particularly around the p2p/blockchain projects.
2. It's really remarkable how much less _angry_ the timeline feels than the birdsite. This makes sense based on the structural incentives of centralized platforms, but wow is it a noticeable emotional difference.
I think the lesson is: Don't give hooks into your brain to systems that want "drive engagment" by driving you crazy.
The ability to send sensory stimulus (new notification!) to your fragile human brain is powerful, and we ought be much more careful about who we give that power to.
I've really been enjoying getting to know the Fediverse over the past few days. Some thoughts:
1. ActivityPub is really neat. Having microblogging (Mastodon) able to talk to video streaming (PeerTube), office software (NextCloud), etc. feels like the future my kid self in the late 90s/early 2000s expected.
Really interested to see how ActivityPub services will eventually integrate with other decentralized projects like Matrix or IPFS.
My name's John, I build programming languages. Mostly using Haskell, but also interested in Rust/Idris/anything with substructural or dependent types.
A theme of my posts is how technology can combat coercive hierarchy and empower individuals.
I detest the quote by that fascist techbro about how a computer is "a bicycle for the mind." Bicycles are safe and respectable. Computers are dangerous and silly.
Computers are giant mecha exoskeletons for the mind.
Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.