2021-10-08 Nerd Roundup

We've had more deep-dive technical nerdy weeks, but I don't think we've had as many programming links to share across a broad range of industries. Also, The Great Pumpkin wants your refrigerator.

· 6 min read
2021-10-08 Nerd Roundup

Yay Bob. I never know who might be showing up and The Bobstertm pinged me at the last minute and asked for a link.

The JSON group meets for the very last time

Somehow Bob and I have the natural ability to make the other person laugh. As kids, we were probably the two kids they wouldn't let play together.

links
STORY BUT WHY?
HN discussion: Facebook-owned sites were down

Telegram founder says over 70\m new users the day FB died. Are these stats real? How much good or evil came out of this, and will we all ever agree on those numbers?
THE DAY FACEBOOK DIED! YIKES!
Metastable failures in distributed systems

There are a few great resources here, especially the earlier ones on metastability errors in FPGAs. But this essay captures the really cool thing: what we're talking about is the absolute requirement that we only create and maintain systems and subsystems that can completely exist in somebody's brain. This is my concept of CCL, and coders are doing the best they can to ignore it
Like Brooks' Mythical Man-Month or a bunch of other classics, this is one to always have in your back-pocket when you're talking about systems at scale
It takes a PhD to develop that

HN comment thread. Multiple commenters talking about how many folks on the net refuse to believe this no matter how much proof they're presented with. There's a tremendously valuable lesson here about always keeping in mind that low-level simple stuff in many cases (not all) can beat the crap out of higher level stuff. Ignore it at your professional risk. This is the same problem we see in agile adoption and a lot of other places. If you don't know the possibilities, you can't make a decision about how you'd like to proceed. Instead we get the precautionary principle maximized over time\
FTA: The software industry doesn't value features and quality as much as it values having warm bodies reporting to a manager responsible for an area. Again and again, we have no idea how to manage technology development. Need to just acknowledge that and move on. Iteresting take on the Peter Principle, also he's wrong when he says you become a better programmer by programming. You become a better programmer by meta programming
Interactive TLA+

Who knew? There are a few TLA+ tools already around, including a TLC model checker. Sigh again
Fun with TLA+. Another tech topic also on my top-ten to-learn list. Sigh
Perplexity

Here's a deck where they start going through this reverse-content ranking idea, although they don't flush it out. Also there's a great paper (not cited) that talks about using perplexity and human speech to identify people with dementia
This is a really cool concept that cuts across CS, Philosophy, Epistemology, AI, creative writing, and bunch of other stuff. (It very well might be useful in creating a new kind of content ranking system. Hint hint)
"Static Linking Considered Harmful" considered harmful

Another great opportunity to talk about the Unison programming language. You got untyped dataflow, you got a Unison-like coding environment, you got a set of tests and corresponding code that passes those tests, you got the future of computing. There's no other way it's going to work out
This directly goes back to our True Microservices, IST, and TDD discussion. Immutable code can't be vulnerable and shouldn't need updating. You should update only for new features. Far, far too much couplnig in modern code
The most counterintuitive facts in all of mathematics, computer science, and physics

Good time to mention how much we still do not know. There are so many important contradictions and unsolved problems in sciences, even the hard ones, that there's a wikipedia list-of-list of them
Definitely a great summary of cool counterintuitive stuff to trot out in the next nerd discussion
E-ink Magic Calender on GitHub

Extremely cool list of all of the neat e-ink stuff you can build
I love this like I love all of those other E-ink/Raspberry Pi projects, but a HN commenter had a good question: most all of us love these "lo-fi" tech IOP-ish concepts. Why isn't there a place we can go buy them? No subscriptions, no updates, hell no interactive internet access for most of them. Just a NUC, some e-ink, a nice package, and some nice, cool, passive functionality that looks good in the house. Why is this not a thing?
AI-Powered Chess Coach

This essay is probably the best essay I've seen so far this year that has the potential to drive out the difference between learning and memorizing patterns. Is there a difference? If you get better even for the wrong reasons, are you improving? Lotsa cool philosophy/tech here. Also, the computer may very well be just kabitzing
The interesting/funny thing here is that it'll act like a coach, giving you adivce that sounds right, but it really doesn't know what its doing and the advice many times may be wrong. Is there learning here or is this an antipattern?
A Declassified State Department Report Says Microwaves Didn’t Cause “Havana Syndrome”

This JASON group looks rad
Havannah syndrome is crickets? Seriously? From a "how systems of people figure out stuff" standpoint, Havannah Syndrome is turning out to be even better than watching the UFO guys flail around
Ransomware gangs are complaining that other crooks are stealing their ransoms

Obligatory explanation of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Tool makers have an interest in selling hacking tools to a lot of people over a long period of time and not being shutdown. Hackers have an interest in getting as much as they can as soon as they can with as few competitors as possible
There is a prisoner's dilemma here, I think. If you sell tools to do bad things to other people, shouldn't you have a backdoor into those tools in order to make sure the users don't piss off the wrong people who will come and hurt you? And if you do that, why not just skim a little off the top of the money your users are making? It's turtles all the way down. Once you add in decpetion, whether ill or well intended, it quickly becomes turtles all the way down
Defendant attempts citizen's arrest on judge during assault trial

In this old 1960s TV show, the brilliant actors Jim Neighbors and Don Knotts have a sketch where after getting a ticket for making a u-turn in his tow truck, Gomer catches the cop doing the same thing. If only real life were so fair
The first rule of hacking the matrix is that you're not allowed to hack the matrix
Jewmain Driven Design

Required. If you've haven't seen this, you gotta go. It's the Enterprise programming framework! Enterprise is a non-deterministic-unnecessarily-statically-typed Turing-complete-ish, Quantum-out-of-the-box programming language designed to create computer programs that disrupt markets.
This is an "old-fashoined" silly article that we sadly don't see much of anymore. It also has more than one good observation about DDD. What most might miss is that every domain is like that. It's just not obvious. If it weren't, we could model right to code without ever changing anythign over the lifetime of the product

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It was the PDP-8, you see. That was the problem of all of it. That and the strawberries.
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