Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- June 2019

Mon Jun 03 09:17:56 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @unexpectedmaker

Heads up: at 5 mins in the tutorial, with “if x is 10” you’re relying on a side effect of small int const handling. “is” tests “same object”, not “maths equal”. For -5 to 256 they are coerced to reference same object so test works.

Mon Jun 03 09:32:09 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @unexpectedmaker

Having started watching episode 4 I see you partly address this confusion at the start of it, with a string example. But using “is” and expecting “maths equal” also breaks down for integers at 257+ (and below -5) which is a common cause of surprise. Eg,

Wed Jun 05 07:29:16 +0000 2019 (#)

RT @KimMaida: I've seen a lot more conferences these days skipping tech check with the assurance of "We trust you speakers, so there's no n…

Wed Jun 05 20:29:36 +0000 2019 (#)

RT @perrymetzger: Dear OS UI designers: if an app that isn't in focus pops something up, don't accept a carriage return or click to do some…

Thu Jun 06 09:56:56 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Sounds like a HIPPA Violation to me. Especially since they’ve been repeatedly informed they’re sending medical information to unauthorized people. I’d suggest reporting it as such now.

There’s a North Carolina government contact on the contact tab here:

Fri Jun 07 07:32:00 +0000 2019 (#)

Interesting discussion of the impact of a maximiser/perfectionist/planner approach to creating verses a satisificer/“dive in and make it work” approach to creating. Thoughts inspired by Adam Savage’s “Every Tool’s a Hammer” book.

Sun Jun 09 06:58:43 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @Kiwiseabreeze and @pjf

⬆️ This. I expect over time they’ve found it easier to insist everyone buys insurance up front, then in the event of a claim the insurance companies figure it out among themselves. Rather than suing some individual tenant who declares bankruptcy leaving others to fund the cost.

Tue Jun 11 07:11:21 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

Way less I would have thought. Apple Refurbished in Australia doesn’t seem to have phones (they do in NZ), but I can find an iPhone 6 on EBay Australia from $200 (some refurbished, some used, some new).

Is there a specific model/feature set you need?

Tue Jun 11 09:27:14 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @MxCarmine and @aurynn

My gut reaction to “RealMe” (government ID) authenticated social media is Chinese style Social Credit, and WeChat. Ie, it seems very chilling.

I get that’s the point, for trolls.

But it feels like it would be pretty chilling for desired, marginalized, users too.

Tue Jun 11 09:32:12 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @MxCarmine and @aurynn

As a data point, I went from “I’d give you money just to support this project” to “I can’t imagine a situation where I’d use this service” on hearing it would be “RealMe verified by government ID” auth. And I’ve used my real name online for 30 years and have a bunch of privilege.

Tue Jun 11 09:46:02 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

Yes, the government part is the biggest part of my “chilling effect” reaction. No I don’t know of any other auth providers verified to that same “one human, one account” level, available as an API.

It’s a hard problem. 1/2

Tue Jun 11 09:50:46 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

The only non “verified by government” model I’ve seen that plausible scales and does “verified human” is PGP’s web of trust / member A vouches for member B (eg, invite codes w/ permanent link of A vouched for B).

Those have their own reliability, etc issues too :-( 2/2

Tue Jun 11 09:57:14 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

“Mass market” social media has done a terrible job of avoiding the platforms becoming hate magnifiers. I get the desire to create something that isn’t like that.

But “Real Names” policies very much cut both ways, especially with explicit government involvement.

Tue Jun 11 10:01:32 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

I agree PGP failed. My point is “human verified by another human”, trusted transitively, not PGP itself. It’s a model used in a bunch of social groups of various types.

But it doesn’t lend itself to outsourcing to a third party auth provider :-)

Tue Jun 11 10:13:33 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

FWIW, I trust you, personally.

I don’t trust databases of data linked to cross referenceable IDs. Because of the risk of deanonymisation, cross referencing, etc, by governments, intruders, or later owners/service changes. 1/2

Tue Jun 11 10:17:45 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

Even though you don’t need PII for your objective, choosing RealMe, which is designed to link to PII, means it’s hard to prove you’ll never be able to get PII, and easy to imagine how it could be deanonymised.

I wish I had a better suggestion, that scaled :-(


Wed Jun 12 06:50:19 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @deviantollam and @ContraPoints

The production values are amazing. I fell down the @ContraPoints rabbit hole earlier this week thanks to one of your earlier recommendations, and I’m in awe of the character/topic range.

So far my favourite is The West, because of the butterflies 🦋

Thu Jun 13 09:20:01 +0000 2019 (#)

This is one of the best The Technical Difficulties shows I’ve seen in ages. Back, with a new variation on the format: what if everyone except Tom knows the answer?!

Mon Jun 17 05:08:16 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @pjf

I’m so sorry to hear that :-(

Tue Jun 18 22:13:46 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Well that’s going to void the warranty!

@SimoneGiertz converts a brand new Tesla Model 3 into an electric pickup truck. The hacker/maker spirit at work :-)

Tue Jun 18 22:14:36 +0000 2019 (#)

RT @SimoneGiertz: I got tired of waiting for @Tesla to release their pickup truck so I made my own.


Wed Jun 19 03:44:05 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

I use y’all too. I’m not from the USA, but English has a grand tradition of robbing other languages of their words, so it feels fine to borrow useful words from other dialects 😃

Hardly anyone comments on it, other than the occasional American on my “Southern” accent!

Wed Jun 19 03:49:08 +0000 2019 (#)

RT @attacus_au: Actually, this brings me to an important point: if you're a conference organiser posting recordings to YouTube, turn off th…

Wed Jun 19 06:42:39 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

The lack of regulation on the use of the data is definitely a problem.

Ideally the cell companies should be prohibited from accumulating large volumes of people tracking data, let alone handing it over to the government or others.


Wed Jun 19 06:46:58 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

I’m disappointed that the Privacy Commissioner apparently signed off on this, even with claims “it’s aggregated data.”

It ought to have required a change of law, and public debate, to ethically use such location data. Plus a robust data usage audit process.


Wed Jun 19 07:01:25 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar


Thu Jun 20 06:37:36 +0000 2019 (#)

Definitely loving this new format Techinical Difficulties show!

Thu Jun 20 07:00:52 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @pjf

Breaks are very important! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Even when it’s only a week or so for “first response”.

And yes, outsource as much as possible. Funeral directors can be very helpful for such sudden planning.


Thu Jun 20 07:05:06 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @pjf

ProTip: do not call everyone in the address book yourself. Ask each person who else they can let know. Outside immediate family very few people need you to tell them directly.

(In case of sudden loss the emotional labour of helping each person you tell is non trivial.)

Thu Jun 20 07:58:45 +0000 2019 (#)

RT @pickover: Mathematics, geometry, witchcraft, and the structure of reality. (A plug gets caught under a table.)…

Fri Jun 21 02:35:06 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

Indeed. It’s pretty much peak Joel Spolsky channeling his former Excel PM self.

I’m amused that manual array indexing (INDEX/MATCH) was suggested as a fix for a slow VLOOKUP. Rather than making what people first find DWIM (with, eg, lazy eval and more selective recalc).

Sat Jun 22 07:52:12 +0000 2019 (#)

I think I just got nerdsniped by my mother.

On the plus side I’m fairly sure I’ve found the house one of my great great grandfathers lived in most of his life. It seems to still be there on modern satellite photos. Sadly it’s on a long private driveway, so no street view 😢

Sat Jun 22 21:23:51 +0000 2019 (#)

Randomly found out about the Charisma Robotics Lab at OSU via the Teardown Conference livestream. Looks like a very interesting exploration of social interaction, mediated via robotics. Tacit communication is important 👍

Sun Jun 23 07:17:10 +0000 2019 (#)

Great talk by @helenleigh at #Teardown2019 yesterday about music, technology, and music hacking. Starts at 26 mins into stream.

Also spotlights Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire for early electronic music.

Mon Jun 24 04:28:30 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @TimoStaudinger and @BR3NDA

My NZ passport also does not list a title.

Conveniently “no title” is my preference, but frequently difficult to enter into web forms… 😢

Thu Jun 27 04:44:21 +0000 2019 (#)

Replying to @attacus_au

I use the phrase “accidentally works” for that type of programming…