2022-10-07First I have a whole collection of maps. There’s a map to show where in the world Wikipedia edits are coming from. There’s a map that shows all the different kinds of planning boundaries that overlap the in Britain. There’s an incredibly detailed weather map. Finally, here’s a whole series of maps that examine how much various governments fudged their COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation, and mortality rates. There are a couple of websites about making websites to share.
2022-09-06I’m interviewing for other jobs. It’s a very strange process that sometimes feels like having a professional affair. You arrange off-the-calendar meetings with some exciting new thing, because the old one has turned sour. I’ll stop myself before I go to deep on the “jobs are like relationships” simile, which I don’t really believe in. What I want to say is it’s a tiring situation to both have a job and be applying for jobs.
The demographics of early UNIX users
But the most recurrent complaint was that it was too text-oriented. People really hated the command line, with all the utilities, obscure flags, and arguments they had to memorize. They hated all the typing. One mislaid character and you had to start over. Interestingly, this complaint came most often from users of the GUI-laden Macintosh or Windows platforms. People who had slaved away on DOS batch scripts or spent their days on character-based terminals of multiuser non-UNIX machines were less likely to express the same grievance.
Though I understood how people might be put off by having to remember such willfully obscure utility names like cat and grep, I continued to be puzzled at why they resented typing. Then I realized I could connect the complaint with the scores of “intellectual elite” (as my manager described them) in UNIX shops. The common thread was wordsmithing; a suspiciously high proportion of my UNIX colleagues had already developed, in some prior career, a comfort and fluency with text and printed words. They were adept readers and writers, and UNIX played handily to those strengths. UNIX was, in some sense, literature to them. Suddenly the overrepresentation of polyglots, liberal-arts types, and voracious readers in the UNIX community didn’t seem so mysterious, and pointed the way to a deeper issue: in a world increasingly dominated by image culture (TV, movies, .jpg files), UNIX remains rooted in the culture of the word.
— The Elements of Style: UNIX as Literature, Thomas Scoville
Remember, the device has no buttons and is not a touch screen; it only shows the front page of the paper. But that’s enough to get the gist of what’s going on in the world, and if I want to continue reading an article that caught my attention, I use the Times app (most of the time it’s somewhere near the top of the app as well).
Every morning, I wake up to a fresh edition of the Times on my wall. I find it wonderful to hover for a bit with a cup of coffee, scanning the headlines or reading an article. Mission accomplished and I am one satisfied news junkie.
— An updated daily front page of The New York Times as artwork on your wall, Alexander Klöpping
Ann Syrdal, Who Helped Give Computers a Female Voice
A decade later, she was part of a team at another AT&T lab, in Florham Park, N.J., that developed a system called Natural Voices. It became a standard-bearer for speech synthesis, featuring what Dr. Syrdal and others called “the first truly high quality female synthetic voice.”
In 2008, she was named a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America in recognition of her contributions to the rise of female speech synthesis, which is now a part of everyday life, thanks to Siri and Alexa.
“She was driven — and I mean driven — to optimize the quality of female voices,” said Juergen Schroeter, who ran the Natural Voices project.
— Ann Syrdal, Who Helped Give Computers a Female Voice, Dies at 74, Cade Metz in The New York Times
Pay discrimination at Pinterest
Ozoma asked her manager to address her level, but she says she was initially told that her current compensation package was the best the company could do. After months of trying to get her level changed, Ozoma finally hired a lawyer, who began to argue that she should have been hired at a level six, two rungs above the level four at which she was being paid. Once her lawyer got involved and began advocating for additional compensation, stock options, and back pay, Ozoma was told she didn’t have enough years of experience—a criteria that does not appear on the level chart, which Fast Company has confirmed. Ozoma describes the difference in compensation between these levels as “exponential,” especially because much of the pay package comes in the form of stock options—which quickly became very valuable when Pinterest IPOed in April 2019. In July 2019, she filed a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), alleging pay discrimination based on sex and race.
— Discrimination charges at Pinterest reveal a hidden Silicon Valley hiring problem, Katharine Schwab in Fast Company
2020-05-14I wanted to quickly follow up to my recent post about personal infrastructure with some updates I made this week. Why the change I got a warning last week that I was almost at the limit for my allocation of “build minutes” on Netlify. Upon investigation, I found that my personal website had been building too often and for too long on Netlify, and that soon they would start charging me for the overages.
2020-05-08Note: There’s a follow up to this because I’ve since made more changes to the infrastructure of the site. Read more. I’ve been slowly moving over to self-hosting more services and trying to balance that with personal convenience. This post is a quick summary of the current setup I have running to do the following: Develop and run my personal website Cross-post certain types of content from my website to Twitter Periodically scrape a couple of proprietary services I use, to keep track of the media I’m consuming Store and serve that data along with some other personal data in an API Regularly update my personal website with the latest in my media consumption Personal website My website is built on Hugo, a static suite builder written in Go.
Computer Files Are Going Extinct
Perhaps this is the archivist in me, but this process of creating files and flinging them into an unsorted pot and then searching or hoping that the newest one is the one we want gives me the collywobbles. It seems like a rejection of our past work, to just sling all the files into a heap, immediately devaluing them as soon as something newer comes along.
— Computer Files Are Going Extinct, Simon Pitt in OneZero