Tumbly goodness, page 10 Atom feed

Kottke says a tumblelog is a quick and dirty stream of consciousness… with more than just links. Anarchaia was the first, but there are many copies. And they have a plan.

  1. We look for people who are so inquisitive about the world that they’re willing to try to do what you do. We call them “T-shaped people.” They have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T — they’re mechanical engineers or industrial designers. But they are so empathetic that they can branch out into other skills, such as anthropology, and do them as well. They are able to explore insights from many different perspectives and recognize patterns of behavior that point to a universal human need. That’s what you’re after at this point — patterns that yield ideas.

    Tim Brown, president and CEO of Ideo

  2. Before worrying about your business model, get your pleasure model straight.

    Kevin Marks

  3. My overall view of Dave Winer is that he has brilliant ideas ahead of their time and then does such poor implementation that other people must send years cleaning up the mess created by the early adopters on the basis of his half-written, barely-thought-out specifications.

    Paul Prescod

  4. The idea that philosophy could be kept apart from the sciences would have been dismissed out of hand by most of the great philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. But many contemporary philosophers believe they can practice their craft without knowing what is going on in the natural and social sciences. If facts are needed, they rely on their “intuition”, or they simply invent them. The results of philosophy done in this way are typically sterile and often silly. There are no proprietary philosophical questions that are worth answering, nor is there any productive philosophical method that does not engage the sciences. But there are lots of deeply important (and fascinating and frustrating) questions about minds, morals, language, culture and more. To make progress on them we need to use anything that science can tell us, and any method that works.

    Stephen Stich, via Will Wilkinson (emphasis mine)

  5. To some extent, Emacs Lisp is the new Hackers’ Lisp, because Emacs is such a featureful, comfortable, and extensible environment. It also has a fairly vibrant community. If it only had the option of lexical scoping, guaranteed tail recursion optimization, and loaded cl.el by default (perhaps internalizing some of the routines for multiple value returns and the like), it would come very close to being the most perfect Lisp.

    Michael Olson again.

  6. There’s something magical about breathing new life into old hardware, hardware that you had given up on. I don’t know quite how to describe it. It’s very… tender.

    Mark Pilgrim

  7. I am beginning to realize that different things motivate different hackers. I don’t seem to be someone who comes up with new and cool ideas that don’t have an associated problem. I see myself as more the stodgy maintainer type who worries first about compatibility and fixing existing problems rather than seeding many new projects. And I’m OK with that — the community needs both types (and not exclusively those types).

    Michael Olson

  8. As you know, colleges set their sticker prices by picking some absurdly high figure, like $46,732 per year, then discount like crazy, although they call their discounts “financial aid.” But, they discount the way economic theory predicts a monopolist would — by perfect price discrimination, setting the profit-maximizing price for each potential customer. You learn in Econ 101 that in the real world, this theoretical result is seldom achieved because firms can’t obtain all detail necessary about each customer for setting the perfect price. If your econ professor has s a rogue wit, he will then point out that there is a single exception: American colleges, which insist upon complete financial disclosure from applicants for “financial aid.”

    Steve Sailer (via Andrew)

  9. At some point in the past rolling out an application to 300,000 people was the pinnacle of engineering excellence. Today it means you passed your second round of funding and can move out of your parents garage.

    Joe Gregorio

  10. Rarely has the kabuki theatre of dictatorial progression played out in such a pure form, with the players moving about the stage in their formalized poses, and the people watching the show all unaware of the deadly meaning of the symbols and abstractions being portrayed.

    [info]radtea, on Hugo Chavez

  11. Even though it’s possible to show all the information, from a social perspective a degraded view would be better.

    Joshua Schachter

  12. And we all thought slashdot was bad!

    Evan, on digg

  13. This is the most ludicrously broken piece of released software I’ve seen in ages…

    Curtis, on the newly-released Windows Vista

  14. We might note that this effort is being pushed by eight House members representing Virginia and Maryland, plus District of Columbia delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. The Founders put the seat of government in a special district, outside any state, so that the government wouldn’t be unduly influenced by local pressures. And they denied the vote to residents of the district because the government shouldn’t be influencing itself.

    Now, though, we have 1.8 million civil service employees (plus about 800,000 in the post office and more than a million in the military). That’s a large voting bloc, especially in the states surrounding Washington, D.C. And so members of Congress from Virginia and Maryland, especially the Washington suburbs, have become in effect representatives of the bureaucracy in Congress.

    Cato@Liberty (links and emphasis mine)

  15. Performance refers to executing as fast as possible, on a given set of resources. Scalability, on the other hand, is about executing as fast as needed, on as many resources as needed. Performance is irrelevant when you can’t scale. And if you can scale cheaply, then milking every ounce of processor power should not be your first (or even fortieth) priority.

    Obie Fernandez (emphasis his)

  16. The conclusion I draw from this and my own experience having migrating my fair share of source trees is that the version control system is a first order effect on software, along with two others — the build system and the bugtracker. Those choices impact absolutely everything else. Things like IDEs, by comparison, don’t matter at all. Even choice of methodology might matter less. Although I’m betting there are plenty of software and management teams out there that see version control, build systems and bugtrackers as being incidental to the work, not mission critical tools.

    Bill de hÓra (emphasis mine)

  17. As with many other things he’s written, Clay Shirky’s Against Well-designed Reputation Systems is well worth the read. Some choice bits (emphasis mine):

    Constituting users’ relations as a set of bargains developed incrementally and post hoc is more predictive of eventual success than simply adopting any residue from previous successes…

    Successful constitutions, which necessarily create clarity, are typically ratified only after a group has come to a degree of informal cohesion… The desire to participate in a system that constrains freedom of action in support of group goals typically requires that the participants have at least seen, and possibly lived through, the difficulties of unfettered systems, while at the same time building up their sense of membership or shared goals in the group as a whole…

    Digg seems to have suffered more from both system gaming and public concern over its methods, possibly because the lack of organic growth of its methods prevented it from becoming legitimized over time in the eyes of its users…

    Reputation systems create an astonishing perimeter defense problem. The number of possible threats you can imagine in advance is typically much larger than the number that manifest themselves in functioning communities. Even worse, however large the list of imagined threats, it will not be complete… As you will not know which of these ills you will face, the perimeter you will end up defending will be very large and, critically, hard to maintain.

    To me, the fundamental take-away is that we shouldn’t treat successful online communities as a source of designs for building new social systems — we should use them as a source of insight into how online communities successfully grow into themselves. It’s the process, stupid.

  18. Yay! vc-bzr.el works again!

  19. Bill Poser of Language Log asks if the plain meaning of the [recess appointments] clause renders most recess appointments unconstitutional, why has this illegal practice been permitted to continue for so long and, apparently, without much controversy?

    To me, this seems like another example of what Barnett calls the presumption of constitutionality. The wording of the clause has been construed to allow for the broadest amount of executive wiggle room, just as McCulloch v. Maryland construed the necessary and proper clause so as to give Congress broad leeway in determining the necessity and propriety of its own legislation.

  20. Molly Holzschlag is contracting with the IE team to work on standards and interoperability issues. One piece of her efforts will be a new blog, The Daily Molly, where she’ll be offering tips and tricks for web developers and designers.

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