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🇵🇷 Software engineer, iOS & macOS product designer. Educator on 21st century skills. Speculative fiction enthusiast. Deliberate optimist. Chismoso.
22 Sep
I've been using a computer 4+ hours daily for the last 25 years, but it's only recently that I feel I've cracked a solid workspace design that addresses health, ergonomics and comfort

If you've transitioned to WFH this year and don't yet love your setup, this thread is for you.
Computer desks sold for the home are, generally, garbage

ESPECIALLY computer desks with integrated keyboard trays. The dimensions of your body dictate specific heights where your keyboard should be, and it's unlikely any given desk is going to hit that exactly for you
You can spend $1000 on elaborate sit-stand desks, but I'm not getting into those

This approach is about combining simple commodity parts to make something that exactly suits your needs and feels good in your home.
Read 22 tweets
19 Sep
Just to be clear:

If you really want to interpret Babylon 5 as allegory for war and statecraft, you have to see the Shadows and the Vorlons as a wealthy elite

When you’re rich, you have the advantages of many lifetimes. All that magic space tech?

That’s how it feels to be rich
One of the points the show makes is how much the elites will avoid direct confrontation. How much they’ll prefer using proxies to fight out their beefs.

Babylon 5 is four years of storytelling on how you organize to demand accountability from more powerful parties.
When you read his biography, you get a really close look at how Straczynski found the entire shape of his early life dictated by the cruelty of war.

For me, that gives him a lot of authority to make sense of the subject. That guy can WRITE, so the diorama he creates is vast.
Read 10 tweets
18 Sep
This is a bad take on two levels

1) TikTok is the quintessential mobile use case. The rich media editing and compositing it requires would be quite a struggle to maintain using web tech

2) In what universe are ISP's magically immune to this while app stores are not?
Neckbeard galaxy brain: "the web is FREE, man, nothing can control it" *hard drag off a fat joint*

Common sense: regardless of the technological potential, capital has made the web centralized as fuck, and we all pay two or three companies to access it, soooooo
Lotta folks just HORNT UP to extol virtues of their beloved web technology at every opportunity, but trying to find yet another take in here where the web is morally superior is a hilarious case of the point sailing over your head

We don't control any aspect of our tech commons
Read 5 tweets
15 Sep
Given the miniaturization Apple has pulled off with TouchID in the new iPads, and the challenges involved with masks and Covid, I wonder if future premium iPhone tiers will offer redundant biometrics

FaceID for the fastest response, TouchID for cases when the face is obscured Image
Meanwhile, seeing Apple brag about adopting a 5nm process for the new silicon in iPad Air brings the Intel business into interesting focus

Recall that the transition to Intel, 15 years ago, was spurred by the PowerPC architecture hitting a performance dead end Image
We never saw a G5 PowerBook because the architecture generated so much damned heat. Remember the G5 tower's really dramatic cooling system?

Couldn't hit a sweet spot of performance against thermal efficiency so Apple bailed (largely, I'd guess) to advance their portable strategy ImageImage
Read 7 tweets
12 Sep
I’ve been hearing a low murmuring about Ted Lasso, on Apple TV+.

The dam broke yesterday and I gave it a watch. I couldn’t put it down.

This is the most interesting, intelligent show I’ve seen in quite awhile, and I think you should give it a look.
Ted Lasso, from the outside, looks like a mundane story. It’s a show about sports, about a dysfunctional team.

But Ted Lasso is actually speculative fiction. No spaceships or zombies, though. The premise is far more subtle:
Ted Lasso asks

What if a man saw kindness, generosity and emotional connection as his most powerful levers for meeting his goals?

This is such a radical notion that the sheer novelty of it had me absolutely glued to my seat. I watched the entire series so far in one sitting.
Read 13 tweets
11 Sep
I am pissed off at two parties over the last few years. A quiet, simmering, burning rage

1. Everyone who's like "hyuck I hAtE AppLe fOr gEtTinG RiD of UsB pOrTs"

2. Apple

I will take each party in turn
1. y'all need to EDUCATE yourselves

Apple has delivered a miracle I waited on quietly for over a decade

With the advent of Thunderbolt 3 and/or USB-C ports, we have POWER AND FULL-SPEED DATA IN ONE FUCKING CABLE

FUCK

Dock and undock with ONE connection. Come on!
Depending on configuration, you plop down with your laptop, plug in ONE (fucking!) cable, and:

1. your computer is charging
2. your external display is connected
3. your peripherals are engaged
4. your networking is now hard-wired

One cable. You don't like that? I'm so sorry!
Read 15 tweets
11 Sep
"AMD is absolutely handing us our asses. Marketing, we have to stop the bleeding."

"Don't even worry about it. Got this." Image
Intel: pay no attention to AMD eating our lunch and Apple abandoning our struggle bus. we are doing some Frankenstein shit you're just going to love Image
Read 9 tweets
11 Sep
I could REALLY use a solid single player, story-heavy video game these days

but every fucking publisher has been so horny for Destiny and Fortnite clones, the last few years have been so sparse for that kind of thing

I've spent the last few weekends in Fallout 4, it's that dire
Exacerbating the problem is that I don't care about a video game unless there's

- a space ship
- thick cyberpunk themes
- some other gadgety conceit (hence Fallout)

Detroit: Become Human wasn't bad, but felt a little thin
Read 6 tweets
8 Sep
Starting a rewatch of Babylon 5—prompted by @Delafina777's superb watch guide:

ariela.dreamwidth.org/608.html

B5 was formative for me—as a teenager, it provoked so many big questions about morality, civic duty, spirituality, politics, and of course, war.
As noted in that guide, season 1 has a lot of cringe to it.

But what’s notable about Babylon 5 is how well its message has held up across so many phases of my own evolution.

There is a sense of place to B5, despite the limits of budget and technology. It’s potent.
That sense of place is, to me, rooted much more in the characters' moral compasses than anything about the production design (although this, too, makes the story feel real and plausible).

Babylon 5 is a window onto difficult problems addressed by thoughtful people.
Read 5 tweets
5 Sep
@/nicoleciravolo is a popular TikTok creator probably best known for her character Ms. Connie.

Ms. Connie is the hidden power of the high school, a secretary in the administrators’ office. She’s savvy, gossipy, and unswervingly dedicated to the protection of students.
The popularity of Ms. Connie is substantial—each video has millions of views.

Ms. Connie is the fantasy of a school administration that is socially competent, committed to both justice and the safety of marginalized students.
The creator wants to validate the experiences of her viewers who may feel isolated and powerless in the structures that define their daily existence.

While they may not have a Ms. Connie to look out for them, they DESERVE one.
Read 10 tweets
4 Sep
We all gotta survive capitalism somehow, but if you're at Facebook...

do you really not have an employment alternative? This product is profiting from the amplification of truly hateful shit and shows no inclination to stop or improve itself. How much complicity is too much?
Facebook and Fox News are interchangeable in terms of the damage they are doing to this country through distribution of hate.

And Facebook may yet be even worse.
I got a recruiting email over the summer from Facebook. One of the roles was eng leadership for election integrity. Intriguing!

I thought about it.

But ultimately, I couldn't take Facebook seriously on the subject as long as the incentives were to profit from LACK of integrity.
Read 5 tweets
4 Sep
Early on in my career, I was hired as the sole iOS developer for a new startup. My second time as hire #3.

This beast was to be complex and high-stakes and I was honest that I felt I needed support in the role. I knew how to ship, but architecture was not my strong suit.
I was assured that a senior person would also be brought into the fold.

This never happened.

And what was traumatic about this was that I was stuck doing the thing I warned them I didn't know how to do:

Architecting the network interactions, background threads and all.
We shipped, ahead of schedule, and we received accolades aplenty.

But we had technical debt out the ass. A colleague remarked that "it was made of race conditions" 😂

What made it worse was that the org had zero culture or practice of code review so I'd REALLY been in the woods
Read 8 tweets
1 Sep
When you order their ice cream, @desusnice and @THEKIDMERO include a fuckin LACTAID in the box 😂

Very nice experience opening this up, @oddfellowsNYC ImageImageImageImage
The packaging is very good—the ice cream is so cold I can’t actually eat it yet, so a proper review will have to wait.
Okay, it thawed

baconeggncheese is AMAZING

This was the one I was most puzzled by, but I would not expect my Bodega Boys to steer me wrong. GODDAMN.

Kind of a crunchy, candied bacon vibe, while the egg and cheese gives the ice cream a custardy richness that I love
Read 12 tweets
31 Aug
Six months later, my replacement AirPods have failed again.

Once again, Apple support was exemplary—I had ANOTHER set at my door the day after I called it in.

But I'm starting to worry a bit about the environmental impact of a tech bauble like this, having such a short life
Fresh out of the box, the AirPods Pro are some of the best consumer technology you can buy

They're beautiful, work well, feel good.

But SOMETHING in them degrades over time. The noise canceling gets gradually worse, but I only notice the difference thanks to the replacements
This performance degradation is accompanied by something else:

A bizarre, uncomfortable vibration in the ear while talking. Apple has mentioned some sort of valve in the mix, which equalizes ear pressure so you don't get the typical earplug discomfort.

Is this failing?
Read 8 tweets
29 Aug
I have chills reading this.

It may seem like a small detail, but these are the threads of world building that unfurl new possibilities.

SFF asks “what if.”

Sometimes, by accident, all it’s asking is “what if nothing changed but the clothes.” These details make the difference.
For example, look at Sarah Taber’s analysis of the world building implications of Chateau Picard

Lazy world building suggests a hidden, fucked up economic order in 24th century Earth!

That Boseman would go to bat for this detail hints at all the love that went into Black Panther as a production, that made it such a powerful speculative vehicle.

“What if a people had been safe from colonialism?” What a POTENT hypothetical.

He wanted us to see an answer!
Read 5 tweets
27 Aug
In stories like Star Trek, Babylon 5, Mass Effect, humanity takes on outsized importance in the galaxy mere centuries after arriving on the scene.

We are such gifted negotiators and politicians, we become the glue of some portion of galactic civilization.

That’s hilarious.
If indeed a political sphere could exist at that scale, I imagine humans would spend a lot of time isolated and politically talentless.

We’re a shitshow.

And while I believe in our potential more than anything, I think imagining ourselves more critically is a big opportunity.
Sol-centric politics makes sense from a finance perspective. It’s cheaper to depict humans, so come up with a story reason to explain their dominance in the narrative.

But we have so many demons to address among our impulses, I can’t imagine what shitty stellar neighbors we’d be
Read 4 tweets
22 Aug
Circuit breakering this

Don’t need or want this doing numbers, and it’s just a retread of someone else’s joke months ago. Do reply if you remember the OG of making this observation.

But I’m fascinated by our media drenched culture interpreting events through this lens. Image
They had fandoms before Star Trek and Buffy, you know

Why do you think all that Shakespeare shows up in school? People love their stories, the stories work even better when we know them together.

Capitalism structures our stories to defer gratification until an orgiastic payoff
Why was Donald Draper living a double life? Why was his history a secret from his colleagues?

Because Donald Draper being a normal person was not going to save AMC from a cataclysmic loss of revenue as their offering became irrelevant in the age of Netflix.
Read 16 tweets
18 Aug
I think @gruber's gets this right, except for the closing:

Anyone who follows game devs knows that, by and large, the sentiment there is one of seething, pervasive hatred of Apple for not creating a free-for-all sandbox as some sort of public service

daringfireball.net/linked/2020/08… Image
The amount of effort that goes into maintaining iOS as a platform is extraordinary. Aggressive R&D that produced the best mobile processors in the game. Constant improvements and expansions to developer tools, libraries, APIs.

Is that worth 30% of your takings? You can decide!
Most of the users are on Android, and Android lets you sideload whatever garbage shit code you want, from anyone, anytime.

Plenty of consumer choice here.

But that's less profitable? You want the benefits of Apple's premium customer base and superior OS? So, pay for it 😂
Read 4 tweets
15 Aug
Here's the big reason it's nice to have some Star Trek back.

We have a mission. You, me. The rest of humanity.

We all have a mission. That mission is absolutely fucking up right now.

The mission is simple: everyone on Earth deserves the standard of living of a US millionaire.
It's not something we can just do tomorrow.

Even if, miraculously, all the tax laws changed and we could just redistribute, poof, across borders and oceans.

It's a project that requires investment. Infrastructure. Planning. Vision. Imagination.

EFFORT.
But it's more than possible to work our way to a place where:

- Everyone has enough to eat, every day of their lives
- Everyone has a place to sleep
- Everyone can learn what they want, as they want it
- Everyone can be safe
- Everyone can access medicines and doctors
Read 13 tweets
15 Aug
The second one is much funnier.

More than that: the writers are SHAMELESS about fan service wrt to the most obscure details and I love it. I’ll say this for ‘em:

They’re using the WHOLE Trek lore toy box, deeply serious about consistency.
There’s a bit where an Ensign approaches his boss. He wants a transfer to another division.

The way they address this is entirely consistent with what we understand of Starfleet’s self-actualized, post-scarcity workplace culture.
And the business with the Ferengi…

Perfect. I love it.
Read 6 tweets
13 Aug
It’s funny because replies are disabled

But she raises a good point! How’s it supposed to work?

Two pieces to remember:

- we have an unprecedented protest movement that’s already changing POV mass-scale

- the executive != legislative branch. They sign laws, others write them
The US has two options going forward

- become a smoking crater

- enact a project of wealth redistribution that dwarfs The New Deal

That’s it. Trump has already shown us he’s fine with a crater, so we have to choose folks who have at least some chance of choosing redistribution
The rest comes down to the power of the people.

These craven, inept politicians rule by the consent of the governed. More than any point in the time I’ve been alive, that consent teeters on being revoked by a meaningful proportion of Americans.
Read 6 tweets