Hi, I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing. Isn’t that witty? I send this weekly, and it is full of various things. What would I call it if my last name didn’t start with thing? I have no idea!
We wrapped up our Arizona Escapade this week! We had a wonderful time and put a lot of miles in on the hiking trails! 🥾 We had a great final week of vacation. You will see a ton of pictures in the Journal below. Now we start three days of driving back to Minnesota. A lot of miles to cover!
I’ve been doing some reading on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and they intrigue me. The NFT market aligns with what I think is a valid use-case for blockchain, to create trust. If you need a technology solution to build trust into a system, blockchain is a great answer. NFTs need trust, similar to crypto.
There is no better way to learn something than by trying it, so I created an account on OpenSea and minted a couple of NFTs! I’ve listed these two NFTs for sale, one for the Weekly Thing #177 Cover Image as well as the Weekly Thing #176 Cover Image. They are listed for 0.01 Ethereum ($16-18 right now). If you want to experiment go ahead and buy one. You can resell it for whatever price you set. Maybe they will be collectors items. 🤑
Related: I recently wrote about my current thinking on crypto.
Here is a crazy thing — I’m excited to share that Road Sign Math has received a breath of new life with this Phoenix Math sign that Tammy found! A number of years ago I said Goodbye to a bunch of websites I was running. I’ve regretted not having Road Sign Math around though, and I’m planning on adding the archive of winners to the site later! 🙌
PS: I’m cooking up a fun, new family project! Like books? Sign up for Reading Things! 📚
“Listen to your life.” — Frederick Buechner
If Om Malik is writing about blogging I’m reading. Om made a career out of blogging and fundamentally impacted the trajectory of the blogosphere. I love his take and admiration for Hey World, and in general how he positions self-expression on the web.
But ultimately, the truth is that it doesn’t matter how you express yourself. Discussions and worries about platforms and tools are distractions. CJ Chilvers is quite right when he says, “Publishing online is all about relationships.” Kevin Kelly, the legendary author and founding editor of Wired magazine, argues that 1,000 true fans are enough. I would say that even one is good enough.
And that is why I believe that HEY World is a whole different beast.
Hey World is all about blogging as a philosophy. It recognizes the inherent value in sharing and expression. It tips its hat to blogging’s past and focuses on its essence. If I were starting a newsletter today, it would be on the top of my list.
I love that he gave a hat-tip to CJ Chilvers too. I am a fan of his writing, and he’s a Weekly Thing reader. 👋
If you can’t beat them, sabotage them? 💩
In a new paper being presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency conference next week, researchers including PhD students Nicholas Vincent and Hanlin Li propose three ways the public can exploit this to their advantage:
Data strikes, inspired by the idea of labor strikes, which involve withholding or deleting your data so a tech firm cannot use it—leaving a platform or installing privacy tools, for instance.
Data poisoning, which involves contributing meaningless or harmful data. AdNauseam, for example, is a browser extension that clicks on every single ad served to you, thus confusing Google’s ad-targeting algorithms.
Conscious data contribution, which involves giving meaningful data to the competitor of a platform you want to protest, such as by uploading your Facebook photos to Tumblr instead.
This article reminded me of another I read years ago that suggested that Millennials were telling Facebook that their friends were their brothers and sisters, and intentionally throwing garbage into the social networks algorithms. This seems like a space that could even benefit from some tooling to help people introduce maximally confusing content to the algorithms.
This is one of the biggest vulnerabilities to be exploited in recent years, and the impact is big.
In each incident, the intruders have left behind a “web shell,” an easy-to-use, password-protected hacking tool that can be accessed over the Internet from any browser. The web shell gives the attackers administrative access to the victim’s computer servers.
Installing: I’ve been a Sanebox customer for years. This week they announced a Sanebox App! 🎉 It provides a native app experience for reviewing your SaneDigest. With your permission it also will send your contact data to Sanebox so that they can do a better job sorting your email.
The South Shore of Canyon Lake as the sun is setting. Buy this NFT!
Mar 5, 2021
E Apache Trail Apache Junction, Arizona
This is a good primer to Roblox which had a wildly successful IPO this week.
In short, Roblox isn’t a game at all: it is world in which one of the things you can do is play games, with a persistent identity, persistent set of friends, persistent money, all disconnected from the device that you use to access the world. That is the transformational change.
Tyler and I have played with it a bit, but It didn’t click with me right away. He digs it though.
Good, straightforward reminder.
- The hard things define success.
- You must confront teammates about poor behavior or performance.
- You must deal with problems quickly.
- You must make good decisions.
- You must stand back so teammates can learn and grow.
- You need soft skills to do the hard things.
- Knowing what to do isn’t enough. You must act.
This would be a good article to revisit when you do a weekly review. Maybe even build the checklist directly into your weekly review. Asking yourself these questions could be important to make sure that you are addressing the things that are most critical.
Interesting read with some great tactical advice on building a community, and in this case specifically focused on a community of technical users. This one is probably the most critical item for any community.
Density is crucial in the early stage of building a community, so I think it’s important to reduce the surface area for interactions on whatever platform you choose.
Creating more options than you have need for is a community killer.
Nice solution to build Webhooks into your solution. When I saw this I thought “Hmm, Webhooks are pretty simple. Why would you need this?” and then I read the section on Retries and instantly realized all the edge cases.
It is always fun to see how new languages tackle problems. This language can include functions at compile time, which sort of sounds like the C preprocessor taken to the max. ⚡️
This issue is brought up frequently around crypto and I’m actually more in Wilson’s camp on this. Also, it matters what it can replace. My view on crypto is that Bitcoin is like gold. So, we should then compare the overall environmental impact of Bitcoins electrical usage versus the environmental impact of digging Gold out of the ground. It isn’t a simple trade-off, and in the end I believe we can drive electricity efficiently more than mining for example.
My book club read A Crack in Creation which gives a very detailed accounting of CRISPR. It would be fun to read Isaacson on this as well. Also topical since CRISPR was part of the COVID-19 vaccine development.
This seems like a great idea!
Dolt is a SQL database that you can fork, clone, branch, merge, push and pull just like a git repository.
I love that they have paired this with DoItHub as well so you can share data easily. This seems like a very powerful capability.
This is a funky and cool site where an AI generates a non-existent word, but also includes a definition for the word. The words “feel” like they make sense. I’m tempted to use them as real words.
The more leverage you get in a system, the more impact there is to any one part of that system failing.
Some great background here on how SPS is working to Reduce System Racism!
Williams started his work at SPS Commerce with the eight top executives of the company. All of them did six to eight hours of homework beforehand. Then a broader group of SPS employees went to class, and soon a version of this short history of the Black American experience had been shared with all of the roughly 1,500 employees of the company. It will be for any new hires, too, Black said.
I was in those sessions with Yohuru Williams and the learning was incredibly impactful, and Williams’ delivery made it even more potent. There is still so much work to be done here, but we continue to push forward! ✊
This is like reading a time capsule back to the ideas of bringing your own data to applications. The web has the same issue, but it’s around open standards and open protocols. For those that have been around computers long enough you may remember other approaches like OS/2 which started everything with the document and then applications acted on it.
With all that said, I do find it frustrating for example that Slack still doesn’t support multiple chat windows yet dozens of IRC clients have done that for decades. We seem to always be trading off various forms of lock-in.
It is great to see some new innovation in blogging! HEY has been really popular, and I love the simplicity of this approach. I love seeing innovation in the open web!
This is a detailed writeup of compatability for more developer focused tooling on the new Apple M1 chips. Honestly, I read this and was just amazed. I don’t know if there has ever been a chip architecture transition that is so easy and fast!
I haven’t caught the bug of these new knowledge management tools. Roam Research turned me off instantly with its slow load times and depending on a web browser. But I keep hearing people love them.
Athens is an open-source and local-first alternative to Roam Research. Athens is the most community-driven, private, and extensible knowledge graph.
It is good to see open-source options coming out.
For our final dinner in Phoenix we went to Vecina and had an incredible meal. The food was so flavorful and incredibly presented. We shared everything and did a tasting dinner. We started with the SalsaTrio which had an incredible Habanero salsa. We also had the Karaage which tasted amazing. For a salad we had the Shaved Brussel which tasted amazing and was super finely sliced. We also tried the Mesquite Grilled Cauliflower which was packed with flavor and a little kick. For mains we had the Skirt Steak Tacos, Carnitas Empanada, and the Tylauda. We were honestly expecting the portions to be smaller. We simply had too much food but it was all so delicious. Challenged with stomach capacity we still wanted to try the famous Banana Bread which is served warm with a sauce and a peanut butter ganache. Wow. 🤤
For our final day in Arizona we decided add an Escape Room to the agenda. Tammy researched this and she wasn’t planning on doing one, but the Evil Robot room at the Nemesis Club seemed too good to pass up. She was totally right! 🤩
The Nemesis Club was the most well done escape room experience we have ever done. Everything was extremely well done, even the entrance and how they welcomed you was special. The room itself was so intricate and immersive that you really felt like you were there. The electronics were flawless. There were a lot of screens and videos and everything was exceptional. We also loved that the puzzles were not the same run of the mill digits to a lock but were more creative, yet solvable.
We solved the room with 31 seconds to spare! This is a “must do” experience! 👏
Today was our final day for hiking in Arizona and we decided to end with the big one, Camelback Mountain! The Cholla Trail is closed right now, so it was easy to pick the Echo Canyon Trail. This was the hardest hike I’ve ever done by a pretty big margin. In fact, both Tammy and I felt most of the hike was really more of a scramble over boulders. We took a steady pace up. Tammy would get ahead of me and wait for me to catch up. The hike up took 73 minutes, ascending 1,317 feet over 1.37 miles.
I always feel like going down on steep trails is harder than going up, but for Camelback you are going down such a steep rate that it is more like climbing down rocks so you are using your hands to brace. I found going down easier than I expected. I did slip on loose gravel at one point and fell down. I was fine, but it was cool to see my Apple Watch accurately detect the fall. It took me 68 minutes to descend.
The trail has two sections with handrails installed to help you get up and down.
Second section of handrail with Tammy hanging out for me to arrive.
This gives some sense of what the ascent is like.
Looking back and seeing other hikers coming up the trail.
The trail curves around and climbs up on the ridgeline.
Looking back along the trail.
More hikers ascending up the steep boulders.
The trail just goes up for as long as you can see.
Tammy and I at the Summit of Camelback! 🏆
Selfie with Phoenix way below me.
When Minnestar decided to launch these “Techies who …” communities I was really excited to get a Peloton group setup! As if by design, Peloton also just launched their brand new scheduled session feature that works perfect for this. So we are getting our very first ride scheduled, and I thought it would be fun to do it on St. Patrick’s day!
If you are a Peloton Cyclist join our first Techies Who Peloton ride! 🚴
Let’s do our very first ride on St. Patricks Day at 5:30pm with a 30-minute EDM ride with Jess King! 🎉 Join the class! 🗓 If that link doesn’t work please try another device or another time. It should open into the Peloton iOS app and allow you to sign up for the scheduled session. If it opens in a browser it will give you a beta feature message.
Tag yourself to join our community and add the MInnestar tag to your Peloton profile! 🏷
We have always thought it would be fun to rent a UTV and go out for some trail riding. We gave American Powersport Rentals a call and Duke got us all set up. We rented for a half day and were complete newbies but had a great time. We drove to the Rolls OHV Area in the Tonto National Forest. We didn’t have the electrical hookup for the trailer so I was happy it was only 15 miles of straight driving.
Here is our route for the day, you can also see the official trail map.
We got the Teryx4 out in the Pobrecito staging area and took off.
Before taking off with our helmets, goggles and masks on for dust.
The dust wasn’t too bad so we ditched the masks.
Me having a lot of fun.
Navigating and figuring out where we are heading.
Trails were awesome. Some fast, some really rocky, and a lot of pebbles you could tear around in.
Our stop at Palo Fierro for a break.
On 1863 at Stop 2 taking the wheel after Tammy gave it a go.
Family selfie! Mazie is having more fun than she looks in the picture.
Every Wednesday that we have been in Arizona, Tammy has been able to meet up with her Mom and hike Pinnacle Peak. Most of the time Mazie has been able to join her, but I was working so I couldn’t join. This week I’m on vacation and Tammy and I got to hike it together. It is a great route and the trail was impeccably maintained. They even have volunteers that are there to call for help if anyone needs it.
Tammy and I hiked from the trailhead to the end which was 2 miles. We went all the way to the end and touched the gate at marker 101. 436 feet of climbing that way. On the way back Tammy and I went at our own pace, and we both decided to push it.
She quickly left me in the dust. On the way back, the trail immediately climbs steadily for a half-mile and I was “redlined” at 170+ bpm the entire way up. You also get to climb more on the way back with 732 feet of elevation in the 2 mile return route. It turns out the end of the trail is about 300 feet lower than the trailhead!
View of Pinnacle Peak from the beginning of the trail. You never do get to the peak.
Can’t get enough of the Saguaro cactus all around the trail.
You can see Scottsdale and the surrounding Phoenix area very well from here.
Golf courses really stand out in the desert landscape. As do the incredible houses in this area.
You climb and descend twice on this trail. Here you can see the trail on the other side climbing up the second mountain.
Stairs in the trail on the descent toward the end of the trail.
Strenuous indeed. 💦
Tammy and I had a delicious lunch today at Chelsea’s Kitchen! We started with Prickly Pear Margaritas, one of our favorites. The New Mexico Hatch Chili Queso let the Hatch Chili’s shine. The Green Chile Cornbread was delicious with a touch of heat and sweetness. We finished with the LGO Reserve Short Rib Tacos. Thanks to my brother Isaiah and his wife Tiffany for the recommendation!
Trail panorama on Infinity Loop Hike.
This morning Tammy and I hiked the Infinity Loop trail in Dreamy Draw. We were looking for a longer hike without much elevation today, so this 5 mile loop with just 500 feet of elevation worked well. Plus, we got to make an Infinity Loop ♾ with our tracks!
It was a good hike but we would have lost the trail a dozen times if we weren’t tracking it with the All Trails app. There are no markers and there are dozens of intersecting trails.
Recognizing International Women’s Day 2021 and Choosing to Challenge! We will advocate for and support the women in our lives. #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021
We took a drive today and for lunch stopped at Silver King Smokehouse in Superior. It was a spectacular lunch most centered around brisket. Their brisket was phenomenal and they had a great outdoor area with picnic tables. If you find yourself in the area, get yourself some delicious barbecue.
It was family movie night and we watched Flora & Ulysses. It is a fun story about a squirrel with superpowers. 🍿
Wanting to experience even more desert plant life we visited the Desert Botanical Garden today and it was incredible. Everywhere you looked there were great displays. It was a great day to walk around and take in the great scenery and learn more about various cactus and plants.
A dense field of various cactus.
I loved the red needles on these cactus.
Saguaro cactus with Cholla cactus in the foreground.
At first we thought these giants were Saguaro but they are actually Cardon cactus that grow even bigger. They are less resilient to cold so they do not grow native in Arizona.
Very rare Crested Saguaro cactus.
These Chihuly glass sculptures were incredible.
We visited the Music Instrument Museum today. This place was absolutely incredible. You could spend an entire day here pretty easily. They had an amazing breadth of musical instruments and musician specific content. You got a wireless headphone that you wore and as you approached various displays you would start hearing the sound, automatically.
We could have used more time to explore. They also did very good with COVID-19 precautions. They sold only timed tickets and only allowed a limited number of people. Everyone wore masks all the time. It felt very safe. This is the only indoor thing we have done here in Arizona.
Mazie posing in front of the Music Instrument Museum.
Giant string instrument.
They many of these artist displays and the sound would just start in your headphones as you approached.
The video that went with this about how a Steinway piano is created was amazing.
There were displays for various countries and their specific music. They had a well populated section on Ukraine.
Family selfie in front of a variety of guitars.
I’m trying to mint an NFT on Zora.co and am shocked by the variability in the network fee. I’ve checked multiple times and the price has ranged 500% in one day. The gwei price moves a lot each day, but closer to 200% difference.
Observation about the Phoenix area — everything is a 30 minute drive away. No matter where you are or where you are going. It is such a sprawling area.
We tried Trdelník for the first time with a visit to Arizona Chimney Cakes. Tammy came across this unique offering and it was compared to churros which is a big family favorite of ours. Tammy got the Berliner and the rest of us got the Nana. The Nutella was too tempting to pass up. We all liked them but thought if we went again we might get the traditional ones because the bread itself was really good and it would be much easier to eat.
After our hike at the Lost Dutchman and the delightful drive on Arizona State Route 88 we stopped at Tortilla Flat, proudly stated population 6. It is very much a tourist trap, but it was fun to see and goof around with the kids for a bit. We got there just moments before they closed up shop, just in time to get some water and head back to Mesa.
Arizona State Route 88 goes right along Canyon Lake on the way to Tortilla Flat. It even has two fun single-lane bridges that you have to negotiate with other cars. The rock and water is striking with the right sunlight.
We took the incredibly scenic Arizona State Route 88 to visit Tortilla Flat after our hike at Lost Dutchman State Park. The sun was on it’s way down and the light and mountains were lit up so great. As we rounded one of the corners this particular section of mountain caught our eye and we had to grab a photo.
We visited Lost Dutchman State Park and hiked the Treasure Loop Trail. There is a story hear about a lost mine that brings some intrigue to the Superstition Mountains. There are even some documentaries about it. We did a good 2.5 mile hike with 480 feet of elevation. It was a warmer day, Sunny at 80 ℉ which seemed to hit Tyler and I the most.
We hiked the trail up and took a bit of a break for photos before heading back down the loop. The landscape was very pretty the entire way.
Interesting open-source solution for doing authentication, as well as supporting single sign-on. 😎
There are a lot of tools to make this happen, but it is pretty amazing that you can do this all on your own.
Peloton brought Sessions back! I loved Sessions in beta, and now they have combined it with scheduling. They got this launched just in time for me to use it for Techies Who Peloton!
I’m not learning Roam or Obsidian. The last thing I need is more places to put text, I’ve got enough. I should probably blog about that. I will call out that I have been very intrigued by Craft and have considered doing some stuff with it.
Very robust setup, with good detail if you are looking to improve your own setup.
Some good advice from Norman on running inclusive and engaging virtual meetings. 👏
So it turns out that Perseverances parachute had a message encoded in it. This website allows you to make your own!
Super simple privacy focused web analytics. There are so many offerings in this category now! 👏
A good interview sharing perspective from women in leadership at Google Cloud.
This is a fun read about weird oddities in the HTTP protocol.
Following closely behind the Weekly Thing, the King’s of Leon are getting into NFTs too! 😂
Here is your fortune…
You have an unusual understanding of the problems of human relationships.
Thank you for subscribing to the Weekly Thing!
I once created a fun travel game about identifying mathematical relationships in the numbers that appear on road signs, called Road Sign Math! I launched a website to share the signs and had 30 people submit over 250 road signs from every continent in the world!