Hi, I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing! At some point, you decided to join me on this exploratory journey of technology, culture, leadership, privacy, and many other topics.
Here we are at Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer! We have a cold weekend in front of us but will still be getting the most out of the long weekend. The cold will make it a bit easier to duck inside to watch the Champions League final. We’ll be rooting for Chelsea! ⚽️
I made a minor tweak this week to the titles of the links sections, and a minor formatting change to the Briefly section that I like a lot better. 👍
There is a lot in this weeks issue, so let’s get straight to it! 🙌
“My biggest life hack I can give you: Pay attention. Paying attention to the food I eat has made it pretty easy and painless for me to lose 18 pounds in 2 months. Paying attention to how I feel after I walk vs how I feel after I run taught me I am a walker and not a runner, and paying attention to what people respond to has made me a better writer. Pay attention.” — Hugh Hollowell, Life is so Beautiful, May 24th 2021
This is an article I wish I had written. Ethereum is so much more than Bitcoin. It is an entirely different solution, with much more capability. If you add the ecosystem around it you get an easy 10x expansion of value.
Ethereum is so much more than a cryptocurrency. It’s a “world computer,” and the “value layer” of the internet. It lets people build apps and products with money baked into the code. If you believe that web3 is going to continue to grow, then you likely believe that over time, Ethereum will become the settlement layer of a new internet. All sorts of transactions, whether they happen on Ethereum, another blockchain, or even Visa, will turn to Ethereum to exchange funds and keep secure, immutable records. A year ago, I wouldn’t have said that.
This is why I will continue to build up knowledge and capital in Ethereum. It feels like the very early days of the web, when Mosaic was still in beta.
This breakdown of Twitters features and function is very interesting.
I continue to believe that Twitter, alone among all social networks created thus far, represents something truly new under the sun. Facebook and LinkedIn more-or-less preserve the networks of personal friendship, hobby interest, and professional networking that exist offline. Instagram maintains the celebrity-fan dynamic, with influencers dominating their pages at an Olympian remove. But on Twitter, anyone can talk directly to anyone at any time, and, short of blocking them, the person they’re talking to can’t stop you from talking to them.
Smith goes into some detail on the dynamics created in this very unique structure that Twitter has. It makes you think.
We should probably think long and hard about whether it’s a good idea to have our public discourse dominated and directed by a platform with that basic dynamic.
Reading: I just finished reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and I absolutely loved it. Will be a highlight in July’s Reading Things! Now I’ve teed up Radical Markets and I can’t wait to dig into it.
Blooming Purple Iris.
May 25, 2021
If you want a taste of what is going on in the broader crypto ecosystem beyond just Bitcoin and Ethereum this episode of Modern Finance touches on a dozen or more projects, concepts, and such. Incredible array of services being built out here. From the show notes:
Matic staking, Exodus wallet (for Solana staking), FTX exchange (and the US version of FTX), Nine Realms, Kevin’s NFT collection, Meebits, Gener8tive K-Compositions, Cryptoslam, Rarity.tools, Alchemix, Ember Sword, TerraUSD (UST), Luna, Anchor Protocol, and 0xDEAFBEEF.
I have some Matic/Polygon and I’ve been wanting to try staking first-hand so I added that to my list.
It’s hard to say what someone should take from this experience! There’s a lot of merit in taking nothing away from it: random events happen. […] Ultimately, there’s no right way to come to terms with life’s events, we all have to find our own way forward.
A good reminder.
Another big name from “traditional” finance joining the crypto world.
[…] we’re thrilled to welcome Faryar Shirzad as Coinbase’s new Chief Policy Officer. Faryar’s impressive experience — most recently as Global Co-Head of the Office of Government Affairs at Goldman Sachs — will be invaluable as we navigate the evolving global regulatory environment and work with governments around the world on critical issues surrounding the cryptoeconomy.
Coinbase is well positioned to take the leadership role working with existing organizations to integrate crypto into the existing financial ecosystem. There are a lot of people that will position crypto versus existing structures, but the path that I hope for is one where crypto is integrated alongside existing structures. 🤝
Coinbase feels that some of the media coverage on them is not accurate and are launching a new blog section to specifically address that.
I believe there is a reasonable middle ground between these first two options, which is to simply publish the truth, in a thoughtful and respectful way, and build a direct relationship with your audience. Companies no longer need to go through biased intermediaries to communicate with their customers and stakeholders. They often have equal or greater reach via their blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. In many cases, the only organization that knows what really happened is the company itself.
I think that is great. Companies should feel free to have a voice and get their opinion out there for all to see.
Companies are now emerging as a third source of truth, and can create accountability when misinformation is spread via other channels.
This is a continuation of a thought that has been around since the early 2000s. Dave Winer framed Sources go direct in 2009. In 2010, my former boss Larry Kramer was putting these ideas forth in his book C-Scape.
Why media? Every aspect of every business is increasingly carried out through the media. From advertising and marketing to sales and customer service, from product design to manufacturing, everything that happens anywhere in business is ever more likely to happen on a screen or handheld device.
This is pretty incredible autocompletion support for the command-line. This is so robust that at first I thought it was an alternative shell, but it looks like it can run in your existing shell. 🤓
Cool little library that could be very handy for building unique URLs, with data encoded in them, but also not overly long.
Hashids is a small open-source library that generates short, unique, non-sequential ids from numbers.
I can think of a couple of places something like this would be handy.
Impressive performance information on the Apple M1, not from Apple, but from an emulator writer in gaming.
The efficiency is almost literally off the chart. Compared to an absolute monstrosity of a Desktop PC, it uses less than 1/10th of the energy while providing ~65% of the performance. And the poor Intel MacBook Pro just can’t compare.
The efficiency of the M1 continues to amaze me. I’m now using a MacBook Pro M1 as my everyday machine and it is cool, the battery goes on and on, and it is fast as can be.
I don’t think people yet realize how big of a deal this new generation of Apple Silicon is. And for the life of me I cannot figure out how Intel is going to compete, or even keep up.
Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, breaks down how you can approach voting using a blockchain. His analysis is detailed and shows how a solution could be constructed.
He illustrates the part of the problem that the blockchain is very good at solving.
Blockchains provide two key properties: correct execution and censorship resistance. Correct execution just means that the blockchain accepts inputs (“transactions”) from users, correctly processes them according to some pre-defined rules, and returns the correct output (or adjusts the blockchain’s “state” in the correct way). Censorship resistance is also simple to understand: any user that wants to send a transaction, and is willing to pay a high enough fee, can send the transaction and expect to see it quickly included on-chain.
But there is a big gap for two things that are critical, and he suggests, often overlooked.
Both of these properties are very important for voting: you want the output of the vote to actually be the result of counting up the number of votes for each candidate and selecting the candidate with the most votes, and you definitely want anyone who is eligible to vote to be able to vote, even if some powerful actor is trying to block them. But voting also requires some crucial properties that blockchains do not provide:
- Privacy: you should not be able to tell which candidate some specific voted for, or even if they voted at all
- Coercion resistance: you should not be able to prove to someone else how you voted, even if you want to
Great read to understand how this could be done.
Imagine the pandemic and lockdowns without the Internet. Nope, I don’t want to consider it either. I agree with Jarvis on this.
Thank you Internet.
Good overview of how Microsoft is approaching hybrid work. This is all notable from Microsoft since obviously they make the software that many of us will use to do hybrid work as well. So, their operating models are likely to be embodied in their software and become models that we all use in our own organizations.
Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation. And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes.
I love that they published their whole playbook for this. A lot more to read and learn there.
It seemed strange to me that Nadella shared this on LinkedIn instead of a Microsoft blog post, but then I remembered Microsoft owns LinkedIn so…
I loved James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. This is like a mini-book specifically on the topic of motivation.
I’ve had an Elgato Stream Deck for a bit now and this article blew my mind in two ways.
Somehow I had no idea you could create profiles and bind them to the foreground application. Whoa! 🤯 I immediately created a handful of profiles for common apps I used and setup custom buttons for each app. Now the handy Zoom buttons I want are always there when I want them!
I had never considered using the URLs that Omnifocus supports with the Stream Deck to automate actions. Wow! I’ve now got 1-button access to many of my favorite perspectives and common functions. 💪
This is enough to make me want a Stream Deck on other computers I use heavily.
Vitalik Buterin goes into the fundamentals about scaling blockchain solutions. This is the biggest thing that Ethereum needs to figure out. His approach here is fundamental and not specific to Ethereum.
There are two ways to try to scale a blockchain: fundamental technical improvements, and simply increasing the parameters. Increasing the parameters sounds very attractive at first: if you do the math on a napkin, it is easy to convince yourself that a consumer laptop can process thousands of transactions per second, no ZK-SNARKs or rollups or sharding required. Unfortunately, there are many subtle reasons why this approach is fundamentally flawed.
This makes me wonder how other blockchains have gotten to much faster performance. How did they do it? Did they compromise some of these fundamentals?
First person description of being a principal engineer and what is important for success, some of the inherent priority conflicts, and how to approach the role both from a task and relationship perspective.
Interesting data on how old links to content hold up over time.
Of these deep links, 25 percent of all links were completely inaccessible. Linkrot became more common over time: 6 percent of links from 2018 had rotted, as compared to 43 percent of links from 2008 and 72 percent of links from 1998. Fifty-three percent of all articles that contained deep links had at least one rotted link.
I’m glad the article mentions Internet Archive which is a great organization I have supported for years. But I think in the case of media companies and others, the better solution is to take the onus on yourself to hold a copy of what was published as a static asset. Some bookmarking solutions do that as well. I pay a small annual fee to Pinboard and it stores a snapshot of every link that I bookmark. Even if it is deleted by the publisher, I still have Pinboard’s copy.
I’ve read many of these recommended streaming AV setups for your computer but this may be my absolutely favorite. Mullenweg is the person behind WordPress and a huge advocate of open source. This setup looks pretty incredible.
The above setup removes 75% of the cost without sacrificing any quality.
Small and compact. I love that the example is him streaming from a dirt road by a camper somewhere!
User-submitted collection of “dark patterns”, things that are evasive or attempting to trick the user.
We need to take a stand against dark patterns—and you can help by reporting a dark pattern today. It will help us fight back against companies using manipulative dark patterns to take our private information, money, and time. You deserve respect, online and off.
This reminds me a lot of my write up on identifying addictive application patterns. Awareness of these Dark Patterns is important to avoid falling victim to them.
Gorgeous evening for a baseball game! ⚾️ Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles. Last place battle between AL Central and AL East.
Rainbow wallet now has web profiles so you can see collectibles with a browser. See my thingelstad.eth collectibles.
Upgraded to iOS 14.6 and after everyone was updated setup Apple Card Family. Worked really well. Very streamlined setup experience. Curious how my daughter will use the card we got her. Financial literacy!
Zoom Feature Suggestion: Connect to my contacts and show telephone callers by name instead of redacted phone number.
Opening the pool for the summer!
Watching FC Bayern München v FC Augsburg, the final game of the Bundesliga season. Hoping to see Robert Lewandowski best Gerd Müller‘s single season goal record! Final game for Hansi Flick as he goes on to coach the German National Team. Also final games for David Alaba, Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez. 🇩🇪⚽️
My Mother and Kurt went to Uranus, Missouri and brought us back a nice treat from the Uranus General Store.
“The Best Fudge Comes From Uranus.”
I first read about Google’s Fuchsia OS in May 2017 and now four years later it is in consumers devices, but not where I would expect it. → Google launches its third major operating system, Fuchsia | Ars Technica
I have a soft spot for Litecoin. Glad to see it included here. → Venmo Launches Litecoin
I have Charty but I never considered combining it with OmniFocus. This could be fun! → Charty 1.4 — MacSparky
I didn’t know that “audio operating system” was a thing. 🤔 → elk.audio
This is so incredibly awesome. I wan’t to sail the Firmware Sea. 🤩 → Map of the Internet — Halcyon Maps
Ignore the half of this that is an advertisement for Shield. Notable that DDoS attacks continue to be very prevalent. → AWS Shield threat landscape review: 2020 year-in-review | AWS Security Blog
Good ad, and surprisingly accurate description of what happens online. 🕵️ → Privacy on iPhone | Tracked | Apple - YouTube
If you are looking for inspiration as a blogger, particularly a technical blogger, I like this approach from Julia Evans. → Blog about what you’ve struggled with
Surprising as a Tesla owner, but this Ford sounds pretty cool. I love the fact that they are allowing it to be a power source for other things! ⚡️ → The Ford Electric F-150 Lightning’s Astonishing Price - The Atlantic
Here is your fortune…
A visit to a fresh place will bring strange work.
Thank you for subscribing to the Weekly Thing!
I’ve been an active blogger since 2004. I’ve been microblogging via Twitter and my websites since 2006. My link blog goes back to 2005. I think about the Internet and our use of it over decades and am focused on preserving the personal and non-commercial parts of the Internet as well as the corporate and governmental parts. I’m a long-time supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons and Internet Archive as well as other organizations that work on this.