I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing. One of the delights of sending this email is hearing from you! Hit reply and say Hi…
I use Pinboard to keep all my bookmarks back for a long, long time. I just checked, and my first link in my archive is from August 18, 2005! There are currently 13,026 links. 😳
This week I stumbled upon this funny HTTP Cats site and it gave me a chuckle, so I added it to Pinboard. Ultimately that is how I get things into the Weekly Thing. But to my surprise, I had already added it. In 2015. It is pretty rare that this happens but it makes me smile when it does. 😊
It is fun to know that some things do last for a very long time on the Internet, and it is also cool to know that Jamie on August, 28 of 2015 also found the HTTP Cats notable enough to save. Consistency for the win. 🐈
For those in the United States, I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend. 🇺🇸
"Turn it off and on" is a pretty normal recommendation when a computer isn't working. It is one I don't like, because in some way it seems like giving up on finding the solution to what went wrong. This article walking through the various state progression of the computer is a good way to think about this.
At this point, any attempt to bring your system back directly from the broken state into a working state is improvisational. We are no longer like the classically trained violist from Juilliard performing a Mozart sonata after rehearsing it a thousand times; we are now playing jazz. And in the engineering of reliable systems, we do not want our systems to improvise.
So, what should we do to fix the system?
Turn it off, and turn it on again. Anything else is less principled.
I like the "various layers of abstraction" view. Killing a process is just a smaller version of turning it off and on again.
And yet, of course, we do not throw out our computers and buy new ones every time a program does something wrong. So the story of system repair is one of "turning it off and on again" at various layers of abstraction. At each layer, we hope that we can purge the corruption by discarding some compartmentalized state, and replacing it with a known start state, from which we can enter a highly reliable reinitialization sequence that ends in a working state.
The ultimate conclusion of the article is that software that is more brittle, will break faster, and thus get fixed sooner. Ultimately an overall better thing for the system itself. While it is not referenced, this is a strong argument for strongly typed languages, amongst other things.
May 26, 2022
REM5, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Good overview of Getting Things Done. I've been a practitioner of GTD for over a decade now. I consider it a life skill, something that I will focus on and improve on over many years.
What GTD gives you—when understood and implemented properly—is a foolproof system for keeping track of what you need to do, should do, or should consider to do. When your system and your trust in your system is in place, your subconsciousness will stop keeping track of all the things you need to do and stop constantly reminding you. This reduces stress and frees up precious brain time to more productive thinking—maybe it even saves real time so that you have more time for ballet lessons, painting classes, and roller-blading.
I like that this highlights the true benefit of GTD. It is not a productivity system to allow you to do even more, although you may be able to. It is intended to allow you to be in the moment, focus on the things in front of you, knowing that your trusted system has you covered. That you can forget about other things and it will be there when you need it.
I'd like to quote this whole article from Webb. Instead maybe just click on it and read the whole thing. I would echo the statements in very similar ways.
Looking at the code running on Ethereum…
I get the same feeling as when I read the source code for the original Unix operating system, which is basically the ur-OS that either directly or indirectly (because it established the concepts) underpins this epoch’s computing environment.
Decomposing words. Words matter. I think calling these "smart contracts" will be seen as a mistake. It frames your mind around a problem in a specific way. I’m not sure objects would be any better, but at least they wouldn't have the baggage of the word contract. Given Vitalik's recent use of the term "soulbound", the track record for naming things may not be so great. 😂
Smart contracts aren’t contracts, that’s a financial or legal framing. Smart contracts are object instances, in the object-oriented code sense, and the Ethereum blockchain is a shared object runtime.
Opening up the development environment with other runtimes will eventually happen.
Or maybe it would be worth bullying a Smalltalk-like expressive development environment into existence, sitting atop today’s Ethereum world computer, however slowly it run, just to see what could be created with that new clay.
The excitement for the future is shared.
If the web3 world computer has only just reached 1970 then, first, don’t expect too much. There’s real utility to be found but in very prescribed use cases. But also, second, there are wild and unrecognizable transformations to come. There is room for imagination and invention.
It will be fun to see how this all evolves.
I was lucky enough (researched enough?) to avoid Tether. I did look at it and the Luna ecosystem for a bit, but there wasn't enough utility for me to play with.
A couple of things:
Stay safe out there, particularly if you are going to experiment with crypto.
Thoughtful set of arguments from four professors to points Noam Chomsky has made on Ukraine. Chomsky's arguments share commonality with many other experts as well. The first two items are ones I think about and see regularly ignored. 🇺🇦
Rockwell hits on great topics like this with very simple but powerful framing. I like his four items, but read the article for the real meat of it.
- Receive help
- Face criticism with grace
- Serve in unnoticed way
- Let themselves be seen
I particularly liked the last one. Doing things yourself, in public, can be hard but it keeps you grounded to creating. Creating is hard. But through creating you can connect more deeply with others.
Donald Knuth is a major contributor to technology. He is the author of the appropriately titled [The Art of Computer Programming](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Knuth#The_Art_of_Computer_Programming_(TAOCP). I love that he refers to this as Art and not Science.
Meaning of life. "I personally think of my belief that God exists although I have no idea what that means. But I believe that there is something beyond human capabilities and it might be some AI. Whatever it is, I do believe that there is something that goes beyond human understanding but that I can try to learn more about how to resonate with whatever that being would like me to do. I strive for that (occasional glimpses of that being) not that I ever think I am going to get close to it. I try to imagine that I am following somebody's wishes and this AI or whatever it is, it is smart enough to give me clues."
This collection of excerpts and highlights about how Knuth works is really great.
Altman's advice on success. Thirteen topics that he covers.
- Compound yourself
- Have almost too much self-belief
- Learn to think independently
- Get good at "sales"
- Make it easy to take risks
- Work hard
- Be bold
- Be willful
- Be hard to compete with
- Build a network
- You get rich by owning things
- Be internally driven
Dig in to read the whole thing. This is probably one of those that would be worth revisiting from time-to-time.
I dig this advice from Godin.
The strategy of the smallest viable audience doesn’t let you off the hook–it does the opposite. You don’t get to say, "well, we’ll just wait for the next random person to find us." Instead, you have to choose your customers–who’s it for and what’s it for.
This is similar to the idea of getting 100 true fans, and building from there.
Fred Wilson on a recession.
So I suspect we are either in a recession right now or headed to one, brought on by tightening money supply/higher rates that are being used to control inflation. That recession could easily last until the end of 2023. But we don’t really know how long it will take for this cycle to play out.
It does seem to me that the markets have already priced this in. For sure they have in the crypto markets where emotion is allowed to reign free.
I would be planning to ride this thing out for at least eighteen months or more.
Stay safe out there.
Things break in technology, and you need to have a clear and defined process for managing those things. If I think back two decades most tech organizations had an on-call process. Often really everyone was on-call. Now fast forward and incident management has become a core capability of great technology organizations. In great orgs, this is something that has dedicated training. There are clearly defined roles that various people will engage as during the process. And the process importantly will power continual learning to improve the organization with every incident. As a CTO, you must make sure this is a core competency of your team.
This is a wide collection of observations and learnings applying risk measurement to cybersecurity.
I find that the strongest suggestion I can pull from my observations is that security engineers must be capable of structuring and organizing the risks they want to mitigate collaboratively with a large group. We did this with source code (CVS, SVN, Git, GitHub) and we probably need this attitude towards codification and collaboration on the subjective quantification of risk.
Most security organizations are swimming in data, and it is still a struggle to align the learnings from that data with the engineering objectives. Improving risk measurement is a big help with that, but equally important is to make sure that the mechanisms of your security function are aligned with the broader engineering team. If your planning cadence, delivery structures, and build processes are not aligned you are doomed before you start.
Interesting perspective sharing on what I read as really being addicted to the feed, or the new. We love the little reward we get from discovering a new video, a new post, a new whatever. Tarun sounds like they are pretty deep, but any of us that randomly pull out our phone and "pull to refresh" a feed are experiencing a very similar thing.
I enjoy listening and reading Scott Galloway on Pivot and the Prof G podcast. He had a show on CNN+ for the 5 minutes that that network existed. This episode of that show never aired because CNN+ was cancelled. The production crew was generous and edited and finished it still. That is all the background, the episode is worth a watch.
I use my Contacts data extensively, including groups and other metadata. Sadly, I've had issues where it loses some data. It is maddening. I'll realize I have 200 or so fewer contacts than I should, and it is entirely unclear what happened. This article is a good step-by-step on how to fix this. For me, I've had to go to the database restore on the file system multiple times. I now backup this data set manually, using both a database backup and a CalDAV export, each month. 💀
I think the idea of having non-transferrable NFTs is really interesting. It opens up a number of use cases where you can prove you have some certification or accomplishment just by showing that the token is in your wallet. I also think that even today you could prove that it is yours by making sure it was minted directly to the person in question. If you have a token thats says you graduated from the University of Minnesota and it was minted from
umn.eth directly into your wallet, that is good. If you bought it from
random-person.eth, it is invalid. But a non-tranferrable token would remove that need and support additional capabilities. However, I don't like the term "soulbound" at all. Sounds like something from a fantasy novel.
This article does a great job of showing how the Russian government, through its complete control of the media ecosystem, is framing their war on Ukraine to their people. When you control all aspects of the information system that surrounds people you can make anything appear true. The Economist did a great job with the interactive components as well.
If you want to write a book using Markdown, this looks like a good toolchain. I do wonder when I see Markdown extensions. It gets complicated, and I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just use plain HTML.
I used this bridge to send Ethereum tokens and USD Coin from Ethereum mainnet to Arbitrum. It works really well and supports a wide arrange of tokens and various Layer 2 networks. This will be my default bridge for anything it supports.
I’ve been telling the family that we should all have a Hungry Man dinner. Maybe even with TV trays. They are skeptical, but got me one for lunch today. Used to have these a lot as a kid. In the oven now!
Mazie is planting the garden She loves to garden and commune with the plants. The strawberries and blueberries did well over the winter.
Boat Day Selfie
It is Boat Day 2022! Got the pontoon from LaCanne’s, went under I-35, up the Cannon River, through Wells Lake, and then home to Cannon Lake. Cold morning.
Apple collaborates with Hermes on watches. Now Oura working with Gucci. It isn't my thing, but for wearables connecting with fashion is a smart option. → Introducing Gucci x Oura - The Pulse Blog
Continuing to teach during a war is important. Good to see Google providing computers and services to make this a little easier. → Helping Ukrainian teachers keep teaching
The wide range of deltas here are pretty incredible. → Where Death Rates Rose the Most During the Pandemic - The New York Times
I know many of the folks behind Great North Ventures. A big congrats to them on raising Fund 2! → Great North Ventures Raises $40 Million Fund II - Great North Ventures
Good reference list. SPS Commerce in 44th position. → With $287.6B in revenue, UnitedHealth again tops list of Minnesota public companies
"Each USDTea is equivalent to and redeemable for one 23 ounce can of AriZona Iced Tea." 🤣 → USDTea: The first stablecoin backed by cans of AriZona Iced Tea
Here is your fortune…
Live in a world of your own, but always welcome visitors.
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I'm a fan of the lawn game Kubb and play on the Kubbchucks. Together with a friend of mine, we created the very first scoring & notation system for Kubb so that games can be recorded like a baseball box score. Here is an example of a game-winning turn
3ir 2f f - b b K!
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