Category: Tech / Science

Pedantry vs Mastery

Pedantry and mastery are opposite attitudes toward rules.

1. To apply a rule to the letter, rigidly, unquestioningly, in cases where it fits and in cases where it does not fit, is pedantry. Some pedants are poor fools; they never did understand the rule which they apply so conscientiously and so indiscriminately. Some pedants are quite successful; they understood their rule, at least in the beginning (before they became pedants), and chose a good one that fits in many cases and fails only occasionally. To apply a rule with natural ease, with judgment, noticing the cases where it fits, and without ever letting the words of the rule obscure the purpose of the action or the opportunities of the situation, is mastery.

2. The questions and suggestions of our list may be helpful both to problem-solvers and to teachers. But, first, they must be understood, their proper use must be learned, and learned by trial and error, by failure and success, by experience in applying them. Second, their use should never become pedantic. You should ask no question, make no suggestion, indiscriminately, following some rigid habit. Be prepared for various questions and suggestions and use your judgment. You are doing a hard and exciting problem; the step you are going to try next should be prompted by an attentive and open-minded consideration of the problem before you. You wish to help a student; what you say to your student should proceed from a sympathetic understanding of his difficulties. And if you are inclined to be a pedant and must rely upon some rule learn this one: Always use your own brains first.

Polya, G.. How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method

Interview with FBI Negotiator – Slate

We feel like if we demonstrate understanding we are exposed. And we’re scared to death of that. You’re doing that because you’re a human being and you have something in the middle of your brain called the amygdala. Many people [think of it as] my caveman brain. The amygdala is wired to be 75 percent negative. So your survival mode is wired to always overreact negatively to everything you’re faced with until you learn the difference between survival and success. We’re not wired for success as human beings, we’re wired to survive and that’s why, having not gone down this path before, your initial instinct—your caveman wiring—is “I’m exposed. I’m going to have to give in.” But tactical empathy—expressing the situation from [the other person’s] side—does more for you than it does for them. And, it takes away the stress [of negotiations].

Charles Duhigg
How To Win Arguments Like an FBI Hostage Negotiator

Woodstock 99 page – – Still Up

Woodstock ‘99 website is still operational and feels like getting into a Time Machine from r/InternetIsBeautiful

And still more mobile friendly than half the sites out there.

Who would have guessed that having 1 layer to your website would work better than the cascading scaffold of duck tape and flex seal that plagues modern websites?

Modern web design: “The text resizes itself so that you can’t zoom in and it’s always awkwardly filling only a third of your screen. Also, enjoy these pop up auto play videos where the x button is smaller than an ants butthole.”

But, before we get to that, here’s a cookie permission pop-up that hasn’t been resized, so the buttons are below your screen, and you can’t scroll down to them.


My fave pop up are the ones that make you click a button that says… “NO, I don’t like saving money” when you’re turning down their offer.

Amazon Firestick Loses / Drops Connection – How to Fix

Problem – Amazon Firestick Drops Connection after 20 Minutes or so
Solution – Replaced HDMI extender

LEFT – Old and Busted
RIGHT – New Hotness

Solution found via amazon q/a page:

I had this problem and it was getting progressively worse over time. Tried all the recommended solutions. The fix turned out to be replacing the hdmi extender. I was using the one that came with the fire stick but it must have been going bad. I replaced it and no longer lose my internet connection.
Karissa · April 13, 2020

Original symptoms –
I’m watching a movie and then it stops and says connection gone. I go to reset connection and I get this:

It keeps saying it’s connecting but never connects. I know the WIFI connection is good cause my computer is working fine. I can actually watch the rest of the movie on my computer, if I want to.

Denver Internet Initiative

Who We Are
The Denver Internet Initiative is working to make sure that all Denver residents are able to get online at home so that they can participate and thrive in this new digital economy. In 2005, Colorado passed Senate Bill 152, a law which prevents municipalities from being involved with their own Internet. That means they can’t provide Internet, invest in Internet infrastructure, or create policies to make sure our Internet will be able to meet our future needs.

The Internet touches all aspects of daily modern life. It is education, banking, work, communication, health care and so much more. Our first goal is to opt-out of SB 152 so that we, the people of Denver, can play an active role in deciding what our Internet will look like, instead of leaving it up to Big Telecoms who are focused solely on financial returns.

We’re a group of Denver residents trying to make it happen and we need your help! Come volunteer with us and also join the conversation on Facebook to help us get the word out.
via r/denver

Software Development, Frustration Rollercoaster

What are the harshest truths of being a software engineer? from cscareerquestions

Sometimes you’ll encounter problems that seem impossible, and will take much longer than you’d expect to solve. If you let it, it will break your confidence for a while. Then you’ll finally figure it out, and feel amazing. It can be a self-confidence rollercoaster.

I struggle with this so much. Sometimes I feel like I know what I’m doing, other times I feel like I have an IQ of 55.

It’s like the IDE is stabbing the red squiggle right into my heart.

I pendulum between, “I am an absolute god at my job” to ” I am a fucking idiot” on a semi-daily basis.

Forecasts are fundamentally partisan – Steve Ballmer Quote

On how USAFacts shares information during a time where many aren’t trustworthy of facts that don’t line up with their opinions

“We do a couple of different things. Number one, we only use government data and we only use data about history. Now, some people would say, ‘Hey, I don’t agree with government data.’ It’s just the best we have. And if citizens don’t think they can rely on government data, then it’s incumbent on us, all of us, to push our government for better, more consistent and more complete data. And we certainly see opportunities to do that. But by and large, we believe that our government’s statistical agencies have good people who are doing good work.

The thing that we don’t do with that is try to do forecasts. Forecasts are fundamentally partisan. And I say that only in the sense that for every bright, smart economist that will say ‘X is going to happen,’ there’ll be another bright, smart economist that will say ‘not X is going to happen.’ So we think the thing that citizens need to know and deserve to know is what has happened, which is not partisan, which is not subject to debate, and then people can make their own guesses about where things are moving, where they will go and what they think should be done. And I think that’s fundamental. And we still live in this age of people throwing out words like fake news and alternate facts — and that’s just not OK. It’s never been OK.”

Here and Now, NPR

GUID – Explained Clearly

There are multiple GUID generation algorithms, but I’ll pick one of them for concreteness, specifically the version described in this Internet draft.

The first 60 bits of the GUID encode a timestamp, the precise format of which is not important.

The next four bits are always 0001, which identify that this GUID was generated by “algorithm 1”. The version field is necessary to ensure that two GUID generation algorithms do not accidentally generate the same GUID. The algorithms are designed so that a particular algorithm doesn’t generate the same GUID twice, but without a version field, there would be no way to ensure that some other algorithm wouldn’t generate the same GUID by some systematic collision.

The next 14 bits are “emergency uniquifier bits”; we’ll look at them later, because they are the ones that fine tune the overall algorithm.

The next two bits are reserved and fixed at 01.

The last 48 bits are the unique address of the computer’s network card. If the computer does not have a network card, set the top bit and use a random number generator for the other 47. No valid network card will have the top bit set in its address, so there is no possibility that a GUID generated from a computer without a network card will accidentally collide with a GUID generated from a computer with a network card.

Once you take it apart, the bits of the GUID break down like this:

  • 60 bits of timestamp,
  • 48 bits of computer identifier,
  • 14 bits of uniquifier, and
  • six bits are fixed,

for a total of 128 bits.

The goal of this algorithm is to use the combination of time and location (“space-time coordinates” for the relativity geeks out there) as the uniqueness key. However, timekeeping is not perfect, so there’s a possibility that, for example, two GUIDs are generated in rapid succession from the same machine, so close to each other in time that the timestamp would be the same. That’s where the uniquifier comes in. When time appears to have stood still (if two requests for a GUID are made in rapid succession) or gone backward (if the system clock is set to a new time earlier than what it was), the uniquifier is incremented so that GUIDs generated from the “second time it was five o’clock” don’t collide with those generated “the first time it was five o’clock”.

Raymond Chen,