“On the other hand, cheap, rough paper with a beautifully set textblock hanging just so on the page makes those in the know, smile (and those who don’t, feel welcome). It says: We may not have had the money to print on better paper, but man, we give a shit. Giving a shit does not require capital, simply attention and humility and diligence. Giving a shit is the best feeling you can imbue craft with. Giving a shit in book design manifests in many ways, but it manifests perhaps most in the margins.”—Let’s talk about margins — The Message — Medium
“[Algorithms and heuristics] are very important in cybernetics, for in dealing with unthinkable systems it is normally impossible to give a full specification of a goal, and therefore impossible to prescribe an algorithm. But it is not usually too difficult to prescribe a class of goals, so that moving in some general description will leave you better off (by some definite criterion) than you were before. To think in terms of heuristics rather than algorithms is at once a way of coping with proliferating variety. Instead of trying to organize it in full detail, you organize it only somewhat; you then ride on the dynamics of the system in the direction you want to go.
These two techniques for organizing control in a system of proliferating variety are really rather dissimilar. The strange thing is that we tend to live our lives by heuristics, and to try and control them by algorithms. Our general endeavor is to survive, yet we specify in detail (‘catch the 8:45 train’, ‘ask for a raise’) how to get to this unspecified and unspecifiable goal. We certainly need these algorithms, in order to live coherently; but we also need heuristics — and we are rarely conscious of them. This is because our education is planned around detailed analysis: we do not (we learn) really understand things unless we can specify their infrastructure. The point came up before in the discussion of transfer functions, and now it comes up again in connection with goals. […] Birds evolved from reptiles, it seems. Did a representative body of lizards pass a resolution to learn to fly? If so, by what means could the lizards have organized their genetic variety to grow wings? One has only to say such things to recognize them as ridiculous — but the birds are flying this evening outside my window. This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”—
Stafford Beer, “Brain of the Firm,” 1972.
1972, folks. “This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”
sat in my office this afternoon, overtaxing subversion, wondering how i wound up in a place where documentation became a political act. where doing the right thing is burning off vacation and just not being there because as long as i’m there, i can only be a target and i can only make the others a target. just by showing up. because someone else didn’t and chose to take a very low road. so i’ll just remove myself from that early.
and that’s a lie. i can’t breathe in that building. i can’t sit in another room with people trying not to cry while we’re talking about xml, trying to save the jobs of people who don’t know how much risk they’re in. two months was my limit. i can’t do it anymore. tried all summer knowing if we failed, when we failed, it’s my job gone and no one can say how many others.
i’m just a dev.
there’s pond scum on this project with more clout.
the new director is terrified when she sees me. and people have started counting. seven gone in six months. you can see it in their faces when they get there. it’s not fun. and the worst part is knowing that, no matter what, i don’t have a place there with the changes the new director is about to make. all that fight for a place that i won’t belong in. but i like some of those people and they deserve better than they’re getting.
this is not right.
the documentation is getting a little bitter. i carried a lot for low road. not going to carry the failure.
the nine hours of interview for the poachers was less stressful than this. actually kind of fun. interesting people up there. so i am going to continue to trust l. as hard as that is for me right now. and buy a ton of ikea bookshelves. been a long time since i added to my allen wrench collection.
one more month, two more working days just to do the separation paperwork, and i can go back to pursuing a unified theory of campus parking and research group footwear preferences. previous theories have fallen apart based on research group’s running with ‘everyone must have a nose ring’ which just screws with the shoes.
i am down to fifteen tabs. it is disconcerting being able to find things.
just spent fifteen minutes trying to track down the one tab with sheep sounds and trying to figure out why the heck i would have a tab with sheep sounds but we’re back to too many tabs open to see the little speaker icon in the little wedges.
i think it was an ad. because i do not know why that arstechnica article about the linguistics of xenomorphs should go baa but it did.
i do not have a problem with tabs.
chrome has a problem with tabs - get up to around two hundred (shut up) and it starts to lose track of whole windows.
kinda really want to hit three hundred on the new imac. just to watch the world burn.
Unicode released a list of 250 new emojis, including an extended middle finger, on June 16th.
how to screw with everyone’s favorite datanet project:
stand up a member node
make yourself one of the following - a uuid-to-emoji identifier or an emoji.sexy shortened url with emoji
create a new object in your member node
go figure out if the node can find your new object
if it does, convert all of your identifiers to emoji strings because, really, in the little fuse thing they provide, tracking down something you don’t really know about by scanning emoji is better than by scanning uuids. (i am so, so sorry, everyone’s favorite datanet project users. so very sorry.) can you even have emoji file names in windows?
i have been informed that this is “shenanigans” and to “be good”. to which i say “this is a perfectly valid test of the system that claims to support unicode”.
people of boulder, i will fix your metadata for a pot of flatiron coffee. that first wednesday back with the local stuff, best i can find, was profoundly disappointing. just consider, this is like an enormous discount from my previous offer of doing some spectacularly horrible things to anyone’s iso for a grand.
i did not make metadata for a cake. i almost made metadata for a cake.
I like cities where I’m not an eager, engaged, canny urban participant, where I’m not “smart” and certainly not a “citizen,” and where the infrastructures and the policies are mysterious to me. Preferably, even the explanations should be in a language I can’t read.
So I’m maximizing my “inefficiency.” I do it because it’s so enlivening and stimulating, and I can’t be the only one with that approach to urbanism. Presumably there’s some kind of class of us: flaneuring, deriving, situationist smart-city dropouts. A really “smart city” would probably build zones of some kind for us: the maximum-inefficiency anti-smart bohemias.
mine turned into an eighties station but all smiths, culture club, and i swear they have played blister in the sun every morning on the drive to work. i miss the mamas & the papas and dusty springfield.
but then they play one of the pet shop boys + dusty springfield and it’s all okay again.