Blockchain and Trust
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2019/02/blockchain_and_.html, posted Oct '21 by peter in cryptocurrency opinion
What blockchain does is shift some of the trust in people and institutions to trust in technology. You need to trust the cryptography, the protocols, the software, the computers and the network. And you need to trust them absolutely, because they're often single points of failure.
When that trust turns out to be misplaced, there is no recourse. If your bitcoin exchange gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If your bitcoin wallet gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If you forget your login credentials, you lose all of your money. If there's a bug in the code of your smart contract, you lose all of your money. If someone successfully hacks the blockchain security, you lose all of your money. In many ways, trusting technology is harder than trusting people. Would you rather trust a human legal system or the details of some computer code you don't have the expertise to audit?
This is what the death of democracy looks like
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/9/30/this-what-the-death-of-democracy-looks-like, posted Sep '21 by peter in opinion politics transparency usa
America is in a dark place. There are no simple ways forward or easy solutions that could bring people together.
Most covid-19 travel restrictions should be scrapped
https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/08/14/most-covid-19-travel-restrictions-should-be-scrapped, posted Aug '21 by peter in covid19 health opinion politics
Most countries have land borders and voters. For them isolation was never feasible. Instead, they have adopted a confusing, illogical mess of rules. America bars travellers from Britain and the European Union, its closest allies and trade partners, and also two of the most vaccinated big places in the world, while admitting those from South-East Asia, where the Delta variant is rampant. Thailand bans entry from some countries and requires all other travellers to submit to a two-week quarantine. Yet of 21,038 cases identified on August 10th, only 19 were imported. Once a variant of the virus has started to spread in the local population, infections double every couple of weeks. Entry bans make very little difference to the total caseload.
Australia is becoming a surveillance state
https://ia.acs.org.au/article/2021/australia-is-becoming-a-surveillance-state.html, posted Aug '21 by peter in fascism law opinion politics privacy terrorism toread
The government's approach to technological surveillance is leading us down a dark path, experts warn, as it prepares to give law enforcement agencies new hacking powers.
Currently before parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 is the government's latest attempt to gain a watchful eye over cyber space.
Once the bill passes, it will dish out extra power to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), giving the agencies access to new warrants that will let them modify and delete data, collect intelligence from online communities, and even take over the online accounts of supposed criminals.
Why has nuclear power been a flop?
https://rootsofprogress.org/devanney-on-the-nuclear-flop, posted May '21 by peter in energy environment health opinion
The standard story about nuclear costs is that radiation is dangerous, and therefore safety is expensive. The book argues that this is wrong: nuclear can be made safe and cheap. It should be 3 c/kWh — cheaper than coal.
Cryptocurrency is an abject disaster
https://drewdevault.com/2021/04/26/Cryptocurrency-is-a-disaster.html, posted Apr '21 by peter in business cryptocurrency finance opinion
No, cryptocurrency is not a currency at all: it's an investment vehicle. A tool for making the rich richer. And that's putting it nicely; in reality it has a lot more in common with a Ponzi scheme than a genuine investment. What "value" does solving fake math problems actually provide to anyone? It's all bullshit.
Maybe your cryptocurrency is different. But look: you're in really poor company. When you're the only honest person in the room, maybe you should be in a different room.
I want a Computer that I Own
misc-stuff.terraaeon.com/articles/computer-i-own.html, posted 2021 by peter in crapification opensource opinion privacy
Instead, I have a computer that is designed largely to maximize the profits of the computer industry. Except for a handful of very over-priced models that I can't afford to buy, our computers are increasingly designed to be little more than advertising platforms and vehicles for maximizing the cloud revenues of their true owners: online data gatherers, advertisers, and cloud companies. Our computers have numerous hardware and software back doors that are designed to allow governments and corporations to spy on and track us around the Internet.
Tips to stay focused and finish your hobby project
https://stackoverflow.blog/2020/12/03/tips-to-stay-focused-and-finish-your-hobby-project/, posted 2020 by peter in howto inspiration management opinion toread
As I said, when I got stuck, the problem was never with coding or other technical issues. Of course, understanding every little detail of Flask was difficult sometimes—I was also hunting bugs for hours, sure. But the things that stopped me were mostly mindset related.
So here are a few practical pieces of advice to get over these issues—for my future self and for you—if you want to get a hobby project done!
Understanding Fake Agile
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2019/05/23/understanding-fake-agile/, posted 2020 by peter in agile management opinion
A particularly worrying variant is the Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe. Essentially this is codified bureaucracy, in which the customer is almost totally absent. It is now pervasive in large firms because it gives the management a mandate to call themselves agile and keep doing what they have always done. Essentially it subordinates the agile teams to the bureaucracy, rather than doing what is necessary to achieve business agility, namely, namely [sic], transform the big monolithic internally-focused systems into arrangements where the budgets, HR, Finance and so on are flexible and externally focused in support the Agile teams in operations. The insignificant role of the customer in the chart above is indicative of the problem.
Let's stop fooling ourselves. What we call CI/CD is actually only CI
https://dev.to/canarian/let-s-stop-fooling-ourselves-what-we-call-ci-cd-is-actually-only-ci-13c, posted 2020 by peter in automation continuousdelivery development management opinion testing
When asked what stops them from safely and regularly deploying every change into production environments - everybody seems to have their own reasons. Organizational, cultural, historical, technical, contractual.. Some go as far into denial as saying : "Oh, we don't need continuous delivery. In fact most companies out there don't really need it." But the underlying reason is of course the lack of confidence. Nobody wants to be the culprit for a system outage. According to a number of industry surveys the average cost of one hour of downtime is around 75000 USD. There's a lot at stake! So instead we choose to move slower, to add controlled handoffs and build home-grown guardrails. To hire more Ops engineers and call them SRE to feel more secure. Rarely discussing the price of establishing and maintaining all of these over time.
Engineers who've experienced true CD can't really fathom any other way of delivering software. As @giltayar puts it "CD ... is a total game changer. It changes how you perceive software development and delivering features... I did CD and EVERYTHING about how I developed changed. It was magical."
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