americanaquarium's recent activity

  1. Comment on Freelancer Talk: Productivity Tools in ~talk

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    I'd love to hear more about how you use monday.com. I glanced at their site (which could use a marketing overhaul, to be honest), and didn't get a great impression of what set them apart as a...

    I'd love to hear more about how you use monday.com. I glanced at their site (which could use a marketing overhaul, to be honest), and didn't get a great impression of what set them apart as a tool.

    It is somewhat interesting to note how many of the tools you've focused on here are specific to communication platforms. I don't have any conclusions to draw from that, just a point of interest.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Freelancer Talk: Productivity Tools in ~talk

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    On the plus side, that has become a pretty lucrative niche for my services, so I shouldn't bash it too much. Keep letting other companies leave their integrations half finished, please! What have...

    You have 8 tools each doing a single bit of it, but they never work well together.

    On the plus side, that has become a pretty lucrative niche for my services, so I shouldn't bash it too much. Keep letting other companies leave their integrations half finished, please!

    What have been your general experiences with Basecamp? For my own uses it has always been overkill, especially at the price point. And when I work with larger teams they tend to be more invested in Jira, as it is a little more tuned to the needs of the software space. I also saw the Basecamp CEO speak at a conference recently, and was not a huge fan of his descriptions of their internal processes, which didn't exactly endear me towards a product that they built around that process.

  3. Freelancer Talk: Productivity Tools

    It's been about a month since my last post kicking off some freelancing discussion, I figured it would be a good time to do another if anyone is interested. Chosen topic today: productivity tools....

    It's been about a month since my last post kicking off some freelancing discussion, I figured it would be a good time to do another if anyone is interested. Chosen topic today: productivity tools.

    Let's just start by saying that there are a whole lot of them. Project management tools, accounting tools, time tracking, communication, storage and organization, all sorts of categories. I am pretty sure part of the reason so many of these web-based tools have popped up is simply because web developers are a pretty large contingent of the freelancing world these days, so they end up building tools for themselves and then spin up a product and start-up company out of it.

    The first part of the questions I pose is simply: do you think we all spend too much time worrying about and investing ourselves in to productivity tools? Certainly there are some tools that require very minimal onboarding and are helpful at increasing your productive time, but it is also certain that is not the case for all of them. And determining which tools will be beneficial can be a time sink of its own; parsing through the long lists of options, reviewing features and walkthroughs, signing up for free trials (and then unsubscribing from all the marketing email lists), all of that is time spent not focused on your actual work.

    I'll drop in a few of my own toolset to give you an idea where I'm coming from: Google Apps, Trello, Freshbooks, Slack. I honestly try to keep it pretty simple, though perhaps I overly rely on spreadsheets and text documents as a result. To be honest, I probably spend more time looking at API documentation for all of these kinds of tools than I look at it from a user perspective, because I end up with tons of clients who want integrations with all of these tools.

    So what tools are the most important to you in getting things done and getting yourself back to the work at hand? Do you have any complaints on a particular product, or the overall ecosystem of productivity tools as a whole? Do you think we are too focused on such tools? Or not invested enough in them?

    7 votes
  4. Comment on Should we allow movie trailer posts? in ~movies

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    This is a really interesting idea. I definitely want to put some personal thought towards if there is a way to generate value out of these in the aggregate. Was not an angle I had considered...

    This is a really interesting idea. I definitely want to put some personal thought towards if there is a way to generate value out of these in the aggregate. Was not an angle I had considered originally, but I could see some possibilities of ways to build value in this way. Obviously a lot of ways this could shake itself out, but I am much more excited about possibilities with this kind of thinking. So thank you for bringing it up.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Should we allow movie trailer posts? in ~movies

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    Again, I am going to ask you politely to please stop making arguments based on assumptions you are making about me. I have my personal ideals for what I would like to see and engage in here, you...

    Again, I am going to ask you politely to please stop making arguments based on assumptions you are making about me. I have my personal ideals for what I would like to see and engage in here, you have your own ideals, and so does everyone else.

    As I pointed out in my original text, I'm not a fan of all of the movie trailer threads over on reddit, either, where the patterns of posting do not have the effect you are focused on here. If you like seeing the threads, great. I may be the odd one out here, in which case I can totally just ignore or filter. But I thought it might be interesting to discuss what the community as a whole feels about it.

    8 votes
  6. Comment on Should we allow movie trailer posts? in ~movies

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    I would have been straight up excited if somebody had posted a dozen great discussion threads. I love talking about movies, and am looking forward to this community growing so that we can have a...

    I would have been straight up excited if somebody had posted a dozen great discussion threads. I love talking about movies, and am looking forward to this community growing so that we can have a bunch of great discussion threads. So I am absolutely more concerned about cultivating the content than I am about the behavior. Please be more careful before you assign motivations to other people.

    8 votes
  7. Comment on Should we allow movie trailer posts? in ~movies

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    Yeah, I was doing my best to avoid triggering the link to that post :) I probably could have started the discussion from a more neutral point than I did. I definitely don't hold any individual...

    Yeah, I was doing my best to avoid triggering the link to that post :)

    I probably could have started the discussion from a more neutral point than I did. I definitely don't hold any individual responsible for that pattern that emerged, and was doing my best not to criticize any particular actions, it's just that the pattern brought the more general question to my mind as a result of being somewhat forefront at the time. Apologies if I'm stirring up the hornet's nest too much.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Should we allow movie trailer posts? in ~movies

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    I hope my point can still stand that I don't want you to feel personally called out too much here. You are definitely not the only one to have posted movie trailers in to the group, and plenty of...

    I hope my point can still stand that I don't want you to feel personally called out too much here. You are definitely not the only one to have posted movie trailers in to the group, and plenty of people do expect this group to have trailers posted. Personally I tend to skip over them, even on reddit, as I have other methods to keep track of new trailers coming out. So part of my point with this post is to discuss whether others get some advantage from it, maybe even see if we can cultivate them in a way that could garner worthwhile discussion. I don't think that's at all impossible, we just all need to figure out what that looks like together.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on Should we allow movie trailer posts? in ~movies

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    I definitely agree that hindering contributions can be a bad thing at this stage. It has been discussed elsewhere previously that a number of people feel disinclined to participate because of some...

    I definitely agree that hindering contributions can be a bad thing at this stage. It has been discussed elsewhere previously that a number of people feel disinclined to participate because of some us adding those hindrances. I am trying to make an effort to not veer towards some of that, as I very much do not want to discourage anyone's involvement, but it can also be helpful to have the community lay out their own guidelines for what they would like to see here. Perhaps I should try to phrase it more as an encouragement rather than a discouragement of what to focus on.

    That said, given your comment that "I think not everything has to foster great discussion to be noteworthy", not everyone will agree with this point. As @Kijafa put in their post "If Tildes is only meant to be a supplementary community, then we don't really need them." So of course, that is part of the question right now for the goals of the site and these communities.

    3 votes
  10. Should we allow movie trailer posts?

    EDIT: Alright, this ended up veering off in the direction that I was hoping it wouldn't. My apologies if I pushed things in the wrong direction from the outset. I want to make very clear from the...

    EDIT: Alright, this ended up veering off in the direction that I was hoping it wouldn't. My apologies if I pushed things in the wrong direction from the outset.

    I want to make very clear from the outset of this post that I am not calling anyone out for posting this type of content, and I do not want to criticize any individuals for making such posts. This is intended to be a high level discussion of what general types of content are worthwhile here, to see if we can define some of the community specific goals about relevant content. And I know this comes at the risk of being yet another meta post about tildes content (feel free to move this post elsewhere if others think it is better suited, I mainly chose to post here to work on being more community specific about our goals).

    This question comes up because a quick glance at the current ~movies page shows a whole bunch of movie trailer posts. The majority of them have zero discussion. Of the ones that do have discussion, most of that is pretty low effort. So part of the question to address is: do movie trailer posts ever generate good discussion in the first place? Looking at reddit, the answer is almost always no, and the posting of movie trailers is often a race among karma farmers with little actual interest in what they are posting. Part of the problem I see there is that it primarily leads towards a discussion of the movie itself rather than the trailer. Since the movie hasn't come out yet when the trailer is posted, that discussion is entirely speculative, and leads to some sticky situations like with the Ghostbusters remake, where more outrage was generated over the female leads casting than any discussion of the film's own merits.

    There are, very occasionally, trailers that are in and of themselves interesting pieces of artistic expression; so part of me says that a universal ban on trailers being posted would be overkill. But in those cases it may be beneficial to enforce that the discussion should focus on the presentation of the trailer itself. Though countering my own argument, trailers are fundamentally designed to draw attention towards the movie, so perhaps isolated discussion does not make sense. But that would again point to a desire to simply omit all trailers being posted. Possibly unless it is for a movie that has already been released, in which the trailer could serve as merely a marker to open discussion on the movie itself.

    So what does everyone else think? I'm totally okay if everyone says they like seeing the movie trailers on here, but I thought it would be a good time to discuss it.

    12 votes
  11. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~talk

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    This pretty much describes my approach to it, as well. I'm very interested in its uses as an actual tool, but the truth is most of what I use it for is just to tinker with as a hobby unto itself....

    This pretty much describes my approach to it, as well. I'm very interested in its uses as an actual tool, but the truth is most of what I use it for is just to tinker with as a hobby unto itself. I've probably printed more test objects than I have anything for a real purpose at this point (a few months shy of a year in).

    My original intention was as a supplement to my electronics hobby, to build fun and unique enclosures, maybe dabble in some light robotics kind of stuff. I had also considered expanding towards some model making and miniatures painting with it.

    But I have since realized that partially, I don't have as much time for hobbies as I envision myself to have when embarking on these things, and partially that the setup, maintenance, tweaking, and modifications for the printer itself has become its own hobby. Which is not say that's a bad thing, I definitely get enjoyment out of that, and I've learned a bunch of stuff just from going through various mods, which gives a lot more understanding to the machine itself.

  12. Comment on I would like a points feature like reddit karma. in ~tildes

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    And automated minimum word count restrictions tend to just result in people padding their posts with irrelevant content in order to meet that requirement. Low character counts do have some...

    And automated minimum word count restrictions tend to just result in people padding their posts with irrelevant content in order to meet that requirement. Low character counts do have some correlation to low effort posting overall, but it can not be used as the sole metric to judge it.

    18 votes
  13. Comment on Tech companies are structured like wealthy socialist states in ~tech

    americanaquarium
    Link
    Geez, that article makes a very hard and sudden turn after its introduction filled with glowing positivity towards finally being a member of the bourgeoisie. I mean, that doesn't really have...

    Geez, that article makes a very hard and sudden turn after its introduction filled with glowing positivity towards finally being a member of the bourgeoisie.

    my friend, a filmmaker, was kicked out of her home in Berkeley along with five queer housemates of color, also artists, so that their landlord could make room for higher-paying tenants.

    I mean, that doesn't really have anything to do with them being queer or persons of color. It just has to do with them being artists (presumably of the struggling variety) in an area with skyrocketing property values. I am very sympathetic to the plight of minority groups who are being disenfranchised, and a discussion of groups facing this type of exclusion is a very worthwile topic, but this is really shoe-horned in here in an attempt to elicit more outrage. She briefly touches on the topic of under representation of various groups within the corporate world of tech, but doesn't make much of an effort to actually connect these thoughts.

    Zoning laws from the 1950s constrain development

    While bemoaning the tech companies themselves for building a walled garden, the author barely glances over this topic, which is pretty universally agreed to be the major factor affecting the urban development of the Bay Area. A long history of NIMBY attitudes in those communities has stifled tremendous amounts of the organic change that should be developing in the area. Tech companies are very aware of these community challenges, and how much it discourages potential employees from coming to the area. The entire reason for offering these additional benefits within the company is an attempt to offset the attitudes of the larger community that would otherwise diminish their talent pool by scaring them all away.

    What if big tech invested in developing great public schools, public transit, and affordable housing—perks that their employees and surrounding communities could benefit from?

    Several of them do this already. No question that they could all be doing much, much more. But asking them to do it out of the goodness of their hearts is not going to get us anywhere. The local governments need to step up and ensure equitable opportunity and access to services. That is their fundamental purpose. And frankly, any tech company that does get involved in those ways already faces criticism for meddling in the community, and questions of ulterior motives. Stop blaming the faceless, unnamed entities of a wide ranging industry; start putting pressure on elected officials to invest themselves towards building a strong community that they choose to represent, by enacting policies that ensure privileges for all of their citizens, and are not subject to the whims of fickle shareholders eyeing the quarterly financials.

    Tech companies are certainly not blameless. On a whole host of topics. But blaming them for the sociological effects of the environments they choose to occupy, and the economic system that they exist in, seems pretty misguided.

    6 votes
  14. Comment on Why I Fought the Sexist Gear Community (And Won) in ~music

    americanaquarium
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    An account of the effects of standing up to misogyny in areas that it still flourishes, and a discussion of the blurry lines of using parody to hide behind those attitudes. There's no question...

    An account of the effects of standing up to misogyny in areas that it still flourishes, and a discussion of the blurry lines of using parody to hide behind those attitudes.

    There's no question that the history of rock is filled with a lot of sexism, in a variety of ways. And there continues to exist various groups of people who cling on to that sexism in the world of music, often hiding behind a veneer of calls to respecting its history. Just the other day I was listening to the local classic rock station, where they had an advertisement for their monthly "rock girl" contest, which features women dressed in skimpy clothes and provocative poses to appear at their local events and be featured on their website. I couldn't help but wonder how this type of practice has escaped the social ire that is increasingly brought down on other such measures of objectification. Especially considering that it is in no way actually related to the music that they are promoting.

    3 votes
  15. Comment on Daily Tildes discussion - thoughts about the site's activity level in ~tildes.official

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    Yeah, I realized after posting about it being the default. So that particular issue is all on my own usage patterns.

    Yeah, I realized after posting about it being the default. So that particular issue is all on my own usage patterns.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Daily Tildes discussion - thoughts about the site's activity level in ~tildes.official

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    Some interesting possibilities. I know that the "Activity" feed option is intended to address some of this, so that ongoing conversations can continue to be brought up to the top. Though I don't...

    Some interesting possibilities. I know that the "Activity" feed option is intended to address some of this, so that ongoing conversations can continue to be brought up to the top. Though I don't know how many people are using that one, or its overall effects thus far. I personally find myself camping on "Newest" a lot of the time, which I should probably break myself from.

    I would want us to make sure to avoid having the "go read the FAQ" type of responses that are prevalent in a lot of communities on reddit. Encouraging new entrants in to a conversation at later stages is a big part of how to keep them going, and I am willing to sacrifice a certain amount of restating yourself in order to encourage new activity.

    Re-engaging a discussion could also be a good way to help keep down reposts, as I'm sure none of us want to see the same five questions with the same top answers every day like askreddit, but a good question that presents a lot of discussion is worth hanging on to for a longer period of time. Some of these ideas may make more sense once the individual communities here start to establish their own identities.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on Daily Tildes discussion - thoughts about the site's activity level in ~tildes.official

    americanaquarium
    Link Parent
    Agreed on the notifications issue, was just thinking about that myself earlier. When the content overall is low, I'm less likely to check in regularly. And when I'm not checking in, I have no way...

    Agreed on the notifications issue, was just thinking about that myself earlier. When the content overall is low, I'm less likely to check in regularly. And when I'm not checking in, I have no way of knowing whether any discussions I've been engaged in have been furthered. Part of me says that I should encourage myself (and others) to lean towards longer lived discussions, and rely less on the immediacy of a response to continue the conversation. But it does feel like conversations drop off pretty quickly and are difficult to resurrect. Not sure whether that is do the format, or societal attention spans (to go really broad here), or my own issues, frankly.

    8 votes
  18. Comment on What if people were paid for their data? in ~tech

    americanaquarium
    Link
    I have a handful of counter-arguments to this article, while generally agreeing that something does need to be done about the current state of affairs. I just happen to think these types of...

    I have a handful of counter-arguments to this article, while generally agreeing that something does need to be done about the current state of affairs. I just happen to think these types of suggestions are barking up the wrong tree.

    "Personal data are much more valuable than you think"

    The overwhelming majority of the time, this is false. In fact quite the opposite. Most people overestimate the value of their personal data by several orders of magnitude. Way down towards the end of the article it is pointed out that "If Facebook shared out its profits across all its monthly users, for instance, each would get just $9 a year." That calculation itself is already off, because it presumes that all of the value of their profits is generated by the collection of personal data, and ignores that a large part of the value being generated is based on the systems and infrastructure to collect and disseminate that data. Certainly without that personal data, the systems would not be worth much, but likewise without the systems, the data is largely worthless. And even with those optimistic calculations, the financial return would be basically nothing.

    One of the things that this article almost gets to, and is often skipped over in these conversations, is that a single individual's personal data means nothing (excepting certain rare conditions). It is the collective aggregation of data that is valuable. As discussed here in the context of machine learning, you need a lot of data from a lot of sources to generate any sort of value. The complete collection of that data, after being collected, sorted, and pruned, can indeed be worth a lot. But the value of any one individual point of data there is small, and meaningless without the rest of the whole.

    Then you get to suggestions like 'the rise of what he calls "data-labour unions", organisations that serve as gatekeepers of people's data,' which honestly makes me bristle a bit. For one thing, Facebook, Google, et al, are already acting as gatekeepers of people's data, and we've seen how well that has played out. Or we can consider Equifax, an organization collecting personal data without the expertise to handle it. Any sort of large gatekeeper in this space is going to be a massive target, and it will take some absolutely top of the line technical knowledge to ensure the platform's safety. If they are a smaller gatekeeper to present less of a target, their value is severely undercut.

    Ultimately the model of such an organization is going to be extraordinarly difficult to get right. A publically held for-profit company would have to be more transparent than pretty much any other corporation in history, and would still stand on a precipice of shifting the wrong way at any moment (via stock-holder decisions, corporate buyouts, etc). A privately held company would likely be inextricably bound to a trust in the founder(s), and thus have a limited potential life. A public non-profit, like a union as they try to suggest here, means that the organization is bound to the members' whims at any time. And frankly, I don't trust enough of the public to make the best decisions in these areas most of the time, especially in an area where public understanding is quite limited overall, and can be easily influenced.

    "But Mr Weyl argues that the skills needed to generate valuable data may be more widely spread than you might think"

    I am reiterating at this point, but to draw towards the conclusions that they have made: the data itself is not that valuable. Likewise the skills to generate that data are not that valuable. Being able to use that data in a meaningful way is where the value is created. The "big data distilleries" will continue to be the ones drawing in the wealth given these suggestions, even if they deign to give us some peanuts in return.

    7 votes
  19. Comment on The real value of cucumber tests in ~tech

    americanaquarium
    Link
    "Clarity in thinking is far easier to achieve with language rather than code." This is stated as though it is a universal truth. It is definitely not. Language in general can be far more imprecise...

    "Clarity in thinking is far easier to achieve with language rather than code."

    This is stated as though it is a universal truth. It is definitely not. Language in general can be far more imprecise than code. Which is a big part of the reason that we still code. Frankly, Capybara is also abstracted towards natural language quite significantly, so arguing for Cucumber over Capybara is a pretty silly hill to die on. If you do want to achieve clarity in thinking, keeping your code complexity low is a huge step towards achieving that, and both of these require an addition of complexity to your codebase in order to get that perceived clarity. The reality is you are just shifting complexity from a non-technical PM to the devs, not actually reducing it.

    Honestly, the idea that a "business expert/product owner" or "non technical stakeholder" even has a reason to be parsing through test cases so closely is likely a flawed assumption in the first place. Your developers should be trustworthy enough to translate product requirements in to coded test cases without such heavy handed oversight. If they aren't, you should be having senior devs review their work, not non-technical managers.

    1 vote