cptcobalt's recent activity

  1. Comment on Political discussion here seems to be really bad. Is it even possible for it to be good? in ~tildes

    cptcobalt
    Link
    Yes. In political/controversial threads, people should always feel free to politely state their most salient opinions/perspectives, with a clarifying response or two if others reply, but shouldn't...

    Yes.

    In political/controversial threads, people should always feel free to politely state their most salient opinions/perspectives, with a clarifying response or two if others reply, but shouldn't engage by descending into reply storms.

    Wait for others to speak. If you're on "one side" of a discussion and have already contributed a seemingly spiraling and thread, and you're tempted to reply and make it longer, just wait for someone else to reply. There's probably someone else that agrees with you and can make a similar point. They can probably add color to a perspective in a slightly different way than you.

    Also:

    • Don't bait.
    • Don't willingly misunderstand others.
    • Don't ask questions to provoke a reply if it's unnecessary unless you're genuinely seeking clarification.
    12 votes
  2. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    cptcobalt
    Link Parent
    I just finished Half-Life: Alyx, and I'm super pleased with it—it totally met my expectations. I do second the wish for the environment meaning more—there were times where I had such little ammo...

    I just finished Half-Life: Alyx, and I'm super pleased with it—it totally met my expectations.

    I do second the wish for the environment meaning more—there were times where I had such little ammo that I wish throwing a can at a headcrab would count for something.

    It's pretty special though, I can't wait to see what that team does next. Hopefully, they can keep up with the momentum with the extremely positive reaction HL:A has gotten.

    7 votes
  3. Comment on Why you should not put garlic in your vagina, as a treatment for yeast or anything else in ~health

    cptcobalt
    Link Parent
    I literally came here to comment this, haha.

    I literally came here to comment this, haha.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on Folding at Home: Team Tildes information in ~comp

    cptcobalt
    Link
    This is rad. I started folding again because I saw it on twitter, but I just pointed my team at the tildes team. Glad to be working with a closer community :P

    This is rad. I started folding again because I saw it on twitter, but I just pointed my team at the tildes team. Glad to be working with a closer community :P

    4 votes
  5. Comment on As Naughty Dog crunches on The Last Of Us II, developers wonder how much longer this approach can last in ~games

    cptcobalt
    Link Parent
    Super relevant quote by Upton Sinclair: That’s it. They see what they want done but don’t want to accept or understand the reality to get there.

    Super relevant quote by Upton Sinclair:

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

    That’s it. They see what they want done but don’t want to accept or understand the reality to get there.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Not a 'math person'? You may be better at learning to code than you think in ~tech

    cptcobalt
    Link
    This is 100% me. I am not a math person at all—I do basic arithmetic using my fingers. Anything more—like Algebra—makes my brain completely stop in its tracks. I consistently failed math classes...

    This is 100% me.

    I am not a math person at all—I do basic arithmetic using my fingers. Anything more—like Algebra—makes my brain completely stop in its tracks. I consistently failed math classes in high school. (The only math I'm not adversarial with is some basic stats, actually, but I never took it in school.)

    But dang it, I can build nice websites and super useful tools for people. I can wrap my brain around a problem, break it down, and implement a quite functional solution with ease. My biggest project right now is an ETL on the Tesla API where I'm taking timeseries and weather data, and trying to calculate a super rudimentary solar forecast based on historical data. In my last job, my coding work was business-critical: things like performance monitoring scripts, data visualization, daily reports, ticketing, and pipeline tracking systems—you name it. All this from me—not a "math person". (If I need help with the math, I can always talk to people; they don't even need to know how to code—I can usually figure out how to translate their assistance into the exact building blocks I need to implement it.)

    Actually, it was my ability to code that tricked me into studying Computer Science in college in the first place. This totally fucked me over. I'm a creative, literary, bookwormish kid that stayed up late on school nights reading and writing fanfiction, not doing my math homework. I wasn't prepared to handle calculus, the first math class I encountered in college—and I failed it spectacularly. Turns out, at the school I studied at, a math minor is only one or two extra classes away for a CS student. In my second semester, I started taking art classes—planning to change majors—but encountered so many institutional and familial issues trying to do that. As icing on the cake, depression caused by the whole experience basically made me stop going to the rest of the classes I was enrolled in.

    So I dropped out.

    I wish I had known better, really. But, really, "the system" failed me. My 5 on AP Computer Science fooled me, my high school, my college, and my parents into thinking I had what it takes—I was by far the best programmer in my AP CS class, but only because I had already taught myself how to code—the new concepts were easy to pick up. However, my consistent Cs, Ds, and Fs in high school math classes should have told anyone that knows a computer science curriculum—like high-school advisors—that I actually wasn't going to do well. In the end, I really needed to find some of creative art/design degree (or even a business degree—with less math, perhaps) with a concentration in systems and computer programming—I'd have really flourished.

    That's not to say that I haven't kept up with the pace in life—all this has just forced me to be a smart, scrappy, and hungry. I'm not incapable. My non-conventional education has definitely caused me some problems, but also when people have taken risks on me, it's paid off in giant ways.

    Anyway, all this to say, I really agree with this article. Programming is really like another level of literacy. With my perspective, I don't feel like math is relevant in any way to programming, unless you're using code to do math. I had a leg up because I taught myself to code early, and didn't lean on math to help me learn how to do so—I wound up making little games with programming (all basic control flow stuff). If you're not a math person, you can certainly learn how to code. And, just like languages, early exposure is far better.

    Actually, side thought. I wonder how I'd do with math in school if I could have taken a math class that introduced concepts in a "code-first" manner. Rather than calculators, graph paper, and many many fuckups....what if I could have just implmenented my own rudimentary functions to do the required math for homework/tests. Certainly forbid libraries—your own implementation would prove your understanding, but a "code-first" math class would have avoided about 90% of my pain. I'd probably be in a drastically different spot today, perhaps.

    23 votes
  7. Comment on Jailbreaking - How do you know if a tweak is safe? in ~tech

    cptcobalt
    Link
    More or less long-term jailbreaker here: assume no jailbreak nor tweak is safe, ever, no matter the source. You are breaking the chain of trust on your device and installing insecure and unvetted...

    More or less long-term jailbreaker here: assume no jailbreak nor tweak is safe, ever, no matter the source. You are breaking the chain of trust on your device and installing insecure and unvetted software. Of course, you can mitigate this by doing immense research on your software sources. But you can never really be confident. (The real answer might just be to throw bits of the tweak into Hopper and find out for yourself.)

    The community is a thin shell of what it once was—because so much of the jailbreak community of yore now works for Apple, and those that don’t either sit in outlier research circles, or do it as a casual hobby or for piracy—so there’s not so much good stuff to be found anymore.

    Also, the OS is more or less “feature complete”—at least, as much as you can say it is. The public API is super fleshed out, and the OS has many core system-wide features it didn’t have before. Jailbreaking was really great when the OS was missing large swaths of features.

    ..actually, out of curiosity, what are you getting from jailbreaking in 2020?

    12 votes
  8. Comment on How rockets are made (Rocket factory tour - United Launch Alliance) in ~space

    cptcobalt
    Link
    Tory is the shining star here. He’s way more human than the typical “CEO” type. He obviously knows his stuff, and I really think his waving and smiling at everyone is genuinely part of his...

    Tory is the shining star here. He’s way more human than the typical “CEO” type. He obviously knows his stuff, and I really think his waving and smiling at everyone is genuinely part of his character, not just a PR thing. He comes across as super friendly on his Twitter too.

    He really seems like someone I’d enjoy sitting at dinner with swapping stories for hours with. Maybe a goal to add to the bucket list.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on What creative projects have you been working on? in ~creative

    cptcobalt
    Link
    I’m working on another new website. My plan is for this site to actually cover more professional experience: like product management, leadership, design process, as well as healthy opinion on...

    I’m working on another new website. My plan is for this site to actually cover more professional experience: like product management, leadership, design process, as well as healthy opinion on those topics. (This is in opposition to most of my past/ongoing websites that are more “fun” or one-off topics.) I have been itching for a “serious” writing outlet for a while.

    I’m making good progress. is moving quite fast—it’s just another fork of my battle-tested CMS with a different theme, and I’ve already got a few drafts in progress with the intent of nailing down my message and tone before launch. (This comment of mine is a good reflection of the sort of content I’m aiming for with the site—but obviously more thoroughly researched with real data, not something casual and off-hand.)

    ...but I’m also completely stuck, too. I can’t find a name for it. I don’t want to go for the default route of just using my name for the website—I already do so much on the internet that I want to keep alexguichet.com as a surface level view of and everything I do, with plenty of friendly links to take you all my other web stuff. I have been doing 20 minute freewrites for the past few days to try to come up with inspiration for the name and nothing is coming to me. I want too much from the name: it has to be me, but also convey a bit of my message and style at a glance. Nothing so far is really sticking with me.

    I’m also realizing that I’m getting a bit lazy with my writing—but I don’t know what to do to improve it. I’m pretty decent at editing writing of peers for grammar, style, and message, but when it comes to “editing” my own stuff, I usually need to put it away for a month before I can see it with fresh eyes and tear it apart.

    It feels like a “professional” site is my best target to start paying an editor to shape up my writing. Theoretically those lessons would then trickle down into all my other writing.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on Docker for Windows and Razer Synapse won't run at the same time. (Twitter Thread) in ~comp

    cptcobalt
    Link
    Okay, I know posting a tweet thread is out there, but this is just an interesting enough story. It was also fixed two years ago so it's dragging up old stuff, but still, the why is what's amusing...

    Okay, I know posting a tweet thread is out there, but this is just an interesting enough story.

    It was also fixed two years ago so it's dragging up old stuff, but still, the why is what's amusing here.

    6 votes
  11. Comment on Feeding an ebook addiction in ~books

    cptcobalt
    Link Parent
    Thank you for the feedback. That’s fair—edited.

    Thank you for the feedback. That’s fair—edited.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on Feeding an ebook addiction in ~books

    cptcobalt
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    There’s a time and a place for eBooks, just like there’s a time and a place for paper books. eBooks have a huge positive accessibility benefit: You can read a book in multiple locations with...

    There’s a time and a place for eBooks, just like there’s a time and a place for paper books.

    eBooks have a huge positive accessibility benefit:

    • You can read a book in multiple locations with nearly any device that’s on you. I use my Kindle, iPad, and (occasionally) iPhone to chunk away at a large collection. (Reading on a phone is particularly great if you want to nail 5 minutes of a book while you’re stuck in a line.) If you don’t have a paper book on your person, you can’t read it.
    • There is no physical transportation required in the process at all. Nothing to get the book to a library or a store, and nothing required for you to go to the library or store. Statistically speaking, this transportation all happens with fossil fuels. Further, there is no paper consumed for your book. Therefore, eBooks are inherently more green.
    • You can read the book in any nearly any typeface or size you wish. Not all books are printed in large-format typesetting.
    • You can carry an entire library with you on a device. I travelled a ton for work last year, and during the course of one of the trips, I read ten books. That would pretty much be an additional suitcase to take with me.
    • No late fees for late returns—the book is just plucked from your library. Sure, it’s forceful, but it works. (I know there’s an undercurrent of libraries that are killing fees, but this is not true of the library that’s within walking distance of my house.)

    If you do like going to libraries to check out paper books, or you just buy paper books, then it’s all fine. I have no bones to pick with you. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi with reading paper books—I still do it from time to time. If you’re reading books, that’s all that matters. Keep it up!

    4 votes
  13. Comment on How would you reduce speeding by car drivers? in ~talk

    cptcobalt
    Link
    I have smattering of (probably easily counterable) thoughts and opinions: Speeding alone generally doesn’t kill. If you have a car that can handle it, it should be just fine to go fast. The...

    I have smattering of (probably easily counterable) thoughts and opinions:

    • Speeding alone generally doesn’t kill. If you have a car that can handle it, it should be just fine to go fast. The primary issue to address with regard to speeding is to restrict high speeds in unsafe conditions or reduce dramatically different relative speeds between cars.
    • Dynamic speed limits would be majorly helpful, IMO. Give me 95mph limits in the far left lanes, but also drop the speed limit in all lanes to 35mph in heavy rain conditions. (I kinda feel like a lot of roads have their speed limits set against what’s pretty much the safe max in rain.)
    • Introduce and heavily enforce follow distance rules. I hate nothing more than when a car gets close to me at any speed. I’m fine going fast, I’m not fine when people are close.
    11 votes
  14. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    cptcobalt
    Link
    I'm reading Cibola Burn which is book 4 of The Expanse. I'm not planning to watch Season 4 of the TV Show until I finish the book, so I'm trying to get through this book. The problem for me is...

    I'm reading Cibola Burn which is book 4 of The Expanse. I'm not planning to watch Season 4 of the TV Show until I finish the book, so I'm trying to get through this book.

    The problem for me is that this book is really slow compared to the last ones. I've been struggling to quantify why I'm not interested in churning through the book though: I think it's because there's a quite dull cast of characters that it follows—I don't think I really like anyone that's new in this book.

    Cibola Burn Spoilers

    I actually really like the new world, including all of the exploration and unexpected ecology. That's fun! I just think the people we're introduced to are dull as shit and don't evolve in interesting ways over the course of the book. This is extremely unusual for The Expanse. I hope Book 5 recovers.

    3 votes
  15. Comment on Why JavaScript is eating HTML in ~comp

    cptcobalt
    (edited )
    Link
    JavaScript pushes my buttons immensely—we have a resentful, adversarial relationship. I am an odd duck in that I happen to like server-side rendered pages (PHP, ftw), and I go to great lengths to...

    JavaScript pushes my buttons immensely—we have a resentful, adversarial relationship. I am an odd duck in that I happen to like server-side rendered pages (PHP, ftw), and I go to great lengths to use JavaScript as little as possible—unless I need to expose bits of local browser functionality, like native share sheets. The grand majority of the sites I maintain have less than 10 lines of JavaScript, and I like it that way.

    However, I have one major bone to pick, because it hurts me and my (quite reasonable) design style. It's First Contentful Paint (FCP). FCP is the score (in seconds, lower is better) in how long it takes you to get the first itty bit of content rendered on the page.

    My CMS—without caching—can fully render and deliver any page to a normal user in just under a second. This full-render speed is nearly impossible on JavaScript-heavy projects that fiddle around with the DOM for pretty much everything, like any site that uses Vue, Angular, React, etc. Here's an example case: a typical page of The Verge takes about 8-10 seconds.

    In contrast, JavaScript-heavy sites know they take a long time to render, so instead they send a very simple first payload before doing the heavy lifting, to trick the FCP timer. For example, The Verge very quickly paints a plain black background div as soon as possible, before building out the full DOM. This gets it a First Contentful Paint (FCP) time that's faster than I can get—about half as fast as my server-rendered content. Which pisses me the hell off, because it takes about 8x as long to actually see even the first bit of text on their site!

    Here's why this is important: FCP is the most important thing to Google when they calculate a webpage's render speed for SEO. Other things like payload size and full paint times matter too, but the #1 metric that you want to optimize for is FCP.

    I just can't beat a tiny payload that paints a simple black div in half the time as my entire webpage. This makes FCP times quite dishonest—that metric provides next-to-nothing of value to the user, other than the idea that the page is rendering, even if it will take 10 seconds for the first bit of text to appear. My server-rendered pages shouldn't get dinged for being a bit slower because I don't follow this bad but "important" practice.

    47 votes
  16. Comment on The Weird World of Apple Watch Workout Artwork in ~design

    cptcobalt
    Link
    Stephen Hackett raises a good point by posting these icons—there's a lot of interesting design decisions that have to be made to distill the core idea of an exercise into a relatively small space,...

    Stephen Hackett raises a good point by posting these icons—there's a lot of interesting design decisions that have to be made to distill the core idea of an exercise into a relatively small space, but not also have stylistic collisions.

    Pretty skillful work, if you ask me. Thoughts?

    2 votes
  17. Comment on Good domain registrars? in ~comp

    cptcobalt
    Link Parent
    +1 for NearlyFreeSpeech for hosting. I haven't had a single issue with them, I trust them immensely, and I appreciate that all of their documentation treats you like a knowledgeable user, not a...

    +1 for NearlyFreeSpeech for hosting. I haven't had a single issue with them, I trust them immensely, and I appreciate that all of their documentation treats you like a knowledgeable user, not a baby—this probably puts a lot of people off, but I love it. (NFS's hosting also handled a recent gigantic traffic spike on one of my sites without so much of a stutter on their end.)

    I don't have experience with them as a domain registrar, though—they're reselling through an external vendor while they're trying to set up their own registrar services.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on Good domain registrars? in ~comp

    cptcobalt
    Link
    I use hover.com—the stereotypical podcast domain registrar. They did help me port in most of my domains without issue, years ago, and I just continue to buy silly domains with them all the time....

    I use hover.com—the stereotypical podcast domain registrar. They did help me port in most of my domains without issue, years ago, and I just continue to buy silly domains with them all the time. They're probably not the best value, but also probably aren't that far off. I do think they have some of the best coverage in the new TLD space, though.

    1 vote