daturkel's recent activity

  1. Comment on Can killing cookies save journalism? A Dutch public broadcaster got rid of targeted digital ads and its revenues went up 62-79% in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I was also very taken by the Snickers analogy. I work in recommendation/personalization and so I was very intrigued by the implications of it to recommendation systems—it helped me to better put...

    I was also very taken by the Snickers analogy. I work in recommendation/personalization and so I was very intrigued by the implications of it to recommendation systems—it helped me to better put words to some thoughts I'd been having for a while. I'll re-jigger some tweets I wrote into a comment here:

    Focusing only on user-based personalization can lead to a form of over-fitting where we always assume that past behavior can tell us what's most relevant to a user. But if the past is a good signal for user's latent taste, it can still completely miss their current needs.

    There's ongoing work on learning a user's context real-time, but I think it's often ok to just let the user tell the application what they're up to. For Netflix, that might be as simple as selecting the genre, for adtech it could mean letting the user pick topics of interest. My Youtube viewing habits are a mix of semi-educational tech videos, live music performances, movie trailers, and occasional gaming stuff—and they're all mixed together in my homepage recommendations. It would be lovely to open Youtube and say "this is a music browsing session" and have the experience tailored to that.

    If we think of personalization as a "push" model, where the user's wants are inferred and given to them without asking, I'm interested in more integration of search/"pull" model where the user can guide the personalization.

    9 votes
  2. Comment on Former social bookmarking site Del.icio.us appears to be making a return this summer in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I'm grandfathered in from back when it was a one time payment, but less than two dollars a month for such a useful service still seems like a steal.

    I'm grandfathered in from back when it was a one time payment, but less than two dollars a month for such a useful service still seems like a steal.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What single-purpose, minimalistic web or mobile apps do you like? in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link
    Pinboard is a bookmarking site that prides itself on a degree of minimalism. From the homepage:

    Pinboard is a bookmarking site that prides itself on a degree of minimalism. From the homepage:

    Pinboard is a fast, no-nonsense bookmarking site for people who value privacy and speed.
    There are no ads and no third-party tracking. You pay a few bucks a year, and that's it.

    5 votes
  4. Comment on Recommendations to learn SQL? in ~comp

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    Adding on to this, the disadvantage of learning SQL "from the book" is a common one when you're learning SQL: you don't have a database to practice on. There are luckily a lot of online tutorials...

    Adding on to this, the disadvantage of learning SQL "from the book" is a common one when you're learning SQL: you don't have a database to practice on.

    There are luckily a lot of online tutorials that provide you with a toy database to use as you progress (datacamp and codeacademy both have it I believe). I'd recommend "getting your hands dirty" rather than getting too bogged down with some of the more academic points (relational algebra, etc.) if you want to know just enough SQL to be dangerous.

    3 votes
  5. What online courses / MOOCs have you taken?

    Not leaving the house much these days (due to social distancing and also insane heat in NYC right now) means I've got some time to kill that I'd like to spend productively. I took MIT 6.00.2x:...

    Not leaving the house much these days (due to social distancing and also insane heat in NYC right now) means I've got some time to kill that I'd like to spend productively.

    I took MIT 6.00.2x: Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science a few years back when I was refreshing my Python skills. I think it's been updated a bit since then. It was a high quality course and I enjoyed it, though there are so many Python-related courses these days, I can't guarantee it's the best.

    I'm currently taking:

    1. Model Thinking on Coursera from the University of Michigan. I don't know where I saw this recommended (maybe on Tildes or Hacker News?) but it's quite good so far. Scott Page teaches about how to use various models (mental models, computational ones, etc.) for breaking down and analyzing various problems and systems. I've only just started but I quite like it.

    2. Testing and Monitoring Machine Learning Model Deployments on Udemy. Taking this along with a few coworkers since it's relevant to what I do. Only just starting but appears to be quite good and works through a well-documented example project on Github.

    I've also come across a few that seem like they might be good courses for the future:

    Now your turn: what have you taken? What did you like or not like, and why? What do you want to take?

    8 votes
  6. Comment on What are your default settings for the Tildes homepage? in ~tildes

    daturkel
    Link
    I have it on "activity" for "all time." I also made a thread asking people this same question back in February, so you can check out those responses here.

    I have it on "activity" for "all time."

    I also made a thread asking people this same question back in February, so you can check out those responses here.

    7 votes
  7. Comment on The dehumanizing condescension of the book White Fragility in ~books

    daturkel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I haven't read White Fragility, though I recently bought it and it's next on my list after I finish my current book. But I read this article and I shared it with a friend who'd just read the book....

    I haven't read White Fragility, though I recently bought it and it's next on my list after I finish my current book. But I read this article and I shared it with a friend who'd just read the book. I was pretty perplexed by some of the arguments the author made, especially towards the end when he transitions from talking directly about the text to speaking more generally about his own experience. My friend was also pretty bewildered by the article and she looked up the author (I'd just read the blurb at the bottom that said he's a linguistics professor at Columbia) and sent me the exact same excerpt from his Wikipedia article, and that explained quite a bit.

    If your worldview is predicated on how innocuous or inconsequential racism is in modern American life, then a critique of a book like this isn't a point-by-point appraisal of ideas so much as a wholesale dismissal of the entire premise. I think I read this expecting the author to be more willing to intellectually engage with the ideas in the book than he actually was.

    5 votes
  8. Comment on Apple, Elon Musk, Kanye West, and other accounts are tweeting a bitcoin scam in giant Twitter hack in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    That's an interesting point, it does seem like a relatively bad scheme considering the access they had. That being said, I'm shocked it's made so much already (over $100k USD)—I would've thought...

    That's an interesting point, it does seem like a relatively bad scheme considering the access they had. That being said, I'm shocked it's made so much already (over $100k USD)—I would've thought it would make....nothing.

    I wish the compromised accounts had linked to different BTC addresses so that we could see which accounts were the most effective at scamming their followers.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on Flagship Matrix client, Riot, and developer, New Vector, rebrand as Element in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link
    Hope this isn't considered off topic, but I'd love to hear what channels Matrix-users frequent. I tried it out the other day and found very few active channels on the main server.

    Hope this isn't considered off topic, but I'd love to hear what channels Matrix-users frequent. I tried it out the other day and found very few active channels on the main server.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on How do people run their personal blog? in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I'm working on a static site generator right now (who hasn't written one these days) and I'm currently up to the feed generation stage. It's not as complex as I thought, though the choice of date...

    I'm working on a static site generator right now (who hasn't written one these days) and I'm currently up to the feed generation stage. It's not as complex as I thought, though the choice of date format is pretty perplexing.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on What level of conversation is tildes aiming for? in ~tildes

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I think game and film trailers are good posts because they are fodder for discussion about the work or related works

    I think game and film trailers are good posts because they are fodder for discussion about the work or related works

    2 votes
  12. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    This definitely counts as a technical project as far as I'm concerned! My high school had a darkroom which I suspect is something of a rarity now (this was in the late '00s) and it was a fantastic...

    This definitely counts as a technical project as far as I'm concerned! My high school had a darkroom which I suspect is something of a rarity now (this was in the late '00s) and it was a fantastic resource—I took photography every semester. These days I prefer digital, but I found there to be something incredibly cathartic about the darkroom experience.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on Self-hosters and home-lab enthusiasts ... anyone here have experience running their own Matrix? in ~comp

    daturkel
    Link
    Side question: What channels are people participating in? I think the tech is cool but I'm wondering what active communities there are.

    Side question: What channels are people participating in? I think the tech is cool but I'm wondering what active communities there are.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on Does the ISS have any procedures in place for alien contact? in ~space

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    What happens on the ISS after a gun goes off sounds like a pretty good movie/short-story.

    What happens on the ISS after a gun goes off sounds like a pretty good movie/short-story.

  15. Comment on Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s war against the media in ~tech

    daturkel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I think I've written something about this somewhere on reddit/tildes before but it's worth noting how conspiracy theorists often state their arguments in the language of skepticism, rigor, demands...

    I think I've written something about this somewhere on reddit/tildes before but it's worth noting how conspiracy theorists often state their arguments in the language of skepticism, rigor, demands for proof/evidence, and refusal to be easily persuaded—only to abandon all of those principles when it comes to the overarching dogmas which drive their theories. They're indeed extremely skeptical, but not of the holes in their own theories.

    As to why proponents of conspiracy theories can't/won't see/acknowledge this hypocrisy/fallacy—I think conspiracism is often about comfort and control.

    On comfort: Things that people make conspiracies about are often world-changing events where the accepted explanation is simply too simple to live up to its complex consequences. If a single guy with a gun, working alone, can kill the president of the US and send the world into chaos, this suggests an extreme fragility of the state of the world. Perhaps we'd rather believe that anything with massive consequences must itself have been perpetrated on a massive scale—yes, the world has been changed, but it took a massive undertaking to do it.

    On control: To be skeptical is to be mistrustful. Many explanations for massive world events come to us by way of our government (think 9/11 commission, Warren commission, etc.) or major media institutions. If you don't trust those institutions, then believing their explanations for big events is a tough pill to swallow. Believing in conspiracy theories often means crafting or building upon them, connecting them to others, talking to fellow believers about it. This gives the conspiracist a sense of control and participation over uncovering/building this narrative. I think this is what's so attractive about QAnon: that "Q" actively talks to his followers (idk what they're called) and often gives them breadcrumbs and clues, telling them to investigate certain things, rather than relaying explicit statements or predictions.

    edit: Weird, right after writing this I logged onto Twitter and saw a Tweet (thread) making the exact same argument about the appeal of QAnon.

    9 votes
  16. Comment on Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s war against the media in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I think a piece of this may have to do with the notion of "going to war with the allies you have." Various flavors of xenophobes and bigots found arguments in the "rationalist universe" that they...

    It is just astounding to me that a group that started around atheism, skepticism, and logic is now largely lumped in a blend of evangelical fanatics, white supremacists, misogynists, homopho[b]es, transphobes, islamophobes and more.

    I think a piece of this may have to do with the notion of "going to war with the allies you have." Various flavors of xenophobes and bigots found arguments in the "rationalist universe" that they could tailor to their purposes (I'd argue that it's easy to see why). Slowly members of the "xenophobic community/ies" become part of the rationalist one, ideas are exchanged, and perhaps one finds itself defended by the other when an idea is criticized. Over time the lines get blurrier.

    A recent article on bellingcat about the "Boogaloo movement" takes pains to discuss that the question of "is this a racist/white-nationalist movement?" remains...unsettled and ambiguous at best:

    Reaction to [a series of racist posts] was not universal [...] The point here is not that the Boogaloo movement is wholly or authentically anti-racist, but that there appears to be a very active struggle within some parts of this movement as to whether or not their dreamed-of uprising will be based in bigotry.

    But more specifically on the topic of finding support from unlikely allies, I'm consistently reminded of the story of Candace Owens. Today we know her as an associate of Charlie Kirk and one of the most prominent young, black pro-Trump pundits/activists/whatever. But in 2016 she was just a person on the internet who occasionally wrote anti-conservative (and anti-Trump) blog posts. Having suffered from bullying, Owens began kickstarting a website called "Social Autopsy" which would basically let you share examples of cyber-bullying, creating something of a directory of internet bullies.

    Backlash to "Social Autopsy" was pretty swift, and people like Zoe Quinn and Randi Lee Harper—critics and targets both of the still-simmering Gamergate movement—were among the more vocal detractors. Quinn had already worked on several anti-bullying/harassment initiatives and her argument that this was a bad idea came from a place of genuine concern, but pretty soon the Gamergater enemies of Quinn et al came to Owens' defense. And so Owens went to war with the allies she had. Soon enough she was one of them, and the Owens we know today is, by her own admission, the product of this experience:

    “I became a conservative overnight,” Owens said in 2017 on an online talk show hosted by Libertarian political personality Dave Rubin. “I realized that liberals were actually the racists. Liberals were actually the trolls.” [...]

    “Social Autopsy is why I’m conservative,” Owens later explained. [source]

    (An exhaustive and exhausting account of the drama was also written by Jesse Singal who engaged in the controversy quite a bit on Twitter at the time. It's not worth the read but I leave it here for reference.)

    The author of the New Yorker story does a good job of delineating where the SSC/rationalist drama of the day intersects with broader American cultural tribalism and/or political entrenchment. My point here is that, insofar as the "grey tribe" doesn't fit neatly within the bounds of the "blue" one—even if it's purportedly something of a bastard child—we shouldn't be surprised when the grey takes on more aspects of the red ("the enemy of my enemy...").

    12 votes
  17. Comment on Must-haves for new Mac users in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I suppose that works, but I never have any occasion to open Xcode!

    I suppose that works, but I never have any occasion to open Xcode!

  18. Comment on Must-haves for new Mac users in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    You can also press command-shift-G in that environment (or any file-browsing environment) to manually enter a new path, with autocomplete.

    You can also press command-shift-G in that environment (or any file-browsing environment) to manually enter a new path, with autocomplete.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on Must-haves for new Mac users in ~tech

    daturkel
    Link
    Other commenters have already addressed most of the big points (iTerm2, homebrew, you may have to run xcode-select --install once to get some command-line tools installed). People recommend Albert...

    Other commenters have already addressed most of the big points (iTerm2, homebrew, you may have to run xcode-select --install once to get some command-line tools installed).

    People recommend Albert as a Spotlight replacement all the time, and I have it—even the paid extra features—and I've never bothered to learn how to do anything in it that Spotlight doesn't do. Your mileage may vary.

    Only going to add a few less common suggestions that I get a lot of value out of:

    • Spectacle is a keyboard-based window mover/resizer. I use it to quickly put windows side by side and move things around—constantly. (It's technically no longer being developed. I have never encountered any bugs or issues (including multi-monitor support) that make me need to switch, but there's a successor called Rectangle also available.)
    • licecap - instantly create gifs from your screen.
    • numi incredibly useful quick notebook-style calculator; you can define variables and have dependent calculations that automatically update if you update the variable

    I'd also second itsycal and pair it with the builtin Calendar app which is quite good.

    1 vote
  20. Comment on Got any new electronics? Tell me about them! in ~talk

    daturkel
    Link Parent
    I guess this all makes sense! I spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering as well—I just stick to the software side rather than the hardware (living in an NYC apartment means trying not to...

    I guess this all makes sense! I spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering as well—I just stick to the software side rather than the hardware (living in an NYC apartment means trying not to accumulate too many possessions). I certainly understand the joy of trying to get a set-up just right. I just don't think I know enough about networking to appreciate what I'm missing.

    3 votes