davidb's recent activity

  1. Comment on How much testing do you guys do? in ~comp

    davidb Link
    Depends on what it is. How important is it that this thing works? How much does it cost (or will it hurt anyone) if it doesn't? Early on in my career I worked for various semiconductor companies...

    Depends on what it is.

    How important is it that this thing works? How much does it cost (or will it hurt anyone) if it doesn't?

    Early on in my career I worked for various semiconductor companies (AMD, Sun Microsystems, Intel, IBM). At a couple of those, it was my entire job to write tests and try to make things fail. We had whole departments (Functional and Formal Verification) and teams (unit and integration) dedicated to it. And, although I haven't seen cost breakdowns, it's a pretty safe assumption that the company spent way more money on testing than it ever did on research or design. Even when I advanced into platform architecture roles, I still spent a good portion of my time writing tests compared to coming up with new ideas and designs, or implementing them.

    Now, I do more software stuff - web and mobile apps, with some firmware and OS programming on occasion. The cost of making a mistake is much less (with the software I make).

    When I'm just starting out with a new program, I have almost zero testing (unless I'm using some boilerplate that includes good code coverage out of the box - even then I rarely extend it). I do this because I care more about creating something that works. If the program is just a simple script, all I care about is that it gets the task done. If it's an app for some business product, it's usually just a minimum viable product (MVP). In that case, the application itself is a test of the market demand. I care more that the application exists and is collecting feedback from customers than I do that it works flawlessly. As the program matures, I go back often and refactor my code, adopting a sort of hybrid test driven design. Once the app matures to the point where my customers (or I) are dependent on it, I go for full code coverage and write all sorts of testing.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on The role of mastodon.social in the Mastodon ecosystem in ~tech

    davidb Link Parent
    Very cool! I'm definitely going to check this out when I have some time to play with it. I like the idea of the various apps being "magic glasses" that reveal the data in my copy of scuttlebutt....

    Very cool! I'm definitely going to check this out when I have some time to play with it. I like the idea of the various apps being "magic glasses" that reveal the data in my copy of scuttlebutt.

    It kind of reminds me of http://twister.net.co/ but the scuttlebutt protocol not requiring me to have the entire global state locally on my machine is much preferable.

  3. Comment on The role of mastodon.social in the Mastodon ecosystem in ~tech

    davidb Link Parent
    That's an interesting argument and something I hadn't thought about too much. A distributed global storage solution would still allow for frontends to provide the same "filter functionality", just...

    That's an interesting argument and something I hadn't thought about too much. A distributed global storage solution would still allow for frontends to provide the same "filter functionality", just through a different mechanism than mastodon.

    OpenBazaar essentially functions that way. Storefronts are published to the globally accessible and distributed IPFS and the "servers" you connect to are what provide the search and discovery functionality.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Two devs automated the process of generating and publishing "garbage" mobile slot machine games on Google Play, and made over $50,000 in ~games

    davidb Link Parent
    For sure Google is good at detecting it, but it still happens. NY Mag did a story on it a couple months ago in response to a DOJ press release about $36 million in ad fraud. One of the networks...

    For sure Google is good at detecting it, but it still happens. NY Mag did a story on it a couple months ago in response to a DOJ press release about $36 million in ad fraud. One of the networks defrauded was Google: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html

    3 votes
  5. Comment on The role of mastodon.social in the Mastodon ecosystem in ~tech

    davidb Link Parent
    Eliminating federation is the solution. If the architecture moves to be built on some blockchain type solution (or other distributed p2p solutions), there could be just one namespace and there...

    Eliminating federation is the solution. If the architecture moves to be built on some blockchain type solution (or other distributed p2p solutions), there could be just one namespace and there would be no need for flagship servers.

  6. Comment on Two devs automated the process of generating and publishing "garbage" mobile slot machine games on Google Play, and made over $50,000 in ~games

    davidb Link Parent
    It could also not be people downloading these apps. It'd be a hell of a scam, but those devs could be paying bot farms to click the ads. In that situation, the losers are the advertisers.

    It could also not be people downloading these apps. It'd be a hell of a scam, but those devs could be paying bot farms to click the ads. In that situation, the losers are the advertisers.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on OpenAI, after announcing that their language model was "too good to release", have moved most of their staff into a corporation "capped at 100x returns on investment". in ~tech

    davidb Link Parent
    I agree it's a VC pitch. It sounded pretty compelling to me until all the controversy around their language model, which was more solidified with the restructuring. Still, it feels like one of...

    I agree it's a VC pitch. It sounded pretty compelling to me until all the controversy around their language model, which was more solidified with the restructuring. Still, it feels like one of those tech company idas where I can't tell if it's going to be massively successful or a complete failure, so it becomes very captivating.

    I was never really a "LessWronger" though I did read a bunch of articles from that site and started to get deep into it for a couple weeks at one point. So, while I don't get every reference, that video is still quite funny, even more so because when OpenAI had their first announcement around the language model, it was one of the first sites I checked to see the discussion on.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on What do you Tildians think of Atom? in ~comp

    davidb Link
    I learned vim about 12 years ago and have continued using it during that time. A lot of interns that have come through my workplace used Atom, and with some of the plugins it seemed usable. When...

    I learned vim about 12 years ago and have continued using it during that time.

    A lot of interns that have come through my workplace used Atom, and with some of the plugins it seemed usable. When the platformio IDE came out, it was initially built on Atom. So, I used it and then decided to try Atom more seriously for a while. I liked some aspects of the interface. Ultimately, I found myself switching back to vim because of the load time of the editor and productivity.

    5 votes
  9. Comment on What was a strong opinion you once had, but has changed since by listening to others? in ~talk

    davidb Link Parent
    Great stuff. I had heard that TAL episode before, but had completely forgotten about the P&T story, so that was a fun listen and is more insightful now that I'm more familiar with their...

    Great stuff. I had heard that TAL episode before, but had completely forgotten about the P&T story, so that was a fun listen and is more insightful now that I'm more familiar with their personalities. Thanks!

    1 vote
  10. Comment on What was a strong opinion you once had, but has changed since by listening to others? in ~talk

    davidb Link Parent
    Absolutely! I haven't heard that one.

    Absolutely! I haven't heard that one.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on What was a strong opinion you once had, but has changed since by listening to others? in ~talk

    davidb Link
    My heroes had to be perfect, so I would cycle through them as I uncovered their flaws. Every time it was heartbreaking to me because it seemed impossible to live a successful, honest, and virtuous...

    My heroes had to be perfect, so I would cycle through them as I uncovered their flaws. Every time it was heartbreaking to me because it seemed impossible to live a successful, honest, and virtuous life. Finally, I discovered Penn Jillette and he flipped my idea of what a hero should be. He flat out said, "I'm full of shit carnie trash and you shouldn't believe what I say," and it made me realize the obvious - no one is perfect and the most honorable thing you can do is be willing to be wrong.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on What do you think will be the next big innovation to smart phones? in ~tech

    davidb Link
    I think we'll see more with haptic rendering so you can "feel" the texture of a material by swiping your finger over the glass of your phone. There's been some "successful" research and commercial...

    I think we'll see more with haptic rendering so you can "feel" the texture of a material by swiping your finger over the glass of your phone. There's been some "successful" research and commercial implementations of this already (https://www.theverge.com/ces/2017/1/5/14185134/tanvas-touchscreen-haptic-feedback-ces-2017) but it feels like it's about time for some real commercial innovation here, particularly as we start to use our phones more and more for AR "magic window" viewports.

    10 votes
  13. Comment on Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook in ~news

    davidb Link
    It's an interesting idea and something that seems necessary for competition, but also something that seems practically impossible to achieve both from a view of regulation (how do you structure it...

    It's an interesting idea and something that seems necessary for competition, but also something that seems practically impossible to achieve both from a view of regulation (how do you structure it so they don't end up like AT&T all over again) and political will.

    I'd much rather see decentralized platforms replace these "platform utilities" with lower surcharges and better privacy as their selling points. Maybe this type of regulatory action is necessary to spur adoption and development of those platforms?

    1 vote
  14. Comment on The Banality of Empathy in ~humanities

    davidb Link
    I've been thinking a lot about empathy with respect to identity politics for the past couple months, so I found this article an interesting challenge to my current thinking, which is more aligned...

    I've been thinking a lot about empathy with respect to identity politics for the past couple months, so I found this article an interesting challenge to my current thinking, which is more aligned with Adam Smith and, as Stephen Pinker puts it, "One of the greatest epiphanies of the Enlightenment: that people are equipped with a capacity for sympathetic imagination, which allows them to appreciate the suffering of sentient beings unlike them."

    This article challenges the concepts of cognitive and emotional empathy as a good thing exploring these themes in contemporary art (Bandersnatch, The Vanishing Point, Against Empathy, etc) and their philosophical underpinnings, concluding with a review of Violet Allen's “The Venus Effect” story.

  15. Comment on What products do you absolutely love? in ~talk

    davidb Link
    None of these are "new" but they're products I use every day and constantly recommended to friends/family: eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack - Hands-down the best laptop backapack I've ever...

    None of these are "new" but they're products I use every day and constantly recommended to friends/family:

    • eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack - Hands-down the best laptop backapack I've ever owned, maybe even my favorite bag I've owned. Well-designed. I've had it for 2 years and it still looks practically brand new. I've carried it around at many multi-day conferences without any issues. Plenty of compartments to keep me organized. I recommend this for everyone.

    • Used Thinkpad Laptops - I currently use a T460 as my every day work and personal computer. I have an ebay alert setup for this model and buy them when I see a good deal. I constantly recommend them to friends/family that need a reliable computer. At <$200 (what I buy them at), I don't think you can find a significantly better deal.

    • Rhodia Webnotebook 5.5X8.25 Dot Grid - I use https://bulletjournal.com/ for managing my daily to-do list and meeting notes. I particularly like the cover of these notebooks because even after all the abuse I've thrown at it, scuff marks and dents don't show as much as other notebooks I've used. I bargain hunt for these notebooks when I'm getting close to the end of one as the msrp of $20+ is far too much for a notebook, in my opinion.

    • Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 - I've used one of these as a personal and work keyboard for over 10 years. I've only had one fail on me, and that was after years of abuse. This keyboard is very love/hate for people, so be warned. I love mine though and prefer it to every other keyboard I have used.

    • Logitech G660 Mouse - I really only want a 7 button mouse and when my old Razer one broke, I ended up with this Logitech Mouse. I do have bindings for all of the buttons, but don't need it. This is one I rarely recommend compared to everything else, but I do love it.

  16. Comment on What products do you absolutely love? in ~talk

    davidb Link Parent
    I used a Leuchtturm1917 dot pattern for a couple years and last year switched to the Rhodia WebNotebook. I like the cover of the Rhodia better (the plush-like cover seems more forgiving to the...

    I used a Leuchtturm1917 dot pattern for a couple years and last year switched to the Rhodia WebNotebook. I like the cover of the Rhodia better (the plush-like cover seems more forgiving to the abuse I throw at it) and have really enjoyed using it. I do miss the pockets (and page numbers/format) of the Leuchtturm1917 though.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on What products do you absolutely love? in ~talk

    davidb Link Parent
    Commenting just to say I'm also a fan of this soldering iron and that I have been soldering for over 20 years, going back to my first radio shack iron. In college and at my first jobs, I used...

    Commenting just to say I'm also a fan of this soldering iron and that I have been soldering for over 20 years, going back to my first radio shack iron. In college and at my first jobs, I used Weller analog stations, then got a Hakko FX951. I saw the TS100 pop up when I was shopping around for a relatively inexpensive digital temperature controlled iron to use for a soldering workshop series I was teaching. I didn't end up going with it for the workshop, but did buy one to test it out and really like it.

    I still prefer my Hakko if I'm soldering at my bench, but I have a TS100 in my toolbag and use it pretty frequently. I wasn't aware of the TS80, but just watched a couple reviews and think I'd prefer the TS100 anyway (TS80 has less power and requires a QuickCharge compatible charger).

    1 vote
  18. Comment on The Cloud Is Just Someone Else's Computer in ~comp

    davidb Link
    It's kind of funny to see Jeff encouraging people to buy their own hardware and spin it up themselves when Discord is only distributed as a Docker image, and asking for it to be distributed any...

    It's kind of funny to see Jeff encouraging people to buy their own hardware and spin it up themselves when Discord is only distributed as a Docker image, and asking for it to be distributed any other way ends up in essentially a flame war and deleted posts. It's kind of like saying "DIY everything unless you don't do it my way" or "do as I say, not as I do."

  19. Comment on What is something you want to gush/talk about but haven't had the chance/audience to? in ~talk

    davidb Link Parent
    When I learned it in college (over a decade ago now), I dual booted for about a week, then just backed up the windows partition and formatted the whole hard drive. It was a struggle for a couple...

    When I learned it in college (over a decade ago now), I dual booted for about a week, then just backed up the windows partition and formatted the whole hard drive. It was a struggle for a couple weeks, but I think immersive learning like that is the best way. When you have windows to fall back on, you'll be more likely to not figure out how to do something in Linux. Go for it.

    3 votes