jzimbel's recent activity

  1. Comment on Poolside FM: Transport yourself to 1980's Miami in ~music

    jzimbel
    Link
    They now have a PalmPilot-throwback iOS app, if anyone’s interested! Android version coming as well.

    They now have a PalmPilot-throwback iOS app, if anyone’s interested! Android version coming as well.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy in ~music

    jzimbel
    Link
    ... by Various Artists Working to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy. What a title. Available today only. Still listening through, but it’s mostly rock. I’m enjoying it so far.

    ... by Various Artists Working to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy.

    What a title.

    Available today only. Still listening through, but it’s mostly rock. I’m enjoying it so far.

    5 votes
  3. Comment on Looking for albums that are both beautiful and melancholic in ~music

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    Also, a slightly more out-there recommendation: the album Amami by Ikue Asazaki is really beautiful and melancholic but features a traditional singing style from the Ryukyu islands that might not...

    Also, a slightly more out-there recommendation: the album Amami by Ikue Asazaki is really beautiful and melancholic but features a traditional singing style from the Ryukyu islands that might not be for everyone. It’s on Spotify but here’s the first track: Obokuri

    2 votes
  4. Comment on Looking for albums that are both beautiful and melancholic in ~music

    jzimbel
    Link
    Two suggestions— In a strange bit of coincidence, the artist Deep Sea Diver is pretty close to what you’re looking for; maybe a little more energetic than the track you linked but overall has a...

    Two suggestions—

    1. In a strange bit of coincidence, the artist Deep Sea Diver is pretty close to what you’re looking for; maybe a little more energetic than the track you linked but overall has a melancholy feel and the lead singer sounds similar. Here’s one by them that feels close-ish to your linked track.
    2. I’m honestly a little upset that they haven’t already been mentioned by someone: almost everything by The National has a melancholy aesthetic. Energy varies widely from track to track. A lot of their older songs fit closer to your linked track: About Today, Without Permission. Also check out some of the more “polished” tracks, like I Need My Girl and Light Years.
    5 votes
  5. Comment on What's the coronavirus like where you are? in ~health.coronavirus

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    Love those posts! It’s really nice to have a quick and reliable way to keep a finger on the pulse of the state w.r.t COVID. Also, coming from the public transit perspective (hi I work for the T),...

    Love those posts! It’s really nice to have a quick and reliable way to keep a finger on the pulse of the state w.r.t COVID.

    Also, coming from the public transit perspective (hi I work for the T), things are looking to be a strange mix of grim and hopeful. On the one hand, the MBTA has a humongous budget shortfall due to lost ridership. On the other, the pandemic and the George Floyd/BLM activism has caused a lot of positive changes to be fast-tracked for the communities that need them the most. We’re getting started on building 14 miles of dedicated bus lanes this fall and spring to alleviate bottlenecks all over the city where essential people are still taking the bus at high rates. We’ve also added live-updating crowding info for many bus routes. Some internal discussion and action has also started around combatting the very real institutionalized racism at the T.

    Also, at least in my neighborhood (JP), people are staying pretty fastidious about masking up whenever they’re outside. When I biked over to Cambridge last weekend the mask-wearing rate overall seemed very good.

    4 votes
  6. Comment on The case against American truck bloat in ~design

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    I think the problem here is that Americans, and citizens of many other countries, have become so accustomed to a car-based way of life that certain solutions simply don’t enter their minds. For...

    I think the problem here is that Americans, and citizens of many other countries, have become so accustomed to a car-based way of life that certain solutions simply don’t enter their minds.

    For example, why do major roads exist in residential areas with high pedestrian activity? This is a failure of the city/state to properly plan out its transportation network and separate high-speed traffic from areas where people live. You (and many other people, I’m not trying to single you out) perceive cars as this kind of unavoidable danger present on every street that pedestrians just have to deal with, but with a little bit of extra forethought and planning, high-speed traffic can be routed away from neighborhoods and residential streets can be treated with traffic calming measures to ensure cars travel at safe speeds relative to the level of pedestrian activity.

    For an example of a country that got it right (IMHO), check out the Netherlands’ meticulous road classification system, traffic-calming-by-default approach and the resulting low death rate.

    12 votes
  7. Comment on The case against American truck bloat in ~design

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    Absolutely. On top of everything you already mentioned, it’s wild that many cities designate huge amounts of precious publicly-owned space for people to just leave their private property sitting...

    Absolutely. On top of everything you already mentioned, it’s wild that many cities designate huge amounts of precious publicly-owned space for people to just leave their private property sitting in.

    But cars are so ingrained in our society and city planning at this point that most people don’t consider the negative impact they have on the fabric of a neighborhood, or that it’s even possible to survive without one.

    Street parking is theft.

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

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    Just updated my comment with tech info!

    Just updated my comment with tech info!

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

    jzimbel
    (edited )
    Link
    Late last week my team at work went live with these new info screens posted around Boston’s public transit system. For reference, this is what was previously shown on the screens. They also have...

    Late last week my team at work went live with these new info screens posted around Boston’s public transit system. For reference, this is what was previously shown on the screens.

    They also have audio equivalence.

    We’re still ironing out some kinks and listening to initial feedback, but I think it’s a pretty big improvement over what was there before.

    Tech:

    • Elixir + Phoenix backend that basically just transforms data from the T's V3 API into what we need to display on the screens.
    • Mostly straightforward react (TypeScript) frontend. We had to do some wacky stuff to dynamically compute how many rows to show in the fixed 1080x1980 viewport of the screens—we render an invisible copy of the departures list to the side of the real one and remove rows until there isn't any overflow, then pass the correct row counts over to the real departures list. This allows it to re-render just once each time new data loads and use react-transition-group to add animations between states. Okay, maybe it isn't so straightforward...
    • Audio equivalence is implemented as a sort of "alternate frontend" where we take the response that would have gone to the react frontend, and instead use it to server-side render an SSML document that then gets piped through Amazon Polly to get synthesized speech.
    • The configuration defining which routes to show on each screen and how they're laid out is all in a big config.exs file right now, which isn't great—we have to make a pull request and deploy for every config change. We're now actively working on an internal tool to decouple the config from the application logic. The main goal is to allow for quick changes, but eventually we also want non-engineers to be able to configure screens via a friendly UI; a sort of real-time-data CMS.
    6 votes
  10. Comment on US pediatricians call for in-person school this fall in ~news

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    We here in Massachusetts and the northeast in general are doing pretty well, at least relatively speaking.

    We here in Massachusetts and the northeast in general are doing pretty well, at least relatively speaking.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on Poolside FM: Transport yourself to 1980's Miami in ~music

    jzimbel
    Link
    The classic MacOS-themed site is fun, but if you want to listen on the go they're also on SoundCloud.

    Poolside FM was conceived one awfully rainy summer in the Highlands of Scotland - a virtual vacation, if you will. The audio and video streams are curated to inject a healthy dose of serotonin into your brain.

    The classic MacOS-themed site is fun, but if you want to listen on the go they're also on SoundCloud.

    1 vote
  12. Comment on GeorgeFloyd protest - Police brutality videos on Twitter in ~news

    jzimbel
    Link
    There's also a GitHub project trying to record all of the evidence and make it available via an API. https://github.com/2020PB/police-brutality

    There's also a GitHub project trying to record all of the evidence and make it available via an API. https://github.com/2020PB/police-brutality

    4 votes
  13. Comment on What are you confused by? in ~talk

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    Here's the best I can do. From most to least commonly used: spelling part of speech pronunciation (copy-paste here to listen) definition example effect noun [əˈfɛkt] Result of an action or cause...

    Here's the best I can do.

    From most to least commonly used:

    spelling part of speech pronunciation (copy-paste here to listen) definition example
    effect noun [əˈfɛkt] Result of an action or cause The long weekend had a positive effect on her mental health.
    affect verb [əˈfɛkt] To have an effect on Greenhouse gases affect the climate.
    affect noun [ˈæfɛkt] Emotion or behavior He took on a defensive affect after being asked whether he had eaten from the candy jar.
    effect verb [əˈfɛkt] To bring about BLM activists hope to effect sweeping reforms to root out institutionalized racism.

    Side note, I have a mini-conspiracy theory that this is why the verb/noun "impact" has become more popular over the past decade or so, since it side-steps this whole issue.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on Server-Side Rendering is a Thiel Truth in ~comp

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    If you're willing to pick up Elixir, the Phoenix framework has recently added a "LiveView" feature that allows developers to create purely server-side rendered interactive web applications. It...

    If you're willing to pick up Elixir, the Phoenix framework has recently added a "LiveView" feature that allows developers to create purely server-side rendered interactive web applications. It does look like it supports components.

    Full disclosure, I only recently started using Elixir at a new job, and while we do use Phoenix here, we haven't used LiveView for anything yet. I don't know a lot about this beyond the fact that it exists, so I can't say how user-friendly the component system is.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on This isn’t the flattened curve we were promised in ~health.coronavirus

    jzimbel
    Link
    I’d encourage people to check out the mathematical models on this, since pure math is harder to bullshit and relatively simple to understand. The SIR model for example has shown this asymmetrical,...

    I’d encourage people to check out the mathematical models on this, since pure math is harder to bullshit and relatively simple to understand. The SIR model for example has shown this asymmetrical, slow-falling infection curve since the beginning.

    Here are a few nice videos:

    5 votes
  16. Comment on Americans' opinions on the coronavirus are changing fast in ~health.coronavirus

    jzimbel
    Link Parent
    I feel the same way after seeing this video today of Trump laughing at my state's governor for complaining that he lost out to the fed on 3 bids for PPE and other essential equipment after...

    I feel the same way after seeing this video today of Trump laughing at my state's governor for complaining that he lost out to the fed on 3 bids for PPE and other essential equipment after following the instructions Trump himself gave. The fact that states are competing with the federal government for goods is terrifying. The fact that all Trump could say was "you should have bid more" is terrifying. People will die as a direct result of this. I have a lot less confidence that the goods will be used effectively in the fed's hands than in those of individual states.

    I think residents of even mid-sized US cities will be completely left to their own devices for surviving this disease within a week or two.

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

  18. Comment on How would you reduce speeding by car drivers? in ~talk

    jzimbel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    This is called traffic calming, and I’d argue that it’s the “correct” answer to OP’s question. It is the main technique employed by countries like the Netherlands, and it has been extremely...

    This is called traffic calming, and I’d argue that it’s the “correct” answer to OP’s question. It is the main technique employed by countries like the Netherlands, and it has been extremely effective—they consistently hover around the least traffic fatalities per capita worldwide.

    The idea is simple and grounded in basic design principles: instead of telling people how to use a system, design the system such that users are implicitly guided to use it as intended and stay within acceptable limits.

    9 votes