kfwyre's recent activity

  1. Comment on If you could completely refresh something and rebuild it from the ground up, what would it be and why? in ~talk

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Those are actually good examples of the type of answers I'm looking for! I'm not really interested in what could be feasibly implemented and adopted but more about hypothetical solutions. Dvorak...

    Those are actually good examples of the type of answers I'm looking for! I'm not really interested in what could be feasibly implemented and adopted but more about hypothetical solutions. Dvorak being a better keyboard layout than Qwerty is exactly the type of "start fresh" solution I'm interested in hearing about.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on This word does not exist in ~humanities

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    This is fun! It's interesting to see what the algorithm comes up with and the ways it sometimes stumbles onto something appearing insightful, while at other times being unintentionally humorous. I...

    This is fun! It's interesting to see what the algorithm comes up with and the ways it sometimes stumbles onto something appearing insightful, while at other times being unintentionally humorous.

    I cycled through a bunch. Here are some of the more interesting ones:


    mishloria (noun)

    1. a light, unemotional, unfeeling, uncritical, or flirtatious man

    "the music is reserved for a more gentlemanly type of man—a purist masculine machismo, a consummate mishlorian"


    jaypot (noun)

    1. a dog that has a long, pointed fur that is slightly hooked around a paw, giving an arched appearance so that a large cat can attack it and run

    "a jaypot can't live without food"


    endemicize (verb [with object])

    1. gradually become more extreme, widespread, or widespread

    "era-shock hospitals and endemicized medicine"


    twort (verb [no object])

    1. speak madly about the past and bring up personal stories of their own misfortunes, especially with the intention of causing annoyance

    "they thought we were tworting up the conspiracy theories"

    7 votes
  3. Comment on Here’s what one week of online school is like for my 7- and 5-year-old kids, explained in a comic in ~health.coronavirus

    kfwyre
    Link
    My heart goes out to you, parents. You are in an impossible situation. I'm lucky that I work with kids who are developmentally at a place where they can function mostly independently. They know...

    My heart goes out to you, parents. You are in an impossible situation.

    I'm lucky that I work with kids who are developmentally at a place where they can function mostly independently. They know how to work a computer; they can read instructions; they don't need their parents' constant assistance and redirects. Remote learning can "work" as best as it can for them, but the lower you go below this age the more nightmarish it gets. Young kids simply do not have the executive functioning skills to be able to allow them to go through school in the manner being asked of them, and parents are having to scramble to fill that insurmountable gap.

    There is a lot of pressure towards the reopening of schools because it gives parents relief, and believe me when I say that I want it to happen too -- provided it's safe. Unfortunately, the issues that have hampered our responses to COVID at every level are playing out once again in school districts. I asked (again) about our plan for the winter in a meeting last week, and one of my administrators sardonically and defeatedly said: "the plan right now is to have kids on buses with all the windows open when it's ten degrees outside". This administrator is as frustrated as I am with the transparently broken plans being handed down from above them.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Winners of 2020 Drone Photo Awards in ~arts

    kfwyre
    Link
    These are incredible. I got chills looking at some of them. A lot of them have a sort of geometric beauty to them that I find incredible, especially when there are people involved (like the...

    These are incredible. I got chills looking at some of them. A lot of them have a sort of geometric beauty to them that I find incredible, especially when there are people involved (like the socially distanced prayer, the socially distanced protest, or the yoga participants). Even scenes without people and of conventionally mundane things can appear beautiful in the same way, like this parking lot.

    It didn't really occur to me until looking through these that drones have made widely accessible a perspective that, previously, you would have had to have some sort of aircraft to achieve. Pictures like this would have been impossible -- or at the very least prohibitively expensive -- to take up until very recently.

    1 vote
  5. If you could completely refresh something and rebuild it from the ground up, what would it be and why?

    A lot of things we live with have significant technical debt because they were designed and implemented without modern knowledge and understanding. Knowing what we know now, in the present moment,...

    A lot of things we live with have significant technical debt because they were designed and implemented without modern knowledge and understanding.

    Knowing what we know now, in the present moment, what would you be interested in fundamentally redesigning if you could?

    This does NOT have to be technology related, by the way, though it certainly can (anyone want to talk about redesigning usernames and passwords -- please?). It can pretty much be anything: NASCAR races, art criticism, specific social norms, sunglasses, etc.

    In your explanation, don't just share what you're interested in tearing down, but how you would rebuild it for the better. What improvements would your methods bring to the table?

    16 votes
  6. Comment on Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link
    Listened through it twice so far. Once, on release day at work, where it was kind of in the background as I was getting some stuff done and eating my lunch; and a second time as a more focused...

    Listened through it twice so far. Once, on release day at work, where it was kind of in the background as I was getting some stuff done and eating my lunch; and a second time as a more focused listen this morning.

    I really like that the album is meandering and spacious. It doesn't seem like it's in a rush to get anywhere. I think the arrangements are lush, and Stevens's has always had interesting vocal delivery that really stands out on this album, especially when he processes it a bit in places for effect. "America" is a powerful and timely closer.

  7. Comment on Any interest in putting together a Tildes Best of 2020 music roundup? in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Sounds great! I'm looking forward to this.

    Sounds great! I'm looking forward to this.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on Any interest in putting together a Tildes Best of 2020 music roundup? in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link
    Any updates on this, Amarok? October is fast approaching!

    Any updates on this, Amarok? October is fast approaching!

    3 votes
  9. Comment on People expect technology to suck because it actually sucks: so much of our usage involves dealing with a constant stream of minor annoyances in ~tech

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I hear you on this. I see the same thing in teaching. We have kids that won't pick up a pencil, won't take notes, won't pay attention, and then the moment you ask them to do something, they...

    I hear you on this. I see the same thing in teaching. We have kids that won't pick up a pencil, won't take notes, won't pay attention, and then the moment you ask them to do something, they immediately say "I don't get it!". We have students who pretty much decide that if they're not being helped individually then what is being said doesn't apply to them, so they will sit through an entire lesson only to immediately sideline their teacher for a private tutoring session recapping the exact thing we just went over with the whole class. It's beyond frustrating.

    In teaching we talk about "can'ts" and "won'ts". Can'ts are the kids that need our intervention and guidance to surmount whatever academic obstacle is in front of them. They legitimately can't get where they need to on their own. Won'ts, on the other hand, are the ones that refuse to help themselves.

    Won'ts are exhausting to deal with, and they have a way of raising frustration levels and sapping resources that then erodes our ability to help the cant's. With a won't, I'll have to do the professional equivalent of trudging through molassess to get them to initiate and perform even the simplest tasks, and a won't is rarely appreciative. The relationship is all take and no give. I had a conversation with a coworker the other day about how nice it was that, on account of remote learning this year, I haven't had to have a single negotiation with a child who refuses to pick up their pencil from the desk and write with it. That is normally a daily occurrence for me, and represents the barest of minimums for participation in one's learning -- my field's equivalent of "using a doorknob".

    You have no doubt worked with and had to support a lot of won'ts, and believe me when I say I know how genuinely frustrating that is. I haven't even been in my career that long but already I can see them getting to me. I frequently tell people that I legitimately don't think I'll be able to make it all the way to retirement in this career. You phrased it well: my sympathy and compassion are being beaten out of me over the course of years.

    8 votes
  10. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I got my copy in! I was lying in bed reading it, with my husband playing his Switch next to me. I started chuckling at one of the stories, so he asked me about it, and I proceeded to verbally...

    I got my copy in!

    I was lying in bed reading it, with my husband playing his Switch next to me. I started chuckling at one of the stories, so he asked me about it, and I proceeded to verbally recap it to him. After getting him up to speed, I said "and it looks like this" and turned the book to show him the hilarious drawings on the page that I was currently on. He looked at it and started chuckling too, and when I turned the book back to me and was confronted with her pictures again, I just started cackling. Uncontrollably. This made him laugh harder, which made me laugh even harder. Soon I was coughing and crying from laughing too hard.

    After everything calmed down, for the next five minutes or so I couldn't read a page or two without mentally recalling the drawing and that moment and triggering giggle fits for myself.

    It's a fantastic book so far. Her artwork is so simple yet so incredibly expressive, and she has mastered whatever the comics equivalent is for comedic timing and delivery. I'm very excited to finish it.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on People expect technology to suck because it actually sucks: so much of our usage involves dealing with a constant stream of minor annoyances in ~tech

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    I've talked about this before, but by Tildes' standards, I am close to tech-illiterate. I'm surrounded by people whose expertise with computers far exceeds my own. At times on this website, I...
    • Exemplary

    I've talked about this before, but by Tildes' standards, I am close to tech-illiterate. I'm surrounded by people whose expertise with computers far exceeds my own. At times on this website, I often feel like a tiny mouse staring up in awe at tall, imposing titans when it comes to technology.

    By contrast, in my job as a teacher, I am widely known as the techiest person available outside of our IT department (who are almost perpetually unavailable for support, especially now). The fact that I can simultaneously inhabit both of these roles says something about how vast the tech literacy spectrum is.

    I spend a non-negligible amount of my time helping teachers out with their tech frustrations. Back when we had to go to remote learning due to school closures I spent hours helping out my teammates with setting up their digital delivery. I did test video chat calls to teach them how to turn on and off their cameras, how to use the text chat, etc. I taught them how to make tables in Google Docs and did Google Classroom tutorials. I made a handful of videos intended for students about tech skills (e.g. splitting your screen so windows are available side-by-side) and they got passed around my staff as well, since what I was sharing was new to many of them.

    At the beginning of this school year, as we were preparing for more remote learning, I was in a meeting that three(!) different teachers each individually interrupted, each popping their head into the room to ask me to come help them with their computers when I had a moment. I'm working with a new team this year, and I had to apologize for the interruptions but ultimately told them, "just know that this sort of thing might happen a lot with me". The need for tech support for teachers has always exceeded schools' abilities to meet it, and that has only gotten more acute with how we've been thrust into digital learning by the pandemic. I'm someone who helps to make up that difference, and it keeps me busy.

    The original article that this piece is based on says, in reference to people who just put up with annoyances, that "It had just never occurred to them that it could be better". I would reword that as "they know it can be better, but they don't know how to begin to even to address that".

    This often gets caricatured as lazy or as deliberate ignorance in techy spaces, but I encourage you to consider that working with technology creates a vast swath of embedded knowledge and experience that is mostly invisible.

    A teacher once came to me complaining that she could no longer delete emails on her phone. Apple had updated its OS and her previous method no longer worked. I don't even have an iPhone, but I asked her to try long pressing on an email in her inbox. Her response was "what's that?" I clarified that she should hold her finger on the email on the screen and not let go. Sure enough, the option to delete popped up, and she was floored. "How did you know to do that?!" she responded in delighted surprise.

    I didn't know that it would work, but I knew enough about interfacing with tech to know that it's an option and a likely candidate for success. Knowing to long press on a touch interface is a low bar to meet, and I think a lot of techy people see that low bar and look with scorn at anyone failing to meet it. I understand why, but I'm saying this to acknowledge that this is the level at which a large number of users operate at, and I don't think it's laziness or learned helplessness. They don't have an intuitive sense of the grammar of technology and its interactions, nor do they have a map for the underlying foundations that guide it.

    I tell teachers all the time about how I search around for solutions to things and that's how I often figure out how to do what I need to with technology. I had another teacher who tried to do that herself and failed multiple times. Finally, she came to me with a problem and quietly asked, "do you mind if I watch you while you search? I want to see exactly what you type and look at". Even grokking search results and different websites for information is an embedded skill in troubleshooting.

    Years ago a teacher came to me saying his phone was getting very hot and his battery was not lasting very long. I asked him if he was regularly closing his background apps. He stared at me blankly. I proceeded to show him how he could double-tap home, and then start swiping up on windows to close apps. There were dozens, if not hundreds, of apps -- probably every single one in his phone -- all running simultaneously. He had no idea that he should do this. He didn't even know it was possible.

    I taught my mom to use a computer in the shadow of the days where just going to the wrong website could flood your computer with malware. She was on edge the entire time for even the simplest of actions, because she feared that one wrong click was going to ruin everything, and I understand her anxiety. For me, it was fundamentally clear which actions were safe (e.g. clicking the start menu, opening a folder) and which were risky (e.g. opening a random website or file), but she didn't have that paradigm, and as such, she felt that one wrong move anywhere could result in disaster. She initially approached computing like she was defusing a bomb. Everything she did was laborious, thought out, and calculated. What was completely frictionless and intuitive to me was the complete opposite for her.

    I've been helping people out with technology my entire career, and I get regular thanks from the people that I'm helping because they feel that I'm patient with them and I try to teach them about the device itself. After I encouraged long pressing to delete an email, I explained to the teacher what long pressing is, how she can think of it, and where else she might try it. After I walked my coworker through clearing the background apps on his phone, I explained why doing that was important and even checked in with him on later days to see if he remembered how to do it and if he was building the habit. I always have teachers take the actions themselves unless there's something I need to step in for, and if so, I always ask "can I drive for a moment?" If I'm ever doing something on their device myself, I always explain what I'm doing and why. My goal isn't just to fix their one problem but to demystify things for them a bit. I want them to have something to hold on to once I'm not there at their side anymore, able to answer their questions or give them guidance on demand.

    I've had people outright say to me that they don't like asking our IT specialists for help because the help that they receive is either completely opaque, or they're made to feel stupid. The embedded knowledge the IT specialists have makes things obvious to them, and they often resent being asked to help with such "obvious" things. I get that, as sometimes I'm frustrated by the stuff I'm asked to help with too. Ultimately though, I try to approach any educational opportunity by meeting the person where they're at, which is an embedded educational skill that I have that I would argue many IT people don't necessarily have (nor should they -- it's not their area of expertise!). These things are my "obvious": patience with a lack of understanding, assessing the person's needs in context of their complaint, gradual release of responsibility, check-ins to make sure they're maintaining the knowledge, affirmations of their worth and frustrations during difficult learning processes, explaining frameworks and contexts, using memory anchors to embed knowledge long-term. A comment I frequently get when helping someone is that I should teach computer classes for adults.

    This sounds self-congratulatory, and I'm not intending this as a way of patting myself on the back (though I will admit that I do feel I've earned that, as I've been doing extra work in the form of tech support my entire career with nothing to show for it). Instead, I'm pointing out that we all have our domains in which we are comfortable, and we often judge others outside of those domains for things which we take for granted.

    14 votes
  12. Comment on Thoughts on feeling like you're posting too many links when there is not enough content in ~tildes

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I definitely hold back on posting comments on music, mostly because I don't usually have anything to contribute beyond "this is great", which is noise-tier. If I try to force something more...

    I definitely hold back on posting comments on music, mostly because I don't usually have anything to contribute beyond "this is great", which is noise-tier. If I try to force something more substantive into my comment to clear the noise bar, it usually just ends up feeling clumsy, and I more often than not delete it.

    In some ways this is good, because we don't want music threads to fill up the activity feed with shallow comments, but on the other hand, it makes knowing if anyone's enjoyed or connected with the music a bit opaque outside of the post's score count. Like, I've been jamming to "Paranoid" since you posted it and think it's awesome, but you wouldn't know that because I didn't say so in the comments to it, because doing so feels like it goes a bit against our ethos here.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Classic Konami games now available on GOG: Metal Gear, Metal Gear Solid, MGS2, and 8-bit Castlevania & Contra collection in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link
    Fantastic releases. I'm very happy to see these added (back) to the PC library. I recently replayed Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation Classic and was impressed at how well it held up overall,...

    Fantastic releases. I'm very happy to see these added (back) to the PC library. I recently replayed Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation Classic and was impressed at how well it held up overall, despite some rough edges. I never did play Metal Gear Solid 2 though, so I'll definitely end up getting it at some point.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on On the infestation of small-souled bugmen in ~life

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Double posting instead of editing my previous response because I don't want this to get lost: You're probably feeling a bit "piled on" due to this topic, and my last response was pretty curt and...
    • Exemplary

    Double posting instead of editing my previous response because I don't want this to get lost:

    You're probably feeling a bit "piled on" due to this topic, and my last response was pretty curt and unhelpful. I'm sorry about that. The last thing I want you to feel is beaten down for posting this here, especially because I believe you shared it in good faith because you found it resonant and interesting.

    I totally get why this piece can come across as insightful. The author paints with some broad brush strokes, in forms that we find very easy to recognize. Many of us can easily see ourselves or someone we know in some of his characterizations, and it gives his work a feeling of trenchant insight.

    I encourage you to see it as more akin to the cold reading of a "psychic" or a vaguely worded horoscope. It uses some general, broad identifiers aimed at anxieties and insecurities to draw you in with your guard down. And, with those activated, he then presents his unwavering confidence as truth. Please don't mistake the two. He wants you to.

    Those feelings we all have: a sort of modern malaise and meaninglessness, a creeping nihilism, the sense that we're not agents of our own selves, those are all real things that we all experience, but the solution he sells here isn't a solution at all. It's a poison pill. He encourages us to look down at others as a method of feeling higher up in the world. If we turn our critical eyes outward, at them and away from ourselves, then of course we'll feel better, but only by proxy. It's an illusion.

    There is some truth to the problems that he identifies, but his solution requires us to buy in to the idea that there is an underclass of humans undeserving of empathy and worthy of total, unbridled contempt. This is the foundation of supremacy, and it only yields destruction. This is why people are responding so negatively to this, which I think has been made clear across many messages in this thread and which has probably felt a bit like a slap in the face to you. What we didn't make clear is that you aren't bad for feeling what you felt when you read this and finding some level of significance in its words. That's why it's there -- to nudge you towards a truly terrible perspective on the world.

    Even if what you think I'm saying is horseshit, I encourage you to consider the author. Does he genuinely seem fulfilled? Does he seem joyful? Vibrant? Happy, calm, or content? He's acting like he has the answers from his enlightened perch when all he really has is disdain. It hasn't brought him any higher in this world -- it has simply put everyone else lower than him.

    15 votes
  15. Comment on she - Music Like This in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    That's absolutely fantastic. Cheers!

    That's absolutely fantastic. Cheers!

  16. Comment on she - Music Like This in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Thanks for providing some music like "Music Like This", lol! I'm familiar with some of these artists but will have to check out the ones that are new to me.

    Thanks for providing some music like "Music Like This", lol! I'm familiar with some of these artists but will have to check out the ones that are new to me.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on On the infestation of small-souled bugmen in ~life

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Even if we take out the stuff at the end that others have addressed, this piece still approaches "basically fascism" because its entire thesis is predicated on the author's belief that there is a...

    Can we not instantly dismiss any slightly right coded language as basically fascism?

    Even if we take out the stuff at the end that others have addressed, this piece still approaches "basically fascism" because its entire thesis is predicated on the author's belief that there is a class of subhumans that he considers himself holistically superior to. His worldview is transparently hierarchical and denigrating.

    14 votes
  18. Comment on Louisville grand jury indicts one of three officers in fatal Breonna Taylor police shooting in ~news

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I agree that they were, but let's not lose sight of the fact that an innocent person died as a result of their actions either.

    I agree that they were, but let's not lose sight of the fact that an innocent person died as a result of their actions either.

    4 votes
  19. Comment on Louisville grand jury indicts one of three officers in fatal Breonna Taylor police shooting in ~news

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I don't think it's about a lot versus a little but more that the number of shots fired clears the bar to prove intent. A single shot or a few shots could be explained as warnings or even...

    I don't think it's about a lot versus a little but more that the number of shots fired clears the bar to prove intent. A single shot or a few shots could be explained as warnings or even accidental, but that many is unequivocal.

    6 votes