jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Today I am reminded why it is that I should get new glasses, no matter how much I hate getting glasses and no matter how pricey they are:

I tore a contact this morning.

This is less of a huge world-ending problem than it would have been the last time I wore contacts, because those were more or less eternal and cost several hundred bucks a pair. These are specifically designed to give out after a month, so I've got a bunch of them.

I just don't have them here, while I'm in the far north. (Not actually all that far, by one measure. Maybe fifty km north of the centre of British Columbia. Then again it's a twelve-hour drive to get here from Vancouver, so maybe it's just that BC is Way Too Big.) So I'm wearing my four-year-old glasses.

There's a mild but definite difference in my vision. Far-away things get fuzzier sooner than I expect them to. Not to mention the lack of peripheral vision, which I'd gotten to the point of taking for granted.

And I seem to be getting a headache. There's any number of environmental factors that could be causing that, but "minor change in vision prescription" seems to be the most likely culprit.

Might be time to start carrying a spare set of contacts with me when I travel.

(I've not gotten new glasses partly because they're expensive, and partly because I hate getting frames fitted to my face. It always involves several trips back to the optometrist and complaints of an earpiece that's rubbing weird right in front of my ear, or pushing into my skull behind my ear, or something like that.)

Why I Turned Off Retweets

Jun. 17th, 2017 02:37 pm
deskitty: Angry pouncy siamese cat head (Default)
[personal profile] deskitty

A while back, I took a close look at how I was interacting with Twitter, and set some ground rules to see if I could make Twitter work better for me. It's been a little over a month, and the rules haven't been super helpful—I still found myself getting frustrated or annoyed at my timeline most of the time.

The blanket rule of "don't retweet or engage with politics" has helped lower my frustration level a bit, and kept me out of potentially fraught conversations, so I'd count that as a small improvement. But it hasn't been enough; I've still seen a ton of things in my timeline which made me angry.

That's partially because I haven't been able to unfollow anyone that is primarily political. This hasn't worked out because most of the people I follow post a mix of politics and other stuff I care about (what's going on in their lives, etc.). I would be missing out on a ton of that stuff if I just unfollowed everyone that posted something political.


So I took a different approach: a couple days ago, I turned off retweets entirely. I no longer see anything that anyone retweets. The Twitter FAQ says it's not possible, but you can do it if you're willing to go through and turn retweets off for each and every account you follow.

The result, while not anywhere close to perfect, has been a much more pleasant experience overall. Since I only see original content, I now miss most of the viral outrage that's been going around, but I still get to hear what's going on in my friends' lives.

Moreover, I'm more likely to pay attention to those purely social tweets, since I'm not searching for them amidst the noise of retweets. And, if someone has an earnest, original political thought they want to share, I still get to hear that too (which is way more relevant to me than "U SHOULD BE MAD AT THIS ONE COP IN LOUISIANA").

I also feel generally more informed, because I've been getting most of my news from reliable RSS sources instead of Twitter. That means more fact-checking, and more in-depth analysis. Sometimes there is a delay (often of a day or more), but I think accuracy and depth are more important than timeliness—timely information is actually harmful if it isn't accurate, or is incomplete.

Yes, I miss out on cat pictures and some of, "I thought this thing was cool so I wanted to share it", but I think it's a reasonable tradeoff. I care more about keeping my timeline free of non-actionable outrage that will make me angry to no good end, than I do about missing out on cat pictures or dog ratings.


It's still only been a couple of days, but the results are encouraging—I've been finding Twitter to be a more friendly, engaging place. All of my earlier guidelines are still in effect, though slightly modified:

  • Don't make retweets. Make signal, not noise—if retweets are mostly noise, I shouldn't be making them.
  • Don't read retweets. Turn them off, by default, for everyone.
  • Start or move deeper conversations elsewhere. This rule has been working well so far; nothing to change here.
  • Continue consuming news mostly through RSS. Accuracy and depth are more important than timeliness, which means Twitter is not the place for news.

Let's see how this goes; I'm optimistic these changes will help.

— Des

terriko: (Default)
[personal profile] terriko
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Back in February, I keynoted at Pycon Pune in India. I decided to start with one of the questions that comes up frequently when I tell people that my day job is in open source security: “Is open source software really more secure?” Here’s the video!



Hopefully one of these days I’ll get the slides and a written transcript up, but for today, please just enjoy the video. Note that there’s some silence at the start of the video while we’re setting up. I start talking at the 1m50s mark, and the embedded video should start there.


Pycon Pune Group Photo


Open source security is something I’m very passionate about, and I was really glad that the fine folk at PyCon Pune gave me the chance to tell their attendees more about what it means to be secure and what it will take to make open source security even better. I believe there were over 500 people in the room for my talk, even though I was the the final keynote for the conference, and it was one of the greatest audiences I’ve ever had the privilege to talk to — very responsive, lots of great questions, and lots of great follow-ups after the talk was done. If you ever get a chance to speak at Pycon Pune, I highly recommend it. Keep an eye out for next year’s call for speakers!


This also ticked off a few bucket list items for me:



  1. Visting India! I work with a number of people from India and meet new students from there nearly ever year, so I’ve always been curious, but it’s a long an expensive trip. Thankfully it turns out it was also on J’s bucket list so we found a way to make it happen. It’s a super beautiful country and very different from my own. We were fortunate enough to spend some time being tourists before the conference, as well as lots of time socializing with the conference attendees and volunteers.

  2. Keynoting a conference! I’ve wanted to do this for years but opportunities don’t come up very often and I wasn’t able to accept the last offer I got.


PS – Interested in inviting me to keynote? I’d love to do another one! Send an email to terri (at) toybox.ca to let me know. I have a list of my speaking experience on my website. I talk a lot about security, but I’m happy to talk about open source mentorship, community, artificial intelligence, and quite a few other things, just ask!

no kitchen is new kitchen

Jun. 15th, 2017 03:09 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
"But Tucker, if it's not a forever place, why are you spending high-four-figures redoing the kitchen?"

Three reasons:

1) The stupid cabinets that are too small for the plates to fit in are seriously annoying. It is worth spending money to rectify this, even on a short timescale.

2) It will Increase Resale Value, at least nominally. I'm skeptical as to how much effect home renovations actually have on resale value, but hey, maybe I'm wrong. It will certainly look much nicer, which may have an intangible effect on saleability.

3) It's not that big a kitchen. Any actual homeowners reading this are scratching their heads trying to figure out how we're renovating an entire kitchen for under ten grand. The answer is that this is a tiny 80s condo kitchen, where you can't open the dishwasher and the fridge at the same time, and where two people can technically do separate food-related tasks but they'd better be VERY comfortable in each others' personal space.

And, related to that last one, if I'm gonna be A Homeowner who's not interested in DIYing the heck out of everything, I'd like to have a sense of what goes into a reno project like this. Redoing the tiny kitchen seems like a safeish way to get my feet wet.

Emily stayed home yesterday while the new cabinets got delivered and the old ones got torn out. I stayed home today while the new cabinets got installed. Based on what I've seen so far, IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT TO PAY A PROFESSIONAL TO INSTALL THE DAMN CABINETS. Nobody's kitchen is "cabinet-sized" and things will have to be tweaked to fit, plus there may be, um, "interesting choices" made by previous owners. Like the way there are two different kinds of ceiling drywall in the kitchen over the cabinets, and making them line up is a pain in the neck. I have SO MUCH respect for the guys putting the cabinets in, and occasionally hauling things out to the porch to trim them and hauling them back in.

The wiring in here is substandard enough that the electrician couldn't finish up yesterday, so he'll be back at some point. And Emily's convinced that she can re-hook-up the sink and the dishwasher, at least good enough for a couple of weeks, so the plumber won't be back today either.

So, soon we'll have cabinets, and a temporary sink and counter. Next week the counter-measurer comes to measure exactly how much counter we need, and that ought to arrive in a couple of weeks.

So far, relatively painless. We'll see how it goes once everything is in place and hooked up, and then we'll also need to put in some kind of backsplash. (We had them tear out the HIDEOUS PAINTED-OVER TILE but haven't come up with anything to replace it yet.)

(no subject)

Jun. 12th, 2017 08:49 pm
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Feeling distant from everything. This is a known side effect of trying to get in touch with new people, especially in this city. It's still kind of alienating. And it comes on top of some other stuff that's sloshing around in my head.

Y'all still like me, right?

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