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You Cant Control The UX

OO, reading to escape time, the Democrats wanted BOMBS

This is a daily standup post of the work put into maintaining Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Newsletter (Sundays)

  • im up to a movie/day, basically. nice to finish a story once a day, very cathartic. books are more rewarding overall, but take longer to consume.

Software (Saturdays)

  • software is necessary, features are superfluous, most feature requests are asked from people who've never coded, and implemented by people who use code to avoid the agony of feeling under-utilized
  • i've been pleasantly surprised by the ux of introducing "new tab" logic to gpt. from user testing, it seems to be pretty intuitive to people

Books (5/month)

links are affiliate! if you pick up a copy, i get a little kickback!

“DAY AND NIGHT, I HAVE a certain percentage of my command in the air,” General Power told the press, the week after the second Sputnik launch. “These planes are bombed up and they don’t carry bows and arrows.” The message to the Soviet Union was unmistakable: SAC’s ability to retaliate wouldn’t be diminished by intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Power was bluffing. The airborne alert existed only on paper, and the United States didn’t keep bombers in the air, day and night, ready to strike. Carrying nuclear weapons over populated areas was still considered too dangerous.

Democrats in Congress whipped up fears of Soviet missiles and attacked the Eisenhower administration for allowing the United States to fall behind. The Democratic Advisory Council said that President Eisenhower had “weakened the free world” and “starved the national defense.” Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a Democratic senator from Washington, called Sputnik “a devastating blow to U.S. prestige.” Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Senate majority leader, scheduled hearings to investigate what had gone wrong with America’s defense policies. Johnson’s staff director, George Reedy, urged him “to plunge heavily” into the missile controversy, suggesting that it could “blast the Republicans out of the water, unify the Democratic Party, and elect you President.” Another Democratic senator, John F. Kennedy, later accused Eisenhower of putting “fiscal security ahead of national security” and made the existence of a “missile gap” one of the central issues in his presidential campaign.

But it happens that cultural creativity is something we cannot participate in quite so fully as some people think. A dialogue of Plato's or a choral movement by Heinrich Isaac—in fact all the things we call a product of the mind or a work of art or objectified spirit—are the outcomes of a struggle for purification and liberation. They are, to use your phrase, escapes from time into timelessness, and in most cases the best such works are those which no longer show any signs of the anguish and effort that preceded them.

Seibel: Why do people get so religious about their computer languages? Bloch: I don't know. But when you choose a language, you're choosing more than a set of technical trade-offs—you're choosing a community. It's like choosing a bar. Yes, you want to go to a bar that serves good drinks, but that's not the most important thing. It's who hangs out there and what they talk about.

OO is a funny thing. It means two things. It means modularity. And modularity is great. But I don't think the OO people can claim the right to that. You can look at older literature—for example Parnas's information hiding—and see that the notion of a kind of class as an abstraction predates object-oriented programming.

Not all programmers will say this, a lot of them are solitary, in the corner, but one of the things I realized at Netscape was that I liked interacting with people who actually use my code. And I would miss that if I went back into a corner. I want to be grounded about this. I'm secure enough to think I could go do something that was a fine sky castle for myself, but I'm realist enough to know that it would be only for myself and probably not fine for other people. And what's the point? “If I'm only for myself”, you know, Hillel the elder, “what am I?” I am not JavaScript. In the early days, it was such a rush job and it was buggy and then there was some Usenet post Jamie Zawinski forwarded me. He said, “They're calling your baby ugly.” I have real kids now; I don't have to worry about that.