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Andrew Hickey
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Andrew Hickey

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Francis Cleary originally shared:
 
Sharebro redo Updates:

Now named HiveMined
Commenting now works, but has some bugs. Going to iron that out soon.
Can view all your followers shares in proper order (aka when they where shared)
Built a auto feed updater as well. So no need to click refresh unless you want the newest of the new. (need to test this against 1000's of feeds still, so we'll see how it holds up)
Coming soon site up: http://hivemined.org (Thanks again to +christine eslao for coming up with it. And all the sharebros who weighed in)
There is also a twitter ( http://twitter.com/#!/hivemined ) and a blog ( http://hiveminedblog.tumblr.com/ ) set up. Not much there, but I will push out greater stories and site updates there.

If you go to the site there is a an email form where you can subscribe and I will email you when I need more testers, inviting to use site, or launch. Not much else will go out on it. So sign up if you want a helpful reminder incase you forgot to check back here/twitter/blog/site.

Also great news. Thanks to my good friend +Peter Shafer the share bookmarklet is nearly 100% if not better then the reader one.

Going to crank on this weekend. I hope to start early invites of people who don't mind half working site that might lose their data before monday. So stay tuned.

Thank you all for the outcry of support, interest, ideas, and shares. I will work to make this awesome for us all.
or subscribe to an email list to get notified when the site is ready. This is only for when the site needs testers or is live no other emails will go out. For more frequent updates follow the blog or ...
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Andrew Hickey

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Apparently they're going to be merging Google Reader and Google Plus. Fair warning to those of you who don't follow me on Reader - I share a LOT on there, and have no way at the moment to know how this will work with G+. I'll try to avoid flooding everyone's timeline with spam...
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Andrew Hickey

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Dizzying but invisible depth

You just went to the Google home page.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know a bit of about how browsers work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play HTTP, HTML, CSS, ECMAscript, and more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Let's simplify.

You just connected your computer to www.google.com.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know a bit about how networks work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play DNS, TCP, UDP, IP, Wifi, Ethernet, DOCSIS, OC, SONET, and more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Let's simplify.

You just typed www.google.com in the location bar of your browser.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know a bit about how operating systems work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play a kernel, a USB host stack, an input dispatcher, an event handler, a font hinter, a sub-pixel rasterizer, a windowing system, a graphics driver, and more, all of those written in high-level languages that get processed by compilers, linkers, optimizers, interpreters, and more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Let's simplify.

You just pressed a key on your keyboard.

Simple, isn't it?

What just actually happened?

Well, when you know about bit about how input peripherals work, it's not quite that simple. You've just put into play a power regulator, a debouncer, an input multiplexer, a USB device stack, a USB hub stack, all of that implemented in a single chip. That chip is built around thinly sliced wafers of highly purified single-crystal silicon ingot, doped with minute quantities of other atoms that are blasted into the crystal structure, interconnected with multiple layers of aluminum or copper, that are deposited according to patterns of high-energy ultraviolet light that are focused to a precision of a fraction of a micron, connected to the outside world via thin gold wires, all inside a packaging made of a dimensionally and thermally stable resin. The doping patterns and the interconnects implement transistors, which are grouped together to create logic gates. In some parts of the chip, logic gates are combined to create arithmetic and bitwise functions, which are combined to create an ALU. In another part of the chip, logic gates are combined into bistable loops, which are lined up into rows, which are combined with selectors to create a register bank. In another part of the chip, logic gates are combined into bus controllers and instruction decoders and microcode to create an execution scheduler. In another part of the chip, they're combined into address and data multiplexers and timing circuitry to create a memory controller. There's even more. Those are actually such incredibly complex technologies that they'll make any engineer dizzy if they think about them too much, and such that no single company can deal with that entire complexity.

Can we simplify further?

In fact, very scarily, no, we can't. We can barely comprehend the complexity of a single chip in a computer keyboard, and yet there's no simpler level. The next step takes us to the software that is used to design the chip's logic, and that software itself has a level of complexity that requires to go back to the top of the loop.

Today's computers are so complex that they can only be designed and manufactured with slightly less complex computers. In turn the computers used for the design and manufacture are so complex that they themselves can only be designed and manufactured with slightly less complex computers. You'd have to go through many such loops to get back to a level that could possibly be re-built from scratch.

Once you start to understand how our modern devices work and how they're created, it's impossible to not be dizzy about the depth of everything that's involved, and to not be in awe about the fact that they work at all, when Murphy's law says that they simply shouldn't possibly work.

For non-technologists, this is all a black box. That is a great success of technology: all those layers of complexity are entirely hidden and people can use them without even knowing that they exist at all. That is the reason why many people can find computers so frustrating to use: there are so many things that can possibly go wrong that some of them inevitably will, but the complexity goes so deep that it's impossible for most users to be able to do anything about any error.

That is also why it's so hard for technologists and non-technologists to communicate together: technologists know too much about too many layers and non-technologists know too little about too few layers to be able to establish effective direct communication. The gap is so large that it's not even possible any more to have a single person be an intermediate between those two groups, and that's why e.g. we end up with those convoluted technical support call centers and their multiple tiers. Without such deep support structures, you end up with the frustrating situation that we see when end users have access to a bug database that is directly used by engineers: neither the end users nor the engineers get the information that they need to accomplish their goals.

That is why the mainstream press and the general population has talked so much about Steve Jobs' death and comparatively so little about Dennis Ritchie's: Steve's influence was at a layer that most people could see, while Dennis' was much deeper. On the one hand, I can imagine where the computing world would be without the work that Jobs did and the people he inspired: probably a bit less shiny, a bit more beige, a bit more square. Deep inside, though, our devices would still work the same way and do the same things. On the other hand, I literally can't imagine where the computing world would be without the work that Ritchie did and the people he inspired. By the mid 80s, Ritchie's influence had taken over, and even back then very little remained of the pre-Ritchie world.

Finally, last but not least, that is why our patent system is broken: technology has done such an amazing job at hiding its complexity that the people regulating and running the patent system are barely even aware of the complexity of what they're regulating and running. That's the ultimate bikeshedding: just like the proverbial discussions in the town hall about a nuclear power plant end up being about the paint color for the plant's bike shed, the patent discussions about modern computing systems end up being about screen sizes and icon ordering, because in both cases those are the only aspect that the people involved in the discussion are capable of discussing, even though they are irrelevant to the actual function of the overall system being discussed.
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Andrew Hickey

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Leonard Pierce originally shared:
 
Attention, people of the internet! The Institute for Better Thinking requests that, before you use the following words again, you look them up in a dictionary.

1. "MAGICAL". Hint: it does not mean "I appreciate perfectly ordinary things on a deeper level than you do."

2. "RANDOM". Hint: it does not mean "unexpected" or "strange".

3. "SURREAL". Hint: it does not mean "funny" or "kind of odd, depending on your perspective".

4. "SOCIALIST". Hint: it does not mean "anything done by a government", nor does it mean "anything not done by a private corporation". It also does not mean "liberal", either in a pejorative or celebratory sense. It is almost 100% likely you are using this word incorrectly.

5. "GEEK". Hint: it does not mean "fan of a thing that has been incredibly popular with millions of people in mainstream society for over a decade".
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I reckon I get the socialist usage correct.
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Andrew Hickey

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There's a possibility that I might be a "character" in that "novel"
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Andrew Hickey

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Have joined diaspora (using http://diasp.org/ ) because I see so many of my friends on FB or Google+ complaining about privacy etc with those sites - Diaspora is an alternative that, if enough people join it, could replace those and doesn't have those problems. Anyone else using it?
Diaspora is the Privacy Aware Open Source Social Network. Diasp.org is an open Diaspora pod and is user supported.
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Andrew Hickey

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So angry at glibertarian in +Leonard Pierce's LJ comments I'm half tempted to fly over to the states and punch him.
Yes of course a black man wearing whiteface is precisely the moral equivalent of a white man wearing blackface, because obviously there's a history of centuries of white people being oppressed by grotesque racist caricatures from black people, used as a justification for white people's enslavement, impoverishment and murder.
It's definitely just as bad, because context doesn't matter, right?
Oh, also, he's a victim of racial prejudice at least as much as any black person because he has Irish ancestors.
I swear, I want to punch someone very, very hard right now...
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And personally, I very deliberately try to avoid being part of the comics subculture. There are comics people I like - like the Mindless Ones and suchlike - but on the whole, they're horrible, horrible people. Which makes sense, because most comics now are horrible, horrible comics.

I want to burn 'geek culture' down to the ground, and dance laughing in the ashes, even as my love for superheroes, comics, science fiction, science fact and free software should make me feel some kinship to those people...
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Andrew Hickey

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Coming Soon...
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Andrew Hickey

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Leonard Pierce originally shared:
 
I know this topic has been trampled into the dirt already in the comics press the last few weeks, and there's not much I can say that hasn't been said already. (I especially recommend +Jonathan Morris 's post on it from yesterday.) But I still had a few thoughts rattling around in my head about DC and their little institutional sexism problem, and how it's insultingly timed to coincide with their 'diversity'/new reader outreach program. Read 'em here if you like.

http://wp.me/p1bnb8-qr
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Andrew Hickey

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Stuart Sharpe originally shared:
 
My theory on why Spotify is now requiring a Facebook account to log in: Spotify's terms nowadays don't allow you to listen to a song more than 5 times. They've done that to protect their music industry contracts. To get around that, it's a fairly simple thing to create a new Spotify account. You just pick a nonsense username and sign up.

Facebook, on the other hand, is not only more complicated to create a new account for, but it's a completely different service. People only have one Facebook identity, and the idea of creating a whole load of separate identities is a hassle. And when you've linked your 'real' Facebook identity to Spotify, you can't break that link.

Thus, by linking Spotify logins to Facebook they've ensured, on behalf of their industry investors, that the vast majority of people will no longer be able to use a cheap workaround to listen beyond their allowed quota of music.
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I have several friends with multiple Facebook identities, whether for games or to post things the boss shouldn't see. I think this is more about FB mining listening data for your advertising profile.
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Andrea Gill originally shared:
 
Sniggers
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