Architechnosecurigeek. Tinkerer. General trouble maker.
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How to Build Smaller Apps

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Ben Sandofsky:

Popular social networking apps are over 400 megs. With weekly releases, over one year you’ll download twenty gigs of data.

Since we launched Halide, the most unexpected compliment we’ve heard is about its size. At 11 megs, we’ll push less data in one year than a social network pushes in a single update.

“So you aren’t using Swift,” asked a friend. After all, Swift bundles its standard libraries into your app, bloating its size. Halide is almost entirely Swift. How did we do it? Let’s start with the technical bits.

His conclusion is spot-on:

There really is one weird trick to lose size: focus on your customers.

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petrilli
3 days ago
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Arlington, VA
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★ ‘So-Called’

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From a New York Times report by Alan Wong:

President Xi Jinping of China is not expected to be strolling the manicured fairways of the Trump International Golf Club on Thursday, sizing up his approach shot.

Mr. Xi is known to be an avid soccer fan, bent on transforming China into a great power in that egalitarian team sport, but the Chinese Communist Party maintains an ideological contempt for golf as a rich person’s game.

That view, among others, places him at odds with President Trump, who owns more than a dozen golf courses and whose so-called Winter White House, the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., charges more than $200,000 for membership.

Describing Mar-a-Lago as “the so-called Winter White House” is pernicious at best, and I would argue it’s downright outrageous. No news organization, let alone one as prestigious in stature and as fastidious about style and usage as The New York Times, should ever describe Mar-a-Lago as “the Winter White House”. Prefacing it by “so-called” doesn’t make it right. So-called by whom? By Trump.

There is only one White House. It is in Washington D.C., and it is owned by the U.S. federal government. It is sometimes and rightly called “The People’s House”, because we the people own it, and we vote to elect the president who lives and works in it. No one profits financially when a state visit is held at the White House.

Mar-a-Lago is a private facility owned by Trump himself. When he hosts state visits there, not only does someone personally profit from it, that someone is Trump himself. Using Mar-a-Lago for official state business goes against everything that the actual White House stands for.

This is no little thing. Describing Mar-a-Lago in a news article as “the so-called Winter White House” is normalizing out and out corruption — Trump’s shameless profiteering off the presidency.

If the Times wants to quote Trump using the phrase, so be it. But the description should never be used in news copy. The New York Times has no more reason to describe Mar-a-Lago as “the Winter White House” than they do to refer to their own publication as “the failing New York Times”.

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petrilli
80 days ago
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Arlington, VA
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codesujal
77 days ago
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"Describing Mar-a-Lago ... as “the so-called Winter White House” is normalizing out and out corruption"
West Hartford, CT
mareino
78 days ago
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Honestly, I think the bigger story here is that Trump & his staff are so f***ing clueless that they took a Communist golfing.
Washington, District of Columbia

Help, My Child Has Disobeyed Me By Obtaining a Master’s Degree, A Job and a Nice Boyfriend She Likes

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Captain Awkard, 2 December 2015:

Dear Captain Awkward, 
 First off, I want to let it be known that we are a family of Christians; I believe there is only one true God and that to be saved it must be through Jesus Christ. I have raised both my children “Paul” – 19 years old – and “Mary” – 24 years old – to be strong in faith and put their trust in God. However, I fear for my daughter’s life. She recently confessed to me (this past summer) that she is seeing someone, let’s call him “Jim.” Jim is not who I want for my daughter and I worry that their incompatibilities and differences will lead to her being hurt. One, his family is Catholic. We are a Baptist Christian family. I don’t believe in the teachings of Catholicism. Even worse, Jim is an atheist and does not believe in God and I feel that he will drag Mary down spiritually. This is the biggest thing that I am scared of, and while I have tried to tell Mary that she should break up with Jim for her own wellbeing, she will ignore me or pretend I didn’t say anything. It hurts me deeply that she would choose to ignore her own mother like this. She should know that God’s love is not to be taken lightly. Secondly, We are a Chinese family and Jim is from an American family. I worry that the cultural compatibility will be an issue. Three, Mary has a masters degree whereas Jim has only his bachelor’s. I feel that he will come to resent my daughter for having a higher education since he is the man in the relationship (and I have seen many relationships end because of this). Four, I am scared that he will be a bad influence on Mary. He does not smoke or do drugs but according to Mary he does drink on occasion. Mary tells me she does not drink (she claims she does not see the point) but for how long until she gives into the temptation of drinking? What about peer pressure from hanging out with his family and his friends? Five, I feel like Mary is settling in life and Jim is a result of that. Another example: She is in a marketing job and they are not paying her very well (only 40K and she has a masters degree). She says she loves it but I don’t think she does, I think she’s just trying to rebel against me. She doesn’t even listen to my suggestions that she move back home to Virginia (she lives in New York) to save on rent or so that I can help her grow. Six, I am scared that Jim will pressure Mary to do sexual things. I have already warned her that her purity is an important gift from God, but I am so scared that she will ignore my pleas. And because Jim is a man, I am worried that he may rape her even if she says no. Mary has always been very independent, but she is still young and not mature. I need help in making her realize that Jim is not a good person for her and that she will suffer in the long run as a result from being with him. If she does not break up with Jim, how can I help lead them back to God so that they can have a Christ-like relationship?
 Thank you, Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned Mother,

There’s a lot going on here, so the Bad Advisor will start by taking the wide view: nobody has children just to see them grow up and be productive members of society who make their own decisions about their lives. Most parents can expect their children to follow a precise path, laid out for them at birth as part of a 90-year plan that mainly consists of living at home and practicing a religion that condemns the vast majority of humanity to everlasting damnation. As we know, 99.9 percent of children do just that. Somehow, the universe has wronged you and given you a defective. (Not you, Paul! You’re great.)

So what can you do? Let your daughter date the man she chooses, work in a job she finds fulfilling and live in New York?! This isn’t backwards day! We don’t live in upside-down world! 

At best, your daughter’s expectations are unrealistic if she does not surmise that certain death and attendant eternal hellfire are not the obvious result of going out with a man raised by Catholics. Even worse, an atheist man! Catholic atheists, a notorious scourge on humanity, are nothing if not known for their tendency toward loose living and, as you point out, committing sexual assault against their loved ones. So that’s problem one, the Catholic atheist who is daily threatening to visit terror and mayhem on your demonstrably helpless baby with a job and a place to live and two degrees and a satisfying love life.

Which brings the Bad Advisor to problem the second: your daughter will be powerless to resist the temptations of the world (a marketing job!!!!!!) without her mother’s gentle guiding hand preventing her from having literally any interaction which is not carefully vetted, staged and approved by you. Raising children to become self-sufficient adults with the capability of doing the bare minimum to stay alive is the foolish goal of incompetent parents with no foresight. Parents who are, the Bad Advisor dare says, less committed than you to a lifetime of the guilt-tripping and browbeating necessary to ensuring total compliance, within which rests the great joy of child-rearing.

Problem the third: you must now convince her that everything she has ever achieved is nothing but a deadly disaster waiting to happen. Will it be tomorrow that she samples a Smirnoff Ice and descends into a life of iniquity? She must see the truth! She must return home so that you can help her grow by undoing the whole of everything she has strived to achieve in her worthless, sinful life. 

For advice here, I think we can turn to the Good Book Itself: from the Gospel of Mom, book 1, chapter 1, verse 1: And lo Jesus said to them, “Kidnap the little children and keep them perpetually under lock and key, for I am the Jailkeeper and the Boss.”

The only thing that will bring your wayward infant back to God is dogged relentlessness and nagging. Shaming, too, if your generous constitution can manage it. In time, your wee bairn will surely see the error of her ways and shall turn back to a life of complacent obedience to the Momgod.

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petrilli
549 days ago
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Arlington, VA
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Free(dom): A Black Gender Journey

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My first word was free. I would spend nearly three decades trying to find it, trying to live in it and feel it for myself. There were cities and people I thought would free me, so I ran to and through them. For a while, I even thought I might find it in books, in blunts, maybe in both. My pursuit of that elusive free(dom) I could never seem to put my fingers, feet, or lips on came to a recent end. Something about the night and a bottle of cabernet made stark the realization that I had been running from myself. I had been running my whole life, away from necessary spiritual work, away from what little Black boys are expected to grow into. Having grown, I was now running away from the constraints of gay manhood. In seeking freedom as some outer thing or destination, I was missing it. All along, the freedom I sought was a personal decision, a change of mind, an indisputable truth spoken then lived without apology.

So I gave manhood back. I finally decided to take it off at 29, leaving it behind for the world to pick up and do with it what it likes. It’s not my box and chains anymore, which has both freed and exposed me. This freedom from the gender binary and of expression, newfound and exciting as it is, is a vulnerability you have to live to believe. Claiming any freedom while Black makes fast adversaries, most notably of those who like and have become reliant on the same type of box and chains you’ve shed.

The High Cost Costs of Freedom

The first time I said the words I’m not a man was to a Black gay man I had been friends with for years. There was a change in his breathing. His pupils even seemed to dilate as he examined the bearded, brown anamoly before him who suddenly posed a threat to manhood so fragile and to Black manhood so endangered. Waiting for him to reply, I wondered what our relationship would be like going forward. Could he, or would he, bother really talking to me if he could no longer see me as bruh or refer to me as such? It turns out, the way his manhood is set up, he could not.

Being openly agender has been isolating, so far. When your declared otherness challenges or forces people to confront who they are and how they move through life, many either resist your very being or fall quickly by the wayside. Though I recognize my privilege of appearing cisgender, it would be much easier navigating all types of relationships if in leaving manhood behind I found myself somewhere else on the gender spectrum. I hoped against reason, for most of my life, that freedom could be joy without responsibility or burden. Deep down, I think I always knew better.

Black manhood is hard enough. Being treated by society as a Black man but not identifying with or finding community among Black men, for whatever reason, is much more difficult. In freeing myself, I’ve lost the only brotherhood I’ve ever known (as fickle and based on pronouns as it so clearly was). In my freedom, loving Black men fiercely and fearlessly is a revolutionary act that often asks of me compromise I’m now unwilling to make. The journey ahead requires a stronger self-love practice. There are high costs I’m willing to pay for wholeness, permission of self, and for never seeing that box or those chains in my mirror again. It’s a toll road.


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petrilli
585 days ago
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Arlington, VA
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If DjangoGirls makes you uncomfortable, maybe that's a good thing

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Monday was the first day of Europython, and the first keynote was by Ola Sendecka & Ola Sitarska, the founders of Django Girls. They gave a wonderful talk leading us through their journey in creating the Django Girls tutorial, its viral-like spread in introducing over 1600 women worldwide to Python programming, leading to a Django Girls Foundation with a paid employee, and their plans to expand the tutorial to a book, Yay Python!. This was all illustrated with an incredibly charming squirrel-centred parable, hand-drawn by Sendecka. The two Olas are clearly a formidable team.

And yet. I had no less than three conversations with men later that day who told me they thought it was a great idea to encourage more women in Python, but…wasn’t it encouraging stereotypes? Was it good that Django Girls was so, well, girly?

There may be a well-meaning concern about avoiding stereotypes, but I wonder if there also wasn’t some underlying discomfort, about seeing something encouraging people in their field that didn’t speak to them. Could programming really look like this? Maybe it felt a bit like being a squirrel surrounded by badgers, in fact.

image

So firstly. Certainly pink can be a lazy shorthand for marketing to women. But anyone who watches the Olas’ keynote can be in no doubt that they have poured endless effort into their work. Their enthusiasm and attitude infuses every aspect of the tutorials. There’s no way it could be equated with a cynical marketing ploy.

Certainly pink things, sparkles and curly fonts have a reputation as being associated with girls. Here’s a question to blow your mind: is there anything bad about them, besides the fact that they are associated with girls?

Compulsory femininity, where girls and women are expected to act and look a certain way, is bad, yes. But femininity itself is not inherently weak, or silly, or frivolous, or bad.

Monospace white-on-black command-line aesthetic is a stylistic choice. It’s one that is relatively unmarked in our community. Glittery pastels is a different aesthetic. They are both perfectly valid ways to invite someone to be a programmer. And they will appeal to different audiences.

Julia Serano writes:

Most reasonable people these days would agree that demeaning or dismissing someone solely because she is female is socially unacceptable. However, demeaning or dismissing people for expressing feminine qualities is often condoned and even encouraged. Indeed, much of the sexism faced by women today targets their femininity (or assumed femininity) rather than their femaleness.

Demeaning feminine qualities is the flip side of androcentrism. Androcentrism is a society-wide pattern that celebrates masculine or male-associated traits, whatever the gender of the person with these traits. It’s part of the reason why women who succeed in male dominated fields are lauded, why those fields themselves are often overpaid. It’s how we find ourselves being the Cool Girl, who is Not Like Other Girls, an honorary guy.

It’s not a coincidence that people in our community rarely attend with a feminine presentation, for example, wearing dresses. Fitting in – looking like we belong – currently requires pants and a t-shirt. Wearing a dress is a lightning rod for double-takes, stares, condescension, being doubted, not being taken seriously.

To be explicit, this doesn’t mean that all women currently in tech are longing to femme it up. Many women are perfectly comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans. But implicitly expecting women to conform to that uniform is just as much a problem as expecting feminine attire. The problem is the lack of freedom to present and participate as our authentic selves.

Read these personal accounts and believe that this is how feminine women in tech get treated. They’re both hugely insightful.

Coding Like a Girl (2015) by Sailor Mercury

Hyper Mode: How to Be Visibly Femme in the Games Industry (2014) by Maddy Myers

(Then maybe read Julia Serano’s piece again and think about the connections to these two stories – seriously, these three pages are dense with concepts to absorb.)

image

Like Ola Sendecka, Sailor Mercury is a talented illustrator, as can be seen in her article. She ran a Kickstarter campaign to create her Bubblesort Zines (which you can now buy!). The overwhelming success of her Kickstarter (it reached its goal in 4 hours and eventually raised over US$60,000) speaks to an excitement and hunger for this style of work.

Inviting women into tech isn’t worth much if they have to leave their personality at the door to be accepted. Being supportive of diversity doesn’t mean much if you expect to look around and see things look basically the same. The existence of Django Girls does not compel all Pythonista women to femininity, but it does offer and even celebrate it as an option. If it’s not for you, so what? Take your discomfort as a starting point to figure out what you can do to make your community more welcoming for feminine people. Embrace femininity: Take a feminine person seriously today.


PS. If you’re still stuck back at “isn’t something only for girls (REVERSE) SEXIST?” - Read the FAQ.

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petrilli
704 days ago
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Arlington, VA
acdha
704 days ago
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Washington, DC
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pfctdayelise
705 days ago
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A thing I wrote today
Melbourne, Australia

Martin Thomson: The Harmful Consequences of Postel's Maxim

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Martin Thomson: The Harmful Consequences of Postel's Maxim:

A middle ground that may avoid Postel’s Death Spiral without spewing errors everywhere is Ruby’s Law: Be exact in what you send. Excercise every feature and loophole of the protocol (e.g. randomize anything that can be randomized), requiring the receiver to actually implement the whole thing.

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petrilli
719 days ago
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Jon's guidance was critical to the early growth of the Internet, and the IETF in particular. Now, the question is: is that philosophy still valid today? To understand the significance of even asking the question would require one to understand Jon Postel's enormous shadow, influence, and guidance for decades.

Still, I continually run into problems that are a result of the long-term adhearance to his maxim.
Arlington, VA
rosskarchner
723 days ago
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DC-ish
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