Replace "master" and "slave" terms in Redis RB

Suggestion on Github issues for Redis:

The summary is: master and slave have racial meanings (especially in North America, but also more generally) and it would be good to avoid them.

I’m anti-slavery (of course) but I think some of this recent “sensitivity” to all topics is a bit ridiculous.

Some great comments:

Mariano Pérez Rodríguez: Most words have a plethora of meanings, it is YOU (the reader) the one who chooses to take a system’s dynamic description term as a racial thing, so, maybe you should just not do it.

Itamar Haber: IMO dominatrix and submissive is the politically correct terminology, since it is in fact consensual as well as puts the gentler gender in the proper place.

Just some guy: It’s slave/master which are very well established terms for “the thing that controls the databus” or “the bit of software that dictates what the others do and coordinates things and the other ones that obey”. If it was “Massah” and “N!gger” I’d totally agree with you.

And the conclusion:

TLDR: If I would start Redis from scratch I would pick a different terminology. … 3.Redis has a SALVEOF NO ONE command that was designed on purpose as a freedom message. So I’ll leave it as it is.

But it gets better:

Again, by using this term in Redis and by linking to external pages, I want to take the opportunity to remember that we are all slaves. Slaves of businesses, of food advertising, of industrial complex, of politically correct rules to follow, and so forth. Feel free to address the same problem in different ways in other software projects, but for Redis I want to purse this way I said.

Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content RB

A decade ago, shilling products to your fans may have been seen as selling out. Now it’s a sign of success. “People know how much influencers charge now, and that payday is nothing to shake a stick at,” said Alyssa Vingan Klein, the editor in chief of Fashionista, a fashion-news website. “If someone who is 20 years old watching YouTube or Instagram sees these people traveling with brands, promoting brands, I don’t see why they wouldn’t do everything they could to get in on that.”

Sydney Pugh, a lifestyle influencer in Los Angeles, recently staged a fake ad for a local cafe, purchasing her own mug of coffee, photographing it, and adding a promotional caption carefully written in that particular style of ad speak anyone who spends a lot of time on Instagram will recognize. “Instead of [captioning] ‘I need coffee to get through the day,’ mine will say ‘I love Alfred’s coffee because of A, B, C,’” Pugh told me. “You see the same things over and over on actual sponsored posts, so it becomes really easy to emulate, even if you’re not getting paid.”

I bet brands love this. So much about modern consumerism culture just makes me sad. I hope I’m getter truly wiser and not just curmudgeonly.

Apple Says Bent iPad Pros Are Not Defective RB

Apple has confirmed to The Verge that some of its 2018 iPad Pros are shipping with a very slight bend in the aluminum chassis. But according to the company, this is a side effect of the device’s manufacturing process and shouldn’t worsen over time or negatively affect the flagship iPad’s performance in any practical way. Apple does not consider it to be a defect.

This seems very bad to me.

This type of response makes me think this affects a LOT of units - and is some sort of subtle flaw in the manufacturing or structure of the device. If it was very, very limited you’d think Apple would be more like “Bring it back - we’ll be happy to give you a perfect one to replace it.”

Marko Karppinen: Apple should decide whether they want to be the company that ships iPads a little bent from the factory and calls it normal, or the company that charges up to $1899 for an iPad. Doing both seems untenable

Typical of a lot of the responses (collected here), and feels spot on to me.

Setapp loses iMazing as of Dec. 28 RB

Setapp says it’s adding a “substitute app” with similar functionality, and of course, the existing app will remain on users’ Macs—it just won’t ever be updated.

I think they could even go a step further - and allow you to reinstall it in the future if you’d installed it in the past. This “just keep it if installed” only works until you get a new PC and hope to set it up “magically” from Setapp. Better have good backups.

Slack is banning some users with links to Iran even if they’ve left the country RB

Thursday morning, many Slack users with ties to Iran discovered their accounts had been abruptly deactivated. The bans affected users living as far as Finland, Canada and the United States, many with few remaining ties to Iran in either citizenship or physical presence.

“In order to comply with export control and economic sanctions laws…Slack prohibits unauthorized use of its products and services in certain sanctioned countries,” the notice from Slack read.

This is what scares me the most with “big business” and how disconnected the average user is becoming from the businesses we frequent. Individual people lose their identities and instead it becomes all about statistics and dealing with “people” or “accounts” in the aggregate, in ways that increasingly seem less and less personal.

Social Media Needs A Travel Mode RB

We need a ‘trip mode’ for social media sites that reduces our contact list and history to a minimal subset of what the site normally offers. Not only would such a feature protect people forced to give their passwords at the border, but it would mitigate the many additional threats to privacy they face when they use their social media accounts away from home.

To work effectively, a trip mode feature would need to be easy to turn on, configurable (so you can choose how long you want the protection turned on for) and irrevocable for an amount of time chosen by the user once it’s set. There’s no sense in having a ‘trip mode’ if the person demanding your password can simply switch it off, or coerce you into switching it off.

I’m glad someone is thinking about this, and I do get how this is a real problem - but I’m not sure we’ve stumbled onto the right solution yet. This seems a bit of a shotgun approach to me.

They can travel with special laptops and phones used for travel only, without social media apps or browser history. But such feints are easy to circumvent, particularly at the US border, where your identity is known to the border patrol hours before you land. Border agents can find your profile online and make you log in on their own machine.

(emphasis mine) Make you login? OMG, is this seriously a thing that happens? This is terrible. How would having a device in travel mode help in this case? I guess your on-line account would also have to lock you out until vacation was over? Talk about a support nightmare for service providers - and rife for social engineering if support departments are given any power to help correct “mistakes”.

Anatomy of a Moral Panic RB

The implication is clear: home cooks are being radicalized by the site’s recommendation algorithm to abandon their corned beef in favor of shrapnel-packed homemade bombs. And more ominously, enough people must be buying these bomb parts on Amazon for the algorithm to have noticed the correlations, and begin making its dark suggestions.

But as a few more minutes of clicking would have shown, the only thing Channel 4 has discovered is a hobbyist community of people who mill their own black powder at home, safely and legally, for use in fireworks, model rockets, antique firearms, or to blow up the occasional stump.

Close call. Thankfully for now Amazon is only a monopsony, not a supporter of terrorism.

Gatwick Airport: Drones ground flights RB

More than 20 police units from two forces are searching for the perpetrator, who could face up to five years in jail.

Supt Justin Burtenshaw, head of armed policing for Sussex and Surrey, described attempts to catch whoever was controlling the drones as “painstaking” because it was “a difficult and challenging thing to locate them”.

“Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears,” he said.

I hope when they catch him he spends a few years in jail. This is reckless and juvenile behavior and I imagine downright dangerous also - when they go to the trouble of grounding all the planes.

Refactoring and Performance. Ignore it: mostly.

Martin Fowler in Refactoring2:

Firstly, I know readers will again be worrying about performance with this change, as many people are wary of repeating a loop. But most of the time, rerunning a loop like this has a negligible effect on performance. If you timed the code before and after this refactoring, you would probably not notice any significant change in speed—and that’s usually the case. Most programmers, even experienced ones, are poor judges of how code actually performs. Many of our intuitions are broken by clever compilers, modern caching techniques, and the like. The performance of software usually depends on just a few parts of the code, and changes anywhere else don’t make an appreciable difference.

But “mostly” isn’t the same as “alwaysly.” Sometimes a refactoring will have a significant performance implication. Even then, I usually go ahead and do it, because it’s much easier to tune the performance of well­factored code. If I introduce a significant performance issue during refactoring, I spend time on performance tuning afterwards. It may be that this leads to reversing some of the refactoring I did earlier— but most of the time, due to the refactoring, I can apply a more effective performance­ tuning enhancement instead. I end up with code that’s both clearer and faster.

So, my overall advice on performance with refactoring is: Most of the time you should ignore it. If your refactoring introduces performance slow­downs, finish refactoring first and do performance tuning afterwards.

Some great thoughts on refactoring and worrying too much about performance. (emphasis mine) I’ve been contributing a lot lately to the great site Exercism and I see this quite a bit - worry about writing fast code vs writing clear code - and all without ever benchmarking anything.

It’s possible to do this “in your head” guessing a bit more with time and experience, but as Martin said it’s still often never as simple as you think. And often your best efforts today can be foiled by a new compiler optimization or future change to the virtual machine. Better to:

  • Write clear code that reveals the intent.
  • Try to avoid anything too ridiculous (i.e., looping 1,000 times when once would do).
  • Optimize only the “hot spots” that reveal themselves to be problematic.
  • Attack the hot spots with the help of code profiling and detailed benchmarking.

Get the book:
Refactoring - Improving the Design of Existing Code

Google Intentionally Favoring Chrome, Hurting Edge? RB

JoshuaJB: I very recently worked on the Edge team, and one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up. For example, they recently added a hidden empty div over YouTube videos that causes our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail (should now be fixed in Win10 Oct update). Prior to that, our fairly state-of-the-art video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome on video playback time on battery, but almost the instant they broke things on YouTube, they started advertising Chrome’s dominance over Edge on video-watching battery life. What makes it so sad, is that their claimed dominance was not due to ingenious optimization work by Chrome, but due to a failure of YouTube. On the whole, they only made the web slower.

Steve Troughton-Smith: Make no mistake, Google crippling GSuite on iPad is absolutely intentional. They can singlehandedly propel the narrative that MobileSafari isn’t a good browser, especially in businesses and education. If Apple were to improve Safari, Google would just break something new

I’ve been using a mixture of Firefox and Safari and not missing Chrome one bit. Articles like this make me even more confident in my decision to switch away from using Chrome.

Basecamp policies now on GitHub and licensed under creative commons RB

So that’s why we now invite our customers and anyone else who’s interested in reviewing our policies to collaborate on making them better, making them fairer. To this purpose, we’ve put all our Basecamp policies on GitHub!

This also means that every revision is tracked and date stamped. You can even subscribe to be updated whenever they change, if you care to follow along at that level.

Furthermore, since the spirit of this idea is to collaborate, we’ve also licensed all these policies under the Creative Commons Attribution license. If you’d like to use any of the policies for your own business, feel free! All we ask is that you give us a bit of credit, if you either copy them entirely or materially.

This is very awesome transparency and will be interesting to keep an eye on.

Already is:

Class action suit alleges Apple lies to customers over size & resolution of iPhone X, XS & XS Max RB

Both size and resolution are misrepresented since Apple ignores the notch and rounded corners the phones have, the suit argues. The company markets the products as if they were no different from devices like the iPhone 8, which has a notchless rectangular screen, yet it tells app developers to design for “safe areas” on X-series iPhones that accommodate physical limitations and the iOS status bar.

The “false pixels” referenced in the suit are ones that have two or fewer subpixels. Only ones with red, green, and blue subpixels allegedly count as “true” pixels, though this also discounts numerous televisions that include extra white subpixels, effectively bringing the count up to four subpixels per pixel.

Are you kidding me? The rounded corners? The notch? Some people are just morons or else have way too much time on their hands. I’m all for honesty in consumer advertising, but this suit is nonsense. Plus typically when I see Apple mention resolution in the phone specs it’s done like so:

1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi

In this form I think it makes perfect sense to advertise the “outside” pixel dimensions, which is what Apple seems to be doing.

Texas Judge Rules Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional, But Supporters Vow To Appeal RB

Judge Reed C. O’Connor struck down the law, siding with a group of 18 Republican state attorneys general and two GOP governors who brought the case. O’Connor said the tax bill passed by Congress in December 2017 effectively rendered the entire health law unconstitutional.

That tax measure eliminated the penalty for not having insurance. An earlier Supreme Court decision upheld the ACA based on the view that the penalty was a tax and thus the law was valid because it relied on appropriate power allowed Congress under the Constitution. O’Connor’s decision said that without that penalty, the law no longer met that Constitutional test.

This reasoning is interesting. We will have to watch and see where this goes.

It is hard to overstate what would happen to the nation’s health care system if the decision is ultimately upheld. The Affordable Care Act touched almost every aspect of health care, including Medicare and Medicaid, generic biologic drugs, the Indian Health Service, and public health changes like calorie counts on menus.

This is a bit scary to think about though.

Portraits Made by AI: None of These People Exist RB

Check out these rather ordinary looking portraits. They’re all fake. Not in the sense that they were Photoshopped, but rather they were completely generated by artificial intelligence. That’s right: none of these people actually exist.

NVIDIA researchers have published a new paper on easily customizing the style of realistic faces created by a generative adversarial network (GAN).

Have a good look. You may be staring into the faces of the Terminators coming after us in the not so distant future.

Nikon: It’s the Z 6 and Z 7, Not Z6 and Z7 RB

“‘Z’ is a letter symbolizing Nikon’s new camera brand,” Nikon says. “To emphasize this, there is a space between Z and 7/6.”

But there’s also the fact that camera models across the industry traditionally don’t contain a space in the middle (e.g. Canon 5D, Sony a9, Leica M10). Even Nikon’s latest DSLRs have names such as the D5, D850, and D7500, not the D 5, D 850, and D 7500.

Uh, good luck with that, Nikon.

We Broke Into A Bunch Of Android Phones With A 3D-Printed Head RB

The head was printed at Backface in Birmingham, U.K., where I was ushered into a dome-like studio containing 50 cameras. Together, they combine to take a single shot that makes up a full 3D image. That image is then loaded up in editing software, where any errors can be ironed out. I, for instance, had a missing piece of nose.

Backface then constructs the model with a 3D printer that builds up layers of a British gypsum powder. Some final touch-ups and colourings are added, and the life size head is ready within a few days, all for just over £300. You’re then the proud owner of an uncanny, almost-spectral version of your own visage.

For our tests, we used my own real-life head to register for facial recognition across five phones. An iPhone X and four Android devices: an LG G7 ThinQ, a Samsung S9, a Samsung Note 8 and a OnePlus 6. I then held up my fake head to the devices to see if the device would unlock. For all four Android phones, the spoof face was able to open the phone, though with differing degrees of ease. The iPhone X was the only one to never be fooled.

Emphasis mine. Very much looking forward to Face ID on my next Apple phone.

You Should Be Using Tags In Vim RB

I spent a summer as an intern using Emacs at a Unix terminal, but didn’t have enough curiosity at the time to use it any differently from notepad.exe. I spent that summer wishing I had automatic features for completion, indentation, and all the things that made me appreciate the IDEs I used in college. How naive I was!

Poor boy, LOL. Naive indeed. Looking forward to absorbing these all these December VIM tips.

Walk the long gallery of the past, of empires and kingdoms succeeding each other without number. And you can also see the future, for surely it will be exactly the same, unable to deviate from the present rhythm. It's all one whether we've experience forty years or an aeon. What more is there to see?

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.49

AutoCamp Heads to the Mountains for Its 2019 Expansion to Yosemite National Park RB

Adding to their two established locations (Russian River and Santa Barbara), California-based luxury camping company AutoCamp has announced its expansion to Yosemite National Park, a bucket list destination for seasoned backpackers and hobbyist hikers alike. In addition, AutoCamp is expanding its partnership with Airstream as it prepares to order hundreds of additional custom RVs in order to open more AutoCamp locations across the nation

Not your grandpa’s Airstream, that’s for sure.

What Happens When 25,000 Amazon Workers Flush Toilets? RB

Amazon says its new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, will bring 25,000 jobs. It will also bring more crowds, more noise and, yes, more toilet flushing.

“It’s a health hazard,” said Ernie Brooks,” a musician who lives near the Amazon site, who also complained of an odor from the overflows.

Yikes. Glad someone is tackling these shitty logistics issues. 🤪💩