Self Wright

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Harry Potter and the 90s

The world of Harry Potter feels charming, with its bits of magic strewn everywhere, but also nostalgic.

It is an alternative world, but for those growing up in today’s world —- it’s more of a counterpart to a lost world.

Moving pictures? Do you mean like “live photos” on my iPhone?

Deja Vu

From an article in Wired Magazine, in 1995

– Today’s Next Big Something is so wrapped in hype it’s tough to see what’s really going on. And as the hype solidifies into conventional wisdom, almost anyone can recite the narrative. It goes like this: The online revolution is happening now. The revolution will facilitate interaction through the digital exchange of information. By exchanging information, we grow closer as a community. By exchanging information, we become free. Blah, blah, blah.

– But what if conventional wisdom is wrong? What if the crystal-ball narrative doesn’t turn out as planned? What if, a decade or so from now, we wake up to find that the digisphere has been overrun by swarms of inane mass marketeers – people who believe that “interacting” is something you do with a set-top box that provides only an endless stream of movies-on-demand, bargains overflowing from virtual shopping malls, and spiffy videogames?

It has happened before.

– This isn’t the first time a new medium has come along, promising to radically transform the way we relate to one another. It isn’t even the first time a fellowship of amateur trailblazers has led the charge across the new media hinterland. Radio started out the same way. It was a truly interactive medium. It was user-dominated and user-controlled. But gradually, as the airwaves became popular, that precious interactivity was lost. We need to understand how that happened.

Generally interesting links – May 2021

(not a lot this month …)

  • A bunch of interesting alternative CLI tools
  • Some drama over at Freenode (used to hang out there a lot up until a few years ago)

A look inside PayPal of old

He-man

I did not expect to see this in a store, not in 2021.

Yes, it’s good ‘ol He-Man and Battle Cat.

The last time I saw this was probably the early 90s.

Now I’m wondering whether I just wasn’t paying attention for several years, or it’s “come back in style” recently.

Weird.

On the flow of text on the page

Xanadu

Ever since I’ve been doodling around on apps/tools like Notion1, Tinderbox2 and Roam3, I feel constrained when I look at the flow of text on a regular book.

Of course, it had to be that way in the beginning, because the printed word began with movable type, which had to be laid out in rows, and the page was composed of rows, and so words flowed top to bottom.

But (okay, speaking for myself here) I don’t think like that, and I don’t read like that either. If someone were to track my eye movement on the page of a book, it’s not dissimilar to that of a long-form article in the browser.

I don’t go left-to-right, top-to-bottom, I’m always darting around, going back and forth, summarizing as I go along, judging whether I want to proceed.

It would be interesting to see — while keeping the medium of paper — have a more random layout, perhaps with arrows linking blocks of text … maybe using colors and labels on links …. Just breaking down the wall of text that exists right now into tiny little pieces.

I’d read that.

  1. https://www.notion.so/desktop
  2. http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/
  3. https://roamresearch.com

Spring cleaning

Doing some spring cleaning of various online stuff:

  • Moved this to a new domain as a one-year trial
  • Imported my old Tumblr (yeah, I had one …)
  • Try out TinyLetter for the monthly updates
  • Disable the auto-share-to-Twitter (try keeping them separate?)
  • Maybe change the theme while I’m at it

Library book haul (Mar 2019)

Me and Tara go to the library once every six weeks or so, and I was thinking of starting to make a list of the books we’ve tried/liked over time.

March 2019 library books

But that is a bit too much effort, so I’m going to start with a pic — and if I can keep this up for at least six months, then I’ll start making a list.

Feynman FTW

After a few minutes, Feynman had worked out the process of spontaneous emission, which is what Stephen Hawking became famous for a year later. Feynman had it all on my blackboard. He wasn’t interested in copying down what he’d written. He just wanted to know how nature worked, and he had just learned that isolated black holes are capable of emitting energy when you take into account quantum effects. After he finished working it out, he brushed his hands together to get the chalk dust off them, and walked out of the office.

(From http://nautil.us/blog/the-day-feynman-worked-out-black_hole-radiation-on-my-blackboard)


My first Nix derivation

Does precisely nothing, but I’m inexplicably excited 😛

nix-repl> d = derivation { name = "foo"; builder = "${bash}/bin/bash"; args = [ ./builder.sh ]; system = builtins.currentSystem; }

nix-repl> :b d
[1 built, 0.0 MiB DL]

this derivation produced the following outputs:
  out -> /nix/store/l23m6a2fkidklr8plhkb6iwl5x690c7h-foo

https://utopiaordystopia.com/2015/03/16/seeing-the-future-through-the-deep-past/

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