Labnotes

Published on

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Michael Margolis "Alexa: remind me to feed the baby"


Design Objective

Iván "This is what person with low vision sees (2008: 45m people in the US alone)
Supporting dynamic type in iOS is not a nice to have. It’s a must."

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Ha Phan 🤔

Is that metric true engagement or is the user merely lost in houseware trying to get to checkout at IKEA?


Tools of the Trade

The Land Before Binary Curious how a balanced ternary computer would work? Why is binary-coded decimal a thing? And why do mainframes, like this 650, have blinking lights?

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Alexander Payne 🤔

You can tell TCP was written by a Catholic because nobody else begins a conversation by one person shouting sin and the other having to acknowledge it and move forward

Andrew Emerton Speaking of TCP, how about that RFC 1149?

Yesterday, my coworker very casually mentioned that as a raft guide, he used carrier pigeons to send SD cards back to the shop so the guest photos would be printed on time. I still haven’t figured out how to process this in my mind.

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Istar Nil 0x47617921 "For a moment I thought the tea had a MAC address..."

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Web-end

Making Web Components Work Some growing pains, missing features, a global namespace, but overall bullish:

Being able to work with the DOM API directly and browsers’ built-in development tools comes with distinct advantages, and helps replace the cognitive load of framework specifics with standardized techniques and tooling (HTML element attributes/properties, encapsulated styling via CSS, etc.).

CSS Bear Toggle Adorable.

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Lines of Code

Abby Fuller Guilty:

"abstract driven development": looking up your own abstract on a conference website so you know what to write your slides about

Lynn "I wrote a sorting function that only works when you're looking at it"

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Architectural

John Cutler "Value throughput", I like that:

“Velocity” makes me cringe as I imagine all this unvalidated complexity rolling out the door, bloating up the product, adding debt.

Value throughput matters. And ratio of value to added complexity.

Oleg Isonen It's also ok if your employer sets up a sacrificial project that you can over-engineer and get it over with:

Please DO totally overengineer your side projects with the coolest tech you can probably find.

Maybe this way we will be able to not overengineer real apps and learn when to use the cool tech.


Devoops

Jean-Paul True:

FYI
Everything that goes to production is tested in production.
It just might not be so well organized, structured and informative as you would like it to be. And in stead of a bug report you might get a bad review or lose revenue.

Gene Kim Also watch DevOps Enterprise Summit 2018:

I've always been fascinated by how work can get atomized into various ticketing systems, and almost impossible to reassemble back into business intent. @fgoulding #does18

Fluff Society "An error occurred."


Peopleware

Cyan I would go:

Maybe someone can create a SleepCon, where there’s no schedule for speaking and you come and you sleep as much as possible then have random interactions with people in the lobby.

The Lifespan of a Lie How a sham experiment got to be world famous, for so long, in spite of the evidence:

The appeal of the Stanford prison experiment seems to go deeper than its scientific validity, perhaps because it tells us a story about ourselves that we desperately want to believe: that we, as individuals, cannot really be held accountable for the sometimes reprehensible things we do. As troubling as it might seem to accept Zimbardo’s fallen vision of human nature, it is also profoundly liberating. It means we’re off the hook.


Locked Doors

Tinker Story time:

I breached a company through a newly constructed branch location.

I slipped in in that short moment between them implementing the network and them implementing the security to protect that network.


None of the Above

World and Science "Oddly satisfying"

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nadirah 😈

today I learned that there is a word for the fear of palindromes (aibohphobia) and that it was deliberately constructed to itself be a palindrome.

this is truly the worst thing about the English language since whoever decided the word “lisp” should have an s in it.

The Psychology of Money Worth a read. Our relationship with money is more emotional than (we'd like to admit) rational:

It helps, I’ve found, when making money decisions to constantly remind yourself that the purpose of investing is to maximize returns, not minimize boredom. Boring is perfectly fine. Boring is good.

Malte Ubl This is why people hate banks:

Wells Fargo charges $15 for an incoming wire transfer because, as everyone knows, that is how much a database transaction costs if you use Oracle with more than 2 cores.

Sarah Taber The thing about diets and sustainable agriculture:

Traditional vegetarian societies are trotted out to showcase that low/no-meat diets are possible. But it's done w/o recognition as to why those particular societies did it, and others did not.

Janelle Shane They're still entertaining, but don't take them too seriously:

These "I forced a bot to watch X" posts are almost certainly 100% human-written with no bot involved. Here's how you can tell. 1/12

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Don’t Eat Before Reading This This Anthony Bourdain piece has me convinced to avoid restaurants on weekends and Mondays. And never order a steak well-done.

Khalil Sehnaoui "Simultaneously the coolest & cutest thing I’ve seen today."

Published on

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@GidgetNomates "Real footage of everyone who buys a raspberry pi"


Design Objective

Luke Wroblewski A good design doesn't need guided tutorials. Read the thread, or watch the talk:

The initial tip was all about getting people to the core value of the app. Which required adding some employees -how else do you manage an employee payroll?

So successful onboarding comes down to this: "getting to product value as fast as possible — but not faster."

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Nick Finck "I’ve used @jopas model with great success in the classroom."

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Tools of the Trade

New in Basecamp: See where projects really stand with the Hill Chart Interesting concept:

“42% of the tasks are complete.” What does that tell you? Very little.

What we really want to know is where the work stands. Has the team figured out how to do it? Are there unknowns that will block us ahead? What’s solved and what’s still full of uncertainty?

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Jon Masters Kind of funny, in a meltdown kind of way:

Congratulations @intel and friends like @rsinghal1 for 40 years of x86 ! Also, while Congratulations are in-order, they may also be fully out-of-order these days thanks to modern designs 😉 #dadcomparchjokes

Senior Oops Engineer Narrator: "it didn't fix JIRA-2317..."

git pro tip: stick to a consistent style for git commit messages. I suggest starting them with “In which our hero”. E.g.,

In which our hero fixes JIRA-2317


Web-end

Paul J. Adam Semantic HTML never goes out of style:

WOW! Another reason to use Native HTML inputs like <input type=tel>, <input type=date>, & native <select> over custom controls made of <div> tags. The native controls will work on Apple Watch and already have #A11y included for free!

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Lines of Code

Sarah Mei Rings true:

The CSS cascade is exactly as messy as your terrible serverside class inheritance hierarchies. But somehow we can deal with the latter because it’s “real code”

Estefannie "Software engineering"


Architectural

George Griffiths I need to try that:

I recently did a presentation to my team where I used a Webpack bundler visualisation to show everyone what goes into the app, people were shocked at the 6+ years of legacy code from backbone to 2018

jessie frazelle 🔥

"service mess" is the best Freudian slip


Devoops

Emily Nakashima Bring back Geocities webpage hit counters!

Alerting on spikes in status page views: so wrong, or so right?

Cory G Watson There's a name for that:

Oncallogist: (n) Someone who studies cancer of computer systems.


Locked Doors

Safari Browser in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave to Feature Enhanced Privacy Tools Coming soon to an Apple device, the new Safari has better security (including 1Password integration!), and stronger privacy protection. Also, takes a hard stance on Facebook, and we'll see how that plays out:

When viewing sites in Safari, "like" and "share" social media buttons, as well as comment fields, embedded on pages will be prevented from automatically tracking users until they're interacted with.

When users do interact with these items, they'll be shown an alert warning them that they may then be tracked.

CSS Is So Overpowered It Can Deanonymize Facebook Users Interesting exploit (bug fixed, no worries):

The attack consists of overlaying a huge stack of DIV layers with different blend modes on top of the iframe. These layers are all 1x1 pixel-sized, meaning they cover just one pixel of the iframe.

Habalov and Weißer say that depending on the time needed to render the entire stack of DIVs, an attacker can determine the color of that pixel shown on the user's screen.

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Techtopia

Brian Janosch "because tech fixes everything …"

It’s illegal for Uber & Lyft to pickup at SFO’s arrivals level, so they pickup at departures. This has made congestion so bad, there’s now a sign encouraging drop-offs to go to arrivals. So now departures go to arrivals & arrivals go to departures because tech fixes everything.


Electric Sheep

NORMAN World's first psychopath AI That's one way to illustrate machine learning bias:

We trained Norman on image captions from an infamous subreddit (the name is redacted due to its graphic content) that is dedicated to document and observe the disturbing reality of death. Then, we compared Norman's responses with a standard image captioning neural network (trained on MSCOCO dataset) on Rorschach inkblots; a test that is used to detect underlying thought disorders.

Harley Turan "Live image detection with iOS 12 & ARKit 2. Display digital information attached to physical objects. Feels like playing in the future"


None of the Above

PicturesFoIder 😭

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The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows An attempt to name emotions we all experience but don’t yet have a word for, my favorite:

sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you …

Microsoft Just Put a Data Center on the Bottom of the Ocean Free cooling and renewable energy (tidal). Might not be the easiest thing to repair, though.

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Would you travel on a windowless plane? Emirates is looking to use virtual ones instead Would you trade a physical window for a virtual one — a projection of the outside?

There were a number of benefits to removing windows, a key one being that it would save 50 per cent of the weight of an aircraft, "simply because in terms of build and structure and load [they] are quite a problem and you have to reinforce a fuselage to be able to take them".

S. Vaughan-Nichols What do you call the dread of throwing away AC adapters? Because I have a couple of boxes of junk to go through, and not sure which adapter I might need one day, and which are orphans. Help!

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Tara Hunt Amen:

Don’t Compare Your Behind-The-Scenes With Everyone's Highlight Reel.
Don’t Compare Your Behind-The-Scenes With Everyone's Highlight Reel.
Don’t Compare Your Behind-The-Scenes With Everyone's Highlight Reel.
Don’t Compare Your Behind-The-Scenes With Everyone's Highlight Reel.

Neoplasticism Bot "Composition 375 in Red, Blue, and Yellow"

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Published on

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Kevin Kuchta “Waiting for Cloudfront” Edgar Degas, 1880–82. Pastel on paper.

(For more check out #ArtofAWS)


Design Objective

Luke Wroblewski "how to find usability issues: look for the 'band-aids'"

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Designer Challenges Himself To Create Logos With Hidden Meanings For A Year, And Result Is Amazing Inspiring. Scroll down Daniel's Instagram feed to see all the logos.

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Tools of the Trade

Kitze I'm all too familiar with this bar:

There is a new Toblerone flavor called "solving a JavaScript bug"

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Julia Evans That's the best explanation of sed I've seen:

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Iubenda Still catching up on GDPR? This app will help you create a privacy policy, serve an EU cookie banner, and track consent.

mcclure111 🔥

In C++ we don't say "Missing asterisk" we say "error C2664: 'void std::vector<block,std::allocator<_Ty>>::push_back(const block &)': cannot convert argument 1 from 'std::_Vector_iterator<std::_Vector_val<std::_Simple_types<block>>>' to 'block &&'" and i think that's beautiful

Jonathan Horn "Too good not to post!"

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Web-end

Wired Elements Web components with a hand-drawn, sketchy look. Perfect for wireframes and mockups.

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Jamie Coulter 🚀

I have a new hobby...recreating 80's / 90's movie user interfaces in CSS. Todays UI is taken from Demolition Man - 1993 and features a 3D hexagon fold out menu. All on @codepen! https://bit.ly/2x82w11

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Architectural

Kelsey Hightower 🔥

2020 prediction: Monolithic applications will be back in style after people discover the drawbacks of distributed monolithic applications.


Locked Doors

10 Strikes and You’re Out – the iOS Feature You’re Probably Not Using But Should
Most people hesitant to enable "Erase all data on this iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts", but consider this:

I had no idea until I looked into it last weekend, but it turns out this feature is far more clever than I realized, and it’s highly unlikely that your kids or jackass drinking buddies could ever trigger it. … These timeouts escalate such that it would take over 3 hours to enter 10 incorrect passcodes.


Peopleware

Sean Kelly As the saying goes, "thread":

Recently a younger member of our team asked me: "What do you look for in a software engineer?". He told me my answers surprised him, and weren't like other answers he got, but I've ended up having this same conversation with many people at different levels the past few days...

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test Another way to look at the going "replication crisis", is that we're fixing flawed research by increasing sample sizes, and reducing biases:

Watts and his colleagues were skeptical of that finding. The original results were based on studies that included fewer than 90 children … The researchers used a sample that was much larger—more than 900 children—and also more representative of the general population in terms of race, ethnicity, and parents’ education. The researchers also, when analyzing their test’s results, controlled for certain factors—such as the income of a child’s household—that might explain children’s ability to delay gratification and their long-term success.


Electric Sheep

Uber’s Self-Driving Car Didn’t Malfunction, It Was Just Bad This reads like a tragedy of horrible design decisions:

1.3 seconds before the impact, the self-driving computer realized that it needed to make an emergency-braking maneuver to avoid a collision. But it did not. Why? Uber’s software prevented its system from hitting the brakes if that action was expected to cause a deceleration of faster than 6.5 meters per second. That is to say, in an emergency, the computer could not brake.

Instead, the system relied on the driver to take control in an emergency, but “the system is not designed to alert the operator.”


None of the Above

Clickbait-Corrected p-Value "When comparing hypotheses with Bayesian methods, the similar 'clickbayes factor' can account for some harder-to-quantify priors."

andon 😭

Retweet if you don’t scream at the top of your lungs every time someone walks past your house, I’m trying to prove a point to my dog.

Adrienne Porter Felt Well, Alaska is too cold in the winter, but otherwise:

Email triage strategy

  • Not important: mute
  • Important: answer immediately
  • VERY IMPORTANT: wait until I can answer in detail, oh no it's been a month and I still haven't answered, oh god it's been another month, maybe I can change my name and move to Alaska

Verifly Liability insurance for independents, and you can purchase for a single hour, day at a time, monthly. If you don't know whether you need liability insurance, you probably do, so this is your periodic reminder to look into a subject that's as fun as doing taxes.

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Atla Hrafney So true:

Art Classes that need to exist:

  • "How to not accidentally break your expensive art supplies after 5
    minutes"
  • "How to handle rejection, contracts, taxes, and business negotiations"
  • "Cloud Storage, and you"
  • "You will need the original layered file: An essay course in 50 parts"

rachel 🐭 "ich schreie"

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A New History of Arabia, Written in Stone Fascinating:

“This is one of the only places in the world where you can make major archeological discoveries just by going for a walk,” Al-Jallad told me. “There are treasures everywhere. You don’t need to dig. They’re out in the open.”

More than 228,000 pounds of Spam recalled Thanks, GDPR.

Hero climbs up outside of Paris building to save child dangling from balcony That is bonkers amazing.

Published on

Dean Alexander Amazing photo campaign for the Hong Kong Ballet (h/t Ohyo)


Design Objective

Robin Rendle "This is a seasonal reminder that http://codepen.io/patterns is the best resource if you happen to be researching a new design pattern."

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Hidden Sheep and Typography Archaeology Unpacking the original Macintosh bitmap fonts, and finding Genebaaaa the sheep.

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User research — what’s tomato ketchup got to do with it? I love this quote:

“You can observe a lot just by watching.” -- Yogi Berra:

ClassicKit Build iOS apps like it's 1995.

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Tools of the Trade

Filepond A JavaScript library for uploading images/files, accessible, with fantastic UI.

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John Ky Counterpoint:

Zero complicates mathematics and doesn't even always make sense (eg. in division). It's too abstract and makes math hard to read. The Romans delivered business value without using zero for over a thousand years. Better to stick with what people already know. Easier to hire.

hello tensorflow A fun demo, and documented code, to get started with Tensorflow.

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This app hacked the iPhone’s dual camera system Interesting: portrait mode collects 2D depth data along with the image itself. This app uses depth data to change the lightning source of photos after the fact.

Lukas Eder 👍

I really wish more people from "the enterprise" would blog. This entrepreneurial/startup blog bias is giving us a wrong picture of reality

Daryl Ginn "Sometimes I wonder what non-tech people would think if they saw my search history." 😮

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Lingua Scripta

tc39/proposal-pattern-matching Pattern matching syntax hits stage 1.

Jake Archibald TIL

Ok, it's quiz time! What do you think will be logged? Vote in the poll in the next tweet, and don't reveal the answer to others… (h/t to @shavounet for this puzzler)

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Lines of Code

sallar 😭

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ra Apropos:

if you ever feel like a bad coder dont forget that the software engineers behind the bourne shell needed a way to end their case statement and one of them said "what about esac" and another said "wtf is esac" and the first one said "case spelled backwards" and they shipped it

Kitze "Brace yourselves for this new meme format"

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Devoops

Lorin Hochstein Done. Done. And done.

By age 35, you should have encountered:

  • a missing timeout on a network call
  • a bug in time zone conversion code
  • a system that ran out of file descriptors
  • a periodic spike in latency that you could not identify
  • an incorrect query whose scope was too great

Electric Dreams

Amazon confirms that Echo device secretly shared user’s private audio The unintended consequence of inviting a listening device into your home:

Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like "Alexa." Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?" At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, "[contact name], right?" Alexa then interpreted background conversation as "right." As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.

Marci Robin Self-driving cars are upon us, so get ready for this:

I bought a car today, and the dealership had me check off — with a pen, on paper — that I’m not a robot.

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Startup Life

Bill Gross What success/failure look like:

The emotional journey of creating anything great requires crossing the dark swamp of despair..

Outsiders almost never see the crazy belief and persistence required to cross that chasm..

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GDParty

GDPR mayhem: Programmatic ad buying plummets in Europe Time will tell, but I'm betting on Google/Facebook faring better post GDPR, but journalism and independent publishers taking a big hit. Exactly the opposite of what we need.

Gareth Milner "Even Rage Against The Machine has to abide by GDPR."

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joe 🎅🛷

He's making a list
He's checking it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
Santa Claus is in contravention of article 4 of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679


None of the Above

kostka_chris "lemme bless y’all with this video"

Alyssa Limperis True that:

The airport is a lawless place. 7am? Drink a beer. Tired? Sleep on the floor. Hungry? Chips now cost $17

arbiv2lo "Like a boss."

Elizabeth Hernandez Waffles!

You know when you get a press release to cover a Guinness world record attempt for tallest stack of waffles & expect it to be some big commercial thing & then it's just a guy's house? This is SO MUCH BETTER. Follow along, #Denver! Things might get weird!

Ian Laking "I’m calling best cosplay of 2018 right now"

Published on

Xavier Katana "The walkway is not spinning."


Design Objective

Steve Schoger In fact, if your UI looks like the database schema …

🔥 Don't be afraid to "think outside the database" — your UI doesn't need to map one-to-one with your data's fields and values.

Here are a few ideas you can use to present "field: value" data in a more interesting way:

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Erika Hall As always, put ego aside:

Talking about creating "delightful" user experiences is actually user-hostile when it wrongly presumes that your customer wants to be emotionally involved with your service at all.

Fast and invisible are often the better parts of delight.

Make Frontend Shit Again Bring back Geocities!!!

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Web-end

Smart Home Temperature Slider SVG and JS.

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Architectural

What is the most sophisticated piece of software/code ever written? That definitely fits the bill:

And it hasn’t even got started yet.

At this point, the worm makes use of two recently discovered Windows bugs. One bug relates to network printers, and the other relates to network files. The worm uses those bugs to install itself across the local network, onto all the other computers in the facility.


Techtopia

The Entire Economy Is MoviePass Now. Enjoy It While You Can. The bizzare business models of Silicon Valley:

Since the average cost of a movie ticket in the United States is around $9, going to just two movies per month resulted in a good deal for the customer, and a loss for the company.

Jen Simmons This applies to so many social networks, not just YouTube:

This. Is. Important.

Don’t link to the tweets / web pages / people who are enraging you. It helps and rewards them. It gives them a voice. It promotes their ideas.

Subtweet them. Talk about the bigger idea and critique that.

I learned studying my YouTube metrics: people who downvote the videos actually help them rank higher in the YT SEO algorithm. Because engagement = higher ranking, even if that engagement is negative. If you downvote, you promote what you don’t like.


Electric Dreams

James Vincent "fascinating — here's Sky News' facial recognition tech identifying the rich and famous at the #royalwedding"

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Eddy Dever 🤔

It’s terrifying that both of these things are true at the same time in this world:

• computers drive cars around
• the state of the art test to check that you’re not a computer is whether you can successful identify stop signs in pictures


Locked Doors

US cell carriers are selling access to your real-time phone location data TL;DR Cell phone carriers are giving a company you never heard of real-time access to your phone's location. What could possibly go wrong?

Google YOLO What is click jacking, and how to use it to track users.

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Man Allegedly Used Change Of Address Form To Move UPS Headquarters To His Apartment Zero Factor Authentication: "As federal crimes go, this one seems to have been ridiculously easy to pull off."


None of the Above

frank "There’s this app where you can help a blind person with a problem they’re having and it’s mad wavy"

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Denizcan James Sick burn and important life hack:

When someone disagrees with you online & demands you prove your point to their satisfaction by writing a logically sound defense, u can save a lot of time by not doing that.

Dude, I’ve known u for ten seconds & enjoyed none of them, I’m not taking homework assignments from you.

Kevin Farzad You'd think I have this figured out by now, but no:

The most important thing I've learned in life, and I can't stress this enough: you gotta make a salad in a bigger bowl than you think

Ryan Rzepecki When will the madness stop!

Just encountered another dockless car obstructing the sidewalk. These things have become such a nuisance since they launched. The city really needs to start regulating private use of public space.

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Josh Millard 😭

~ Close Calls In Literary History, Chapter 83 ~

THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT: I am considering publishing as simply “T. Eliot” going forward. It has a concise dignity, I feel; an aura of seriousness. “T. Eliot”. What do you think?

A FRIEND: Well, I think that’s “toilet" backward.

Erik Peterson My new favorite:

"No outside food allowed"
Me: This is a service burrito

Chris Gaffney 😢

Periodic reminder that we can see your MailChimp list names when we unsubscribe…

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Lori G Someone posted a clickbait "by age 35 you should" think piece, which I'm too old to link to, but the Twitter reactions are gold:

By age 35 you should have a huge box of cables but you can't throw them out because you're pretty sure you still need a couple of them but you're not sure which ones

Reggie Jones 🍻

Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, Baron Kilkeel. That's not a title. That's a pub crawl.

Dr. David Shiffman

Our hotel room has a rotary phone...and there’s a QR code on the wall to download a video that explains how to use it.

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