Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.

I finally tried out BitTorrent Sync today. It’s ludicrously simple and unlike Dropbox, they don’t scan your private files for DMCA violations or have former senior U.S. politicians on their board (Condoleeza Rice has openly supported illegal, warrantless NSA wiretapping).

Dropbox is still something I use as there are various ways I can’t not use it. I’d prefer it if BitTorrent Sync were open source—if only so it can get a proper security audit—but I trust it more than I trust Dropbox. I’m starting slow and using BitTorrent Sync for some pretty simple stuff (syncing my ~/Library/Fonts folder is what prompted me to try it).

The Armenian Eurovision entry will soon be summoning the dead. Who will promptly go back to the grave when they hear the noise.

Jeremy Keith has smart things to say about browser support.

I’ve been screwed over in the past by saying “we’re going to support IE9, IE10 and all versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome that people actually use”. I’ve done this based on solid data—basically, going to Google Analytics, dumping the data out and applying the Pareto Principle and a craptastic Python script I have that extracts the information I need out of the morass of Google Analytics mess.

The problem occurs because then (a) we don’t build the back-end in a sane, reasonable, agile1 way (like, say, having good programmers building it in Django, instead management decides that it needs to be built by enterprise Java devs in some monstrosity of a CMS that refers to itself as an “enterprise portal engine” or some other bullshit) and (b) the front-end gets built in some crack-addled, buzzword-compliant JavaScript framework picked because it is on Hacker News and is sexy. If we built websites in a sane and rational way, this shit would be so much less complicated.

  1. By ‘agile’ in this context, I mean simply that it is built with technologies that make it easy to adapt to change based on feedback from design and front-end developers. Like, say, Django or Rails rather than Spring, and deployed on Heroku (at least during development) rather than some half-baked ops process.

I love this interview with Anna Pickard about the writing style of Slack. Especially pouring scorn on some horrible Silicon Valley doucheisms…

I literally have no idea. Is that bad? I only started working under an official ‘Marketing’ umbrella this year, and I’m still trying to work out what so much of these words mean (while trying to remain ignorant enough to never stop questioning whether these are the most logical words to use. I don’t care about buzzwords. I care about doing a good job for the people I want to talk to, human to human: The people who use Slack.)

But there are words I hate (growth-hacking, disruption, provocation, rock-stars…) but honestly I don’t know enough to… oh who am I kidding? It’s growth-hacking. That’s not a thing. That’s just mouth-farting.

There are whole conferences of people mouth-farting to each other. Still, it provides Mike Judge with lots of opportunity for snarking.

You can "save the world" at Startup Castle, just so long as you don't like hip-hop or watch too much Netflix

Startup Castle is a thing. A sad, sad, thing. It’s a big fucking castle in Silicon Valley where you can:

Be your best self. Live with joy. Save the world.

Save the fucking world. How? By building startups with other Stanford graduates who don’t have excessive tattoos, listen to rap music or wear makeup. “Completely bonkers” is one way to describe it. “Judgmental people with superficial standards that are ludicrously arbitrary [… coming] from a place of extreme privilege” is even better.

What I don’t understand is why you’d want to go to a place like this. $1,750 a month is how much a private room in the ‘castle’ costs. That’s about £1,100 in British money. Which is about enough for an over-priced London flat in Zone 2, or quite a nice flat in Zone 3 or 4. Or a fucking palace pretty much anywhere outside London.

The website for the Startup Castle is truly amazing.

We come into this community and this world for a purpose.

Yeah, building shitty iPhone apps.

Our vision requires our strongest self to lead it, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

We don’t just build apps. We pump iron, cure cancer and exorcise demons, while you just sit there in your boxer shorts, watching House of Cards and eating Doritos, you lazy fuck.

Our spirit is cleansed by doing right by ourselves, our community, and our world.

Our purpose is bigger than ourselves, more important than personal comforts.

We are sent here by Almighty God, and blessed by our degrees from the not-even-slightly-fake Singularity University, to build new lean, cloud-based, social-media-linked apps to aggregate and disrupt late-night pizza delivery services and save the world, unlike you useless proles who are obsessed with watching TV and wearing nice clothes.

Silicon Valley’s weird cultishness now exists in meatspace as a monastery for horrible arseholes. I need a fucking drink about now: both to numb the awfulness of sections of my industry and to guarantee that I won’t ever be inducted into this colony of innovating disruptors or disruptive innovators (or whatever the fuck they are this week).

I had a quick poke through the FOI released Prince Charles letters and I have to say they seem surprisingly dull for the most part. The principle is well worth standing up for, and the Guardian is to be commended for holding the Royal Family accountable. The truly surprising thing is given how dull the contents of these letters are, why the government went to such extravagant lengths (requiring an appeal all the way to the Supreme Court) to try and block their publication.

The Government come out of this the worst: the coverup is the worst bit of it.

Also, it’d be nice if the Government could spend nearly as much time wringing their hands about the lack of privacy suffered by the correspondence of people not called Windsor. Nope, they are gonna just ram the Snooper’s Charter straight through and we can wave goodbye to a few more of our civil liberties. What a farce.

When politicians start talking about “values”, they have all the philosophical nuance of a sledgehammer combined with the expressive elegance of an incontinent kangaroo.

Case in point: Cameron and May saying something.