Computers Are Fun and Useful

I was just listening to an episode of All Consuming podcast, where John Gruber was the guest. They asked him about the genesis for his love of computers, which got me thinking about my own love of computers, which goes back 30 years. I was a child of the ’80s, which was when television, film, music, and print media (indeed, the peak of print media) collided with the rise of personal computing.

I had exposure to computers in elementary school (1985-1991), but only ever for entertainment. If you were done with your classwork, you could go play a computer game. I played a lot of Oregon Trail on the school’s Apple IIs, but those experiences never really unlocked a true passion for computing within me. I never went home and asked my parents for a computer to satiate my Oregon Trail needs. If I wanted to game at home, I had a Sega Master System!

It was my computer exposure in later years of school which really made the mark. In 1993, or 7th grade, our computer lab was fully equipped with Macintosh computers. We had already learned to type, but now it was time to make the computers work for us: enter HyperCard.

My mind was officially blown. Something clicked, and I understood why computers were fun, and useful, and important. I created HyperCard stacks (truly, the precursor to the web) which were educational. I created stacks which were useful. I created joke stacks which were only funny to me. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life using computers.

I can’t recall who needs attribution for this, but I once read someone describe their love of computers as “pushing bits around inside of a computer in ways that are only interesting to other computer enthusiasts.” That probably sums up own love of computers. I love to tinker, inside and out. I moved from HyperCard to web design. I dabble in JavaScript, PHP, and Python. I buy digital advertising in my day job, and fret over the implications of privacy policies. I’ll spend hours building a script to automate a task which will only save me a few minutes a year. I build my own gaming computers after carefully shopping for each component, and I’d rather spend hours in front of my machines that around most other people.

Computers, be it a desktop computer or mobile device, are never boring. You can finish a game, like Oregon Trail, but you can never finish tinkering. I love computers.

The GOP’s great Trump reckoning begins at the state party level

Via Politico:

Having lost high-stakes, expensive races for the Senate, House and governor, there has been a wave of finger-pointing and second-guessing across the party.

In Pennsylvania, several potential candidates are rumored to be thinking about challenging the current state GOP chair, Lawrence Tabas, whose term is up in 2025. And Republicans there are questioning everything from their disdainful approach to mail voting; to whether the state party should have endorsed candidates in the primary; to, yes, Trump himself.

I’ll believe it when I see it. The Trump rot in the GOP runs deep and it’s probably too late to save it. Sane and sensible Republicans have either been defeated or cast out of the party, leaving actual conservatives without a political party to call home.

Organ donors, motorcycles, and statistics

Via MedPage Today:

Over 9 days — the mean duration of a motorcycle rally — the net effect of motorcycle rallies resulted in 14% more organ donors and 19% more transplant recipients per day during rally dates versus non-rally dates (IRR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01-1.30, P=0.04).

“During motorcycle rally weeks in distant regions not containing motorcycle rallies, there was no increase in the number of organ donations or transplants, suggesting that our observed main effect was associated with the rallies rather than other temporal factors such as vacation travel,” the authors wrote.

WaPo: “Texas’s new secessionist platform exposes a big GOP scam”

In an opinion today from Greg Sargent:

The new platform, which thousands of GOP activists in Texas agreed to at the state party convention over the weekend, is a veritable piñata bursting with far-right extremist fantasies. It states that Texas retains the right to secede from the United States and urges the Texas legislature to reaffirm this.

It describes homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” It flatly declares that no validation of transgender identity is legitimate. It dismisses all gun regulations as a violation of “God given rights,” and sharply rebukes Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) for pursuing a bipartisan gun-safety package that’s extraordinarily modest.

But the document might be most revealing in its treatment of voting and democracy. It declares President Biden was “not legitimately elected” in 2020. It says Biden’s win was tainted by voting in swing-state cities, furthering a GOP trend toward more explicitly declaring votes in urban centers illegitimate.

The Texas GOP is an embarrassment. The GOP everywhere is an embarrassment. None of this is “conservative” – certainly not in the traditional sense of intellectual conservatism in America. All of it is driven by the cult of personality surrounding the former president, and his populist whims. He was willing to upend the American republic without hesitation, to preserve his own power. All of it based on a big lie.

I spent seventeen years of my life working in politics, all of it in support of the Republican Party. In 2020, I had long since had enough and walked away. I still have a lot of friends who work in politics, and who still work for the GOP. I keep wondering when they, too, will have had enough. What is the line that the GOP will cross that will finally be too far for them? At this point, I cannot imagine where that line would be and, worse, what it says about my friends.

The Only Good Platform

In light of today’s Musk/Twitter news this is a good time to remind you that if you really care about your online identity, then you need to own it. You have no control or ownership of the content you generate for Facebook or Twitter — all of it can be gone in an instant. My Tweets will only ever exist on Twitter. This website though, is mine. I own the domain and I control the content. If necessary, I can move to another web server (even one in another country!) if necessary. I have absolute control and no one can stop me from publishing my trash opinions here.

Musk now has that kind of control over his Tweets, and the freedom to continue shitposting as much as he, or the SEC, wants. I think Musk’s bloviations about “free speech” are nonsense, but I don’t think he’s going to do anything to make the platform necessarily worse. Twitter banned Trump, a move which I supported, but it didn’t really make the platform less toxic. Political reporters still breathlessly re-post his insane and incoherent press releases to their own Twitter accounts, so it’s like he never left. Should Musk un-ban him in the name of “free speech”, it just maintains the status quo and was probably inevitable whether he purchased Twitter or not. Not that this deal was about Trump, but it is the biggest question in the content moderation/free speech debate.

On the business side, it will be much easier for Twitter to figure out how to actually (finally?) make money as a private company and that will be a good thing for their long-term survival. I do think Musk will discover that running Twitter is going to be a lot harder than he has envisioned. Content moderation is hard, even when you are resistant to doing it.

Here at, I will continue to do whatever the hell I want. It’s the only good platform.


Sometimes the kid plays volleyball.

Presentation is Everything

Via Evergreen Media:

Sometimes I write stuff.

…there are good presentations and bad presentations. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what separates the former from the latter, but you know it when you sit through it.

The Importance of Mentoring

Via Evergreen Media:

Getting to the important point, and the reason I’m give you a rundown of my boring resume: at nearly every step of the way, I had access to someone more experienced who could mentor me. As I’ll explain, this is both rare and very fortunate.