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Kaius's profile

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Kaius  ·  95 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Behold a Pale Horse

I worked in a call center years ago doing tech support for broadband issues. I'd say 80% of calls fell into 1 of around 20 problem categories (cannot connect, web pages don't load, reset my password, help me clear my search history before my wife comes home). Lots of repetition with slightly augmented instructions depending on the callers needs/ability (pacing, alternative descriptions, more/less commanding depending on their ability to stay on topic).

Call times mattered, so like a priest in a brothel, you were always searching for the fastest way to finish things up. Sometimes that meant going slower, sometimes it meant being slightly rude and cutting people off mid-rant so that you could get to the part where you flip the switch and the problem is solved. Wrap-time (time 'wasted' between calls) mattered, so if you had a ranty bastard screaming at you on a call for 10 minutes, you (the human, with human behaviors and soft feelings) had to "get over that shit" in seconds and switch to your baseline state for the next ranty bastard in the queue.

On any given day I would converse with something like 100 people for roughly 5 minutes. It's like if speed dating was your job, but instead of flirting, you have to fix their printer while they glare at you. It was a constant stream of human interactions which neither party wanted to have. It made me HATE speaking on the phone with people. It made me great at blocking out peoples current emotional state and get them aligned and working on a goal, or said another way: "Fuck your feelings, we got shit to do and then we never need to speak to each other again!". That isn't normal now is it.

So my guess is that AI will be a shit show at the start but it will eventually end up being BETTER for customers in the end, you get to rant to someone that sounds real, they will respond in the most efficient way to help you vent. They will sound authentic and genuine when they express remorse for your lack of service. And they will forget you instantly when you hang up.

Kaius  ·  106 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are you Reading? Number who knows

Berserk Volume 1 by Kentaro Miura

Somewhat random pickup for me as apart from Sandman, Maus and a few other graphic novels I don't usually read them. I enjoyed this one and will grab volume 2 at some point. My guess is that it will improve as Volume 1 did have a "pilot" feel to it in places. 4/5.


The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - 1st of the Gentlemen Bastard series.

Lots of recommendations for this one so I tried it out. I find that highly recommended books are very much hit and miss for me, same with movies. I would say this was a pretty good fantasy with a story that moved along very quickly and didn't really let up. Some parts were done really well and were quite clever, parts of the main character were genuinely sophisticated in a kind of Ender's Game fashion, but then towards the end it relied too much on plot armor and big moving pieces. 3/5, good but not rushing to read the next one.


Doom: Game Engine Black Book by Fabien Sanglard - Available online https://fabiensanglard.net/gebbdoom/

So this is essentially a deep dive into the software, hardware, tools, processes, and people who created Doom way back in the 90's. I played the game a lot when I was younger and have an interest in how these games were built. Perhaps too eclectic for a general audience but well worth checking out if you want to dig into some retro game building. 4/5, i'll be checking out his other books.


Crafting Interpreters by Robert Nystrom

Bob works at Google on the DART language and has a deep interest and understanding of computer languages. He wrote this as a guide to those of us interested in building your own computer language interpreter (the thing that takes your code, interprets it, and executes it). He brings you through two different ways to implement one, first using an Abstract Syntax Tree approach that is simpler but slower, and then using a Virtual Machine approach (similar to Java) which is faster. Great book, enjoyed creating my own language from it. 4/5.


The City of Bohane by Kevin Barry

Kevin is an Irish author I've been following for a while, he writes some nice short stories like The Pub with no beer for example. The novel is set in a fictional Irish town in the near future where there is little technology and an assortment of violent and vibrant characters. I just finished it today and the story is good but its really the authors use of a corrupted English language full of vivid descriptions that I enjoyed. I listened to the audiobook and the author reads the book himself. It included the immortal line:

    He gave him a side-eyed glance that you wouldn't see on a stoat in a ditch.


Kaius  ·  232 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Black Frogs of Chernobyl

Its always interesting to hear about life in the exclusion zone and how radiation presents far less of a threat to wildlife than human civilisation. Makes you think about the local area you live in and how very different it would be if we were not here, we are constantly maintaining it in a state that suits us, far more artificial than we realise (this is from someone who lives in the 'countryside').


Chernobyl street view is quite a trip.

Kaius  ·  382 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

Yea I read Volume 1 of Shelby Foote's "The Civil War" based on how much Ken Burns leaned on him in the documentary (this was years ago, when I first watched it). Like him or not, Foote's anecdotes and insights in the documentary added much to its success, he romanticized the conflict from a mostly Southern perspective, delivered with a whiskey sipping drawl. He had charm. Upon reflection after the fact however, his lingering praise for Nathan Bedford Forrest felt odd. At one point he mentioned that Lincoln and Forrest were the two geniuses to be revealed from the war... hmm.

Ta-Nehisi Coates probably summed it up best:

    I'm looking forward to finishing Foote's trilogy. It really is an engaging read. And yet here is the bit of sadness: He gave twenty years of his life, and three volumes of important and significant words to the Civil War, but he he could never see himself in the slave. He could not get that the promise of free bread can not cope with the promise of free hands. Shelby Foote wrote The Civil War, but he never understood it. Understanding the Civil War was a luxury his whiteness could ill-afford.

Its well worth watching, but with clear eyes.

Kaius  ·  383 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

Much appreciated, I just finished rewatching Ken Burns Civil War doc and had started making my way through this playlist so this discussion is timely.

Stepping away from the war itself and looking at some of the societal reasons beyond slavery that drove the conflict is interesting. I hadn't seen the World-Systems theory before, where would a luddite learn more?

Kaius  ·  383 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

    The North can't make money if employees are free, the South can't make money if employees are skilled.

Help me parse this a bit more? Why is North restricted by "Free" and the South restricted by Skilled workers?

Kaius  ·  387 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mechanical Watch

This guy always has fantastic articles, the animations are amazing.

Kaius  ·  445 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 2, 2022

Right, you can escape after f7+.

I love a good chess puzzle.

Kaius  ·  445 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 2, 2022

Rh8, Kxh8, f7#

There is also f7#, Bxf7, Rh8#

Kaius  ·  552 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 17, 2021

Were you dropping a hint so that they would have additional time to prepare for your exit? You say it was strategic so just wondering what the goal was.

I know that when someone hands in their notice in my current place, and they are good at their job, there is usually some counter-offers or conversations that happen to see if the person will agree to stay. This is good if you want to stay, or were looking for a raise. But if I intend to leave anyway then its better to reduce these discussions and drama to a minimum.

My plan, should i decide to leave is to book 3-4 days vacation time, and then hand in my notice as it begins, by the time I get back I would have avoided much of the drama and it would be old news.

Kaius  ·  574 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 27, 2021

I had booked this week off as vacation time from work, we didn't really have any plans to go anywhere but I've been feeling cooped up in the house and was looking forward to spending some time out and about in the fresh air doing normal stuff. The one thing I did have planned to do was go see DUNE on the big screen.

On Monday we heard that several of my sons classmates had contracted covid, he developed some symptoms and had a positive test on Tuesday, so he had to isolate. I also had a mild sore throat on Tuesday and not wanting to get anyone else sick I also isolated.

The end result is that my intended week away from work ended up with me spending ~4 full days and nights living/eating/sleeping in my home office :D I could have cancelled the time off and just worked, which is probably what I should have done, but I was so pissed off I just spent my days fishing in Read Dead Redemption and reading books.

Getting test result today, hopefully negative, if it is I think ill go dance naked in the streets or something to make up for lost time.

Kaius  ·  574 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ACTION BUTTON REVIEWS Cyberpunk 2077

OK, see now that helps. This changes the context from "Unaware youtuber generating low-effort low-value stream-of-conscious nonsense interminably" (of which there are thousands others) to "Fully-aware artist intentionally creating interminable review as expression of their regard for the game being reviewed". Which elevates the entire thing a lot.

So that's cool.

I'm not gonna watch it though, cos its 10 hours and I get the sense that most of the message is "Hey this thing is 10 hours long!!!!", which you can get without having to actually watch it.

I haven't played Cyberpunk 2077 yet, but the fact someone created a 10 hour saga about it is making me want to...

Kaius  ·  576 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ACTION BUTTON REVIEWS Cyberpunk 2077

This might be interesting but is completely unbearable to watch (I say this knowing it has ~200K views already). I watched 7 minutes and then started skipping forward a little before just giving up. I abandoned ship when he started naming almost every game he had played during the GTA3 framing bit.

I'm sure a SHITLOAD of time went into editing this, but not everything that a person says is interesting; of the 7 minutes I watched maybe 1.5 should have made the final cut.

Kaius  ·  617 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Useful Spy Books

Good ones.

I ran into another this morning:

Life: Health, Wealth, Freedom; In general most people only have two at any one time.

- Youth you have Health and Freedom but usually lack wealth to take advantage of the Freedom

- Mid-life you have Health and Wealth but lack Freedom due to responsibilities (job, kids)

- Old age you have Wealth and Freedom but may lack the Health to take advantage of the Freedom

Kaius  ·  617 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Useful Spy Books

From somewhere in the middle of this article:

    One is what I would like to call the communication triangle. Communications can be secure, easy to use or hard to detect. But seldom all three.

In the software world we have oft used anecdote: Cost, Scope, Time: pick the two you want, you can't get all three. You roll it out whenever someone asks you to build Amazon.com when they only have a Wordpress level budget or a two week deadline. I like it for its brevity and conciseness, its understood immediately and retained well. It also gives a nice insight into the difficulties of a particular technical domain, yet avoids having to explain anything technical at all.

Are there other examples of this in other fields beyond Software and Spycraft? I would assume Politics, Medical practice, Law, Criminal investigation has similar trade-off triangles.

Kaius  ·  619 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ‘Never Forget’ Is Breaking America

I remember reading this David Foster Wallace article when it first came out (2007). His thought experiment was that America should not respond with rage, and instead the right approach was to view the victims of 911 as "democratic martyrs" as Wallace puts it. Over the years his sentiment has returned to me several times, usually when I take my shoes off in an airport.

Of course it is also an impossible response for a country to accept. Were the 88/12% split in the opposite direction, which it would need to be to be accepted; my guess is that the 12% would burn the country down in their grief and anger.


One thing that I am constantly amazed by is the "They hate us because of our freedom!" sentiment. I mean do people really think that some dude in Afghanistan hates a country 3K miles away because of their political system? I'd say its far more likely the fact that his grandmother was blown to bits by a drone strike is the root cause don't ya think. Or in other words, they might have good reason to hate.

Kaius  ·  647 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Lying with charts time edition

    Amazon absolutely tracks your cookies that tightly. I saved myself $80 on a hard drive a month ago by searching on Amazon, searching on NewEgg, searching on Best Buy and then searching on Amazon again.

Or waiting 2 days for them to email with "Oh hey that thing you wanted has surprisingly dropped in price 10%, click here to buy it..."

Kaius  ·  680 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Building a vision of life without work.

    Yer blogger seems absolutely gobsmacked that his girlfriend doesn't want to spend her life playing video games and going to museums.

    I dunno, man. This guy seems to utterly disrespect anything other than "doing nothing".

Right, which I think is the fatal flaw. He worked to free himself from the need to work, escaping FROM it but not TO something else apart from sitting around the house and taking a few trips.

I suspect that you have no problem filling time with interesting projects that enrich your life. I know I often look at the 40 hours a week spent working as a (mandatory) demand on my time which reduces availability to do other things, learning new skills etc. That is its a job. If retirement was an option, my approach would be "retiring from needing to spend 40 hours doing X every week, freeing me to do more of A-Z in the future", not "retiring to the couch to play Xbox 40 hours a week". In the last week I have spent my evenings and weekends fixing oil boilers, timber floors, water mains, painting, decorating, plastering... And its a blast, I enjoy learning and doing new things.

    Did he seem happy? 'cuz some people find their niche. They are to be envied, not pitied.

He was content, which is probably a less fickle state than happiness in the long run. I mentioned him as an example of the opposite extreme and maybe as an example of how people on the extremes can have lots of similarities; where the blogger wanted to leave work and had nothing else, my friend wanted to stay working as he had nothing else. Its one thing to work when you have to, another to continue working when it is no longer a requirement but you enjoy it; but to shut yourself off from all other experiences (which both extremes seemed to do) is best avoided.

In your earlier post you mentioned that people overthink all of this and I would agree. To me it all comes down to the time you have and how you spend it. Should you find yourself financially independent, if you like what you do and have no interesting in other activities then stick with it, in my case I suspect that the desire to learn something new that does not align with my current job (and may not be economically viable) would be too strong to not pursue.

Kaius  ·  681 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Building a vision of life without work.

See his follow up from 5 years later: https://livingafi.com/2021/03/17/the-2021-early-retirement-update/

I remember when I was in my early twenties chatting to two guys who were in their late 50's/early 60's and the topic of what they would do if they won the lottery came up. One said he would change nothing and keep working, which was a totally alien concept to me at the time. I couldn't understand how someone who had spent ~40 years doing a job, wouldn't jump at the chance to do something/anything different when given the option. His friend agreed more with me, and said he would do something (I think he mentioned Travel) to change his lifestyle. I left the conversation warning myself to never become like the first guy who seemed utterly devoid of any energy or curiosity of the world beyond his job.