It seemed like iTunes/Music was de-emphasizing star ratings for songs over the last few years, but the (Mac) Music app seems to be showing them prominently for albums/tracks again, even on Apple Music playlists. Is this new? I don’t remember changing any settings…

It’s interesting—and disconcerting—seeing which places around Sacramento are following the (still in effect!) mask mandates and which ones are blowing it off. We’ll just say I’m making sure I’m very extremely socially distanced at the brewery I’m at right now.

Been a while since I’ve had a cocktail outside my apartment, and this Old Fashioned looks promising.

There is a road in Oakland called Hegenberger. There is a burger place on Hegenberger called Hegenburger.

Sometimes I want to write more about “mid-fi” audio stuff, which I define thusly: both your audiophile and non-audiophile friends exclaim shock at how much your stereo costs, but for opposite reasons.

Okay, I’ve only seen the first episode of “Hacks,” but it was surprisingly good—the writing’s solid, and the cast is excellent. 📺

I just put Overcast on my M1 MacBook Air, and realized this is actually the first time I’ve seen the iPad version.

When I turned on my TV just now, it told me “now there are video podcasts, like Joe Rogan, on Spotify on your LG TV!”, and I feel vaguely alarmed. Can I fumigate for these?

I never really liked “dark mode” on the Mac until Big Sur, especially coupled with a dynamic desktop picture. I’m not sure why it works better for me this release, but it definitely does.

I often find the “Less Wrong” style more wearisome than enlightening, but it’s hard to explain why. Perhaps I should compose a 27,000-word blog post divided into nine subsections, each one a treatise on a different yet empirically related “Well, actually—”

In 2019, my iPad Pro had completely supplanted my MacBook, and I spent more time on it then my iMac. In 2021, I’m evenly split between that iMac and an M1 MacBook Air and I have to remember to pick up the iPad to apply updates. This is not at all what I would have predicted.

I’m not sure whether it’s worse if this is a fake dialog box, or if it’s real.

I tried NextDNS for a bit, but its default blocklist is so aggressive I think I’m backing off for a while. (Today is “give up on seemingly good tech ideas that end up being more hassle than they’re worth day,” apparently.)

Okay, giving up on getting Time Machine to work automatically over my local wireless network. It will just be the when-I-remember-to-back-up backup disk instead.

Now that we’re barely a month away from WWDC, it seems like a good time to upgrade my desktop to Big Sur. (I’ll admit it: while I definitely have nits to pick, I mostly like the look.)

Update: day after the second vaccine and I feel fine. Apparently donuts work.

The Peril of “No Politics”

Basecamp is both the name of a small tech company and their primary product, a web-based project management tool that includes forum-like message boards and a Slack-like chat component. It’s pretty good. (So I’ve heard.) In some ways, Basecamp is actually more famous for Ruby on Rails, the web framework they created for Basecamp. And, they’re famous for having capital-O Opinionated leaders, who recently banned “societal and political discussions” on the company Basecamp—essentially the equivalent of saying “no politics on the internal Slack”:

Today’s social and political waters are especially choppy. Sensitivities are at 11, and every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It’s become too much. It’s a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places. People can take the conversations with willing co-workers to Signal, Whatsapp, or even a personal Basecamp account, but it can’t happen where the work happens anymore.


Basecamp’s post has provoked predictable outrage on Twitter, and, well, duh. Twitter is outrage’s natural habitat, where nothing is worth stating if it can’t be stated in the most extreme form possible. But pop quiz: what does “politics at work” mean to you?

  1. Facing fraught but important questions about company policies and culture, including pay equity, hiring practices, workplace behavior, and even the ethics of the work being done and for whom.
  2. A continual verbal slugfest among coworkers who seem more interested in pwning one another for their terrible viewpoints than coming to any understanding.

It’s clear from the text of their post that Basecamp wants to stave off the latter. And, y’know, that’s not unreasonable. I’ve had coworkers with political views I absolutely didn’t share, and we could still, well, work together. There was no explicit ban on politics; we just understood that it’s not something one gets into with coworkers.

The problem, though, is that shutting down the latter all too often means ducking the former. Suppose your company supports a politician pushing policies that would benefit the business directly; aren’t they now indirectly supporting every other policy that politician’s pushing? What if it comes out that one of your customers is a neo-Nazi network? Why does your company have only one woman and zero Blacks in its twenty-person engineering team? Why did that trans customer support engineer quit after only four months?

Again, I think—at least, I’d like to—that Basecamp’s intended message was keep company chat channels civil and focused on work. But if that’s what they meant, that’s what they should have said. By saying “no politics,” what they’ve communicated is don’t ask uncomfortable questions about our workplace culture.

Maybe they shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it makes them complicit, or if wading into it makes them a target. But they’ve tried to have it both ways. That guarantees the answer to both of those questions is yes.

Postscript: Literally just after I wrote this, I came across Jane Yang’s open letter to Basecamp’s founders, a brilliant—and depressing—read that makes me rather less sanguine about Basecamp’s intent.

I have perhaps optimistically booked my first “staycation” in over a year, in about three weeks’ time, although I have made it refundable just in case.

And got the second vaccine dose. So far no ill effects but the day is young! 💉

“Musk suffers from the common frailty of those who are smart and successful in one field and think they can easily master all other fields.”…

Jimboy’s Tacos—a chain based out of Sacramento that makes what research will tell you is Kansas City-style tacos (crispy shells dusted with parmesan)—is really good, and also makes one ponder “authenticity” in cuisine a bit.

Increasingly convinced that while the AT&T-owned HBO is trying turn itself into the new Netflix, Apple is trying to turn Apple TV+ into the new HBO. And might just do it.

Apple Disk Utility is a pile of garbage soaked in oil, lit on fire, and set adrift on a toxic river.

Disk Utility’s “First Aid” has been running on my Time Machine volume—a 500GB external USB3 SSD—since yesterday evening. This seems…maybe a little excessively slow.