Kyle Conway – Page 3 – Kyle R. Conway


I can’t recommend strongly enough that you take the time to read the entirety of APPLE INC.’S REPLY TO GOVERNMENT’S OPPOSITION TO APPLE INC.’S MOTION TO VACATE ORDER COMPELLING APPLE INC. TO ASSIST AGENTS IN SEARCH. Some gems below:

The government attempts to rewrite history by portraying the [All Writs] Act as an all-powerful magic wand rather than the limited procedural tool it is. […] Thus, according to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up. The Founders would be appalled.
This case arises in a difficult context after a terrible tragedy. But it is in just such highly-charged and emotional cases that the courts must zealously guard civil liberties and the rule of law and reject government overreaching.
Indeed, it is telling that the government fails even to confront the hypotheticals posed to it (e.g., compelling a pharmaceutical company to manufacture lethal injection drugs, Dkt. 16 (“Mot.”) at 26), or explain how there is any conceivable daylight between GovtOS today, and LocationTrackingOS and EavesdropOS tomorrow.
The government also implicitly threatens that if Apple does not acquiesce, the government will seek to compel Apple to turn over its source code and private electronic signature. Opp. 22 n.9. The catastrophic security implications of that threat only highlight the government’s fundamental misunderstanding or reckless disregard of the technology at issue and the security risks implicated by its suggestion.

The government’s position has sweeping implications. Under the government’s view, the state could force an artist to paint a poster, a singer to perform a song, or an author to write a book, so long as its purpose was to achieve some permissible end, whether increasing military enrollment or promoting public health. […] The First Amendment does not permit such a wholesale derogation of Americans’ right not to speak.

The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism

So it is for me and perhaps for you: The bare facts of surveillance capitalism necessarily arouse my indignation because they demean human dignity. The future of this narrative will depend upon the indignant scholars and journalists drawn to this frontier project, indignant elected officials and policy makers who understand that their authority originates in the foundational values of democratic communities, and indignant citizens who act in the knowledge that effectiveness without autonomy is not effective, dependency-induced compliance is no social contract, and freedom from uncertainty is no freedom.

The question

The key question isn’t, “what’s the answer?”

The key question is, “what’s the question?”

a tale of some meetings

I’ve been increasingly involved in meetings. Often these are productive and necessary fare, but sometimes they reach Dilbert-like levels of banality and un-productivity. As I was reading Winnie the Pooh to my kids tonight I was reminded of such a meeting in CHAPTER VII: IN WHICH KANGA AND BABY ROO COME TO THE FOREST, AND PIGLET HAS A BATH, where Rabbit has a meandering  and hilarious PLAN TO CAPTURE BABY ROO.

Armed with a pencil sharper than his wits, Rabbit goes through eleven semi-connected points that are broken into an itemized list without respect for conventions of rational thought (and include frequent asides). His counterparts, Pooh and Piglet, stare blankly. Pooh doesn’t understand what was said at all, and Piglet meekly points out that the plan doesn’t have a conclusion by asking


It’s lovely. Please read it here. I share this because while I was reading Rabbit’s list I started laughing out loud―it reminded me of some of the worst qualities of bad meetings: a collection of loosely organized thoughts without an endpoint presented as a tightly-connected plan tied by a beautiful bow and impenetrable to question due to a lack of rational thought by its creator.

I doubt I’m the first to notice a similarity between the three of these―meetings, Dilbert, and Pooh―but it was too amusing to keep to myself.

(Side note: I’m saddened that Pooh is apparently “new” enough ― Happy *90th Birthday*, Pooh! ― to remain under copyright.)

some rocks

This is a quick (and ridiculous!) version of a project I’m working on. The final version will be more subdued, but I couldn’t resist quickly creating an animated gif once the thought entered my mind. Thoughts?



In Rainbows, Radiohead, and Copyright

This is an aspect of Radiohead’s In Rainbows release I was not familiar with before reading this otherwise uninteresting (to me) article. In retrospect it makes sense that there was a mini-nightmare with respect to releasing this way and that copyright was a barrier. As the U.S. is finally entering discussions to amend copyright law for the 21st century we’re simultaneously being inundated with things like TPP which seemingly prevent us from making those improvements. Now would be a good time to reach out to you representatives. You can do that here.

[Radiohead] had to ensure no one outside the band contributed any work that might need a writing credit, to contain the rights issues as much as possible. In what was unchartered territory, they had to take the performing rights for In Rainbow away from the Performing Rights Society (PRS), which traditionally owns and administers those rights on behalf of artists – but in a way that did not alert anyone to the plans for In Rainbows’ release. “For online licensing, PRS has rules and rates that you have to abide by,” explains Dyball. “That would have prevented the band from doing their pay-what-you-like model, even though the band wanted to allow for publishing royalties to be paid.”

Dyball went to the society’s board with her pitch, asking that the rights for this one album be taken out of PRS. Although the songs were all written by the band, it was not a guarantee that the PRS board would agree to the band withdrawing their rights. It made it easier that the request came from Radiohead, whose stature was enormous. Consequently, In Rainbows was released as intended.

Source: No surprises: how unexpected album drops became the norm | Music | The Guardian

Aaron “tenderlove” Patterson

Aaron “tenderlove” Patterson

Firefox has an extremely nice feature that I like for web development: if you hit ‘ (single quote) it will bring up a search box, but the search box only searches through links on the page. Then you can hit enter to navigate to that link. That way I can avoid using my mouse.

I didn’t know about this, but I’m certainly interested as it’s a useful feature I’d previously installed plugins to deal with.

Categorized as found

starting (again) to use emacs

C-u M-! date

I've started using Emacs again. I can't remember what sent me to the Literate Devops with Emacs video by Howard Abrams, but the idea of running code within Emacs org-mode was enough for me to fire it up and relearn the key combinations. I've recently switched to Dvorak as a keyboard layout and had been fearing a return to Emacs (or vi/m) due to the somewhat ingrained muscle memory I'd have to relearn, though I should have known it wouldn't be nearly as daunting as I feared having already retrained myself to use an alternative layout for all of my typing. It was a little awkward at first and then it was mostly fine.

What brought me back was simple enough: better note-taking, and running code in a note-taking application was particularly appealing as I've been working my way through some University of Michigan python courses. While computational thinking is something I've done for a while, the actual coding part―in an actual programming language―eluded me. Taking the class has been great, but the back and forth with the terminal was wearing me down. Quick feedback was a helpful tool in learning more quickly and I was determined to embrace efficiencies when transitioning from taking notes to writing code, and from running code to troubleshooting code. Honestly, I wanted to have enough of a streamlined environment that I could essentially play with coding. Running code within Emacs org-mode fit that bill nicely.

Emacs had always been instantly appealing to me in theory. I prefer libre software, I value cross-platform compatibility, I understand the value of plain text for longevity, etc., but I never really had a concrete need to use many of those features. At one point I followed a guide and set up my email in Emacs but quickly abandoned the project when I recognized what I had signed up for and found it more, rather than less, cumbersome to use. This is the 'normal' user problem: I just didn't need the freedom at that moment because I didn't have a clear reason to tinker. So even with the full, philosophical buy-in I didn't have a compelling reason to continue using the software in place of less cumbersome and more attractive options (the excellent, free/libre Zim-Wiki mostly).

And Zim-Wiki is great, but when I started learning to program it failed to meet the entire need. Even though I'm a normal user when compared to the other programmer/tech-centric linux users I'm a whiz-kid around your average college kid or office worker. I'm in this weird middle where I know that I know next to nothing about the technologies and couldn't write more than a lick of code (with the same type of trouble I'd have reading a line of music), but that I could learn and progress quickly if I devoted a little time, that I can speak enough of the language to ask an intelligent question, and that I seem to wield superpowers compared to most computer users (earning their undeserved praise). I know more than almost anyone around me (which makes improving more difficult because there's no one in my normal life to ask).

I've always wanted to devote the time to learning more about programming because I know that if I did I'd be able to compose at those un-state-able desires that were always on the tip of my tongue but were in a language I didn't understand. If only I knew what computers could do—with a higher level of understanding—I'd finally see all of the problems I could solve with them. The time ought to be spent. I'd been telling myself this for years. And while I wasn't slacking (going through and finishing graduate school while working), it was just one of those things that had been waiting. I decided its time had finally come (in the form of online courses). Dan Gilmore's MOOC was my first, and it was enjoyable but as I've been following the surrounding topics (and the man) for years it wasn't as enlightening as I'd hoped. That said, it was done well and it helped me believe in the medium of online education in that type of structured format. Having taught large classes and online classes using blackboard1 I was skeptical that substantial learning could happen in that medium, but I did learn about the state of MOOCs in 2015 and was confident enough to try the medium again.

The classes I tried were/are PY4E-001 and PY4E-002 with Dr. Charles Severance. They're very introductory―which is perfect for me―and I'm learning a great deal, largely at my own pace. These classes highlighted (and created) a need to have a more efficient means of taking meaningful notes. If you haven't used org-mode, it's a wonderful tool for taking, arranging, and exporting structured notes. I won't get into the details, but you should definitely watch a video or two about it (if reading is more your thing check out their website). The real power is that it's in Emacs though, meaning that I am able to perform a whole host of actions within the program itself.

The most interesting2 is also the one that brought me back: write, run, and view the output of code within my note-taking environment. Take the following bash command:

uname -o

With a C-c I can run the code and have the output display in the note-taking application. This is incredibly useful for taking notes because my notes can be fully functioning code.

print "whatever, world"
print 'this is where you do addition. ' + str(2+2)  + ' = 4'

I'm confident I'll uncover more nuggets from other writers, bloggers, and Emacs users. Consider it a personal goal to re-embrace Emacs as my own personal use case for doing so has grown stronger. I won't make any particular pronouncements about whether or not you should use it yourself, but if any of this sounds interesting it will only cost you time to experiment. I'd encourage you to do so.

1 Note: I dislike that software very much, but haven't used it in nearly 10 years so maybe it's better? Thoughts?

2 Disclaimer: At the moment; for me. Emacs does a lot and this only scratches the surface.

Categorized as blag

Internet Art

I don’t think I agree with the unsupported conclusion, but the video is interesting and generally well done―and the examples are fun.

[kad_youtube url=”” ]

Categorized as found

Nrrtve strctre

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

And ever since that day…

Narrative structure is interesting. I truly enjoy this boiled down version that strips much of the nonsense out.

A CEO’s Guide to Emacs | Fugue

For those who haven’t used Emacs, it’s something you’ll likely hate, but may love. It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg machine the size of a house that, at first glance, performs all the functions of a toaster.

Having switched to Dvorak after first learning rudimentary emacs I’m a little scared to return. All things in good time I suppose. The above quote seems fair to me. It’s the most complicated text-editor in the world… And why would that matter? (Unless, of course, it does.)

Addicted to Distraction –

Except for brief moments, she didn’t succeed and after a while, she glumly gave up. The silence felt deafening.

This reminds me of the Martin Seligman research on learned helplessness. What an awful lesson to learn, that nothing 4-year-old you does is more interesting to your parent than whatever is on their smart phone.

Categorized as quotes