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The worst programmer I know

  • Dan North's blog post tackles the complex issue of gauging developer productivity and underlines a crucial perspective shift from individual task completion to the cumulative business impact.
  • The post shares the story of Tim Mackinnon, a programmer who consistently underperformed on traditional productivity metrics due to his focus on group problem-solving rather than solitary tasks.
  • Despite managerial pressure to expel Tim, North defended his pivotal role in enhancing the effectiveness and productivity of the entire team, emphasizing that productivity should be measured by tangible business impact in complex systems.


  • The post explores important topics in the software development industry, such as knowledge sharing, managing criticism and office politics, and understanding how perception can impact career progression.
  • It talks about specific roles and methodologies in the industry, including Scrum for project management, and the roles of junior/senior engineers, tech leads, product owners, and product managers.
  • The article also highlights the importance of effective communication and collaboration, and cultivates a supportive work environment. It discusses the intricacies of company politics, unionization pros and cons, and the challenges of code contribution.

Tax prep companies: $90M lobbying against free tax-filing

  • Leading tax preparation companies such as Intuit, owner of TurboTax, and H&R Block, are under scrutiny for lobbying against a free, government-run tax filing system.
  • These companies have collectively spent over $90 million on lobbying since 2003 to prevent the IRS from developing its own tax prep software.
  • As of December 2019, an addendum to the Free File Alliance's memorandum of understanding removed that obstruction, enabling the IRS to set plans for a free tax filing service in 2024. Investigations into the tax prep industry's lobbying efforts have been called for by several Congressional Democrats.


  • US tax preparation companies have spent $90 million lobbying against free tax-filing options, sparking debate about the complexity of tax systems and the role of tax preparation companies.
  • There's a discussion about the influence of lobbying powers, particularly of companies like Intuit, and the possibility of industry disruption, as well as the potential advantages of a government-run tax filing system.
  • Also tackled are topics like the proposal of nationalizing tax preparation firms, the implications of simplifying tax code, and the relevance and impact of the Supreme Court ruling on the Roe v. Wade case.

PSA: Don't base your business around Discord.7yr account banned for posting ASNs

  • The author emphasizes their unfavorable interaction with Discord, revealing that their 7-year-old account was abruptly banned for a minor error.
  • Previous issues with Discord include problematic threats to delete the author's server because of an underage participant.
  • The author advises prudence when considering the establishment of a business on Discord due to these experiences.


  • The debate highlights the drawbacks and potential hazards of utilizing Discord for business operations, with concerns about account bans, moderation policies, and insufficient support.
  • Participants urge the need for alternative platforms and backup strategies, stressing the risks associated with dependence on third-party platforms.
  • The unanimous consensus is the substantial business risk presented by exclusive reliance on Discord.

Tesla, Rivian Put on Fake Show of Support for ‘Right to Repair’

  • Tesla and Rivian are under fire for seemingly advocating the "right to repair" movement without committing to significant new laws.
  • Both companies have been criticized for making vehicle repairs costly and inconvenient.
  • The text also mentions various other tech-related topics including Valve/Steam's quality control, podcast episodes, Google's program shutdown, pixel phones, and legal issues.


  • The discussion centers on the right to repair movement and the complexities of repairing electric vehicles, specifically Tesla. Issues such as the practicality of converting older cars to electric using kits, manufacturers complicating repairs through nonstandard components and software, are highlighted.
  • Other topics discussed include the availability of repair documentation and parts for electric vehicles (EVs), the limitations of EVs in jump-starting other cars, and the utility of solar roofs and swappable batteries.
  • Participants have different views on the solution; while some advocate for right to repair legislation, others believe the task can be made easier by comprehending and fixing components without architectural diagrams.

On Craft

  • The author reflects on the influence of their grandfather's inclusive, practical take on craftsmanship, contrasting it with the perceived exclusivity and elitism in the software engineering industry.
  • The author asserts the concept of all labor being skilled labor, pushing the notion that craft should prioritize inclusivity and value effort, citing a personal episode of feeling ostracized from a makerspace.
  • The author views craft as a medium for communication, cooperation, and creation instead of a tool for judgment or a weapon, suggesting the need for their grandfather's perspective in enhancing team environments and workspaces.


  • The post emphasizes the feeling of being an 'outsider' in the software engineering industry, underscoring the need for inclusion and celebrating unexpected success stories from such 'outsider' coders.
  • It brings forward the notion of 'fixing' and underlines the significance of craftsmanship and taking pride in one's work.
  • The article delves into the relationship between craft, quality, and computer use in the industry, suggesting the influence of craftsmanship on software quality.

Recursively summarizing enables long-term dialogue memory in LLMs

  • The paper suggests a strategy to enhance long-term memory in open-domain dialogue systems through the recursive creation of summaries or memory using large language models (LLMs).
  • This method encourages the LLMs to retain and recall smaller dialogue contexts and subsequently create new memory utilizing previous memory and subsequent contexts.
  • The experiments demonstrate more consistent responses in long-context conversations generated by the method. The authors plan to release the code and scripts at a later date.


  • The debate focuses on the constraints and possibilities of language models, mainly their competence in reasoning and mathematical tasks.
  • Discourse includes the capabilities of AI models, questioning the necessity for specific tools or systems for improving performance.
  • The role of long-term memory in conversational AI systems and the efficiency of recursive summarization methods have also been brought up, along with alternative strategies and prevalent implementations.

I mirrored all the code from PyPI to GitHub and analysed it

  • The author has developed an automated system for mirroring all code from PyPI to Github, facilitating real-time package scanning, search-indexing, and comprehensive language analysis.
  • This initiative allows anyone to download and evaluate all codes ever published on PyPI within a brief period.
  • The innovation anticipates enabling users to leverage the Python code corpus for diverse new applications.


  • The author examined code from PyPI, a repository for Python software packages, mirrored on GitHub, highlighting a rapid growth predicting more packages than humans within 8 years.
  • The investigation provided insights into Python usage, credentials embedded in code, and various other aspects like the complexity of data analysis, archiving code, and the popularity of language features.
  • The author also discussed the challenges with PyPI, like frustrations over account creation, searching for packages, and issues around licensing, particularly Microsoft's use without a license.

A GPT-4 capability forecasting challenge

  • The highlighted tone of the post revolves around a game that aims to gauge the performance of GPT-4, an advanced language model, in answering a question pertaining to France's capital.
  • The author asserts that individuals often speculate about the capabilities of language models without proper understanding of their true potential.
  • Readers are encouraged to verify their own predictive abilities, signifying a challenge to validate and improve prevailing assumptions about language models.


  • The main focus of the article is around assessing and forecasting the capabilities of GPT-4, a language model, in terms of answering questions accurately.
  • Participants critique the scoring framework used for assessing language models like GPT-4, discuss its limitations, and propose alternative evaluation methods.
  • Participants also delve into the nature of intelligence in models like GPT-4 and ChatGPT, emphasizing on the role of statistical processing, and reflect on their experiences with specific examples.

How to type “blimpy” in Emacs [video]

  • The author shares numerous techniques for typing the word "Blimpy" efficiently in Emacs, a popular customizable text editor.
  • Methods discussed include copying and pasting code blocks, using configuration tips, and employing special modes and commands.
  • The aim of the post is to guide readers in fast and efficient input methods for repetitive words in Emacs.


  • The video tutorial focuses on the simple task of typing "blimpy" in Emacs, demonstrating the text editor's flexibility and potential for customization.
  • Users are divided on why the video gained popularity, whether it's a leverage for bonding and creating community jokes or a critique on the intricacies of technology.
  • The tutorial serves as a fun introduction to Emacs and its user community traits.

No way in or out of Burning Man after storm

  • Over 70,000 visitors to Burning Man festival are stranded onsite due to heavy rain which has turned the area into a mud pit, closing the gate and airport, halting in and out access.
  • Attendees are advised to conserve resources as rain is anticipated to persist until Sunday.
  • The unstable weather conditions present a potential disaster with high chances of continued rain and thunderstorms forecasted.


  • The Burning Man festival in Nevada is grappling with complications due to heavy rainfall, inducing muddy conditions and issues in transportation. However, sufficient supplies are ensuring no risk of starvation or dehydration.
  • Concerns exist around medical emergencies, but provisions for helicopter evacuations are in place if needed. Adherence to safety measures and staying sheltered is urged to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • The situation could have been overblown, leading to unnecessary fear. There are varying views on the event's popularity, the availability of supplies, and the ethos of self-reliance.