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"Known Issues"

"Known Issues"

I'm saving this for the next time someone suggests creating a support/help doc instead of fixing the actual problem...

You can find this engraved sign in the Shreve Jewelry Store elevator in San Francisco.  It says:


I asked the staff about it.  They said that fixing the light would require replacing the entire panel. But that would trigger a building-code upgrade for the whole elevator system.  Total cost?  $80,000.

Cost of sign?  $3


Indeed, VRML was a thing.. I went into my email archives since I was active in that community working on GopherVR back then. Mark thought the vrml newsgroup should be comp.infosystems.www.vrml. I was convinced that VRML was much more than that and suggested it really really should be comp.infosystems.vrml (a top-level thing..)


"Without the efforts of the workers the company would not have value so the idea that the workers and owners ought to be the same cohort has a great deal of attraction."


Finally! a way to re-platform your Google+ data before the April 2019 shutdown. exports to Wordpress, Blogger and other places. Hoping that this allows for communities to transition to new hosting or for individuals to go


I started selfhosting my Known instance at

The folks at are nice, but their focus isn't on end-users these days and I need to get this on SSL, plus would like to use more plugins. [And if all goes well this posts to my mastodon account!]


Festive 50

Instead of reflecting on the past year think about what's happened for the last 50 years. I finally got around to listening to a 4 part series about computing in 1968. Highly recommended, very very well done and will blow your mind.

Makes you realize that most of what we've been doing has been riffing on groundbreaking things from that era.

Art? Computer Animation? It all started then with some .. (Ep 1)

Google Glass? Augmented Reality? Ivan Sutherland's "Ultimate Display" conceived of it. (Ep 2)

Hangouts? Shared Docs? Remote Collaboration? Doug Engelbert's The Mother of all Demos was already there. (Ep 3)

And the impact felt, with Vint Cerf and others:

We stand on the shoulders of giants.


The @worldbrain Memex system is working well for me. Full text index of all the pages I visit. Injects search results in Google/DuckDuckGo. Recommended.


Before there was Commons Clause or Affero the University of Minnesota Gopher team tried to license the server code with carve-outs for non-commercial use.



4 min read

Sit back a spell and let me tell you a story about the Association of Concerned Employees (ACEs).

Back in 1991 the academic computing teams at the University of Minnesota were set to be laid off and we could "apply" for a job with the new quasi-private sector outfit the "Minnesota Supercomputer Center" (MSC).
So none of us liked that.  Over 300 of us set up an effort to stop it.  The VAX/Unix/MVS/Unix/PC/CDC units stopped fighting for crumbs and joined forces.  Letters to the editor were written, politicians where contacted, petitions were circulated.

Mailing lists, and even a BBS were put into use to coordinate.

Even, ahem, a listening device was placed in the Board of Regents office.

We were not in a union but AFSCME supported our demands and upped the pressure.

The efforts worked.  The privatization was called off.  There were job losses, but we had a voice that we used to make the best of the situation.  We had input into how we could reorganize the units and better support the students and faculty.

Oh and we finally got the audit of the corrupt MSC a few years later:

`U' backs off of plan to privatize computer services
Published: October 23, 1991
By Jim Dawson; Staff Writer 

Intense pressure from many of the 330 civil service employees who
operate the University of Minnesota's computer systems apparently has
forced school officials to back away from a plan to privatize computer
services and place them under the Supercomputer Center.
Ettore Infante, vice president for academic affairs, who
announced the privatization plan last week met with computer workers
      He told them that because of concerns regarding his
original plan, a reorganization of computer services would occur
"without the involvement of the Minnesota Supercomputer Center or a subsidiary of it."
    Instead, Infante said, an outside consultant will be hired to
 determine the best way to  consolidate and reorganize the university's
several computer service centers.
  About half of the 330 computer specialists would have been laid off at the end of the year under Infante's privatization plan.
       There will probably be layoffs under any new plan, but how many and when hasn't been determined.

  Infante's privatization announcement caught the computer
specialists by surprise last week, but they quickly used a computerized
electronic mail network to organize their opposition.
    Their main objection focused on the involvement of the Supercomputer Center.
       The center, a quasiprivate corporation partially owned by
the university, is not subject to public accounting.  Gov. Arne Carlson
recently cut $8 million in state funding from the center's budget, and
many of the computer specialists believed that Infante's move was simply
 a way to funnel new funds into the center.
    Infante denied that charge and cited the inefficient,
outdated computer systems and networks throughout the university as his
reason for consolidation.
    His move yesterday was welcomed by most employees, but many remained skeptical of his motives.
       "I was encouraged that they seem to be backing down," said
 Cheryl Vollhaber, a specialist with academic computing services.
    The employees demanded to be involved in the planning for
consolidating the computer systems, something most agree is badly
      However, Infante was noncommittal about employee participation.
    The computer specialists said that they have been calling for
 a consolidation and reorganization of computer services for a long
time, but that the administration has ignored them.   They are
frustrated, several said, because although they are the computer
experts, they are not being consulted.
    "Our focus will be having an employee representative on the
planning board," said Stephen Collins, of the university's
micro-computer center.



@YellzHeard Donated. Might be interesting to connect these coders to the new @codeforamerica "Clear My Record" project that @lourmoore is running.


Replied to a post on :

Imagine a dystopian sequel to Gilligan’s Island where hedge fund manager Mr Howell controls the island with discipline collars.


Replied to a post on :

I highly suggest that this Follower Suggestion design be peer-reviewed.

Content recommendation systems have a huge effect on how communities grow and evolve. One thing I like about Mastodon is that user recommendations are done by humans, not machines. This go-slow approach is more resilient to algorithms (even the simple one presented here..)

Here's a recent paper that discusses how recommendation systems can reinforce bias.

So before this gets unleashed on the world please do your research and study the available literature. Get experts to review it and listen to the people that have been doing this for a long time. You can then avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.