Is Elixir Worthy of the Hype?

In Uncategorized by Pete

During RailsConf this year, a blog post made the rounds which suggested that, more or less, Rails was dying and Elixir and Clojure were the places to be. I was pretty skeptical. After all, there are still production systems running Fortran and COBOL — the odds that a framework as widespread as Rails is going to dry up any time soon is basically nil. Also, Rails is pretty good at what it does. Most of the “problems” Elixir proponents are solving with Rails are not things Rails was really built to do. It’s a bit like saying everyone is going to give up cars because they can’t make it to the moon. Still, some people are pretty excited about Elixir, …

The Ultimate Password Solution

In Solving the World's Problems, Technology by Pete

Few things are more annoying than passwords. In theory, they’re fantastic. You keep a secret locked away in your super-computer-brain, and nobody else knows what it is, then you use that secret to prove that you’re who you say you are. Brilliant. Except that, in reality, passwords are beset by several tough problems. First and foremost, you don’t have any control over what the website you plug your password into does with it, so using the same password for everything is foolish. That means that instead of having to remember one password, you have to remember a bunch of them and what services and websites they match up with. Don’t write them down, either, or someone with physical access to …

Giving Up Push Email

In Personal, Technology by Pete

When I made the move to smart phones god-knows how many years ago, it was amazing to me that emails would come straight to my phone. It was basically magic; I was fascinated and infatuated. I was living in the future. For years, I had no idea how anyone could live without having access to their email any moment they wanted it. Moreover, I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to be notified the second they had a new message. Not terribly long ago I met someone who, more than not needing to know every time she received an email, actively did not want that. I’m not sure there’s a logical or practical reason1,  it’s just a personal preference. It took …

The Myth of Corporate Personhood

In Legal and Illegal, Politics by Pete

Today, instead of handing down the Affordable Care Act opinions like we all wanted, the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of life without parole for minors, some immigration thing1, and a third case2 which tested some of the boundaries of their 2010 Citizens United ruling. Even if you’re not familiar with Citizens, you’ve probably heard about it. Most likely, you’ve heard people offering various sarcasm and snark about “corporate personhood”. Those who opposed the ruling and what it represents did an exceptional job of driving the narrative about the case toward what turns out to be an absurdist interpretation of the court’s opinion. You see, Citizens actually has a remarkably sane holding. So sane, in fact, that were one to read the …

Starting Over

In Miscellaneous by Pete

I have something of a packrat mentality. If it doesn’t cost much to keep something, why throw it away if there’s even the most remote chance you could get even the slightest use out of it again? Recently, I realized that I had boxes that have been with me for two or three years that have never been opened or unpacked. The things inside — whatever they were — had been completely forgotten about. I still had those things. I still owned them. But there was no way I’d have ever used them. So I purged. I threw away what must have been a dozen giant, black trash bags full of things that I had accumulated and carried around for …