Worst summer ever

“If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell.” — General Philip Henry Sheridan Back in May you might have heard that IBM decided to lay off thousands of workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. There were apparently cuts in June too, and then North America Sales had its turn, and on July 1st I was told that my position was being eliminated at the end of the month.

Graham Linehan

Once upon a time there was a talented Irish comedy writer named Graham Linehan. He wrote for acclaimed comedy shows including Harry Enfield and Chums and The Day Today. For The Fast Show he co-created the characters of Ted and Ralph, an impoverished closeted gay English aristocrat and his Irish estate worker. The characters were carefully observed and affectionately and positively portrayed. Linehan also wrote for Brass Eye, a satirical show which, among other topics, took aim at homophobia and media hysteria over pedophilia.

On Git branch naming

What’s happening? A configurable option is being added to the Git version control software, to GitHub, and to other systems associated with Git. The option will let you configure what you want as the default branch name for the primary source code branch in newly created repositories. The default value for the name of the primary branch hasn’t been decided yet, but popular options include “main” and “trunk”. No existing repository will be affected.

Dear white people

This is the first of a series of articles I plan to write about issues relating to the Black Lives Matter movement. Because we’re in a crisis — well, a cluster of crises really — I’m going to start by writing about short term actions, and move on to history and longer term considerations later on. Over the last few weeks lot of white people have suddenly realized that America has a massive racism problem.

Plague Journal

We’ve now been isolating for well over two months, and distancing for a week or two longer than that. We went out to see a friend a couple of times, to borrow and later return an oximeter, as we were both feeling short of breath from time to time. We both measured as normal, in my case it was just normal mild panic attacks for the obvious reasons. We’ve been out and bought takeout food via curbside pickup a few times.

Unofficial Signal PIN FAQ

The Signal secure messaging app has started forcing users to set a new PIN, popping up a nag dialog saying Create a PIN PINs keep information that’s stored with Signal encrypted. They’ve done a terrible job of communicating why they’re doing this, so I went away and read a bunch of forum threads, GitHub tickets, blog posts and support documents and here’s my own attempt at an FAQ more clearly answering the questions which immediately occurred to me when I got the nag dialog this morning.

Plague journal

Greg Abbott decided it was time for Texas to reopen, in spite of the opinions of experts. In spite of Greg Abbott, all the restaurants whose mailing lists I’m on have been e-mailing me to say that no, they aren’t opening their dining rooms up yet, it’s still takeout service only for now. We went to get groceries this morning (curbside pickup, not going into the store), and it looks as if Austin is still mostly wearing masks and distancing.

Plague journal

I changed my watch to just show the time. I no longer have appointments I need reminding of out of the house, and days have ceased to have meaning. Some things will never go back to normal. Some things shouldn’t. California is saving $40 million per day by not having so much car traffic, and people are trying bikes. Some companies have been surprised to find that people are still productive working from home, and are starting to ask themselves why they have expensive office space they make people commute to every day.

Plague journal: The Machine Starts

As the weeks go on, I’ve noticed people being increasingly shitty across social media. I totally understand why it’s happening, but in the last week I’ve experienced 5 separate incidents, and that’s more than I am willing to deal with, so I decided it’s time to start disconnecting from some places. I started by deactivating my Facebook account today. I only really still had it to avoid missing invites to events, and there aren’t any events now, so this seems like a good opportunity to tell Zuckerberg to get fucked.

Plague journal

Another month-long week has passed. March 32nd went better than expected after everyone decided April 1st had outlived its usefulness. In a world where RuPaul is fracking and Republicans are actually urging letting grandma die to help the stock market, the April Fool tradition has outlived its usefulness. The official story is now somewhat in accordance with reality. People no longer tell me I’m crazy for saying we will see over 100,000 dead.