About Tim Bray

ongoing is short for “ongoing fragmented essay. The unifying themes are Truth, Technology, and Business.

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The Colors of Racism

1970-01-01 08:00:00

Recently, somewhat by accident, I stumbled into reading a couple of monstrously racist texts, and I’m going to need to update the Wikipedia entry for a famous British author. But I learned a few things along the way that I want to share

Storage Churn

1970-01-01 08:00:00

What are the highest-impact Cloud services? Storage would be near the top of any list. Where by “Storage” I mean what S3 does: Blobs-of-bytes storage that is effectively unlimited in capacity, credibly more durable than anything you could build yourself, and easily connected to the world, either directly or through a CDN. I think we’re entering a period of churn where there’s going to be serious competition on storage price and performance. Which, by the way, is crucially relevant to the Fediverse

Topfew Release 1.0

1970-01-01 08:00:00

Back in 2021-22, I wrote a series of blog posts about a program called “topfew” (tf from your shell command-line). It finds the field values (or combinations of values) which appear most often in a stream of records. I built it to explore large-scale data crunching in Go, and to investigate how performance compared to Rust. There was plentiful input, both ideas and code, from Dirkjan Ochtman and Simon Fell. Anyhow, I thought I was finished with it but then I noticed I was using the tf command more days than not, and I have pretty mainstream command-line needs. Plus I got a couple of random pings about whether it was still live. So I turned my attention back to it on April 12th and on May 2nd pushed v1.0.0

Photointegrity

1970-01-01 08:00:00

In March of 2004, just over twenty years ago, I published an ongoing piece entitled, like this one, “Photointegrity”. The issue remains the same, but the rise of AI increases its importance and its difficulty. Here are words on the subject, illustrated by photos all of which have been processed with AI technology

Mobile Typing Pain

1970-01-01 08:00:00

I ran a Fediverse poll asking how people go about entering text on mobile devices. The results shocked me: Half the population just taps away. Do you? Read on for details and speculation

Meta.ai Oh My!

1970-01-01 08:00:00

“Meet Your New Assistant” says the announcement, going on with “Built With Llama 3”. And oh my goodness has it ever got a lot of coverage. So I thought I might as well try it

OSQI

1970-01-01 08:00:00

I propose the formation of one or more “Open Source Quality Institutes”. An OSQI is a public-sector organization that employs software engineers. Its mission would be to improve the quality, and especially safety, of popular Open-Source software

A057X

1970-01-01 08:00:00

Yes, “A057X” is cryptic, but my new lens’s official monicker is “150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD” so let’s stick with that part number. It’s from Tamron and this is the Fujifilm X-Mount variation. Lens-geeking is my favorite part of photo-geeking and it’s great that more manufacturers are opening up to third-party lens builders

Bye, Allyson

1970-01-01 08:00:00

She’s gone. She lived well. We’ll miss her

Play My Music

1970-01-01 08:00:00

When I’m away from home, I still want to listen to the music we have at home (well, I can live without the LPs). We had well over a thousand CDs so that’s a lot of music, 12,286 tracks ripped into Apple Lossless. Except for a few MP3s from, well, never mind. This instalment of the De-Google Project is about ways to do that with less Big-Tech involvement

The De-Google Project

1970-01-01 08:00:00

My family, like most, depends on a lot of online services. And again like most, a lot of those services come from Big Tech giants in general and (in our case) Google in particular. And like many people, we are becoming less comfortable with that. So I’m going to try to be systematic about addressing the problem. This post summarizes our dependencies and then I’ll post blog pieces about updates as I work my way through the list. (The first is already posted, see below.)

Money Bubble

1970-01-01 08:00:00

I think I’m probably going to lose quite a lot of money in the next year or two. It’s partly AI’s fault, but not mostly. Nonetheless I’m mostly going to write about AI, because it intersects the technosphere, where I’ve lived for decades

Social Photos

1970-01-01 08:00:00

I like taking pictures, and I like sharing pictures wherever I hang out online. A problem with this is knowing that the pictures will very rarely look as good in other people’s browsers and apps as they do to me in Lightroom on a big bright 4K screen. Thus this piece, a basic investigation of how photos are processed and transformed on Mastodon, Bluesky, and Threads

Vision 1993

1970-01-01 08:00:00

I’ve plowed through the first wave of AVP (Apple Vision Pro) reviews, and it seems pretty obvious that, at the current price and form factor, it’s not gonna be a best-seller. But I remain a strong believer in Augmented Reality (the AVP is VR not AR, for the moment). As I was diving into the reviews, a little voice in the back of my head kept saying “I once read about what this is trying to be.”

DC Again

1970-01-01 08:00:00

For the second time this winter I’ve been to Washington and back. Herewith pictures and feelings. Everyone’s seen plenty of photos of The Capital City Of The United States so I’ve tried for fresh views. My feelings are more mainstream than my pictures, I’m pretty sure; the stories DC tells aren’t subtle

Lofree Flow

1970-01-01 08:00:00

Back in 2008, I complained here about Apple keyboards. Apple still hasn’t addressed my complaint (hard to believe, I know). So, 15 years later, as in late 2023, I picked up a Lofree “Flow”, which I gather had a Kickstarter and advertises itself as “The smoothest mechanical keyboard”. I’ve been using it long enough to offer opinions

Mourning Google

1970-01-01 08:00:00

On March 15, 2010, I started a new job at Google. The fourteen years since that day feel like a century. The title of my announcement was Now A No-Evil Zone and, OK, I can hear the laughing from ten timezones away. I tried, then, to be restrained, but there are hardly words to describe how happy and excited I was. I had escaped from the accretion disk the former Sun Microsystems was forming around Oracle, that blackest of holes. And Google, in 2010, was the coolest place in the world to work

Five Electric-Jag Years

1970-01-01 08:00:00

I got a note from Jaguar advising that my free five-year “InControl Remote and Protect” subscription was expiring and would be $99/year (Canadian) going forward. That’s right, this month is five years since I picked up our 2019 Jaguar I-Pace and joined the EV tribe. Thus this (final?) visit to the Jaguar Diary series