Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

12 Jun 2023, 14:05 p.m.

Argument Clinic Video Plus Other Miscellany

It's been a busy time. I travelled a bunch in April and May, and June is a respite before I do more travel in July, including family stuff plus Readercon mid-month. I'm trying to get back into the groove of my regular client work. The AED location data bill just passed. NYC's air quality is going back to normal, for now, and I recognize that our household will needs to gear up and prepare for a near future in which the AQI is frequently bad. I have a few big blog posts cooking away, one on my current COVID risk mitigation approach, one on stuff I learned dealing with eldercare and end-of-life logistics -- plus of course I'm attempting to make progress on my maintainership skills book.

A few miscellaneous things:

PyCon US has published the video for the play "Argument Clinic: What Healthy Professional Conflict Looks Like" that Jacob Kaplan-Moss and I performed in April, directed by Kyle R. Conway. Here's our writeup of the seven key conflict resolution skills we illustrated in the play. Still to come: behind-the-scenes notes, and publishing the script and slides so you can perform it yourself.

Is it wise that the PurpleAir crowdsourced air quality map also lets you see each sensor's firmware version as one of the available data layers? Should I be able to zero in on that one sensor that's a few versions behind? Would this help me pwn something and get a foothold into their private network? Or just trick them into .... taking inappropriate risks based on falsified air quality data?

I caught a ride with friends of a friend on the way from Madison to Chicago after WisCon. The driver declared that he bowed to no one in asserting the charms of small Illinois towns, that he firmly believed every town held interest for the curious and persistent seeker .... except for Rockford. He further said that Cheap Trick escaped from Rockford, and that the more time you spend in Rockford, the more you will be impressed by that achievement. To honor them, we blasted Cheap Trick's "Surrender" as the highway rolled beneath us; I remembered the joyous road-trip stunt Conan O'Brien pulled years ago with that song as soundtrack. Surrender / surrender / but don't give yourself away.

A few weeks ago, Luis Villa interviewed me as part of Tidelift's new Upstream podcast, which aims to pull together interesting folks across different "open" domains for -- ultimately -- optimistic conversations. My episode is also an interview with the (demonstrably far more famous) Annie Rauwerda of Depths of Wikipedia. I brought to her attention a 2015 Wikidata edit to the item "Gettysburg Address" which changed "Instance of: oration" to "Instance of: poop". Sheer elegance in its simplicity.

I've been thinking about "Black Box Mechanics: And the Ethics of Gambling in Games" since I read it. James Ernest asks: "How do I know if my game is ethical / fair?...Is there such a thing as an ethical payout?....Does the quality of the experience increase with the stakes, or is it arbitrary?" and discusses a swimming pools analogy that resonates with me, not just about gambling and game design, but about making dangerous fun things in general. As I develop my stand-up comedy performances, I often come up with jokes that I decide to only tell in private: jokes that, to be safely enjoyed, require more credibility than I'd have with strangers. People have to let their guard down to laugh and I don't want to betray that trust.

In Madison, busking at the Saturday morning farmer's market, a man played -- a marimba? and I asked for Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, and he gave it a go, remembering more as he went. I've loved that song on steel percussion ever since I heard a subway busker do it on steel drums in 2006, just after I moved to New York.

I have nothing in particular to say about "a newfound discomfort with hypertext" by Maya, as usual, except that it's witty and perceptive and I am glad someone with my values is thinking so precisely about experiences I've shared or been near, as usual. "Is my ethic of link-justified hypertext a brace compensating for muscles I should develop?"

A very catchy song in a recent BBC Introducing Mixtape: Meet Me At The Bus Stop's "In Love With The Groove" (on YouTube; I also think this is a direct link to the song). I can't dance, can't shake, can't shimmy, can't bust a move / It doesn't matter 'cause I'll always be in love with the groove / I can't crump, but I feel the funk / I'ma step to the rhythm, I got nothin' to prove.