Tuesday 7 February, 2023

The Public Sphere, French style

Seen outside a lovely town in Burgundy.

Quote of the Day

”’Living’ carries echoes of The Remains of the Day, the 1993 film of Ishiguro’s famous, novel, in which Anthony Hopkins stars as a butler whose soul has been ironed flat, like a tablecloth.”

  • Anthony Lane, reviewing the film ‘Living’ in which Bill Nighy stars as a civil servant suffering from a terminal illness. (New Yorker, 26 Dec 2022)

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Norah Jones | Sunrise (live in Amsterdam )


Long Read of the Day

What you need to know about Mastodon

Nice (and illuminating) introduction by Glenn Fleischmann. I particularly liked this metaphor:

You can think of Mastodon as a flotilla of boats of vastly different sizes, whereas Twitter is like being on a cruise ship the size of a continent. Some Mastodon boats might be cruise liners with as many as 50,000 passengers; others are just dinghies with a single occupant! The admin of each instance—the captain of your particular boat—might make arbitrary decisions you disagree with as heartily as with any commercial operator’s tacks and turns. But you’re not stuck on your boat, with abandoning ship as the only alternative. Instead, you can hop from one boat to another without losing your place in the flotilla community. Parts of a flotilla can also splinter off and form their own disconnected groups, but no boat, however large, is in charge of the community.

The irrational exuberance of tech giants

Om Malik explains

An unprecedented boom in Silicon Valley that started with the once-in-a-generation convergence of three mega trends: mobile, social, and cloud computing, has peaked. It started in 2010, and it has been bananas around here for the past decade or so. The FAANG+Microsoft companies saw their revenues go from $196 billion to over $1.5 Trillion. Let that sink in. Booming stocks helped create an environment of excess like never before. 

The companies got into the business of what Paul Kedrosky calls “people hoarding.” The pandemic and the resulting growth revved up the hiring machine even more. The over-hiring of talent has led to wage inflation, which had a ripple effect across the entire technology ecosystem. Technology insiders are happy to tell non-tech companies to use data and automation as tools to plan their future. It is easier to preach than practice. 

Why does Google need close to 200,000 employees? Or does Microsoft need 225,000 people? Salesforce, till recently, had about 73,500 employees. Profitable as these companies have been, it is also clear that they have become sloppy and bloated.

Funny how the laws of economic gravity eventually have to be obeyed.

Top programming languages in 2023

From Tech Republic

Based on what employers say they want in job candidates

Based on the analysis, here are the top 10 programming languages for 2023 along with the number of open full-time jobs and each language’s ranking on Coding Dojo’s list for 2022:

Python: 68,534 jobs (No. 2 in 2022) SQL: 57,971 jobs (No. 3) Java: 57,236 jobs (No. 1) JavaScript: 48,041 jobs (No. 4) C: 35,702 jobs (No. 7) C++: 35,281 jobs (No. 5) Go: 32,503 jobs (No. 8) C#: 29,084 jobs (No. 6) Assembly: 14,866 jobs (No. 10) MATLAB: 8,504 jobs (previously unranked)

I’m not surprised Python is still tops. Even I can use it. And ChatGPT speaks Python too.

My commonplace booklet

The Seven Ages of Man

  1. Screaming baby
  2. Bratty kid
  3. Obnoxious teen
  4. Over-confident hipster
  5. Oblivious dude
  6. Smug retiree
  7. Old geezer

(From a New Yorker cartoon.)

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