September 20, 2020

What artist came out of the gate with a debut album that blew you away and then failed to deliver the magic ever again (for you)?

One that comes to mind for me is The Mars Volta.

Jason Becker

September 19, 2020

I have to admit, at the start, I was quite skeptical, but The Devil All the Time was quite a good film, even if it was incredibly dark.

Jason Becker

September 18, 2020

I spent some time this morning grooming/cleaning up some old bugs from our list and it felt so good. Like a solid scaling job at the dentist.

Jason Becker

September 16, 2020

McGhee, the former Demos president, framed progressives’ decision-making as a matter of priorities. “You have to be committed to winning real gains for the people at every step of the way as you build power,” she said. Progressives “stopped fighting on Medicaid expansion in predominantly Black states, and people are dying because we only want to talk about Medicare for All.”

This great profile of Sean McElwee is also the perfect description of why I think the Left, and especially the DSA, are both horrificially bad at politics and making it harder to achieve the progressive goals I mostly share with them.

Jason Becker

September 15, 2020

After admiring the idea of drake for a long time, I think I finally have a problem that calls for using it.

Jason Becker

There’s not a ton in the Watch 6 for me, but the trade in value on my current Watch 4 is plenty high enough to make it a worthwhile upgrade.

Jason Becker

Blocktober is an idea I can get behind. Especially given how prone I am to doomscrolling in the lead up to an election that will have ridiculously high stakes.

Jason Becker

September 14, 2020

This review of Lurking: How a Person Became a User sure makes me want to read it. Sounds like it chronicles exactly what I loved, and now hate, about the internet.

Jason Becker

The last 6 months or so, roughly 9 years into writing #rstats, I’ve begun to feel very confident in my skills.

Can I do everything? Of course not. But I went months writing almost no code and came back to it with no hiccups. I feel fluent, at least in my corner.

Jason Becker

I had a lie down this evening and it basically restored me to health.

I’m a fucking character in an RPG.

Jason Becker

September 13, 2020

Hey #rstats, so I do a pattern like this all the time— essentially fill in missing values from some other data source. I feel like there must be some *_join or other incantation that does this cleaner… is there or should I just write my own utility function?

transactions %>%
  left_join(po_vendors, by = "po") %>%
  mutate(vendor = coalesce(vendor.x, vendor.y)) %>%
  select(-matches("\\..$"))
Jason Becker

Is it crazy to learn Phoenix and Elixir (and modern web dev) by writing a micropub server that does indieauth/accepts all the micropub end points and generates files for Hugo?

Jason Becker

Poppy Li is a critical character in our culture as a successful main character who does not own a car. In this essay, I will…

Jason Becker

September 12, 2020

Cucumbers— read the room. I’ve already harvested like a dozen. Stop growing so much. (actually this is awesome)

Cucumber plant in a Lettuce Grow
Jason Becker

I’ve added a new page to my blog, Uses. It’s a list of all the current hardware/software/services that I currently use.

I’ll be keeping all of the current categories up to date. I’d love to hear if there are other categories that I should add. I was considering home theater and kitchen gadgets.

Jason Becker

Advantage of my new world wearing contacts: no more worrying about the dog licking my glasses.

Disadvantage: oh my god that area under my eyes got really old in the last 24 yeras of glasses wearing.

Jason Becker

The one liberal value blands tend to elide is inequality, because while blands are, by definition, not opulent, neither are they bargain-basement. For the rich, blands are an ironic normcore trifle; for the aspiring middle, blands offer a fleeting facsimile of prosperity; and for the poor, blands are either the products they make, or the services they provide.

— Ben Schott, Welcome to Your Bland New World

I both loathe and love Blands myself. I am the target market, of course, but often find them disappointing relative to the standard bearers.

What I find attractive about most direct to consumer companies is not discussed too much in this article, which rightly criticizes their faux ethics and VC-backed rise and fall. No, what I like about most blands is an uncomplicated, consistent buying experience. Blands and their marketing buzz means I can get access to sufficient reviews and testimonials to know if the product is good. I can rely on an easy online shopping experience. Shipping is consistent and tracked. Return policies are reasonable.

It wasn’t long ago that none of this was a given on the web, and therefore your choices were in person shopping or Amazon. Or at least it seemed that way to me.

In that sense, the really disruption to Blands has not been their proliferation beyond what the market can bear, nor has it been the Instagram dropshipping clones. The real change has been Shopify, and to a lesser degree Stripe and Square, which have made it easier for small businesses to have the same solid online shopping experience that Blands had.

Increasingly when I buy online, I recognize the same store design, the same email confirmation, and the same shipping tracking. Thi s is not bland— my experience in stores is consistent when buying in brick-and-mortar stores, and this consistency online is welcome. It increases my personal trust. It’s enabling small businesses with quality products to have presence.

Most of the Blands don’t have much to offer me anymore. They can’t differentiate amongst themselves, and they can’t compete with quality products from companies who sell great products for a profit instead of blitzscaling.

Jason Becker

September 11, 2020


September 9, 2020

Some people need a drink when they’re in a bad mood. I need pizza. I literally feel 100% less cranky.

Jason Becker

I am not a mess or anything because of the ongoing semi-lockdown life, but I’m not good. I feel like I started this all at about 70% good and have just endured a slow slide, 1% a week since.

My mental and physical state is crap, by a thousand small cuts over 6 months.

Jason Becker