Ask HN: What are some blog posts that you have enjoyed going through?

154 points by newsoul 17 days ago

I am giving individual posts more weightage than a blog. You are free to mention the entire blog if you think everything there is worthwhile.

Mention some blog posts that you still remember for what it served to you.

One example may be this Mechanical Watch description: https://ciechanow.ski/mechanical-watch/

petercooper 17 days ago

Almost everything https://blog.benjojo.co.uk/ puts out. It is all very much about pushing around in protocols, devices, networking, and playing around with things that most people don't think about. There are very few blogs that hit the mark with most of the posts, but that's one that sticks in my mind. If you want some specific ones though: https://blog.benjojo.co.uk/post/dive-into-the-world-of-dos-v... https://blog.benjojo.co.uk/post/traceroute-haikus https://blog.benjojo.co.uk/post/dell-switch-hacking https://blog.benjojo.co.uk/post/dns-filesystem-true-cloud-st...

fool1987 17 days ago

https://samkriss.substack.com/p/the-internet-is-already-over

CW: gore in header image, about one page long. PgDn gets it out of view on a 1080p screen

Posted on HN a while back. It's slightly bleak in outlook but it was what finally pushed me to take serious steps to reduce my presence online. Got rid of all my apps that weren't strictly for comms and deleted most of my socials accounts. I already feel better for the change.

  • lengomango 17 days ago

    I also really enjoyed this more recent post by the same guy:

    https://samkriss.substack.com/p/welcome-to-hell

    Basically he makes the argument (I think slightly tongue in cheek) that Twitter is analogous to a certain understanding of the Christian Hell, in that it's not a form of suffering you're condemned to, but a form of suffering you actively seek out. More deep social media commentary, but there's also some interesting tidbits in there about different theories of Hell, from ancient Chinese grave inscriptions to CS Lewis.

    "Everyone acts as if the problem with Twitter is the other people, and the agony of having to look at their terrible opinions, but they keep saying the truth. Hellsite hellsite hellsite. The problem is you. The problem with Twitter is that you are a demon in Hell."

    • fool1987 17 days ago

      Ooh thanks, I will have a read

  • q-base 17 days ago

    I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    It is bleak and in-your-face. But I like it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with his underlying message, that all of it is just distractions, that may keep you from living.

    • fool1987 17 days ago

      Exactly!

      Interestingly it has prompted some reflection on my part about the whole remote vs on-site work debate: my entire contact with my colleagues with the exception of rare days on-site is via the internet. This makes me wonder about how the continued lack of genuine, regular face-to-face interaction will affect the business long-term; I already feel a distinct social divide between those of us who were at the company long term pre-WFH vs those of us (including me) who joined afterwards.

      I definitely notice I engage significantly more with project that require me to communicate more with my colleagues and I can only imagine how that is amplified if I was actually in the same room as them (I entered the workforce in late 2020 and have never worked full-time in an office longer than summer internships).

      The same goes for hobbies - things such as outdoor persuits with an in-person social aspect (e.g. caving, cycling, climbing etc) are millions of times more fulfilling for me than those that are equally social but online only (e.g. weekly video games and TTRPG night with my university friends).

      Particularly eye-opening for me because I have very much grown up online and I guess I just didn't notice the difference between socialising online vs in person until I began to socialise online significantly more than in-person.

      So yeah this article really inspired some introspection on my part! As you said: good to recognise distraction vs engagement; artificial vs organic.

      • andreysolsty 17 days ago

        >> I entered the workforce in late 2020 and have never worked full-time in an office longer than summer internships

        I don’t mean to dismiss your point entirely. Even as someone who prefers WFH I can’t deny there are some benefits to the office. However the grass is always greener. Pre-Covid my days in the office involved sitting at my desk, working alone. A short lunch with colleagues. More sitting at my desk working alone, occasionally jumping on a Zoom meeting. A lot of the time people are just getting things done and collaboration is minimal. Moving this back in office actually doesn’t make much difference, you’re just alone in a group setting. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone and all jobs but I feel it’s applicable to a lot of tech work.

        • fool1987 17 days ago

          That is a very reasonable point and I have been trying hard to be objective and avoid "grass is greener" thinking.

          From the short periods when I have worked in offices in-person, you are correct that the lion's share of the time is spent working alone on projects just as it is when working from home. However, where I did internships, I made friends among my colleagues and would eat lunch with them (and Fridays everyone went to the pub for a longer lunch); further, people would talk to each other in passing while we were working and there was a distinct feeling of "collective enterprise" and solidarity that helped to push through the inevitable tedious aspects of the work. Even though the socialisation wasn't often at all work-related, it made the work easier and more enjoyable. I do accept that this argument is dependant on working in a company whose social culture is suited to you, which is not easy to find.

          All that said, there is nothing that can compare to WFH for "deep work," where you know what you are doing and just need time to get on with it withoug anyone breathing down your neck. For that reason, I don't think I could ever work full-time on-site and would always aim for a balanced hybrid model, if given the choice.

          I guess a lot of it comes down to solitude vs loneliness: the line between the two can be distressingly thin.

          • q-base 17 days ago

            Personally I underestimated the effect of small, on the surface unimportant, human interactions. I love being alone and I recharge from solitude. But the small encounters at the coffee machine or just smiling to a colleague is still human interactions where another human being recognises you and you have a brief connection.

            During covid and WFH I did not have those and that had a noticably negative impact on my mental wellbeing. Even to the point that I thought everyone else was the culprit and if only I had to deal less with people then it would get better. But that was not the case.

            WFH is of course different if you have a family around you, but I still think that there is an important factor in seeing other people even if it feels superficial. That was at least my own conclusion.

    • LoganDark 17 days ago

      > I wholeheartedly agree with his underlying message, that all of it is just distractions, that may keep you from living.

      For me, it's the opposite. The internet is my life. It's the only way in which I may live in the first place.

      I have autism, ADHD, and DID, which prevent me from expressing myself properly in Real Life. However, I can express myself extremely well over the internet, with close friends, and do things that you can't do in real life (multimedia and such).

      While I believe some parts of the internet can be just distractions, in particular social media like TikTok and Twitter, some parts are so, so important to me, like Discord, which I use to talk to friends. And it's not important because I'm distracting myself or subjecting myself to torture. It's important to me because it keeps me in contact with other real people that I get to talk to instantly every single day and express myself in exactly the way that I want.

      It's not just a distraction.

  • LoganDark 17 days ago

    CW: gore in header image, about one page long. PgDn gets it out of view on a 1080p screen

    (Just warning those who might not want to see it)

    • PostOnce 17 days ago

      The "gore" in question being a 400 year old painting by Rubens which is world-renowned.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_(Rubens)

      Does this really need a warning, or should you just avoid the internet entirely if a Rubens is too much to cope with?

      • fool1987 17 days ago

        It doesn't bother me particularly and I must admit I barely noticed it (hence no original CW) but there is more to other people than I could ever understand; if I can take thirty seconds of my time to prevent someone seeing something that makes them uncomfortable (especially given it is not exactly expected in this context), why not do so?

        It costs me so little and could benefit others so much, the same as most other good manners in our culture, like saying "please," and "thank you."

      • hallomisky 15 days ago

        It sounds like you think the painting's age means that it no longer has power, or at least, not power enough to warrant a content-warning. I would beg to differ, and argue that the fact that it still has the power to shock is what makes it "world-renowned".

    • fool1987 17 days ago

      Thanks, I have added this to my comment so it is more visible.

  • yackback 17 days ago

    I know that by god my entire user history is turning into this type of comment, but you should read Baudrillard's Simulation and Simulacra.

  • thundergolfer 17 days ago

    If you loved that post, I think you might love No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood.

  • rolandas 17 days ago

    That's an interesting essay, thanks for sharing.

ipnon 17 days ago

“Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future” by Tim Urban convinced me that neural laces and their development is feasible, probable and imminently worthwhile. It made it clear that visionaries like Musk seem like total lunatics unless you break problems down into their absolute atomic principles. His drawings are also really funny. He blows the brain up to the size of Madison Square Garden and shows that at this scale each cubic meter has 40,000 neurons in it, a complex system in itself that becomes near incomprehensible once you factor in the rest of the blown up cortex that would take half an hour to walk around. You get a sense for the immense difficulty and yet deterministic physics of the problem.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

  • ramraj07 17 days ago

    Musk is the type of person you should be prepared to simultaneously deride but also learn from. The jackassery he’s up to now, and the abuse he inflicts on his workers everywhere, coexist with the fact that he single handedly transformed the space industry and accelerated EV adoption and made inroads in BCI.

    There are also then these self contradictory Elon hit pieces where they’ll simultaneously say he’s not responsible for the success of any of these companies, but also smart enough to invent hyper loop and boring company because he has an agenda to derail californias public transport infrastructure. Pick a side people!

  • dmak 17 days ago

    Wow thats cool!

she11c0de 17 days ago

Lesswrong blog by Eliezer Yudkowsky - deep dive into biases, rational thinking and acting. "The sequences" is a series of posts that explore the topic in depth, definitely influenced me when I was younger.

https://www.lesswrong.com/rationality

syliconadder 17 days ago

https://parmanu.com/2012/10/28/family-matters/#more-4671

A meditation on immigration and the opposite, "why someone would leave a good job for no other reason than to be close to family". This is a rich piece that I've always gone back to over the past decade. The rest of the blog is equally as brilliant.

  • ramraj07 17 days ago

    I’m Indian, moved a decade to the states and back in india for family reasons. I also love Tokyo Story. I’m not sure I learned anything profound from the article, it’s more like a superficial recollection of observations about family and different cultures maybe?

    I’m sure Germany is different from the States, so I’m not gonna say I’m an expert at German culture, but suffice to say that beneath the surface of whatever tapestry familial dynamics take in each culture, in the end there’s both rotten and good aspects to each family, often precipitated by the vagaries of human nature.

    The more I travel and experience new places and cultures, the more I realize absolutely nothing is that different in a fundamental level. By my estimation 80% of all people are fundamentally capable of great evil in the right circumstances, and no religion or family dynamic changes that, it can just successfully suppress it at best. The two great countries described in the article are also coincidentally the two countries attributed with some of the greatest atrocities in “developed world” history, for whatever that’s worth.

    A mother in law sending a tomato plant every year is no more or less loving than a mother who meets their son once a year for thanksgiving, or a grandma eagerly FaceTiming her grandkids across the world every weekend barely able to understand their fast American English. In the end, all we could wish for is a world where everyone minds their own business, forms whatever friends with whomever they want, and live and love they wish to without prejudice. That’s probably the best deal we can get from this world.

    • syliconadder 16 days ago

      I think the superficiality is fair for a personal blog post.

      I don't think the author is criticizing the Indian family system as a whole (his other posts are an indication of the opposite) but is lamenting on the ease with which educated Indians find removing themselves from their family to be easy, which is not as prevalent (anecdotal) in Germany. It would make sense, because in the West people are where the opportunities are, unlike say an Indian or Chinese immigrant.

      > The more I travel and experience new places and cultures, the more I realize absolutely nothing is that different in a fundamental level. By my estimation 80% of all people are fundamentally capable of great evil in the right circumstances, and no religion or family dynamic changes that, it can just successfully suppress it at best.

      I agree with this on every level. The more I travel, the more I see that people are motivated by the same things beneath the veneer of culture and religion. This is a feature I believe, makes me empathize with people who are different from me rather than seeing them as "alien".

      > A mother in law sending a tomato plant every year is no more or less loving than a mother who meets their son once a year for thanksgiving, or a grandma eagerly FaceTiming her grandkids across the world every weekend barely able to understand their fast American English.

      This is a point I would differ with however. Being in close proximity with people does effect the nature of relationships we have with them. In the latter case, neither the kids nor the Grandma will have the emotional cohesion required to form a solid bonding. I can speak this through experience, video calls with relatives did not enhance my relationship with them but only deteriorated. Again, anecdotal but I think physical relationships fare better than emotional ones any day.

      > In the end, all we could wish for is a world where everyone minds their own business, forms whatever friends with whomever they want, and live and love they wish to without prejudice. That’s probably the best deal we can get from this world.

      Fair, but I don't think the author is passing any judgements. But most immigrants do not have a choice in the nature of their relationships, money is usually the motivator, not inter-personal relationships.

nickspicer1993 17 days ago

https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/your-book-review-progr...

A book review winner outlining "land value tax". Once you read it it's scary how many things you start to notice that it would solve, and how many inefficient policies are put in place but not required if you solve this ultimate underlying issue.

  • lannisterstark 16 days ago

    >Once you read it it's scary how many things you start to notice that it would solve

    0. It would solve 0 things. It'll just give the US govt for example, more money to bomb our villages and our people.

    I can't believe grown-up adults can be this naive.

    • nickspicer1993 4 days ago

      I find the linked article pretty convincing but admit it's not my area of expertise at all, do you have any resources refuting it?

jelicicm 17 days ago

This lovely presentation of how GPS works: https://ciechanow.ski/gps/ Same website has several other, equally cool, blog posts.

  • sourcecodeplz 17 days ago

    Almost each of his blog posts could have easily been made into a small book. Though his animations (canvas) would not have the same effect on paper/kindle obliviously.

    It's a great resource and kind of answers one of yesterdays question about posting consistent vs posting quality.

    Out of curiosity I googled "mechanical watch explained" and what do you know, he is the second result.

thedailymail 17 days ago

I'm going to hijack this post to ask for help locating a blogpost I read via an HN link a few (4ish) years ago. It was written by an academic studying infrastructure in the developing world. The subject was construction of a public transport network in a large city (Lahore? Lagos?), and his difficulties in obtaining reliable data from public sources on basic features like scale, budget, and schedule.

What made the post interesting was how he drily cited multiple official sources to show that none were in agreement. Something like "The new trunk line will stretch 74 km." [link 1] "It cover 89 km end to end." [link 2] "All told, the line will add 107 km of new track." [link 3] etc. etc.

So basically it functioned both as an account of his research and a tacit commentary on the problems that arise from dealing with unreliable official sources. If that rings a bell for anyone, I'd be very grateful for a link!

ramraj07 17 days ago

Dan Luu’s Nothing Works article is a must read for every tech person https://danluu.com/nothing-works/

  • wizwit999 16 days ago

    I can't disagree with this article more and it's exactly why Twitter is ridiculously over engineered. I remember chatting with a Twitter DevOps guy and there's multiple internal Grafana clones instead of just using Grafana.

  • scrollaway 17 days ago

    Wow. What a post. Thank you.

    • ramraj07 17 days ago

      Indeeed, I share it with as many colleagues as possible. I consider myself one of those insane engineers lol. So it helps show that perspective!

rado 17 days ago

The 100% correct way to do CSS breakpoints https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/the-100-correct-way-to-do-... Still needed 5 years later, yet ironically soon breakpoint will be gone

  • jpnc 17 days ago

    > soon breakpoint will be gone

    First I've heard of it. Any links? My search-fu seems to be lacking.

    • rado 17 days ago

      It's called "the intrinsic web". Things like flexbox and grid with content-aware sizing will eventually make the breakpoints obsolete. https://adactio.com/links/19047

    • selectnull 17 days ago

      I guess they said breakpoints would be gone because of css container queries. Nothing else comes to my mind.

      Technically, that means media size queries will be gone, and not the breakpoints themselves.

tester756 17 days ago

https://joeduffyblog.com/2015/11/03/blogging-about-midori/

>Midori was a research/incubation project to explore ways of innovating throughout Microsoft’s software stack. This spanned all aspects, including the programming language, compilers, OS, its services, applications, and the overall programming models. We had a heavy bias towards cloud, concurrency, and safety. The project included novel “cultural” approaches too, being 100% developers and very code-focused, looking more like the Microsoft of today and hopefully tomorrow, than it did the Microsoft of 8 years ago when the project began.

iLoveOncall 17 days ago

I'm not sure what is the value of this post? HackerNews is literally all about sharing blog posts and upvoting the ones you enjoy.

You're just reinventing HN on HN here...

  • newsoul 17 days ago

    Yes, I love recursion. Haha!

themadturk 17 days ago

Jimmy Maher's in-depth, amateur history of adventure gaming (and the various systems that they ran on), The Digital Antiquarian, can be found at https://www.filfre.net. (Several previous posts re: The Digital Antiquarian have appeared on HN).

mb-21 17 days ago

Several years ago the New York Times had a really cool visualization of Hurricane Harvey’s weather pattern; turns out the author published a guide of how they did it:

https://roadtolarissa.com/hurricane/

madhusree1209 16 days ago

Funnl is world’s first AI prospecting tool. Give your 3 existing customers and it provides 50 prospects list. You can find the very interesting blog regarding business and sales. https://funnl.ai/blog/

smokel 17 days ago

Not sure if this counts as a blog, but I really liked Distill: https://distill.pub/ The articles explain machine learning concepts in a very clear and sometimes interactive way.