7 min read

Tab Sweep: Everything Else

November 21st tab sweep of articles in the everything else category.
Tab Sweep: Everything Else

I named my first post on this Yet Another Place to Post back in March of this year and didn't get much further. I am doing a lot of writing these days, across a lot of different contexts, and yet I still feel behind in doing at least some sharing about interesting things trapped in my open tabs.

I recently dumped a tab sweep on Expand/Contract, the crypto-focused Discourse forum I run for learning and sharing. It is focused on art/music/crypto, some local Vancouver activities, and a launch pad for side projects. For example, I'm looking for a generative artist to design and build an algorithm of virtual barnacle growth. Let me know if there's someone you know that would be interested.

My day job at Fission is about a superset of "crypto", web3: distributed systems, decentralized identity, user owned data, encryption, and so on, so I tend to use those internal and public channels to share content on those topics.

So, consider this a tab sweep of "everything else".

Science upside for Starship, Casey Handmer

A post about SpaceX Starship and Starlink scientific use cases. Many different potential use cases are covered, this one about Starlink doing massive of scanning of Earth's weather system and surface was pretty mind blowing:

[Starlink's] radio encoding scheme adapts the signal rate to measured atmospheric opacity along the signal line of sight across 10 different frequency bands in real time. Collectively, the system measures trillions of baselines of Earth’s entire atmosphere every day. This data, fed into standard tomography algorithms such as those used by medical CT imagers, can resolve essentially all weather structure in the atmosphere. No more careful scrutiny of remote weather station pressure gauge measurements. No more reliance on single mission oxygen emission line broadening. Instead, complete real time resolution of the present state of the entire atmosphere, a gift for weather prediction and climate study.

via GregS, who keeps me up to date with Tesla / SpaceX / Starlink news

Founders – is now the best time to start a Deeptech venture? Georg Glatz

[But what is Deeptech actually?] Some requiring deeptech ventures to have both high R&D and product-market fit risk, others defining it along the lines of software versus hardware, or specific topics including areas such as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), IoT, DevOps, industrial software, material science, biotech, etc. So pretty much any venture which was harder to understand than an online marketplace and did not follow the normal SaaS model.

The interest and startup funding in the space has risen as B2B startups become commoditized. That is, many founders can build profitable SaaS startups without venture funding, and also makes the spectrum of competition in any category broader, making it harder for startups to generate venture sized returns.

And so, venture funding looks for "harder" problems, many of which fall into this deeptech bucket.

With Fission, I think we're building a "deeptech" startup. We are working on hard computer science R&D problems, and success is not just marketing and distribution, but rather gathering a set of people with the right skills, and working on the right problem – and finding customers for the output of our R&D.

This roughly goes into a future of venture category that I've been tracking for many years. Venture Scouts is the Discourse forum where I share resources and support founders and funders.

(See, I told you I have a lot of different places I write!)

Cloudflare R2

R2 builds on Cloudflare’s commitment to the Bandwidth Alliance, providing zero-cost egress for stored objects — no matter your request rate.  Egress bandwidth is often the largest charge for developers utilizing object storage and is also the hardest charge to predict.  Eliminating it is a huge win for open-access to data stored in the cloud.

That doesn’t mean we are shifting bandwidth costs elsewhere. Cloudflare R2 will be priced at $0.015 per GB of data stored per month — significantly cheaper than major incumbent providers.

Infrequent access to objects is often trivial for providers to support yet incurs the same per-operation charges. We don’t think it’s fair that typical object storage bills a developer making one request a second the same rate as an enterprise making thousands of requests a second — or frequently a higher rate when considering negotiated volume discounts.

This is Cloudflare's answer to Amazon's S3. Amazon charges "egress fees" – that is, actually accessing the data you store. These fees are 5x what it costs to store the data.

And Cloudflare is taking the egress fees to $0, which is a pretty big change.

Ben Thompson's Stratechery post Cloudflare's Disruption is useful companion reading to this release.

Cloudflare is building a full edge stack architecture and is one of the few large companies directly challenging Amazon and the other hyperclouds by changing the architecture of computing. What they're working on resonates strongly with what we're doing at Fission. Except, we've chosen to define "edge" as the client itself, including local-first, offline software.

Tools for Thought

What is a Distributed Knowledge Graph?, Joel Gustafson

Tools for Thought continues to be an interest of mine, and it overlaps with the work we're doing at Fission around edge apps and personal data. With Jess Martin, I've been running a monthly speaker series at ToolsForThought.Rocks.

This article is part of the Underlay project, whose goal is to create a distributed public knowledge graph. And so the article attempts to define this beyond just the purely technical aspects.

This is by the Knowledge Futures Group. Here's an intro from their 2021 Annual Report that was also just released:

Knowledge Futures Group is a nonprofit organization that builds infrastructure for a more effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy. Our commitment to this mission has deepened as the past year continued our experience that those who most fundamentally produce new knowledge have insufficient control over how their work is captured, disseminated, and evaluated. The power instead rests with those incentivized by something other than producing high-quality knowledge — be it financial gain or political power. As we wrestle with this misalignment and the challenges faced by society in the past year, we find ourselves repeatedly asking: How do you best produce high quality knowledge in an internet landscape?

I have wanted better tools for thought since I started blogging 20+ years ago, and the past two years have finally shown an inkling of tools, interest, and processes that we might be getting closer.

Is the interest and usage of tools for thought similar to the rise of blogging that led us to Web2?

We did end up in a thread about whether "tools for thought" is too pretentious or otherwise mis-named to have more people adopt it.

Real-Time Apps and Thinking about Thinking, Jess Martin

Speaking of Jess Martin, here is his latest newsletter, covering programming environments, web3, TFT, and real time collaboration. While I might call this "everything else", all of these themes are coming together in my personal and professional interests.

Tools embody mediums, Jess Martin

To make this concrete, I have a workflow around reading that includes the way I research, select, and collect reading material, from books to essays and articles, the times and places where I read them, the practices I use during and after reading. All of these processes fit together to form my reading workflow. There are a dozen or more tools I use, most of which don't interoperate in any meaningful way, and span the digital and the analog. My reading workflow spans days and weeks, and locations ranging from my office, my bedroom, park benches, in cars and on planes.

And another one from Jess!

I have been thinking about what capabilities and "jobs to be done" and workflows are connected with tools for thought.

My [[Second Brain]] entry is a long ago started WIP that was going down this cataloging route.

The Athens Research release listed the 80% features:

The things we call blogs and wikis and bookmarks and CRMs all have certain norms and forms.

On the other hand, if we have user programmable tools – as embodied by TiddlyWiki in the most malleable case – then all of these things are possible. What does the default form of a note taking app that can expand to work with any information nudge people to create? What's the "out of the box" experience, or default UI components, that will nudge a person to explore usage in one direction or another?

Good Tweets

My usage of my [[reMarkable]] has languished. I'm not about to buy one of these Android-powered Boox e-ink tablets, but it's probably the direction I would recommend:

I'm on record as explaining that plain text / markdown is not a universal format that is going to help us with interchange between systems.

A thread on art critic Dave Hickey, who passed away. I need to educate myself more on art appreciation and critique, so this was an interesting summary of potential reading.