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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Midway through a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci and I’m convinced if he were alive today he wouldn’t have a GitHub account. All local private repos. All unfinished. All brilliant.

Tourists will ruin Iceland

If you go to any scenic area in the United States you’ll see countless warning, prohibited, and no trespassing signs. In some areas it nearly ruins the experience of seeing some of these amazing places.

In Iceland, however, you don’t see many at all. Icelanders are extremely welcoming to tourists and its landscape is relatively unmarred by these distractions.

The only way this works is if people are considerate of the land, wildlife, terrain that they are visiting while on the island. But, people being people, this won’t last. And with Iceland becoming the most Instagrammed country over the last few years – it is bound to be ruined just like every other tourist destination on our beautiful planet.

This report, from the BBC, remarks how this is happening and Icelanders are rightfully getting miffed.

The Nordic country has long been considered an “Instagrammable destination” but now locals say the island has an issue with inconsiderate influencers.

We spoke to a few Icelanders when we visited in 2018. Overall they welcome tourists. The people we spoke to had positive things to say about how tourism has helped the economy of Iceland. But I don’t think that is going to last. I think the people living there will begin to regret how their country is impacted by having so many visitors and want to go back to when they had less but yet had so much more.

Libra (the new cryptocurrency) must-reads

So Facebook, among others, announced a new cryptocurrency and blockchain called Libra. You’ve likely already seen the headlines. But perhaps you’re wondering what it means, what makes Libra any different than, say, Bitcoin, or perhaps you have other questions.

I did too. So I’ve rounded up a few links that helped me gain some perspective on this announcement. As with all things crypto, it is fascinating to see all of this play out.

Libra White Paper:

We believe that collaborating and innovating with the financial sector, including regulators and experts across a variety of industries, is the only way to ensure that a sustainable, secure and trusted framework underpins this new system. And this approach can deliver a giant leap forward toward a lower-cost, more accessible, more connected global financial system.

This white paper lays out the problem, the proposed solution, and even a roadmap for the future of the currency/payments system. It reads well-enough and it a good place to start.

Wired’s article on this announcement:

The Libra Association will consist at first of up to 100 founding members including Facebook, each of which will invest at least $10 million to fund the association’s operations, and receive interest earned off the reserve. (Libra’s NGO members are exempted from the investment requirement.) Each member will be empowered to operate a node on the blockchain, and have a voice in determining changes to its code and managing the reserve.

As reporters are good at, the Wired piece distills the main points of the effort as well as provides context around the crypto-market in general. Adds some flavor to the entire thing.

Ben Thompson’s excellent take:

The best way to understand Libra, then, is as a sort of distributed ledger that is a compromise between a fully public blockchain and an internal database […] This means that the overall system is much more efficient than Bitcoin, while the necessary level of trust is spread out to multiple entities, not one single company…

At this point, I’d call Libra a pseudo-distributed blockchain backed cryptocoin. Rather than network nodes being managed by anyone they are managed by “qualified” entities. And so is the underlying software.

This is yet-another-option in the crypto-market. Something sort of like other coins but different enough that it deserves to exist. Hardliner crypto peeps may take offense to any amount of oversight on something like a cryptocoin but it is bound to occur. This won’t be the last cryptocoin/payments system you see created that has institutional backing and oversight. In fact, it isn’t the first. See JPM Coin from JP Morgan.

Again, I’m fascinated by this space and I will continue to watch as the markets, coins, payment systems, blockchains, and companies spearheading this new territory evolve.

Om Malik, on his photo journey

Om:

I find using a 24mm wide angle lens, a 90 mm medium telephoto, or a 280 mm tele lens akin to using saffron in my rice or black salt in my lentils – flavors that are beautiful in their restraint.

I like reading his perspective on this. Less is definitely more. And constraints breed creativity. It is something I very much subscribe to myself with many things in life. And I’m drawn to some things that focused on constraints such as early Instagram or The White Stripes.

With my own photography, however, I view each tool as a different camera for a different project. I have a few select lenses for my DSLR, I use my Pixel 2 XL profusely, and I also have a DJI Phantom 4 Pro to be my eye in the sky. Some photos I’d never be able to capture using a single lens.

Along the way, whenever I hit a wall, as I do with all my questions, I turned to YouTube for the answers. It is a marvelous school, with easy-to-find tips and tricks galore.

I find YouTube indispensable.

I have been experimenting with editing my older photos with my new workflow and making interpretations of those archival images. But the biggest realization this has produced is that, unless the photos start off on the right foot inside the camera, it is difficult to reach a rewarding final interpretation.

I do this too. It is a fun exercise to see how you’d approach the editing of a photograph long after you’ve taken it. Like Om, I find that I would have shot the photo entirely differently just a few months or a year after I’ve taken it. Just like my palette has changed over the years (first, sweet wine then dry, first lighter beers than more bitter ones, first smokey scotches and now rye bourbons) so has my eye. And that is ok. The older photos aren’t worse or better – they were taken by a different person than I am today.

You can see Om’s photos on his photolog.

Whenever a beta is released for a major piece of my software stack I’m tempted to update. I factor in what I’m working on and whether or not it would effect my productivity. If it would, I don’t update. If not, I roll with it and report bugs as I can.

How Micro.blog’s Discover is curated

Jean MacDonald:

The Discover timeline has evolved and will continue to evolve with the community. The guidelines will evolve too. We want to have additional curators from the community. We need to build some tools to make that possible. It would be particularly nice to have curators who can encourage discussions and connections in languages other than English.

In the linked post she lays out how Discover is curated. It is nice this is now transparent. See also their Micro Monday wherein they answer a question from me re: this as well.

Demoed the React app I’ve been working on to our team today. It worked! Pretty excited about what we’re making with this. Fun project. Looking forward, though, to someone taking it off my hands soon. (Could it be you?)

The bear I mentioned. Turns out (after closer inspection and research) it is likely a ~400lb male black bear. At one point, I was about 10′ from him.

a black bear walking in a field

Saw a massive, 600+ pound black bear this evening at very close range. A story I won’t soon forget.

🔉 Listening to this week’s Micro Monday. My ears were burning! 🙂