🙘 New book now out: lcamtuf.coredump.cx/prep/ 🙚 Homepage: lcamtuf.coredump.cx Short videos: piped.kavin.rocks/futmacl

Joined June 2009
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Practical Doomsday is here. So are COVID-19 printing woes. ✅ Buy an ebook from No Starch and start reading today. ✅ Order a paper copy from them, get an ebook now + a physical book in January. 🍄 Order on Amazon and get it at some point in Q1. More: lcamtuf.coredump.cx/prep/
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Episode #2 of my woodworking series is now up. This weekend's project: a walnut cutting board with a knot pattern inlay. Watch the clip: piped.kavin.rocks/watch?v=fxvFSde_… I'm trying to make videos that have more action and less talk than usual for the genre. Feedback appreciated!
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Rik Farrow's review of "Practical Doomsday": "I had been wary of the potential tie-in to preppers [...] I soon wished I had been able to read these words of wisdom when I was much younger, and wanted to send print versions off to each of my wife's kids." usenix.org/publications/logi…
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Thread: I had debates with folks working at big tech companies who fiercely rejected criticisms of their own work - only to level the same at their competitors. I talked to Apple folks convinced they're fighting the good fight against Google, Googlers united against Apple, etc.
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The argument was simple: in their world, they're trying to do what's right and their executives have our backs. The other side, on the other hand, is making decisions that clearly reek of malice or self-interest.
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I think this is similar to the cognitive bias that leads most people to conclude that they drive better than others. We observe hundreds of mistakes made by strangers, but we don't know what prompted their clumsiness. The simplest explanations is malice or poor skill.
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In contrast, when we mess up, some force majeure always justifies it: a sudden distraction, a stressful day at work, a hurry to get to an appointment we can’t miss. In other words, it’s not the lack of skill; it’s the circumstances that made us skip a beat.
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In tech, we are prone to "drift by exclusion". In essence, people think long and hard, and then consult far and wide, before making any change to their products that jeopardizes the business model of their company. It's just the right thing to do.
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The barrier to righteous changes that harm other people's livelihoods is not nearly as high. It's easy to take on bad players that aren't us. You don't need endless debates to ban gun part sales on your platform or demonetize some fringe clickbait.
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Neither option is off the table and you appreciate the freedom you have to do what's right. But over time, because of the differing difficulty curves, you end up making more decisions that align with your business incentives than go against the grain.
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This subtle decision imbalance compounds over time. This drift is something we need to recognize and actively counter, and it has nothing to do with cynicism, incompetence, or malice of the people involved.
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Advice thread: a side hustle I don't usually tweet about is photography. I've been doing it since the 90s, developing my own film and all that. It was not a serious artistic pursuit, but I enjoyed having vacation or pet photos that looked better than usual. Here are some tips...
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First, about 90% of a good photo is light. In places such as California, for most of the day much of the year, the natural light is too harsh for outdoor photography, especially portraits. You either need to time your outings (dawn, dusk) or use reflectors or lamps.
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The problem with such equipment is that it's bulky; if you can't carry it on a routine trip and can't be bothered to set it up indoors, it's not worth much. Thankfully, there are portable options. Check out Westcott Ice Light 2. Li-poly roll-up LED mats are nice, too.
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The next secret is subject separation. You need a way to make your subject stand out. Large-sensor cameras with fast lenses give you shallow depth-of-field. Careful lighting or background framing can help, too. But in the end, good bokeh can make a landfill look nice.
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After that, you need to focus on color - something that you have more control over in post, but you need to make an effort to fix. White balance is important to avoid weird color casts, but so is spotting cool color combinations in the wild; selective toning can help, too.
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People will tell you that composition is important, but it isn't. Or rather, composition won't save a badly-lit photo, and the rules are there mostly to break them whenever you can. For example, they tell you not to put stuff dead center in the frame. That's bunk.
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Phones do some impressive image processing right now, including fake bokeh, HDR, and so forth; but the best way to learn is probably to retain manual control. Large-sensor mirrorless cameras are pretty lightweight and capable, and worth running on "manual". That is all.
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A pretty cool retrospective (and some new tricks) for cross-site browsing history leaks: arturjanc.com/visited-delend…
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