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The 2030 Self-Driving Car Bet

It's my honor to announce that John Carmack and I have initiated a friendly bet of $10,000* to the 501(c)(3) charity of the winner’s choice:By January 1st, 2030, completely autonomous self-driving cars meeting SAE J3016 level 5 will be commercially available for passenger use in major cities.I am betting against, and John is betting for.I have another...

Updating The Single Most Influential Book of the BASIC Era

In a way, these two books are responsible for my entire professional career.With early computers, you didn't boot up to a fancy schmancy desktop, or a screen full of apps you could easily poke and prod with your finger. No, those computers booted up to the command line.From here, if you were lucky, you might have a cassette tape drive. If you knew the...

Building a PC, Part IX: Downsizing

Hard to believe that I've had the same PC case since 2011, and my last serious upgrade was in 2015. I guess that's yet another sign that the PC is over, because PC upgrades have gotten really boring. It took 5 years for me to muster up the initiative to get my system fully upgraded! 🥱I've been slogging away at this for quite some time now. My PC build...

The Rise of the Electric Scooter

In an electric car, the (enormous) battery is a major part of the price. If electric car prices are decreasing, battery costs must be decreasing, because it's not like the cost of fabricating rubber, aluminum, glass, and steel into car shapes can decline that much, right? On an electric scooter, though, the effect of battery price has to be even...

Electric Geek Transportation Systems

I've never thought of myself as a "car person". The last new car I bought (and in fact, now that I think about it, the first new car I ever bought) was the quirky 1998 Ford Contour SVT. Since then we bought a VW station wagon in 2011 and a Honda minivan in 2012 for family transportation duties. That's it. Not exactly the stuff The Stig's dreams are...

An Exercise Program for the Fat Web

When I wrote about App-pocalypse Now in 2014, I implied the future still belonged to the web. And it does. But it's also true that the web has changed a lot in the last 10 years, much less the last 20 or 30. Websites have gotten a lot … fatter. While I think it's irrational to pine for the bad old days of HTML 1.0 websites, there are some legitimate...

The Cloud Is Just Someone Else's Computer

When we started Discourse in 2013, our server requirements were high: 1GB RAM modern, fast dual core CPU speedy solid state drive with 20G+ I'm not talking about a cheapo shared cpanel server, either, I mean a dedicated virtual private server with those specifications. We were OK with that, because we were building in Ruby for the next decade of...

What does Stack Overflow want to be when it grows up?

I sometimes get asked by regular people in the actual real world what it is that I do for a living, and here's my 15 second answer: We built a sort of Wikipedia website for programmers to post questions and answers. It's called Stack Overflow. As of last month, it's been 10 years since Joel Spolsky and I started Stack Overflow. I currently do...

There is no longer any such thing as Computer Security

Remember "cybersecurity"? Mysterious hooded computer guys doing mysterious hooded computer guy .. things! Who knows what kind of naughty digital mischief they might be up to? Unfortunately, we now live in a world where this kind of digital mischief is literally rewriting the world's history. For proof of that, you need look no further than this...

To Serve Man, with Software

I didn't choose to be a programmer. Somehow, it seemed, the computers chose me. For a long time, that was fine, that was enough; that was all I needed. But along the way I never felt that being a programmer was this unambiguously great-for-everyone career field with zero downsides. There are absolutely occupational hazards of being a programmer, and...

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