James Ramsay

Week 37, 2017

We've been back in New York City for a week and are enjoying the warm breath of the end of summer. We visited Red Rooster in Harlem for a lovely dose of soul food and jazz. The live jazz has really become one of my favourite parts of living in the city. It is likely that I previously failed to capitalize on the jazz scene in Melbourne, but I don't on my return that I will reoffend.

Excitingly I've now started my new job Product Manager at GitLab! It was an interesting experience to begin by simply opening my laptop at the dining room table. Regardless it has been a great experience—GitLab have had a few years to work out how to make remote work well including the on-boarding process. On the home front, it's been fun reconfiguring the living room to create a work space that doesn't intrude on the rest of our daily lives. I am hoping to collect more of my thoughts on transitioning to a remote team as I adjust to it.


New job, new laptop. I am thankful for my new computer but accommodating the Touch Bar has been more frustrating than expected. I should have expected it would be difficult. I find I unexpectedly adjust the volume or screen brightness at times when I reach for the top row of physical keys. Most frustrating has been the escape key. Using Karabiner Elements I have now disabled the virtual escape key in favor of caps lock. I've also taken the opportunity to also relocate the ctrl key to the caps lock key for chorded shortcuts in vim and tmux. Besides the Touch Bar however, the MacBook Pro is a very impressive computer with an excellent keyboard.


New job, new projects. GitLab uses ruby and I've setup using chruby to seamlessly switch between versions. The challenge has been one of my vim plugins, Command-T, relies on the version of Ruby it was compiled against. I am hoping to find a way to always use the correct version of ruby with vim regardless of the working directory. Any suggestions would be welcome!


I am excited about the introduction of Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari 11 for macOS and iOs 11. The advertising technology industry is generally not. This is because the ad tech tax is primarily extracted through tracking users and selling information about their behaviour to advertisers. True to form, the CEO of the IAB, will make any argument in favour of the least regulation or consumer control of how consumer data is collected and used.

Writing of Apple's changes to Safari, Rothenberg is concerned consumers won't be able to exercise proper control:

We are deeply concerned about the Safari 11 browser update that Apple plans to release, as it overrides and replaces existing user-controlled cookie preferences with Apple’s own set of opaque and arbitrary standards for cookie handling.

Yet, Rothenberg writes regarding protections for consumers who block tracking in the upcoming ePrivacy regulations in the EU:

Buried in pages of amendments to the European Union’s latest privacy proposal, the ePrivacy Regulation, members of the European Parliament recently recommended language that would strip European publishers of the right to monetize their content through advertising, eviscerating the basic business model that has supported journalism for more than 200 years. The new directive would require publishers to grant everyone access to their digital sites, even to users who block their ads, effectively creating a shoplifting entitlement for consumers of news, social media, email services, or entertainment.

Rothenberg is an apt representative of a self interested and entitled industry. Thanks to Ad Tech Weekly for curating these prime quotes.


Rocky Mountain Institute (PDF) offers some positive projections that staying below the 2ºC limit may be more achievable than typically suggested. The report is quite interesting and includes many interesting data points regarding the adoption and cost effectiveness of PE.


Another article adding to the growing number questioning th net benefit of social media, Umair Haque asks Is social media a failure?. With every passing week I am using social media less and am feeling no less in touch with my friends or the world. It'll be interesting to see where Facebook is ten years from now.