A dev newsletter

Better a pig than a Fascist

(if you want to know what this is about, click here)

November is a weird month for me. The days are short (at 17 is already night), the trees do not have the October colours and the rain here in Ireland starts to get pretty annoying. On the other hand, it’s close from the end of the year holidays. It’s also time for the faceless corporations to start talking numbers. Numbers for next year, numbers of this year, performance reviews. Every living thing in this planet becomes a number. Those numbers are input of algorithms to output more money into a few accounts and also used to define what do we see online.

Today we spend more and more time online, locked on the infinity scroll doom. Our sources of information shift from something static, decided by a group of people, to something filtered by algorithms. In the tech industry there are those who think the algorithm is neutral. Far from the truth, besides the bias of the engineers and the data they have in hand, there is still the bias of the corporation behind it. One of the articles linked in this month update talks a bit about it. How we normalise big tech bias because it’s “natural” and shows some non-tech alternatives to it in Brasil and Cuba.

Looking into the Global South for Big Tech alternatives may be the best approach we have at the moment. How can we expect the Global North to fix the issues they created, when they can only see their side of history?[1] Or worst, most of the times they only throw money at problems and think it will be solved. Currently, a payment processor is allowing their customers to donate money to “fix the environment” [2]. You can donate 5 moneys to a startup throwing seaweed in the beach to “fix” all the issues Capitalism created. It’s like Paulo Freire said:

“The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this.”

We need to expose the Global South solutions, show the alternative is not to consume more, but in thinking more about our actions, re-utilising our garbage instead of trying to justify our consumerism. Only us, the oppressed, can truly find solutions to fix it.

I want to do a little bit of that here, expose my network to the solutions from Brasil and South-America. That’s why I will be including links to articles/tech made by South-Americans in the end of this post :).

Ireland and work

Regarding life in Ireland, we are almost over our second lockdown. I’m mostly not feeling so much the difference, since most of my friends are outside the country or avoiding public meetings prior to the lockdown. I was going to do the IELTS test in November and had to postpone though.

I was also oncall on the first week of this month, so you may have heard me complaining several times about it. I’m not too fond of the 24 hours format [3], especially when it’s unpaid labour. If the normal working hours are 8 hours per day, 5 days a week and you have to be oncall 24 hours for a couple of days; you should be paid extra for that. Especially if random changes in the company may transfer you from a team without oncall to one with this weird format. But what’s workers rights for Big Tech, right? Anyway, this was the theme of Bug Report! Zine and if you don’t know exactly what oncall means I recommend reading it.

Brazil

It seems like 120 thousand units of CoronaVac (the Chinese vaccine for Covid19) will arrive at 20/11 in Brazil. Amazing news for a country that had so many issues due to Covid and a terrible right-wing President.

Due to Covid, the Local Elections that normally happens in October is happening this month. I followed a bit the São Paulo one, since it normally reflects what may happen 2 years later in the Presidential one. Seems like Boulos has a real chance of winning. I have the feeling we are seeing the start of a new era for the socialists in Brazil, where Boulos is going to take the place was once Lula’s.

Food

Inspired by Midnight Diner, this month was Noodles month :). Some tips for you if you want to make very good noodles:

  1. Before adding the noodle to the Wok, rinse it with hot water. It will remove the oil and make it easier for you to mix.
  2. It’s important to make a delicious Vegetable broth, I normally do Tumeric powder, onion, Paprika, Garlic and Carrot :)
  3. On the Wok, I fry the ingredients with Sesame Oil

Books

Movies and TV shows

Articles

Informatics of the oppressed

“[…] Chico Whitaker theorized that the “network” is an “alternative structure of organization,” much less common in “Western culture” than the “pyramidal structure”:

Information is power. In pyramids, power is concentrated, so also information, which is hidden or kept to be used at the right time, with a view to accumulating and concentrating more power. In networks, power is deconcentrated, and so is information, which is distributed and disseminated so that everyone has access to the power that their possession represents.”

Free Software Needs Free Tools

“We will not be well served, technically, pragmatically, or ethically, by compromising on freedom of the tools we use to build a free world.”

Post-Open Source

“the free software movement was transparent with its greatest value: “we believe users should have the freedom to mess with and contribute to the source code of the programs they use.” the open source movement had a far subtler value: “we believe corporations should have the freedom to exploit the labor of developers.” the fact that individual developers were ever on board with the open source movement speaks to the pernicious branding it employs. but people are starting to notice that this isn’t actually good at all.”

Brazilian Tech

Lua

Programming language created at PUC-Rio.

Tapioca wrapper

Tapioca helps you generating Python clients for APIs. APIs wrapped by Tapioca are explorable and follow a simple interaction pattern that works uniformly so developers don’t need to learn how to use a new coding interface/style for each service API.

(RIP) Kurumin

Kurumin Linux was a Live CD operating system based on Debian. Its main features are the advanced hardware auto-detection (inherited from Knoppix) and a Portuguese user interface, and its main goal is ease of use.

Footnotes

[1] - Remember they think during the cold war the USA was the “leader of the free world”, even though they installed and supported dictatorships all around the world.

[2] - They want their lives that were built by destroying the environment and abusing workers in the Global South not to change, so they try to compensate the evil with a “good project”. It’s like the man who attacks his wife and buys chocolate for her on the next day…

[3] - At Amazon, my oncall was from 8 to 17, all the week. But we would receive 2 extra holidays every time. Those who were oncall 24 hours would be paid extra.