At the Gardos tower in Belgrade

After nearly two and a half years of not being able to travel overseas due to the pandemic, my wife & I finally spent three weeks abroad (in Belgrade & Copenhagen) with both kids.

Because Denmark has such a high vaccination rate, they don’t require getting tested to enter the country if you’ve been vaccinated, nor does anybody there wear a mask. It felt quite liberating to go mask free indoors amongst strangers for the five days we spent in Copenhagen. …


After explaining to our 5YO how files work & letting her play around with them for a few days, I decided to expose her to coding. When I was a kid I loved using a language called Logo to move a turtle around the screen & make it draw lines. There are very few Logo implementations around today & most of them require a web browser! But I didn’t even have X installed on the laptop our daughter has been using so that wasn’t going to work.

Eventually I found exactly what I needed: KTurtle, which can run directly on…


I’ve been very gradually easing my 5YO daughter into the world of computing. We began with a Remington typewriter to get her used to the idea of a QWERTY keyboard & the function of the shift key. Sadly, I was unable to procure a ribbon for it so she couldn’t actually generate any output, which eventually grew disappointing. So I replaced it with a label-maker that features a QWERTY keyboard. That was much more appealing and she delighted in typing out the names of her friends and stuffed animals to print labels for them.

Then I got her a copy…


My five year old & I were listening to Nobody’s Empire by Belle & Sebastian today when she asked me what an empire was. Here’s what I told her. [I’ve read a lot of history but am not a professional historian so it’s possible there are inaccuracies in my explanation.]

Up until about 10,000 years ago people generally just ate whatever they could find growing on plants in the wild. This forced them to waste a lot of time looking around for food & they had to eat whatever they found regardless of how much they enjoyed the taste. But…


When crafting a story that lumps the UK and the US together as outliers among wealthy countries due their shared Anglo-Saxon heritage, it is sheer folly to not consider the other 3 states with very similar Anglo-Saxon heritage.


Not only were boomers the beneficiaries of a post-WW2 economic boom for the US (while Europe recovered from years of self-destruction) but they also reaped the lion’s share of America’s brief fling with socialism lite. They enjoyed well funded government services & shiny new infrastructure bankrolled by high taxes while they were launching their careers.

Then, once they had established themselves & were ready to build up solid nest eggs, they ripped down all those socialist support structures just as Europe finally became competitive again & an oil price shock kicked the US economy to the curb. …


Meetings should only be held to make decisions that require the kind of synchronous multi-party discussions that don’t work well over email. Status updates should not be done via meetings because they can just as well be done via email. The one exception to this is a quick daily status update meeting for a team to ensure that nobody is blocked.

Meeting invitations should be accompanied by an agenda that lists the decisions to be made during the meeting. If one is not provided, ask for it instead of accepting the invitation.

During the meeting everybody should be focused on…


How to do it humanely & effectively.

Initially, treat the ML as an advisor that makes suggestions the human experts can take or ignore based on their own judgement. They’ll accept it most of the time but will need to improvise in the long-tail of unusual situations. The manual overrides should be used as signals to continue training the model.

As the model improves to the point where it’s better than all but the best humans, have it act on its own suggestions by default when its confidence level is very high. This will allow the humans to focus on…


Despite being a fiscal centrist, I’m also a social liberal, which means that my friends tend to skew to the left in both dimensions. Ergo, my social media feeds are filled with people denouncing capitalism. While I grant that it is not a perfect economic system, I do think it has considerable merit.

Before we can begin talking about capitalism, we need to define what we mean by the term to avoid talking past each other. The participants of economic systems can be divided into two sides: supply/production & demand/consumption; trade/commerce links them together. …


Those who create end-user software are likely to be familiar with the idea of UX testing, whereby random potential users are placed in a room & given a set of tasks to carry out using the software being tested while the team creating the software watches in secret from the other side of a one-way mirror. The team is nearly always surprised to discover how much harder their software is to use than they thought it was. I think a variant of this approach could prove useful for the underlying code itself too.

Instead of random potential users, we would…

Antonio D'souza

I have my way with words.

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