Discover more from Jon Watson's Death by Tech Newsletter
Where we’re going, we don’t need gas.
Also: 12,000 slices of toast and radicalized Linux users
I’m very happy we’ve reached the point where I can delete the Twitter app from my phone again. Twitter has never had the pull on me that Facebook has. I can easily leave Twitter for months, perhaps years, without missing it. Until there’s someone like Trump in office. Twitter is basically useless outside of the US. Or, at least, there are many other better ways to get non-US news than Twitter. But when that heady mix of a POTUS that can’t stop tweeting, coupled with the ludicrously idiotic nature of those tweets…ah, well…what can I say? I’m not a rock. I love a good Twitter train wreck as much as the next person. But the next 2 years should be relatively quiet in the US so seeya later Twitter and welcome back mental health.
Where’s the passion gone?
I work in technology because I love it. I literally followed that old maxim “do what you love and the money will follow”. Well, I am here to tell you that it can take a hell of a long time for the money to follow. I had some extremely lean years yelling "no, L-I-N-U-X, like Linus but with an X!!" into the phone at puzzled recruiters. But eventually the money showed up. Not everyone in tech is here because they love it. In my class at college, when formal IT was fairly nascent, there were people in my class who chose the program because they thought it was going to be a lucrative career. They’re right, but probably not for them. IT is basically black magic and if you don’t have an aptitude or passion for it, you’re going to find yourself turning into a toad.
Passion is a big part of this industry. In the early aughts, I was an angry GNU/Linux user. Angry because the Microsoft devil had taken all our freedoms away, and openly showing it by using the “GNU” in front of Linux. Many of you won’t recognize that anyone calling Linux “GNU/Linux” is definitely a radicalized Linux user who you should not accompany into dark spaces alone.
Every generation begets another wave of angry GNU/Linux users, as well as a bigger and better-behaved batch of regular old Linux users. It’s like Eternal September for operating systems, and as I age into my profession I find I have less time for the GNU heads. It’s not that they’re wrong - Open Source Software (OSS) is preferable. It’s just that they can’t conceive that the right tool for a particular task may not, in fact, be the OSS tool. I once watched a GNUey colleague rack up 4 extra billable hours to a client fiddling around with OpenVPN on his Linux, sorry - his GNU/Linux - laptop in order to connect to the client site to do some work. I, also having work to do on this client’s site, fired up a Windows VM to use their native VPN client and was in and out in an hour.
Experienced people will always choose the right tool for the job. It’s the rookies who flail about, desperately trying to prove that their OSS tool is the best tool and potentially waste tons of time and money in the process. But nothing is less sexy than budgets and timesheets, so at some point, you have to choose a path: do I want to be underemployed (or unemployed) because I’m tied to making emotional decisions? Or do I want to take on increasingly complex roles? Either is fine with me. You do you, and current-day me being me will always try to choose the right tool from all the available tools.
I’ll have 15,000 burritos, please.
Here’s my one-liner backgrounder on Bitcoin:
Bitcoins are “mined” by solving complex math problems that take tons of computing power to solve.
In 2020, it took 741-kilowatt hours to mine a single Bitcoin. What’s a kilowatt-hour? Who cares. What’s more fun is to look at what those 741-kilowatt hours could have been used for instead of silly cryptocurrency shenanigans.
According to the Northern Virginia Electrical Cooperative, you can run a ceiling fan for almost 2 years on what it takes to mine a single Bitcoin. Or:
Blend about 14,000 smoothies
Microwave at least 15,000 frozen burritos
Trim more than 2,000 miles of weeds
Make over 44,000 quarts of ice cream
Toast almost 12,000 slices of bread
You get the point.
Virginia power rates are $11.08 per kilowatt-hour so 741-kilowatt hours costs a little over $8,000. A Bitcoin trades for about $30,000 today. So, hey, it’s still a helluva deal!
Conversely, those 741-kilowatt hours can be used to process about half a million Visa transactions.
I have seen it all now.
The Back to the Future movies made the otherwise unknown DeLorean car company a household name. Even with the modified flux capacitor (not a thing), that car looked sweet. It was one of the first cars to hit the public consciousness with those amazing gull-wing doors.
There were 4 DMC-12’s in the movie, but who’s counting? They’re mostly in the hands of collectors these days. Although, believe it or not, I saw one in a car show in my tiny rural town of fewer than 4,000 people a few years ago. I also sat in one of the movie DeLoreans at Universal Studios park once, but damn that was a long time ago.
Well, there may be more DMC-12’s on the road soon and they might be electric.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has completed a regulation permitting low volume motor vehicle manufacturers to begin selling replica cars that resemble vehicles produced at least 25 years ago.
That said, with EV’s becoming more mainstream, we’ve been considering switching to an all-electric as the future. It certainly makes for an easier path through emissions maze which still looms large over any internal combustion engine.
I don’t really have an opinion on gas versus electric, but I have a really strong opinion on making more DeLoreans in general and that opinion is hell yes!
Hopefully, they’ll be a little more macho than the Harley Davidson LiveWire. Honest to god, an electric Harley. That sounds like a sewing machine. I can die now. I’ve seen it all.