The Compulsive Pursuit of a Product That Does Us Only Harm

Rafel Behr analyses our national condition:

It looks like British social awkwardness elevated to the scale of a constitutional meltdown. It is the stiff upper lip chewing itself to pieces rather than name the cause of our suffering: not the deal, not the backstop, not the timetable, not Brussels, but Brexit. The poison in our system is Brexit. We need a path to recovery, not May’s frantic hunt for a stronger, purer dose.

At The Guardian

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“Why’s it taking so long? We should just leave!” | The Reinvigorated Programmer

Good analogy:

Suppose your family lives in a flat that’s rented from a housing association. And you have come to feel (rightly or wrongly) that it’s not a very nice flat, and that the association interferes too much. So you discuss it as a family, and you think about all the lovely houses out there that you could live in, and eventually you decide to leave. So far, so good.

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Italian Coffee is the Best

This post on someone who’s trying to bring Starbucks-style coffee shops to Italy is kind of annoying. Not least for the closing quote:

“It’s not that Italian coffee has always been bad,” Campeotto said. “They have been geniuses. The god of coffee is the Italian espresso. The problem is, they have been stuck there. They stopped.”

If they had already achieved the “god of coffee” (which I happen to agree with), then why would they do anything other than stop? If you’ve already achieved perfection you have no need to improve. Just make sure you maintain that level.

I spent twelve months of 1989-90 in Turin. A cappuccino was 1200 lire, or about 60p (around 45-50 US cents, probably). And it was delicious. The best coffee I had, or have, ever tasted.

The growth of Starbucks and the other chains came after that, and I’ve been looking for coffee as good ever since. I’ve never found it. The closest I ever found in London was Costa in its early days. It has slipped down to the level of Starbucks and Caffè Nero, though.

Which is not to say that any of those are truly bad: not, at least, compared to what was available before they came on the scene.

But nothing matches my memory of Torinese cappuccino.

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Some Labour MPs are thinking along similar lines to me.

Wes Streeting:

“Labour cannot sit by and allow the choice to be between the economic ruin of a hard Brexit or the loss of sovereignty under Theresa May’s deal, with Britain subjected to EU rules but with no say over them,” he said. “As with any fork in the road, there is always the option of turning back home.

“We know this is a mess made by the Tories, but the Labour party can’t just sit back and watch. It’s time for all of us in the Labour party to make the full-throated case for a people’s vote with the option of remaining in the European Union.

“That leadership must now come from the top, or our party may never be forgiven for the consequences that follow.”

Chris Leslie:

“With even Tory ministers recognising Brexit threatens the poorest in society, our public services and Britain’s place in the world, to have a Labour leader just shrug about it, then go awol, is nothing short of a dereliction of duty.”

OK, they’re maybe not planning to leave the party, but still.

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They Took Something Very Weird and Made It More Usable

Good piece by Paul Ford, writing at Bloomberg on Microsoft buying GitHub:

[GitHub] has a well-designed web interface. If you don’t think that’s worth $7.5 billion, you’ve never read the git manual.

He means the man pages, I assume.

GitHub is “the central repository for decentralized (sic) code archives,” which is mildly amusing. But this:

In the pre-git era, you updated your software annually and sent customers floppy disks. But if you’re running a big software platform, you might update your servers constantly—many times a day or every 20 minutes.

is a bit over the top. There were a lot of changes between sending out floppies and continuous deployment.

I question his (lack of) capitalisation. The command is git, all lower case. But if you’re talking about the application, you should spell it “Git”, with the capital. I think so, anyway. You would write about “CVS”, even though the command was (is) cvs; and “Subversion,” with the command svn. But at least it’s not as annoying as people who write it in all-caps.

Lastly, when he says, “Computers are mercurial,” I’m assuming he’s wryly referencing what was once Git’s major rival in the distributed version-control space. Nicely deadpan, if so.

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