Links for July 2019

If anyone has been wondering what Tom DeLonge has been up to since he left Blink-182 in 2014, it turns out he founded the To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, which mostly seems to focus on collecting UFO videos and images. Unfortunately, a 2018 SEC report stated that it ‘has incurred losses from operations and has an accumulated deficit at June 30, 2018 of $37,432,000. These factors raise doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern’, so I guess someone else will have to save us from the alien menace or the secret US government spy planes or whatever these UFOs really are.

IRC/Slack/Discord replacement/competitor Matrix has released as 1.0. I think I want this to work, since IRC has problems, and have had a rambly draft on the matter for quite a while. But see also Drew DeVault on why the lack of features in IRC is a feature.

‘Sega Toylet’ is frankly an amazing brand name, although I’m not sure whether it should really exist as a commercial product. At least there is no Sonic tie-in (yet?).

A fascinating but sad feature on the likely fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from pilot-turned-journalist William Langewiesche.

After many years of resistance, I recently started using an adblocker, due to articles like these two from an ex-adtech worker. Back in 2015, Idle Words predicted the bursting of the adtech bubble, and I’m now trying to avoid using services that rely on advertising for their business model. My preference for free software (self-hosted or otherwise) followed by an upfront paid service puts me in mind of David R Maciver’s excellent How to write good software, which I more-or-less entirely agree with.

In the frontier days of the Western US from the 1890s to 1930s, the unpredictability of mining towns springing up or going bust meant that it was hard for churches to be established. The solution that some came up with was the railroad chapel car: simply take a regular train carriage, add an altar and some pews, put it on a train to wherever the people are, then leave it in a siding until the mine runs dry and cart it off somewhere else.