it's kind of amazing how much of a hard time modern software has synchronizing multiple identities. because of work I have half a dozen emails at any given point in time, clients will often require their contractors to have their own email on their own system each with their own calendar, and there's just no way to synchronize that shit across the board. I find myself manually jumping around between Google calendars, Outlook calendars and other nonsense...


a frustration with myself and my education is that I spent years trying to answer the question of why software systems struggle with basic shit like this. now I think the answer, more than anything else, is capitalism. there is not really any incentive to build systems that interoperate with your competitor, so very little resources are dedicated to that. but interoperation is crucial to building robust usable systems, so you end up building deficient stuff because the market demands it.

protocols are hard. interoperation is hard. engineering is hard! but there's just... clearly no resources being put into it anymore. the parts of the internet that are interoperable (email, the web) were all designed before everything was stripmined by capitalists. nothing new is being built for interoperation anymore. there is not an engineering reason to be doing this, this is all deficient engineering. there are only market reasons, only capitalism to blame.

anyway. I missed a meeting this afternoon because I checked only two out of three calendars this morning and I credibly blame capitalism. thank you for coming to my ted talk.

@nasser Well, market doesn't "demand deficient stuff", but other demands have higher priority, and between "Only buy what I demand" vs "Get Nothing" we all make compromises, just like you tolerate to work for/with companies putting you in this situation. Not all companies have such demands, so isn't it possible to blame yourself? Just asking... Easier to change oneself, rather than the rest of the world.

@niclas the market demands a single thing: profit, the transformation of money into more money by businesses, all businesses. this is the only thing anyone is "allowed" to do under capitalism. optimizing for anything else is punished with bankruptcy in the general case. I don't know what companies you are talking about that don't have "such demands" nor how I can reasonably "blame myself" when my options are limited in practice to things that survived market forces, options that narrow over time

@niclas to put it another way: think of a venn diagram with a circle for "profitable under contemporary capitalism" and a circle for "good sustainable engineering" what's the relationship? it's unreasonable to say they are disjoint or that engineering is entirely contained within profitable activity. they overlap, and how big that overlap is a matter of debate. my lament in this thread is over all the engineering that does not fall under profitable activity, that we cannot pursue.

@nasser Or you can recognize that "market" is the demand, i.e. we all together, and the "profits" come to those who are better at fulfilling that demand.
We can all change the priority in our "demands" and the selection process that you call "profits" will weed out those who can't meet the demand of the market.

To be blunt; We get what we prioritize in our purchases.

There is a huge corrupting agent involved, namely government, that distort the mechanism through coercion (taxes, regulation,++)

@niclas this is the "vote with your dollars" argument and it is incomplete in at least two ways: 1) consumer spending is one factor that steers a market, investment is another one, one that most people do not have access to. companies like Uber and Twitter got by for years not because people "prioritized them in their purchases" but because billions of dollars in capital were pumped in in the hope that those companies would one day make rich people even richer.

@niclas 2) relatedly "prioritizing my purchases" collapses in the face of the fact that when some people have three or four orders of magnitude more money than other people. in my working life I will realistically make about 0.25% of the money Elon Musk spent on a whim becoming Twitter's largest shareholder the other day, because I am compensated for labor and not property. it is an arithmetic absurdity to insist that any economic decisions I make hold a candle to that kind of wealth.

@nasser I assume you would say the same about Theranos, or?
Back to Uber; I lived in Malaysia when Uber launched and was an early adopter... They couldn't keep the offering valuable, and their security was truly bad. I and 10,000s others abandoned Uber, and the Malaysian operation were taken over by a Grab, a South East Asian competitor.

Musk; Practically all is government money. Govs are evil, and needs to be dismantled. See and other Common Sense Skeptic videos.

@niclas you will get no defense of governments or nation states from me! but I'm also anti-capitalist. the real tragedy is the kind of capitalism you seem to be defending is actually impossible without nation states and their police, courts, and bureaucracy. we have to move beyond them both to make any progress.

but to stay on track: you still haven't convinced me why I should blame myself and my own spending patterns for the garbage state of the software industry.

@nasser If you are against state power and coercion to force others to bend to your will, then the only option that I can see is what is known as anarcho-capitalism, and that is my primary position (I am not fully on-board with land, natural resources, water and air ownership though. Lease agreements is probably suitable, and that can fund things like courts.)

@nasser So, I think the "disagreement" is largely around nomenclature. You equate capitalism with the current system of what I would call classical Fascism, where state and industry go hand in hand.

I equate capitalism with voluntarism, property rights and honoring agreements made (contracts).


"Blame"; you can't blame "the market seeks profits", because half the market is the _buyer_ of goods and services, i.e. your/my actions, especially for the goods and services you actually buy, or the services you offer on the market.

Refuse to work with companies that have practices that you are unhappy with. End of the day, you make a decision; "It is worth my trouble, for the dollars I earn", that is your choice. Not mine. Be the Change and Lead the Way, otherwise no one else will.

@nasser I work for a small software dev firm, most of my coworkers have Engineering degrees, and I'm the entire IT department with my Sociology degree—and that's the correct division of labour! They can code far better than me, but it takes a cynical comprehension of how for-profit organizations act to actually understand how computer systems operate (especially how they interoperate) in our real world. Reading Microsoft's documentation won't tell you what considering their market position will.


Even worse, there is one incentive to interoperate with your competitor: Microsoft's Embrace, Extend, Extinguish playbook.

Which ultimately means taking things that are already interoperable and destroying that interoperability. And for others, interoperability becomes a weakness to avoid for fear of it being exploited.

@aearo yes, 100%. it's not even neutral, it's an active target / threat. decent engineering is just not possible under these pressures.

@nasser Unless ofcourse if you're trying to establish a new industry! Which explains why we got the standards we have.

@nasser even in an elemental sense I think capitalism largely disallows the ability to act outside of pure individualism in any way, as part of the core incentive of profit maximization. Non-self-interested behavior is almost never “optimal”, so it can exist only for rare, fleeting seconds, when market conditions briefly allow it. Capitalism is the “paper clip maximizer”…cooling the entropy of our culture and human society to 0 Kelvin in the endless death drive to “efficiency”. 🥲👍happy days

@nea no alternative the internet keeps telling me 🙃

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