65 • Interpreting the Rule(s) of Code by Laurence Diver
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The execution of code, by its very nature, creates the conditions of a “strong legalism” in which you must unquestioningly obey laws produced without your say, invisibly, with no chance for appeal. This is a wild idea; today’s essay is packed with them. In drawing parallels between law and computing, it gives us a new skepticism about software and the effect it has on the world. It’s also full of challenges and benchmarks and ideas for ways that code can be reimagined. The conclusion of the essay is flush with inspiration, and the references are stellar. So while it might not look it at first, this is one of the most powerful works of FoC we’ve read: Interpreting the Rule(s) of Code: Performance, Performativity, and Production by Laurence Diver, 2001.
Next episode, we’re having an open-ended discussion about end-user programming. The reading is Bonnie Nardi’s 1993 classic, A Small Matter of Programming, with the referenced articles from the 1991 Scientific American special issue Communications, Computers and Networks as extra background.
- Nova is the new code editor from Panic. Ivan is using it now that his beloved Atom has hit end-of-life.
- Ira Glass spoke about The Gap
- Ivan’s unicorn-puke GUI
- Jimmy tried recreating the grainy effect used by The Browser Company’s Arc
- Chris Granger’s Light Table was an early Kickstarter success.
- iA Presenter has a clichéd video teaser. Mimestream, a great native Mac client for Gmail, also made one of these. Ivan first saw this style of video over a decade ago with Sparrow — and at least this one has a narrative. Occasionally, someone does a playful tweak on the formula, like this video that keeps getting interrupted for Dark Noise. But in general, this format is worn out, and it was never great to begin with.
- Here’s the classic Atom 1.0 announcement video
- Very Bad Wizards and If Books Could Kill are podcasts that talk through a work from beginning to end sprinkling in reflections as they go, rather than jumping around randomly or separating recap from reflection.
- Speech act has a philosophy corner within the philosophy corner. Elephant 2000 by Lisp creator John McCarthy, and Dynamicland, both make use of speech acts.
- On The Expressive Power of Programming Languages by Matthias Felleisen
- The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
- Black, a reflective Scheme by Kenichi Asai.
- Hollow Knight is a great game for a 4-year old, and a 40-year old. It’s just a great game. Maybe the greatest? Doom Eternal, not so much — but the inventive soundtrack absolutely slays.
- Local-first software
- Tony Gilroy’s Andor and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. In hindsight, I’m surprised we made it all the way to the final minutes of the show before mentioning Brazil.
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