This is the problem I have with the widespread use of pixel art. Most of it is ignorant of why the old graphics looked the way they did. Like you said it is adopting one of the limitations but ignoring the others.
The developers of Shovel Knight actually emulated the way NES graphics work (and added some enhancements to it) and the result is a much more convincing retro feel.
There's wide variation in hardware quality, but consumer-oriented stuff is a lot more likely to have thermal issues and crappy power supplies.
For software, things are more uniformly bad. Almost every commercial router uses the drivers provided by the chipset vendor, and those are always bad. Even the poster child for open-source drivers (Atheros ath9k 802.11n) still had some nasty lockup bugs this year (eg. https://dev.openwrt.org/browser/trunk/package/kernel/mac8021...). The closed-source drivers get much less maintenance.
And then the router vendors have a team of morons slap together a web interface where all the priorities are on branding, and none on actually exposing the right functionality of the underlying Linux system in a secure manner. And that's if they're even using Linux.
OpenWRT makes an extremely powerful argument that the problems is the fragmentation of development instead of a single ongoing centralized project.
The jury's still out on where this effort from Google will fall. They've got some people who definitely know what they're doing (eg. Avery Pennarun, though I don't know if he's involved with this). On the other hand, core networking performance and stability clearly isn't what they're emphasizing, and they appear to be using the same ath10k hardware and drivers as everyone else.
Google seem to be approaching their marketing from a consumers perspective, capitalising on the common experience of flakey WiFi and shitty tech support telling you that "turning it off, waiting 30 seconds and on again" should "solve" the problem.
I'd imagine they've approached the design and development of this product from that angle too.
To your first question: they're rushed out of the door in a hurry to catch the next trend, and have poor cooling and poor software. To your second question: other high quality routers don't enable Google to spy on you quite so effortlessly.
Most the consumer hardware networking industry is based on costs. Components are sourced based on the lowest cost and quality tends to be prioritized for SMB/enterprise products. Typically, routers are relatively inelastic in demand and industrial design, brand recognition, and price point make up the decision criteria for consumers. Testing is mostly spent on integrating all these various components and very little is spent on general UI. I'm a bit wary on Google's approach unless they have some great QA process or are bringing higher quality components to consumers at a lower price point. (Used to work for one of the big consumer networking companies)
I bought some 802.11AC router from Asus a few months ago for around that much, and I was absolutely floored at how much better it was than my old WRT54GS that I had been using with DD-WRT for years. Now I'm easily able to download consistently at 16MB/s from the internet, and do large file transfers at even higher rates between devices at home. I've mostly stopped using gigabit ethernet at home even because it's so fast.
Same here. My 2011 15" MBP is actually my fastest Mac by many regards. 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 + pretty nice GPU. I think I put it at 16GB ram, and installed an SSD. I still use it for all of my music stuff, and it doesn't feel slower at all than my 2014 MBP 13" Retina. For what I do with it, I don't see needing to change it at all.
If you can insert the ESC character, u001B, it's easy. (Though note that it appears as the two characters ^[ in the blog post, so your code should start ESC[5m with only one bracket.)
Unfortunately Sublime wasn't happy with me trying to type it through the Mac Unicode Hex input, but I was able to copy-paste it in, and I was also able to enter it directly in other programs, like GitHub desktop.
While not to the exact same scale, rents in NYC and Boston have been doing similar. In Somerville, apartments are roughly double what they were 10 years ago by my estimates. Salaries for the average person haven't kept up. My partner and I clear 160k/year, and affording a 2-3BR apartment is still not easy given student loans, saving for a 20% home down payment, etc. We are currently in a 1BR to make that happen, but the lack of space is killing us. The only way I can see ever owning property is if my options at some company end up being worth something.
My question is not if things are going up (they are), but what can we do about them. We are going to destroy our neighborhoods, culture and opportunities (yes, even for us software developers) if these things keep going up like this. Unless none of us ever want to have more than a 150 sq/ft bedroom that we rent (no kids, room for hobbies, etc), we need to find a solution.
I'm really sad for my friends who aren't developers, because its impossible to keep up. I don't want everyone to be a developer. I don't think that is culturally good, or a solution. I want artists, academics, electricians, caregivers, medical professionals, and people of all walks of life in my city.
Look, we've got some incredibly bright minds on here. What is a realistic, forward looking and innovative way we can work on this? We're aiming for the moon, hyperloops and self driving cars... but maybe a few people can try to figure out how to make it so that cities aren't absolutely terrible cost-wise to live in?
NEW THOUGHT: Yes, it is supply and demand. I wonder if someone can start a company whose mission is to quickly create scalable affordable housing in major cities? Something involving tricks for greater density, new building techniques, focus on efficiency but also quality of life... and doing it fast. We need this in 2 years, not 20. How can we build 20,000 units of housing within reach of someone in their 20's in the middle of the income range in each Boston, NYC and SF?
Cities are expensive for a relatively simple reason: the number of people who want to live there exceeds the number of open spots.
Two immediate solutions:
(1) Create compelling reasons for someone to not want to live in this one particular city. For instance, allow one to work remotely. There are hundreds if not thousands of amazing cities to be enjoyed, not to mention the vast stretches of rural land for those who don't want to live in a city at all.
(2) Build more housing units in the city. Eliminate zoning restrictions. Stop worrying about protecting the existing homeowners and pay more attention to everyone else.
Note that both of these are mostly matters of just convincing people to jump on board the plan. People in general are resistant to remote work (especially outside the software world, but even inside it), and some cities like San Francisco are extremely hostile towards a vast number of proposals to just build more housing.
When you combine the desire to compress an entire industry into one city with a refusal to build more housing units, what result could you possibly expect?
> (2) Build more housing units in the city. Eliminate zoning restrictions. Stop worrying about protecting the existing homeowners and pay more attention to everyone else.
These three things are not synonymous - or at least, they need not be.
For example, New York is building a lot of units. (A lot of them happen to be luxury units which often sit vacant since they are used purely as investment vehicles by foreign entities, but that's a separate problem.) The real issue is that Manhattan is an island, and there's only so much you can cram into 33 square miles (though they're working on squeezing every last cubic inch out of that). They're also, of course, building at an absolutely unbelievable pace in Brooklyn, Queens, and even the Bronx.
San Francisco, on the other hand, has been incredibly slow to build more inventory (and also build upwards), compared to the amount that the demand has increased. This may be partly due to zoning issues, but not entirely, and the situation that San Francisco is in is not typical of most cities.
Houston is famous for having no zoning code, but New York has a very extensive zoning code. In fact, the market for air rights in New York is quite complicated and fascinating. You can build more housing without scaling back zoning restrictions or removing them entirely; there's just not always enough will to do so in every city.
 not sure about Staten Island, but... well, let's not talk about that.
Manhattan has plenty of places where it could get denser. The limits are 1) public transportation -- especially on the East Side and 2) rather silly preservation / zoning rules -- like preserving the character of the East Village which is ugly and not worth saving.
The second avenue subway should help somewhat (assuming it's finished before the heat death of the universe) but increasing congestion and the subsequent decay in the quality of buses transit is a worrying countervailing trend.
Expanding on #1, if you already have multiple offices remote/home workers are less of an issue in reality. You already have to make coordination efforts. As long as people show up as available in link/hangouts and respond during regular hours it shouldn't be as much of an issue.
In addition to this, you can save a lot of money... paying someone 80% more in SF or NYC, vs letting them stay in Phoenix or Austin and splitting the difference is a great option... you get very senior people for mid-level pay (vs in office). I'd much rather see $150k in Phoenix, than $190-210k in NYC, or $215-240k in SF... especially given Sr. positions in Phoenix tend to cap out around $110-130k.
Of course I'd love to keep east coast hours on the west coast ;-)
That said, with remote work, you can choose any city. I'd rather live in Boise, Denver or Portland than Seattle, SF or NYC. For reference I'm in Phoenix, and I mainly stay because pay:cost-of-living is better here for developers than most cities. Most of the work is very business centered, but still plenty of options.
If there was more remote work that split the difference in pay, and allowed me to work in a slightly smaller city farther north, I'd really prefer that. But the income:living ratio in most of the places with more tech jobs just isn't as good.
NYC is the only city in the world with a 24 hour subway system every day. Many people enjoy not having a car: especially the very poor (can't afford car anywhere), so NYC is full of very poor; and they very middle (can't afford car in NYC), so NYC is full of very middle and everybody fights for the same resources.
It might not have 24/7 subway (i think it's 24h on the weekend and 20h during the week), but I've been living in Berlin for 2 years and have yet to chance upon the situation where I didn't have transit available to get back home (neither me not my wife have a driver's license).
Having good transit is really really important. But it doesn't have to be 24/7 for the vast majority of people. In the maybe once per year that I need to go somewhere in 3am on a weekday I can take the night bus or even a taxi.
Yeah, those are good times. SF sucks transit-wise because Caltrain (SF to South Bay) stops at midnight. BART stops around the same time too. Heck, in NYC many events don't even start until 10 pm.
Every evening transit trip to SF (if you live in the south bay) results in end-of-day stress of trying to make the last train home if you don't have overnight accommodations. Not to mention the full South Bay route takes 90 minutes (to go 40 miles!), so you leave at midnight SF and arrive at 1:30 am San Jose.
Yeah everything stopping at midnight even on the weekends would suck. I guess because of the way you wrote it I thought the literal 24h even on weekdays was your point which seemed pretty odd.
I've lived n Vienna and Berlin and in both the subways go till around 1am on weekdays and 24h on weekends, iirc it's about that way in Prague too. I thought this was the type of situation you were comparing it to.
Before they started running the subways all night on weekends in Vienna (which I think only started maybe 5 years ago) I would often have to take the night busses on weekend evenings, which would suck cause they only went every half an hour.
It's funny, I'm currently looking for a next job, and am talking to a company in Manhattan... One of my thoughts was "damn, I'd have to get rid of my car." :-( Though, I'd absolutely hate driving in that town. The same applies to SF (made the mistake of renting a car there for a business trip, the next one Uber/Lyft was better).
A third factor at play that certainly can’t be helping anything is how a handful of companies and individuals own the majority of real estate and use their vast fortunes to snatch up anything new the moment it appears. Ownership should be more diversified.
You could also approach the problem from the other end. Have the state offer a reduced business tax cut rate for open offices and employing people in underdeveloped cities. Similarly at the other end of scale increase business taxes for companies that insist on expanding in overdeveloped cities.
This is common in Europe where business parks are setup in underdeveloped areas to encourage investment from outside. Usually these are coupled with reduced tax deals as it's in the governments interest to have people in the area in work rather than claiming unemployment.
A stiff land tax within major cities would probably be the most comprehensive solution. It would incentivize intensive use of land, leading to denser housing (compared to a property tax, which incentivizes the opposite); it would also make urban land a less compelling investment, leading to lower prices.
Transit improvement is catastrophically stalled. Improved rapid transit options could plausibly expand the area where Boston-area workers can live and have a reasonable commute by 100 to 300%. But these require approval from (especially in MA) dozens of towns. Plus we can barely keep the subways operational.
In Camberville, we're increasing supply... of luxury condos. So far, I haven't seen it make a dent in the market. Fort Point in Boston went from having almost no housing to hundreds of new units... yet I called one of the buildings and found their 1BRs to be $3,200/month.
The public transit infrastructure, and road infrastructure, in Boston and SF is insufficient to make living further away ok for most people. But again, that basically just creates neighborhoods of software/biotech people and nothing else, which feels terrible.
> quickly create scalable affordable housing in major cities?
Even in Finland, with relatively good salaries for construction workers, and high quality buildings insulated to withstand Finnish winters, building an apartment building usually costs under 2000€/m2 ($165/sq-ft).
It is not the construction that makes apartments expensive, it is the price of land in a good location.
So the problem is mostly political. Existing residents usually strongly oppose building new homes for new people in their neighborhoods. Especially if you'd like to build higher and denser than the area previously was. And the potential future residents do not have a right to vote, only the existing residents can vote. And even if you can buy a piece of land, city politicians/bureaucrats may not give you permission to build as much square footage as you might want. Because the want to "preserve the character of the neighborhood".
So usually cities do all kind of kicking and screaming to resist growth.
>Especially if you'd like to build higher and denser than the area previously was.
because typical "higher and denser" coupled with bottom-line optimization by the developer results in making crappy, less livable environment. More people means need for more transportation, more parks ... - the developer in cooperation with the city could build parks inside/on-top the new high-rise, build new transportation options, etc.., yet it would cut into the bottom-line. Classical tragedy of commons. So existing residents resist more load on the existing commons, yet i think it would be different if new construction was creating more commons and/or really improving existing.
To own. Apartments in central areas of Helsinki typically sell between 4000€/m2 to 8000/m2. So the cost of just constructing the building would be something between 20% to 40-50% of the total price. It is the land price, not the construction, that dominates apartment prices in any city.
Today it doesn't matter. As long as money remains cheap (and the Fed keeps insisting on it), it will fuel property prices in SF and other desirable places. If you buy a place in San Francisco in 2 years, THEN maybe you'll go negative for a bit.
After the last bubble "burst", you think you could scoop up some cheap property in SF? Nope. Maybe prices dropped 10-15%, and now they're higher than they ever were.
People are flocking to cities, which means the suburbs are the ones that get hammered when prices drop.
Don't get me wrong - I am not betting against property (real-estate) investment. Always a good bet for the long term in great cities.
What I am saying is why bust a gut as a sub $150k coder to see all your money burned up as rent in SF when you can go to a.n.other city have a better quality of life, more expendable income, the chance to buy instead of rent, etc.
In established neighborhoods, it was probably more like 20%, but there were still foreclosures and a lot of deals to be had. Even 4-5 years ago, there were condo foreclosures near the Caltrain station at 4th and king going for around 300-400k. Granted, SOMA has improved as a neighborhood more than pretty much anywhere else in the city, but it is a myth that property values don't fall in SF. They do and have every 7-10 years (91, 01, 08...), though the long-term trajectory is obviously up.
If you have a limited amount of area and many many people that want to live there, something has to give. You can build up (which SF largely refuses to do) but even that has its limits and its costs.
The larger answer is changing things so not everyone wants to live in the same place.
Figuring out how more people could work remotely while remaining productive would have a huge payoff in this area. But I don't think that's particularly amenable to a wholly technical solution. It's more of a problem of applied psychology in the form of management techniques.
From a different direction, considerably better urban and regional mass transit would help. In the bay area, that's made much more difficult by the relatively small geographic size of SF proper as compared to the metro area. Compare NYC which incorporated its inner suburbs a century ago. Though on the upside at least all of the bay area is in one state.
I think you've hit the nail on the head... they really don't want to. The people that live there like it there, and don't want it to become a city of sky scrapers.
I wish someone would wake up and try to build out from a nice city somewhere else with room to grow. Boise, ID and Reno, NV come to mind... For that matter grow existing cities with infrastructure and room for growth. Some of the latter is happening but not nearly to the extent that it has in SF.
There are plenty of cities that have room, and would appreciate seeing hundreds of thousands of tech jobs move into the area in a couple decades, without the population constraints SF is seeing.
I live in Boise, good luck. Almost everyone here is actively hostile to public transportation and high-density construction - so while there's plenty of area to expand to the South towards Mountain Home it's almost entirely overpriced subdivisions, with no transit options other than your own vehicle - and don't get me started on the mess that we already have with I-84.
The lack of high-density construction isn't really that big of an issue since we have plenty of space, but the lack of public transit funding is going to bite us and is largely responsible for why you mostly see expansion towards the West along I-84, which is causing us to start looking at expanding it yet again, why on Earth we haven't invested in commuter rail at this point is beyond me.
Understandable... I wasn't really even speaking specifically to density, so much as some room for growth. It took Phoenix a long time to get the highways we do have in place. Even finishing out the I-10 in phoenix was a lot of big work.. the 101/202 work was interesting (never completed regions meant to go through reservation lands). And widening the US-60 was pretty interesting as well. It overlapped bidding for the stadium, so it seems that they held up the process to reduce the chances of Mesa or Chandler getting the bid.
I'm not saying it's a great example, just an example of a decently sized city that isn't locked in and could be a growth area. Right now, I try to live fairly centrally, but that puts work that is closer to the edges of the area out of what I consider a reasonable commute for me (I won't go much over a 30 minute commute).
They also don't want to tear down every 2 floor building to build a 3-4 floor one... The only way to increase population density in an established city is to build much taller buildings compared to what is already in place. SF has height limits which prevent this, so you can't build really tall buildings. So density shifts will always be relatively small unless you start tearing down huge swaths of buildings to build slightly larger ones, and with parking requirements on new buildings still won't have much more density.
I do think building up is a pretty good idea. I just wish it all currently in the Boston area wasn't luxury condos. And the existence of those luxury condos hasn't seemed to deflate the demand on other housing yet. Maybe in time?
I think you're on the right track and I think the funding for that push will come from the inevitable IPO, and probably more public offerings after that. But it will be important to be in the black by then. So right now it's all about growth and capturing the market.
A company I worked for recently had non-competes and non-solicit clauses. A new employees was negotiating their contract, and I told them to push back against the NC/CS clauses.
I spoke with the management and asked why they needed them, "to prevent problems" they said. I pointed out that they didn't have the non-competes for their employees in California and asked if they had problems there. They weren't aware of any problems in California, yet they thought it perfectly logical and needed to ask for them elsewhere.
Not just funny, but true. When you invite a lawyer into a discussion, what is most straightforward way for them to show they are contributing? More clauses.
My firm's done negotiations with banks, and they all do the same vanilla business. Some have lawyers very close to the process, and some keep them at a distance. Of course there's always more back-and-forth when the lawyers are there, even though the business is the same for everyone. They try to sneak in ridiculous clauses and fight you on everything.
In my personal experience, that "wtf clause" embedding is because lawyers are at the coalface of dealing with the assholes of the business world. When it comes to rules-based systems like law, the assholes of the world are the ones that drive fractal-like complexity in the rulesets, with their continuous seeking of edge cases to externalize costs upon everyone else they can possibly unload to while profiting from finding said edge cases, and the subsequent response by the body of law or by a law instrument to counter that behavior. In other words, the assholes work the contract instead of the actual relationship.
We need something like Iain Banks' envisioned "slap drone" for the assholes, but in the meantime, I'll settle for discreetly negotiated relationships that create exceptions for my company. Law also needs to evolve more formalisms around invocation of privacy and other personal space / personal resource (time, especially) concepts that are currently not well defined at the moment, but are rife with predation by the assholes.
I have found company counsel to always be willing to strike clauses for me if I negotiate with them amicably and agreeably, and preemptively provide them a "trust but verify" action they can perform that absolutely cannot be faked by an asshole participant. Clauses ranging from "all your bases are belong to us" IP seizures, sky-high insurance requirements, invasive financial reporting, you name it I've probably seen it, have all be negotiated away in this manner.
In Hawaii before this law, lawyers were the only profession exempted from non-competes. Our lawyers in Hawaii are well trained and the many firms are very competitive. They were smart enough to exempt themselves.
I worked in a WeWork for about a year. Their biggest gap, which they are nowhere near overcoming, is culture.
The culture at WeWork is incredibly artificial and made everyone there feel disconnected and unhappy. A huge focus on sports and drinking events. Art everywhere, but not that reflected the values of the people there; but rather art that was speaking at the people there.
Management was constantly changing out, and it was impossible to have a relationship with the people in charge and they often seemed not listen to the concerns and needs of the people renting space there. I felt zero connection to people at other companies there.
There was always this weird vibe from them trying to do a political song-and-dance too, like having the mayor come by for press events, and way too many suits running around acting like they were important.
This is in stark contrast to coworking at small, truly community driven places like betahouse (Central Square in Cambridge, now defunct due to difficulty to find new real-estate), which fostered deep and long lasting connections between its members. Even 5 years after we disbanded, we still all keep in frequent touch and rely on the connections we made there.
I'd make the comparison/analogy of culture-rich dormitories at places like MIT, and mega-corporate hotel-like dorms at Boston University (or just a hotel). WeWork is the soulless corporate hotel where you'll never get to know anyone.
Maybe I'm just too punk for WeWork. There's no way to have a soul/culture in a place like that. I shudder to think about living in a place run by them.
Betahouse sounds familiar but I don't think I ever visited. Cambridge is home to a number of culture driven coworking spaces, which are excellent. Pirate ship is a good example of a tight nit group. Perhaps the biggest is Industry Lab, which I would best describe as a 20k sqft hybrid between the media lab and the east campus dorm.
I just left a WeWork office (Boston) while waiting for an office to be renovated.
Things I won't miss:
The sound of a Ping Pong ball hitting the
table and paddles at 2pm every day.
The word "hustle"
The people who thought it'd be fine to
do photo shoots/meetings/interviews in the common areas
Glass walls EVERYWHERE