A Little Ludwig Goes a Long Way

A smattering of opinions on technology, books, business, and culture. Now in its 4th technology iteration.

Whither Twitter, Buyer's Guide, and other random stuff

14 May 2022

Well it has been a while since I have posted any observations. I have improved my pickleball game tho.


Several years ago, I reconsidered my use of Facebook, and made the decision to largely exit Facebook, and I haven’t really regretted it. I’ve been doing the same recently for Twitter.

I do get value out of Twitter. College football smack talk and news, a little bit of community news, some technology info, the occasional news about friends. But there is a lot of noise on Twitter, a lot of snark, a lot of “performative nonsense”, and maybe it is getting worse.

What should I expect out of Twitter? Twitter is not some mystical thing. It’s not our global conciousness, not our townsquare, not some magic public good. It’s just a company trying to turn a buck by attracting eyeballs. Viewing it as some special thing just leads to disappointment.

Twitter has every right to publish/promote whatever content using whatever criteria it wants. The choice may attract or drive away some users, may attract advertisers or not, may have other business implications. Whatever, that is the Twitter’s first amendment right.

Twitter also doesn’t owe me or anyone a bullhorn. It may or may not let me say what I want to say, Twitter may or may not amplify it. That is Twitter’s right. And I have the right to use or not use Twitter.

Any new owner of Twitter will have the right to publish and promote whatever content they want, using whatever criteria they want. It may be different than what the former owners did. It may have different appeal to different users, advertisers, partners.

If I don’t like any of that, I can walk away at anytime. No one is forcing me to use Twitter. I can live without it — most of my family doesn’t regularly use Twitter, most of them don’t even have accounts. Twitter doesn’t have particularly significant impacts on my work performance or on my relationships. If and when it loses the entertainment, social, and educational value it has, I will just walk away. There are plenty of places to read, to learn, to share, to connect.

This week, Instead of cruising Twitter every morning and worrying about what it might become, I’ve been spending time on Duolingo, trying to relearn my high school Spanish. I feel better after doing this than I have ever felt after spending time on Twitter. I will probably continue to drift away from Twitter towards more learning, thinking, and positive communication venues.

Progressive Buyer’s Guide

I like the Progressive Voter’s Guide (https://progressivevotersguide.com). It is not my sole source of voting info, but it is a very helpful and concise guide.

I also like the sustainable seafood guide (https://oceana.org/living-blue-sustainable-seafood-guide/). When I have useful info on products and their impact, I like to make the most beneficial choice.

I wish I had a Progressive Buyer’s Guide. When I go to buy a car, or book a trip, or buy an appliance, or subscribe to a service, or whatever — where is that money going? What political efforts are supported by that company or by its principals? What states are benefiting most from my expenditure? Do I have alternatives available that would direct money towards more progressive states or more progressive political efforts?

For instance, I found out this year that, not only had ATT and ATT executives donated to Republican candidates, but ATT helped to fund the establishment of the right wing OAN news network. I don’t need to fund that. I happily made the switch to T-Mobile.

Some elements I would want as part of an effort to build a progressive buyer’s guide:

  • A system to track a product’s source by state, company. What % of this car is produced in what state (or finer grained region) by what company? I’d want to support community involvement, ultimately will want to tap a network of people providing this info.
  • A system to track a company’s donations and the donations of executives. Most of this is already public at the FEC website or Opensecrets.
  • A progressive weighting of states, politicians, PACs, etc, and an algorithm to sum those into a total weighting for a product. It is likely that one would want to support multiple ratings — IE a total progressive rating, a climate change rating, an income inequality rating, etc.
  • A front end to display a weighting for a product. And for a given product, show the more progressive alternatives. You want a certain suv? This alternative has more content produced in more progressive states, and the execs give less to retrogressive candidates.


Steampipe.io – a sql interface on top of all kinds of cloud resources. Kind of cool. As Sam says, software engineers love grand unification schemes.

In this era of heightened political conflict, why are the US Senators from the state of Washington so nearly invisbile?

I do not like pickles. But I have great admiration for the pickle lobby who have somehow convinced everyone to put pickles with every sandwich ever.

One of the cryptocurrency luminaries — “Bitcoin is a swarm of cyber hornets serving the goddess of wisdom”. I have sometimes handwaved in some presentations, but I am a handwaving amateur.