[announce] NYC*BUG Tonight: 645 PM EDT

NYC*BUG Announcements announce at lists.nycbug.org
Wed Jun 14 08:54:58 EDT 2023

2 Lightning Talks, R. Cuza and J. Natis

2023-06-14 @ 18:45 - Five Mile Stone at 1640 2nd Ave (northeast Corner
of 2nd Ave and 85th St, 2nd floor). Please note the stairs to the second
floor are on the north wall as you enter from 2nd Ave.
Notice: Location Change

Raúl Talk:

Probably like you, Raúl didn't get to go to BSDCan '23, but he will make
time to watch some of the sessions, do a little extra research and
re-present them more poorly than the original speaker to you. You could
watch them on your own, but then you won't be in a bar drinking. Or if
you do watch while drinking in a bar, you will be that person perhaps
sitting alone looking at their laptop in the bar.

If you did go to BSDCan '23, maybe Raúl will present on a talk you
didn't attend. Or if you did attend, you will be able to knowledgeably
heckle as a way to get over your poutine withdrawal.
Josh Talk: Down With the Corporate Ethos, Up With the Sunrise: Inspiring
a New Generation of Hackers

I. Students

As a student, it's easy to feel useless in the current state of the
world's software ecosystem. At times, it seems like everything has been
invented already. For the most part, we're only able to program "toy"
projects, and if we do decide to be amicable and share them with the
world, our code falls upon deaf ears – there is no positive
reinforcement for our feedback loop, our programs do not seem to help
anybody. Software forges like GitHub are brimming with programs, why
should anybody be concerned with ours? Projects we care about are so
complex that we can hardly grok their code, let alone offer any
meaningful help. Looking far into the past, the picture seems less
bleak. Programmers were a scarce resource. There was no Internet, and
thus no gigantic repository of programs to render yours obsolete. If you
wrote a program, you were contributing to your community's
infrastructure, building it up with more and more utilities over time.
Every program you wrote bettered the system, extending the capabilities
of whomever you were sharing your system with. Systems themselves were
simpler, built from primitives one could reasonably wrap their head
around, so adding an impactful change was possible. This endows
programming with a sliver of humanity – you are doing a favor to your
community by doing this work. In modern day, this is often replaced by
an appeal to capitalism – you are improving your resume by programming
this, it will help you get a job. This leaves us hollow.

II. Computing Industry, Western Society

The world of computer science students is representative of a general
trend within the computing industry, which itself is a microcosm of
society as a whole. The pure information overload of the Global Village,
the wealth and power amassed and deployed by technofeudal corporations,
the fading away of our warm, caring human nature and trust in one
another, the slow cancellation of the future as we train our children to
be automatons. Where have all the hackers gone? I think this is deeply
connected to the gaping hole left by the departure of myth, spirit, and
religion from our society, replaced by a cold calculated rationalism and
commodification of everything, even human nature and identity. The
Soviet Union tried to fill this hole through "God-building". What should
we do?

We will look to the past to once again discover the warm stream of
computing, the free-flowing camaraderie of the hacker ethic. We'll
consider the freedom of constraints, the altruistic nature of humans,
the tradeoffs between the departing software Wild West and the global
coordination enabled by standards / governing bodies, best practices,
and a convergence on a shared corpus of open source software. With the
flame in your heart kindled, we will debate how to improve the state of
affairs -- should we go bottom up? Become teachers, mentors, poets,
artists, creators of evocative media, inspiring the new generation of
hackers? Or should we go top down, using whatever means necessary to
change the way we live in our society on a macro level -- economic and
political systems, states.

Things can be different -- Down With the Corporate Ethos, Up With the


    I come bearing questions not answers
    I was wearing a diaper when 9/11 happened so I can't speak
authoritatively about the past
    I have a relatively strict time limit so even if I was a crackpot I
couldn't take up too much of your time :-).

Offsite Participation: We plan to stream via NYC*BUG Website unless the
speaker requests otherwise. Q&A will be via IRC on Libera.chat channel
#nycbug - Please preface your questions with '[Q]'.

Speaker Biography

Raúl Cuza thinks computers are at their best as they load an operating
system. Before that moment they lack any spark. After that moment they
are nothing but headaches.

Josh Natis is a Unix herder searching for unknown unknowns, hopelessly
stuck in a dialectic between Luddism and technological utopia. Loves
having a cappuccino at night. Longs for mornings but is never awake for
them. Happy to be here.

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