Hi, I’m Dwayne. I’m a freelance web developer. I spend most of my time writing code, reading random things on the internet, and playing PC games. I created this website to share what I’m working on and reading about. Check out the about me page for info about me, and the tech page for more about the website.

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Rust Moderation Team Resigns

Just as I started to dive into Rust and start using it on a new project, I hear the entire moderation team (of three people) resigned recently.

From a pull request to the “team” Rust repo:

The entire moderation team resigns, effective immediately. This resignation is done in protest of the Core Team placing themselves unaccountable to anyone but themselves.

As a result of such structural unaccountability, we have been unable to enforce the Rust Code of Conduct to the standards the community expects of us and to the standards we hold ourselves to. To leave under these circumstances deeply pains us, and we apologize to all of those that we have let down. In recognition that we are out of options from the perspective of Rust Governance, we feel as though we have no course remaining to us but to step down and make this statement.

The team declined to actually say what happened though:

In this message, we have avoided airing specific grievances beyond unaccountability. We’ve chosen to maintain discretion and confidentiality. We recommend that the broader Rust community and the future Mod Team exercise extreme skepticism of any statements by the Core Team (or members thereof) claiming to illuminate the situation.

As someone evaluating languages/frameworks for use on new project, it’s a little weird to hear that the core team of one of the options has done something bad enough to cause an entire group of moderators to resign, but there’s no information other than that team shouldn’t be trusted.

I respect not wanting to cause unnecessary drama, but keeping everyone in the dark like this doesn’t really seem like the best way to handle it either.


One of the members of the moderation team (burntsushi) writing on a reddit thread:

TIL about the term “vaguebooking.” Yes, we were vague. But on the flip side, we weren’t as vague as we could have been. Anyone who has read any amount of my writing knows that I’m all about balance. To say too much would be terrible folly. But to say too little would not make effective use of the last tool we had in our disposal: resignation. We resigned because we think some kind of change would be a good idea, and we suggested some ideas to the rest of the Rust Team Members.

It’s obvious why saying something is useful. But why not just let it all out? No. That’s irresponsible. Deeply deeply irresponsible. People who think we should just be completely and 100% transparent about literally everything that comes to us have not given any kind of serious thought to what it means to be a moderator. I’ve talked about moderation in the past, and how people tend to assume things are easier than they are.

There’s further discussion on Hacker News, but not much information on what actually happened. Anyone have any insight?

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Facebook is Meta?

Alex Heath:

Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building the metaverse, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

The coming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28th, but could unveil sooner, is meant to signal the tech giant’s ambition to be known for more than social media and all the ills that entail. The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and more. A spokesperson for Facebook declined to comment for this story.

This actually makes a lot of sense for them. If you’re gonna be a conglomerate (by buying up or cloning the features of any company that is in any way related to or a threat to you) then at least be clear about it. I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg hopes this might also:

  • Allow him to more effectively continue hiding from the consequences of his actions
  • Make him a harder target for government investigation/action
  • Put some distance between him and the tarnished Facebook name
  • Position him as the CEO and leader of the entire “metaverse” he’s trying to build

Vlad Savov from Bloomberg:

The report that Facebook Inc. plans to change its corporate name prompted a flurry of online speculation as industry followers rushed to register their guesses.

[…]

“Meta” is another contender put forward by, among others, Samidh Chakrabarti, the company’s former civic integrity chief. The web address meta.com currently redirects to meta.org, the home of a biomedical research discovery tool developed under the stewardship of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is co-founded by the Facebook CEO. That suggests Zuckerberg has a head start on any other contender looking to secure the ultimate name for a metaverse firm.

I’m seeing a lot of people speculate that Meta is the new name. I’ve also seen either Horizon, which is the name of one of their VR projects, or just FB. Either way, I’m hoping this changes nothing and the company ends up being split into parts and the executives made responsible for the damage they’ve caused.

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Facebook is slowing things down for 'Reputational Reviews'

Emily Glazer at The Wall Street Journal:

Facebook Inc. has slowed the rollout of new products in recent days, people familiar with the matter said, amid media reports and congressional hearings related to a trove of internal documents showing harms from its platforms.

Executives at the social-media company have also put a hold on some work on existing products while more than a dozen people are involved in conducting “reputational reviews” to examine how Facebook may be criticized and to ensure products don’t adversely impact children, the people said.

It seems a little late for that, doesn’t it?

Facebook has been tightening the reins on what information is shared internally over the past few weeks, the people said. A team within the company is examining all in-house research that could potentially damage Facebook’s image if made public, some of the people said.

This sounds like the “shredding evidence” phase of their corporate response.

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Twitch source code and creator payout data leaked

Someone on 4chan posted a 125 GB leak of Twitch’s source code, creator payout information, account info (including encrypted passwords), and code from from Amazon’s unreleased Steam competitor called Vapor. From the post:

We bring to you today an extremely poggers leak:

Twitch is an American video live streaming service that focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of esports competitions, operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

Their community is also a disgusting toxic cesspool, so to foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space, we have completely pwned them, and in part one, are releasing the source code from almost 6,000 internal Git repositories, including:

> Entirety of twitch.tv, with commit history going back to its early beginnings
> Mobile, desktop and video game console Twitch clients
> Various proprietary SDKs and internal AWS services used by Twitch
> Every other property that Twitch owns including IGDB and CurseForge
> An unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios
> Twitch SOC internal red teaming tools (lol)

AND: Creator payout reports from 2019 until now. Find out how much your favorite streamer is really making!

The Twitter user @KnowS0mething posted some screenshots of the list of highest paid streamers earlier today.

Note that the torrent name is “twitch-leaks-part-one” so I’m assuming there’s more to come soon.


More articles about the leak:

Kotaku: Report: Twitch Is Hacked And Its Source Code Is In The Wild
VGC: The entirety of Twitch has reportedly been leaked
The Verge: Twitch source code and creator payouts part of massive leak
TechCrunch: Twitch source code and creator payout data leaks online
IGN: Twitch Reportedly Hit By Huge Leak Including Source Code, Payouts and More

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Re: The Perils of an .xyz Domain

I just came across this blog post about the perils of a .xyz domain. I’ve been using this (dwayne.xyz) domain for a while now and I definitely had some concerns about how often my links will be spam-filtered. Luckily I’m not trying to sell an actual product (besides my web development services) so I figured I would stick with it and see how it works out.

This part of the article stuck out though because I recently had something similar happen to me:

One surprising side effect of having a .xyz domain is that the mere inclusion of .xyz inside of a text message will result in a silent delivery failure for many providers.

[…]

The text including the .xyz link is notably absent. Until I realized what was happening, I would sometimes have some very strange text exchanges with people whenever I would mention my company or my email address. Once we switched to spotvirtual.com, this issue went away.

I sent a SMS with one of my .xyz email address to someone recently, and just like in the article, it silently failed to send. Very frustrating and concerning for me considering I use this domain to communicate with my clients.

I have other non-xyz domains as aliases to this server, and every time I read about this kind of thing I’m tempted to make one of them the primary instead of this one…

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Re: Twitch Sues Users Over Alleged 'Hate Raids' Against Streamers

I wrote about the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag last week. Yesterday, Twitch sued two alleged hate raiders for violating its terms of service. Cecilia D’Anastasio from Wired writes:

Since early August, Twitch has been wrestling with an epidemic of harassment against marginalized streamers known as “hate raids.” These attacks spam streamers' chats with hateful and bigoted language, amplified dozens of times a minute by bots. On Thursday, after a month trying and failing to combat the tactic, Twitch resorted to the legal system, suing two alleged hate raiders for “targeting black and LGBTQIA+ streamers with racist, homophobic, sexist and other harassing content” in violation of its terms of service.

It’s good to see Twitch taking more action on this.

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Re: Stop just using "Frontend" or "Backend" to describe the Engineering you like

Michelle Lim on replacing the dev Frontend/Backend axis with Product/Infrastructure:

If there is one tip I could share with my fellow new engineers, it would be… Stop relying on the “Frontend/Backend” axis to understand the engineering you like. The “Frontend/Backend” axis doesn’t map well to engineers' motivations. If you only use that axis, you can end up in projects you don’t like or worse still, give up on engineering prematurely. Instead, try using the “Product/Infrastructure” axis as the first axis to understand your career preference.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Web development continues to get more complicated and specialized, and the simple frontend/backend division in tech career conversations keeps getting a lot harder to stick with.

Product-first engineers map to “Product engineering” – building, launching and maintaining features that solve user problems. They often love being in the same room as designers and product managers to learn about users, and they love finding technical opportunities that can improve the product.

Code-first engineers map to “Infrastructure engineering” – building infrastructure platforms that support applications, be it via building CI/CD pipelines, implementing logging, or supporting high traffic etc. They’re motivated to better the craft of programming and are often obsessed with things like test coverage, using the latest technologies, code architecture, etc.

This doesn’t cover every case of course, but I think it’s a much better place to start the conversation.

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Re: Twitch Streamers Are Boycotting The Site For A Day To Protest Hate Raids

Ari Notis from Kotaku on today’s Twitch boycott:

Earlier this month, streamers rallied around the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag on social media, where reports of awful user experiences on the platform proliferated. Many of the posts revolved around how Twitch has offered tepid protections against sustained harassment. In particular, hate raids – in which bad-faith viewers use the platform’s “raid” feature to flood a channel en masse with slurs and vile language – are not only possible, but becoming a daily nightmare for folks using the livestreaming service. And since it’s nearly effortless to create an account on Twitch, trolls are able to sign up for a bunch of accounts. It’s absurdly easy to circumvent any bans, at least until measures like account verification via phone numbers are implemented.

I’ve done some streaming on Twitch before, and was lucky enough to have decent experiences with it. I was “raided” once, but it was a good one, not the hate raids that seem like the thing for racists and trolls to do these days. But while my the streams I hosted went okay (I never had enough viewers to attract a lot of negative attention), I’ve seen just how toxic the platform can be while watching other Black streamers. I hope Twitch ends up doing something meaningful here.

The #ADayOffTwitch campaign – organized by Raven alongside streamers LuciaEverblack and ShineyPen – is scheduled for September 1. Essentially, it’ll be a 24-hour-long total blackout: no streaming, no watching streams, no logging on to chat. Viewers are encouraged to participate, as well.

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Re: Reddit Responds to Calls From Moderators to Fight Disinformation

Matthew Gault from Vice, writing about reddit refusing to address misinformation:

Some of the most popular subreddits are protesting the proliferation of COVID-19 disinformation and conspiracy theories on the platform. Moderators from several high profile subreddits, including r/awww, r/showerthoughts, and r/pics, are now calling on the site to do a better job of curbing the spread of disinformation.

He then goes on to talk about the response from reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman:

Huffman began by saying the CDC was the best source of up to date information about the pandemic and urged people to get vaccinated. “We appreciate that not everyone agrees with the current approach to getting us all through the pandemic, and some are still wary of vaccinations,” Huffman said. “Dissent is a part of Reddit and the foundation of democracy. Reddit is a place for open and authentic discussion and debate. This includes conversations that question or disagree with popular consensus. This includes conversations that criticize those that disagree with the majority opinion. This includes protests that criticize or object to our decisions on which communities to ban from the platform.”

I don’t understand why these tech company executives think that being in a democracy means they have no responsibility for the things they enable. The concept of freedom of speech does not mean you don’t have to do anything about amplifying and spreading misinformation through the giant platform you’ve created.

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Re: OnlyFans says never mind, it actually won’t ban porn on October 1st

Richard Lawler from The Verge reporting on OnlyFans' latest moves:

In an abrupt tweet, video and image sharing site OnlyFans announced a reversal of the shocker announcement that it would ban sexually explicit content. In a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson said “The proposed October 1st, 2021 changes are no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”

They announced they were banning sexually explicit content on Friday. Here we are a few days later and they’ve already completely reversed the decision. How are any of the people who relied on the service ever going to trust it again after this?

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Re: Apple employees are organizing, now under the banner #AppleToo

The backlash against Apple’s treatment of their employees continues to build. From the new AppleToo website:

For too long, Apple has evaded public scrutiny. The truth is that for many Apple workers – a reality faced disproportionately by our Black, Indigenous, and other colleagues from minoritized racial, gender, and historically marginalized groups of people – the culture of secrecy creates an opaque, intimidating fortress. When we press for accountability and redress to the persistent injustices we witness or experience in our workplace, we are faced with a pattern of isolation, degradation, and gaslighting.

I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion lately about how badly tech companies are treating (and in many cases straight abusing) their workers. But just like AppleToo says, Apple’s secrecy meant it’s always been more rare to hear those kinds of stories from their employees. It’s only a matter of time before we start hearing a whole lot more about the negative parts of a company culture built on Steve Jobs' brand of abrasive asshole.

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Updates

So it’s definitely been a while since my last post.

I was pretty heads-down for a while working on my last client project. It took up most of my time and had me stressed for a while, so I wasn’t writing much. Then the project ended and I immediately jumped into a few large projects of my own, which are causing me a much much better type of stress.

First was the self-hosted live streaming experiment; then, when that didn’t work out all that well (video encoding takes a lot more processing power than I want to pay for right now), I started rewriting my entire web chat and chat bot code to be more useful/impressive and work in more places. The new version of the chat bot, which is now integrated into the website app, has become one of the biggest software projects I’ve ever worked on.

A diagram explaining the different parts of the DwayneBot chat bot architecture.
I'll be talking a lot about what this is and why I did it later. In the meantime, here's a diagram I made showing what I've been building.

Because it’s fully part of the website now, some other changes I made to the website are held up until I deploy this. And because those things are held up, I haven’t been writing anything. I have literally been working on this project any time I’m sitting at my computer for weeks straight.

But I’m finally getting close to deploying so you’ll definitely hear more from me shortly.

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The Apple TV still isn't good

Jon Porter from The Verge:

When we tried the HBO Max app for ourselves, we found it doesn’t seem to support the new remote’s D-pad. Instead, we could only use the remote’s touchpad circle, which is technically an element of the remote you’re supposed to be able to disable. Scrubbing using the touchpad works, just very badly. The cause of these problems appears to be a recent app update, which replaced the standard tvOS playback UI with HBO’s own (and apparently far less capable) version.

I have been complaining about the Apple TV (the remote of course, but also tvOS itself) for a long time now. If there’s anything to like about Apple, it’s that they usually try to enforce some type of good design sense throughout their hardware and software. Yes, there are a lot of shitty apps on macOS and iOS, but when it comes to the stuff that goes through their App Store, they at least pretend that they would like all of it to look, work, and generally be designed well.

With that said, why are most1 of the major tvOS apps on the platform able to be approved on the App Store without having even the basics in place? What’s the point of Apple releasing a platform like this if they aren’t going to enforce the very thing that makes people buy Apple products? If some of the most important apps on the platform reduce the video watching experience to just being able to play and pause videos, why bother buying the Apple TV (the most expensive product in this category right now) at all?

I think the answer to the first question is that Apple really doesn’t have any leverage to push companies like HBO to actually make good apps. They can’t really just kick HBO Max off the Apple TV App Store without it being a major issue for them, so why would HBO actually do the hard work of making a good tvOS app2 if they can just make one however they want instead? Can you really call tvOS a good platform if nobody making the major apps has any reason to make them good?

We just ordered one of these new remotes a few days ago. Partially because the old one really is trash, but also because we were suspecting we’re having hardware issues with the original (although the problems we’re seeing might just be because of shitty software 🤷🏾‍♂️) so we figured it made sense. But based on what I’m reading, watching HBO will still be a terrible experience even with the new remote anyway, so I’m already frustrated with it before I even have it.


  1. I’ve had a problem with YouTube on the Apple TV for so long now. They’ve insisted on custom interactions that feel out of place on tvOS in their app the entire time I’ve used it. ↩︎

  2. I think most macOS/iOS developers would agree that it takes a lot of very hard work to make well designed apps for these platforms. Apple provides a lot to developers to make apps that work well for users, but that doesn’t make it easy to actually make happen. It sounds like the HBO Max developers are writing a lot of custom code to control the video playback experience, and I’m guessing it’s because 1) it usually feels easier to do that than to fight with the built-in tools/APIs to get things to work the way all the stakeholders want it to, or 2) they use a lot of cross platform code to simplify development for Roku, Chromecast, smart TVs, etc. These kinds of things are understandable from a code/budget perspective, but they always screw up the quality of the app. Every single time. ↩︎

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UI Design in The Expanse

I’m really into The Expanse.

I’ve heard of the book series since before the show was announced, but I didn’t actually get around to reading it until after I’ve seen a few seasons of the show. I used to read on my commute a lot right before COVID hit, but my pace really slowed down a lot since I don’t regularly sit on trains for long periods of time anymore.

Anyway, one of the many things I really like about the show is their vision of all the tech we’ll be using in the future. As a tech guy who’s into sci-fi, I end up seeing a lot of devices/interfaces/tech in shows that either don’t make sense or don’t look good or realistic in any way. The Expanse manages to do such a good job with the technical details.

I just came across the website HUDS+GUIS, which talks about different interfaces from films, games, concepts, etc. They just did an article on UI design in The Expanse. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re into future tech and design. And The Expanse is definitely worth a watch if you like sci-fi.

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Freenode and Libera.Chat

Freenode, the IRC network that’s been around since 1998, is dealing with a hostile takeover situation that led to most of the staff members leaving the organization (and the IRC servers of course) over the past day or two.

At some point, freenode users saw this message pop up in their chat clients:

[Global Notice] Hi all. It feels like my moral responsibility to inform all users that administrative control of freenode and its user data will soon change hands, and I will be resigning from freenode staff effective immediately. It’s been an honour to help you all.

Some of the operators who left the org started up a new chat network called Libera.Chat. A few of them also posted messages (kline, Md, Fuchs) about the situation.

According to the messages, it sounds like Andrew Lee, the guy who took over the organization, doesn’t have the best intentions (I don’t really know what that means for an IRC network) for it, so if you’re on the network you might want to consider leaving. If anything just because it seems like a decent amount of people did actually switch over to the new thing (or just decided to finally use Discord or Slack instead of IRC) so I’m guessing freenode will just start dying off at this point.

I’ve seen some people on Twitter talking about being on the network (or at least having it configured in an unused IRC client) for most of their online lives so it’s just kind of a weirdly sad day for them. I’ve heard about it for a long time (back when I was messing around with Win 98 registry keys to get rid of the mIRC registration prompts) but I never really used IRC all that much to feel too bad about it.

I’ve used it a lot in the past year or two though after I decided to run my own IRC server, mostly just because I thought it would be fun to make the bot I’ve been working on live there. Feel free to join if any of this article made any sense to you.

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