Category Archives: Opinion

What Do You Want Me To Do?

When talking about politics I hear two things from Americans. The first is always, “well, what do you know?” And it turns out I know quite a bit. Enough to pass on to the next level. The question then is, “What do you want me to do?”

Which is funny. Because the very first question was to assert knowledge of the system above mine but the second was to demand I present some magic wisdom to fix the system.

The answer is I don’t really know. I do know, for sure, that everything the on left, or progressive side, of the American debate has been failing to gain any traction. The guttural and visceral appeal to the base notions of the right wing has slowly, over the course of decades, dragged the country further towards what isn’t a conservative position, per se, but suits the political coalition at play.

If I had to venture a guess I’d say that the political spectrum is largely misunderstood. The left and the right are represented poorly. Traditionally Communism has been on the hard left, while Fascism has been on the hard right. Which puts America, and Western nations someplace in the middle. But I don’t believe this the best way of considering the political spectrum.

I’d suggest a spectrum that puts Libertarianism/Anarchy on the far left, and Authoritarianism/Communism on the far right. Or flip them if you’d like. Who cares? It’s an arbitrary spectrum. The point is that the real political spectrum is to find a middle point between authoritarianism and libertarianism we can live with. Communism is considered, traditionally, far left, but, ultimately, it requires a heavy hand of authoritarianism to make it work. Similarly, libertarians typically expect the basic essentials of a well run infrastructure to have the freedom to not hire women.

(Hire more women, jackasses)

Obviously, neither of those extremes are good. At all. We need freedoms. We need some structure. Too much of either is probably going to end up poorly.

So, what do you want me to do? Three things really. First, consider how you really feel about where you might sit on the spectrum I’ve proposed. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think it’s dumb, and it may help align how you think about things. More importantly, it may help how you argue about things. And that’s the second thing — talk to people. Talk to everyone you can no matter how obstinate. Avoid the framing that the American bifurcation of ideals sets upon you. Try to frame your arguments with regards to the spectrum I presented. The third thing — make it count. If you don’t believe it, and you can’t sell it, nobody will buy it.

Does this work for me? Sometimes. Often when it’s not an affront to someone’s self-identity. But otherwise, no, not really. I’m heavy on the third, and assume too much of the first two. But, hey, you’re reading this so maybe that’ll help.

What do you want me to do?

— Abandon the Democrat/Republican upbringing. It’s not a real thing.

— Consider, carefully, where you are on freedom vs. governance.

— Governance is not a bad word. It’s a bunch of you doing what they can do.

— When talking to others try to break out of their Democrat/Republican pattern.

— Share your thoughts, not your talking points.

Does it work? No, not always. Some people are more invested in what they’ve done that’s been proven not to work than they are in rethinking the problem. That’s true everywhere though.

But, what do I want you to do?

Fix it.

That’d be great. Thanks in advance.

Sound Off

Sound Off is a terrific organization dedicated to increasing access to professional settings to marginalized people in tech. It’s a worthy cause addressing an under appreciated difficulty for too many people.

This round Sound Off is raising funds to send two fellows or alumni of CODE2040 to the Layers conference. Here’s what they have to say about Layers and CODE2040:

Layers is a design conference in San Francisco taking place from June 13th – June 15th. Folks who know our history, know that Sound Off started as an informal fundraiser to send two women on scholarship to Layers 2015. We’re proud to continue to support a conference that features some of the best and brightest voices in our industry, including an outstanding number of women and people of color on stage and in the audience. Like all the conferences we support, Layers has a strong Code of Conduct.

CODE2040 is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Blacks and Latinxs. Every summer, CODE2040’s flagship Fellows Program supports minority students interning in Silicon Valley by providing them with a sense of community, through mentorship, a speaker series, and workshops. CODE2040’s mission aligns with our own, and we’re excited to provide opportunities to their fellows and alumni.


Layers is terrific. I attended last year, I’m friends with the organizers, and I cannot recommend a conference higher. Sending a couple of people from the CODE2040 project seems like a terrific idea to me. If you can please consider a contributing. You’ll make the world a better place.

Adrian Courrèges Dissects a Grand Theft Auto Frame

To turn back to technical topics — Adrian Courrèges has done an amazing job of deconstructing and explaining exactly what goes into rendering a frame of Grand Theft Auto 5.

This is a phenomenal piece of work. Not only does it deconstruct how a frame is rendered but it does so in a way that is approachable by people who are not necessarily graphics programmers. That’s not to say that people who don’t know the ins and outs will walk away with the ability to implement an engine like the one employed by GTA but, rather, that they can walk away with a basic understanding of the ingredients. These are the eggs that make the omelet.

Adrian concludes:

All in all there were 4155 draw calls, 1113 textures involved and 88 render targets.

That’s a lot of eggs. Adrian does a terrific job of explaining how it all fits together.