Time Magazine Says the Solar Industry Might Collapse

Making the rounds on Mastodon is an article sounding the alarm on the rooftop solar industry. The article highlights a few issues:

  • Many solar installs either do not work or are undersized.
  • Salespeople are fraudulently sighing people up for or pressuring them into loans that are bad deals.
  • The cost of sales is making solar overly expensive.
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How Digital Transformation Efforts Get Killed

A central tenant of digital transformation efforts aimed at government in the US can be reduced to: “show them the way and they will change.” Code for America tackled this by placing fellows with various government agencies. Folks joined government agencies and tried to do things differently. Yet many times these efforts belly flopped. What’s the issue?

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Pretty Good Software

Six years ago Waldo Jaquith, Robin Carnahan, and Randy Hart released “De-risking Custom Technology Projects: A handbook for state grantee budgeting and oversight”. This tome was written for state legislators and agency heads that were looking to fund and conduct oversight on new custom software. Besides recording the current state of the art, the team at 18F wrote a guide to technical project management for non-technologists. On the other end of the spectrum Software Carpentry focuses on teaching academics or others new to writing software how to do so. There is still a need for a guide to commissioning (or not) custom software projects for smaller organizations and middle managers that are lucky enough to receive grants to do so. They’re not trying to compete with Google, they just need to make some pretty good software.1

  1. The title and structure is inspired by Pretty Good House

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An Ode to Think Geek

Before it was bought by GameStop and turned into a soulless purveyor of collectibles, ThinkGeek was “Sharper Image for sysadmins”. It’s eclectic mix of gadgets, puzzles, and yes even collectible merch made it a fun and reliable place to find a novel gift.

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ChatGPT is an Unfair Use

Recently the New York Times was in the news for suing OpenAI over copyright infringement. Tech journalists like Mike Masnick have taken the other side and suggest that finding in favor of the Times would be bad for innovation. Having studied copyright in law school and experimenting with large language models (LLMs) makes me think that the Times is correct here, and I doubt that this will hamper innovation.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.