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Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:39 am
by denniskane
Well, maybe not me exactly by "name, rank and serial number", but he did come close enough when he tweeted about "nonsense" a few days ago:

"Some people are no nonsense, but, personally, I like a little nonsense"

The deep background to this story funnily enough tangentially involves ILP because it was right around September 2005 when I came across the present message forum. At the same time, I had become extremely put off by the entire graphical Windows paradigm of using computers. I had been using Windows XP, and had been trying my hand at internet day trading. It so happened that I did pretty well on one trade, betting that Apple would fall pretty hard, and I thought I could do no wrong. My next trades didn't work out so well, and I started to question things (ILP indeed helped me out in this regard). I wanted to see how I could directly enlist my computer's support, seeing as how computers tend be very rational about things involving numbers. I remember wanting to see how I could get my computer to make graphical charts, and for whatever reason, I ended up on the website, which is one of the main entry points into the world of free-as-in-freedom-not-beer software (also known as open source software).

The site inspired me to completely replace Windows with a command-line only version of Debian, a popular GNU/Linux distribution. Forced to use text in order to get my computer to do anything, I gradually transitioned into writing actual programs. But these initial forays into programming were bouts of trial and error, and so nothing would take hold until the next decade when I started getting into JavaScript and web development. I began working on the thing now called Linux on the Web in 2012 (this month marks the 10 year anniversary).

Over the past decade, I'd done very feeble and sporadic attempts at promoting my work, and they would always fizzle out because I had to go back to hacking away furiously in order to get something even remotely passable as actual innovation in the midst of this cruel, cruel world of ours. By now, however, things have slowly and surely fallen into place, and over the past couple of months, I've started getting all my ducks in order, waiting for the moment that I could really sink my teeth into the mission of publicly advocating for my "baby".

At this point, I should throw in a slight tangent as regards the significance of a certain "other" messaging forum called Hacker News. That one is a production of perhaps the world's most notorious tech startup incubator/accelerator, YCombinator (they were the first investors in Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox, Doordash, Instacart, etc). Elon sat down for an interview with them 5 years ago. Hacker News is essentially the only "real" forum to use if you are trying to keep up with — or even break into the big time of — "disruptive tech".

So, I'd half-heartedly attempted, over the years, to get noticed on Hacker News, but other than one of my posts that might have actually broken onto the first page of the "top stories", it was all really just an exercise in frustration...




...that is, until right about now (if my calculations are correct)!

For, it was just over a week ago that I decided to slowly start dipping my toe back into the stormy ocean known as Hacker News. I secured the identity, "lotw_dot_site" (it's my web address, you see). According to my browser history, I started posting there on the 28th, and I made this "hit" comment at 4:39pm of the 29th. It is a "hit" because it has 9 points (the difference between upvotes and downvotes), which is a pretty good number for a mere comment.

This story starts to get very interesting due the fact that my website has a link to my github repository (github is the place where all the cool kids put their computer code for all the other cool kids to see and use), which has a screenshot that twice very clearly depicts the word "nonsense".

You might be thinking that I could easily be playing a trick on you (ie uploading an image to github after the fact), but the thing about files hosted on github (which the screenshot image is) is that github has securely in place a very robust accounting procedure (involving timestamps and cryptographic checksums) for every file that makes its way onto their servers. By clicking the "history" button on the page at the previous link, you can indeed verify that the file was uploaded well before Elon made his "nonsense" comment.

Fast forward to two days ago at which time I decided on a whim to try to make my own submission to Hacker News, entitled, 'Ask HN: Just wondering what “nonsense” Elon likes'. It received a none-too-enthusiastic response from a user who questioned my motives. After I answered the response, the post got "flagged", which meant that it was removed from the forum's listing and could no longer be commented on by those who already had the link (ie it got "locked"). The user I responded to could then only respond to my response by editing his response to the original post that I made, and he seemed to mellow out about me.

I know it is very understandable for sensible people to doubt the notion that Elon's invocation of "nonsense" via Twitter had anything whatever to do with my own invocation via my source code repository. So let me reiterate that the time at which the "hit comment" on Hacker News was made showed up as 4:39pm on July 29th, while Elon's tweet clearly shows a timestamp 10:20AM on July 30th. And it was only following the Hacker News comment that I got any interest in the repository, seeing as I'd never publicly posted the link before that.

The next thing to understand is that the project also known as LOTW surely is a true innovation, which has taken a full decade (and necessarily so!) of absolutely inspired and dedicated mental labor (as well as occasional psychic torment) in order to reach fruition. To sweeten the pot, let me tell you some of my family's "bona fides": my dad is a retired computer programmer for GE, and I think an uncle (his brother) works/worked for Oracle. A couple of their siblings went to Harvard (one of them got a PhD in physics), and a cousin born two days later than me went there too (he worked for WIRED).

But I'm a college drop out. When I graduated high school in '93, I intellectually knew my dad was a computer programmer, but there was really no such thing as "tech" at the time — at least not in its current sense which has a vice-grip on our collective consciousness. The internet was generally an unknown quantity. In college, I was merely trying to feel my way around in order to find my calling. While it is true that I had declared my major as engineering, my freshman year did not have any very hard courses, so, like in high school, I didn't have to think very hard. Sophomore year, when courses like physics and differential equations came around is when I dropped out.

So, the birth of a new kind of operating system interface (which Linux on the Web is) is not your everyday kind of event. You can expect a figure like Elon to have his army of boots on the ground in the trenches where new innovations in technology are most likely to be found. Most people are only going to respond to a thing when it hits them in the face or blinds them in the eye; they have no means of judging the technical merits of candidate innovations, even if those people did happen to stumble upon a project like mine.

But Elon has obviously built things up from the ground floor more than once in his life, and he as much as anyone is quite capable of making such judgements. My thesis is that his tweet about liking "a little nonsense" is indeed his way of showing approval for the kinds of projects (like mine) that involve tremendous amounts of time and mental effort with almost nothing in the way of support (moral, much less material) during their years-long development cycles.

I have much more to say about this topic. You can be sure that the idea of someday being able to get back to ILP with news like this has always been somewhere in the back of my mind over these last two decades!

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:10 am
by MagsJ
He didn’t mention you at all!

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:12 am
by Mr Reasonable
his dad impregnated his own stepdaugher who he raised since she was 5

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:14 am
by Mr Reasonable
some real woody allen shit

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:45 pm
by denniskane
First of all, any mention related to Linux on the Web is indeed an indirect reference to me, since I alone am responsible for it.

Secondly, the snarky one-offs are completely expected since each of you have posted to ILP approximately two orders of magnitude (100x) more than I have (I am including everything that I personally posted under any username starting from 2005), and therefore can be considered as ILP nobility whereas my reputation is nothing but a commoner.

And you can't possibly imagine how it would benefit you to engage with me in even the mere possibility that the work I've been laboring over has any value.

That's all fine and perfectly expected.

But it still doesn't change the fact that a thing like Linux on the Web has never before existed until I built it from the sweat of my own brow.

The reason why Elon would tweet about LOTW is because he knows it is so good that he wouldn't even need to tweet about it, in order for it (and me) to start making waves. I'm saying that LOTW is a technological ding-an-sich, whereas so many other things that try to pass off as "tech" — especially the kinds of things that are constantly fawned over on Hacker News because some techie hipster got the attention of some venture capitalists in Silicon Valley — are barely ever anything more than mere representations or facades or even simulacra, if you will. These kinds of people spend more time on their glittery websites and glad-handing than they do building the real kinds of tools that have been the hallmark of our species for untold millenia.

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:01 pm
by Ichthus77

That is some impressively nerdy nerd work. Don’t you think he was prolly owning his last tweet as nonsense, since someone prolly had something to say about it? ... qWWi59Aexg

You know what I wish I knew? How do logic gates turn into stuff computers can make sense of so that we can do what we’re doing on our phones, laptops, and desktops? I’m just talking basic building blocks. How do you get a computer to understand what you want it to do so that it does it? What is the most basic first thing a computer ever did in response to something in binary code? Even if we’re just talking a calculator. It feels like this should be taught in public school, and granted it’s been a minute, but I’m pretty sure I was never exposed.

I’m not asking how do you type stuff on a keyboard into a computer/calculator that is already set up to understand the code. I’m asking how do you even get off the ground.

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:10 pm
by Ichthus77
p.s. re: hit comment… SNES… yus…

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:25 pm
by Ichthus77
P.s. I’m not lazy. I just don’t know where to look. How do the “elementary components“ & transistors learn how to “see” that zero means no voltage or difference, whereas a one means voltage or current—and how do zeroes, ones, voltage, or current turn into an understandable command? If that sounds like I’m not understanding something, it’s because I don’t know any of this crap: ... 887_250738

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:26 am
by origami ... 5dvjafglHU

You and all of your line are welcome.

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:28 am
by origami

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:46 am
by origami
Lol ok, it's been a while since I watched these. The "previous video" he mentions is this one. Have fun.

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:21 am
by Ichthus77
Thank you, Origami!

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:37 pm
by denniskane

Hi, thanks for the decent reply. I remember way back in the day at ILP (eg when there were ipods but not yet iphones) when fruitful intellectual conversations were at least somewhere within the realm of possibility. One of my hopes for the future is that now that our species is undeniably in the Malthusian/ Tragedy-of-the-Commons-ian/ Limits-to-Growth-ian epoch, we can all stop pretending that there are answers regarding the question of the human condition in the materialistic plane and start getting back to good old philosophical dialectic.

It has always been a struggle for me to deal with this forum (or any other for that matter) because of my tendencies to get really excited about whatever is happening in my head and then post it here, only to get a strong sense of regret/bitterness in the immediate aftermath due to my feelings of being slighted by the commenters.

But this time I hope is different.

I really just wanted to hammer out a quick response so I could prove to myself that I could get back to a thread I started within a reasonable period of time.

I indeed felt myself getting dragged down into a "tea leaf reading" kind of rabbit hole vis-a-vis the Elon/twitter affair. I wanted to spend some time away from that kind of reactionary mindset, and so I set up a challenge to myself to read a decent sized book before I was going to revisit this thread. I guess you can say that I realized I needed to recalibrate my internal state. I wanted to get into more of a zen-like state of mind.

I'd been looking forward to digging into Neal Stephenson's Anathem ever since I found it at a Goodwill a couple of years ago. I'd already read Snow Crash, Seveneves and Reamde. The cover of the book has some kind of a monk on it, and so I thought it was going to be a completely different kind of story, ie more like Umberto Eco and less like Isaac Asimov. And it was a hell of a lot like The Name of the Rose for several hundred pages. I mean, it was filled with so much intellectual grist for historically/philosophically minded types to chew over... until it somehow (slowly, agonizingly) turned into the same old action packed, futuristic, techno-dystopianism he is well known for. Just yesterday, I got right up to the midpoint of the book and my gut sank when I realized I would not be able to read another page.

So I'm feeling a little bitter for having invested some days of my life without the kind of satisfying payoff that one typically feels after the intellectual labor of finishing a nice hefty work of literature. But still, I was able to get into a completely alternate state of mind for a not-entirely-trivial slice of my life, and so I can't really complain all that much.

Anyway, now that I'm in a somewhat more relaxed/refreshed mindset, I'll be able to get back to this thread, and perhaps dig deeper into interesting related issues (eg, What in the hell is the world of computation really all about?).

So I wasn't even trying to make a real reply with this post. I just wanted to set the playing field for my internal state for anyone out there who happens to give a shit about what Elon Musk might (or might not) have said regarding the work of a member of the present internet-based messaging system (ILP).

p.s. I would like this thread to be a long-lived one. Accordingly, I've created a redirect link to it from my website at

Re: Elon Musk mentioned me in a tweet!

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:57 pm
by Ichthus77
I read your reply. Looking forward to future ones on the world of computation. Perhaps you could tell me what Mr. Musk means by this tweet? ... XyuGa-tz5Q