various thought-oriented text products
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  "title": "Articles",
  "author": "Harrison Ainsworth",
  "date": "2022-04-24",
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some semi-formal writings on a limited range of subjects

Software development

Why exceptions are a bad programming feature
Exceptions are an outgrowth of lack of knowledge, that counter the essence of design, and needlessly add complexity. What they purportedly address in their general usage can be handled by simpler, more basic, means.
(1266 words, 7 min read)
Reusability By Orthogonalysis
To make software reusable, divide it into orthogonal facilities – because that makes available maximal functionality with minimal dependencies.
(1000 words, 5 min read)
Software Architecture For A New Economic System
A rough, high-level software description for a general economic system: an informational structure/means for organising cooperation. (Or an 'engineering fiction'.)
(2000 words, 15 min read)
Tractatus Computo-Philosophicus
A brief philosophical expression of software development, in the style of Wittgenstein's Tractatus.
(550 words, 5 min read)
Understanding Software Engineering Design
A brief description of what seem to be the abstract essentials of software engineering design.
(3000 words, 20 min read)
On Naur's ‘Programming As Theory Building’
A problem in Naur's ‘Programming As Theory Building’ and the improved philosophical model it prompted.
(1500 words, 10 min read)
Is 'Software Architecture' Really Architecture ?
The software world doesn't know what ‘architecture’ means. It needs to seek edification from other disciplines.
(550 words, 5 min read)
A Building Industry Model For Software Development
A conceptual framework for understanding software development, modelled on the building industry.
(3000 words, 20 min read)
Software Architecture And Engineering Definitions
well-founded definitions for the terms 'architecture' and 'engineering' in software
(750 words, 5 min read)
A Software Engineering Symbol
a symbol for software engineering, evolved from the hacker emblem
(350 words, 5 min read)
Software Engineering And Civil Engineering
abstracting civil engineering as a guide to software engineering
(3000 words, 20 min read)
Software Technical Design Guide
a short guide for software technical design
(1200 words, 10 min read)
Ruby Speed Guide
some simple ways to make Ruby code faster
(1300 words, 10 min read)
USDP-Distilled eXtreme Documentation
a simple software technical documentation format
(1600 words, 10 min read)
Open Augmentation Files
a very simple pattern for sharing marked-up/parsed augmentations of files
(400 words, 5 min read)

Graphics software

Fast pow() With Adjustable Accuracy
a fast alternative to the standard C/C++ pow() function
(1400 words, 10 min read)
General Octree C++ Component
the technical design for a generalised octree data structure in C++
(700 words, 5 min read)
General Octree Ruby Component
documentation and code for a generalised octree data structure in Ruby
(700 words, 400 code lines, 5 min read)
Perceptuum 3 Renderer Architecture
architecture description for the Perceptuum 3 renderer
(3000 words, 20 min read)


‘Conceptual engineering’ builds crooked thoughts
Redefining a concept from old to new can only work by reference to a third ‘superclass’ abstraction that both old and new are subtypes of. Otherwise, if you lack that static reference, yet keep the same name for a concept, redefining is incoherent and amounts to crude misrepresentation.
(4302 words, 22 min read)
The ‘no real categories’ ploy
If all categories are spurious, then so is whatever one you are trying to sell me.
(2331 words, 12 min read)
What is decentralization ? (B)
Common meanings for ‘decentralization’ are lacking, because they tend look for something too concrete. Instead, an info-topological view, of the flow of information through causation networks, is better.
(3056 words, 15 min read)
What is decentralization ? (A)
‘De/centralization’ is about the presence or lack of control of, and hence the degree of, behavioural structure. And cryptoledgers are not really ‘decentralized’, they have a pre-fixed, point-centralization in space-time, instead of an adaptable, ongoing (linear) one.
(1144 words, 6 min read)
Stop Saying ‘Non-Coercive’
The popular principle of freedom/non-coercion/voluntariness is unsoundly over-strong, and ultimately contradictory to any political form. It is theoretically incoherent and practically impossible. If we accept it, it would not allow us any political or ethical system, or even any structure at all.
(4574 words, 23 min read)
Standpoint epistemology is circular
The info sought from a standpoint is the info that is needed to find it. There is no other informational structure. Standpoint epistemology has a purely rhetorical function: it adds nothing but an illusion of confirmation for some pre-decided commitment.
(803 words, 4 min read)
Gender-critical philosophy
A collection of writings.
(11200 words, 56 min read)
Name Morality: a basic model
What is the morality of personal names? The most efficient authority for a name is the holder, but to work with others it must harmonise with popular choices.
(1096 words, 5 min read)
Universal coordination machine
A generalised model helps illustrate coordination's essential antithesis to: fairness, non-coerciveness, liberty promotion, and desertism.
(1544 words, 8 min read)
On Hayek's ‘Use Of Knowledge’
Hayek's 'unconveyable economic knowledge' is like the idea of a 'private language'. And some centralisation, rather than being defective, is essential to cooperation anyway.
(1670 words, 10 min read)
On Lockean Property
Locke's famous property rule is a fake moral rule – it is convincing but functionless.
(960 words, 5 min read)
The Illusion Of Decentralisation
Decentralisation is not really what we want.
(1000 words, 5 min read)
‘Just desert’ is the negative-space of morality
‘Just desert’ and ‘deserving’, though a common moral idea, can never be the basis of a proper moral system. It has nothing positive to tell us about any moral system, only where the outer boundary might be.
(1200 words, 10 min read)
A reply to ‘Is efficient copyright a reasonable goal’
This is a counter to a recent (semi-) academic article on copyright ethics. It picks out the main moral thesis, shows it is inadequate and should be rejected, and shows how it is instead aligned with a self-interested motivation.
(1900 words, 15 min read)
Tractatus Digito-Philosophicus
A translation of Wittgenstein's Tractatus into the domain of software development.
(6500 words, 45 min read)
The Lockean Justification For Copyright: An Argument Against
This idea – we could call it ‘right to the fruits of labour’ – is at the root of an intrinsic moral argument for copyright. But on examination it appears inadequate to support that, and also a morally inferior rule.
(1200 words, 10 min read)
Intellectual Property Ethics: Arguments Against
Ethical arguments against IP, based on: groundedness of laws and personal liberty, lack of harm being prevented, universalisation and co-operative benefit, and freedom of communication.
(4500 words, 30 min read)
The ethical case against IP (transcription)
A rational, ethical argument against IP (Transcription of lecture by David Koepsell).
(5900 words, 40 min read)
ErgoVim Key Mappings
A mostly comprehensive rearrangement of Vim's key mappings, to be more spatially ordered and modernised.
Anti-Copyright Summary
An outline of thoughts and arguments against copyright
(1800 words, 15 min read)
Epub Format Construction Guide
a guide for making Epub ebooks/publications
(1900 words, 15 min read)
Epub Format Construction Guide (ebook)
a guide for making Epub ebooks/publications, as an Epub ebook
(1900 words, 15 min read)
Genetics Basics For Programmers
a summary of basic genetics, for programmers
(1700 words, 10 min read)