About Me

I am just some guy with a cool wife and funny kids who likes making things that probably don’t need to exist, like this website, a bunch of albums, and all these words.

I made Resolution and I just finished an acoustic album.

About Me

I am just some guy with a cool wife and funny kids who likes making things that probably don’t need to exist, like this website, a bunch of albums, and all these words.

Here’s some of my work.

I’m also the lunatic behind a what-if scenario planning & goal setting application called Resolution. You can use it for free here, or check out our fairly large set of examples

Look at This Hat

I recently finished an acoustic album, and it came out pretty good! If you like stripped down, half-earnest half-winking-at-the-camera punk rock songs recorded by some Dad in his living room, you should listen to it.

Listen Now:

Spotify | Apple Music

The Theoretical Beauty of the Legislative Branch

I’ve been reading John Roberts rulings since I was a pre-law undergraduate student, and simply put… the guy lives in a fantasy world.

The Supreme Court on Friday curtailed the power of federal government agencies to regulate vast parts of American life, overturning a 40-year-old legal precedent long targeted by conservatives who say the government gives unaccountable bureaucrats too much authority.

For decades, the court’s decision in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council directed judges to defer to the reasonable interpretations of federal agency officials in cases that involve how to administer ambiguous federal laws. That power will now revert to judges, a move experts said could lead to a spate of challenges of federal guidelines and make regulation more unpredictable as different courts assess agency decisions in different ways.

Writing for the majority in the 6-3 ruling in a pair of cases, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Chevron framework has proved “unworkable” and allowed federal agencies to change course even without direction from Congress. 

“Chevron was a judicial invention that required judges to disregard their statutory duties,” Roberts wrote.

You don’t have to be especially cynical to realize that the United States Congress has had a lot of trouble producing thorough, detailed legislation at a rate sufficient to meet the challenges of the 21st century. That’s why so many things go to the courts! But Roberts is nothing if not consistent — from his judicial philosophy to his decisions and opinions on the regulatory state, this dude has always believed that the legislative branch should clearly articulate what is and isn’t permitted, and that courts can make this happen by simply rejecting regulatory actions that don’t have express legislative authority. 

Cool, cool. But I have to like, live here, man, and the thing you are describing almost never happens. We hate long, detailed legislation! We’ve been told to hate it since the Reagan administration, by legislators waving around giant stacks of papers and lamenting “this 9000 page bill!”, as if the number of pages in a law is a measure for the “amount of government” or something. So which is it? Simple bills, or detailed bills?

I actually believe that Roberts would like detailed bills. He would probably shoot a lot of them down from his position on Mount Olympus, but he would enjoy the back and forth, and I don’t think he’d undercut the few things he actually allowed to pass. It’s not an intellectually incoherent approach to government at all — it’s just a completely impractical civic fantasy that people should be debating in dorm rooms late at night, not suddenly deciding to implement in a country that is already paralyzed and ready to tear itself apart. 

Again — “the Chevron framework has proved ‘unworkable’”, says… some freaking guy we don’t even vote for. I mean, look, I’m not begging for my life to be micromanaged by a bunch of dorks at the Department of Agriculture or anything, but at least I can vote for one of two extremely old men who can appoint some political hack to get in or out of their way a little bit. John Roberts, on the other hand — I mean, the guy literally has zero accountability. Zero! So don’t start poking at shit, man!

I just can’t take seriously anybody who thinks today’s Congress — we didn’t even have a SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE for weeks for absolutely no discernible reason — is even remotely up to the task of providing the kind of detail Roberts and his coalition have suddenly decided is necessary. This pre-WWII vision of American government guys like Roberts continue to wave around a hundred years after it had any relevance at all is just childishly unworkable, and now my kids are probably going to have to do their own private-sector mercury testing or whatever while the guy puts up William McKinley posters in his bedroom. I’ve been super patient with this dude for 25 years but I think I’m done with him. 

“complimentary chiropractic adjustment”

This is funny, informed, profane, and generally delightful

Most organizations cannot ship the most basic applications imaginable with any consistency, and you’re out here saying that the best way to remain competitive is to roll out experimental technology that is an order of magnitude more sophisticated than anything else your I.T department runs, which you have no experience hiring for, when the organization has never used a GPU for anything other than junior engineers playing video games with their camera off during standup, and even if you do that all right there is a chance that the problem is simply unsolvable due to the characteristics of your data and business? This isn’t a recipe for disaster, it’s a cookbook for someone looking to prepare a twelve course fucking catastrophe.

I have no notes. There is going to be some absolutely incredible goalpost-moving over the next five years — unlike crypto, the vague, amorphous “AI” space will be able to declare victory in any number of ways even if the most visible applications never become practical or production-viable. “But Nate, AI is everywhere now!” is a thing you will definitely be able to say without lying in 2026, but also a thing you could have said in 2016 before the market discovered thirsty chatbots and mass-laundering of intellectual property.

AI’ll Believe It When I See It

As someone who’s been deep (trapped, often) in the Apple ecosystem since 1987, it’s very important to me that the company not… ruin everything, basically. Then again, one of the reasons I’m still here is that Apple 2.0 has been surprisingly good at maintaining the basic customer experience even as they became far, far too large to punk rock their way through things like “should we comply with the request of this lucrative market’s authoritarian regime”.

Being a big public company in 2024 does not usually allow you to prioritize “wisdom”. I get it.

As the Generative AI Hype Bubble Spectacular reaches it’s eye-rolling stage — the part where everyone knows how this movie is going to end except the investor class that’s too deep in it now to get out — Apple has apparently assessed the terrain and decided what it’s going to do with all of this stuff

  1. Throw in commodity transformer text replacement into the operating system level (i.e., shorten this, make it “friendly”, etc., basically everyone’s AI-app from early 2023)
  2. Bake some image generation into a few low-stakes areas (chats, emojis, etc.)
  3. Give you a HILARIOUSLY walled off integration with ChatGPT where it literally asks you if you want to send this stuff to OpenAI every single time
  4. Use an on-device LLM to theoretically make Siri less stupid when it comes to listening 
  5. Invest in a whole bunch of non-LLM stuff at the operating system level to allow apps to give Siri the necessary context to be less stupid when it comes to doing stuff

The first three are very real things that I don’t care about at all, and will probably never use except to troll my friends once or twice a year. The fourth one is a win unless it somehow makes things worse, but talking to Siri is already like talking to an old person who doesn’t speak English very well so that seems unlikely. 

The fifth is such a massive, fundamental effort that has so little to do with the kinds of innovations OpenAI, Anthropic, etc. have put into the world, it might as well be an entirely different company/product/industry. Throwing all this under the roof of “AI” is so meaningless and self-deluding I don’t even know where to begin. 

Anyways, the net impact on me as a consumer is… low. The obvious shareholder-appeasement cruft (ChatGPT integration, image generation) is pretty easy to ignore, and Apple’s been pretty good at not shoving stuff like this in my face as long as it’s not an opportunity to sell me one of their services. This isn’t one, and in fact, might even cost them cloud compute sometimes for no revenue, so I feel pretty good they’ll leave me alone. I am most certainly not upgrading any of the (alarmingly numerous) Apple hardware products in my home for any of this, though. I’ll do that at the same rate I always do, because generative nonsense aside, these products continue to marginally improve in generally positive ways. 

Will this make other people upgrade more quickly? I kinda doubt it. Is that the intent? Honestly I kind of doubt that, too — Apple might be just another stupid, next-quarter-minded 2024 corporation like everyone else, but at the same time… they aren’t. They’re the king of the mountain, they print money, and their executives are long-term Apple people shareholders have never been very good at dethroning. So I think they threw those guys a bone (AI! ChatGPT!) in the most non-destructive way possible, and then went on to promote a vision of “intelligence” that is much more inline with what they want to do (the Siri as a real assistant model), but is probably still well outside of their ability to deliver. 

Good Things – Bad Things = The Things

This is a pretty incredible look at (among other things) how their best player being such a massive defensive liability is just killing the Dallas Mavericks, whether casual fans are able to see it or not. 

I’ve absolutely played on recreational teams with this problem, where our best scorer and most obviously talented guy was pretty clearly the reason we lost. And I’ve seen in it non-basketball scenarios as well, like incredible sales closers who put up big numbers but suck the life out the rest of the teams, hurt our brand, etc. 

The real question for Luka is… is he willing to be different? Can he make himself valuable without the ball in his hands, or because he’s less talented in those areas, and excellence is harder to achieve as a result, is that just off the table and everyone else needs to somehow mitigate it?

Instagram: Now With More, Worse Ads

I’ve worked almost entirely in B2B (or B2B2C) software, so I’ve never had the now borderline cliche experience of working on a free application that starts off being exactly what people want, but is unprofitable, and then needs to be made incrementally worse — forever — first just to break even, and then eventually to grow profits ad infinitum.

At least when you just increase your prices, you can try to provide some additional value (as long as it costs less to provide than the size of the price increase) and wave your hands a lot and hope people accept the tradeoff. But with this, Instagram is just… worse. It’s not even debatable — the business makes tons and tons of money doing what it does, but if the product was worse it could make more. So they made it worse.

Writing user communications for this kind of thing seems like it would be absolutely soul-crushing. 

Dirty Basketball

When assessing the “dirty” aspect of a basketball play, a good but non-all-encompassing question to ask is “if I did this in a pickup game, would someone fight me”. The play in question one hundred percent qualifies, not because it’s so physically egregious (it’s not), but because it’s such an obvious cheap shot (the ball isn’t even in bounds!) that it’s clear the aggressor wanted everyone to know it was a cheap shot. 

This is not “I am a tougher basketball player than you”, this is “I can do whatever I want to you”. And look, I get that a lot of people are horrified by the Matt Barnes-es of the world imploring for some extra-legal, on-court revenge justice. I’m usually not into that stuff either, to be honest. But that’s only when the powers that be are making a real effort to regulate what’s happening to people on the court. If somebody goes after one of my best players, after the play, the league needs to throw him or her out of the game, period. Otherwise, the 12th man is coming out and putting the aggressor into the basket stanchion on the next play, and the league can sort all that out instead.

Zoom Delusion

I don’t know a polite way to say it, but the CEO of Zoom sounds like he’s completely lost his mind. You should read this whole Verge interview to experience his bizarre, dystopian, AI-double fantasy for yourself, but also to witness the perfect example of zero-accountability AI-fueled investment hype, pictured here:

“It’s someone down the stack.” That’s the most revealing quote I’ve heard in a while about today’s AI hype.

All done.