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Feb. 22nd, 2019 08:54 pm
kittydesade: (et voila)
[personal profile] kittydesade
So Elf Lord strung three and a half strings on my guitar and then I half-strung a string (which is to say we each took a part, I threaded it through, he pulled it tight and kinked it, etc) and then I strung two strings and now I have a restrung guitar! And a journal in which to note what I used to string it with so if I don't like these strings I can get a bulkier or slinkier size next time. And I can write down notes about the stringing process and hopefully do it all myself. And. I am very pleased with myself.

Also for figuring out that all I really need to do is put on my classic rock playlist which is... um. Damn, almost a full day of music. 23h and 40 minutes. Anyway, all I need to do is put it on shuffle, go through it, and see if the Ultimate Tabs site has it and if so, is the part I want to play the bass line or the lead.

Brain so tired though. I spent most of today feeling faintly dizzy and nauseous and wondering if I was going to be sick. Not helped by the boy commenting that what I felt like, described to him, sounded like when he'd been sick that day. On top of that I really do feel like I did the day after he was sick. Or the day after that, but sometime near enough that I was worrying about coming down with it. And I'd really like to know that it's not going to last into tomorrow and I'll be fine for class but I don't trust it. I'll see in the morning.

I swear I had something else here but then I got distracted writing things and playing guitar and looking up other things in past writings and now it is very late and I am very small and tired and I have no money so you understand the kind of pressure I'm under. Wait. No. Well yes, until I get paid. I should just go to bed.

"Every mile is two in winter."

Feb. 22nd, 2019 03:44 am
rosefox: A person in a gas mask. (illness)
[personal profile] rosefox
As is the usual way of things, posting here about being sick meant I was shortly to be past the worst of it. Tuesday I felt pretty decent and Wednesday I felt great. I slept! I got housework done! I went to PT! I took Kit to speech therapy! I shoveled snow! (My arms and shoulders are doing great and I wasn't even slightly sore the next day.) I had lovely smoochy times with J! He was a little sniffly but we assumed he was fighting off the same bug X and I had had.

Now I'm a little sniffly. And sneezy. And disproportionately tired...


But it's just a little cold, nothing nearly as bad as the flu-like thing that wrecked me for the past week. I didn't go to the office yesterday because I don't want to be a plague carrier, but I got work done from home, and J and I even took a leisurely walk in the not-too-chilly evening air. I was sad to miss the nice daytime weather, the likes of which we will not see again for a couple of weeks, but the walk was a decent consolation prize. And the kosher bakery was open late, so we got jam cookies and hamantaschen and bourekas ("for tomorrow's boureka-fast", we always say, because we find ourselves very funny).

I got more housework things done today, including folding all the laundry and entirely clearing off the dining table, and the house cleaners came, so the main area of the house looks great. The Shabbat candles are burning, the machines are quiet, the cats are mostly not being jerks, the humans are mostly asleep. It's very peaceful. I'm thinking of putting on a low-key TV show or movie and doing some cross-stitch or knitting for the first time in ages. It'd all be even nicer if my body didn't have that lingering bleh feeling of being sick, but it's still pretty nice, and pretty nice things have been scarce around here lately, so I will take it.

EDIT: I got out my knitting, but I think I am too tired to knit, so i'm going to go sleep a lot.

Against charity, against dynasties

Feb. 22nd, 2019 08:32 pm
sabotabby: (furiosa)
[personal profile] sabotabby
 Hot take: Caroline Mulroney is worse than her father. Given that I grew up in the 80s, that's saying a lot. But she is really and truly the scum of the earth—perhaps, if it is possible, an ambulatory slime mold worse than Drug Fraud himself.

Case in point: The Ford government has cut or frozen funding to rape crisis centres, the Child Advocate's Office, the College of Midwives, and the free childcare spaces for toddlers that the Liberals promised. It cancelled minimum wage increases, the basic income pilot project, and has proposed cancelling rent control. All of these cuts—and the many more that are no doubt to come—attack the threadbare structures that support low-income women. It is, in fact, a war against women* and in particular makes the lives of poor women attempting to escape domestic abuse even more of a living hell than it already is.

Caroline Mulroney, as Attorney General, has the power to stand up to Ford. She could even vote against him! Imagine that. She could compel the so-called adults in the room to act in response to a premier who is out of control, who governs by tweet, who appoints his cronies to plush positions at the expense of citizens of this province. She could come to the aid of the very women his policies are laser-guided to attack.

Instead, she sends little cosmetics boxes to women in shelters and pats herself on the back for being a do-gooder.

It is less insulting to do nothing at all then to pretend that these tiny, pathetic acts of charity do anything but make Caroline Mulroney feel better about herself, even as she no doubt looks in the mirror every morning and hears, in the back of her tiny, tiny brain, her smothered conscience croaking out the truth of her mendacity. She and her government are condemning women to misery and death, she is not only complicit but an active participant in doing so, and no amount of lipstick will disguise the blood on her hands.

Related: A proposal to ban the children of politicians from entering politics themselves. Sure, we lose Mike Layton, but we save ourselves the formation of a new inbred, spineless monarchy.

* It's a war against everyone but the rich, but women are hit particularly hard.


Feb. 22nd, 2019 06:36 pm
watersword: "I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means no." (Pirates of the Caribbean: no)
[personal profile] watersword
Every time I encounter either of the words "Theranos" or "Thanos" my brain reads it as the other word. I spend a lot of time very confused about the MCU and the Department of Justice; it's pretty wild.
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed

Posted by Sumana Harihareswara

two snowflakes made out of gold paper"The Art of Python", the one-night arts festival about your experience of programming, is still open for proposals, till February 28th.

What experiences do we want to explore? We want variety -- because there are so many experiences we don't usually see! I hope we get a range of tones -- humor, awe, melancholy, anger, joy, and so on. And I'm curious about ones we often don't discuss factually in public, because they're embarrassing or because we have non-disclosure agreements.

But also: there are so many missing stories -- even when movies, shows, books, plays, songs, etc. include programmers/programming, I so rarely find that they speak to the joys and sorrows of our experiences.

I listed, as inspirations, some of the ones that get it right, and asked for prior art. But -- admitting that I'm nearly entirely limited to English-language media -- I'm taking a moment here to reflect more deeply on what we usually get, and don't, in mass-media art about programming.

Movies and TV shows: There are a ton of movies that get the Internet hilariously wrong, and movies/shows "about programmers" are often much more about spies or tycoons. We tell a lot of dramatic stories about penetrative hacking and hockey-stick startups, and then a few workplace comedies like Dweebs, The IT Crowd, and Silicon Valley. I never saw Code Monkeys, which may have resonated more.

Halt and Catch Fire, which I enjoyed, is the only TV show I know of that is realistic about programming and its social and economic context. An important relationship starts, and is repaired, when people help each other recover from data loss. People who think that just making good hardware/code is enough for a good career find that, unless you pay attention to intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, economic, and social issues, you might still be able to make a living, but your work is far more likely to go into the trashbin where no one will ever use it. And: so many office/work shows are basically about people who do the same jobs for a super long time. Halt and Catch Fire reflects the reality of how you run into the same people over and over in different companies and jobs and configurations, teammate, boss, investor, competitor, family, conference co-panellist, and you bring your past to it but you can also grow, especially thanks to the healing power of making stuff together.

several snowflakes made out of gold paperWritten fiction: I know of no novel-about-programming as magnificent as Ellen Ullman's amazing 2003 debugging detective novel The Bug. One of its point-of-view characters is already a programmer when the story starts, and The Bug helps us understand Ethan's bug-hunting fugues, obsession, anxiety, and volatile bounces between certainty and insecurity:

Step, step, step.

Some part of him knew that he should get away from the debugger. He should get away from the machine, stop and think on a yellow pad, a whiteboard. He wasn't making headway like this. He kept beating against the same certainties--here, else here, else here. Writing and sketching might break his thinking patterns, force him into other channels. But there was something seductive about the debugger: the way it answered him, tirelessly, consistently. Such a tight loop: Step, he said. Line of code, it answered. Step, line of code; step, line of code. It was like the compulsion of playing solitaire: simple, repetitive, working toward a goal that was sure to be attained in just one more hand, just one more, and then one more again.

And so the paradox: The more the debugger remained the tireless binary companion it was designed to be--answering, answering, answering without hesitation or effort late into the night--the more exhausted and hesitant the human, Ethan Levin, found himself to be. He was sinking to the debugger's level. Thinking like it. Asking only the questions it could answer. All the while he suffered what the debugger did not have to endure: the pains of the body, the tingling wrists and fingers, the stiffness in the neck, the aching back, the numb legs. And worse, the messy wet chemistry of the emotions, the waves of anxiety that washed across him, and then, without warning, the sudden electric spikes of panic.

The other is Berta, an academic-turned-tester-turned-programmer who looks back on the mystery -- and on her journey towards greater engineering skill -- with the wisdom of decades in the industry.

There might have been a hundred better ways to talk to a computer, but Ethan Levin had copied the Mac, which had copied the Xerox Star, which was later copied by Microsoft Windows. Who knew our mistakes would prove so durable? ....

And that was it: a tester found a bug, a programmer ignored a tester, a bug report went to the top of a pile on a programmer's messy desk -- nothing could have been more normal than what had just happened.

The Bug is Ullman's attempt to write "a historical, technical, Gothic mystery" about the debugging process, and I think it's terrific, and not nearly enough people in our industry have read it, and I urge you to do your bit to change that.

Music: MC Frontalot and Dilbert and Jonathan Coulton used to mean a lot to me. I am literally in the documentary about Frontalot. On reflection, a lot of Dilbert is generally about corporate office work, and a bit of it (such as "I'm gonna write me a new minivan!") is particularly tech-specific. Frontalot and Coulton sing a lot about being nerds, but somewhat less about being nerds who make technology. (Some of Coulton's work that's applicable: "Code Monkey" of course, and "A Laptop Like You", "Robots.txt", and "The Future Soon" -- often ruefully discussing alienation and the way we sublimate our anxieties into our making.)

And Barcelona still holds up in depicting the way that computers can feel like friends, how we make software that feels like a companion, how we make friends across networks and then use those same networks to get back at them ("I Have The Password To Your Shell Account"), how dreary the troubleshooting treadmill feels ("Bugs Bugs Bugs"). Paul Morris talked with me about how some of Radiohead's work gets at the narrowing-field-of-vision experience of being deep in a debugging session, with the long droney periods punctuated by surprises.

Comics: And there's a whole huge conversation I probably need to find about programmer narratives as told in webcomics over the past 20 years. Randall Munroe's tagline for xkcd is "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language." and that attention to emotion ("romance") is part of the secret of its success. Ryan North's progression from Dinosaur Comics to Marvel's The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl -- which is partially about studying CS and using programming to solve problems -- succeeds at illuminating programmer experiences in ways that literature researchers have probably studied!

Stand-up comedy: I think the only major stand-up comic who ever talks about anything close to programming is Brian Malow, who jokes much more about physical and biological sciences.

several snowflakes made out of gold paper, plus some scrap gold paper, plus a purple ribbonWhat I want: We put several ideas in this part of the play creation guide. But also, I'd love art about, for instance:

  • the joy of your architecture decision being validated because a new need comes up and it is easy to fulfill (Leonard thought of this one)
  • dealing with obstreperous code reviewees
  • dealing with a code reviewer who knows less than you
  • arguing well about a technical issue -- being intellectually rigorous regarding the ideas at play, and kind and generous in the conversation with colleagues
  • the paranoia/uncertainty of being more careful about security than those around you
  • the despair of trying to work with broken systems (Jason mentioned this one)
  • the jelling, communication, and camaraderie of a project coming togther well (Jason again)
  • per this tweet, the pride of a small thing done well that nearly no one will notice (Jason again)

I asked Siderea, a programmer-turned-psychotherapist whose essays I enjoy, what stories art about programming often misses, and what experiences she'd like to see reflected in art:

I would like to see art about programmers dealing with the things that can suck about being a programmer:
  • Programmers dealing with unreasonable, deceitful, and manipulative management, in the ways which are specific to "overtime exempt" programmers (i.e. if you are not willing to work 120-hour weeks, you aren't really a team player)
  • Programmers who are minorities dealing with broism
  • Programmers realizing that what they're working on is immoral or illegal, and deciding what to do about it; programmers not realizing the moral/legal implications of what they're working on until too late
  • Programmers dealing with difficulties without help because non-programmers don't even understand what the programmer is trying to say
  • Programmers dealing with the stresses of writing life-impacting code (e.g. embedded systems in vehicles, medication administration systems, etc.), especially in the situation of being without managerial support for adequate QA.
  • I would add something about work assignments and junior or unpopular people getting tasked to do awful or impossible tasks. Coding equivalents of Augean Stables. "Oh, we don't really have a role for you any more, so, uh, why don't you refactor this core business system for the web written in C with FORTRAN plug-ins by the most disgruntled employee we ever had."
  • Ooh, here's a thing: I'd like to see art about programmers not working in software development companies. In particular, about the (sometimes disturbing) things programmers learn about other industries when they take jobs, e.g. at insurance companies, in health care systems, with the government, in the space program, etc.
Sumana doing stand-up comedy in a cafe, in front of a few attendees, several years ago So please take a look at "The Art of Python", the one-night arts festival about your experience of programming, and consider proposing your art before February 28th. (And you can submit performance-style art to !!Con by March 3rd.)

And if you blog somewhere about what tropes you see in art about making technology, let me know and maybe I'll add those links to this post!

[syndicated profile] loopinsight_feed

Posted by Jim Dalrymple

Between AI music and what the signal bars mean on your phone, Dave did everything he could to make me sad in this week’s show. We did have a lot of fun doing it though—I hope you enjoy.

Brought to you by:

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siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
The rugs have been delivered to the mailroom of the new place (the super saw them). I'm pissed, but there's nothing to be done for it. I alerted the super I'll have to leave them there till Sunday, and then I guess [personal profile] tn3270 and I will have to wrestle them upstairs. If the super wants them out, she can arrange to put them in there herself.

I've booked movers for an arrival between 3pm and 5pm on next Tuesday.

The place I went with, I picked because they were highly recommended and can handle that time window, but also: they have a reasonable price, but also a 10% discount if you pay in cash, which I am happy to do. :D (NTS: I ordered a mattress bag from them, so I don't need to buy one independently.)

I also booked a second pick up of book boxes for this coming Saturday.

Not sure if I mentioned; [personal profile] tn3270 and I have been taking carloads of stuff over, to drain the swamp. Stuff that can be put away in the kitchen and closets, so it's not in the way of rug deployment or the movers.

(Huh, while I was writing this, the old landlord called. I didn't pick up. He doesn't seem to have left a vmail.)

I am more exhausted than I need to be, because I slept terribly, because bad vibrations last night. So that's validating, in case I needed further reminder of why I'm leaving.

Also, I got an email from the property manager that the heating person was coming to check out my bathroom radiator later this morning. This is great, yay repairs, however I delicately let him I know am generally asleep 4am to noon, and that emailing me at 9am about coming by at 11am isn't going to work.

Last night, the toilet at the new place malfunctioned. I discovered that the handle rod had been being attached to the connector thingy on the flap by a – get this – safety pin. An old, rusty safety pin which had finally bent out of shape and let go. I replaced it with a mini ziptie, which will presumably survive the heat death of the universe, and it's fine now. Let the propmgr know though.
[personal profile] swaldman

OK, something re Brexit negotiations that should be obvious but doesn't seem to be for all:

For the UK, May's deal is better than no deal.
For the EU, May's deal is better than no deal.

That match in benefits is why it was agreed, after a lot of wrangling, including over the backstop (remember, many in the EU don't like the backstop either, seeing it as a major concession - they see it as pre-negotiating the continuing relationship, offering a customs union for nothing).

Now, everybody is talking about removing the backstop (or amending it in such a manner that it is no longer a backstop, and is hence effectively removed).

For the UK, this would (arguably) be better than May's deal, and hence still better than no deal.
For the EU, this would be worse than no deal[1].

We are, therefore, never going to reach agreement on this; the EU will never agree to remove the backstop[2]. It doesn't matter how much we run down the clock and threaten no deal instead, because they would *rather* have no deal instead. As a number of cartoonists have pointed out, we're trying to force the other side to do something by holding a gun to our own collective head.

[1] No deal involves some economic hit, everywhere but especially in Ireland. Ireland can be supported through this. Removing the backstop involves potentially screwing over an existing member to please a leaving member, and demonstrating to all future negotiating partners that the EU will back down if they demand the same thing often and loudly enough.
[2] Unless appropriate Alternative Arrangements can be found, which nobody has managed for the last two years.

oursin: Painting of Clio Muse of History by Artemisia Gentileschi (Clio)
[personal profile] oursin

I depose that the week in which it was revealed that Charles Dickens tried to get his (sane but inconvenient) wife committed to a lunatic asylum is not the week to hymn 'family life [as] the most successful form of social security the world has ever known'.

The guy is getting his head handed to him fairly comprehensively on Twitter, but really. The ignorance.

Quite apart from the whole noxious gender aspect - I think the response would have been rather different had it been a middle-aged son as carer for an elderly mother, which is not unknown, in fact the situation of one of my cousins, who had his own health problems at the time.

Social welfare systems are not some mimsy-whimsy snowflakey thing that we've only just discovered and put in place, some form of social welfare has been around in this country since the early modern period at least.

And people weren't necessarily cherishing their Olds in the family home: they were going to the parish authorities and asking to have them put in the workhouse. In particular, I may add, if the Olds were fathers/fathers-in-law, because I recall from Book I Reviewed Some Considerable While Ago (I think it was Wally Seccombe, Weathering the Storm: Working-Class Families from the Industrial Revolution to the Fertility Decline, 1995, but wouldn't entirely swear to it) because aged women could still be useful around the house, doing a little light childminding or domestic tasks, whereas the men were pretty much just a burden.

Plus all the various philanthropic provisions that were put in place, so that people weren't entirely dependent on their families, supposing they had a family. E.g., I remark, the Foundling Hospital, set up by Jonas Hanway after seeing so many infants abandoned by unwed mothers cast out by their families (such successful. so social welfare. much security.).

Away for a week

Feb. 22nd, 2019 12:02 pm
delight: line of parrots on a branch (the gang's all here)
[personal profile] delight

I will not be responding to anything or reading my list or anything except checking/possibly responding to [community profile] hexarchate_rpg and any emails that I have time to respond to because tomorrow morning I'm departing for Miami and from there to a cruise! Our internet is 250 minutes for the entire 8 days, so because there are three of us to the room, I get about ten minutes a day.

This is not my first. I have kind of become a cruise addict and only cost and limited vacation time is preventing me from doing this a lot. I miss my dog already, but he's at training camp this time so he's going to have a fun time. He is already there, I dropped him off this morning and he kinda pulled back when they tried to take him in to see his kennel and I had to try not to cry, but I know Instinct Dog are very good people because they've already done good work with him. I just miss my dog. :( He is not big on new places though so he would have H A T E D a cruise. Maybe when he's a bit older we can re-address that.

Anyway, people are going to ask -- someone always does -- so here's where we're going:

Roatan, Honduras (Maya Key Islands)
Harvest Caye, Belize (No plans yet)
Costa Maya, Mexico (Chacchoben ruins tour)
Cozumel, Mexico (Chankanaab park)

Plus two days at sea.

My travel card for my DSLR still has pictures from my last cruise, which was in 2017, because I cannot find my mini USB cable to remove them. So it'll just be Cruise Card. And someday I'll get those pictures onto a computer, when I have a hard drive that has room. (It's 500+ RAW files, and I can't figure out how to get it to dump directly to an external HD.)

[syndicated profile] loopinsight_feed

Posted by Dave Mark

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

Apple plans to close both of its retail stores within the Eastern District of Texas in a few months from now in an effort to protect itself from patent trolls, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Apple Willow Bend in Plano, Texas and Apple Stonebriar in Frisco, Texas, both located in the northern suburbs of Dallas, are expected to permanently close in mid April. One source said each store’s final day of business will be Friday, April 12. Employees were briefed about the plans earlier this week.

To continue to serve the region, Apple plans to open a new store at the Galleria Dallas shopping mall in Dallas, just south of the Eastern District of Texas border.


The plans are significant, as U.S. law states that patent infringement lawsuits may be filed “where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.” By closing its stores in Eastern Texas, Apple is ending its established place of business in the district.

Oh do I hate patent trolls. A scourge. Incredible to me that this giant step is necessary. This system is broken.

∞ Read this on The Loop

At Home

Feb. 22nd, 2019 09:26 am
siegeofangels: The angel from Guido Reni's "The Angel Appearing To St. Jerome" (Default)
[personal profile] siegeofangels
I took the day off so I could menstruate in peace. Slept in and played some Don't Starve, which I am slooooowly getting better at. Or I got a random good build.

I have a political thought:

Read more... )

Anyway. It's supposed to rain all weekend so I am looking forward to being a lump for three days. I bought YET MORE yarn on Monday so I should work on turning it into things.
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed

Posted by Sumana Harihareswara

My latest MetaFilter blog post is "At the beginning I never thought of becoming a candidate myself." Immigrant, math Ph.D., farmer, and judge Dalip Singh Saund wasn't just the first Asian American elected to the US Congress. (In 1956, 10 years after Indians could become citizens. Running against a Republican woman aviator.)

I've known part of Saund's story for years but only a few months ago learned how his farming informed his campaign for naturalization, and dove into the books he'd written.

Salon post: February 22

Feb. 22nd, 2019 10:09 am
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
[personal profile] jenett
Good morning!

Topic of the week
Places you've enjoyed going (near where you live, longer travel, everything in between.)

What I've been up to
I am running around getting ready for a quick and weirdly timed work trip (flying very early Saturday morning, getting back very late Monday night, the actual work stuff is Saturday evening through noonish Monday).

So I'm posting this and then going to the laundromat, as one does.

Reminders and tips for making this post flow better )
House rules )
[syndicated profile] loopinsight_feed

Posted by Dave Mark

Ina Fried, Axios:

Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year.

This seems inevitable, and tied to Bloomberg’s Marzipan reporting.

From that Bloomberg post:

Later this year, Apple plans to let developers port their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple’s iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don’t have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan.

So much to chew on here. One sense I do get is that of a grand master plan unfolding, all of this leading to a new ARM-based, shared code base vision. But a vision that is not quite in focus yet. I’ll be very interested to see if Apple shares the big picture at this summer’s WWDC.

∞ Read this on The Loop

[syndicated profile] loopinsight_feed

Posted by Dave Mark

[VIDEO] There are lots of iOS and macOS tricks videos. This one rises to the top of my Mac list. All of them worth knowing, all worth passing along. Video embedded in the main Loop post.

∞ Read this on The Loop

[syndicated profile] loopinsight_feed

Posted by Dave Mark

Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider:

In a note published on February 20, the firm called Samsung’s newly introduced $1,980 Galaxy Fold “the main potential challenge” for Apple in the ultra-high-end smartphone market. “In terms of competition for Apple we see the Fold as the main potential challenge in the ultra high-end with a compelling form factor that only Samsung’s foldable OLED technology can deliver in our opinion,” the note said.


“We see this as challenging for Apple who could find themselves with no access to the critical flexible OLED technology for which we believe Samsung has at least a two year lead over other display competitors.”


Although Samsung demonstrated the device on stage, it did not allow media attendees to try the Fold after the event, which Goldman also flagged as a cause for concern.

The issue here: Samsung controls the supply of foldable OLED displays. A two year lead is formidable.

Nick Heer, from this post:

During the unveiling, Samsung emphasized the Fold’s versatility in being able to transform from an ordinary smartphone into a tablet just by opening it up. But this device — and others like it — are bad phones, and worse tablets. Every shot of the closed phone looks like it’s begging to be unfolded; its display looks narrow, uncomfortable, and cramped. It seems far better in its tablet-like configuration, but it is at best a diet version of a tablet.

Though Samsung does have a significant and protected lead, the product niche is nowhere near established. If Apple sees foldables in their future, they’re no doubt working on building the technology with another vendor, and/or working on the mechanics of building a foldable OLED display themselves.

∞ Read this on The Loop

November 2017


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