ap + advice   234

Improved default settings for Linux machines
The reason I set [the kernel limits] high is that the machines I work on are not multi-user in any way. […] There's only one user/application that pretty much never wants or expects to hit the ridiculously low default limits. [… I] have never seen them cause an issue; in fact quite the opposite happens: users are not surprised by silly limits like 1024 file handles or applications going away for non-deterministic amounts of time while the kernel fetches application pages from swap that were only swapped out to make room for VFS. […] These are improved defaults for opening up the Linux network stack. I recommend Googling "Linux C10k" to learn more about what they mean. […]
linux  sysadmin  advice  ! 
february 2015 by ap
Environment Variables Considered Harmful for Your Secrets
The environment is implicitly available to the process. It's hard to track access and how its content gets exposed. […] The whole environment is passed down to child processes (if not explicitly filtered) which violates the principle of least privilege. So your secret keys are implicitly made available to any 3rd-party tools you're using (like ImageMagick to resize an image). It's hard to say what those 3rd-party tools will do with the environment, especially in rare occasions like crashes.
programming  security  advice  ! 
january 2015 by ap
Building Infrastructure | Poul-Henning Kamp
For the parameters I use table-driven programming, and since few people seem to be aware you can even do that I’ll switch to digitus magistrans mode for a moment: […] Another convention I have adopted are a set of macros to manage and tag structs. […] Asserts — Yes, I love them, [and] three macros I use a lot are:
c  programming  advice  ! 
december 2014 by ap
Professional App Pricing | Rob Rhyne
Professionals use your software to make money. If you can find a way for them to do their job faster or better, they will pay nearly any price. Did you purchase the maximum spec for your last computer or did you buy the cheapest you could find? Professionals always trade money for productivity.
business  advice 
december 2014 by ap
Get Good at Idea Generation | James Hague
Here's what I do: I start writing a list of random solutions on a piece of paper. Some won't work, some are simple, some are ridiculous. What I'm trying to do is work through my initial batch of middling thoughts to get to the interesting stuff.
creativity  advice  ! 
april 2014 by ap
Toward Better Master Passwords | Jeff Shiner @ AgileBits
[To] get the most security out of it, you should combine Diceware with your own private system. Create a short random password, including digits and symbols and use that in place of one of the dicewords in your final password. So going back to my dogs, Molly and Patty, I might create a weak password like “2dM&P”, and suppose my rolls of the dice gets me “cleft cam synod lacy”, I could then create a master password like “cleft 2dM&P cam synod lacy”, which would be a very good master password.
security  advice  recommended  ! 
march 2014 by ap
How To Safely Generate A Random Number
The kernel has access to raw device entropy [and] can promise not to share the same state between applications. […] Study the last 10 years of randomness failures and you’ll read a litany of userspace randomness failures. Debian’s OpenSSH debacle? Android Bitcoin wallets repeating ECDSA k’s? Gambling sites with predictable shuffles? [All] userspace random.
cryptography  randomness  advice  ! 
march 2014 by ap
Why diversity matters (the meritocracy business) | Eric Ries
And yet, when I suggest this practice to hiring managers and recruiters alike, they rarely do it. Hiring managers say, “the recruiter would never go for it” while recruiters say, “the hiring manager won’t accept it.” What I think we’re really saying is: “I don’t want to know if I am biased.” That’s understandable – it’s embarrassing! Even if our biases are only implicit and not consciously held, the systems we build can still contain bias. When we change a hiring policy, especially if we do it in a visible way, we reap two benefits. We actually improve our hiring process and also signal our commitment to meritocracy.
diversity  cognition  bias  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2013 by ap
Racism And Meritocracy | Eric Ries @ TechCrunch
I previously described on my blog one simple change I made to the hiring process at my last company. I asked all of our recruiters to give me all resumes of prospective employees with their name, gender, place of origin, and age blacked out. This simple change shocked me, because I found myself interviewing different-looking candidates – even though I was 100% convinced that I was not being biased in my resume selection process. If you’re screening resumes, or evaluating applicants to a startup school, I challenge you to adopt this procedure immediately, and report on the results.
I asked if they were planning to apply. Their response: “oh, no, it’s a waste of time. Y Combinator doesn’t accept people like me.” Where did they get that idea? Surely not from YC’s partners, who as far as I can tell are scrupulously fair in their dealings with entrepreneurs. Rather, they got that impression by inferring that there is probably implicit bias in YC’s admissions process, and that they’d be better off spending their time doing something else other than applying to YC. […] There are qualified minority applicants who are choosing – rationally – to invest their time and energy elsewhere.
diversity  cognition  bias  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2013 by ap
You should log all successful user authentication | Chris Siebenmann
Every place where users can authenticate over the network to your systems should log successful authentications, including the source IP address. Every place. No exceptions.
sysadmin  advice  ! 
august 2012 by ap
The best answer requires some aggravation | Havoc Pennington
• I thought I had a pretty good approach, or didn’t think anything better was possible, and wasn’t looking to spend more time on the problem.
• Someone had the passion to keep pushing, and we either stayed in the room or kept the email thread going beyond a “reasonable” amount of effort.
• We came up with a much better approach, often reframing the problem to eliminate the tradeoff we were arguing about at first.


A feeling of harmony or efficiency probably means you’re making a boring, routine decision. Which is fine, for routine stuff. But if you have an important decision to make, work on it until the whole team wants to kill each other. Grinding out a great decision will feel emotional, difficult, and time-consuming.
advice  ! 
june 2012 by ap
UTF-8 Everywhere
Q: What do you think about BOMs?
A: Another reason not to use UTF-16.
unicode  advice  :quotation  ! 
may 2012 by ap
Editing/Publishing Separation | Martin Fowler
Editing involves small number of people frequently accessing the article, doing both reads and updates. Publishing involves many more people (we hope) accessing the article, but all doing reads. […] With two such different access paths, a few CMSs keep separate copies of the articles, controlled by relatively independent modules. The editing module is geared around the frequent updates, it provides support for editing, tracking changes and monitoring the workflow of the editing process. When an article is published it’s copied over the publishing module. The publishing module treats the article as largely read-only, updated rarely and only by the editing module. Consequently the publishing module is designed around serving that article to a large number of readers. At the least this involves a different configuration of the data storage.
system-architecture  advice  ! 
april 2012 by ap
I Learned to Speak Four Languages in a Few Years: Here’s How
C1 fluency in French in about 5 months. […] I go in four stages.

1: Learn the correct pronunciation of the language. (1-2 weeks)
2: Vocabulary and grammar acquisition, no English allowed. (~3 months)
3: Listening, writing and reading work (overlaps with stages 2&4)
4: Speech (stages 3&4, the immersion part, ~7 fairly insane weeks)
language  education  reference  advice 
april 2012 by ap
Perl Worst Practices | Alex Munroe
Large chunks of Perl are antiquated, bug-prone, or outright obsolete. The trouble is that there are no warnings in the interpreter or documentation for many of these things, so a newcomer – or even an old-timer – won’t know to avoid such pitfalls until told by someone else.
perl  advice  ! 
april 2012 by ap
How much test coverage do you need? The Testivus Answer | Alberto Savoia @ Developer Testing
The great master laughed so hard and loud that his belly, evidence that he drank more than just green tea, flopped up and down.
software-qa  advice  ! 
april 2012 by ap
Giving away the secrets of 99.3% email delivery | Noah Lorang @ 37signals
1. Constantly monitor spam blacklists.
2. Have valid SPF records. Don’t impersonate your users.
3. Sign the mail! DKIM
4. Dedicated and conditioned email sending IPs.
5. Configure reverse DNS entries.
6. Enroll in feedback loops.
email  programming  sysadmin  advice  ! 
february 2012 by ap
How to make it as the new developer on a team | Rafe Colburn
At the beginning, your job is to be a sponge and learn as much as you possibly can. Just shut up and listen. Read anything you can get ahold of. Eavesdrop when other people are talking about the project. At the beginning, think of yourself as a spy — gathering as much information as you can without drawing too much attention to yourself.
software-development  career  advice  ! 
february 2012 by ap
Extracting the Content | Relly Annett-Baker @ 24 ways [2011]
Think of contents as smaller units, or as a plural. The Content is what you have at the end. The contents are what you are creating and they are easy to break down. […] To do this, I use a page table. A page table is a simple table template you can create in the word processor of your choice, that you use to tell you everything about the contents of a page – everything except the contents itself. […] About 80% of my clients break into relieved smiles. Most clients want to work with you to produce something good, they just don’t understand how, and they want you to show them the mountain path on the map.
design  advice  ! 
january 2012 by ap
Displaying Icons with Fonts and Data- Attributes | Jon Hicks @ 24 ways [2011]
.icon:before {
    font-family: 'Pictos';
    font-size: 22px:
    content: attr(data-icon);
css  webdesign  advice  reference  ! 
january 2012 by ap
It’s all about the logging | Matt Sergeant
One of my goals in Haraka has been to ensure that issues are easy to track. [… Error] messages contain a UUID which can be tracked back directly into the logs. Having sat across the developer/sysadmin divide for a number of years (OK in truth, I just had fantastically bitchy sysadmins, and I love them for that) this is *hugely* important.
programming  sysadmin  advice  logging  ! 
december 2011 by ap
the collected jwz bicycle wisdom | Jamie Zawinski
I’ve been using a bike as my exclusive transportation in SF for about ten years. I’ve always ridden, but that’s when I stopped driving a car except under extreme duress. Here’s how to begin your adventure as a commuter-bicyclist in San Francisco:
bicycling  advice 
december 2011 by ap
What should you do if someone puts a gun to your head? | Justin Freeman, Former Patrol Officer @ Quora
Remember, your assailant has leveraged control of your physical movement by virtue of having a firearm, but you will, almost without exception, be at a psychological advantage in this situation – if you stay calm. You will have the benefit of rationality, logic, rhetoric and persuasion, all of which you’re about to need in spades.
november 2011 by ap
Watch a VC use my name to sell a con. | Jamie Zawinski
He’s trying to make the point that the only path to success in the software industry is to work insane hours, sleep under your desk, and give up your one and only youth, and if you don’t do that, you’re a pussy […] because [that is] the only way that people in his line of work get richer […] But the people who made 100× as much as [us Netscape] engineers did? I can tell you for a fact that none of *them* slept under their desk.
software-development  business  advice  ! 
november 2011 by ap
Stuff I said at Kansas City StartupWeekend that sounded smart | Avery Pennarun
There’s already really powerful software that does [graphs of statistical data], but nobody in your market segment uses it for some reason; maybe it’s too hard to use or too expensive. That software is your competitor, right? Wrong! That software is irrelevant. Your customers don’t want it, so even if it’s competing with you, it’s already lost. Your customers are probably using either Microsoft Excel’s horrible chart features, or giving up and just not making charts at all. So your competitors are Microsoft and apathy, respectively. Apathy is probably going to be the tougher one.
software-development  business  advice  ! 
november 2011 by ap
It’s all about the logging | Matt Sergeant
One of my goals in Haraka has been to ensure that issues are easy to track. Deny (5xx and 4xx to the SMTP-savvy people) messages contain a UUID which can be tracked back directly into the logs. Having sat across the developer/sysadmin divide for a number of years (OK in truth, I just had fantastically bitchy sysadmins, and I love them for that) this is HUGELY important.
programming  advice  logging  ! 
november 2011 by ap
Premature Ramp-Up | Martin Fowler
More than once, I’ve come across projects who added too many people too quickly. This manifests itself in a breakdown of the cohesion of the code base itself. Duplication runs rampant, […] because the new people don’t understand how the code base currently works, so they do something at odds with it, like adding a competing framework. […] These problems then reinforce each other because nobody can find a consistent way to do things, the Broken Windows syndrome kicks in and you get a positive feedback loop. […] On top of this an overly rapid ramp up leads to a break down of the human communication mechanisms. It takes time for people to get used to working with each other
software-development  advice  ! 
november 2011 by ap
Opportunistic Refactoring | Martin Fowler
Although there are places for some scheduled refactoring efforts, I prefer to encourage refactoring as an opportunistic activity, done whenever and wherever code needs to cleaned up – by whoever […] This opportunistic refactoring is referred to by Uncle Bob as following the boy-scout rule - always leave the code behind in a better state than you found it. […] But it can also wait for another visit to make it the way you’d really like to see it. If you always make things a little better, then repeated applications will make a big impact that’s focused on the areas that are frequently visited
software-development  advice  ! 
november 2011 by ap
Asking users questions never increases security | Chris Siebenmann
Delete the question and either make the system work anyways or give up, admit that you are not delivering perfect security, and figure out how to do the best you can despite this.
security  usability  advice  ! 
december 2010 by ap
Mitigating Dangling Pointer Bugs Using Frame Poisoning | Robert O’Callahan
Exploiting dangling pointers is essentially about exploiting type errors. […] Our approach is to prevent the first phase of the attack by making it impossible to overwrite fields of deallocated objects with values of the wrong type. We do this by ensuring that whenever the memory used by a deallocated frame object is reallocated to a new object, the new object must always be exactly the same type as the old object and at exactly the same address.
c  programming  hacking  advice  ! 
october 2010 by ap
Using Haskell’s ‘newtype’ in C | Nelson Elhage
Typedefs are unchecked by the compiler […] It turns out we can get the compiler to check it for us, with a little more work, by using a singleton struct instead of a typedef: `typedef struct { uint32_t val; } physaddr_t;` […] A half-decent compiler will optimize the resulting code to be completely identical to the code without the structs, in almost all cases.
c  programming  advice  ! 
october 2010 by ap
Robert Rodriguez's 10-minute Film School
How do you visualise a movie? With storyboards, you can do that. You can previsualise your movie and draw them out, but what you should really do is make a blank screen for yourself and watch your movie. Close your eyes and stare at this. Imagine a screen, imagine your movie. Shot for shot, cut for cut. Sit there, close your eyes and get rid of everybody, get rid of all your thoughts in your head except your movie and watch your movie. Is it too slow? Is it too fast? Is it funny? Does it make sense? Watch it and then write down what you see. Write down the shots that you see. And then just go get those shots.
film  art  advice 
june 2010 by ap
Teach a Kid to Argue | Jay Heinrichs
Rhetoric doesn’t turn kids into back-sassers; it makes them think about other points of view.
parenting  rhetoric  education  advice  ! 
may 2010 by ap
Free advice: show up early | Jeffrey Zeldman
It’s never their fault, and yet it’s always the same people who are late.
career  advice 
march 2010 by ap
How to disrupt Wall Street | Chris Dixon
I would argue the best way to try to disrupt Wall Street is to look at how it currently makes money and attack it there. Here are some of the big sources of revenue.
business  economics  finance  advice  ! 
march 2010 by ap
LCA: How to destroy your community | LWN.net
If you are a corporate developer, you’re likely to realize early on that free software development communities are a pain. They’ll mess up your marketing schemes by, for example, taking the software into countries where you have no presence and no plans. They’ll interfere with product roadmaps with unexpected innovation, adding features which you had not planned for the next few years - or, worse, features which were planned for a proprietary version. Free software communities are never satisfied; they are always trying to improve things. They tend to redefine partner and customer relationships, confusing your sales people beyond any help. And they bug you all the time: sending email, expecting you to attend conferences, and so on. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of this community menace. All that’s needed are the following ten steps.
software-development  collaboration  sociality  advice  ! 
march 2010 by ap
Technicality | Rands
Even in a monstrous company laden with policy, process, and politics, you can’t forget how to develop software. And how to develop software is changing. Now. Right under your feet, this very second. [...] The simple fact is that well-defined roles in software development are fading. User interface guys are doing what can only be called development in Javascript and CSS. Developers are learning more about interaction design. Everybody is talking to everybody else [...] My belief is that if you are building the product and touching the features that you’ll be closer to your team. But, more importantly you’ll be closer to how software development is constantly changing in your organization.
software-development  career  advice  managerialism  ! 
march 2010 by ap
Wanted | Rands
Michele […] had rockstars walk before and she knew the slippery inner dialogues that were going on. She knew that change begets more change and that the easiest time to lose someone was during that post-courtship purgatory between gigs. […] Whether you have pre-identified a candidate for your gig or you’re lucky enough to randomly find a great fit in a pile of anonymous resumes, the strategy is the same – you consistently remind the candidate that they are wanted. In the mental chaos that is a career change, you and your gig are unchanging in your message.
business  career  hiring  advice  ! 
january 2010 by ap
Atlas Obscura
A compendium of this age’s wonders, curiosities, and esoterica. The Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project with the goal of cataloguing all of the singular, eccentric, bizarre, fantastical, and strange out-of-the-way places that get left out of traditional travel guidebooks and are ignored by the average tourist. If you’re looking for miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, phallological museums, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper, the Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them. ¶ The Atlas Obscura depends on our community of far-flung explorers to find and report back about the world’s wonders and curiosities. If you have been to, know of, or have heard about a place that belongs in the Atlas Obscura, we want you to tell us about it. Anyone and everyone is welcome and encouraged to nominate places for inclusion, and to edit content already in the Atlas.
travel  culture  history  advice  reference 
november 2009 by ap
There’s a lot of “short vs long” going on in the comments here. That seems silly to me. | Isaac Schlueter @ Hacker News
We have a hard time remembering short names for a long time, and we have a hard time looking at long names over and over again in a row. [[Great comment about picking the right length for variable names. —Ed.]]
programming  advice  ! 
september 2009 by ap
Database Representation for Recurring Events | Rick DeNatale
My approach to this would start with recognizing the difference between an event, and an occurrence of that event.
programming  advice  ! 
september 2009 by ap
Method Style Callbacks | Yuval Kogman
This is a small trick I like to use when defining callbacks. Instead of invoking callbacks as code references, `$callback->($data)`, I always write the invocation as a method call, `$data->$callback()`. […] This works in more cases than just plain code reference invocation: If `$data` is an object then `$callback` can be a string (a method name).
perl  advice  ! 
september 2009 by ap
Release Late, Release Rarely | Aaron Swartz
This is why “release early, release often” works in “open source”: you’re releasing to a community of insiders.
web  marketing  business  advice  ! 
september 2009 by ap
Version numbers should be boring | David Golden
Version numbers in Perl aren’t boring and easy. Instead, they are complicated and confusing. Every Perl programmer needs to understand at least some of this complexity. Otherwise, you can make life difficult for yourself or others without realizing it. In this article, I’m going to explain what I think are ‘good practices’ for dealing with version numbers in Perl.
perl  software-qa  advice  reference  ! 
september 2009 by ap
How to Write With Style | Kurt Vonnegut
These revelations [about the writer through the elements of his style] tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. [...] The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not.
writing  advice  ! 
august 2009 by ap
Incidental Redundancy | Chris Ammerman
A repetition of code syntax or semantics that tempts the programmer to refactor, but if carried out the refactoring could damage the elegance and discoverability of the program. The difference between incidental redundancy and regular redundancy in code is that the redundancy does not arise because of any *substantive*, or at least *relevant*, similarity between the two problems in question.
programming  advice  recommended  ! 
august 2009 by ap
How not to write a job advert | Adrian Howard
My usual rant on recruitment goes something like this. You're dealing with four groups of people: [...] Remember -- you want the best person for the job, not the most desperate. The best people are going to be comfortable and happy to skip things. The desperate are going to read everything.
business  advice  rant  ! 
july 2009 by ap
The Pursuit of Happiness | John Perry Barlow
No more need be said. But such is human nature that the more succinctly we state the truth, the better we become at ignoring it. So, despite the completeness of the above homily, I’ll proceed, hoping that my volume may insinuate into your worldview what Chuang-Tzu’s brevity might not.
culture  society  philosophy  advice  recommended 
july 2009 by ap
Strong Opinions, Weakly Held | Bob Sutton
Bob Johansen […] explained that to deal with an uncertain future and still move forward they advise people to have “strong opinions, which are weakly held.” […] I understand it was first developed by [Palo Alto Institute for the Future] Director Paul Saffo. [… W]eak opinions are problematic because people aren’t inspired to develop the best arguments possible for them, or to put forth the energy required to test them. [… It is] just as important, however, to not be too attached to what you believe, because otherwise it undermines your ability to “see” and “hear” evidence that clashes with your opinions.
psychology  advice 
july 2009 by ap
25 Ways to Simplify Your Life with Kids | Leo Babauta
If you choose just a few things that are important to you, you can eliminate the rest, and simplify your life greatly.
parenting  productivity  advice  reference 
july 2009 by ap
How to be happy in business – Venn diagram | Bud Caddell
I doodled this little Venn diagram in my notepad the other day when we were talking about our own kung-fu and I realized it’s basically the conversation I’ve had for the last 12 years.
business  advice  ! 
june 2009 by ap
How Hard Could It Be? Start-up Static | Joel Spolsky @ Inc.com
Trying to copy one company’s model is a fool’s errand. It’s hard to figure out which part of the Starbucks formula made the business a smash hit while so many of its rivals failed. […] Why do start-ups fail? As [Jessica Livingston] pointed out [to me], it’s usually a collapse of motivation […] We founders have a lot of knobs to play with. There’s price. Location. Employees. Marketing. Advertising. Return policies. Trade shows. Products. Search-engine optimization. And every item in your budget. […] The determined founder will start playing with the dials – rethinking the menu, trying new promotions, and adjusting prices. And what he’ll find is that, just like the tuner on a radio, certain aspects of a business can be off by only a little bit and then, one tiny adjustment, and BING! The thing starts working.
business  psychology  advice  ! 
june 2009 by ap
YAGNI is not SLACKING! | Danijel Arsenovski
YAGNI applies to features, not to quality! One way to use YAGNI properly is to think about Technical Debt. Is the decision *not* to do something resulting in Technical Debt?
software-development  software-qa  advice  :quotation  ! 
june 2009 by ap
How do you convince your boss to TDD | Miško Hevery
You have been developing code the old way for years: What makes you think that you can pick up TDD overnight? TDD makes you think about tests first, something that you have never done. It will not come easy, but in time it will become second nature to you. […] Why is it that every discipline out there takes testing seriously except software. I believe it is because of the apparent inexpensive nature of fixing bugs.
software-qa  advice  reference  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Give your résumé a face lift
Even if you can’t hire a fancy designer and are stuck with Microsoft Word, a few tweaks can turn your blasé résumé into an elegant and functional showpiece.
typography  design  advice  ! 
may 2009 by ap
The Rapid Release Tautology | chromatic @ Modern Perl Books
The secret is simple. Projects with frequent software releases can release their software frequently because they release their software frequently. I know that sounds flippant. Before you write angry comments, let me digress for a moment.
software-development  advice  ! 
april 2009 by ap
Be Relentlessly Resourceful
To be hapless is to be battered by circumstances – to let the world have its way with you, instead of having your way with the world. ¶ Unfortunately there’s no antonym of hapless, which makes it difficult to tell founders what to aim for. “Don’t be hapless” is not much of rallying cry.
business  psychology  advice  ! 
april 2009 by ap
The use and misuse of quoting people | Scott Berkun
Sometimes you discover a saying attributed to two different people, and the right attribution is actually less popular than the wrong one […]. Other times people snip a quote in such a way that it is divorced from the context in which the writer intended.
It’s worth taking a moment to find out where a quote comes before you use it. Even just to know what book it’s from, and if it’s fiction or non-fiction. If you’re using a quote as the main anchor to support your major point, dig up the reference and read the paragraph before and after the quote – it will make a huge difference in respecting what the writer intended. And hopefully writers in the future will do the same with your work.
writing  advice  quotations  ! 
april 2009 by ap
Do what you can’t not do | Rafe Colburn
But there are a lot of people who love to do something but would no longer love it if they were forced to do it for 2,000 hours a year. […] So my suggestion would be find a way to get paid to do the thing you can’t stop yourself from doing. […] It’s a lot easier to get up in the morning and go to work if what you do at work is what you gravitate toward regardless of whether or not you get paid to do it. That’s more likely to be driven by compulsion than love.
career  advice  ! 
march 2009 by ap
Don’t log usernames for bad logins | Chris Siebenmann
Sooner or later you will inevitably log someone’s password in plain text.
sysadmin  security  advice  ! 
march 2009 by ap
Reflections on a complaint from a frustrated git user | Ted T’so
To quote Scott, “I want to put a branch I have somewhere so somebody else can get it. That’s the whole point of distributed revision-control, collaboration.” He thought this was a “mind-numbingly trivial” operation, and was frustrated when it wasn’t a one-line command in git. ¶ Part of the problem here is that for most git workflows, *most people don’t actually use “git push”*.
git  advice  ! 
march 2009 by ap
A conversation with Andy Singleton about distributed software development | Jon Udell
On this week’s Innovators podcast, Andy summarizes the often counter-intuitive methods that work well for him and his teams. They include: ¶ Don’t interview […] Don’t divide work geographically […] Don’t do phone conference calls […] Don’t estimate […] Pile on developers early
business  software-development  collaboration  advice  ! 
february 2009 by ap
Meaningful Metrics | Michael Bolton
Over the years, I can remember working with *exactly one* organization that used my idea of an *excellent* approach to software engineering metrics. Their approach was based on several points: […] Their metrics were (are) heuristics, which they used in combination with dozens of other heuristics to help in observing and managing […] People assume that I don’t like measurement of any kind. Not true.
software-development  business  statistics  advice  ! 
february 2009 by ap
How Not To Sort By Average Rating
You are a web programmer. You have users. Your users rate stuff on your site. You want to put the highest-rated stuff at the top and lowest-rated at the bottom. You need some sort of “score” to sort by. ¶ WRONG SOLUTION #1: Score = (Positive ratings) - (Negative ratings) […] ¶ WRONG SOLUTION #2: Score = Average rating = (Positive ratings) / (Total ratings)
programming  statistics  algorithm  mathematics  advice  ! 
february 2009 by ap
Communicating with code | Paul Buchheit
The great thing about this process was that I didn’t need to sell anyone on my ideas. I would just write the code, release the feature, and watch the response. […] Of course none of the code from my prototype ever made it near the real product (thankfully), but that code did something that fancy arguments couldn't do (at least not my fancy arguments), it showed that the idea and product had real potential. […] It’s important to make prototyping new ideas, especially bad ideas, as fast and easy as possible.
software-development  business  advice  ! 
february 2009 by ap
Programmers are Tiny Gods | Derek Powazek
Programmers are the Gods of their tiny worlds. They create something out of nothing. In their command-line universe, they say when it’s sunny and when it rains. And the tiny universe complies.
funny  programming  psychology  advice  ! 
january 2009 by ap
Tracking 2 branches in git-svn | Ka-Hing Cheung
The git-svn man page is less than helpful about how to track 2 subversion branches (actually, trunk and another branch). Typically trunk is the development branch and you have another branch for release that you backport fixes to. You can fetch all branches easily, but many times you don't want to and just want a particular branch. After many tries I've found something that works.
git  advice  ! 
january 2009 by ap
The Zen of Comprehensive Archive Networks
There is no magic. All it takes is a few people that sit down and get first something running, a rough cut. Then iteratively enhance it. Don’t try to create a master plan that will get everything right in one fell swoop. The only one that will get swooped is you.
system-architecture  complexity  advice  recommended  ! 
january 2009 by ap
How to Write 3v1L, Untestable Code | Miško Hevery
Or, avoiding these techniques will help you write code that can be tested.
software-qa  advice  ! 
december 2008 by ap
Good News for People who Hate Bad News | Jason Calacanis
Rafat Ali started PaidContent while working for me during the down market. He asked me if it was OK and I said “yeah, sure… that blogging thing will never go anywhere.” He sold it for $30m earlier this year after six or seven years of hard, hard work. Fortunes are built during the down market and collected in the up market. Now’s the time to build, so turn off CNBC and forget the Dow. It’s meaningless to you now. All that matters is your work and your personal progress. Eyes on your instruments please.
business  career  economics  advice  gfc  ! 
november 2008 by ap
Design Rant | Owen Briggs, 2001
My point is I didn’t view this page as a layout first. I let the content inform the structure. I looked to the message to decide what the enhancement should be for visual layout. That’s the trick: let your message inform each enhancement. And as each enhancement relates back to the core it’s fairly easy to not lock out any browser type, because your message doesn’t end up in an enhancement layer – it stays in the core.
webdesign  advice 
november 2008 by ap
“Reply-To” Munging Still Considered Harmful. Really. | Neale Pickett
People still using [_'Reply-To' Munging Considered Harmful_ by Chip Rosenthal and _Reply-To Munging Considered Useful_ by Simon Hill] to debate the issue are wasting everybody's time. The issue was definitively settled [by the IETF] in 2001, and Chip won.
email  advice  ! 
october 2008 by ap
Re: Tradeoffs of XML encoding by enclosing all content in CDATA blocks | Michael Kay @ xml-dev
If you go down that road [of putting pragmatism first and correctness second], you don’t know when to stop, and you end up shipping garbage.
programming  advice  :quotation  ! 
october 2008 by ap
Cure for the common cold | Danny Ayers
Nobel Prize winning chemist Linus Pauling was a big advocate of vitamin C megadosing for not only the common cold but even for cancer. Although the chemical is accepted as a necessary component of diet, and is known to act as a antioxidant and general cell detoxifier, Pauling lost a lot of credibility due to his claims. But it does seem likely that many of the clinical trials that followed (and allegedly disproved) his claims were suspect […] The vitamin is remarkably non-toxic […] To conclude, while I can only offer one little anecdote and some circumstantial info, if you find yourself with the snuffles coming on (’tis the season), high doses of Vitamin C could be worth a shot.
health  advice  biology  ! 
october 2008 by ap
Git Hooks | Benjamin Meyer
Files in the .git/hooks directory are not part of the repository and so they are not tracked. A workaround is to have a git_hooks directory at the top of your repository and symlink .git/hooks to git_hooks whenever you clone.
git  advice  :quotation  ! 
october 2008 by ap
What Mighty Mouse Has Learned
So, you’re gonna code the whole thing, do the servers and work for sweat equity. Well then, you better read this if you don’t want to get screwed. You must get a business lawyer to implement all these points!! One who knows business contract law!!! No exceptions.
software-development  business  advice  ! 
september 2008 by ap
Re: HTTP cookies as unconditional violations of REST | Eric J. Bowman @ rest-discuss
Every Web cache I’m familiar with, when encountering `Vary: User-Agent`, will create separate entries for every `User-Agent` string it encounters, for IE alone the possibilities are almost endless. […] By storing the coarse-grained result of content negotiation in a cookie, and responding to requests with this cookie by sending `Vary: Cookie` instead of `Vary: User-Agent`, the cache alias problem is cleaned up
http  advice  ! 
september 2008 by ap
How to say “I don’t know” effectively | Andy Lester
Please don’t use the clichéd answer “No, I don’t, but I’m a quick learner!” It’s good to try to turn a negative into a positive, but “I’m a quick learner” is meaningless because anyone can say it. Use one of the three above.
career  advice  ! 
august 2008 by ap
Losing weight, work, and what I’ve been up to | Scott Walters
It’s a pain, but you eventually memorize the calories for things you eat often, or drink. […] I guess it boils down to a few things: not defining hard success/fail conditions but just working on improving; slowly acclimating to less rich and less sugary foods and not trying to force the matter; learning about the food value (nutrition and calories) not only of the foods you presently eat and like to eat but of alternative foods and strange things you might never have heard of, like hominy; learning about your own habits and mechanisms and how you relate to food and different foods so that you can optimize intelligently.
health  advice 
august 2008 by ap
When’s framework overhead justified | Rafe Colburn
If jQuery is already available, the barrier to writing new features is much lower than it is when writing those features from scratch, and I don’t have to revisit the decision whether or not to add a framework at that point. It becomes a tougher decision when you already have non-framework code in place.
programming  advice  ! 
august 2008 by ap
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