201712 - apenwarr - An epic treatise on scheduling, bug tracking, and triage
I did a talk at work about the various project management troubles I've seen through the years. People seemed to enjoy it a lot more than I expected, and it went a bit viral among co-workers. It turns out that most of it was not particularly specific to just our company, so I've taken the slides, annotated them heavily, and removed the proprietary bits. Maybe it'll help you too.
engineering  management  planning 
july 2018
It Will Never Work in Theory
People have been building complex software for over sixty years, but until recently, only a handful of researchers had studied how it was actually done. Many people had opinions—often very strong ones—but most of these were based on personal anecdotes or the kind of "it's obvious" reasoning that led Aristotle to conclude that heavy objects fall faster than light ones.

Over the last fifteen years, though, a growing number of researchers have been looking to real life for both questions and answers. Unfortunately, most people in industry still don't know what researchers have found out, or even what kinds of questions they could answer. One reason is their belief that software engineering research is divorced from real-world problems (an impression that is reinforced by how irrelevant most popular software engineering textbooks seem to the undergraduates who are forced to wade through them). Another is that many research results are hidden behind academic paywalls, which makes them inaccessible to practitioners who aren't willing to gamble $40 on the off-chance that a paper might contain something useful.

The aim of this blog is to be a bridge between researchers and practitioners. Each post highlights some useful results from studies past and present in the hope that this will encourage discussion of what we know, what we think we know that ain't actually so, why we believe some things but not others, and what questions should be tackled next. In order to be reviewed, a paper must be available under a Creative Commons license (or something equivalent), must present the results of some kind of empirical study, and must be of potential interest to people building actual software systems. If you would like to contribute a paper or a review, please mail the site editor.
programming  engineering  science 
july 2018
Clarified lime cordial (Dave Arnold)
Hey. Want a recipe for SuperCordial where 1/2 ounce cordial equals 1/2 of lime juice plus 1/2 of simple? For every liter clarified lime, boil down to 615 ml or less with some peel. Discard peel and add 615 grams sugar. After it has cooled, add water back to equal 1 liter.
recipe  cocktails 
november 2017
Preserved lime juice cordial and the gimlet | Todd Appel

1 Part Fresh Strained Lime Juice
1 Parts White Cane Sugar
Zest from Limes

I have updated the following recipe a few times over the years to reflect growing experience and countless trials making this cordial.


Wash, dry and zest limes. Store zest in airtight container in refrigerator.
Bring juice and dissolved sugar slowly to 180 degrees. Stir this often.

Use a candy thermometer to gauge your temperatures.

Allow it to rest and come to room temperature, add the zest. Keep covered. Allow to steep for several hours or up to one day and then strain.

Store in non-reactive containers (glass bottles are best)

This will last for months and even a year or longer stored in your fridge and never discolors like Rose’s does. I have never had it go bad. If you like it more tart, add less sugar or vice versa.
recipe  cocktails 
november 2017
Where’s Wald? – John Willis – Medium
John writes about analysis of bullet holes in WWII aircraft, and the realisation that armour was needed where there were *no* bulletholes — as the planes that had returned (and been analysed) were the survivors. Analogy with incident review and how we tend to focus on what went wrong, rather than what went right the other 99/100 times.
safety  engineering  humanfactors  failure 
november 2017
How To Make Quick-Pickled Red Onions | Kitchn
1 medium red onion, about 5 ounces
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rice vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar

Flavorings (optional):
1 small clove of garlic, halved
5 black peppercorns
5 allspice berries
3 small sprigs of thyme
1 small dried chili
november 2017
Engineering a culture of psychological safety - Inside Intercom
When I worked for Google as a Site Reliability Engineer, I was lucky enough to travel around the world with a group called “Team Development”. Our mission was to design and deliver team-building courses to teams who wanted to work together, better.

Our findings were later published as Project Aristotle. The biggest finding was that the number-one indicator of a successful team wasn’t tenure, seniority or salary levels, but psychological safety.
Reading.am  management 
august 2017
Questions for our first 1:1 | Lara Hogan
In the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of kicking off lots of new reporting relationships with both engineers and engineering managers. Over time, I’ve learned that getting some particular data during an initial 1:1 can be really helpful, as I can refer back to the answers as I need to give a person feedback, recognize them, and find creative ways to support them. Most of these I’ve stolen from some really amazing Etsy coworkers.
august 2017
Agar Clarification Made Stupid-Simple: Best Technique Yet
Anyone with a packet of agar and a whisk can clarify fragile fresh juices [lime juice], or anything else for that matter, in under an hour with zero pieces of special equipment. The yield on the technique is high—as good as gelatin clarification. Read more for details.
august 2017
Carbonating at Home with Improvised Equipment and Soda Fountains
Carbonating tap water to make seltzer is easy, fast, and absurdly inexpensive with my improvised apparatus. All that is required is to place CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas in agitated contact with chilled water for a few seconds. In this essay, I'll show you how it is done with easy-to-find parts and common PET (polyethylene terephthalate, sometimes called PETE) soda bottles. I'll also explain the kinetic chemistry of why it works so well. And in the second half of this essay, I'll explain how I progressed from this improvised apparatus to installing a complete soda fountain in my home.
carbonation  cocktails 
august 2017
liquid intelligence | Cocktail Genius
"This is part of my series of recipes from Liquid Intelligence. I’m going to make all of them..."
august 2017
Smoky Barbecue Beans Recipe | Serious Eats
[Excellent. Made with a loose paprika-heavy Hungarian sausage.]
august 2017
Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Macerated Strawberries - FineCooking
[This was really good. Made 2/3 of the recipe and used 2 sheets of gelatin, which gave a set that was *just* too light to turn out the panna cotta.]
august 2017
An engineer’s guide to cloud capacity planning – Increment issue 2: Cloud
"You will probably end up using n-tier architecture, with a relatively large number of application servers talking to a relatively small pool of databases (or other backing data stores). This is overwhelmingly the most common model for web application deployment, because it allows you to take advantage of horizontal scalability on your application tier(s) while vertically scaling the database."
devops  engineering  capacityplanning 
july 2017
The Go scheduler - Morsing's blog
One of the big features for Go 1.1 is the new scheduler, contributed by Dmitry Vyukov. The new scheduler has given a dramatic increase in performance for parallel Go programs and with nothing better to do, I figured I'd write something about it.
golang  programming 
july 2017
Etsy's Debriefing Facilitation Guide
"Leading Groups at Etsy to Learn From Accidents"
learningreviews  devops  safety 
july 2017
Software Engineer Title Ladder
Within the software engineering profession, there is an ordered set of titles that are in usage for software engineers.

I have seen these titles for software engineers at a number of companies, so I think they are probably a de facto standard. (Even if some companies only use a subset of them.)
june 2017
Working remotely
Working remotely sounds great. We think we’ll save ourselves the commute and we’ll be able to flexibly weave in and out of work and home life. In reality, work takes a different shape when there is no office, and we’re all in different environments trying to connect to other humans.

We have no “central” office at Hypothesis and we currently work from 4 different countries in different time zones. We have learned that communication, decision making, social interaction and leadership need slightly different strategies. We still have much to improve, but we’re working on it every day.
remotework  management 
june 2017
How a Kalman filter works, in pictures | Bzarg
You can use a Kalman filter in any place where you have uncertain information about some dynamic system, and you can make an educated guess about what the system is going to do next. Even if messy reality comes along and interferes with the clean motion you guessed about, the Kalman filter will often do a very good job of figuring out what actually happened. And it can take advantage of correlations between crazy phenomena that you maybe wouldn’t have thought to exploit!
engineering  inference  gnc 
june 2017
Easy Make-Ahead Carrot and Chickpea Salad With Dill and Pumpkin Seeds Recipe | Serious Eats
This version combines chickpeas with grated carrots, pumpkin seeds, and plenty of dill.
june 2017
Sauced: Nuoc Cham Recipe | Serious Eats
While growing up, the pinnacle of my "international" diet were dishes like General Tso's chicken and Greek diner gyros. It took me a while to break from that mold, but nuoc cham—a Vietnamese dipping sauce—holds a special place in my life as it represents a baby step out of a previous sheltered food-view that my suburban upbringing created.
june 2017
Cemitas (Mexican Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns) Recipe | Serious Eats
The cemita, a brioche-like bun from Puebla, may well be the ultimate sandwich of hamburger bun. It has a sweet and savory flavor with a dense-yet-light crumb that can stand up to stacks and stacks of toppings without disintegrating or losing its tenderness.
june 2017
Grilled Blackened Fish Sandwiches Recipe | Serious Eats
Grilled blackened fish sandwiches are a Florida classic, and they couldn't be easier to make. Fillets of grouper, mahimahi, or another white-fleshed fish are coated in a paprika-based spice rub, then grilled until dark and juicy. The sandwiches themselves are the definition of simple perfection, featuring soft and tender bread, lettuce, tomato, and classic condiments like mayo, tartar sauce, or remoulade. A couple slices of crisped bacon, if desired, wouldn't hurt.
june 2017
Red Onion Jam Recipe | Serious Eats
Much like the bacon jam, onion jam is a sauce that's slowly simmered until it becomes thick and syrupy. I decided to go the "red" route here and started with four red onions sliced thin and cooked until translucent. Then I added red wine in as the main liquid, along with brown sugar, thyme, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
june 2017
Brief introduction to Functional Resonance Analysis Method
The Functional Resonance Analysis Method or FRAM (Hollnagel, 2004 & 2012) provides a way to describe outcomes using the idea of resonance arising from the variability of everyday performance.
humanfactors  ergonomics  safety 
june 2017
Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods for Bayesian Data Analysis in Astronomy
Markov Chain Monte Carlo based Bayesian data analysis has now become the method of choice for analyzing and interpreting data in almost all disciplines of science. In astronomy, over the last decade, we have also seen a steady increase in the number of papers that employ Monte Carlo based Bayesian analysis. New, efficient Monte Carlo based methods are continuously being developed and explored. In this review, we first explain the basics of Bayesian theory and discuss how to set up data analysis problems within this framework. Next, we provide an overview of various Monte Carlo based methods for performing Bayesian data analysis. Finally, we discuss advanced ideas that enable us to tackle complex problems and thus hold great promise for the future. We also distribute downloadable computer software (https://github.com/sanjibs/bmcmc/) that implements some of the algorithms and examples discussed here.
mcmc  statistics  bayes 
june 2017
Tindallgrams: Johnston collection
The enclosed collection of memoranda were written by Howard W. "Bill" Tindall, Jr., the former Director of Flight Operations at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. They document key technical decisions made between 1966 and early 1970 for all unmanned and manned flights through Apollo 13, and became widely known as "Tindallgrams."
apollo  space  engineering  management 
june 2017
Virtual AGC Home Page
The purpose of this project is to provide a computer simulation of the onboard guidance computers used in the Apollo Program's lunar missions, and to generally allow you to learn about these guidance computers.
apollo  space  computerhistory 
june 2017
Tales from the Lunar Module Guidance Computer
A paper presented to the 27th annual Guidance and Control Conference of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), in Breckenridge, Colorado on February 6, 2004, and designated AAS 04-064. This version includes additional illustrations and comments, and several minor corrections.
space  apollo  computerhistory 
june 2017
Manual Attitude Control of the Lunar Module
Paper by Robert F Stengel of the Draper Laboratory on the attitude control system of the Apollo LM.
apollo  space  control  engineering 
june 2017
Debriefing Facilitation Prompts
A one-page reference on prompts to use in debriefing/learning reviews.
resilience  safety  facilitation 
june 2017
Naming is a process, not a single step « Arlo Being Bloody Stupid
"It turns out that the largest single thing developers spend time doing is reading code. More than design, more than writing code, more than scanning, even more than meetings (well, probably). According to an analysis I saw of Eclipse data, programmers spend around 60-70% of their entire programming time reading code.

So if we want to make programmers more efficient, we need to improve their ability to read code."

"Names are the place we record our insights. And we need a good way to know where to look next for the highest probability to find a useful insight. Interestingly, I find the quality of existing names to be a great way to find out where to look."
design  programming 
january 2017
Lessons learned from reading postmortems
"The authors define a critical failure as something that can take down a whole cluster or cause data corruption, and then look at a couple hundred bugs in Cassandra, HBase, HDFS, MapReduce, and Redis, to find 48 critical failures. They then look at the causes of those failures and find that most bugs were due to bad error handling. 92% of those failures are actually from errors that are handled incorrectly."
compsys  distsys  failure 
september 2015
Make Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi in Less Time Than it Takes to Cook Dried Pasta | Serious Eats
I love gnocchi. At least, I love the gnocchi in my mind. Light, pillowy, flavor-packed, they're the perfect vessel for turning a good red sauce into a full-fledged meal. In reality, more often than not they're leaden, dense, mushy, or dull. And it's all the fault of the potato.
food  recipe 
may 2015
How to Make Gnocchi | Lucky Peach
I started making these gnocchi when we opened Craft in 2000, and we’ve been making them every day at Hearth for eleven years. It’s a craft, like playing the guitar. You make gnocchi every day, and well, you’re gonna get pretty fucking good.
may 2015
BBBike (Brandenburg by bike)
Route planner for Berlin cycling
august 2014
As We May Think - Vannevar Bush - The Atlantic
Like Emerson's famous address of 1837 on "The American Scholar," this paper by Dr. Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge
annotation  www  science 
august 2014
Do Not Pass This Way Again
Considering MySQL? Use something else. Already on MySQL? Migrate. For every successful project built on MySQL, you could uncover a history of time wasted mitigating MySQL's inadequacies, masked by a hard-won, but meaningless, sense of accomplishment over the effort spent making MySQL behave.
december 2013
Lots of bits, including CC keg attachments
october 2013
Der Zapfanlagendoktor
Cornelius keg fittings, etc.
october 2013
Bots, DDoS and Ground Truth
One Year and 5,000 Operator Classified Attacks
september 2013
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