10648
Developers On Call
This is a good assessment of many of the angles of an on-call rotation in a technology team. I agree with the conclusions, and also agree with the premise that all team members for a service or set of services should be in the on-call rotation.

> Teams where the people creating the software help support the software achieve better quality through aligned incentives and increased awareness.

I like that this article calls out the elephant in the room, that there is a general culture in many organizations that developers are "above" being on-call. That is crap and needs to be dispelled whenever it is brought up. If anything, I would highlight that there are a lot of developers are just aren't all that great at being on-call. The skill argument should go the other way. Great operations engineers know how their software behaves, and they know how to push it and make it do what they want. Often the developers that wrote it have no clue. Also, the general stress and pressure of incidents is something that you need to have the stomach for.
_feature 
november 2018
Event Store
The open-source, functional database with Complex Event Processing in JavaScript.
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november 2018
Google employees and contractors participate in “global walkout for real change”
it’s nice to see employees at one of the biggest technology companies in the world organizing and getting a voice on matters like this.

> More than 20,000 Google employees and contractors in Google offices located in 50 cities worldwide walked out for real change at 11:10am local time protesting sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that doesn’t work for everyone.

It’s a good trend.
november 2018
OpenText to Acquire Liaison Technologies, Inc.
OpenText acquires another company in the communications space for EDI. Liaison was trying to become something different with their Alloy platform, but that was a reinvention that they didn’t have the fuel for it seems.
november 2018
Daring Fireball: The 2018 iPad Pros
These 2018 iPad Pros look utterly amazing. I can’t wait to get mine.
november 2018
A Look at the Design of Lua | November 2018 | Communications of the ACM
This is a good overview of the design goals of Lua and some insight into how Lua approaches a variety of programming concepts.

> Lua has a unique set of design goals that prioritize simplicity, portability, and embedding. The Lua core is based on three well-known, proven concepts—associative arrays, first-class functions, and coroutines—all implemented with no artificial restrictions. On top of these components, Lua follows the motto "mechanisms instead of policies," meaning Lua's design aims to offer basic mechanisms to allow programmers to implement more complex features.

I find Lua interesting. I wish there was a good iOS implementation to play with.
november 2018
Frank Chimero · Everything Easy is Hard Again
Frank Chimero is typically an enjoyable read and this doesn't let you down.

> I wonder if I have twenty years of experience making websites, or if it is really five years of experience, repeated four times. If you’ve been working in the technology industry a while, please tell me this sounds familiar to you.

People will say that technology has a fashion thing. This is what they are referring to.

> It seems there are fewer and fewer notable websites built with this approach each year. So, I thought it would be useful remind everyone that the easiest and cheapest strategy for dealing with complexity is not to invent something to manage it, but to avoid the complexity altogether with a more clever plan.

This is what experience brings. Early in their career technologists pile on complexity to solve any problem. After years of supporting those Towers of Babel, simpler solutions tend to look more appealing.

> Last month, I had to install a package manager to install a package manager. That’s when I closed my laptop and slowly backed away from it.

🤦‍♂️
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november 2018
Opinion | I Thought the Web Would Stop Hate, Not Spread It - The New York Times
This article merges the web with social media too much. I’d argue that Swisher’s letter writing example is similar to someone tapping away at a blog. The broad social platforms and their ethics-absent algorithms are the things that have given extreme positions so much visibility.

Swisher misses a key component. Most advertisers have no interest in being associated with such extreme speech. If the people that advertisers want leave these platforms, the dumpster fire that remains is not a business.
november 2018
Google Chrome’s Users Take a Back Seat to Its Bottom Line | Electronic Frontier Foundation
This article is the biggest part of why I won’t use Chrome.

> Google is the biggest browser company in the world. It’s also the biggest search engine, mobile operating system, video host, and email service. But most importantly, it’s the biggest server of digital ads. Google controls 42% of the digital advertising market, significantly more than Facebook, its largest rival, and vastly more than anyone else. Its tracking codes appear on three quarters of the top million sites on the web. 86% of Alphabet’s revenue (Google’s parent company) comes from advertising. That means all of Alphabet has a vested interest in helping track people and serve them ads, even when that puts the company at odds with its users.

Remember, Google was the last browser to support Do Not Track years ago. Nothing has changed regarding Googles incentives. If you value privacy, I don’t see how you can use Chrome.

The article gives Chrome credit for pushing HTTPS adoption on the web. I’m skeptical of that as well. Let’s Encrypt is the service that enabled that, and Google got a huge benefit from HTTPS allowing there bots to get a very strong signal about content quality from the usage of HTTPS.
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november 2018
Why we’re changing Flickr free accounts | Flickr Blog
The team leading Flickr has big challenges to restore what was the most vibrant community for photography on the web. I don’t have an issue with these changes. I might even try Flickr out again.
november 2018
Statamic - Make better, easier to manage websites. Enjoy simplicity like the days of summer.
Interesting website CMS. Seems to be a good mix of easy-to-use and static.
_brief 
november 2018
Elon Musk: The Recode interview - Recode
Kara Swisher sits down with Elon Musk. Very good interview.
november 2018
Three Sales Mistakes Software Engineers Make
I would call these go-to-market mistakes more than sales mistakes, but it’s good advice to people building new products — not just software engineers.
november 2018
A Few Thoughts on Apple Watch Series 4 – 500ish Words
I had the original Apple Watch and upgraded to the Series 3 with LTE a year ago. The Series 4 looks amazing with it’s larger screen, but the speed is the real winner.

> Did I mention the Series 4 is fast? Series 3 was pretty fast. Series 4 is fast in a way that you never think about it; things just work, fast.

if you haven't had a smart watch before it might seem odd that you need so much speed for one, but any delay at all is a big usability challenge for a smart watch. I’m trying to hold off and skip the Series 4, but it’s tempting given how good this new Apple Watch seems to do.
november 2018
Apple’s New Map
Incredibly detailed post again from Justin O’Beirne detailing incredible detail on Apple's new map initiative. It is an interesting post to go through and see the incredible effort going into mapping, and what a strategic advantage it is for Google in a number of areas.
november 2018
What is Tailwind? - Tailwind CSS
This looks like a CSS framework I could actually use.
_brief 
november 2018
Clipboard Shortcuts with Siri
Cool ideas for manipulating your clipboard with Shortcuts.
november 2018
October 21 post-incident analysis | The GitHub Blog
Detailed and thorough writeup of GitHub's recent production issue.
_brief 
november 2018
The five types of mentors you need in your life
I like this approach to thinking strategically about the kind of advice and feedback you need in different aspects of your life.
november 2018
How We Built OmniFocus for the Web
Most of this is not all that interesting except for people that are into Omni and their software. However, the part where they talk about building a "headless" version of OmniFocus that runs on the server and handles the API connections from OmniFocus for the Web made me do a double take. I can’t tell if it’s novel and interesting, or downright crazy!
november 2018
Mac mini: The MacStories Overview – MacStories
The Mac Mini hasn't gotten an update in a very, very long time. This new one looks pretty great. It has a significant number of configuration options. I could easily see this being a great option for many people.
november 2018
The New 12.9- and 11-inch iPad Pros: The MacStories Overview – MacStories
The new iPad Pro's look amazing. I do the majority of my computing on an 11" iPad Pro at home, and a 12.9" iPad Pro at work. I've already pre-ordered the new more compact iPad Pro for the office, and I’m ready to upgrade at home and am considering going for the larger one as well. The previous 12.9" with it’s large bezel and weight was just too big, but this new one looks very compelling. I’m wondering if I couldn't do with one of these instead of a laptop at home. The fact you can plug a monitor into the USB-C port is pretty compelling as well for photo editing. 🤔
november 2018
turtle.audio
What happens when the turtle 🐢 from logo meets music? 🎶
_brief 
november 2018
IBM’s Old Playbook – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Some great analysis of IBM's position with Red Hat.

> This is the bet: while in the 1990s the complexity of the Internet made it difficult for businesses to go online, providing an opening for IBM to sell solutions, today IBM argues the reduction of cloud computing to three centralized providers makes businesses reluctant to commit to any one of them. IBM is betting it can again provide the solution, combining with Red Hat to build products that will seamlessly bridge private data centers and all of the public clouds.

Thompson has a great take on this.
november 2018
Don't Be Evil
A deep dive into the culture and memes of Silicon Valley.
november 2018
I Bought Used Voting Machines on eBay for $100 Apiece. What I Found Was Alarming | WIRED
This whole article is concerning. It shouldn't be this easy to get these devices and dissect them for flaws.

> If getting voting machines delivered to my door was shockingly easy, getting inside them proved to be simpler still. The tamper-proof screws didn’t work, all the computing equipment was still intact, and the hard drives had not been wiped. The information I found on the drives, including candidates, precincts, and the number of votes cast on the machine, were not encrypted. Worse, the “Property Of” government labels were still attached, meaning someone had sold government property filled with voter information and location data online, at a low cost, with no consequences. It would be the equivalent of buying a surplus police car with the logos still on it.

Eek.
november 2018
Driven to Distraction – the future of car safety
Being a very happy owner of the new Tesla Model 3 I read this article with much interest. The comparison of airplane cockpits as they became more autonomous is interesting.
october 2018
Parsing logs 230x faster with Rust
This is a fun read walking through a high performance solution and the best way to solve it. The way this references cost is a good example of considerations engineers need to keep in mind in the cloud. ☁️💰
october 2018
What Engineers Found When They Tore Apart Tesla's Model 3
This is an interesting take on the Model 3. They seem to have good points on the body and challenges with assembling that. They were very impressed with the motor.
october 2018
A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley - The New York Times
This is such a hard issue. I feel very conflicted about it. I used to spend a lot of time on my Apple //c back in the day, but what you could do was so different. Now I find my son sitting on his iPad and in reality all he's doing is watching TV. No brain stimulation.

> “I try to tell him somebody wrote code to make you feel this way — I’m trying to help him understand how things are made, the values that are going into things and what people are doing to create that feeling,” Mr. Lilly said. “And he’s like, ‘I just want to spend my 20 bucks to get my Fortnite skins.’”

It is perhaps too nuanced, but I think you have to move beyond just "screen time" and really look at the activity. What is your child doing on the device? Are they programming? Diving into the tarpits of social media disgust? Watching TV mindlessly? Reading a book? Reading the largest encyclopedia in the world? Learning how to build a robot?
_feature 
october 2018
Google’s Night Sight for Pixel phones will amaze you - The Verge
These very dark shots are amazing. The fact that this is all done handheld is hard to even understand. Computational photography may have more tricks up it’s sleeve than we really know.
october 2018
The next career step for Senior Software Engineers (that isn’t management)
Cool article and introduces an idea of going from Implementor, to Solver, to Finder as an engineer. I haven't heard this terminology used but I really like it!

> As an Implementer, you’re an inexperienced programmer, and your tasks are defined by someone else: you just implement small, well-specified chunks of code…
>
> As you become more experienced, you become a Solver: are able to come up with solutions to less well-defined problems…
>
> Eventually you become a Finder: you begin identifying problems on your own and figuring out their underlying causes…

That seems very compelling and valuable to frame the career advancement of engineers.
october 2018
The Google Pixel 3 Is A Very Good Phone. But Maybe Phones Have Gone Too Far.
Review of the Pixel 3, but also a reflection on the obsessive compulsion we have with our phones.

> My neck hurts. I am never not looking down. When I am not looking at my phone, I become slightly anxious. And then, when I do actually look at it, I become even more so. It reminds me of how I once felt about cigarettes. I experience the world with a meticulously crafted, tiny computer slab between me and it. I am an asshole. But so, maybe, are you?

🤨
october 2018
How to Write a Technical Paper: Structure and Style of the Epitome of your Research
This is a great example document.

> A major problem that young researchers face is their inability to write good research papers. This document serves as a guideline on how to write a good technical paper.

Technical papers and [white papers](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_paper) have been confused with marketing organizations taking over white papers as a form of advertising. It’s good to see a robust discussion of a straight technical paper.
october 2018
How Minnesota Became the Land of 10,000 Startups - ReadWrite
Nice overview of the startup activity happening here in the Twin Cities.

> The number of tech businesses in Minnesota has grown exponentially since 2010, adding more than 500 startups since 2015 alone. Following the charge, venture capitalists now invest more than $200 million in the region annually.

I was very glad to see [Minnestar](https://minnestar.org) mentioned along with a quote from our executive director!
october 2018
Meow Hash
This is an interesting hashing algorithm. I've worked with solutions that use cryptographic hashes and they can be challenging to scale. This hash is specifically **not** cryptographically sound, but is highly performant.
_brief 
october 2018
Atlassian launches the new Jira Software Cloud | TechCrunch
These look like nice improvements to such a widely used application.
_brief 
october 2018
The Org Chart Test – Rands in Repose
Interesting idea of insuring that the org chart is clearly articulated and known, as a way to insure that communications are happening right.

> An org chart should also effectively describe, at a high level, how the product is organized and also who is responsible for what. An org chart should be legible.

Interesting idea to bring this into a 1:1 discussion.
october 2018
Do We Worship Complexity?
In my experience the answer to this is often yes. Technologists can be drawn to complexity like a moth to a flame. It is nearly always for good reasons, often abstraction. I've seen projects where you end up abstracting away so many layers, the complexity piles up beneath you, and you have no idea what you are even trying to solve anymore.
october 2018
Trek10 | The Business Case For Serverless
Arguments for why serverless architectures are desirable.
_brief 
october 2018
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018
Amazing photography here (but a frustrating website to navigate).
october 2018
Tim Cook data privacy speech: Apple CEO calls for comprehensive data laws in America - The Verge
Apple CEO [Tim Cook](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Cook) presenting on the complete disregard of privacy in the technology industry. His term of "data industrial complex" is very accurate, and I completely agree with his extension that "this is surveillance".

He coins four essential rights: right to have personal data minimized, right to knowledge, right to access, and right to security. I like the simplicity.

You can see the video [directly on YouTube](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVhOLkIs20A) or if you prefer read the [ArsTechnica transcript](https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/10/tim-cook-calls-for-strong-us-privacy-law-rips-data-industrial-complex/).

Cook references [Steve Jobs' talking about privacy](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39iKLwlUqBo). I appreciate that Apple is leading the tech industry on this important topic. It’s also clear that Cook is personally passionate on this topic. He even pulls [Henry David Thoreau](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau) in at the end.
_feature 
october 2018
GM’s data mining is just the beginning of the in-car advertising blitz - The Verge
Wait a second, our cars are now invading our privacy and selling the data? 😡
_brief 
october 2018
Apple Shortcuts: The Bicycle for the Mind is Back, but it’s Electric — Prolost
This is more than just an intro to Shortcuts on iOS 12. There is a complete history of user space programming tools from Apple over the years, going back to HyperCard. Skip the history part if you just want to read about Shortcuts.

> Shortcuts, the app, is my favorite thing to happen to the iPhone since the camera got decent. I truly feel that my relationship to my iPhone has fundamentally changed, because I can now build things on it that make it do things that only I would ever want. Useful things, but also fun things. Complex things and simple things.

I’ve built incredible stuff with Shortcuts and am continuing to do more. My Weekly Thing newsletter is entirely built with Shortcuts and various API’s and a little Python thrown in for fun. It is worth the effort to learn Shortcuts. They are very approachable.
_feature 
october 2018
Little Free Library creator Todd Bol dies | MPR News
I didn’t realize that Little Free Library was started right around the Twin Cities. Sad to hear that the founder has died, but it’s a great legacy to leave behind.
october 2018
Free Meeting Stats For Google Calendar and Office 365 calendar
Good stats from this service. I think there is a lot more to do with calendar data to give people insights into their time and how to manage it better.
october 2018
Helm
This article from [The Verge](https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/10/17/17983018/helm-private-email-server-calendar-contacts-data) has a good introduction to Helm. It looks like an interesting solution for keeping your data in your control and even in your own residence where it is protected by the constitution. I don’t see this displacing my current providers, and I wonder how it compares to something like a Synology NAS.
october 2018
Introduction to Redis Streams – Redis
Redis is a well written and very reliable service, and scales down well for small solutions. Adding a streaming capability to it will open up some new use cases.
_brief 
october 2018
Fold N Fly ✈
Awesome database of paper airplanes.
_brief 
october 2018
Stop building websites with infinite scroll!
A thorough analysis of why infinite scroll is problematic.

> Infinite scroll can be disorienting, uncontrollable, and can cause your users stress.

It misses one of my points on infinite scroll that it represents an attempt to trick and addict users.
october 2018
How we unplug: 7 ways to escape the roiling seas of modern life | City Pages
I don't think I've had some recommend an article from the City Pages since college, but this one has some great themes regarding ways to disconnect and recharge. Link from [Tor Flatebo](https://www.linkedin.com/in/torflatebo/).
october 2018
The Observation Deck » Assessing software engineering candidates
Hiring engineers is a tricky thing, and it’s great to see people sharing their processes for evaluating candidates to help others get better as well.

> This document is an attempt to pull together accumulated best practices; while it shouldn’t be inferred to be overly prescriptive, where it is rigid, there is often a painful lesson behind it.

Worthwhile set of concepts.
october 2018
Lightroom CC 2.0: What's new, and where is it headed?: Digital Photography Review
I jumped off of the Lightroom path when Adobe decided to make it a subscription product. The new Lightroom CC looks solid, and I like that they are doing server-side processing of images. At the same time, I still don't feel like I have a good solution for dealing with all of my photo workflows.
october 2018
How Adobe is bringing “real Photoshop” to the iPad - The Verge
It’s great to see Adobe bringing such a critical power-user application to the iPad. I have a sneaking suspicion we'll see a new iPad Pro with a big screen demoing Adobe Photoshop at a future Apple announcement.
october 2018
GitHub Actions
This new feature from GitHub looks really interesting, but it’s light on details.
_brief 
october 2018
It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads - Recode
I absolutely love that Facebook themselves had to correct publications on this clarification.

> But Facebook has since reached out to change its answer: Portal doesn’t have ads, but data about who you call and data about which apps you use on Portal can be used to target you with ads on other Facebook-owned properties.

So when you give your photos to Google and Facebook they mine brands and objects from them to advertise to you. WIth this Portal surveillance device they can watch the activity in your house to then shove things in between cat pictures on Instagram. **Don't buy one of these.** And also, ditch Facebook Messenger too.
october 2018
The Hidden Tribes of America - Hidden Tribes
I found this via David Brooks [Rich White Civil War](https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/opinion/politics-race-white-tribalism.html) column.

> But this can change. A majority of Americans, whom we’ve called the "Exhausted Majority," are fed up by America’s polarization. They know we have more in common than that which divides us: our belief in freedom, equality, and the pursuit of the American dream. They share a deep sense of gratitude that they are citizens of the United States. They want to move past our differences.

This data on segments of Americans is interesting and well presented. It does make me wonder if this exists independent of the marketing and propaganda of politicians, or if this is the desired outcome of those programs to slice up America into groups that can be marketed to.
october 2018
Vue's Ecosystem Growth is Taking Off… Just Like React's Did
I don't think there is anything so trendy as Javascript frameworks. Remember when Angular was cool? Oi! 😬
october 2018
Why We Always Switch Productivity Methods Before They Stick, According To Science
I've talked to a lot of friends that have tried several or even dozens of *productivity systems*.

> First things first: Take some comfort in the fact that you definitely aren’t alone. Many of us hop around and test the waters of various systems for getting our work done.

One of the best things I ever did was decide to commit to [GTD](https://www.gettingthingsdone.com) as a long-term investment as well as [OmniFocus](https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus) and not look around at other options. I felt that expertise and depth in one was more important than trying dozens of options fiddling with what might be best.
_feature 
october 2018
How to feel happier
Eight things to improve happiness.
_brief 
october 2018
Top 5 Contemporary Software Engineering Books – KI labs Engineering – Medium
I hadn’t heard of the first four books on this list. I’m intrigued by Developer Hegemony. 📚
october 2018
What I loved about Paul Allen | Bill Gates
A touching remembrance of Paul Allen by Bill Gates.
october 2018
StartMail - Private & encrypted email made easy
Nice to see another web-based, easy-to-use encrypted email service. This one has some additional privacy features that look great. I maintain an encrypted address at [Protonmail](https://protonmail.com) which has some similar features. As an aside, it’s notable that all encrypted email services I know of tout that their servers are **not** located in the United States as a feature. It’s sad that our government is known to treat digital right-to-privacy with so low regard.
october 2018
birdseye: Quick, convenient, expression-centric, graphical Python debugger using the AST
Very cool and powerful Python debugger. I think this could also be a powerful learning tool!
_brief 
october 2018
Fake Followers Audit from SparkToro | SparkToro
Tool to identify how many of your Twitter followers are fake. 23.4% for me.
_brief 
october 2018
Do journalists pay too much attention to Twitter? - Columbia Journalism Review
This is an important and interesting question. When I read the headline the immediate thought in my head was **"Yes!"**. The study goes into more detail and gets deeper into the impact it would have on reporting.

> “Our results indicate that the routinization of Twitter into news production affects news judgment,” the researchers write. “For journalists who incorporate Twitter into their reporting routines, and those with fewer years of experience, Twitter has become so normalized that tweets were deemed equally newsworthy as headlines appearing to be from the AP wire. This may have negative implications.” Among those implications, they argue, is that journalists can get caught up in a kind of pack mentality in which a story is seen as important because other journalists on Twitter are talking about it, rather than because it is newsworthy.

The "firehose" feed of Twitter is something that some people find uninteresting, but there are some people and professions that I think find it highly addictive and compelling. Watching an AP news feed, or a financial ticker, feels and looks a lot like watching the Twitter timeline. I count myself in the group of people that find that addictive. I tend to think journalists as a group would too.
_feature 
october 2018
Muze
High-end data visualization library.
_brief 
october 2018
About static site generators
An assessment of static site generators and the somewhat miserable landscape of authoring tools. I agree with the central push of this piece. I keep finding that static site generators introduce far too much friction into my writing process. One may note that [my microblog](https://micro.thingelstad.com) and [linkblog](https://links.thingelstad.com) are both very active while [my blog](https://www.thingelstad.com) is pretty quiet. That is almost entirely because writing for Jekyll, the static site generator I use, is too hard. Tools like [Forestry](https://forestry.io) offer some hope to make this better, but the configuration is still orders of magnitude too hard.
october 2018
ongoing by Tim Bray · On Cash
I like Bray's perspective on cash here. I tend to still pay for most of my routine, small purchases with cash. I'd add to his list of reasons the fact that as we move from real cash we devalue the expense. Keeping transactions in cash will make you more conscious of your spending, and hopefully spend less. 💸
october 2018
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