Sunday, December 16, 2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Our learnings from adopting GraphQL – Netflix TechBlog – Medium

Another recap, this time from Netflix, on the successes of using GraphQL.

We have been running GraphQL on NodeJS for about 6 months, and it has proven to significantly increase our development velocity and overall page load performance.

They share some good learnings from the transition.

Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto's Nouveau Riche

Crypto-currency boat cruise? No thanks.

I understand why people might want to hire a boat and stuff it with investors: to make money. This cruise measures its takings in old-school pounds and dollars. None of the ship’s bars take bitcoin—fittingly, the only thing you can do with it here is gamble. What I don’t understand is why anyone thought this would make the whole thing look less like a Ponzi scheme with a sleazy post-cyberpunk aesthetic.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The State of Technology at the End of 2018 – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

I like Thompson’s take on current affairs.

This, then, is the state of technology in 2018: the enterprise market is thriving, and the consumer market is stagnant, dominated by the “innovations” that a few large behemoths deign to develop for consumers (and probably by ripping off a smaller company). Meanwhile a backlash is brewing on both sides of the political spectrum, but with no immediately viable outlet through competition or antitrust action, the politics surrounding technology simply becomes ever more rancid.

The stagnation is a real thing. We don’t have many new service and apps coming to market in the last year. The giants of the industry haven’t left much for the rest of the market.


Bosworth makes a good case here against protecting teams. I tend to agree. I’ve fallen into this trap myself mostly around acquiring or merging companies. There is a tendency to hold certain things back during that process, and it just delays the inevitable. Better to get out of the way. Protecting causes more problems in most cases.


There is so much Tetris here! History of the game, variants of it. But most notably, a program to read a Tetris game using a webcam and then “play” it using the standard controls. A computer playing Tetris!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Saturday, December 8, 2018

On Blogs in the Social Media Age - Study Hacks - Cal Newport

Interesting analogy from Cal Newport. Is the open web more of a market based system? I can see the logic behind that, and it does make sense.

As any serious blog consumer can attest, a carefully curated blog feed, covering niches that matter to your life, can provide substantially more value than the collectivist ping-ponging of likes and memes that make up so much of social media interaction.

This is why I don’t get any of my incoming information via social media. None of the links I highlight come from social media.

Stop Checking Your Email All The Time (How to Break Your Inbox Dependence And Get Real Work Done)

Everything in this is so true.

The average person checks email 77 times a day, sends and receives more than 122 email messages a day, and spends 28 percent or more of their workweek managing a constant influx of email.

That is a ton of time, and even more when you consider the mental distraction of it all. I find this problem to be very difficult to solve though. Particularly in the workplace people have gotten used to sending emails and expecting immediate awareness. Any time you send an email “Are you coming to this meeting?” you reinforce that in your culture. To some extent, the adoption of messaging in business has been a welcome reprieve from this but not enough.

Personally I use Sanebox to keep emails in different bins, so I can check them on a more appropriate schedule based on the sender and content of the email. It’s a game changer! But I still would like to get to less time in email and more time focused on things that deliver more value.

AlphaZero: Shedding new light on the grand games of chess, shogi and Go | DeepMind

The results of AlphaZero are amazing. It’s shocking how quickly it developed winning strategies only using basic rules and playing games against itself and other algorithms.

However, it was the style in which AlphaZero plays these games that players may find most fascinating. In Chess, for example, AlphaZero independently discovered and played common human motifs during its self-play training such as openings, king safety and pawn structure. But, being self-taught and therefore unconstrained by conventional wisdom about the game, it also developed its own intuitions and strategies adding a new and expansive set of exciting and novel ideas that augment centuries of thinking about chess strategy.

I like how this article positions that human players will be able to develop new tactics and strategies by working with AlphaZero. That hybrid human plus algorithm approach will be common in a number of areas in the future, and already is in many. Before readers assume this means AlphaZero can do anything, remember that games are closed-systems with extremely specific rulesets. The world we all occupy is nothing like that.

Glengarry Glen Christmas: Elf Motivation - SNL - YouTube

I’m a huge fan of Glengarry Glen Ross. I’ve probably seen that movie 30 or more times. Not just the scenes that everyone talks about, but the whole movie. It turned me on to David Mamet and his amazing dialogue. This Christmas version of it is absolutely hilarious, and done by Alec Baldwin himself. Point of trivia, this scene with Alec Baldwin is one of the most quoted of the entire movie, and it didn’t exist in the original play. It was added for the movie rendition to give additional punch.

Microsoft Edge: Making the web better through more open source collaboration - Windows Experience BlogWindows Experience Blog

In 2009 I wrote a blog post on what Microsoft could do to get “nerds” back. I should have titled it “geeks”, but oh well. One of the two suggestions was to stop working on their own web engine, at the time Trident. It took 9 years, but Microsoft has announced they shifting their browser engine. Just one thing left, although you might argue that Windows Services for Linux is pretty close to the other recommendation I had.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Documents Show That Facebook Has Never Deserved Your Trust | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Everything you ever thought Facebook might do with your data that you don’t want them to, they are doing. The end of this article hits it right:

No matter how Zuckerberg slices it, your data is at the center of Facebook’s business. Based on these documents, it seems that Facebook sucked up as much data as possible through “reciprocity” agreements with other apps, and shared it with insufficient regard to consequences for users. Then, after rolling back its permissive data-sharing APIs, the company apparently used privileged access to user data either as a lever to get what it wanted from other companies or as a weapon against its competitors. You are, and always have been, Facebook’s most valuable product.

I continue to happily live in an Internet, with my 1Blocker setup, that doesn’t include any Facebook properties. They simply cannot be trusted with any data, and they have the most of it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Apple ID Data & Privacy

I didn’t know Apple had this tool to allow you to get at your data, and even have it deleted if you wish.

Events, the DNA of Kubernetes · Do not go gentle into this good night. Rage.

Very approachable read on how Kubernetes handles internal communication.

Event-driven design has many more advantages and can address a lot of problems in distributed systems (back-pressure, queuing, retries, scale-out, etc.). However, it’s not a new idea. Not at all! For example, relational databases work the same way (transaction log). The database is said to be the (stale) cache of the immutable log 😄.

Neat! 🤓

5 books I loved in 2018 | Bill Gates

Educated has shown up on a lot of book lists. I’m not sure about the Harari book. My book club read Sapiens and liked it, but then read followup materials that suggested it was not sound science. It’s crazy to me that I’m a Headspace subscriber but didn’t know that there was a book!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Gendered Linguistics: Why Words Matter - YouTube

Gendered language is something that I have thought about a number of times lately. The topic is coming up more in job postings when recruiting, and I’ve also considered it when companies write policies or training material. This talk is thought provoking regarding where gender coding of language comes from. Is it the language or the usage?

Twilight of the Taj - BBC News

I got to visit the Taj Mahal when I was in India this year. It’s an amazing site and I hope that the government of India takes action to reverse these issues.

The Total Incompatibility of Mindfulness and Busyness

Article from Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the leaders of mindfulness practices.

Precisely because if we are overloaded to the point of being overwhelmed, it is likely that we will be so agitated, so distraught, so self-preoccupied that we won’t be able to meet anybody or any situation from a place of ease within the fullness of our own being in that moment, and that includes, most importantly, even an authentic meeting of ourselves and those we most care about.

This is worth reading a few times, just to make sure it sinks in. Via Leah Cunningham.

@bfeld v53.0 - Feld Thoughts

Writing letters to yourself on your birthday, or commemorating the year and looking ahead, is a fun thing and I like reading these when people share them. It is a way to capture a little bit of wisdom for free.

Monday, December 3, 2018

After 12 draws, Magnus Carlsen is once again the chess world champion - Time is of the essence

The state of Chess at the highest level is amazing.

The result is human chess that increasingly resembles computer chess. has developed a metric, Computer Aggregated Precision Score (CAPS), which compares a player’s moves to those of a top engine. Mr Carlsen scores higher than any other champion; his moves parallel those of the engine’s more than 85% of the time, and his overall choices are better than 98% as effective as those of the computer.

These players are literal human computers. ♟

Tesla API

First car I’ve had with an API. 😁

Marriott: Data on 500 Million Guests Stolen in 4-Year Breach — Krebs on Security

This is a giant and deep breach.

Marriott said the breach involved unauthorized access to a database containing guest information tied to reservations made at Starwood properties on or before Sept. 10, 2018, and that its ongoing investigation suggests the perpetrators had been inside the company’s networks since 2014.

Four years is an incredibly long time for an attacker to have access. 😳

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database

Amazon introduced this highlighting that it was a technology they built in-house and are now making available to the public. It looks interesting.

Amazon QLDB is a new class of database that eliminates the need to engage in the complex development effort of building your own ledger-like applications. With QLDB, your data’s change history is immutable – it cannot be altered or deleted – and using cryptography, you can easily verify that there have been no unintended modifications to your application’s data.

There is a lot of overlap with Event Sourcing concepts, but I’m not sure it is applicable to that. This is marketed as providing the audit history trust of a blockchain, but not using decentralization.

We Wasted Ten Years Talking About Performance Ratings. The Seven Things We've Learned. – JOSH BERSIN

Like this perspective on performance management systems. Things of note:

  1. Curious to see BetterWorks highlighted. They seem to show up in this topic more than most. Noting to look into their solutions more.
  2. The feedback topic highlighted is a component of why I’ve been pushing to provide more structure and guidance to the 1:1 functions in our teams. There is an incredible amount of time and investment in 1:1’s, and I think many of them do not have clear goals and objectives.
  3. I like seeing OKR’s highlighted here.
  4. I like the way this framed the engagement topic, and how a manager should think about team engagement in their overall work.

Good things to consider as your organization evolves and grows. Via Juselly French.

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