Thursday, March 15, 2018

How Atlassian moved Jira and Confluence users to Amazon Web Services, and what it learned along the way – GeekWire

I was a customer of Atlassian and felt the problems they had in their single-tennant VPS environment. We couldn’t wait for it to get fixed and ultimately moved it in-house, but it’s good to hear that they have made a full transition into the cloud. It also sounds like they evolved the solution to work better in the cloud. Hat tip to Peter Zaballos for the link.

DIY Wall Display | DAKboard

This would be such a fun project. Love how it looks and seems like it would be easy enough to build. 🤔

John Carlis

John Carlis was the Dean of Undergraduate Studies when I was in the Computer Science at the University of Minnesota. I took Lisp from John, and on several occasions we got a chance to catch up. He was an amazing professor and human being. Sadly the last time I saw him was at John Riedl’s funeral. Also see In Memoriam: John Carlis.

The New Best Engineer | Honeycomb

This is an exceptionally true sentiment…

As the size and sprawl and complexity of our systems skyrockets, many of us are finding that the most valuable skill sets sit at the intersection of two or more disciplines.

… and more …

You don’t need to know how to do everything under the sun. You do need to have respect for all the other disciplines that enhance your own and make your job possible, and vice versa.

This is absolutely the write way to think of being on a technology team.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Toys R Us to close all 800 of its U.S. stores - The Washington Post

Large amounts of debt, and declining brand value.

“The liquidation of Toys R Us is the unfortunate but inevitable conclusion of a retailer that lost its way,” Neil Saunders, managing director of the research firm GlobalData Retail, wrote in an email. “Even during recent store closeouts, Toys R Us failed to create any sense of excitement. The brand lost relevance, customers and ultimately sales.”

Probably the $7.9 billion in debt was impossible to get around.

Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s great scientists, has died - Physics

The world lost a bright star with the passing of Stephen Hawking. This obituary ends poetically:

No philosophy that puts humanity anywhere near the centre of things can cope with facts like these. All that remains is to huddle together in the face of the overwhelmingness of reality. Yet the sight of one huddled man in a wheelchair constantly probing, boldly and even cheekily demonstrating the infinite reach of the human mind, gave people some hope to grasp, as he always wished it would.

He definitely gave that hope to millions of people.

Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2018

If your curious what the typical software developer looks like, this has about every dimension you could want for 100,000+ developers that took the Stack Overflow survey.

AWS Documentation is Now Open Source and on GitHub —AWS News Blog

Great idea from AWS! As fast as they are releasing new services I’m sure that it is a huge challenge to keep the documentation current. This should help ensure that any issues or gaps can be remedied. Pull requests via GitHub are a lot safer than a pure wiki too.

Monday, March 12, 2018 - rss of twitter user feeds by screenscraping with perl

If you have a need to use RSS to access Twitter.

Way back in the mists of time twitter used to have RSS feeds. It was great and people used them. I even made a twitter RSS getter form for my website so you could locate your feed. But in June 2013 they killed the RSS feeds.

Handy. And in Perl!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

xkcd: Background Apps

Oh no. I’m afraid this applies to me and my desire to intervene when people are force quitting apps. 🤦‍♂️

How to Balance Your Media Diet – ART + marketing

I encourage being mindful about the information you are consuming. We watch what we eat, I don’t see a reason to not watch what we read and watch too. I’d take 90 minutes off of the scale here and give no time to what is called “consumption” and “interaction”.

Deckset for Mac: Presentations from Markdown in No Time

This looks interesting. It uses Markdown to make slides. It’s easy to generate markdown using automation. Put the two together and it would be easy to generate customized markdown and then turn it into presentation material. 🤔

HyperCard Zine

For people who find madly remember HyperCard this will be a fun site to watch. I created my high school humanities project in HyperCard, as well as many other projects. Wish I still had those.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day 2018

Nice to see this event getting more attention.

Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to Press for Progress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What I Talk About When I Talk About Platforms

This positions platform in a way as the technical manifestation of mature technology choices. One of my favorite interview questions is “what is the difference between a product and a platform?” This would be a good answer to that.

Amazon won't sell Nest products from Google - Business Insider

This is just bonkers to me. To be clear, retailers have a right to sell whatever they want, but these kinds of decisions show why I think Net Neutrality is so important. If selling access to the Internet is a retail decision, technology companies are proving through actions like this that they cannot be trusted with those decisions.


I hand’t heard of this app until a recent meeting where a team was highlighting how they use it.

Workato is the fabric with which you can weave a very intelligent nervous system for your modern enterprise. Recipes are automated workflows that connect apps to complete tasks composed by you based on a combination of apps, triggers and actions.

The fluffy language aside, it seems like a useful tool.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Why Are There Few Women in Tech? Watch a Recruiting Session | WIRED

I’d like to go back and read the original paper Puncturing the pipeline: Do technology companies alienate women in recruiting sessions? but had to due with this Wired writeup for now.

In an attempt to appear approachable, presenters often made comments that disparaged women or depicted them as sexualized objects rather than talented technical colleagues. For example, in one session, a man mentioned the “better gender ratio” at the company’s Los Angeles office compared with its Silicon Valley office. “I had no girlfriends at [University Name], but now I’m married,” he said, suggesting that the better odds had helped get him hitched.

🤦‍♂️ There is so much work to do on this issue.

Deep Thinking In The Age of Distraction – The Startup – Medium

I’d rather this was just called “Thinking” instead of “Deep Thinking”. We don’t need to “Deep Think” and “Deep Work” all the time. I’d rather focus on creating time to not be distracted. One of the things I’ve done in this area is to find common situations where I habitually grab my phone, elevator rides are a common one, and force myself to stop doing that. If you take transit, do one day a week with no mobile.

Why am I unhappy? A new study explains Americas unhappiness epidemic — Quartz

Another study suggesting that the increase of time spent in the digital world correlates strongly with unhappiness.

Every year, teens are asked about their general happiness, in addition to how they spend their time. We found that teens who spent more time seeing their friends in person, exercising, playing sports, attending religious services, reading or even doing homework were happier. However, teens who spent more time on the internet, playing computer games, on social media, texting, using video chat or watching TV were less happy.

Should it surprise us that humans, perhaps the most social of creatures, don’t get satisfied socially through text messages and whatever app you are using today? Nope.

The Indispensable Document for the Modern Manager | First Round Review

I have mixed feelings about managers publishing a “User Guide”. In short, I think the job off a manager and leader is to adapt to the people who they work with. I worry a user guide says “this is what I want, you adapt to me”. I tend to think that managers need to understand “this is what you need, and I will adapt to you”. However, this example of a user guide is very well thought out, and the best one I’ve seen at communicating something that seems more focused on outcomes.

The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized - Scientific American Blog Network

It’s human nature to want to associate your successes with skill and active choice (and often our misses with bad luck), but data suggests that luck, or random chance, may have more to do with success.

The researchers argue that the following factors are all important in giving people more chances of success: a stimulating environment rich in opportunities, a good education, intensive training, and an efficient strategy for the distribution of funds and resources.

This made me thing of Fooled by Randomness as I read it. I highly recommend that book. It forever changed how I look at track records.

Bad iPhone notches are happening to good Android phones - The Verge

However one may try to justify the notch in the new iPhone X I don’t think anyone should be considering it a feature. It’s surprising to see other phones copying something that I consider a significant compromise and something to engineer away.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A 1.3Tbs DDoS Hit GitHub, the Largest Yet Recorded | WIRED

I’m continuously surprised why GitHub is so frequently the target of DDoS attacks, but this is an amazing timeline:

GitHub briefly struggled with intermittent outages as a digital system assessed the situation. Within 10 minutes it had automatically called for help from its DDoS mitigation service, Akamai Prolexic. Prolexic took over as an intermediary, routing all the traffic coming into and out of GitHub, and sent the data through its scrubbing centers to weed out and block malicious packets. After eight minutes, attackers relented and the assault dropped off.

That is an impressive, automated response to such a significant event. 👏

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Erasing history - Columbia Journalism Review

The permanence of digital content is something I think about for personal websites, but I hadn’t considered how damaging that intersection could be for newspaper sites. I’ve supported Internet Archive for years and their mission is to capture and save content. It seems like a good path would be for news websites content management systems to directly archive content into a place like Internet Archive and not rely on the web crawler to capture it.

Live Like a Hydra – Thinking Is Hard – Medium

I’ve read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile but this essay on applying anti fragile concepts to your life is interesting:

An antifragile way of life is all about finding a way to gain from the inevitable disorder of life. To not only bounce back when things don’t go as planned, but to get stronger, smarter, and better at continuing as a result of running into this disorder.

Thought provoking. 🤔

Differential Privacy for Dummies – Roberto Agostino Vitillo's Blog

The first I heard of differential privacy was when Apple started to use the term to describe how they use advanced data techniques to make smart recommendations without reducing privacy. This paper is filled with more math than I can follow, but it explains a bit more about what differential privacy really is.

Differential privacy formalizes the idea that a query should not reveal whether any one person is present in a dataset, much less what their data are. Imagine two otherwise identical datasets, one with your information in it, and one without it. Differential Privacy ensures that the probability that a query will produce a given result is nearly the same whether it’s conducted on the first or second dataset.

If your working on systems that collect user data and also want to protect privacy this would be a good read.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Small b blogging

I like this thought about how to approach blogging.

Small b blogging is writing things that you link back to and reference time and time again. Ideas that can evolve and grow as your thinking and audience grows.

Personally I think of my blogging activity as being as much or more for me as a way to clarify my thoughts and share learning, and if others dig it that is cool too.

Oscar Forner's personal website

Honestly bash would be in my top 5 most often used tools and I know many people turn there nose to it. This writeup on tooling around bash though, including formatting, listing and unit testing is pretty cool. I had no idea there was a linter for bash!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Berkshire Hathaway 2017 Annual Report

Warren Buffett’s shareholder letter is always a great read. Nea

The $65 billion gain is nonetheless real – rest assured of that. But only $36 billion came from Berkshire’s operations. The remaining $29 billion was delivered to us in December when Congress rewrote the U.S. Tax Code.

44% of their gain was a result of the tax overhaul. The read on his 10-year “bet” against managed funds is very good (news flash, the index fund won). Plus bonus points for quoting Kipling.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Things 3 From an OmniFocus and TaskPaper User —Macdrifter

I was very interested to read this. I’ve been an OmniFocus user since it was in beta, and lately Things 3 continues to get a lot of positive comments. I’ve considered switching, but I really don’t want to do that. Switching task managers Is a major pain. This review ultimately came down on Things 3, but I’m going to wait for OmniFocus 3 before I make any decision.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Introducing C.A.R.E. – a simple framework for user onboarding - Inside Intercom

Solid set of practices from Intercom on how they do customer onboarding. This is a huge area of focus for SaaS companies, particularly B2C ones.

As your business grows and gets different types of customers, your onboarding will need to adapt. You’ll never be “finished” working on onboarding. And even your most loyal and active customers need to be continually onboarded to new areas of your product.

You have to adapt these plays in the B2B market but the thinking behind this is what I would attempt to model. 🤔

← Newer Page 1 of 171