Featured in Dec/Jan 2019 Make magazine. Incredible pieces of art.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Thursday, December 13, 2018
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.
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
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.
This is a good explanation and examples of how location data can tell organizations so much about you. There is more hidden understanding here than I think people understand. 🗺
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.
Caught my eye to see Minneapolis city matters in Slate. There has been a lot of debate and trepidation around the Minneapolis 2040 plan. I honestly haven’t done the work to really understand all the components myself.
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!
$4.6 billion writedown. This was always a bad idea. It makes one wonder where does the support for something like this come from?
Local software company acquired.
GitHub has become part of many automated systems inside of companies. Extending their status site to be more specific, and importantly callable via an API, makes a lot of sense.
Twin Cities-based movement gives retired men a place to talk, give back and feel valued - StarTribune.com
This seems like a perfect Minnesota thing.
The Men’s Sheds motto: “Men don’t talk face-to-face. They talk shoulder-to-shoulder.”
Actually, isn’t this just ice fishing but without the fishing? 😁
Monday, December 10, 2018
Nice PDF to walk you through a reflection and planning process for the new year. Via Patrick Rhone.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
What the… 😳💰
I wasn’t aware of repl.it but multi-user (I like the fun nod with multiplayer) is a great idea!
Saturday, December 8, 2018
I love the new, innovative games that have come to the iPad.
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.
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.
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.
Interesting book on writing and the workflows around it.
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
Nice enhancements to the best journal app on iOS.
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.
Very thorough and detailed overview of how Stripe builds out their technology teams from recruiting to onboarding. A lot of great practices!
I have a ScanSnap scanner and was worried they were not going to make a 64-but release! Whew.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
I didn’t know Apple had this tool to allow you to get at your data, and even have it deleted if you wish.
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 😄.
Trainer Battles in Pokémon Go look like a great addition to the game!
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
I like the concept that Majors’ puts forward here. It’s all carrot and no stick. I do a similar concept in tech teams. There are great support options to help your team, but to get them you need to adopt certain patterns and technologies.
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?
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.
This is an interesting journal of all the activity this person is taking to sell a product on Amazon. It goes through each step in the process, and highlights the myriad of things that need to be dealt with. It’s an interesting read.
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.
Many “Best of…” content lists for 2018.
Another day another giant breach. This reminds me I don’t need a Quora account since I don’t use it.
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
The state of Chess at the highest level is amazing.
The result is human chess that increasingly resembles computer chess. Chess.com 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. ♟
First car I’ve had with an API. 😁
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
This is the most comprehensive map I’ve found of charging stations for electric cars. I was looking for one in Faribault by our cabin and this is the only one that had the single station there.
What awesome pictures – they crack me up! Via Kottke.org.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Nice tooling to make it even easier to build Lambda functions in IDEs.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season! 🎁
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.
Pulling text data out of forms isn’t glamorous, but it’s an important problem and one that a service should do very well.
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:
- Curious to see BetterWorks highlighted. They seem to show up in this topic more than most. Noting to look into their solutions more.
- 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.
- I like seeing OKR’s highlighted here.
- 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.
How do you get a bunch of developers to learn machine learning techniques? Give them a cool 1:18th scale autonomous car and have them build self-driving code for it! This is a pretty neat idea. I ordered some for our team at SPS to play with and learn.