Sunday, September 23, 2018

Engineering Productivity – Camille Fournier – Medium

Productivity of software teams is a very fuzzy space. Companies have tried to figure out some way to evaluate this for 50 years now, and have gotten nowhere. It’s knowledge work, and as such isn’t linear at all. Fournier’s view of engineering management “… a great engineering manager is capable of creating a highly productive engineering team” is great, and I like the three key factors she highlights for achieving that.

watchOS 5: The BirchTree Review – BirchTree

This is a fantastic review of watchOS 5. I’ve read a couple of detailed reviews and still learned a number of cool things I could do in watchOS 5 in this. I had no idea I could get favorites sports teams into the Siri face for example!

Chrome is a Google Service that happens to include a Browser Engine

I’ve never used Chrome for privacy reasons, it’s too closely connected to the worlds largest advertising platform with a huge profit motive to collect information. Chrome was the last browser to support Do Not Track while it prided itself on supporting new capabilities before everyone else. Now Google has tied Chrome even closer to it’s services. If you want private browsing Firefox is a good bet with enough extensions, and Safari does more to fight privacy invading trackers than any other browser out of the box. Matthew Greene has a more direct reaction to this, and is done with Chrome. “Don’t be evil.”

New zine: Help! I have a manager! - Julia Evans

I love these zines that Julia Evans has been creating and this is a stellar idea to make one for people to better understand what their manager is doing and how to work with them. It’s a managers job to work and coordinate with their team, but this seems like a great idea to help folks learn as well.

Simple Analytics

Nice and easy, simple, web analytics offering that respects privacy and just gives you the handful of metrics that actually matter. I’m still on the side of not collecting this data at all unless you really need it.

There is no longer any such thing as Computer Security

I like this position, computer security is just security, and it’s really easy these days to get exploited. This is a good overview particularly on phishing and what you can most easily do to protect yourself. 🔐

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Occupations and Their Ideologies – Other Life

This data is much more divided than I would have thought.

Occupations are strongly sorted by ideology. Political scientist Adam Bonica has produced reliable and consistent estimates of ideological placement for a huge number of individuals, politicians, and organizations.

I wonder if these patterns were present much longer ago, 1950’s for example.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Daring Fireball: Apple Watch Series 4

Gruber gives a compelling review of the new Series 4 watch. It looks very well done, and while the size changes are in the millimeters I can see how the Series 4 will be very nice. I’m still going to hold off and wait another year to upgrade. At least until I see one in person. 😊

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Daring Fireball: The iPhones XS

Gruber with a very focused review of the iPhone XS and the massive changes in the camera. This goes into some great detail, and I can’t wait to see my own results with the new XS.

But there is one wow factor comparing the iPhone XS to last year’s iPhone X: photography. But the reasons don’t show up in Apple’s comparison spec list (even though some of them could). I’ve focused nearly the entirety of my testing on taking photos and videos side-by-side against my 10-month old iPhone X. Overall, I’m simply blown away by the iPhone XS’s results. Sometimes the difference is subtle but noticeable; sometimes the difference is between unusable and pretty good. The iPhone XS can capture still images and video that the iPhone X cannot.

Some further details on the changes in the camera mechanism.

“32 percent larger sensor”, however, means something very specific, and it should perk up the ears of any photographer — even one who’s skeptical of Apple’s “computational photography” claims. You could sell an upgrade to the XS to iPhone X-owning photo enthusiasts just by telling them the sensor is so much larger.


watchOS 5: The MacStories Review – MacStories

The comprehensive review of watchOS 5. This hits on all of the improvements. I was eager to try the Walkie Talkie app and initial impression is cool, but I would only use that with close friends and family. I tried it with my brother and we found it geeky fun. I tried it with Tammy and she looked at me like it was the dumbest thing she’d ever seen. Your mileage may vary. 😜

Monday, September 17, 2018

Are Audiobooks As Good For You As Reading? Here’s What Experts Say | Time

I’ve gotten an Audible subscription and have been listening to more audiobooks than ever before. I have a 20-30 minute drive to work and it’s a great time to listen to some books. I assumed that listening would give less comprehension, but the tests were not as conclusive as I would have thought. 🎧

LKML: Linus Torvalds: Linux 4.19-rc4 released, an apology, and a maintainership note

The technology industry has an unusual amount of overly aggressive communication and criticism. Flame wars and such got their start somewhere. Linus Torvald’s, the creator of Linux and Git, two of the most important software products of our era is legend for being a complete jerk to people. This about face and apology is significant.

This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

This is a really big deal as Linus is a role-model for many technologists. If he thinks it is appropriate to tear people apart over their code, maybe that would be a cool thing to do in a code review at the office! Hell no.

I was also pleased to see this commit to adopt a proper Code of Conduct for Linux Kernel development. To give a sense of how deep Linus’ views affect the Linux Kernel team before this Code of Conduct they had a Code of Conflict!

The Code of Conflict is not achieving its implicit goal of fostering civility and the spirit of ‘be excellent to each other’.

Glad to see these changes coming. 👏

Scriptable: Use JavaScript to control your iPhone | Rosemary Orchard

Very cool new app built for Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12. This is like the companion app to Workflow, now Shortcuts, but this one uses JavaScript. You can do an incredible amount with this, but the barrier to entry is higher since you have to know how to code. Shortcuts is very approachable, but a little less powerful. This is a good app to keep an eye on, especially as a community of scripts build up around it.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Apple's A12 Bionic is a powerhouse chip with a boosted dose of brains

In 2008 Apple acquired P.A. Semi for $278 million. Apple has also acquired a handful of additional semiconductor companies and they are now one of, if not the, most advanced chip manufacturers in the world. The Neural Engines 5 trillion operations per second is enabling a local approach to machine learning that is very different than everyone else’s.

Core ML, Apple machine learning framework, apparently runs some nine times faster on the A12 Bionic, which should mean there’s more performance on tap for developers to put AI abilities into their apps.

That is also aligned with the core value of privacy and keeping things local.

The Science of Decision Fatigue - Erin Wildermuth

This is absolutely something I feel regularly. A lot of what I do all day is making decisions, and it is somewhat common for me to get home and feel like any decision is more than I can deal with.

To Cut My Spending, I Used Behavioral Economics on Myself - The Atlantic

I buy into this approach a lot. Tammy and I use YNAB to track our personal finances and we enter each transaction by hand. I avoid payment methods that are too convenient. I refuse to use the scan to pay features at coffee shops because I know it takes you further from the decision to spend money. 💸 Some things should not be low friction. Thought experiment, I’ve often wondered what if you set your password as a trigger. So, on Amazon if you set your password to “DoYouReallyNeedToBuyThisStuff?” would that trigger your mind to reconsider?

How to be alone: the difference between loneliness and solitude | The JotForm Blog

In our, in my opinion, over-connected world I often wonder if solitude is even a thing that exists.

Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling.

Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice.

We rarely have an opportunity to embrace that in our lives, unless we make it a priority to have it.

Forget the new iPhones, Apple's best product is now privacy

I have been saying this for a while. I think that Apple has clearly identified protecting user privacy as a long-term focus area and a place they can differentiate and compete against Google, Facebook and many others (except Microsoft, mostly).

Apple’s devices and software–and the company’s ethos–are now steeped in user privacy protections that other tech companies would never dream of embracing. And this isn’t a stance Apple has only recently adopted. It is something that has been building for years at the company, starting under Steve Jobs’ leadership and rapidly accelerating under Tim Cook’s reign.

This is why Apple was willing to take such a public position against the FBI when asked to bypass encryption.

Larry Page Is a No-Show With Google Under a Harsh Spotlight - Bloomberg

This seems like an incredibly bad decision on Google’s part.

When the hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee began on Sept. 5, a black leather chair reserved for him sat empty next to Dorsey and Sandberg. A place card marked “Google,” in front of a blank notepad and muted microphone, served as a blunt reminder of his absence.

Giving congress the ability to get pictures of an empty chair with Google’s name in front of it was foolish.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Siri Shortcuts Field Guide | MacSparky Field Guides

I’ve purchased a couple of MacSparky Field Guides in the past, and have recommended the OmniFocus one to many people. Siri Shortcuts, coming in the next iOS is the successor to Workflow. I use Workflow a lot, and I think many people could benefit from using Shortcuts. This Field Guide looks like a great way to learn about automating tasks on your iPhone.

Project Python

Free book to teach Python. I like that this one starts with some graphics projects. Particularly when teaching kids and teens to program, graphics can make it much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging at GitHub in 2018 | The GitHub Blog

I like what GitHub is doing publishing this information. They had some big issues in the past in this area and the transparency I think has helped. It also highlights in the data that even when you focus on this problem and put specific efforts in place to make it better, it isn’t an easy fix.

Apple Watch Series 4: The MacStories Overview – MacStories

Thorough overview of the new Apple Watch Series 4 hardware. I really like what they did to eek out every millimeter of display and capability, and I like that its a touch thinner as well. I’ll be waiting for the next one to upgrade though. My Series 3 is great still.

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