Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Sticking with Pinboard, but nice to see people working on these solutions.

Private by Default

This post makes me want to send Feedbin some more money on top of my annual subscription fee. I love the work that Ben has done here to protect his customers from invasive tracking while reading feeds. I love his item on Google Analytics:

I thought about replacing Google Analytics with Matomo, but I came to the same conclusion that it didn’t provide anything I need in order to run Feedbin. Better to not collect that data at all.

Hat’s off! 👏

Announcing the YNAB API Contest Winners! | YNAB

This is a great example of innovation enabled with API’s. I’ve been a YNAB user for a long time now, and this contest they made for people to build with it is a great idea. I downloaded Allowance for YNAB right away – it’s great! In fact, I had written my own Workflow to do what it does, but it does it way better. Nice!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Researchers to release first-ever genetically engineered mosquitoes in Africa - STAT

This headline caught my attention, and it’s actually using gene drive technology.

Teams in three African countries — Burkina Faso, Mali, and Uganda — are building the groundwork to eventually let loose “gene drive” mosquitoes, which would contain a mutation that would significantly and quickly reduce the mosquito population. Genetically engineered mosquitoes have already been released in places like Brazil and the Cayman Islands, though animals with gene drives have never been released in the wild.

That immediately reminded me of one of the most memorable passages from A Crack in Creation, the story of CRISPR.

CRISPR gene drives, by contrast, are self-sustaining; since the mode of inheritance appears to outsmart natural selection, the modified insects propagate and pass on their defective traits indefinitely. This thoroughness is what makes gene drives so powerful—and so alarming. It’s been estimated that, had a fruit fly escaped the San Diego lab during the first gene drive experiments, it would have spread genes encoding CRISPR, along with the yellow-body trait, to between 20 and 50 percent of all fruit flies worldwide.

This population of mosquitos being released are 99% male, so there shouldn’t be any risk.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Slowly Percolating Forms: Contemplation, Conversation, Commentary

Forwarded to me from my friend Nick. I like this way of thinking about learning topics.

… if we don’t do our own contemplation and commentary, we abdicate a good deal of our involvement in our own learning, and we shift from being fires to vessels.

I like the qualification of speeds (quick, slow) to various aspects of the process.

The State of Agile Software in 2018

I’ve been stunned at how many organizations have just discovered Agile in the last few years. Good guidance in the intro:

The three main challenges we should focus on are: fighting the Agile Industrial Complex and its habit of imposing process upon teams, raising the importance of technical excellence, and organizing our teams around products (rather than projects).


Troy Hunt: Serverless to the Max: Doing Big Things for Small Dollars with Cloudflare Workers and Azure Functions

Deep overview of how Troy Hunt designed Have I Been Pwned? to be very cost efficient to run.

It’s costing me 2.6c per day to support 141M monthly queries of 517M records.

That is amazing! The service is using Cloudflare Workers to push a lot of cached requests off of Azure. He calculates that without Cloudflare it would cost $9.19/day to run. Both of those amounts are amazing.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Breaking Bad News

This is one of the skills that I tend to find managers, particularly new ones, find really hard. I know I did, and I still do, it’s never easy. However I agree with this article. Own it, be direct, and show respect.

The Canon EOS R isn't a mirrorless 5D IV, but it's a start: Digital Photography Review

This is the first new Canon camera that has piqued my interest in years. For sure mirrorless is the way to go for cameras, but after you have a full-frame sensor like I do on my now ancient 5D Mark II you really don’t want anything less. This camera looks really great to me, despite the somewhat tepid review. Plus you can continue to use your existing EF lenses with an adapter. 📷

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Monday, September 3, 2018

The full stack product manager – UX Collective

Interesting reflections on the different definitions of the role of a Product Manager, along with links out to a number of other articles on the topic. No great conclusion, the role will be different based on company, product, market, etc. The main takeaway I have from this is to know that the title can mean so many different things, and that it can’t mean all these things or you can’t possibly succeed.

Product Ownership: Explained

Nice set of slides highlighting the Product Ownership role. I like that this touches both on the job of product owner, as well as the Scrum role of product owner.

Sprints, marathons and root canals

This is how I tend to think about this type of team driven work in a product backlog. I like the name “sustainability tasks” and also agree with the sentiment that these may or may not appear in a backlog.

Putting regular sustainability tasks into a calendar would just create noise. Putting sustainability tasks into a product roadmap has the same effect. Having a budget removes the pressure to plan, prioritise or estimate such tasks, and avoids the need to compare them to features that bring immediate value.

Allocating budget and thinking about sustainability as an investment criteria works well, and gives you a more direct way to think about that work. You may even change that investment rate from time to time.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Tesla, software and disruption — Benedict Evans

This article captures part of the intrigue I have about Tesla, and what got me to place the order for my Model 3. I’m particularly interested in the integrated nature of the software stack in a Tesla, and the fact that Tesla is so far ahead of any other automotive company in how they change it. I think of what Apple did with the iPhone. Before the iPhone, the phone you bought was the same forever. With the iPhone, you bought a phone and it got better with software. The thing you already owned did new stuff it didn’t do when you bought it. Tesla has that potential, and I want to be part of it.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

“Do no harm” to Facebook’s business model – Monday Note

This is a good writeup on the fact that whatever who did with Facebook to influence any events, it isn’t hacking, it’s just doing what Facebook was fundamentally designed to do. Facebooks primary purpose is to learn from your behavior and then influence you as their customers (advertisers) wish to.

We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.

I have met some “Rick’s” in my days and I can attest to the positive outcomes of getting people like this off of your team. Building things is a team sport, and if someone doesn’t want to be part of the team or brings the rest of the team down — they shouldn’t be on the team.

Antifragility is a Fragile Concept

Rosenthal’s opinion on Chaos is authoritative, and he clarifies how it is not antifragility.

Antifragile is a confused concept that ignores a wealth of knowledge we have about building and operating resilient systems. Chaos Engineering, by contrast, is a well-defined, pragmatic discipline for navigating complex systems. In my mind, they are quite far apart.

He’s also no fan of Taleb’s book.

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