Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday Links 24-05

DeLorean car from side with doors open
by Kevin Abato from Wikipedia

The two leadership podcasts are good this week, both about trust.

I also like the Vision Pro review.

Leadership

Trust and Inspire With Stephen M.R. Covey 6 | 5  [Podcast] - pretty good episode with a guest talking about trust. 

Jacob Morgan, 5x Best-Selling Author & Futurist [Podcast] - "Futurists" are always suspicious. His premise that being vulnerable without leading doesn't help. 

The PROBLEM With DORA Metrics [YouTube] - besides being just metrics, they also just measure a tiny part of the creation process.

Engineering 

(Almost) Every infrastructure decision I endorse or regret after 4 years running infrastructure at a startup - that is white an extensive list!

I worry our Copilot is leaving some passengers behind - "Why do we accept a product that not only misfires regularly, but sometimes catastrophically?"

Let Me Tell You A Secret - "Ask the Senior Engineers about problems … then tell Leadership about it"

Mastering Programming - Kent Beck's high-level approach. Many good tips in there.

Urbanism 

More Lanes are (Still) a Bad Thing [YouTube] - in case you don't know yet.

Seville's Cycling Revolution, 10 times more cycling in 4 years [YouTube] - if you build it, they will come. 

When cycling is 'normalized but marginalized' [YouTube] - true, in many places, and depressing

Train your brain - people don't die of the things you think they die off, and definitely not peanuts.

Random DeLorean

Driving sideways to move forward: Stanford engineers show how an autonomous, drifting DeLorean can improve driver safety - of course you use a DeLorean.

‘You can get home for the 10 o’clock news’: UK ravers fall in love with daytime clubbing - It's music for old people after all.

The Curious Mr. Feynman [Podcast] - profile of one of the Manhattan Project people. He seemed fun.

Tear Down Walls, and Build Bridges - the current Fediverse storm.

Cycling with Apple Vision Pro: The Future? [YouTube] - summary: indoors good, outdoors bad

soundalike - I thought I clean up my music collection again. This doesn't quite work. 

France halts €100-a-month electric car leasing scheme after huge demand - people do want electric cars for reasonable prices. 

RSS is still pretty great - yes! I wonder if anyone is following this blog via RSS/Atom.

The best Bookshops to visit in Amsterdam - I am going soon. 

All My Thoughts After 40 Hours in the Vision Pro - great review. I want something like this, but it has to be open, and not by Apple.

I went into a bit of a tea temperature rabbit hole. These are just part of it:

Other Links

Friday Links Disclaimer
Inclusion of links does not imply that I agree with the content of linked articles or podcasts. I am just interested in all kinds of perspectives. If you follow the link posts over time, you might notice common themes, though.
More about the links in a separate post: About Friday Links.

Friday, February 09, 2024

Friday Links 24-04

Gummy bears sorted in cups by colours
I seem to have fewer links recently. 

Just check them all out. :-) 

Leadership

A lesson from Richard Feynman for Engineering Leaders - I like the concept of Type 1 and Type 2 collaboration. The article is a bit unstructured at first, but comes with some practical strategies at the end.

Front-end Versus Back-end - Kent Beck about why there is a different working style between them and how to bring them together.

Engineering

Gradually gradually typing Elixir [Podcast] - all dynamic languages seem to acquire types at some point. 

Environment 

Mutant wolves living in Chernobyl disaster are evolving ability to fight cancer - I haven't decided yet if this a good thing or not.

Urbanism

Parisians vote in favour of tripling parking costs for SUVs - Paris is still leading the way.

Random Colours

New AI paint colors - training AI to name colours. This is a fun website overall.

Live at the Liquid Room, Tokyo  - the Wizard at his peak.

Report: Arlington’s first guaranteed income pilot boosted quality of life for poorest residents - "Individuals who received the stipend reported increasing their monthly income by 36%, from $1,200 to $1,640, compared to the control group, whose income only rose 9%."

Today in Assassination Coordinates: Taylor Swift jumps on the Streisand train. 

Keeping todo items in org-roam - I am in that rabbit hole right now. I am currently using just org-agenda mixed with org-roam.

Other Links

Friday Links Disclaimer
Inclusion of links does not imply that I agree with the content of linked articles or podcasts. I am just interested in all kinds of perspectives. If you follow the link posts over time, you might notice common themes, though.
More about the links in a separate post: About Friday Links.

Friday, February 02, 2024

Friday Links 24-03

Atari 1200XL home computer

A quick one today. I especially recommended the articles about productivity tools and over-meeting culture.

Leadership

4 Productivity Tools I Use Everyday - I like that this is not about the tools that you buy, but how you use them.

Yes, You Should Estimate Software Projects - back in the good old days when teams were still doing time estimates, I truly enjoyed it when I got them right. 

Psychological Affordances Can Provide a Missing Explanatory Layer for Why Interventions to Improve Developer Experience Take Hold or Fail [Paper] - highly dependent on the culture of the company and the messaging. 

The Root of Over-Meeting Culture - "252% increase in time spent in meetings [since February 2022]"

Michael Bungay Stanier, Author of #1 Bestselling Book ‘The Coaching Habit,’ on How to Work With (Almost) Anyone [Podcast] - I loved the coaching book, I'll give this a try too. There is also a website for it

Environment

Catalonia declares drought emergency, extending restrictions to Barcelona - I said I wouldn't include depressing news anymore, but here is one anyway. This was expected. At some point, they will have to restrict water for private households in Barcelona.

Analysis: Clean energy was top driver of China’s economic growth in 2023 - meanwhile Europe is being left behind. 

Energy Efficiency across Programming Languages - short version: compiled wins, interpreted looses.

Random Atari

Atari Coding Fonts - I wonder if the Amiga / TI99/4A fonts are available somewhere?

ascii.theater - "stream free text-based movies in your terminal"

Looking ahead to Emacs 30 [LWN] - I also learned about EditorConfig in the comments!

Apple, the DMA, and malicious compliance - Apple still being the New Microsoft.

Friday Links Disclaimer
Inclusion of links does not imply that I agree with the content of linked articles or podcasts. I am just interested in all kinds of perspectives. If you follow the link posts over time, you might notice common themes, though.
More about the links in a separate post: About Friday Links.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

2023 in Games


I am not a gamer, though I obviously had too much time on my hand.  The last time I played many games was on the PS2 with Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.

I also only have a Linux desktop, no console or Windows PC. Because of an upgraded graphics card and support in Steam and Heroic Game Launcher, a lot of the games nowadays are playable. Since I haven't played in 20 years, I also was able to play some older games, which easily run on limited hardware. 

I probably should say something about my setup: Fedora Linux, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB RAM, AMD Radeon RX 6600, 2560×1440 screen.

What I like most about games is the graphics, environment and story. I tend to play on the easiest mode to not get frustrated. 

I also gravitate towards open world games, so there is a lot to explore. Furthermore, I prefer stealth games, avoid lots of fighting and especially hate boss fights.

Stray gameplay screenshot
In 2022, I only played a bit of Stray, which already blew me away. I did get stuck at some point and finished it in 2023.  

There are basically two types of games in this list.
True open world games, where you can free roam, maybe do side quests or random stuff. Good examples are Red Dead Redemption II, Ghost Recon and the Assassin's Creed games. 
And games which have a straight story, with some open world elements, but they feel more like an interactive film than living in a world. The Uncharted and Tomb Raider series are in that camp.

RDR2 gameplay screenshot
The best game of all of these is Red Dead Redemption. The story, the world, and the attention to detail are very difficult to beat. This is also one of the games I come back to. Not to further complete the game, but to just live in the world and chill a bit. 

Ghost Recon Wildlands gameplay screenshot
The other game I still play is Ghost Recon Wildlands. It also has a very nice world, and you can just jump in and conquer some random base or do one of the side missions. The challenge for me is always to do it as stealthy as possible.

The following is a very short review of the games / series from my perspective. They are roughly in the order I played or finished them.  

I also have my Steam Year in Review 2023. Steam measures the times wrong because I often pause the game and leave it on, or it doesn't register when I leave a game. It is handy for getting additional information about the games.

By the way, I bought most of these games on sale for €10 or less.

I usually played the newest game or best reviewed game in a series first. This makes it confusing for you and for me. 

Grand Theft Auto V

The first game I went for because of my history with GTA SA. 

It did blow me away when I played it, but in retrospect it doesn't look that good. I also didn't like the focus on just driving and shooting random people. 

Switching between the main characters was interesting up to a point.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider gameplay screenshot
The original Tomb Raider game on the PS2 was quite fun, but this is so much better. I love the story line, the new Lara, and the atmosphere of the different locations. 

This is mostly a linear game, with a bit of action and some annoying boss levels. 

In retrospect, I should have played all three games in the series in order. They are very similar.

Batman Arkham City

The best reviewed game of the three Batman Arkham games, and I tend to agree. 

This one really made me feel like Batman, travelling along the roofs of the city, fighting with the bad guys, and using detective skill. It is an open world with a mostly linear story.

Stray

I started this in 2022, but got stuck on a hectic level. I mostly like the look and moving around as a cat. It is pretty linear, and there are some annoying stressful levels. 

Red Dead Redemption II

RDR2 gameplay screenshot
As I mentioned before, this is the best game of all the ones I played so far. It really has everything, a very emotional story, beautiful scenery and atmosphere, a massive open world, and many things and side quests to discover. And I don't even like cowboy stuff! 

The fantastic thing is the attention to detail. You can check out this playlist for a small subset. 

That's why I am still going back sometimes to just chill, hunt, or watch sunsets.

Uncharted Legacy Collection 

These are two games, both with a fun story. It is basically Tomb Raider with different protagonists. Good fun, pretty fast to play through.

Ghost Recon Wildlands 

With Tomb Raider and Uncharted, I got a bit of a taste of stealth. While I don't like the big action shoot-outs, the sneaking into a camp and taking people out one by one is quite fun.

Wildlands does this really well. The world is also massive and full of people, enemies, and civilians.  The story is not especially exciting, except for some twists towards the end.

It also looks pretty, there are wholly unique landscapes in different areas. You can adapt your approaches to your playing style and preferences.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint

This is the follow-up of Wildlands, and it just isn't that good. 

Firstly, you will have to buy a DLC to be able to play most of the game.  

And the world is just not as exciting. It plays in the near future, with many drones and magic weapons.  There are not many civilians, which makes the game feel empty.  

It is annoying because the graphics have improved and there were some improvements to the stealth functionality.  

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Once you start looking for stealth games, you will end up with the Assassin's Creed series. 

Odyssey looks beautiful, it made me want to book a holiday in Greece. This might have been the biggest world I played in. I finished the story, and there were large parts I didn't even travel in. The story is fun, meeting historical people is interesting, there are quite a few of side quests, the big crowd fights work well, and stealth is relatively good.

The annoying things are the boss fights, some sea fights, and sometimes gaining experience points or materials is a bit of a grind.

Assassin's Creed Origins

Very similar to Odyssey, but playing in Ancient Egypt. The stealth mechanics are a bit better, and you don't have to rely on open fights so much.

Watchdogs Legion

When I watched some gameplay on YouTube, I found the constant overlay a bit annoying. It does start making sense once you play it. 

For me, the best thing was playing in London.  It is a compact London in the near future, but has some recognisable things. The story is OK. 

The special thing is that you can recruit anyone in London to your gang and then play as their character.

Batman Arkham Asylum 

I haven't finished this. It's OK.

Watchdogs 2

Because this plays in a version of San Francisco, it reminded me too much of GTA.

They make a lot of fun of nerds and hacker stereotypes, which works for me.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Same as the other one.

Tomb Raider

Same, same.

Assassin's Creed Mirage

Assassin's Creed Mirage Screenshot
The newest game in the series. This focuses much more on stealth. Whenever you get into a big fight, you will probably die. The world is much smaller, busier, and beautiful. 

This isn't on Steam. I used the Heroic Game Launcher to buy it. It works well, even on my hardware.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

I got this for free. I haven't finished it. Playing in a past London is fun, but even just after two missions it felt repetitive. 

Batman Arkham Knight

Too much bat-mobile. Not much fun.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Friday Links 24-02

Cheese on a plate

I am well impressed by the transparency of Atlassian on going distributed and Buffer about their salary report. Both a worth a read.

Leadership

Overcoming toxic positivity with Susan David [Podcast] - toxic positivity is only a small part of this interesting conversation. 

ADRs and RFCs: Their Differences and Templates  - I think nowadays ADRs are more common, maybe not always useful. 

Zombie leadership: Dead ideas that still walk among us [Paper] - some bad ideas of leadership that are still around. 

Navigating ambiguity. - "In my experience, navigating deeply ambiguous problems is the rarest skill in engineers, and doing it well is a rarity."

Those five spare hours each week. - writing code in a leadership role? 

Layers of context. - many layers to consider when thinking about change.

Work 

Lessons learned: 1,000 days of distributed at Atlassian - many insights from Atlassian going distributed and how they want to improve in the future. A few good links to go deeper into the information and report. 

Don’t Sleep With Your Boss. - that title is very misleading, this is about remote work. 

Introducing our Open Salary System: Reflecting on a Decade of Transparent Salaries at Buffer - in-depth look into the salary system of Buffer. It is great how open they are with this. There is so much to learn from.

Engineering 

The Scary Thing About Automating Deploys  - "Fear of breaking production holds many teams back from automating their deployments, but understanding how deployment monitoring differs from normal monitoring opens the door to simple, effective tools."

Scaling Challenge Leaderboards for Millions of Athletes - Strava's approach. 

Parser IF disambiguation hassles - I like reading about these old text adventure systems. Zarf explains them well. 

Technical Debt is over-used - "Keeping the code in a healthy state is your job."

On the Evilness of Feature Branching - a whole series, and I don't agree with all of it.

Environment 

A School Bought Solar Panels and Saved Enough to Give All Its Teachers Raises - it is basically free energy. 

Five examples of the UK’s crackdown on climate protesters - it is pretty remarkable what is happening in what should be a modern country. 

EU fossil fuel CO2 emissions hit 60-year low - still not enough. 

Cataluña roza la emergencia por sequía en más de 200 municipios [Spanish] - my village is on telly. Some areas are getting water delivered by trucks now. In February, we might end up with more restrictions. 

EU bans ‘misleading’ environmental claims that rely on offsetting - nice!

Urbanism

10 Years Car-Free (with Mrs. NJB) [Podcast] - once you are in the right environment, it just happens.

SUVs drive trend for new cars to grow 1cm wider in UK and EU every two years, says report - new cars a basically too big for current parking spaces. 

A Street-Specific Analysis of Level of Traffic Stress Trends in Strava Bicycle Ridership and its Implications for Low-Stress Bicycling Routes in Toronto - "We found that most bicycling occurred on a small fraction of the network, with just 10% of all roads and paths accounting for 75% of all bicycle kilometres travelled in 2022"

Random Cheese

French cheese under threat - the right fungus gone missing!

Solutions Journalism: Ending homelessness the Finnish way [Podcast] - The reporter talks to the people affected, which brings it closer than all the articles I read about the program.

572. Why Is There So Much Fraud in Academia? & 573. Can Academic Fraud Be Stopped? [Podcast] - cool deep dive into the problem and chat with some people involved. 

Improving my Emacs experience with completion - I have to confess that my Emacs completion is still messed up. I haven't even gone into customizing it.

New Thing [Comic] - "week changing event"

Labscam - funny prank - the video is on YouTube

Revisiting Zurich’s 90s techno scene – in pictures - I miss the 90s :-) 

Shelf-absorbed: eight ways to arrange your bookshelves – and what they say about you - I am in the "tiny shelf and a Kindle" camp.

Cassette players for analogue audio lovers as we explore tapes’ slow and steady revival - nice to see some cool classic decks in the article. They will be costly. 

The tyranny of the algorithm: why every coffee shop looks the same - everything will look the same in the future.

I’ve been playing around with making EPUBs look more like print - that's pretty cool and should be built into PDF/EPUB readers.

Friday Links Disclaimer
Inclusion of links does not imply that I agree with the content of linked articles or podcasts. I am just interested in all kinds of perspectives. If you follow the link posts over time, you might notice common themes, though.
More about the links in a separate post: About Friday Links.