Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday Links 21-31

ZX81 and Michael K Williams generated by Neurlblender AI
ZX81 and Michael K Williams
Sad news about Michael K. Williams and Sir Clive Sinclair passing away. People who influenced me in quite different but profound ways. 

Of course you also get the my usual link dump, again from the last two weeks. 

Environment news are frustrating as always and I don't think COP26 is going to cheer me up.

Management 

Engineering Progression Framework v2 - another engineering career path, this time from Monzo

Enough With Must-Have Features - "must haves" or "table stakes" are the opposite of lean

Bias For Action - do instead of planning, then learn and do more

Ok. So, You Can’t Decide. - sometimes you just have to make any decision

Decision Making at Netflix - spoiler: it is A/B testing 

The Five Meetings Every CEO Should Lead - good advice for every manager. I am pretty bad at the "celebrating wins" bit

Stay Curious For a Bit Longer: How to Get to the Root of Issues and Set Goals That Inspire Bold Action with Dave Bailey (Coach & Mentor to Scale-up CEOs) [Podcast] - lots of good advice in there.

Wohin mit den Ideen, wenn nicht ins Product Backlog? [Podcast, German] - where should ideas go, if not into the backlog. I really would like to have a separate too, but just having a Kanban project is also a good idea.

How to build silos and decrease collaboration (on purpose) - the most expensive thing employees can do is communicate, you have to make it count.

Engineering

Accessible Palette: Stop using HSL for color systems - I am colour-blind, but this is pretty cool anyway 

CPU Steal Time: A Crucial Metric for Cloud Servers and VMs - shared servers and CPUs are tricky

Ship / Show / Ask - I don't know. Maybe to hard to make the decision on which part to take?

Increasing developer happiness with GitHub code scanning  - using custom CodeQL to find common code problems

Technology 

What’s the Diff: SSD vs. NVMe vs. M.2 Drives - well, that cleared that up

The most inspiring Apple Event announcement - I didn't realise browser were so bad on iPhones

Google Supports Open Source Technology Improvement Fund - $100 million! (in total)

ProtonMail Now Keeps IP Logs - stuff is secure until it isn't 

Amazon Elasticsearch Service Is Now Amazon OpenSearch Service and Supports OpenSearch 1.0 - my hope is that this creates a real alternative to ElasticSearch with is bumpy upgrade paths. But it is more likely that the Amazon fork will stagnate. 

Launching Public Status Pages for Uptime Monitoring on AppSignal - did I mention I like AppSignal? This is another nice feature. 

Best email forwarding service for 2021 (free and premium) - I am trying to get rid of my own EC2 server, this is part of the solution. Currently testing Pobox

Remote Work

Microsoft indefinitely postpones return to U.S. offices as Covid cases surge - "postponed", but it will happen with 30 days notice, so don't move too far away

Just say hybrid because nobody knows - yes, but we still go hybrid 

‘My Boss Doesn’t Want Me to Go Back to the Office’ - this sounds made up, but there are the weirdest bosses around

Environment

Outcry over killing of almost 1,500 dolphins on Faroe Islands - in 2021! Traditions are a killer.

Most plans for new coal plants scrapped since Paris agreement - emphasis on "most" and "new"

Netherlands proposes radical plans to cut livestock numbers by almost a third - now the question is why this is happening only in the Netherlands

World’s biggest machine capturing carbon from air turned on in Iceland - the equivalent of scrapping 870 cars a year, which might be cheaper.

Piaggio, KTM, Honda and Yamaha set up swappable batteries consortium - this could be interesting, unless they expect me to swap them at petrol stations

air / aria /aire - pretty visualisation of pollution in Barcelona 

Long term exposure to low level air pollution and mortality in eight European cohorts within the ELAPSE project: pooled analysis [Paper] - "Our study contributes to the evidence that outdoor air pollution is associated with mortality even at low pollution levels below the current European and North American standards and WHO guideline values. These findings are therefore an important contribution to the debate about revision of air quality limits, guidelines, and standards, and future assessments by the Global Burden of Disease."

Urbanism

Murderbots - autonomous cars ... not the solution

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to run for French presidency - good news for France, bad news for Paris?

London's Oyster card: Are its days numbered? - £553 million left on cards! I think Barcelona is skipping the cards and going mobile directly? 

Transport noise linked to increased risk of dementia, study finds - transport is killing people (annoyingly this includes rail)

Forget Low Traffic Neighborhoods, Planet Needs No Traffic Neighborhoods - hear hear

The Wrong Way to Set Speed Limits [ST06] [YouTube] - the US way is as weird as the German way "allow speed limits when too many people get injured"

A Conversation with Anni Sinnemäki - Deputy Mayor of Helsinki - Ep15 [Podcast] - there seems to be something about female city mayors. I put Helsinki on my list of urbanism envy 

Random Home Computers

Home computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies aged 81 - I never had a Sinclair, but a few people in my home computer gang had them. And the story of the C5 is also great. 

Commodore 64 ads from the 1980s still make me want a C64 in 2021 - I have still some old Byte magazines. Computer ads used to be fun.

5 things I learned from Google’s productivity expert - annoyingly you have to give your details to get the report, but this is a summary

NEW: lots of news recently on waning immunity against infection, but a study has now landed from Public Health England on how vaccines are faring against *severe disease & death* - I link to the thread, because the FT source is pay-walled. Great data and good to know that Biontech shots are probably going to be good for a bit longer.

Police catch close-pass drivers by joining group ride, and upload to Strava - nice initiative. I wish they would do stuff like this in Spain and Germany. 

biorower - the indoor rower I want, but can't afford

The disastrous voyage of Satoshi, the world’s first cryptocurrency cruise ship - this cheered me up more than it should have

Michael K Williams, star of The Wire, dies aged 54 - RIP

‘I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase’ – how The Wire’s Omar changed TV - the best character in the best TV show

Top street artists paint decks in aid of rural skatepark - if it wasn't in the UK I might bid, some pretty stuff there. "Happy Feelings" is lovely (currently at £450)

Fit in my 40s: phew, a group bike ride that stops often enough for me to catch up - "They’ll stop if they see an unseasonably large toad" ... that's me

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 kind 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, September 03, 2021

Friday Links 21-30

Catalan Cricket
Back from my holiday and catching up with the news. 

New section on Agile this time as something at work required a bit of research into this.

Management

What’s going on with the ‘Great Resignation’?  - I have heard this term in different contexts a few times now. I guess this will continue for a bit more.

Building a data team at a mid-stage startup: a short story - example story about how this could happen and what to expect

4-day workweek: which day should you take off? - it depends

These statistics prove the value of the 4-day workweek - I am all for it, but I am pretty sure my productivity would go down by roughly 20% 

Performance Review: Build Your Process and Master Feedback Delivery [Podcast] - Lara Hogan on reviews

#118 Doug Conant: Leadership With Integrity [Podcast] - very down to earth discussion from a very high level CEO

Agile

The Four Agile Values and Slack - it is really difficult to complain about the agile manifesto

How to Deal With Tech Debt Effectively - we are using a mix of 20%, fix as you go and large clean-ups.

Software Development Waste - results of a study of projects

An epic treatise on scheduling, bug tracking, and triage - cool presentation, it includes a link to the talk

How I Failed As A Scrum Master For My Most Prestigious Team - not really a fail, more of a small correction

Autonomous Scrum Teams are like powerful responsibility magnets - but tricky to get right

Remote Work 

How remote work is bringing life back to Spain’s rural villages - fast internet is definitely a game changer and Spain seems to be doing a good job.

Spanish companies divided over employees’ return to the workplace - the same as everywhere

How to Understand How Things Ever Got This Bad [Comic] - "Technology was supposed to set us free, but it really just made it harder to escape"

Extending our voluntary return to office - for a tiny bit

Introducing Horizon Workrooms: Remote Collaboration Reimagined - this is worrying

Environment 

Der Bulli wird zum Pkw [German] - small buses are really not better than SUVs

Leaded petrol era ‘officially over’ as Algeria ends pump sales - it only took 50 years, this doesn't make me hopeful about tackling the climate crisis or fine particles

Air pollution linked to more severe mental illness – study - a bit like lead?

Urbanism

Tolls scrapped on more than 550 kilometers of Spain’s freeways - this is so frustrating. Apparently they are doing it for "sustainability" and "safety". But see next link...

Spain plans to introduce tolls on all state and regional highways - right

Should jaywalking be legal? [YouTube] - should it ever have been illegal? 

Vehicle/cycle conflict halves in Glasgow trial of bike-activated traffic signs - never heard of systems like this before and it is a bit sad that we need them

How to move things on a bike - pretty pictures from Amsterdam

Walking Places Is Part of the Culture Wars Now - I for one am glad that isn't just about cyclists now

Ten social benefits of walkable places - I bet there are more

Warum ein Lastenrad-Bonus nicht nur hippen Großstädtern nützt [German] - today's argument from the right: cargo bikes are for hipsters and upper middle class

Todesfalle Landstraße [German] - lowering speed limits is good for motorways and country roads ... only the German's think they drive better than everyone else

Random Sports

Imported sports: Catalonia goes cricket crazy - nice, now I can watch it locally without understanding it

#109 – Holden Karnofsky on the most important century [Podcast] - a bit weird, but a good conversation

#110 – Holden Karnofsky on building aptitudes and kicking ass [Podcast] - more weird

What personality are you? How the Myers-Briggs test took over the world - horoscopes for business

Catalonia: Squatters, eviction and extortion [Podcast] - I didn't realise how much of a business this is

As demand for bikes surged, Amazon got in the way - a bad fit for this bicycle part company

Genetics and the longer arm of the law [Podcast] - it seems this fight has been lost, at least in the US. Your gene fingerprint is some database and the police will access it

Dear Diary: how keeping a journal can bring you daily peace - pretty much my experience. I am still sticking to it.

SUMMER MUSINGS: No... Not all amplifiers sound the same (but many do! ;-). - I am a fan of 90s Sony amplifiers, but I don't think I would notice a difference nowadays

Next Steps for Chia, in Their Own Words - burn the planet with hard disks

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 kind 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.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Summer Cycling Trip 2021

Trip wheel from Veloviewer


As every year at Devex the company takes a week long Summer break in August. August isn't really the best month to take holiday in Spain, because on the one hand everybody does and on the other hand tends to be really hot. That's why I tend to do a trip on my own, without my girlfriend. In the recent years this have been cycling holidays.

I had the idea for this years trip for a while: rent a camper-van and travel to the nice hills that are not so easy to reach from Barcelona. 

I rented a van from Indiecampers, which have reasonable prices unless you book in the last minute like I did. The car was a pretty posh Mercedes Marco Polo. It drives pretty much like an oversized car and comes with automatic gears (why would you have anything else in 2021?). 

There is no bike rack, but my bike fitted inside. This is a bit of a hassle, because it tends to be in the way when cooking or eating. I also had to sleep in the raised roof, because my bike had the nice downstairs spot. 

I didn't really plan a fixed route or places to stay. I had Montsec, Val d'Aran and Seu d'Urgell on my wish-list.  

Most rides were pretty short. Cooking, planning, camping, looking for place to camp, shopping, sleeping, ... leave less time for riding. A fully organised trip is more effective. Even staying at one or two hotels/AirBnbs and then doing loops like I did last year gives more riding time.

Day 1. Montsec  

I took off from Barcelona toward Montsec. I used Park4Night to find a nice parking lot near a lake not far from the area I wanted to ride in. It was pretty quiet at night, but I didn't sleep well ... as all night on the trip. 

The route I picked was not ideal and in the end I decided to just ride back instead of doing the whole thing. It was very hot and a lot of the route was on fast roads. The first part was nice though. 
Turns out planning rides on the go without a laptop is pretty tricky. I used a mix of Garmin Connect, Strava Mobile and Wikiloc for the rest of the trip.

Strava: Day 1: figuring out the car and a hot ride

Day 2. Montsec Climb 

I drove close to the climb and the route turned out pretty nice except of some bad road surfaces. I knew the area, because I looked at a house to buy here once.
 
Very nice area, maybe a bit warm in August. I had to fill up my bottles a couple of times.

Strava:  Day 2: Col d'Ares and Tremp

 

Day 3. Rest Day  

I had no good idea what to do, so I decided to stay in a hotel for two days. It was a lucky pick. Hosteria Toloriu 1948 is a real nice mountain hotel ... highly recommended.  I thought I check out the area, but after having two punctured inner tubes before even get going and then a puncture on the first descend I decided to call it a day.
I did the laundry instead and tried to patch the inner tubes. Note for next time: bring more spare tubes and possibly some tires.

Strava:  Day 3: the day of the thousand punctures

Day 4. Val d'Aran 

Next I headed to Val d'Aran to a very quiet parking lot in the park next to a stream. I arrived late and only had time for a short ride. There was also no reception in the park, which made planning tricky.  

Good ride though with nice climbs and very quiet roads. The villages are very picturesque and probably full of tourists during the day.

Strava:  Day 4: short, punchy and pretty

Day 5. French quicky 

I knew this climb towards France from an early organised trip, but only as descent. There was a sign on the bottom about the border being closed, but the police let cyclist through at the top. Arriving in France I remembered how bad French drivers are at overtaking cyclists, so I aborted and quickly drove back and did a loop around Val d'Aran instead. It turned out to be a good choice, with nice climbs and scenery. 
In the evening I moved to a small camping site.

Strava:  Day 5: French quicky and some hills

Day 6. Bonaigua 

Bonaigua is the highest cycling pass in Catalonia. I parked on the not so nice side to avoid some of the climbing and then cycled up, down and up again. It is a long climb and temperatures went from 35C on the bottom to 20C on the top. Fun, with the exception of the bee who stung my temple on the first descent.  
 
I run out of water again ... I think this is becoming a theme.

Strava:  Day 6: Just Bonaigua

Day 7. Aigüestortes 

Last minute addition to my plans. This is a national park with lots of streams and waterfalls. I definitely plan to come pack. I found another nice parking lot in a village, which was also a good starting point for cycling.  
Due to bad planning, weak legs and running out of time I missed the largest climb and did only three of the four panned climbs. So pretty though! And cold in the morning at 10C. 
After finishing the ride I drove back home.

Strava:  Day 7: Aigüestortes

Day 8. Return 

The great thing about Indiecampers is that it isn't far from home and I rode back from their depot with my bicycle. Very convenient. 
By now my legs were pretty smashed. 

Strava:  Camper drop off

Conclusion


This has been a brilliant trip and something I want to repeat. Now that I have some practice it will also be easier.

It would be nice to also take the mountain bike. There is some nice infrastructure for mountain biking in Val d'Aran and in Andorra.

 

 

Some more impressions on Flickr below ...


Cycling Trip 2021

Friday, August 20, 2021

Friday Links 21-29

Pets, Mssks & 12 Minutes
Pets, Mssks & 12 Minutes
This week I was mostly thinking about Scrum and how it can affect developer happiness and productivity. I have certainly an opinion, but I am still in the data and information gathering phase. 

I also caught up with podcasts again. Lots of good stuff about management.

Management 

Introducing DecisionOps - I am not sure that word will catch on, but still a nice post

Should Scrum Teams feel guilty for taking a break? - no

5 Common Mistakes In User Stories [YouTube] - all very good points

Stop Directing People, Start Designing Systems: How to Design Optimal Work Environments with Daniel Terhorst-North (Lean and Agile Methods Expert)  [Podcast] -  very nice episode

How Facebook Works: Comparing its Engineering Process to Google, Microsoft, and Amazon [Podcast] - talking about his book

Leading leaders who lead engineers [Podcast] - tricky, but can be fun. Lara Hogan is always great in interviews.

Engineering

Upgrading Webpack 4 → 5 - seems easy, until you hit Rails

Data Lineage at Slack - very interesting and possibly over designed? 

Migrating Facebook to MySQL 8.0 - this doesn't sound fun. "The 8.0 migration has taken a few years so far."

Technology

T-Mobile Data Breach - oh no

Swiss researchers calculate pi to new record of 62.8tn figures - mining without the money (but New mathematical record: what’s the point of calculating pi?)

Remote Work

How to work remotely: 5 people-first principles for your team - the usual good tips, but well written

Research Shows Working From Home Doesn’t Work. Here’s How Employers Should Tackle the Problem - even I don't believe that

Why the 'Great Remote Work Experiment' may have been flawed - because we couldn't leave the house and saved time on laundry!

Environment 

Restoring More Water Than We Consume by 2030 - I never thought about water instead of just energy. Facebook is making an effort.

How environmentally sustainable is your cycle clothing? - meh! I for one try to buy less and use longer

This Is Your Brain on Pollution [Podcast] - pollution is basically where lead was when we banned it

Germany ‘set for biggest rise in greenhouse gases for 30 years’ - go Germany!

Urbanism

Accessible Places - "Automobile Poverty"

Death of Bridget Driscoll - first time I hear about the first pedestrian killed by a car. 

The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death" after an inquest lasting some six hours. The coroner, Percy Morrison (Croydon division of Surrey), said he hoped "such a thing would never happen again"

SUMMER SPECIAL: Being Gary Fisher, the Interview [Podcast] - good to see him join the war on cars!

Do people really walk this much in the UK? - Americans are funny

Transport for the North boss calls for debate on raising cost of driving - there goes his job

Traffic Crashes Are Getting Worse. Car Ads Are Part Of the Problem. - fast cars are pointless and dangerous 

A magic change in Groningen when 2 tramlines finally were canceled in 2012 - [YouTube] - I prefer trams, but this is pretty good. I wonder how the policing of the bus lanes is. This wouldn't work in Barcelona for example. 

Marble Arch Mound: Deputy leader resigns amid spiralling costs - I have some questions: what? why? how?

Random Pets

Someone's gotta stop giving Lena Dunham pets - funny, except for the animals

Don’t Be a Schmuck. Put on a Mask. - Schwarzenegger is trying to appeal to the patriotic Americans.

Twelve Minutes review – a tense time-loop thriller - it arrived. I am playing it. It is nice.

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 kind 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, August 13, 2021

Friday Links 21-28

Record label "Feel My M.F. Base" by Paul Johnson
Feel My M.F. Base - Paul Johnson
I am rethinking these posts again. I have a plan ... maybe.
 
 

Management

The Big Project Syndrom - we all have been there

The Problem With Passion [Podcast]“do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” is one of the long list of things I have recently stopped believing in.

It’s time for leaders to get real about hybrid - the most difficult path, but also the most likely 

Managing Strengths to Scale: Why Hyper-Specialized Roles Are Key to Driving Growth with JP Chauvet (President at Lightspeed) [Podcast] - emphasises on growth

Getting to yes: solving engineering manager hiring loops that reject every candidate. - true for every position 

#106 – Cal Newport on an industrial revolution for office work [Podcast] - author of "A World Without Email" ... he addresses Slack too

Engineering

GitHub’s Engineering Team has moved to Codespaces - this is pretty cool. I have to confess I haven't tried it yet, but seeing how our Mac users are suffering with Docker it could be an option

How We Design Our APIs at Slack - this sounds sensible, even if you wouldn't think it when working with their APIs

Ruby's Hidden Gems: Bullet - we didn't find it super helpful, but it is a nice idea

Building a more accurate time service at Facebook scale - I enjoy a lot of the weird edge case stuff Facebook is doing. I am also a bit of an ntp fan-boy. And they are open-sourcing it too.

Frustrating Design Patterns: Disabled Buttons - I really like this series. Maybe because UX can be so frustrating.

Technology

Scanning "private" content [LWN] - About Apple scanning your private photos and the EU doing something similar 

Apple Adds a Backdoor to iMessage and iCloud Storage - Schneier is also not happy about Apple and includes lots of relevant articles

The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream - apparently a management thing ... and a pipe dream?

It's Not Just Tesla: All Other Driver-Assist Systems Work without Drivers, Too - I am not leaving my house any more 

AllStar: Continuous Security Policy Enforcement for GitHub Projects - another tool to automatically check your repos

BBC Micro Elite source code - I love and miss Elite. I did play mostly the Amiga version though.

Environment 

Dead white man’s clothes - this is pretty depressing. I don't buy a lot of clothes and donate none of them, but this just shows how bad "rich countries" are behaving

487 “It’s only gonna get worse.” [Comic] "Thinking about the future is depressing"

Barcelona mayor rallies against airport expansion - Barcelona & the EU are not happy with this, but it probably will still happen

We need to talk about cycling and sustainability - I have too many jerseys and possibly bikes.

Urbanism

Mayor Pete and Elaine Chao Hit the Road [Podcast] - infrastrature is tricky in every country, but it is amazing how bad it is in the US

Utilitarian Bicycling and Mental Wellbeing Role of the Built Environment - you get on your bike and smile ... that's just how it goes

Random

Paul Johnson, Get Get Down house producer, dies at age 50 from Covid-19 - :-( so many good memories from my House Music phase

Training for Tokyo: how athletes prepared and how they did – in pictures - if you ever though: "I can't do this sport. I need the right space, time, equipment first"

Journaling through a Pandemic - I am still writing my journal and most days it is pretty useless, but once in a while I really write and it does focus my thoughts

The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done - I am a bit of a GTD fan-boy. The article is mostly the story about another fan-boy and how he learned and adjusted. It's good.

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 kind 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.