Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday Links 23-26

Woman walking five dogs towards the sunset on a lane between fields
Environment news seems especially depressing at the moment. There are some uplifting urbanism stories, the bike bus podcast did make me smile. 

Both long leadership posts are definitely worth a read.


Performance & Compensation (for Eng Execs). - massive topic and, as usual, Will really presents it well.

TBM 240: The Ultimate Guide to Developer Counter-Productivity - this seems to be the topic of the day again.


OpenTF for an open Terraform [Podcast] - it's called OpenTofu now. I hope they make it. 

You call it tech debt I call it malpractice [Podcast] - I like that framing. 

Story: Configuring Identity: Adam Jacob and the Search for Self in Software [Podcast] - Chef history.

Forty years of GNU and the free software movement  - happy birthday! 

Make time to address low-hanging technical debt - I wouldn't count the examples in the article as technical debt. I do like the criteria for the low-hanging part:

  • Easy to verify
  • Easy to remove
  • Small improvement to some part of the development, deploy, or end-user experience

It’s Official: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy - I am a bit surprised and worried. 

Threads: The inside story of Meta’s newest social app - must be nice to have that kind of infrastructure. Also: Django?


Swedish government faces backlash after slashing climate budget - My guess is that the UK and Sweden are just the beginning, everybody else will pretend that they reach the goals and then fail at it. 

‘A lifeline for dirty cars’: EU backs new air pollution limits, but not until 2035 - another step back. 

EU states must bridge ‘planning gap’ in order to hit climate targets, report warns - not going to happen. 

German parliament approves plan to replace fossil-fuel heating systems - the watered-down plan.

‘Major disruptor’: El Niño threatens the world’s rice supplies - maybe people start worrying if they can't get their rice? 

Heat denial: influencers question validity of high temperatures - Denying must be the hardest hobby.

Australia to acknowledge climate risk to government bonds after world-first court settlement - maybe people start worrying if it affects their money?

Urbanism & Transport

Back to School with the Bike Bus [Podcast] - Are bike buses the most effective way to get people on board of more liveable cities?

All aboard! Can Luxembourg’s free public transport help save the world? - "The loss of income from abolishing fares was small, Bausch explains: about €40m a year, when the overall cost of running the system is about €800m" 

European governments shrinking railways in favour of road-building, report finds - nobody is surprised. Germany leading the way. 

So will Hannover seine »nahezu autofreie« Innenstadt bauen  [German] - hard to believe that this is in the same country as Berlin. 

This Spanish city has been restricting cars for 24 years. Here’s what we can learn from it - the only surprise is that it happened. 

This train is your charger: Lessons from Madrid about transit as public space - I have to confess that I mostly walked or used the taxi.

The Legal Attack on Superblock Barcelona - when you think everything is going well, ...

Berlin clubbers and green protesters unite to fight motorway plans - this must be the silliest motorway currently in planning in the whole world. 

DIY Kyiv - The Rise of Temporary Urbanism in Ukraine - life seems too normal.

Random Pets

The case against pets: is it time to give up our cats and dogs? - I am worried about the meat consumption of our zoo.

B612 Font family - any suggestions on where I could use this? I notice there is already a Fedora package.

Raising the bar: Annemiek van Vleuten, one of cycling’s great revolutionaries, retires - she is a remarkable cyclist, not many like her around at the moment.

Do you really need to walk 10,000 steps a day? And 17 other fitness ‘rules’, tackled by the experts - there goes my age & metabolism excuse!

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, September 01, 2023

Friday Links 23-25

Cyclists time trialing at night in Barcelona

This time around I enjoyed the interviews with Simon Sinek and Olive Burkeman with Culture First.


Are You Being the Bottleneck or Building the Bridge? Lessons on Cross-Functional Leadership [Podcast] - lots of good stuff about communication and DEI

Simon Sinek on the power of putting culture first [Podcast] - older interview 

Measuring developer productivity? A response to McKinsey - Gergely Orosz and Kent Beck responding to McKinsey's post. (there is also a second part now)

TBM 238: Spinning Plates - "The quest for efficiency and high utilization is the same thing that stifles creativity and innovation and paradoxically slows us down and makes us less efficient."

Use OKRs to Set Goals for Teams, Not Individuals - I generally prefer to focus on teams and then how to make individuals successful in pushing the team goals. 

The Engineering executive’s role in hiring. - very detailed summary of hiring from a higher level. 

Who has the credentials to deliver design feedback? - "Designers shouldn’t disqualify feedback based on the person delivering it. "

TBM 236: The Paper-Cut Tax - "like juggling fickle priorities and rework, working around dependencies, putting out fires, writing and rewriting proposals, and fiddling with fragile tools."


‘The office is for socializing’: how work from home has revolutionized work

Oliver Burkeman on designing an employee experience for mortals [Podcast] - Good to hear him in an interview, but I prefer his book. 


30 years of Debian [Podcast] - with Red Hat currently misbehaving, I have been looking more seriously at a switch to Debian. 

Bugzilla Celebrates 25 Years With Special Announcements (Bugzilla blog) - we used Bugzilla as a project management tool in my misspent youth. It worked quite well for a while.

Explore FFmpeg From The Comfort Of Your Browser - just cool. 

Ditching Databases for Apache Kafka as System of Record - I wonder what you loose with this approach. 

HashiCorp, Terraform, and OpenTF - I really hope OpenTF works out. 

PineTime: a smartwatch for open-source software - this is amazingly cheap.


Burning Man attendees roadblocked by climate activists: ‘They have a privileged mindset’ - when pseudo fashion hippies meet real hippies. Also: defund the Rangers. 

Where will the tourists go? Europe’s winning and losing destinations due to the climate crisis - this seems conservative. I am pretty sure people will stop coming to Spain sooner. 

France to spend €200m on destroying excess wine as demand falls - do farm subsidies really make sense? 

Barcelona gives hats to homeless people as heatwave sweeps southern Europe - hats … that will fix it. 

G20 poured more than $1tn into fossil fuel subsidies despite Cop26 pledges – report - good job everyone.


Even Small Towns are Great Here (5 Years in the Netherlands) [YouTube] - every town seems to be brilliant there.

Random Cycling

Cycling in Catalonia – Riding hotspot Girona and La Vuelta kicks off from Barcelona [Podcast] - overview of the local cycling scene 

Grid movie posters - I discovered this posters, but I love all of his art.

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, August 18, 2023

Friday Links 23-24

Octopus illustration

I forgot to post Podcasts for a while. This makes this week Podcast Week! 


Follow the Leader: How to Be the Example and Transform Engineering Teams (with Jossie Haines, Executive Coach) [Podcast] - I like her focus on respect and empathy.

Wisdom for Work #16 - The Brightest Bulb Challenge: Moving From Individual Contributor to Team Leader [Podcast] - a common problem and I always enjoy the Reboot approach. 

Is That 100% True? Managing the Small Stuff to Prevent the Big Stuff (with Joanna Lord, Executive in Residence at Reforge) [Podcast] - I am still an Emotional Intelligence sceptic. In this case, I agree. 

80% of bosses say they regret earlier return-to-office plans: ‘A lot of executives have egg on their faces’ - will they change again?

TBM 234: Maintenance, KTLO, and BAU - a different approach to talking about these. 

There is no number one tip - for a new manager.


Generative AI and the future of knowledge work [Podcast] - Thoughtworks now has a Chief AI Officer!

The Science of Learning to Code [Podcast] - in my wild youth I was convinced that programming skills are in the genes … clearly a stupid idea. 

Introducing Immortal Objects for Python - TIL: Instagram uses Django!


Opening Transit Payments (with Urban Caffeine) [Podcast] - I think the main advantage of an integrated payment for all transit is the reduction in hurdles. The Dutch system sounds wonderful. Ideally, we would have something across the EU.  


RES197 Städte im Klimawandel [Podcast, German] - "Urban Mining" was a new one to me.

Why climate despair is a luxury - I am definitely joined the despair camp.

Random Octopuses 

The awe-inspiring intelligence of octopuses [Podcast] - I am a flexitarian, and I am still eating octopus. This and other recent news about them makes me reconsider.

26: The Bear - Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto [Podcast] - The Bear is brilliant, this is a nice analysis of the characters.

30 years on, Debian is at the heart of the world's most successful Linux distros - since Red Hat is misbehaving I might be looking at Debian next. It seems to be the most free distribution right now.

Cycling Worlds Highland Coo Soft Toy - the UCI Championship was great … so is their webshop.

Wipeout Game Rewrite: How to Play it on Ubuntu - the leaked code is a bit of a mess, apparently.

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 11, 2023

Friday Links 23-23

Home taping is killing music (and it's illegal)
Lots of good stuff in the leadership section today, and lots of depressing stuff in the environment section.


How We Run Performance Reviews At Buffer And Why I Have Mixed Feelings About Them - it's tricky.

How To Measure the Value of Internal Tools - most companies are doing none of this. 

Manage your priorities and energy. - "you’re going to accomplish less in your career if you’re so focused on correctness that you lose track of keeping yourself energized."

Humanistic Leadership - this kind of answers my question about "people first" companies. 

TBM 233: Coffee & Complexity - I like the idea of starting to think about a FAQ right away.

Briefly: The Value of Meetings, and Some Alternatives - killing all meetings is just silly. 

Square’s Updated Growth Framework for Engineers and Engineering Managers - very detailed spreadsheet linked in the article. 

How platform teams get stuff done - good article about different approaches. I think platform teams can easily go wrong in plenty of cases. 

On Becoming a VP of Engineering, Part 1: The Path to VP - this is a great


Why carbon capture and storage will not solve the climate crisis any time soon - it's mainly for people who don't want to change. 

Gulf Stream could collapse as early as 2025, study suggests - headline is a bit misleading. It's anywhere between 2024 and 2095. 

Extreme weather: the climate crisis in four charts - I gave up worrying/hoping now.

It's hot out there


This town banned cars (except tiny electric ones) [YouTube] - still quite a few of them around 

Less space for cars, more for green. Utrecht's redesigned ring road [YouTube] - not too bad.

Ministers consider curbs on councils’ use of 20mph speed limits - UK going backwards, as usual.

Bristol’s low-traffic scheme stalls as row over Ulez spreads from London - no comment 

Sunak review raises question: what exactly is a low-traffic neighbourhood? - I remember them already being there when I lived in London. 

Designing Urban Places that Don't Suck [YouTube] - I have to say the cover picture still has too many cars in the "nice place". 

It's time to stop with the "bicycle highways"  [YouTube] - stop calling them this, not stop building them. 

Are Dutch Cities Really that Different? Debunking Cycling Myths [YouTube] - no

Random Recordings

Home Taping Is Killing Music: When the Music Industry Waged War on the Cassette Tape During the 1980s, and Punk Bands Fought Back - now I want one of those tapes.

Summer webcomics - collection by Charles Stross

Portugal’s bid to attract foreign money backfires as rental market goes ‘crazy’ - surprise!

12,795 possessions! Meet the woman who photographed every single thing she owns - i love this, and worry about my possessions. (I still think "The man who destroyed all his belongings" is even better and one of my favourite art pieces).

Style Guide: LGBTQ+ - I was looking for the use of "queer", this has been helpful. 

“It’s like I’m going into the void with no control”: Tour de France pro says he feels “completely paralysed” and “scared to death” on descents - worth a read, even if you don't ride yourself.

Other Links

Friday, July 14, 2023

Friday Links 23-22

Cargo bike with a panniers and boxes full of groceries

All the leadership articles are great this week and not too long.
If you want mostly downers, have a look at the environment articles.


Finding a buddy when you’re a team of one - if you can't avoid them.

Gelling your Engineering leadership team. - I think this should be read by a lot of C-level teams, but it also applies to most teams. 

Imposter Syndrome - I love Angela's writing.


Big Tech can transfer Europeans’ data to US in win for Facebook and Google - "US to monitor compliance"

AlmaLinux to diverge (slightly) from RHEL - and so it begins. 

SUSE to create a fork of RHEL - apparently they already had one? "SUSE Liberty Linux"


Europe’s Heatwave Death Toll [Podcast] - this is just the beginning after all. (also: Heatwave last summer killed 61,000 people in Europe, research finds)

The world just broke a stunning slew of heat records. Why right now?

Tuvalu – how do you save a disappearing country? [Podcast] - spoiler: you can't. 

UK poised to drop plans to replace home gas boilers with hydrogen alternatives - someone should tell Germany.

How to protect your heat pump from theft - I heard this is a problem in Germany too. Does this happen with air conditioning too?

Nuclear power too expensive and slow to be part of Australia’s plans to reach net zero, study finds - if you don't have nuclear power already, don't bother starting now. 

Pet problems: tropical fish are terrible for the environment – and dogs are a disaster - I am worried about the amount of food our pets consume. 

The orca uprising: whales are ramming boats – but are they inspired by revenge, grief or memory?


548. Why Is the U.S. So Good at Killing Pedestrians? [Podcast] - Freedom! Or maybe they are perfecting the issues other countries have. 

Cycles Outnumber Cars In City Of London

Slow cycling isn’t just for fun – it’s essential for many city workers - "By paying attention to slow cyclists, we can begin to plan our cities in ways that recognise and enhance the environmental and economic benefits they deliver."

‘They’re sticking the finger up at cars’: Amsterdam split by low-traffic roads - yes, yes we do. 

Starting to hate cars — even if you drive one? There's an online community for you.

Random Bicycles

10 tech trends to copy off the Tour de France pros — wide tyres, chain catchers and tubeless are in, slammed stems and narrow cassettes are out - I agree with most of this. 

Disruptive protest helps rather than hinders activists’ cause, experts say - “These sorts of tactics are uncomfortable for everyone concerned, but sadly this is how social change works.”

Study shows 87 percent of classic video games are unavailable to play right now - annoying! This will also get worse.

Devil's Advocate [Comic] - so true

The Pulse: VanMoof files for bankruptcy protection - they were not really my type of bike, but they are nice, and many people love them. See also:

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.