Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday Links

I am an Eurobox kind of guy

Strong on urbanism again this week, but also some interesting random tidbits. It looks like the remote working section will stay with us for a long time. I am so curious about seeing how it will look beginning of next year.


Rails Concerns: To Concern Or Not To Concern - the example from Basecamp and responds by DHH should really tell you everything about what to do

The Unsuspecting Beauty & Complexity of Web Forms - more than you ever wanted to know about (mostly feedback) web forms

CPC 472 - I found this through a tweet. Great wiki about the Amstrad/Schneider CPC computers from the 80s. The 472 was especially weird 
The reason Amstrad released a special version for the spanish market was a import tax on computers with 64K or less RAM. So Amstrad soldered in an extra 8KB which was not, however, usable by the machine since it was not connected to anything else.

Oh The Messes We Will Make - Kent Beck about why we make a mess when creating systems and when to clean it up

Too tidy? I don't think so. - an answer to Kent Beck

OpenPGP in Rust: the Sequoia project [LWN] - I hate rewrites, but I love Rust, tricky

Production testing with dark canaries - Linkedin testing code before people notice. 


Year-on-year congestion levels in London soar outside city centre as schools go back - all back to normal and even worse

15 Minute Cities! Exploring Transferability and the Life-Sized City [YouTube] - Mikael looking at the 15 Minute Cities idea and comparing it to his neighbourhood  

'We Heard Birds.' Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on How Lockdown Offered a Glimpse at a Greener City - all you need for change is a politican who dares to make decisions, somehow people first need to see change before they can accept it

Cities: where climate action can have the most impact - Google climate efforts especially for cities (more general information about this below)

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Car Use, and Active Travel: Evidence from the People and Places Survey of Outer London Active Travel Interventions - research on how introduction of low traffic zones affects car use and active travel

Converting parking to people space on 75th helps reenergize Black-owned restaurant strip
- space for people instead of cars improves lives

Sein Traum von einer autofreien Stadt [German] - great article about the efforts to make Hannover's centre car free by 2030, with the usual response from local businesses 

Ökonomen empfehlen City-Maut für München [German] - economists recommend city toll for cars for Munich


Lemonade from Lemons: Tiny Desk Conference - what Spotify learned from doing virtual internal conferences

Going async — a case study
- part of Xing going async and what they learned about doing it

Facebook buys an unused headquarters even as more employees work remotely - when REI sold their offices all the remote fan-boys went \o/ - then Facebook bought it and they went :-(

Remote-first at Brex
- good post about going remote-first, even includes the all hands meeting video. I personally don't believe in going all remote forever, but see the advantages of enabling remote employees and async communication 

People are using Red Dead Redemption 2 to hold conference calls - I wonder if this works with Stream on Linux 

Have we just stumbled on the biggest productivity increase of the century? - no

'My company has gone fully remote and I'm despairing': who wins in the new world of working from home? - there is a chance to make it better, but it is going to be hard  


What if Your Company Had No Rules? [Podcast] - Netflix apparently has no rules, but they fire you for random reasons any time  

Random Baskets

How to choose a basket for your bike - some beautiful inspiration for this important choice 

'If it has an ingredient in the name, avoid it': Adam Liaw on the kitchen appliances you'll actually use
- I confess I have some seldom used kitchen gadgets. My rule is: the bigger they are the more often you have to use them   

Supporting a greener future in Europe - good to see Google moving on this, and even a bit faster than governments are 

Interactive: What COVID-19 conspiracy theories mean for vaccine delivery - very annoying the amount of resources you need to work against the anti-vaxxers and other weirdos
Why Goodreads is bad for books  - it really isn't
What No Fan Has Seen Before: Remastering Deep Space Nine to Maximum Quality  - I am pretty critical of upscaling, but this looks amazing 

Burnout - understanding the other epidemic [Podcast] - I never really tried to understand burnout. I suffererd it myself before and this podcasts brings back so many memories.

Rapid Response: Nothing matters but this. w/Eric Schmidt (frmr Google CEO) [Podcast] - I prefer the Rapid Response episodes, this one is especially good.  

#92 Lisa Feldman Barrett: Balancing the Brain Budget [Podcast] - emotions in neuroscience 

The trouble with Dutch cows [Podcast] - a couple of troubles, but also interesting how strong the government reacted to reduce the problem. I can't see this happening in many other countries

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.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Early Friday Links

TI99/4A Home Computer
TI99/4A Home Computer



Early and short list today, as I am off tomorrow.
Remote working seems to become a standard section now. It is interesting how the whole world is dealing with it and everybody having strong opinions about it.
Plus the usual technology, bike lanes and random links.


Fun and Games with Exposure Notifications - I love this stuff. Exposure Notifications is an open protocol by Apple and Google, there are open source reference implementations, most of the code is already available on Linux and someone can be bothered to implement it himself and document it. 

Seamlessly Swapping the API backend of the Netflix Android app - lots of things that only make sense if you have a large amount of engineers twiddling their thumbs. Still interesting.

Remote Working

Remote Work Is Killing the Hidden Trillion-Dollar Office Economy - someone said that this should affect how zoning is handled. If the workers are not coming to the offices any more, then this economy has to move closer to the workers. This could lead to more mixed purpose communities, combining services, shopping and working. 

Generation Work-From-Home May Never Recover - people are different and prefer different ways of working, some don't like to be forced to work in an office and others don't like to work alone from home 

Informal Communication in an all-remote environment - GitLab's very long guide to remote informal communication, with some good ideas for other companies 
Buffer Podcast: Working remotely [Podcast] - two Buffer employees discussing how they are handling working in a fully remote company

The big return 3: a closer look at data -  more insights into remote working and returning to offices

Bike Lanes

Why a court says Berlin's new pop-up bike lanes must be scrapped - the far right party found a way to remove the pop up bike lanes. annoying.

Bike lanes might be more dangerous than no lanes at all
- painted lanes are no bike lanes

Random Computers

Marc Andreessen On Productivity, Scheduling, Reading Habits, Work, and More - long interview with lots of interesting stuff 

Tony-os, Pathos, Logos - I can't deal with people like Tony Robbins, but here is a slightly different perspective

Winner Of French Scrabble Title Does Not Speak French - this applies to so many things :-)

The 20 greatest home computers – ranked! - controversial! I would put the TI99/4A on the top and remove the Macintosh (too expensive) and the PC (not a home computer)

Introducing pyLegLight – A Python module for the Elgato Key Lights - I bought an Elgato Key Light to improve my home working set-up. It obviously only comes with apps for Mac, Windows and mobile. Turns out there is a python open source library so  you can remote control it with Linux too!
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.
Text-to-speech function is limited to 200 characters

Friday, September 04, 2020

Double Friday Links

Emma Everesting by CyclingTips

I was off cycling in the Pre-Pyrenees last week, so you are getting two Friday's worth of links today. I caught up a bit with my podcast backlog and some of the longer articles. Especially the Random section is a bit long this time.



Anti-IF framework - if/else based on type - I do get annoyed by lots of nested if/else or case statements, this is one way to approach it. The question always is if the refactoring is easier to understand.

Three Basecamp outages. One week. What happened? - TIL: Basecamp seem to be hosting themselves 

Supporting Linux kernel development in Rust - I am really looking forward to this. I see a lot of potential in Rust and it could make some of the kernel code safer. The most interesting thing to watch will be the adoption rate and how it influences Rust.

Ruby Creator Yukihiro Matsumoto on the Challenges of Updating a Programming Language - We use Ruby On Rails at work. I am not a fan of Rails, but I do think Ruby is a nice language. Like a lot of dynamic languages it does allow to shoot yourself in the foot by making code unreadable and unmanageable over time. It also is pretty slow. Looks like some of these issues are being addressed.  

Systems Thinking Primer - Nice short introduction

How We Improved Developer Productivity for Our DevOps Teams  - spoiler alert: they automated and standardized things at Spotify 

US Postal Service Files Blockchain Voting Patent - Schneier:

As is pretty much always the case, blockchain adds nothing

Tracing at Slack: Thinking in Causal Graphs - good overview over tracing frameworks and why Slack (of course) invented their own   

Commit 1 million: The history of the Linux kernel - congratulations! I can't remember exactly when I started with Linux, sometimes in the 90s, but I never expected where it would go.

Upgrading GitHub to Ruby 2.7 - we are halfway there, good to see how others approach this. 


On Making Hard Decisions  - Rands how he approached the decision to not leave his house during the recent California fires. Useful for decisions in general. 

24 Key Capabilities to Drive Improvement in Software Delivery - nice check-list, that I mostly agree with

One on One Meeting Guide: James Stanier (SVP of Engineering, Brandwatch [Podcast] - lots of insights on how to handle different 1:1 situations

Hiring Engineers: Junior or Senior? Johnny Ray Austin Shares His Take
[Podcast] - kind of what you expect, but still worthwhile for the perspective

Building a Connected Network of Brains with Jean-Michel Lemieux, CTO at Shopify [Podcast] - I liked this one, gave me some ideas about what to look for in people

GitHub's Feedback Culture: Ryan Nystrom (Director of Engineering, GitHub)
[Podcast] - I think the main problem is creating the "Culture". you can create all the review cycles and conversations, but if people don't live it it won't be valuable.


Road closed or open? The signs revamping low-traffic neighbourhoods - A good way of showing the positive side (streets open for people) instead of the negative (streets closed for cars - which isn't even true).

Rule compliance and desire lines in Barcelona’s cycling network - research article about how people are using the cycling network and somewhat weird junctions in Barcelona

El aire sucio de Barcelona exige un nuevo urbanismo [Spanish] -  how a new urbanism could improve air quality in Barcelona

Sieben Schritte zur autofreien Innenstadt [German] - "Seven steps to a car free city center", how do to it in slow steps, engaging the citizens and communicate well to reduce opposition

So funktioniert das neue McDrive für Fahrradfahrer  [German] - In Germany you were not allowed to use McDrive (McDonald drive in) with bicycles. There is now a solution where you can order on-line and then pick it up at special tables.

Berlin reports rise in fatalities as new bike lanes fail to keep cyclists safe - Berlin is an interesting city for cyclists. There are a lot of bike lanes, but they are pretty bad, articulated lorries are all over the city and drivers are awful. It is no wonder it is dangerous.

The Virus 

How the eradication of wild poliovirus from Africa can guide the COVID-19 response - once there is a COVID-19 vaccine it will be a struggle to convince people to get vaccinated, probably even harder in the US and Europe than in the rest of the world 

Google and Apple to roll out phase two of contact-tracing system - This could fix some of the issues with the current apps, mainly the lack of usage. But you will still need an app and local health system support to flag infected people. It will also feed the conspiracy theories.   
Early Findings from Fitbit COVID-19 Study Suggest Fitbit Devices Can Identify Signs of Disease at Its Earliest Stages  - interesting, would be even more interesting if Garmin could implement something like this. I don't expect it to be especially reliable though. 

Will a Covid-19 Vaccine Change the Future of Medical Research? [Podcast] - maybe? hopefully? probably not. 

Random Pointlessness

An exercise in pointlessness: Emma Pooley on her world-record Everesting - great article about the effort and allure of everesting. This at the same makes me want to do it and definitely not do it. 

From Zelda to Grand Theft Auto: 10 of the best game worlds to get lost in -  these are the type of games I like, where you can just roam and experience a different world. I don't really have enough time for this any more though. I only experienced No Man's Sky a little bit and an older version of GTA. 

Fosdem 2021 will be on-line - I certainly wouldn't have travelled to Belgium for this, maybe in 2022 again. This also makes it a lot easier to attend sessions and rooms.

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work  - nice hack

The Introduction of Skateboarding to Mongu, Zambia [YouTube] - I love this kind of stories. People get so excited by skateboards. I wish I learned it when I was young, now I am only a fanboy.

Get Lost in 70 Years of Old IKEA Catalogs - I love IKEA, it suits my taste and my wallet. And I don't care that my place probably looks like a copy from someone's else place. And I love the paper or PDF catalogues. I am looking forward to them every year.

Five Essential Dub Techno Records Everyone Should Hear
- nice, dub, techno

Rave on: the rise of middle-aged clubbing culture during lockdown  - sit-down raves? during the day? count me in! 

Blanked-Out Spots On China's Maps Helped Us Uncover Xinjiang's Camps - cool research, also China: WTF

Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean  - Banksy is just amazing in so many ways. The boat already run into trouble because it was to successful picking up people.   
, the fact that...  - Tim Bray reviews "Ducks, Newburyport" by Lucy Ellmann. Sound intriguing, but I probably don't have the patience.

Diageo invests in German non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ - as far as I know the Wonderleaf "Gin" came out of a April Fools joke, but the response was so positive that they implemented it. I am teetotal and the moment and I can highly recommend it. There are a lot of new things happening in the non-alcoholic area at the moment. 

Episode 6: Restoring a healthy ocean in the Maldives [Podcast] - not quite the paradise any more, sounds questionable if this can still be stopped  

Other Links

Long Links by Tim Bray - another good collection. Utility Dive seems to be a good source too.

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.
Text-to-speech function is limited to 200 characters

Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday Links

Elite Game Screenshot
Last batch of links before I am off for a week on holiday. A bit of a mixed bag, with focus on management and technology.


The Human Need to Vent - indeed we do. I would say most blog posts tend to be venting. Twitter and Facebook are Vent Central. I also like the post by Rands he references: The Update, The Vent, and The Disaster, which is about venting in the context of 1:1s

Theoretical vs. practical cryptography in the kernel - in the bigger picture this discussion also happens in all projects about other aspects than security. It is the idealists fighting the pragmatists. The idealists can never win, because their goals are too lofty.

11 Ways I Visualize Product Development Work  - nice overview 

How to Find Your Zone of Genius with Alex MacCaw, CEO at Clearbit [Podcast] - work on weaknesses or strength, do what you love or what you are good at, ...

The Manager's Handbook - I found this through the above podcast and have it on my to-read list. They also have an interesting podcast, definitely worth listening. Lots of good tips for managing, most of them I even agree with.
Some episodes from the podcast:

Company values aren’t actionable. Here’s how you can change that.  - never heard about "even over", sounds weird

Why Write ADRs  -  "Architecture decision records" - good idea ... seems a lot of work

Navigating Change With Facebook’s Engineering Leadership Team - I was hoping they would go a bit more into detail :-) 

Why don’t we reward good managers? -  don't we? I mean I can always use more money, but especially higher level managers seem to be rewarded quite a bit.

Gary Hamel: Battling bureaucracy - the big fix for broken work [Podcast] - some good points. I still believe in a hierachy in companies, but that doesn't mean you have to do all the decisions from the top. It is more about supporting the teams. I just wish he wouldn't shout at me the whole time.


RustConf 2020 [YouTube] - nearly eight hours about free Rust content. Nice!

Laying the foundation for Rust's future - kicking of the Rust Foundation, with the recent lay-offs at Mozilla this news was kind of needed.

Backblaze Hard Drive Stats Q2 2020
- I have a weird fascination with these posts (Not as much as with tz-announce though. I mean, what is going on in Morocco!) . Nowadays most hard drives are good enough for private NAS use, you don't have them in desktops any more and nobody cares what the cloud runs.

A more detailed, colorful map - another fascination of mine: maps. Google probably have one of the most beautiful on-line and mobile maps. Now it is even more pretty and nicer to plan cycling routes. Also great what they are doing to improve cycling and walking navigation in cities.

Kinesis Advantage2 - Review after three years of use - Martin Fowler's long term review of this keyboard. Maybe I am forced to switch from my trusty Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 at some point. I am not sure I will go quite as weird as this one though. Pedals are a neat idea though. 

Why I switched from Vim to Emacs - I used Emacs for a very long time, switched to Eclipse for a few years and now I am back and happy on Emacs. I use vi for small file changes, but never for projects.

A college student used GPT-3 to write fake blog posts and ended up at the top of Hacker News
- (disclaimer: I don't usually read hackernews. I think it is the worst side of the technology community) The article is already is pretty funny, but it is definitely worth looking into the comments on hackernews.  

Metabase: Business Intelligence Open Source with Sameer Al-Sakran [Podcast] - we use Metabase quite a bit at Devex, good to hear the inside story


How Portland’s Landmark Zoning Reform Could Work - this seems to be mostly about multi family homes. I wonder if they also allow restaurants and small shops in these zones to make them liveable and walkable

Portable Parklet in Stuttgart (in German) - I love Parklets, they make it so obvious what a waste of space on-street parking is. More pictures on the Facebook page.

20 offices turned into 2,000 individual pods for post-Covid working - a lot of people seem to hate open plan offices ... well, they all can take work in pods! 

Random Games

HIGH SCORE | The First Computer Graphics Game | Netflix [YouTube] - This looks promising. I love old computer game history ... because I am old. 

Germans must walk their dogs twice a day, new law will say - I think I mentioned it last week: laws about pets have to change, it is good to see this is very slowly moving forward. 
Dog gone: rescue pet shelters emptied by surge in demand during pandemic - there is a positive side of this, but mostly people keep "pets" for selfish reasons 
Electric conversion gives old Land Rover Defenders a 200-mile range - I have to wait a few more years until this gets cheaper  

The Bigger the Tos - another visualization of Terms Of Service by different companies. Spotify wins! Or looses.

Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal? [Podcast] - yes

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.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Early Friday Links

Summer Sunnsets
I am off tomorrow, so Friday Links come on a Thursday. 

I could blame the list being shorter than usual on this, but in reality I have been spend most of my time watching the twins reacting to music I like (see link below).


How to Build and Scale High-Performing Teams with David Sakamoto, VP of Customer Success at Gitlab [Podcast] - interesting perspective from a non technology fully remote VP


Changing World, Changing Mozilla - This is pretty depressing. I have been using Firefox since it was called Mozilla. As usual the statement makes it sound like a good thing, but it really is not. It is also worth checking out the comments on the web, for example on

Cloud Traffic - we are way to small to worry about this kind of stuff, but I am kind of glad about it

Code Coverage Best Practices - results by some research from Google: "it does help and it is what we got", the paper goes more into detail

Moving Ulabox to Next.js - front-end stacks will be front-end stacks


This is what coronavirus will do to our offices and homes - imagining how our future of office and homes will look like. Is it a dream or a nightmare?

Atlassian tells employees they can work from home forever
- the article is not quite as black and white as the headline

All of its locations, [...], will remain open, and the company expects to adjust them so they can be used efficiently. Employees will be welcome to return to the offices should they want to use them.

Some details of Atlassian’s plan have yet to be finalized. The company hasn’t decided how compensation might change for employees who relocate to other regions, nor has it figured out the right number of people to work in each time zone to ensure a sufficient amount of overlap.

The big return 1: making the call on what to do next
-  some insight from an owner of a creative agency and how the forced working from home changes their company now and how it might develop in the future

Random Twins

These are the twins whose first-time reaction to hearing Phil Collins has captured the internet - the videos of these guys are great on so many levels. I just keep on going through their very long back catalogue of reaction videos. I am rediscovering music I haven't listed to for decades and remember the joy of listening to a brilliant new song for the first time. I am also realising that I am definitely a music snob. I have a certain taste and are not really open to anything else. I wish I could forget all music I ever listened to and start from scratch. Nowadays I am mostly listening to a constant stream of new electronic music podcasts, which at least give me the experience of listening to new music all the time. I am now also trying this with YouTube music, but as I said: I am a music snob. 

A new global COVID-19 map for journalists - Google knows how do make pretty maps, these are very nice and you can embed them in your pages

Love you to death: how we hurt the animals we cherish  - I imagine that sometime in the future keeping pets will be mostly illegal. This will start with weird breeds, keeping animals in small apartments and horse riding. You can't go vegan and care about how livestock is treated and then keep animals just for your pleasure. I have two cats and a dog and am clearly conflicted about this. 

'We need people here': the Spanish towns welcoming migrants  - not just in Spanish towns. Inviting large number of migrants to Germany will probably be seen very positively in the future. 
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 07, 2020

Friday Links

This week a bit light on the management and COVID-19 links. I balance it with lots of depressing news and some uplifting urbanism developments. So grab a tea and a biscuit ... 


Collaborating During Coronavirus: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Nature of Work - apparently we are having more, but shorter meetings and work more hours. Definitely more meetings for myself, but not shorter and I am too lazy to work more hours.

Floods, Viruses, and Volcanoes: Managing Supply Chain in Uncertain Times - very cool report on how Backblaze manages to maintain to have a constant supply of new hard drives for their backup / S3 clone business. I am so glad I don't have to deal with hardware at the moment. I was also very proud when I prepared for The Thing in February, but clearly others were even earlier on it.

6 inspiring teamwork rituals from around the globe - are they inspiring, or plain weird? And don't tell the Catalans that the human towers are Spanish!

HubSpot's Secret for Onboarding Engineering Leaders: Nadia Alramli (Engineering Director, HubSpot) [Podcast] - interesting way of onboarding leaders, which will be too expensive for most companies, but maybe we could use parts of it


Perl7 is a fork of values - besides tiny scripts I haven't used Perl in years. I also seem to be more interested in the Perl politics since the train-wreck of Perl 6 (or whatever it is called at the moment) then the actual language which is probably telling.

Firefox 79 includes protections against redirect tracking - this will probably break stuff, but for a good cause

Changes to SameSite Cookie Behavior – A Call to Action for Web Developers - more breakage for good 

Introduction to Ruby on Rails Patterns and Anti-patterns - if you love anti-patterns, you are going to love Rails!

An update on Exposure Notifications - still basically unused in Spain, but good to see that at least the technology is improving


An Urban Planner’s Trick to Making Bike-able Cities - There are many things wrong with the articles, but I hope some of the correct things are pointing to a good future. 

Barcelona was never an obvious candidate to be a bike-friendly city. Much of it is built on the foothills of the Collserola mountain range and seven smaller hills. Cycling in the Catalan capital often means pedalling up steep inclines and sweating under the Mediterranean sun.

Barcelona is mostly flat and has is only really hot in July and August. If you are on a hill get fit or an e-bike. The climate is ideal for cycling all year around. Distances are usually very short and manageable for most people. What we don't have is a well connected network of good bike lanes.

Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge - these design competitions never lead to anything, but all the finalists are showing a trend away from cars and towards people, bikes and mass transit. 

Desert urbanism, algorithms, and inebriated emus [Podcast] - a bit more about zoning and architecture 

Other Link Collections

Tim Bray: Long Links - OK! So his links are better and so are is insights. Stop it already.  

rjp: Wednesday roundup for 2020-08-05 - I see what he is doing there, releasing his collection a bit earlier, good stuff in their as usual.

Random Tea and Biscuits

Tea in a microwave? New research says it could be the perfect cuppa - clearly this is sponsored by the all powerful Chinese microwave lobby  
Adam Richman's Biscuit Reviews EP 3: Hobnob
- first warning: it is a chocolate Hobnob, second: he dunks them also in milk

The UX of LEGO Interface Panels - we didn't have these back in the day, but they look brilliant 

NIME – algorithmic pattern - Alex doing his thing. My favourite thing about live coding is how you can watch the track slowly building up from nothing to something rather complex and beautiful.  

Lifestyle changes could delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases – probably to late for me and younger people might be quite happy to forget the life that they inherit. But please give healthier living a go.

Pessimist Archive: What Will We Fear Next? [Podcast] - whatever comes next

The Endless Doomscroller - I leave you with this depressing messages and also these: Let's do a quick recap


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, July 31, 2020

Friday Links

This week Garmin exploded, the UK decided that cycling isn't so bad after all, remote working is still a thing


When We Need to Move Quickly We Work in Task Forces. Here’s How We Set Them Up - Kind of common sense, but as usual it is interesting how Buffer approaches it.

Zef’s Razor - I am going to spoil it: "People have good intentions" - this applies to live in general I guess

More Uninterrupted Time At Work for You and Your Organization - good summary about what you and your organization can do to reduce interruptions


The State of Ruby 3 Typing - Is it just me or does this look awful and awkward?

A long list of GRUB2 secure-boot holes
- this looks painful and you might not want to update your CentOS / RHEL yet.

Mycroft: an open-source voice assistant - this doesn't seem to fix the privacy issues and there are seem to be some problems with the company as whole

Highlights from Git 2.28 - default branch can be something besides 'master' now, speed ups with bloom filters and small feature improvements  

Remote working

The Implications of Working Without an Office - “What impact has working from home had on productivity and creativity?”

Google employees will work from home until at least summer 2021 - with the state the States are in at the moment this is not really surprising, it will be interesting to see how this will shape Silicon Valley in the future. 

Our remote work future is going to suck - it will probably suck, for some people more than others and the jury is still out if it will suck more or less than office work


A COVID-19 story in Amsterdam written by bike - Lot of photos. I love the one titled "Heavy Police presence during COVID-19"

Sant Cugat finançarà el 50% de la compra de bicicletes - small city close to Barcelona is supporting bike purchases, they also used the opportunity of the current crisis to expand their cycling network

Dutch city redraws its layout to prepare for global heating effects - with governments doing not a lot it is up to cities to react, this is happening all over the world

France to ban heated terraces in cafes and bars - I think they are also regulating air conditioning, but I can't find it now.

There seems to be a change coming in the UK with a new "cycling revolution", though this doesn't seem to be backed up with new money.

Random Flights

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is a ticket to explore the world again - I used to play this on the Amiga back in the day. When I say "play" I mean: lift off, fly for ages over a landscape that always looks the same and then crash into the ground when trying to land. I wonder if this runs on anything i have.

Amazon is a perfectly OK company, to the extent that planetary-scale sprawling corporate behemoths can be perfectly OK in 2020. Which is to say, not OK at all.
Garmin was targeted by a ransomware attack. Nobody is quite sure if they handled it well or not. There was a definitely a lack of communication during the outage from Thursday to Monday! It is also not clear if they paid the ransom, which would be illegal in the US.
In Japan, a cyberstalker located his victim by enhancing the reflections in her eye, and using that information to establish a location.
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, July 27, 2020

My Workspace

I like looking at pictures of other people's office set-ups. With most people working from home at the moment you see more and more nice workspaces especially tuned for video conferencing.
I was lucky enough to have a space and a reasonable set-up already. By chance I also had ordered bits and pieces before everything was sold out on Amazon.
There are a few things I still want to improve. The light is not ideal for video conferencing and I am also going to try a separate microphone for better sound.


My basic desk set-up is always the same. This is the first time I have two big screens, but I always have the same keyboard, headphones and mouse.
I think this goes back to at least 2000.
In our currently closed office I have the same again and when I start a new job I usually bring the devices with me as not every company lets you freely choose.
The computer is always running the current version of Fedora Linux, often upgraded over many years.

1. Dell Monitor U2719DC UltraSharp. I really just wanted one of these as I still had another very old monitor. This one came with a pixel error and Amazon send a replacement, but never managed to get the pick-up of the broken one sorted. So now I have two and use the one with the broken pixel for the not important stuff, like Slack. I think the broken pixel is not even a broken pixel, but an insect stuck between the layers - a real bug.
2. Dell Monitor U2719DC UltraSharp - the nice one, which has my browser, shell and Emacs.
3. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 GB layout - while I am always looking for new fancy hacker keyboards I have stuck with this one. I have another one in storage in case this one breaks.
4. Logitech Mouse G502 Hero - my mice and keyboard are always wired, which limits choice a bit. I have pretty big hands and like a mouse that fills them.
5. Logitech Mousepad G440 - matchy-matchy with the mouse. I could do with a smaller one, because of the hight DPI of the mouse.
6. Sony Headphones MDR-1RBT - I am a bit addicted to headphones. I have three different Sony MDR-1 versions (RBT, ABT and R). I love the fit and sound.
7. PC AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32GB, 1TB, build up recently, also has a cheap fanless graphics card
8. Chair - from my first job/start-up, still works
9. APC BX1400U-GR Back-UPS BX, power outages and brownouts are quite common in Spain and even more so in the countryside. This protects the computer, there is another one for the routers and NAS.
a. Fleximounts F6 monitor arm for laptop - it works, not a lot of movement
b. Fleximounts F6D monitor arms for screens - same for two devices
c. Logitech C920 HD Pro - I am lucky I ordered this in time, it works, I probably won't upgrade any time soon. The Logitech Brio is also silly expensive.


Not directly related to work, but supporting the main computer.

d. Thinkpad T430s on a arm and T470s on the floor - laptops from work, I use them in the office and here when I need another small screen or different device. One of them also has Windows on a partition for devices that require Windows for firmware upgrades
e. AmazonBasics paper shredder - goes together with the messy GTD stack on my desk, everything that I don't file goes into this one.
f. Synology DS218+ - backup of the computer, Syncthing backup, all my music and films.
g. USB Charging station (with Raspbery Pi running Syncthing on top), with various USB-A, micro-usb, and USB-C connectors and one for Garmin watches
h. Rubbish router from provider
i. AmpliFi HD Router - super simple set-up, annoyingly only with a mobile, supports multiple mesh repeaters that are all over the house
j. HP OfficeJet Pro 9010 - maybe I should have gone for a laser? I don't really print a lot
k. Thermometer / Barometer - it is way too hot in my office


I like my old school Hi-Fi components. If I had unlimited money I would just be buying this stuff on ebay the whole day.
The combination of the Sony amplifier and JBL speakers gives a sound I love.
The amplifier is also connected to a Chromecast Audio for multiroom sound, computer and headphones.

l. Tape deck Sony TC-K790ES - needs some work, the rubber transport bands disintegrated and need replacement, which is a bit tricky
m. Tuner Sony SA3ES - I never use it, but it is pretty!
n. Amplifier Sony TA-542E - this must be pretty old too, still works fine
o. JBL Control 1 Pro speakers - come with mounts for the wall and look sleek

Art & Memories

Since we bought the house and I have no further move is planned I made some effort to finally put all kind of stuff on the wall.

p. Sven Vaeth & Paul Cooper flyer 17-7-93 Warehouse Cologne
q. Photo from the Space Shuttle signed by Astronaut Robert Crippen
r. family
s. My dad and myself on our last holiday together. I have no idea why we shake hands.
t. family
u. X-Ray Cyclist by Nick Veasey sold by IKEA. Nick is one of my favourite artists and this is the cheapest way to get a great quality print.
v. Newton MessagePad 130 - I really did use this back in the days. It is a bit bulky.
w. Palm V, Palm Tungsten T, Ericsson t39 with extra antenna and calculator from school - this was my "smartphone" back in the days when phones got smaller every year. I sometimes connected it with bluetooth to the Palm for connectivity on the go. I miss small phones.
x. random memories box: old business cards, passport, party flyer, motorcycle key
y. Curves Calendar - don't google that. It has photos of mountain roads for each month to remind me of cycling. I just get a new one every year and replace it.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Links

Product Managment

The Evolution of Product at Buffer and the Next Step: We’re Hiring a VP of Product - can I have one too? This sounds so familiar.


Rebuilding messaging: How we bootstrapped our platform - how Linkedin is changing to a new messaging platform and database.

Machine Learning for a Better Developer Experience
- How Netflix is using machine learning to better handle their logs.

Twitter engineers replacing racially loaded tech terms like 'master,' 'slave' - this is happening in a lot of companies and open source projects and is great to see.

GPT-3 Is Amazing—And Overhyped - the uber regex strikes back

hacker-laws -  all of them on one place. I discovered them through the Changelog:  Laws for hackers to live by [Podcast]

Engineering Management

In search of higher engineering productivity: A data first remote working perspective - nice to see some numbers put to it. It is really just about progamming, it doesn't track the difference in remote meetings.

Build vs buy decisions in the age of software abundance - this is getting worse very day. It is not even "buy" even more, with so many ready made open source libraries and projects out there.

Uber: Introducing Domain-Oriented Microservice Architecture - I am not sure if this will help in the mess that are microservices, but good luck to them. It is a good article though with some tips for different company sizes:
In small organizations, the operational benefit likely does not offset the increase in architectural complexity. Furthermore, microservice architectures often require dedicated engineering resources to support which may be out of budget for an early stage company or else suboptimal from a prioritization perspective.
Team Objectives – Overview - good long read critique of OKRs for teams. Jump to the summary if you like.


#SmartDevelopmentHack: Germany searches for COVID-19 solutions - "Are hackathons the solution?" ... in my experience probably not.

Coronavirus: The great contact-tracing apps mystery - The main mystery for me is why we don't have one in Spain yet, or ideally one that works across Europe. There are multiple open-source versions out there (from Ireland & Germany for example) that could be used, but every country needs to reinvent the wheel and sometime in the future they all will have to be linked up. Also check out the Europe COVID-19 Tracing App Tracker.

Returning to the Office Safely - pretty guide from the OmnicomGroup for their offices.

COVID19aldiaBCN - all the Barcelona COVID-19 stats and maps you will ever need

It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when COVID-19 has passed. So in this episode, we look back to the years after 1918, at the political, artistic, and viral aftermath of the flu pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people and left our world permanently transformed.


Garmin services and production go down after ransomware attack - this is probably the worst nightmare for any company. They are still down as I am writing this.

Password Book (Multi-coloured) - at least you are not loosing it to ransom-ware.

The sad, slow-motion death of Do Not Track - kind of expected, the pressure from the other side is too strong.
Maybe this hack will serve as a wake-up call. But if past incidents involving Twitter and other companies are any indication, it won't. Underspending on security, and letting society pay the eventual price, is far more profitable. I don't blame the tech companies. Their corporate mandate is to make as much money as is legally possible. Fixing this requires changes in the law, not changes in the hearts of the company's leaders.


Ride easy with new biking features in Google Maps - Google is making routing for cycling better. It was already pretty good where it is available, but it is good to see that they are constantly improving it.

'We Heard Birds.' Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on How Lockdown Offered a Glimpse at a Greener City

Episode #250 – In conversation with the rock star of parking, Donald Shoup - He is mostly about proper charging for parking. I agree, but we should also reduce parking and give it back to the people.

Keeping Journals

After coming across one article about journaling recently I decided it might be worth a try. Of course I started with a bit of research first.

There are many articles that say it is probably as good idea. Possibly bordering at being a bit pushy / passive aggressive.
There are some common formats and sometimes people who sell you preformatted notebooks.
In the end I decided to be agile and just start something with the stack of Moleskins and pens I already own.

Random Lawrence

Polishing Lawrence - I remember when I still found editing Wikipedia pages fun. Now there is are so many rules and politics involved that I can't be bothered any more. "Lawrence of Arabia" is a topic by my heart though.

Which productivity method is right for you? - Spoiler alert: it might have to do with Todoist.

JWZ: Recent Movies and TV - jwz watches stuff so I don't have too. Looks like there are some good shows on at the moment though.

Pointless Job Requirements
- maybe we have to rethink job ads

What We Learn When Humans Race Against Horses - I listened to a podcast about this once. Humans are amazing, so are horses.

Classical Fix: Nadine Shah - no idea who she is, but this was fun. I also discovered Scott Walker (Scott Walker: Farmer In The City [YouTube]), which made it worth it already. 
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.