Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Links

Wikipedia: Cold War

Very light on links this week, maybe everybody is on holiday already. But I compensate with some nice podcasts references.


More online protection with the new VPN by Google One - a VPN from Google. I hope this is coming to Google Suite/Workspaces too. I also hope this kills off most of the shady VPN providers

Bringing Personalized Search to Etsy - nice view inside an approach to personalised search

Making GitHub CI workflow 3x faster - first post of the Building GitHub blog series, which looks pretty promising from this first article. Nowadays everybody is interested in lead/cycle time and everybody solves it differently. 

Triggers in AppSignal: Already Powerful — Now Easy To Set Up  - I am still missing more personalised triggers, not everybody wants to get the same alerts, but some should go to groups of people. 

Shopify’s massive storefront rewrite [Podcast] - So many interesting titbits in this one and many that apply to my current job and the rewrite we did over the years.  

028 - Sandi Metz, Author of POODR (with Special Guest TJ Stankus) [Podcast] - chat about code and objects in Ruby and older languages

Psychologische Sicherheit in Teams (mit Michael May) [German, Podcast] -  psychological safety in teams

What's so exciting about Postgres? [Podcast] - inside look on the development, features and future of Postgres


Deutschland verpasst die Verkehrswende [German] - Germany is doing worse in implementing the change to active travel. No surprise really, Germany is stuck somewhere in the 90s. They are maybe a bit over excited about Barcelona, but it is definitely better than Berlin. 

A Piece of New York: Real Estate in NYC [Podcast] - great segment with David Schleicher, confronting Alec's NIMBY tendencies

Random Weapons

Treaty to ban nuclear weapons made official with 50th UN signatory
- I grew up at the end of the new cold war and I remember having trouble going to sleep because I was worried about a nuclear war. Any move on banning these weapons is great, even if the bullies don't agree. 

A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air - TIL: just don't go into enclosed spaces for a while ... a long while

Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog [Podcast] - a radio book club chat with the author of a dog book. I am not quite sure how much I liked it, but ... dogs!

Leaded petrol, acid rain, CFCs: why the green movement can overcome the climate crisis [Podcast] - bloody hippie optimists!

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, October 23, 2020

Friday Links

Vegan Burger (or Disc)
Urbanism bonanza today. Coronavirus has made people think more about their environment, walking and cycling. 

Also some good long read technology articles about how people approach big projects in various companies.

Engineering Management

Can agile pods help your team win big at scale? - agile in marketing. If you have a marketing of 500+ people it does seem to make sense.

They Write the Right Stuff - from 1996, apparently a classic that I haven't encountered before. About the software development for the Space Shuttle and how it was pretty much free of bugs 

What Silicon Valley "Gets" about Software Engineers that Traditional Companies Do Not - what Silicon Valley doesn't get is that there is a whole world outside of it

Managing technical quality in a codebase. - good long read about how to achieve and maintain quality in your code from the management side  

Community 3: How our rituals can forge our culture [Podcast] - I didn't really enjoy 1+2, but this one is a nice perspective into communities and culture

Software Engineer Career Ladder: Don’t Copy-Paste, Make Your Own! [Podcast] - I don't agree. Find one that you like and modify it. Don't start from scratch. Working a couple of months on something like this and then coming up with a result that is 90% like the others doesn't make sense. Still a good interview.


Improving our design system through Dark Mode - I still believe the Dark Mode is the biggest conspiracy to create developer and designer jobs over recent years, but I guess everybody has to do it now 

Under the hood: Updating LinkedIn's UI - another thing everybody has to suffer through at some point

What is coming in PHP 8 [LWN] - I still miss PHP sometimes, but not so much the language then the ecosystem  

PHP 8: before and after - another good summary of some of the nicer changes

Activists Build Facial Recognition to ID Cops Who Hide Their Badges - (original article is in the NY Times, but it is paywalled). Good initiative. I hope activists in other countries are picking this up 

Backblaze Hard Drive Stats Q3 2020 - 18TB disks available now and everything is so much more reliable

The accelerating adoption of Julia
[LWN] - I never used Julia, could this be an alternative to R or Python for data analytic tasks?

Split-Second Phantom Images Fool Autopilots - computers are pretty dumb, especially the ones with artificial intelligence  

Presenting v7.0.0 of the npm CLI  - seems like they are trying to get people back from yarn, after they messed up dependencies a while back 

Top 4 Dying Programming Languages of 2020 - never believe these lists 

Fixing Linux filesystem performance regressions - it probably has been 20 years since I had to worry about the Linux kernel, but with great scale come great problems

A parable about problem solving in software development - that made my microservice skeptical and monorepo loving heart happy 

Spotify's open platform for shipping at scale [Podcast] - good interview about Backstage and Spotify in general

Remote Work

my company is issuing new work-from-home standards because we should have the hang of it by now - what is wrong with companies? Who comes up with these rules?  

Remote working? No, we prefer to keep it close to home  - there is a reason why most people move to cities, it isn't just about the work 

How to Use Your DSLR Camera as a Webcam in Linux - turns out that this isn't that hard. I have a Sony RX100M6 and it is supported by gphoto2 and was pretty easy to set up. But really Logitech should come up with better cameras with a similar quality now that people are using 500+ Euro cameras as a webcam 


9 Reasons to Eliminate Jaywalking Laws Now - everybody outside of the US is now googling what "Jaywalking" is, then scratches their head and mutters something about "Americans!"

Barcelona to host EuroVelo and Cycling Tourism Conference in Autumn 2021 - lets hope anything will be hosted by then, but good to see it coming to Barcelona

Designing Temporary Urbanism - A New Reading Garden in Copenhagen [YouTube] - Mikael talking to an architect about a new public space in Copenhagen.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo To Make Good On Pledge To Remove Half Of City’s Car Parking Spaces
-  “Only three in ten Parisians still own a car today," this is the amazing fact, but the drivers are just so vocal compared the pedestrians and cyclists. I might secretly planning a move to Paris, it looks like it will be the Amsterdam of the future 

La Rambla: plans to transform Barcelona's tourist rat run into a cultural hub - I can't see how to get rid of the tourists again, unless you build a wall around it

How Oslo Achieved Zero Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities, and How Others Can Apply What Worked - every city has a long term "Vision Zero" plan and then Oslo just does it 

Study reveals world’s most walkable cities  - the usual supects, Barcelona is mentioned. One city you will never find on these lists: Manila, just don't even try to walk there

Is New York City Over? [Podcast] - probably not, but cities will change 

Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive? [Podcast] - because we can't or want to build more or bigger houses. And we value city centres, instead of making cities more distributed and local to living.

Random Burgers (or Discs)

Veggie Burger or Veggie ‘Disc’ on Menu? EU Vote Will Decide - for me a burger or a sausage is about the shape and not the content. I have completely switched to vegetarian/vegan burgers now, with the selection of "Impossible" style patties it is easy and I even prefer them to meat. 

Pope Francis backs same-sex civil unions  - this must be utterly confusing for a lot of hard core Christians.

Google Antitrust Notes - whatever happens, it will be worse for the user and better for advertisers. But it will take many more years for this to happen. 

Alan Moore Gives Rare Interview: ‘Watchmen’ Creator Talks New Project ‘The Show’, How Superhero Movies Have “Blighted Culture” & Why He Wants Nothing To Do With Comics - sad to not have future comics, but we still have the old ones. 

Covid-19: The global crisis — in data - great summary again by the team

9 Books That Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett Think You Should Read - Bezos choices kind of surprised me

Top 2000 a gogo [YouTube] - great channel with interviews of musicians explaining the process of some of their famous songs. TIL: Fatboy Slim was in the Housemartins!

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, October 16, 2020

Friday Links

Wonderleaf "Gin"
Some longer reads and podcasts focusing on management, the current thing and random fun. I like stories about people managing their mental health with what is going on. We are all kind of in the same boat.

Engineering Management

Cycle time: a secret weapon of efficient software teams - It is a great metric and leads to overall improvements in processes. Even if you don't bring it down to where you would like it to be, the way there is helping in many other areas

Ron, why do you ... - Agile, TDD, working software, refactoring, ...

Working Software - it means something else for everyone. Don't even get me started on MVP

The truth about Bill Gates - he seems to be a brilliant and lucky manager with and technology background. A lot of successful leaders seem to have this in common. 

72. YouTube's Susan Wojcicki: How to find – and keep – true north [Podcast] - How to become the CEO of YouTube: a good degree and luck ... OK, maybe some skill are helping too. I just wish they would stop with these sound effects and songs in this podcast.


Journalist Studio premieres with two new tools for reporters - I am no journalist, but this looks like a nice toolbox

Introducing the new Google Analytics - I am not sure if I bother to migrate old properties ... too lazy 

BleedingTooth: critical kernel Bluetooth vulnerability [LWN] - worse for Android I guess, but as we are all at home it won't affect many 

Google Responds to Warrants for “About” Searches - Every time I read this kind of stuff I hope that this is mostly about the US, because that is a lost cause anyway.

Down the ergonomic keyboard rabbit hole  - that is pretty deep into the hole. I am still at the surface. 

The Thing

Total Pareto-Dismality - the positive side of this

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going -  I can relate. It might not be cycling for you, but the general feeling of being limited is getting to a lot of people. The good thing is that I can still ride ... and it helps.

The home office reveal  - we might be stuck here for a long time, by the end all of our places might look like this. I took from this: the nice mat, I need a new chair, my backdrop sucks and I am trying out a different camera

COVID cases since June - by US state, coloured by democratic versus republican. Vote like your life depends on it!


Paris Mayor: ‘Forget Crossing Through The City By Car’
- Paris might become the new Amsterdam if they continue like this. Sadly it is in the middle of France.

Riding out the pandemic: How COVID-19 turned Europe into a cycle superpower -  "Finland has spent $7.76 per person where Spain has spent $0.17"

Random Drinks

8 Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Get You Through Stoptober - one day I have to write a blog post reviewing the many non-alcoholic beers, spirits and sparkling wines I have tried over the years. 

Environmental groups campaign against EU’s potential ‘veggie burger’ name ban - since the pandemic started I have become 95% vegetarian. "veggie burgers" are a big part of this now. I am sure someone will find a better marketing term in the future, but for me "burger" and "sausage" was always more about the shape then the contents.

This Plane Wasn't Snooping On Protesters In Los Angeles, It Was Dropping Irradiated Bugs - or possibly chemtrails!

Privilege—I've got it. - me too. And I worry about everyone else, because this won't change any time soon

Desert Island Disks: Yusuf Cat Stevens, musician [Podcast] - I have to confess I was confused by his choice of Islam by then, but that is silly and it is great to hear from him.

Desert Island Disks: Samantha Morton, actor [Podcast] - I wouldn't be surprised if her life ends up being made into a film. She also doesn't like to be reduced to sound bites, which makes it a great interview. Nice music choices too! 

Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part one) [Podcast] - I always thought the nice thing about the UK is that every stone has already be turned three times. Everything is polished in some way, clearly this makes "natural parks" an impossibility. I wonder how this applies to Spain, which is mostly empty. I would argue my garden is slowly going wild again :-)

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, October 09, 2020

Friday Links

By BishkekRocks - Own work,
CC BY-SA 3.0

Short one today, just a random collection of gems. I am very slow catching up with my podcast back-log.


Ruby 3.0 brings new type checking and concurrency features [LWN] - some good new stuff, but I don't like of having type definitions in separate files. That was already annoying in C and C++. The concurrency features probably also need some work. 

Cellmate: Male chastity gadget hack could lock users in - Internet of Dongs

Slack is getting Instagram-like stories and push-to-talk audio calls for the pandemic era - I wish I was in that meeting: "How could we make Slack waste more time so people finally use e-mail again?"

Flatpak - a security nightmare - 2 years later
- I think this is true for many container based distributions of software 

Twitter Search with Nico Tonozzi [Podcast] - interesting insight into the evolution of Twitter's search engine
Tend September Update [Vimeo] - A mindfulness VR start-up, this seems to be a good application for VR

Random Thingspiele

Thingspiele - came to this through German Spiegel article. I never heard of these or the name before. 

Working from home in UK over winter ‘will add £100 to fuel bills’  - my electricity bill is already higher, the winter will be worse 

The Guardian's 2020 Climate Pledge - good to see this and more publication should follow this

COVID-19 and Acedia - Something different from Schneier

"a sense of no longer caring about caring, not because one had become apathetic, but because somehow the whole structure of care had become jammed up."

224 Years of Election Hacking [Podcast] - not quite "unprecedented"

Should men-only private members' clubs still exist? [Podcast] - no? I always liked the idea of a private members club, sitting in a nice chesterfield armchair, reading a paper, sipping a whiskey (I don't drink) and smoking a pipe (I don't smoke). Maybe the idea is always better than the real thing.

What has Nobel done for the World? [Podcast] - talking about male clubs... it is probably doing more in making science popular than nominating the right peopel

Other Link Collections

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, October 02, 2020

Double Friday Links
Old Rave Flyer
Another week of holiday and another missed Friday brings you the double amount of links for your weekend reading pleasure.    

A bit of everything today, the random links got a bit out of hand.

Engineering Management

TMB 40/53: 10 Tips for Sustainable Change Agency [LWN] - some good tips on encouraging change without stepping on other peoples toes

Trouble hiring senior engineers? It's probably you - I take some of these tips in consideration when we hire again in a few weeks

It Doesn’t Matter What You Say - TLDR; it is about what they hear


Getting Postmark’s Lighthouse Performance Score to 100 - let us just say that we are not quite there yet

Very short functions are a code smell – an overview of the science on function length - I like small functions, but this gives another perspective 

Ron Jeffries: Some Suggested Reading - also related to small functions, but giving a different perspective

Workflows in AWS and GCP - most interesting is to see how the two big ones are designing the same thing in different ways that both make sense 

Monitoring Any System with StatsD and AppSignal's Standalone Agent - I have to confess I never used Statsd myself, but I always loved the idea since I first saw it in an Etsy talk or blog post 

Building the Next Evolution of Cloud Networks at Slack - how to keep engineers happy: do stuff different and weird

Robinhood Engineering with Jaren Glover - down to earth describtion on how Robinhood moved from http/cron to a stream architecture and some other decisions they made


Toward a "modern" Emacs [LWN] - questionable suggestions. I wonder if someone is working on a "modern" vi 

LVFS tames firmware updates
[LWN] - When LVFS first came out I didn't believe it would be as great as it is today. If you have supported hardware like it is the best thing in the world. I used to keep a Windows partition on my ThinkPads just for firmware updates, there is no need for this any more. 

The one-millionth commit: The search for the lucky Linux kernel contributor - congrats Ricardo Neri!

Linux Journal is Back - nice! also: Slashdot is still a thing?

This is a pretty dire assessment of Mozilla - :-(

Removing run-time disabling for SELinux in Fedora
- I am in the acceptance phase with SELinux

OpenPGP in Thunderbird
- this is nice, but apparently also not that useful for people already using PGP 

PostgreSQL 13 released - at least PostgreSQL upgrades on RDS are not so painful
Our work to move data portability forward - this is work by Google is so great and is just not mentioned enough. Even the Takeout feature is already brilliant. (Facebook's is also not bad)

New open source robots.txt projects - I am not quite sure why I would parse these, but it is nice to know that I can do it in Rust now

Documented Death from a Ransomware Attack - first of many to come

Nihilistic Password Security Questions - brilliant! "On what street did you lose your childlike sense of wonder?"

Remote Work

Many Google staff may never return to office full-time post-Covid 
- very different from going fully remote and more reasonable in my opinion

Rapid Response: Healthy offices and the myth of remote-work productivity, w/Diane Hoskins (Gensler)
[Podcast] - clearly Diane has a horse in the race, but it is still an interesting perspective 


Cyclist alleges police botched investigation into crash that killed ultra-endurance racer Mike Hall - as I said in another place: "I was affected a lot by Mike Hall's death, probably because this is how I will die if I die on the bicycle"

Do these 27 old ‘rules’ of professional cycling stand up to the science? - ice cream!


The New Human-Powered Era - free Strave Metro data for cities ... this is great and I hope people take advantage of this. So far it was apparently too expensive for cities like Barcelona. (Also covered here: Strava Metro Data Service Gifted To Cities To Boost Bicycling)

Invisible Bicycle Infrastructure of the Netherlands (Hoofdnetten) [YouTube] - bloody Dutch having all the fun

Why we need media reporting guidelines for road safety - there are no accidents by cars on the road, only crashes caused by drivers

You Only Have 25 Places in Your Life! [Y- I am pretty sure I have fewer places, especially at the moment. Also check the article and research.

Random Raves

Aciiiiid! Rave's first 30 years – in pictures - some nostalgia

Designed in Minecraft, built IRL - Gaza imagined in Minecraft

Is It Too Late To Stop Climate Change? Well, it's Complicated. [YouTube] - I personally think it is too late, not because we are running out of time, but because nobody cares

I listened to this and it scary and frustrating at the same time. Having experience with cancer in my family and friends I can't imagine having someone choosing the "alternative" way.
At the same time I also have a lot of friends who believe in alternative medicine, like homoeopathy, chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture. This is fine as long you just use it in addition to best practices, then the only thing hurt will be your wallet.
The danger lies in "if you believe in some lie, you believe in any lie" and this is where it can go as wrong as shown in this three part podcast.
Here's when blurred backgrounds, hand-raising, and more are coming to Google Meet
- good to see these much needed improvements and reduce reliance on Zoom in our company

Martin Fowler: Vote Against Trump, Again - it is great to see some people with large audiences using their platform to influence politics, especially if I agree with them 
Won’t Subscribe - so true. I only subscribe to a few sites and I am not going to expand that. Flattr was a good idea, but they failed. Maybe we have some common micro-payment system at some point, but I fear it has to come from the likes of Google or PayPal. 

報復性熬夜 - “revenge bedtime procrastination”

The rise and fall and rise again of “now more than ever” - I always forget about Ngram Viewer. It is such a fun tool.
Don't Compare Averages - such a great post! I am sure I made this mistake so many times 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remake reflects the changing culture of skateboarding 
 - still no points for an ollie

Long Way Up: Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman deliver another engrossing ride - great to see that they are back. They are cheating a bit with fossil fuel support vehicles, but it is still a great effort. Also watch their previous trips if you haven't yet

Billionaire Chuck Feeney achieves goal of giving away his fortune - turns out it is possible if you really want to  

#166 Country of Liars [Podcast] - a look at the possible origin of Q-Anon, which makes sense and makes me question the whole movement sanity even more

The growing influence of the QAnon conspiracy theory [Podcast] - some people really believe anything 
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.
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