Friday, April 29, 2022

Friday Links 22-14

Old rotary phone
Rotary Phone

The paper about traffic safety messages is very surprising and interesting. 

If you don't measure your change you might make the wrong assumptions.


Visualizing Team Dependencies with a Team API - aka team agreement

Founding Uber SRE. - I am pretty sure he is too modest. Interesting that hiring was so fast back then. 

Episode #4: Nothing In Nothing Out - I never seen a good use of Jira for metrics, maybe something to aim for at $NEXTJOB


Burnout, Buffer’s State of Remote Work, and Lessons from Super Pumped [Podcast] - I liked only the first two parts. 

The world's WFH expert is confident for offices [Podcast] - as much as we hate it, most people will work in hybrid environments


Infiltrating the Auto Show II [Podcast] - how to say: "we added some orange bits" in many words

Can behavioral interventions be too salient? Evidence from traffic safety messages - unintended consequences 

ADAC ruft zum Fahrradfahren auf [German] - German car club recommends to use the bicycle for the trip to the bakery instead of the SUV. (insert sound of hell freezing over) 

Free Public Transit Is Not a Climate Policy - I confess I was a fan of free transport, but I changed my mind for other reasons. Frequency is more important and it should be cheap enough.

Random Phones

Rotary Un-Smartphone - you can buy one now!

Barcelona phone booth library vandalised a day after opening - that is why we can't have nice things

GNOME patent troll stripped of patent rights - nice to see, lets make that happen more often

Seven hours’ sleep is ideal amount in middle to old age, study finds - tell that to our dogs! I wish I had seven hours uninterrupted sleep.

Antigone [Podcast] - I nearly skipped this one, but it is great. I love Greek stories and this one seems lovely, with a connection to the present. 

Maybe [Comic] - "Maybe I'll make some changes today"

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, April 22, 2022

Friday Links 22-13

Bicycle in front of old stone village

I am switching to more off-line reading in the coming weeks. I still got a few interesting bits this week. 

A lot of good summary posts this week. I like the principles and koans one for example.


Job Ads to Hire Software Engineers: My Advice - nothing new here, but good to have it in one place 

When your coaching questions freak someone out - I never even considered that. Maybe I have been lucky so far.

Rethinking Flexibility at Work [Podcast] - about autonomy

TBM 18/52: We Need Someone Who Has Done "It" Before - "You have to resist either seeing everything as solved, or everything up in the air. It’s a mix. That’s….”it”."

The 8 Best Professional Development Goals for Managers - good summary of the usual ideas 

TWH#35: Principles - for leadership and management


Five Koans of Software Architecture - "“Graph databases are lies”" :-)

Update on the Atlassian outage affecting some customers - that was pretty bad, but I can understand how it can happen 

Do You Really Code? - assessing if you are a programmer with a simple survey


The Freedom Phone is not great at privacy - oh no!

NULL [Podcast] - technology is pretty hopeless

Clever Cryptocurrency Theft - "It is insane to me that cryptocurrencies are still a thing."

Man who paid $2.9m for NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet set to lose almost $2.9m - poor thing!


U.S. and European Zoning, Compared [YouTube] - apparently you can do zoning OK and it used to be a good idea

What are the most effective ways to get cars out of cities? - Spoiler: congestion charges

The Colorado Safety Stop is the law of the land - I hope this spreads around the world ... unlikely

Air pollution and CO2 from daily mobility: Who emits and Why? Evidence from Paris - SUVs from the suburbs


I went on TV to explain Just Stop Oil – and it became a parody of Don’t Look Up - this is amazing, the show and moderators should be ashamed of themselves 

Net Zero Check"If your organisation tweets about #EarthDay we'll tweet with an assessment of your climate commitments."

Random Bikes

Secondhand bikes and city traffic: the joy and grit of an African cycle race - we are spoiled

Blinde Bäckerin verwöhnt Radler mit selbstgemachten Kuchen [German] - if you cycling around Berlin, make this one of your stops. I found it by chance and it was an amazing experience.

The music cassette tape revival is in full rewind mode - they are cheaper too!

1980's Kenwood Tape Deck - Auto-reverse fix [YouTube] - this is my favourite retro audio channel now after Techmoan

Someone managed to fit an entire Raspberry Pi computer inside the body of a cassette - not a cassette any more!

To Do List [Comic] - I feel seen again


Bruce Lawson: Reading List 289

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, April 14, 2022

Saying goodbye to Devex

Hand drawing of factory and "Devex"
After more than eight years I have decided to leave Devex and look for new adventures.

This is a long time and except for my start-up back in the days, the longest stint at one company for me so far.

The world was very different in 2013. The iPhone 5S was released. 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak was starting to get going. Donald J. Trump announced Miss Universe 2013 To Take Place At Crocus City Hall In Moscow. Ruby 2.1.0 was released, so was Rails 4.0.2. On 23 January 2013, under pressure from many of his MPs and from the rise of UKIP, Cameron announced in his Bloomberg speech that a Conservative government would hold an in-or-out referendum on EU membership before the end of 2017.

I was working at a hotel booking site at that time, when I got introduced to Devex by a friend. I ended up at one of the terrace happenings. Kami, one of the founders, picked my brain and explained the problems and set-up Devex had at the time.

It might have been the alcohol (I was still drinking back then) or the realisation that I couldn’t make it any worse, but at some point I agreed to join the team.

People in office with guitar and wine
The team was very different back then, with just a small team in Barcelona and a much larger team in Manila. There was a Technical Director already, so I joined as Associate Technical Director. Kami’s plan was for me to do 80% coding and 20% management. To me it was clear early on that it probably would end up the other way around.

I kicked off my Friday Links in the first weeks, got Scrum going (and later restarted again after an experiment), introduced code reviews, 1:1s, proper testing, local reproducible environments, continuous integration and set the path to continuous deployment which we are still on. Simplification of our code was also always a goal, it took years to finally remove the legacy codebase named Neo, but some low hanging fruits vanished earlier.

While I might have kicked off a lot of things with a proof of concept or MVP, we wouldn’t be here without the brilliant team. Some have been with Devex about as long as I have been.

Everyone has been very patient with me, while I was learning more about management and getting on board with my visions for the technology and the team.

The team will be fine without me. We have great people already and more are joining in the coming weeks. 

Interview at Devex World 2018
Devex World 2018

I am going to miss the team, all Devexers, Frine (Friday wine), office dogs, an office!, Devex World, visits to our Manila and DC offices.
I will miss the discussions about our technology, products, teams and culture.

Devex is a very special place and the international development community is a very special industry to work with. You don't often have the chance to be part of something that is creating such a positive impact in the world. 

The Devex slogan of "Do Good. Do It Well." is more than just a motivational message. It is something to aim for every day.

But it is finally time for me to move on and say goodbye.  

More on my future in another post...

Early Friday Links 22-12

Foto of Amiga 1000 homecomputer
Amiga 1000

Short and quiet week. I liked the refresher on engineering directors and 1:1s.


Mailbag: Resources for Engineering Directors. - helpful summary of previous articles and book pointers

Episode #2: The First Taste of Metrics - continuation of the metrics blog post series 

One on One Meetings: The Only Guide Managers Need - I get more and more annoyed by the Lighthouse posts, but this one is a good overview


Performance at GitHub: deferring stats with rack.after_reply - I am pretty sure I did something similar in PHP ten years ago

De-anonymizing Bitcoin - I hope this is another nail in that coffin


Sun, sea and now smoke free: Barcelona bans cigarettes on the beach - nice!

Coming soon: More ways to repair your Pixel phone - good to see more repairable devices. Swapping screens and batteries should be something everybody can do

Police in Spain seize €29m haul of stuffed endangered animals - what the fuck is wrong with people?


Autonomous murderbot pulled over by SFPD; tries to escape. - this is not the urban future I imagined

The streets belong to the people - "understanding that the streets quite literally belong to the public is a good place to start."

Heavy-Ass EVs Are Going To Kill Us All - in Europe you will need a truck license to drive the Hummer EV. As much as I would like do drive it off-road for fun, it is a pretty pointless car.

Colorado approves bill to let cyclists ride through red lights - but what will drivers complain about then?

Random Computers

A500 Mini review – tiny Commodore Amiga is a robust piece of tech nostalgia - I stick with emulation for now until I can revive my Amiga with pistorm

How to ace your interview [Comic] - I can relate

Cylinder Records - New music on dead formats taken to the extreme [YouTube] - if you thought collecting cassette decks was weird

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, April 08, 2022

Friday Links 22-11

old green diesel locomotive

Catching up with podcast. The ones about Coaching Habit, Brian Kernighan and The Pedestrian are very good.


Tackling bottlenecks at scale-ups [Podcast] - Podcast with a summary of the idea behind the content I shared recently.

How To Do Less - about hard prioritization "First, you need to lower everybody’s expectations, ASAP."

Why greater autonomy is the future of software development - release of the Atlassian State of the Developer Report [PDF]

Rich Paret - Why You're Terrible at Hiring (and how to fix it) [Podcast] - the idea of hiring someone without comparing them to other candidates is great and difficult

How to refactor meetings as they grow with the rule of eight - about meetings, team and company structure. 

Episode #1: Going On an Adventure! The First Step - getting started with metrics and running into problems already 

TBM 15/52: A Tale of Two Meetings - I am not going to lie, 180 minute meetings scare me

How GitHub does take home technical interviews - a lot of automation, which makes sense at scale

Technology Radar - I like the idea of the radar more than the content :-)

The Best Managers Don't Rescue, They Coach: Why Your Goals Should Be Thrilling, Important, and Daunting (with Michael Bungay Stanier, Author of ‘The Coaching Habit’ & ‘How to Begin’) [Podcast] - I love the (very short) book and it is nice to hear him talking about it


Prevent the introduction of known vulnerabilities into your code - another cool use of GitHub actions and their dependency review service 

Devs For Ukraine - free on-line conference to raise funds for Ukraine 

Wisdom from 50+ years in software [Podcast] - Interview with Brian Kernighan

Handling Flaky Tests at Scale: Auto Detection & Suppression - flaky tests are one of my obsessions

Stabilize, Modularize, Modernize: Scaling Slack’s Mobile Codebases - modularization is key here


Thousands of UK workers to take part in four-day week trial - take me! 

Atlassians are on the move as our people embrace TEAM Anywhere - interesting migration patterns

How many jobs can be done at home? - "37% of jobs in the United States can be performed entirely at home. Jobs that can be done at home typically pay more." this will split society even more


Last stop, underwater: the Spanish railway line being devoured by the sea - we are all affected

Ebre River Delta activists form human SOS message to highlight environmental issues - We have to accept that this place is lost. 

Cutting fuel taxes is a bad idea - everybody knows 

London, Paris, Rome, and Milan denounce High Court’s rejection of Low Emission Zone - something is going really wrong with Barcelona's ZBE


Old Enough: the Japanese TV show that abandons toddlers on public transport - I haven't watched this yet, but it does sound intriguing. Imagine a city where it is perfectly normal and safe that kids can move around alone on foot, public transport or bicycle.

Usuaris Bicing visiten la nau i celebren els 15 anys de servei [Catalan] - Bicing (Barcelona bike share) is 15 years old! It is such a big part of the change of the city. 

Model project: 30 km/h speed limit leads to better air quality  - surprise! 

The Pedestrian [Podcast] - I too have been stopped by the police in LA for walking. I was a teenager and with my family.

The Only* Car-Free Neighbourhood in Canada (and why you can't live there) [YouTube] - the weird thing is not this neighbourhood, but that you can never build one like this again  

Episode #294 – Building a Better World — an Activist Planner’s Network Analysis of Bike Lanes in Paris [YouTube] - the importance of network vs length of lanes

New smartphone app to allow public to submit evidence of speeding drivers - I want this! Or something similar to measure speed of cars in the city.

Autos raus – Berliner Friedrichstraße zieht mehr Menschen an [German] - Berlin banned cars from a small stretch of road in the city centre and as always it has been a success

What’s a City’s Curb Space Worth? - more than wasting it on parking

Random Trains

Rail route of the month: Barcelona to Cádiz, the slow train right across Spain - I took this train once at night. Next time I make sure it is a day train to watch the scenery. 

The people who keep the refugee trains running out of Ukraine – photo essay - everybody in Ukraine is a hero

Visualizing Air Raid Sirens in Ukraine - good and depressing use of data

Introducing Atlas – your new teamwork directory - this looks useful if you already bought into the Atlassian tool-set

498. In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric [Podcast] - a bit of history of the electric car. Also mentions that roads where paved for bicycles

Today is March 769th, 2020 - helpful calendar 

Building a Second Brain - I am using org-roam for my second brain. The post has links to more ideas around this. See also: Second Brain Summit 2022 - Full Session Recordings [YouTube]

That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake - weird

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.