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Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Culture habr.com

I ruin developers’ lives with my code reviews and I'm sorry

This post is a confession of an “egocentric maniac” (his words) and how damaging code review can be:

This review I kicked off the article with? I didn’t send it. Instead I gave the guy a couple of comments and politely asked to fix a couple of things. No big deal if the code’s not good, I can fix it myself it I need to. But I can’t fix the psyche of a guy broken by dozens of harsh reviews.

My personality today isn’t my disease. It’s a disease of the whole industry, at least in Russia. Our mentality is predicated on the cult of power and superiority. And that’s what we need to fix: just stop being that. It’s quite easy, actually.

Culture rachelbythebay.com

Code runs on people. Please keep it simple.

A (short) must-read piece from rachelbythebay:

“Everyone knows” that code is something you type into a computer, that gets interpreted by a computer, and is run by a computer. But that’s not really the end of it. Before that, it’s being “run” on whoever’s working on it. After that, it’s “running” on whoever’s digging into it to fix a bug or add some feature.

You can throw all kinds of wicked, nasty, complicated, Klein-bottle-wannabe tricks into code and the computer will shrug and slog on through it.

Try feeding that same mess to a human and you will have a variety of problems. We see them every day, and, unfortunately, we /create/ them every day.

Medium Icon Medium

An attempt to answer the question, “If software engineering is in demand, why is it so hard to get a software engineering job?”

I’ve often wondered this as well. My conclusion, after not thinking too deeply about the issue, was that it’s a combination of the difficulty in match making and poor tooling. (There are many startups trying to solve those problems, but it doesn’t seem like anybody has cracked the nut yet).

There’s lots of wisdom in this post by Curt Corginia:

A wise, mature person would treat the software engineer interview process as a pure learning experience. He, or she, would enjoy learning about companies out there for the sake of research, interacting with key players, and mastering the art of whiteboarding. It would just be like a fun game.

I don’t think of it like that, but a mature person would. Do what I say, not what I do.

Dave Bailey medium.dave-bailey.com

The art of not taking things personally

Yes, to all of this! Dave Bailey, author of The Founder Coach, shared ten useful patterns to help nurture more generous interpretations of others’ behaviors.

Reading this makes me really miss producing Brain Science.

When we encounter emotions and behaviours that don’t make sense to us, it’s often because we don’t have all the information. And in the absence of information, we tend to assume the worst.

‘Emotional generosity’ is the ability to see past behaviours that we don’t understand and proactively look for compassionate ways to explain them. It’s easy to do this for young children. If they start crying or throwing a tantrum, we wonder whether they are hungry, or tired, or hurt. Sadly, it’s harder to do this for adults — and especially our co-workers. And yet a more generous interpretation of their difficult behaviour often ends up being right.

Backstage Backstage #18

Tenet with heavy spoilers

After months of talking about and planning this episode, we decided near the very end to invite Paul from Heavy Spoilers to join us for a deep, spoiler filled, discussion on the movie Tenet, which was directed by Christopher Nolan and released September 2020. If you’re a fan of Tenet, you’ll love this episode.

Warning: This episode literally includes heavy spoilers. So come back after you’ve watched the film, or proceed if that doesn’t bother you.

Axios Icon Axios

Apple makes app store concessions to settle developer suit

From Axios:

Apple said Thursday it will relax some App Store rules in order to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by U.S.-based developers over its store terms.

…Apple will let developers communicate with users about alternative payment methods outside of the App Store. It will also set up a $100 million fund for small developers and make some other changes to its practices, but it’s keeping its overall commission structure.

This settlement is not yet approved by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

Den Delimarsky den.dev

The rise of user-hostile software

From Den Delimarsky:

We are truly living in an era of user-hostile software, and when I say “user-hostile” I mean it as “software that doesn’t really care about the needs of the user but rather about the needs of the developer.” And this is not a problem that is bound to a specific operating system (or version thereof) or class or computers. It’s literally cross-platform, and it follows customers from home, to office, to their commute.

Let me give you some examples from my own experience…

A common offender for me are apps that require permissions to “access machines on your local network.”

Maya Kaczorowski mayakaczorowski.com

Burning out and quitting

Thank you for sharing this Maya. These pull-quotes resonated with me.

I don’t think I noticed I was burnt out until early February 2021, almost six months later. Honestly, realizing it was kind of a relief. I hadn’t noticed how bad it had gotten. A few weeks later, I quit my job. And then a new, different kind of struggle started. Not knowing what to do with myself, or how to recover.

So why did I burn out? I don’t know. It’s not a single thing - like a specific work stressor - that caused my burnout. It was the never-ending treadmill of yet another day’s worth of useless meetings, with a TODO list that only grows, while you get less and less done on it every day. There isn’t a single moment that causes burnout, but there is a single moment when you realize it - that what you’re doing is impossible, insurmountable, unachievable - and that you don’t care. You can’t do it. And you don’t want to anyways.

I desperately needed to enjoy things again - so I could remember what that was like - so I could get back to enjoying ‘productive’ things too. Remember that producing recovery, relaxation, or joy for yourself is still being productive.

History blog.archive.org

Reflections as the Internet Archive turns 25

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive:

As a young man, I wanted to help make a new medium that would be a step forward from Gutenberg’s invention hundreds of years before.

By building a Library of Everything in the digital age, I thought the opportunity was not just to make it available to everybody in the world, but to make it better–smarter than paper. By using computers, we could make the Library not just searchable, but organizable; make it so that you could navigate your way through millions, and maybe eventually billions of web pages.

See also the website they made to virtually celebrate their 25th anniversary. I love the tagline: From Wayback to way forward

Lars Wikman underjord.io

My trust in software, an all time low

I don’t think I’ve ever had more distrust and as a consequence distate for software than in recent years. I don’t think its just me as a tech-nerd with artisanal tech-carpentry aspirations. I want people to build well, treat their users right and generally exercise some actual restraint. I see it very clearly and I react more viscerally than anyone non-technical in my surroundings. However, I see the frustrations and the consequences everywhere…

Tom MacWright macwright.com

The return of fancy tools

Tom MacWright on the pendulum swinging back and forth between simple and “fancy”

Technology is seeing a little return to complexity. Dreamweaver gave way to hand-coding websites, which is now leading into Webflow, which is a lot like Dreamweaver. Evernote give way to minimal Markdown notes, which are now becoming Notion, Coda, or Craft. Visual Studio was “disrupted” by Sublime Text and TextMate, which are now getting replaced by Visual Studio Code. JIRA was replaced by GitHub issues, which is getting outmoded by Linear.

The Changelog The Changelog #440

Open source goes to Mars 🚀

This week we’re talking about open source on Mars. Martin Woodward (Senior Director of Developer Relations at GitHub) joins us to talk about the new Mars badge GitHub introduced. This collaboration between GitHub and NASA confirmed nearly 12,000 people contributed code, documentation, graphic design, and more to the open source software that made Ingenuity’s launch possible. Today’s show is a celebration of this human achievement and the impact of open source on space exploration as we know it.

Culture mccormick.cx

One million people saw my dumbest tweet

This article won’t help you write better code, but it might help you better manage your relationship with Twitter. (Which could help you write better code.) It’s also really well written.

Social media are the Trojans at the gates of your mind. Their wooden horse is magnificent. It glistens with all of the fittest memes. I let those Trojans into the fortress of my mind, and it was a mistake.

If you’re intrigued by faustian bargains, incremental games, and petrichor… give it a read.

Hidde de Vries hiddedevries.nl

Criticism pushes the web forward

Hidde de Vries takes a strong, reasoned stance to online criticism of others’ work:

This week, a friend shared a blog post that critiqued a popular framework for CSS. Twitter started to discuss if it’s okay to criticise tools. In this post, I’ll say it is not just okay, it is also important.

This is a tough subject because we identify so closely with the things we create (our code), but Hidde is right: if we want to progress as an industry (and individually) we need to be able to criticize (constructively) and receive criticism. It’s part of the process.

We should give feedback respectfully and constructively, but we should give feedback. And open up to feedback, not demand it to go away. It may not be easy, but it is important to include perspectives outside your own.

Nat Bennett simplermachines.com

What happens when you pair all day, most days, for years?

There are obvious upsides to pair programming. This post from Nat Bennett shares both the ups and the downs of pairing all day for years…

So I paired all day, most days, for about five years. This had a lot of upsides, far more than I can list here. There’s a standard list of benefits and drawbacks to pairing that you might be familiar with, but the impact of pairing, especially pairing that much, goes much deeper than its impact on the code, on the particular work the team delivers that week.

Nat goes on to share when pairing took more than it gave for them.

Pairing requires being vulnerable, to another human being, for hours at a time. Intimacy, both physical and mental. I had to share space, decisions, thought processes, and often feelings with this person. … This never stopped being draining.

Over time, over years, pairing wore me down. Took a little bit more each day than I could recover. Until my life was working, and recovering from work, and then working some more.

Rails weblog.rubyonrails.org

Clarity on Rails' governance

In the wake of recent events at Basecamp (and DHH’s continued involvement with Ruby on Rails), many have questioned the governance process for Rails. This post from “The Rails Team” is meant to “clarify how the team is structured,” and how they operate.

…no one on the Core team, or their employers, have sole control over the framework or community. There is no individual or subset of individuals who have power to enact policies unilaterally in the Rails community spaces that we operate (for example on issues, pull requests, or the forum).

Casey Newton platformer.news

What really happened at Basecamp

Casey Newton interviewed a half-dozen Basecamp employees, as well as David Heinemeier Hansson (Basecamp co-founder) to write this account of recent events.

How a list of “funny” customer names triggered an internal reckoning. The controversy that embroiled enterprise software maker Basecamp this week began more than a decade ago, with a simple list of customers. Around 2009, Basecamp customer service representatives began keeping a list of names that they found funny. More than a decade later, current employees were so mortified by the practice that none of them would give me a single example of a name on the list.

Discussion about the list and how the company ought to hold itself accountable for creating it led directly to CEO Jason Fried announcing Tuesday that Basecamp would ban employees from holding “societal and political discussions” on the company’s internal chat forums. The move, which has sparked widespread discussion in Silicon Valley, follows a similar move from cryptocurrency company Coinbase last year.

Employees say the founders’ memos unfairly depicted their workplace as being riven by partisan politics, when in fact the main source of the discussion had always been Basecamp itself.

Seriously loving the writing coming from Casey on Platformer since his departure from The Verge.

 Vanessa Sochat cacm.acm.org

10 best practices for remote software engineering

What does “developer productivity” mean to you?

At face value, when we think of developer productivity we might think of effectiveness in time management, communication, and task completion. Although we are drawn to personal workflow or time management tools, and learning secrets to improving our productivity, ironically this quest for the holy grail can sometimes take us off course and be a detriment to our productivity. … As a developer of scientific software, and one who has transitioned to working remotely before any stay at home orders, I have slowly learned to optimize my own productivity by focusing exclusively on well-being.

Thanks to Vanessa for summarizing what she’s learned. Here’s a sample…

Establish routine and environment. Small details about your working environment, or lack of a routine, can hugely throw off your workday, and thus your productivity. You should generally pay attention to the lighting, noise level, and comfort of a work space. If you find yourself distracted by anything, you might consider changing your environment.

This will likely pair well with JS Party #169: Work environments & happiness

Tim O'Reilly oreilly.com

The end of Silicon Valley as we know it?

High-profile entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, venture capitalists like Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, and big companies like Oracle and HP Enterprise are all leaving California. During COVID-19, Zoom-enabled tech workers have discovered the benefits of remote work from cheaper, less congested communities elsewhere. Is this the end of Silicon Valley as we know it? Perhaps. But other challenges to Silicon Valley’s preeminence are more fundamental than the tech diaspora.

Understanding four trends that may shape the future of Silicon Valley is also a road map to some of the biggest technology-enabled opportunities of the next decades…

There are most posts like this from Tim.

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