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Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Practical AI Practical AI #127

Women in Data Science (WiDS)

Chris has the privilege of talking with Stanford Professor Margot Gerritsen, who co-leads the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide Initiative. This is a conversation that everyone should listen to. Professor Gerritsen’s profound insights into how we can all help the women in our lives succeed - in data science and in life - is a ‘must listen’ episode for everyone, regardless of gender.

Culture kirby.kevinson.org

ISO 8601: the better date format

It’s time for Americans to abandon mm/dd/yyyy and for Europeans to abandon dd.mm.yyyy and for everyone to adopt the truly better format: yyyy-mm-dd

Yup, that’s about it. You write the year, the month, the day, and then the time exactly like it’s done in other date formats. There’s nothing extraordinary, so you can learn it in 2 minutes.

If you don’t think this format is better, open your mind and read the author’s case.

Practical AI Practical AI #124

Green AI 🌲

Empirical analysis from Roy Schwartz (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Jesse Dodge (AI2) suggests the AI research community has paid relatively little attention to computational efficiency. A focus on accuracy rather than efficiency increases the carbon footprint of AI research and increases research inequality. In this episode, Jesse and Roy advocate for increased research activity in Green AI (AI research that is more environmentally friendly and inclusive). They highlight success stories and help us understand the practicalities of making our workflows more efficient.

Tudor Girba blog.feenk.com

Developers spend most of their time figuring the system out

Tudor Girba unpacks the statement “developers spend most of their time figuring the system out.”

…reading is just the means through which information is gathered from data. It also happens to be the most manual possible way to do that, so this lends itself to an important opportunity for optimization.

Before you can do something significant about anything, you have to name it. Otherwise it’s like with Voldemort. Many winters ago, I called the effort of “figuring the system out to know what to do next” assessment. And I claimed we should optimize development around it. For a whole decade my colleagues and I explored this idea. And it led us to what we now call moldable development.

Tom Critchlow tomcritchlow.com

Why can't I write code inside my browser?

What would happen if browsers came pre-installed with Node.js, an IDE, and a simple runtime environment?

…there’s been a kind of revolution around coding. “Javascript everywhere” (i.e. node.js) has really become the default web-development paradigm. Javascript is alluring - partly because every computer has a javascript GUI and runtime - the browser! You can code in javascript on your computer using a text editor and a browser - without ever touching the command line!

But, what if a full-fledged dev environment for JavaScript was just as ubiquitous as the runtime in the browser?

Sahil Lavingia sahillavingia.com

No meetings, no deadlines, no full-time employees

Once again, Sahil Lavingia shared proof that we can think differently about the future of work. Sure, not every company should operate the way Gumroad is operating, but there are plenty of insights to be drawn from their experience.

Recently, I pitched the whole company about going full-time, because it felt wrong to grow any larger without full-time staff.

Nobody accepted.

I realized then that I was trying to copy the status quo–to try and fix something that wasn’t broken–so that I could feel better about doing things the “normal” way. But the deal we already had in place was better for what our people prioritize: freedom over growth, sustainability over speed, life over work.

I recently spoke with Sahil on Founders Talk #66 about failing to build a billion-dollar company. I highly recommend that episode.

Kubernetes github.com

Making k8s do what it was always meant to do... order pizza! 🍕

It may be Monday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of fun, does it? If fun to you is ordering pizza by writing some YAML… step right up and place your order:

$ kubectl get pizzastore store-123 -o yaml
kind: PizzaStore
metadata:
  name: store-123
spec:
  address: |
    51 Niagara St
    Toronto, ON M5V1C3
  id: "10391"
  phone: 416-364-3939
  products:
    - description: Unique Lymon (lemon-lime) flavor, clear, clean and crisp with no caffeine.
      id: 2LSPRITE
      name: Sprite
      size: 2 Litre

Ben McCormick benmccormick.org

Are you headed towards burnout?

How do you know if you’re on your way to burning out? Ben McCormick has one question he uses when he’s concerned that himself or one of his teammates is headed down a path to burnout:

If you take the pace & quality of the last 2 months of your life and repeated it again and again, how long would you be able to sustain it?

As we begin the process of closing out the year, and what a year it has been, and start planning for what might be in 2021 — consider how this question impacts you now and how you can shape your future with this question in mind.

Go Time Go Time

The engineer who changed the game

Today we’re sharing a full-length episode of Command Line Heroes from Season 6 for you to check out. We hand picked this episode for you to listen to.

Many of us grew up playing cartridge-based games. But there’s few who know the story behind how those cartridges came to be. And even fewer who know the story of the man behind them: Jerry Lawson. Before Jerry, a gaming console could only play one game. Jerry quite literally changed the game. This episode shares Jerry’s story of inventing the cartridge-based system for gaming consoles.

The Changelog The Changelog #422

Growing as a software engineer

Gergely Orosz joined Adam for a conversation about his journey as a software engineer. Gergely recently stepped down from his role as Engineering Manager at Uber to pursue his next big thing. But, that next big thing isn’t quite clear to him yet. So, in the meantime, he has been using this break to write a few books and blog more so he can share what he’s learned along the way. He’s also validating some startup ideas he has on platform engineering. His first book is available to read now — it’s called The Tech Resume Inside Out and offers a practical guide to writing a tech resume written by the people who do the resume screening. Both topics gave us quite a bit to talk about.

Ina Fried axios.com

Making sense of the $28 billion Salesforce-Slack deal

If you missed the news…Salesforce is buying Slack for $28 billion. To be clear, the deal is $27.7 billion in cold hard cash plus Salesforce stock. But who cares about money, amirite? Why does this deal even make sense?

Ina Fried for Axios:

[Salesforce] CEO Marc Benioff characterized the move as a bet that the pandemic-driven shift to remote work isn’t a temporary blip but rather a permanent transformation.

Slack has the lead in its still-nascent space, but was facing a challenge of its own — namely that Microsoft’s rival Teams was bundled into Office subscriptions. As a standalone company, Slack couldn’t easily manage such a move, nor could it afford to get into a price war.

I liked what Aaron Levie (Co-founder and CEO of Box) said about this deal and the future of work:

What’s amazing is that even though the current wave of enterprise software to power the future of work has been going strong for 10+ years, we’re still in the very earliest of stages in this market. The last decade has been about building the tools that power new ways to work from anywhere, collaborate with anyone, and automate workflows and business processes in the cloud. The next decade will be the era when organizations adopt these technologies en masse and transform their enterprises. While many of us in Silicon Valley and similar ecosystems have been using tools like Slack for years now (and even Microsoft Teams, more recently), 90%+ of the world’s digital workers are still not leveraging these modern platforms for the majority of their work. While it’s hard to imagine, we’re still in the early innings of this market.

Linux lists.busybox.net

Understanding bin, sbin, usr/bin, usr/sbin

This post to the BusyBox mailing list from back in 2010 was a fun read to get the backstory on bin, sbin, usr/bin, and usr/sbin.

You know how Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie created Unix on a PDP-7 in 1969?
Well around 1971 they upgraded to a PDP-11 with a pair of RK05 disk packs (1.5
megabytes each) for storage.

When the operating system grew too big to fit on the first RK05 disk pack (their
root filesystem) they let it leak into the second one
, which is where all the
user home directories lived (which is why the mount was called /usr). They
replicated all the OS directories under there (/bin, /sbin, /lib, /tmp…) and
wrote files to those new directories because their original disk was out of
space. When they got a third disk, they mounted it on /home and relocated all
the user directories to there so the OS could consume all the space on both
disks and grow to THREE WHOLE MEGABYTES (ooooh!).

Jaana Dogan Medium

What did I forget by working for the same company?

Jaana Dogan, now working at AWS, reflects on her (long) time at Google:

My time was up for one exact reason. I no longer had no clue what the life outside Google felt like. My actual superpower was gone. I remember sitting in meetings only bringing insights from what I hear from customers without truly understanding how things worked outside of our bubble end-to-end.

Thoughtful reflection is a powerful tool in your life. Sharing that reflection with others, like Jaana does here, can be a powerful tool in other people’s lives. 💪

Matt Klein changelog.com/posts

My secret to building Envoy's community

Envoy’s open source community is amazing. I looked the other day, and at least on GitHub, just from a code contribution perspective, we’re almost at 600 contributors. Which for a fairly low-level C++ project… that is freakin’ incredible. It just blows my mind. And then you look at all of the vertical products and all these other things that are built on top…

There are many factors that contributed to this success, but one thing I did early on stands out as the most important thing I could’ve done. In this post I share my secret with you.

The Changelog The Changelog #420

The Kollected Kode Vicious

We’re joined by George Neville-Neil, aka Kode Vicious. Writing as Kode Vicious for ACMs Queue magazine, George Neville-Neil has spent the last 15+ years sharing incisive advice and fierce insights for everyone who codes, works with code, or works with coders. These columns have been among the most popular items published in ACMs Queue magazine and it was only a matter of time for a book to emerge from his work. His book, The Kollected Kode Vicious, is a compilation of the most popular items he’s published over the years, plus a few extras you can only find in the book. We cover all the details in this episode.

The New Stack Icon The New Stack

An open source leader is gone, a remembrance of Dan Kohn

Thanks to Alex Williams over at The New Stack for doing a great write up remembering Dan Kohn and the tremendous mark he has left on open source and Cloud Native. Of course Dan had help along the way, but by-and-large the CNCF and “cloud native” as we know it are the direct result of Dan’s vision and leadership.

Thank you Dan. You will be missed.

We knew little in 2016 about what Dan was up to but we soon got a hint. The CNCF was already established but what it represented was still a bit unclear. If anything, Dan was a businessman and a computer scientist. He knew the economic importance of at-scale computing and the technical complexity that made it so fascinating.

The technical community was ready for someone like Dan — they needed help. Open source cloud native projects were growing but the resources were essential to keep progress moving. He was there to make sure the work got done that technologists should not have to do: Building awareness, supporting the publicity of new projects and perhaps most of all, smoothly running the conferences.

We’ve had Dan on The Changelog a few times. Go back and listen to episode #276 and episode #314 to hear from Dan himself about the journey of the CNCF and Cloud Native.

An open source leader is gone, a remembrance of Dan Kohn

Brain Science Brain Science #32

The practice of being present

We’re joined by Elisha Goldstein, PhD - one of the world’s preeminent mindfulness teachers, a clinical psychologist, founder of the Mindful Living Collective and, creator of the six-month breakthrough program - A Course in Mindful Living. If you’ve ever used the Calm app, you might be familiar with his voice as he walks you through mindfulness practices to help calm negative emotions and anxious thoughts. He has extensive expertise in mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and today he’s sharing his wealth of knowledge using mindfulness to naturally reduce anxiety and be more present and aware in our lives.

Gergely Orosz blog.pragmaticengineer.com

Developer advice to self

Gergely Orosz shared advice that he’d give to himself 10 years ago. It’s interesting how hindsight is always 20/20…it’s easier to connect the dots looking back vs looking forward.

As I look back to over a decade ago, there are a few things I wish I’d started doing sooner. Habits that could have helped made me grow faster and in a more focused way. This is the advice I’d give my younger self, who has just landed their first professional software engineering job.

1. Take the time to read two books per year on software engineering … Every time I took the time to slowly and thoroughly read a recommended book on software engineering, I leveled up. By properly reading, I mean taking notes, talking chapters through with others, doodle diagrams, trying out, going back, and re-reading…

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