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Culture

Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Tierney Cyren 1x.engineer

What is a 1x Engineer?

Fun little site poking fun at the 10x engineer meme. Here’s a sampler of things a 1x engineer does: Writes code that &emdash; gasp &emdash; has bugs. Writes code that others can read. Is a team player that goes to the same meetings their co-workers are required to go to. If you’re wondering whether the &emdash;es are intentional… yes and no. Bonus points for NES.css 👌

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Nicholas Rempel blog.30hourjobs.com

Moving the world to a 4 day workweek

Is it possible to work just 4 days a week, be happier, more productive, and still make the same amount of money? That’s one of many questions Aidan Harper and other researchers at the New Economics Foundation and members of the 4 Day Week campaign are trying to solve in an effort to combat the problem of overwork, which is “leading to a crisis in mental health and well-being.” The single biggest cause of work related stress, anxiety, and depression is overwork. So much so that last year one in four of all sick days was the result of overwork — which is huge proportion of sickness caused directly by overwork. In some ways, you can look at this statistic as a massive drag on the economy. Losing that many work days is very expensive but, more importantly, it’s also a huge societal malaise. Every day people are feeling the effects of overwork and this statistic doesn’t even take into account the number of people who aren’t taking sick days but are feeling generally burnt out and are just barely getting by. To summarize — the 4 day workweek is a pragmatic response to a the problem of overwork that is leading to a crisis in mental health and wellbeing. If you’re just off the heels of the recent honest conversation about burnout on JS Party, then you’ll certainly enjoy this interview with Aidan Harper,

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Jonathan Leitschuh Medium

Zoom's zero day bug bounty write-up

By now you’ve probably heard about Zoom’s zero day bug that exposed 4+ million webcams to the bidding of nefarious hackers. Security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh shared the full background and details on InfoSec Write-ups: This vulnerability was originally responsibly disclosed on March 26, 2019. This initial report included a proposed description of a ‘quick fix’ Zoom could have implemented by simply changing their server logic. It took Zoom 10 days to confirm the vulnerability. The first actual meeting about how the vulnerability would be patched occurred on June 11th, 2019, only 18 days before the end of the 90-day public disclosure deadline. During this meeting, the details of the vulnerability were confirmed and Zoom’s planned solution was discussed. However… If you use Zoom or if you’ve EVER installed Zoom, read Jonathan’s write-up and take appropriate action to update Zoom or to remove the lingering web server it leaves behind. Confirm if the server is present by running lsof -i :19421 in Terminal.

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Omer Hamerman prodops.io

Make Vim your friend in 9 minutes (or less)

Clearly it takes years to truly master Vim, but it takes just 9 minutes, or less depending on the speed you read at, to hear someone else’s journey with Vim. Omer Hamerman shared the “why” and “how” of Vim — plus the recipe and resources he used to learn Vim. How did I do it? After a few brutal fights, having my fallback IDE to run back to crying with the tail between my legs, I made a decision. Here’s how I did it: Got a nice small notebook I could carry around I bought the awesome Practical Vim by Drew Neil both in hardcover and for my iPad to read on the move Every night before going to bed, I read one tip — the book is very intelligently built like that for easy, slow studying…

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Brent Simmons inessential.com

No algorithms

Brent Simmons: I’ve been asked a few times about using algorithms in NetNewsWire to bring articles you wouldn’t otherwise have seen — from outside your feeds list — to your attention. I’ve also been asked a similar question about using algorithms to bring articles — from inside your feeds list — to the top based on the likelihood that they’ll interest you. I’m not going to do either. Good for him. This is what Twitter and Facebook are about — but it’s not right for NetNewsWire. The app puts you in control. This is what I love about the spirit of RSS readers. More like this, please!

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link Icon cs.utexas.edu

The humble programmer

E.W. Dijkstra, in an ACM lecture he delivered almost 50 years ago: … the computer, by virtue of its fantastic speed, seems to be the first to provide us with an environment where highly hierarchical artifacts are both possible and necessary. This challenge, viz. the confrontation with the programming task, is so unique that this novel experience can teach us a lot about ourselves. It should deepen our understanding of the processes of design and creation, it should give us better control over the task of organizing our thoughts. If it did not do so, to my taste we should not deserve the computer at all! A fantastic read that was recommended to me by Andy Hunt during a conversation that you’ll be hearing on The Changelog real soon. I took his recommendation and now I’m passing it on.

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Bridget Kromhout ACM

Containers will not fix your broken culture

Bridget Kromhout dropping some hard truths: We focus so often on technical anti-patterns, neglecting similar problems inside our social structures. Spoiler alert: the solutions to many difficulties that seem technical can be found by examining our interactions with others. Let’s talk about five things you’ll want to know when working with those pesky creatures known as humans. Thing #2 (Good Team Interactions: Build, Because You Can’t Buy) alone is worth the price of admission.

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Monica Lent monicalent.com

7 absolute truths I unlearned as junior developer

This is a great set of insights about being a developer and the software industry. It’s so easy when you’re first getting into something to have unrealistic expectations or idealistic beliefs. Articles like this help pull back the curtain and show what it’s really like. Author Monica Lent describes what a junior developer can get from this post: Maybe you’ll find something here you currently believe, and get inspired to learn more about it and why the topic is so multi-faceted. Or maybe you’ll find this post encouraging because you’re already so far ahead of where I was at your stage.

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CockroachDB cockroachlabs.com

Why we're relicensing CockroachDB

The co-founders of CockroachDB — Peter Mattis (CTO), Ben Darnell (Chief Architect), and Spencer Kimball (CEO) — co-wrote a post explaining their move to MariaDB’s Business Source License (BSL) in order to thwart competitors, otherwise know as “highly-integrated providers,” from offering a version of CockroachDB “as-a-service” without purchasing a license to do so. We’re witnessing the rise of highly-integrated providers take advantage of their unique position to offer “as-a-service” versions of OSS products, and offer a superior user experience as a consequence of their integrations. Here’s the tl;dr of this license change: Today, we’re adopting an extremely permissive version of the Business Source License (BSL). CockroachDB users can scale CockroachDB to any number of nodes. They can use CockroachDB or embed it in their applications (whether they ship those applications to customers or run them as a service). They can even run it as a service internally. The one and only thing that you cannot do is offer a commercial version of CockroachDB as a service without buying a license.

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Gergely Orosz blog.pragmaticengineer.com

Undervalued software engineering skills? Writing well.

Being able to communicate and write well often plays out to being a huge asset in a career. But how does that works for software engineers? Gergely Orosz writes on his personal blog: For software engineers, writing becomes the tool to reach, converse with and influence engineers and teams outside their immediate peers. Writing becomes essential to make thoughts, tradeoffs and decisions durable. Writing things downs makes these thoughts available for a wide range of people to read.

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Jon Parise Medium

The Dead Code Society

Fun idea coming from Pinterest’s engineering team: engineer Chris Lloyd created the #dead-code-society Slack channel to be “a sombre place for remembering [—]-only diffs.” Messages are prefixed by a :tombstone: and include links to diffs that contain only file or line deletions. Dead code is worth celebrating, for sure. I love deleting it even more than I love writing it. Retired code remains in source control history to be remembered and consulted, but it no longer occupies a prominent place in our workspaces, build systems, or cognitive periphery.

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Yomi Kazeem qz.com

Microsoft is making a $100 million bet on African developers

Yomi Kazeem writing for Quartz Africa: Last year, when Microsoft executives were doing their due diligence ahead of paying $7.5 billion for GitHub, the software engineer marketplace, they might have been surprised by one unexpected data point: Nigeria had the fourth-fastest growing developer community on the platform the previous year. Microsoft has now fully turned its sights on software engineering talent in Africa and will spend over $100 million on a software development center initiative. Microsoft’s first development centers in Africa will open in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya this year and will employ 100 full-time developers who will work across artificial intelligence, machine learning and mixed reality innovation. This Twitter thread from Floor Drees mentioned Christian Nwamba (@codebeast). Give Christian a follow.

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Chris Welch The Verge

How hard it is to compete with Apple's App Store?

Apple launched a new section to their website for the App Store. According to The Verge, this new page titled “Principles and Practices” is believed to be a defensive response to recent criticism of the App Store. Chris Welch writing for The Verge: Apple’s new site puts a big spotlight on the App Store’s unrivaled success and reach, but in some ways, it also brings more attention to how difficult it can be to compete against Apple.” Apple from “Principles and Practices”: Since the launch of the App Store, an entire industry has been built around app design and development, generating over 1,500,000 U.S. jobs and over 1,570,000 jobs across Europe. We’re proud that, to date, developers have earned more than $120 billion worldwide from selling digital goods and services in apps distributed by the App Store. 84% of apps are free, and developers pay nothing to Apple.

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Sophie Alpert Increment

The benefits (and costs) of corporate open source

Sophie Alpert writes on Increment: Releasing and maintaining an open-source project at a corporation takes a lot of work. I saw this firsthand working for four-plus years on React, a popular open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook. Many companies hope that releasing an open-source project will pay dividends in the form of code contributions from people outside the organization—but I’ve never seen that work in practice. Responding to issues, answering usage questions, carefully planning release schedules: It all takes time. Even code contributions, despite their reputation as the big reward that’s supposed to make corporate open source worthwhile, are rarely the panacea they’re made out to be. If you’re looking to optimize your company’s open source development strategy, read this!

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Chris Siebenmann utcc.utoronto.ca

Go is Google's language, not ours

Fellow Gophers and Go Time fans out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post from Chris Siebenmann. Go has community contributions but it is not a community project. It is Google’s project. This is an unarguable thing, whether you consider it to be good or bad, and it has effects that we need to accept. For example, if you want some significant thing to be accepted into Go, working to build consensus in the community is far less important than persuading the Go core team. In general, it’s extremely clear that the community’s voice doesn’t matter very much for Go’s development, and those of us working with Go outside Google’s walls just have to live with that.

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Stephen Wolfram blog.stephenwolfram.com

Free Wolfram Engine for developers

From Stephen Wolfram himself on his personal blog: Why aren’t you using our technology? It happens far too often. … Sometimes the answer is yes. But too often, there’s an awkward silence, and then they’ll say, “Well, no. Could I?” Here’s the kicker for open source developers… If you’re making a free, open-source system, you can apply for a Free Production License. In the license it says “Open-source projects approved by Wolfram,” which seems like they’re going to maintain a list of approved projects, but Stephan mentioned that they’re still working out the kinks in usage and licensing and they “are committed to providing predictable and straightforward licensing for the long term.”

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Alanna Irving medium.com

Babel’s rise to financial sustainability

Check out this interview from Alanna Irving (Open Source Collective Executive Director) with Henry Zhu sharing the backstory of what went well for Babel to reach financial sustainability. Our ultimate goal was to help the project thrive. My personal goal was to help fund Logan, given he was working on his own time, and I figured that if I ever quit my job I might get funded someday too (which has now happened). I knew we would need some momentum and time for that to be possible, so we decided to make a start. When we first started the Babel Collective, we weren’t even bringing in $1k/month. Slowly we built up to $4k/month, which is when I left my job to focus on Babel. Recently our budget looks a lot bigger thanks to a $100,000 grant from Handshake, which we split out as $10k/month. Once that’s over, the total will be around $20k/month. Also, check out Alanna’s book — Better Work Together

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Don Goodman-Wilson maintainerati.org

Reviving Maintainerati

I missed this good news announced back in March…“We’re putting the band back together.” I’m glad to hear that we can now look forward to more Maintainerati events. …one important thing we learned is that maintainers need to have access to others who are sharing the same experiences, struggles and successes they have while running an open source project. In response to this, GitHub has reached out to some passionate people in the broader maintainers community to help bring some structure and growth to Maintainerati, in the shape of a new core team to run Maintainerati events and organize the community.

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Dave Kerr github.com

Hacker Laws 💻📖

From Conway’s Law, to The Law of Leaky Abstractions — you’ll find links to laws, theories, principles, and patterns useful to developers — curated by Dave Kerr. Conway’s Law — This law suggests that the technical boundaries of a system will reflect the structure of the organization. It is commonly referred to when looking at organization improvements, Conway’s Law suggests that if an organization is structured into many small, disconnected units, the software it produces will be. If an organization is built more around ‘verticals’ which are orientated around features or services, the software systems will also reflect this.

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Patrick Woods developermode.com

Building TwilioQuest from the ground up

Twilio uses a custom-made, 8-bit RPG game to teach developers their APIs, both online and at events like Superclass and Twilio Signal. Created by Kevin Whinnery, TwilioQuest is a premier example of how to educate developers without putting them to sleep. “Younger generations of technologists […] have grown up collecting loot and gaining XP”

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