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Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Dominick Schroer schroer.ca

The joy of small projects

Dominick Schroer:

When was the last time you completed a project? When was the last time you started a project? Have you every felt that you were trapped working on something that you don’t enjoy anymore? Size is something that I’m sure most developers with the drive to do side projects have felt. Recently I have been completing more projects with more success than ever before. This is my new process.

His 4-step process is so simple it might be brilliant.

Career lepiter.io

Developers spend most of their time figuring the system out

So what?

Well, that is the single largest expense we have. If we want to optimize anything in our discipline we should look at this part first. We talk often about how we build systems, but how often do you talk about how you spend the “figuring out” time? If we do not talk about it, it’s not explicit. If it’s not explicit, it does not get optimized.

In addition to the author’s suggested solution to this problem allow me to add: developer retention! Nobody has more to figure out in a system than the people who just joined the team. Cut down on that (via better compensation, workplace satisfaction, etc.) and you cut way down on that oh so expensive “figuring out” time.

Developers spend most of their time figuring the system out

Culture mashable.com

How Tumblr taught young women to code

Last year, TikTokker Avery Steeves posted a video asking why no one talks about how there’s an entire generation of teenage girls who taught themselves to code HTML on Tumblr. “People are like, ‘Oh, there’s no girls in STEM,’” she says, imitating the faceless internet mob. “No, there were! They were just making pale blogs.”

OK so we don’t usually link to Mashable (first time ever?), but this was cool news to me, so I thought it was worth passing along. Long live HTML!

Communications randsinrepose.com

What we lost (when we went remote)

Rands asking himself some tough questions about our “new normal” remote work environments:

Relative to the Pandemic, the single biggest work question I’ve been asking myself for two years is: what did we lose? What is the measurable and objective loss for teams not working in close proximity? I’ve been looking for cracks. I’ve been looking for leading indicators of future doom. The Great Resignation seems like a proper crack, right? But are people quitting their jobs because they can’t work together or because their current job sucks and all this terror in the air has given them a new appreciation of what really matters?

A sobering perspective.

Culture cheapskatesguide.org

The old internet shows signs of quietly coming back

Old as in old school cool not old as in passe:

Despite the new gatekeepers’ best efforts, the old Internet never completely disappeared. Personal websites created by individuals that have always been the meat of the old Internet are still around. They are still about exploration, innovation, fun, and all the rest. Try as the new gatekeepers have, they simply have not had the power to eradicate the old Internet completely. All they can do is pretend it does not exist. And, that is exactly what they do.

But…

… the old Internet seems to be slowly and quietly coming back, and it is coming back even better than before. Now it has better technology and an additional well-defined purpose that it never had before.

Some people have begun to refer to personal websites as the “indie web”, the “small Internet”, or the “smol Internet”. Some seem to reserve the last two terms exclusively for the Gemini Network, which nearly quadrupled in size last year. But, I think all three terms should also apply to some of the other networks that use alternative networking protocols–the Gopher Network, the Tor network, and the ZeroNet network, to name a few.

Chris Manson chris.manson.ie

It's all gravy

This is a short post by long-time open source maintainer Chris Manson about commitment to tasks in the open source world and how life always takes priority over dev.

We always need to keep in mind that most open source contributions are given from people that are opting to give up their spare time (usually for free) and the level of expectation can never come anywhere close to the sort of relationship that an employer might have with an employee or contractor.

Pairs well with Every commit is a gift. 🍷

Security whitehoodhacker.net

IoT hacking and rickrolling my high school district

On April 30th, 2021, I rickrolled my high school district. Not just my school but the entirety of Township High School District 214. It’s the second-largest high school district in Illinois, consisting of 6 different schools with over 11,000 enrolled students.

Who doesn’t like a good rickroll story? This one’s replete with screencaps and video footage

JavaScript bryanbraun.com

I keep making things out of checkboxes

Bryan Braughn has been making good use of his Checkboxland library (which makes it easy to display text and animations on a grid of checkboxes). He’s made games, image transfers, and even videos like the one below. But then, some introspection:

This whole process has been fun but I really ought to stop.

I got nerd sniped, hard. Sure it’s harmless fun, but I’m starting to feel guilty spending months tinkering on these things when I’ve got the tools and skills to put actually useful stuff into the world. I feel like Superman, using his powers to fry an egg.

I understand where he’s coming from, but I also believe experiments like Bryan’s are what make the web great and when they inspire someone else to build something, they are absolutely “actually useful stuff”. Don’t you?

I keep making things out of checkboxes

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.

Career Medium (via Scribe)

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.

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…

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