Habits of High-Functioning Teams
I often struggle to explain what it means to be part of a high-functioning software team. Sure, there are mountains of literature, and an entire genre of LinkedIn thought leadership that professes all kinds of guidelines and heuristics about what makes teams work, but in my experience, it’s hard t...
Excellent read on aspects of certain highly functional teams. I don’t think this applies in every case (and isn’t prescriptive) but it was interesting.
“Ultimately, following good hygiene practices is about empathy. Cleaner artifacts means that your teammates can absorb context more quickly and spend less cognitive energy on context-switching and spelunking. But also, it pays to empathize with your future self. There’s an entire branch of moral philosophy that says that Future You is a distinct entity who has moral rights claims (and that’s why eating that extra tub of Ben & Jerry’s or taking up drag racing today for present-day hedonistic delight might be a morally dubious action) but without getting too deeply into that, I’ll just say: Investments in socializing these hygiene habits early on will pay off later, particularly if you’re paged at 3am one morning because of a line of code you wrote!”Posted on 2020-05-26T08:27:05+0000
Why Feedback Rarely Does What It’s Meant To
There are better ways to help people succeed.
This was an excellent read on feedback, human behavior, and the modern workforce.
“Since excellence is idiosyncratic and cannot be learned by studying failure, we can never help another person succeed by holding her performance up against a prefabricated model of excellence, giving her feedback on where she misses the model, and telling her to plug the gaps. That approach will only ever get her to adequate performance. Point out the grammatical flaws in an essay, ask the writer to fix the flaws, and while you may get an essay with good grammar, you won’t get a piece of writing that transports the reader. Show a new teacher when her students lost interest and tell her what to do to fix this, and while you may now have a teacher whose students don’t fall asleep in class, you won’t have one whose students necessarily learn any more.”Posted on 2020-05-26T07:39:53+0000
`zig cc`: a Powerful Drop-In Replacement for GCC/Clang - Andrew Kelley
If you have heard of Zig before, you may know it as a promising new programming language which is ambitiously trying to overthrow C as the de-facto systems language. But did you know that it also can straight up compile C code?
this solves a bunch of problems I didn’t even know I had until just now
“> Take a moment to appreciate what just happened here - I downloaded a Windows build of Zig, ran it in Wine, using it to cross compile for Linux, and then ran the binary natively. Computers are fun!
> Compare this to downloading Clang, which has 380 MiB Linux-distribution-specific tarballs. Zig's Linux tarballs are fully statically linked, and therefore work correctly on all Linux distributions. The size difference here comes because the Clang tarball ships with more utilities than a C compiler, as well as pre-compiled static libraries for both LLVM and Clang. Zig does not ship with any pre-compiled libraries; instead it ships with source code, and builds what it needs on-the-fly.”
Graduate Student Solves Decades-Old Conway Knot Problem
It took Lisa Piccirillo less than a week to answer a long-standing question about a strange knot discovered over half a century ago by the legendary John Conway
I can’t claim to understand even half of this stuff but it was quite an interesting read.
““I didn’t allow myself to work on it during the day,” she said, “because I didn’t consider it to be real math. I thought it was, like, my homework.””Posted on 2020-05-21T07:12:34+0000
Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage
There is such a thing as a free lunch
Excellent read on economics, the VC industry, and price arbitrage.
Also pretty cool/interesting comment thread in the bottom where someone from google responds.
"He called in and placed an order for 10 pizzas to a friend's house and charged $160 to his personal credit card. A Doordash call center then called into his restaurant and put in the order for those 10 pizzas. A Doordash driver showed up with a credit card and paid $240 for the pizzas.
It worked."Posted on 2020-05-19T04:31:48+0000
Media, Regulators, and Big Tech; Indulgences and Injunctions; Better Approaches
Blaming Facebook and Google for the media industry’s trouble inevitably leads to bad regulations with unintended consequences and the end of accountability for big tech.
Excellent read on media, tech, and regulation.
Stratechery is always on point.
“The second reason, though, works against the first: the sheer number of flat-out wrong statements in this article are so overwhelming that I seriously despair about the long-term effects: unintended consequences are always a concern when it comes to creating new regulation; they are inevitable when regulation is rooted in facts completely unmoored from reality.”Posted on 2020-05-15T02:00:00+0000
Make LLVM fast again
I’m not sure whether this has been true in the past, but it certainly isn’t true now. Each LLVM release is a few percent slower than the last. LLVM 10 put some extra effort in this area, and somehow managed to make Rust compilation a whole 10% slower, for as yet unknown reasons.
This is a really interesting read on compilers and performance benchmarking.
Also kind of insane that this investment hasn’t been done on a project where even a 10% win probably saves lots of CPU cycles worldwide.
“The server this runs on only has 2 cores, so a full LLVM build can take more than two hours. For smaller changes, building LLVM from ccache and compiling the benchmarks takes about 20 minutes. This is too slow to test every single commit, but we don’t really need to do that, as long as we automatically bisect any ranges with significant changes.”
2 cores is what - $10/month on a lot of VPS providers? (though that might not have enough memory or disk to compile llvm)Posted on 2020-05-11T06:03:16+0000
Cracking Age of Empires III over shader quality settings
Or how disassemblers and debuggers can save your eyes.
Excellent read on reverse engineering and modifying binaries to meet your needs.
“At this point, you might give up. This is a Mac system and you’re unlikely to find a user-patch (well — I’ve looked around a bit. There’s some shady stuff here and there. Might work.) It’s just graphics. It sounds annoying to fix.
But you’re not going to. Because you remember how Age 3 should look like. You remember looking at that beautiful wavy water. At those particle effects. At those huge ships that simply wouldn’t fit in the goddamn fucking frame. Jesus that camera is zoomed in. What were they thinking.”
Why are some people better at working from home than others?
In a world of telework, some people just take better to working from home. Does this productivity come naturally, or can you learn it?
This was a good read on different personalities and how folks are affected differently with regards to working from home.
"As such, a balance of introversion and extroversion qualities may be a sweet spot for productivity, say both Davis and Morgenstern. There’s a lot of alone time in telework, which energises introverts; on the other hand, extroverts can gain energy from team interaction."Posted on 2020-05-10T01:47:23+0000
The Seven Habits of One Highly Effective Manager of Managers: Things I Learned from Charity Majors
Management tips I picked up from working with Charity Majors at Honeycomb.
Such a good read. Charity’s advice is always worth following.
Bookmarking so I can read this again later.
“They suggested that my thoughts and my voice mattered (one of my most consistent flaws is that I guess wrong about when it does matter and when it doesn’t all the time). We figured out how to talk to each other. We figured out how to make sharing the easy stuff truly easy, so that only the hard stuff needed to be hard. We established that baseline of what normal sounded like, so we could tell when things got off track.”Posted on 2020-05-09T19:11:32+0000
ongoing by Tim Bray · Bye, Amazon
May 1st was my last day as a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, after five years and five months of rewarding fun. I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.
Props to this guy for having integrity and doing what's right.
"Firing whistleblowers isn’t just a side-effect of macroeconomic forces, nor is it intrinsic to the function of free markets. It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison."Posted on 2020-05-05T05:10:50+0000