Twitter is planning to start charging $20 per month for verification
“The whole verification process is being revamped right now,” Musk tweeted.
“Employees working on the project were told on Sunday that they need to meet a deadline of November 7th to launch the feature or they will be fired.Posted on 2022-10-31T03:56:27+0000
How we reduced our annual server costs by 80% — from $1M to $200k — by moving away from AWS
An interview with Zsolt Varga, the tech lead and general manager at Prerender
“However, all this data and processes need to happen on a server and, of course, we used AWS for it. A few years of growth later, we’re handling over 70,000 pages per minute, storing around 560 million pages, and paying well over $1,000,000 per year.
Or at least we would be paying that much if we stayed with AWS. Instead, we were able to cut costs by 80% in a little over three months with some out-of-the-box thinking and a clear plan. Here’s how you could too.”Posted on 2022-10-31T03:24:14+0000
How to communicate effectively as a developer
Some tactical and strategic tips for writing effectively as a software developer.
This is nominally focused on developers but honestly the advice generalizes. Good writing and communication is so important.
“We all write things. Most of the time what we write isn’t very impactful — a reply to a random email, quick banter with friends on Discord, a birthday card to a distant relative.
It starts to matter, and matter a lot, in a professional setting. When what you write is read by your co-workers, your manager or your manager's manager, it helps everyone if your writing is clear, concise and empathic.”Posted on 2022-10-30T15:17:29+0000
Welcome to hell, Elon
Owning Twitter means owning a host of impossible political problems. Is Elon ready?
Harsh, but really well written and argued. Definitely worth a read.
“I say this with utter confidence because the problems with Twitter are not engineering problems. They are political problems. Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion dollars.
The problem when the asset is people is that people are intensely complicated, and trying to regulate how people behave is historically a miserable experience, especially when that authority is vested in a single powerful individual.
What I mean is that you are now the King of Twitter, and people think that you, personally, are responsible for everything that happens on Twitter now. It also turns out that absolute monarchs usually get murdered when shit goes sideways.”Posted on 2022-10-28T20:26:19+0000
Was This Southwest Iowa Town Home To A Serial Killer? - Iowa Starting Line
The local sheriff’s office believes there may be truth to a woman's claim that her father murdered 50 to 70 women.
Can’t wait for the inevitable Netflix documentary on this a decade later.
“Studey said she just wants to have the sites unearthed and for the victims to have a proper burial, and for any family to be notified.
As Studey proved she could find the abandoned well, despite the dogs getting hits on the areas she named, and her story hasn’t changed in the decades she’s told it, authorities are more willing to listen to her.”Posted on 2022-10-28T15:43:02+0000
Some programming blogs to consider reading
This is one of those “N technical things every programmer must read” lists, except that “programmer” is way too broad a term and the styles of writing people find helpful for them are too different for any such list to contain a non-zero number of items (if you want the entire list to be hel...
Bookmarking this for the future, need to somehow collect all the RSS feeds for these blogs. I’ve been slacking on my reading.
“This list also doesn't include blogs that mostly aren't about programming, so it doesn't include, for example, Ben Kuhn's excellent blog.
Anyway, that's all for now, but this list is pretty much off the top of my head, so I'll add more as more blogs come to mind. I'll also keep this list updated with what I'm reading as I find new blogs. Please please please suggest other blogs I might like, and don't assume that I already know about a blog because it's popular. Just for example, I had no idea who either Jeff Atwood or Zed Shaw were until a few years ago, and they were probably two of the most well known programming bloggers in existence. Even with centralized link aggregators like HN and reddit, blog discovery has become haphazard and random with the decline of blogrolls and blogging as a dialogue, as opposed to the current practice of blogging as a monologue. Also, please don't assume that I don't want to read something just because it's different from the kind of blog I normally read. I'd love to read more from UX or front-end folks; I just don't know where to find that kind of thing!”Posted on 2022-10-28T15:27:11+0000
Blog - Towards the next generation of XNU memory safety: kalloc_type - Apple Security Research
Improving software memory safety is a key security objective for engineering teams across the industry. Here we begin a journey into the XNU kernel at the core of iOS and explore the intricate work our engineering teams have done to harden the memory allocator and make our software much more difficu...
Apple starting their security research blog with a bang. This was super detailed, explaining various types of memory corruption bugs, the types of things they targeted, designing secure memory allocators, and adopting them at scale. I learnt a ton from this one.
“We hope that security researchers who are studying and developing defensive mitigations find this post to be a helpful case study of what it takes to transform a powerful idea like type isolation into a world-class implementation that is fast, memory-efficient, and practical enough to adopt at billion-device scale.”Posted on 2022-10-28T03:51:19+0000
HTTP Facts vs. HTTP Fictions — Akita Software
If you've ever wondered why things on the Internet don't "just work," you may be interested in Mark Gritter's blog post about the fictions associated with the HTTP protocol and JSON data format.
Great read. Protocols are… fuzzy
“The common theme here is that even these well-known protocols, HTTP and JSON, can exhibit strange behavior or unexpected cases. These are not necessarily “bugs” that prevent the system from operating as intended. Programmers are good at making things work and overcoming obstacles! But often a programmer can only control one end of their connection, and so it doesn’t matter what the spec says – the way they get their job done is by adapting the code to the truth of what goes over the wire.”Posted on 2022-10-27T04:01:48+0000
How Binance CEO and aides plotted to dodge regulators in U.S. and UK
Crypto exchange Binance and its founder have swerved scrutiny by financial regulators, Reuters reporting shows. Now there are signs the strategy is fraying
“The new set-up compromised the Binance.US compliance officers’ duty to assess users for possible criminal activity, the four people said, as they were under pressure to not turn customers away. The compliance team also struggled to obtain customer data and documentation on Binance.US’s anti-money laundering policies. They often had to request the information from the main exchange, whose developers in Shanghai still managed the U.S. site.
On one occasion, a senior compliance officer told Shroder the team was lacking the resources to properly verify customers, the person recalled. In response, the person said that Shroder cursed and yelled at them, dismissing their concerns. As tensions with Shroder mounted in his first six months as boss, the employee quit, as did some 10 other compliance team members.”Posted on 2022-10-24T23:22:34+0000
Analysis | Wait, why are there so few dead bugs on my windshield these days?
The number of bug splatters on cars has plummeted over the years. But we found a surprising explanation for the so-called "windshield phenomenon."
“Insects are astonishingly widespread and astonishingly weird, and we know comparatively little about them. We’ve only got a few hundred long-term studies of their populations — typically isolated efforts by people like Moller who are sometimes interested in the insects mainly as bird food or crop pests. We know literally nothing about the vast majority of what could be as many as 10 million insect species out there.”Posted on 2022-10-24T12:27:46+0000
Use PEARL instead of STAR to shine in your PM interviews
Highlight your seniority with the PEARL framework for talking about your experiences
While this is intended for PMs, I found the advice quite helpful and I think the principles apply more broadly.
““It sounds like you picked a vanity metric and then just built what your boss told you to even though it was a bad idea.”
I was kind of terrified to give my friend this feedback, but I had told him I’d help him with a mock interview. Luckily he reacted well: “Woah that’s what it sounded like? That’s not what happened at all,” and he went on to explain more of what happened, how he’d taken initiative, and why his decisions were actually good. I was relieved. But also concerned. I’m not sure he would have gotten hired with the first version.”Posted on 2022-10-24T02:49:25+0000
The Department of Corrections Couldn’t Stop This Lifer From Winning a Pulitzer Prize—It Tried
"The DOC is not there to make it easy for us, bro."
“How big of a difference would it make if institutions across the country really put a focus on education?
Education in prison would reduce the number of incidents, meaning violence because when you are enrolled in an educational program, your focus is getting that degree. Your focus is not nonsense no more. That means I can’t go to the hole because if I go to the hole, I’m gonna’ lose my slot in the program. At the same time, people knew who I was in the jail—I was a …renegade. I ran the Latino organization with like 300 people. So I was able to encourage them to go to school. I saw some of the hardest dudes in the jail walking down the corridor with school books, because they want to go to school. That’s what education does—all it takes is one cool motherfucker to walk down that school building for everybody else to think that it’s cool to enroll.”Posted on 2022-10-23T13:11:27+0000
The Craigslist Killers
With an enticing Craigslist ad for part-time work, a ruthless killer named Rich Beasely and his teenage accomplice Brogan Rafferty lured broken men living on the margins of society to their unsuspecting deaths. Devin Friedman confronts the masterminds behind the murders
TIL about these murders. A really well written investigation that goes into what happened before, during, and after; with the human interest stories of those involved in these horrible murders.
“Brogan will later say that he senses about Rich this morning a new kind of desperation. A more profound and disturbing desperation, if it’s possible to vibe more profoundly disturbing than this whole thing has been from the start. In less than a month, Brogan will deliver a series of lengthy confessions to the FBI about the elaborately planned but almost logic-defying crimes he and Rich committed together. If you listen to the confessions carefully, they begin to sound different when Brogan starts describing this morning’s events with Tim Kern. Throughout most of the hours of his statements, Brogan maintains a tone of almost stolid impassivity, sounding like someone who’d merely watched a series of killings on a strange unmarked videotape he received in the mail—what happened was awful, certainly, but concerned events that had nothing to do with him. But when he talks about Tim, it’s like things won’t stay psychologically tamped down. It’s as if whatever mental box he’d built to house these events so they would be out of sight, on this day that box comes unsealed and everything hidden there spills out.”Posted on 2022-10-22T02:00:53+0000
I was given a house for free – but it already belonged to someone else
When I put the house on the market, I uncovered a story of a Black woman losing her home to municipal greed
This was so infuriating because there was so much more the author could have done to make things right - at the very least, offer to share or give up all the proceeds she made from when she was given this other woman’s house.
“This isn’t a story about gentrification – at least, not how we usually think about it. It’s a story of a Black woman losing her home to municipal greed, and a white woman benefitting from her loss. It’s a story about the racial wealth gap, and how the median white American household accrues almost eight times the wealth of most Black American households.
But it’s also a story about what we do next: how we calculate damage, and what we might do to repair it.”Posted on 2022-10-21T14:38:05+0000
Afghan couple accuse US Marine of abducting their baby
The young Afghan couple raced to the airport in Kabul, clutching their baby girl close amid the chaotic withdrawal of American troops last year.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. So heartbreaking.
“And so they tried to maintain contact with Mast. They were also scared of him. If he could abduct their child in broad daylight, they worried he might hurt them too, their lawyers wrote in legal filings.
The Afghan woman plunged into a deep depression and, despite being nine months pregnant, stopped eating and drinking. She could not sleep. Her husband was afraid to leave her alone.
“Since we have come to America, we have not felt happiness for even one day,” the Afghan man told the AP. “We feel like we are living in a dark jail.””Posted on 2022-10-21T13:46:38+0000
Americans Reclaim 60 Million Commuting Hours in Remote-Work Perk
Instead of being stuck in traffic, workers are getting more rest and spending additional time with family.
“Younger workers were more likely to spend more time on leisure, including going to bars and restaurants or working out, while older workers were more inclined to handle domestic tasks like cooking, cleaning and taking care of kids. All groups got more sleep — roughly an extra hour a day. That finding alone is good news for the wellbeing of American workers, since chronic sleep deprivation contributes to a litany of serious health issues.”Posted on 2022-10-20T23:00:37+0000
What a pregnancy actually looks like before 10 weeks – in pictures
In 13 US states, abortion is banned even in the earliest stages of pregnancy. But we rarely see what such tissue really looks like
Per one source: this was shared on TikTok and people keep saying this must be misinformation because this goes against their prior beliefs. Sigh.
(Note: the image referred to in the quote is not the one in the preview)
“This image shows the gestational sac of a nine-week pregnancy. This is everything that would be removed during an abortion and includes the nascent embryo, which is not easily discernible to the naked eye. Showing this tissue can be a relief to patients. “Often people don’t speak to anyone about getting an abortion. They make a very quiet, private decision because they’re afraid to see people’s reactions. And then I do this simple procedure that’s a few minutes longer than a Pap test. For those who choose to look at the tissue, you can literally feel the tension come down. People have been on this emotional roller coaster. And they’re like, ‘You’re kidding. This is all that was?’” says Fleischman.”Posted on 2022-10-19T23:49:24+0000
Just for Fun. No, Really.
If one only spends time on Hacker News, or other startup-oriented news sites, they might believe that everyone is working on their next multi-million-dollar startup and/or exit strategy. It may be hard to imagine that people work on open source purely for the fun of it.
This is definitely an art that has been lost over the years and I’m looking to get back into it. One day…
“Think of something that you might like to build, learn, experience inside the computer, and just jump in. Without looking or researching first. You might just have a bit of fun. No, really.”Posted on 2022-10-19T01:10:22+0000
Signals in prod: dangers and pitfalls
Facebook For Developers
I kept going “huh, TIL” while reading this piece. Bookmarking for the future.
“I hope this article has shown you that signals, while they may ostensibly appear simple, are in reality anything but. The aesthetics of simplicity that promote their use as an API for user space software belie a series of implicit design decisions that do not fit most production use cases in the modern era.
Let’s be clear: there are valid use cases for signals. Signals are fine for basic communication with the kernel about a desired process state when there’s no user space component, for example, that a process should be killed. However, it is difficult to write signal-correct code the first time around when signals are expected to be trapped in user space.
Signals may seem attractive due to their standardization, wide availability and lack of dependencies, but they come with a significant number of pitfalls that will only increase concern as your project grows. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some mitigations and alternative strategies that will allow you to still achieve your goals, but in a safer, less subtly complex and more intuitive way.”Posted on 2022-10-16T19:30:51+0000
Alaska snow crab season canceled as officials investigate disappearance of an estimated 1 billion crabs
An estimated 1 billion crabs have mysteriously disappeared from Alaskan waters in two years, officials said.
This is really scary.
“"Environmental conditions are changing rapidly," Daly said. "We've seen warm conditions in the Bering Sea the last couple of years, and we're seeing a response in a cold adapted species, so it's pretty obvious this is connected. It is a canary in a coal mine for other species that need cold water."”Posted on 2022-10-15T04:00:40+0000
Postgres: a better message queue than Kafka? | Dagster Blog
When lots of event logs must be stored and indexed, Kafka is the obvious choice. Naturally, our queue runs on Postgres.
This was a pretty good technical read. People don’t choose “boring” technology often enough!
“While I don’t know what the future will hold, I do know that we will try to choose the most boring technology possible, and ground our decisions to add new technology in objective measurement.”Posted on 2022-10-15T03:57:40+0000
The Most Important Amicus Brief in the History of the World
Parody is being threatened right when we need it most.
The brief is important and hilarious at the same time, and worth reading. Hard to pick a favorite quote.
“The Onion’s journalists have garnered a sterling reputation for accurately forecasting future events. One such coup was The Onion’s scoop revealing that a former president kept nuclear secrets strewn around his beach home’s basement three years before it even happened.”Posted on 2022-10-12T19:47:19+0000
Zig-style generics are not well-suited for most languages
A discussion of some of the downsides of Zig
"One meta point to keep in mind: many of the points here mirror the downsides of dynamic typing in comparison to static typing (again, not to imply that dynamic typing is not sometimes useful), because in some sense, it is the same problem but in a different context – instead of run time vs compile time, we’re talking about instantiation time vs declaration time. Yes, you have more flexibility to do whatever you want, but the problem is that you have more flexibility to do whatever you want."Posted on 2022-10-10T04:49:53+0000
Eko grinned as she prodded a smouldering log with the tip of the golden stick to improve airflow. The campfire responded accordingly and she resumed her story.
How Discovery Channel’s ‘MythBusters’ Helped a Wrongly Convicted Man Prove His Innocence - Innocence Project
John Galvan hugs a member of his legal team after his exoneration on July 22, 2022. (Image: Ray Abercrombie/Innocence Project)
Where entertainment meets science meets legal freedom. A lucky glance at a MythBusters episode lead to people being able to make a new appeal for freedom - and finally get free from prison for a crime they didn't commit.
"Detective Victor Switski, who led the interrogation, handcuffed Mr. Galvan to a wall and proceeded to interrogate and intimidate him for hours, pressuring the 18-year-old to implicate others in the crime in order for him to return home. Deceptive tactics — like offering leniency in exchange for a confession or falsely telling children they can go home if they confess — have been identified as risk factors for false confessions, and young people are especially vulnerable to falsely confessing as a result of these tactics.
Deception in interrogations of youth remains legal in 46 states.
In 2021, Illinois and Oregon became the first states to ban the use of deception during interrogations of minors, but at the time of Mr. Galvan’s interrogation, deception could still legally be used in interrogations of youth. Unfortunately, deception remains legal in interrogations of adults in every state, and can still legally be employed against youth in 46 states."Posted on 2022-10-10T03:16:39+0000
120: Burned Out Tech CEO → Warehouse Associate
After a high flying 20+ year career in tech, Philip Su burned out. He found solace in an unexpected place: a retail Amazon job.
I still need to go listen to the podcasts (Philip’s writings at FB we’re always great and thought provoking). But this was super interesting and eye opening at times.
“When I was leading the London office for Facebook, I was going to evening events, recruiting people, and I was giving tech talks in the evening. I was working all day and one day, my then seven year old son came into the room. We had bought a little Norse chess set and he asked if we could play sometime. I said, sure thing, no problem. And as a seven year old, he said "Can you put it on your calendar?"
That was such a moment of a mirror being held up to me of “Wow, something has gone wrong”. When I say to my son we'll play chess, his first response is to be skeptical and to say, "can you put it on your calendar?" That really tells you where your priorities are, right? And so that moment for me was very sobering.”Posted on 2022-10-04T03:11:40+0000
Why Adults Still Dream About School
Long after graduation, anxiety in waking life often drags dreamers back into the classroom.
I found some of the twitter follow ups interesting: people
who actually had this happen to them didn’t have nightmares about it - presumably cause they saw it wasn’t that big a deal after all.
“Deirdre Barrett, a dream researcher at Harvard University and the author of Pandemic Dreams and The Committee of Sleep, confirmed my suspicion. She rattled off a few common school-dream variations: The dreamer has to rush to an exam after having overslept, or they can’t find their classroom, or they prepared for an exam by studying the wrong subject, or they sit down for an exam and the text is in hieroglyphics, or they show up to school nude. “It’s a really common theme,” she told me. “And it’s common not only for people who are still in school … It’s a very common theme for people who are far into adulthood, who have been out of school forever.””Posted on 2022-10-03T15:48:53+0000
Elon Musk’s Texts Shatter the Myth of the Tech Genius
The world’s richest man has some embarrassing friends.
This was a decent read - the texts were quite hilarious to see (I saw a bunch of tldrs on twitter).
“There is a tendency, especially when it comes to the über-rich and powerful, to assume and to fantasize about what we can’t see. We ascribe shadowy brilliance or malevolence, which may very well be unearned or misguided. What’s striking about the Musk messages, then, is the similarity between these men’s behavior behind closed doors and in public on Twitter. Perhaps the real revelation here is that the shallowness you see is the shallowness you get.”Posted on 2022-10-02T20:39:48+0000
Reducing Logging Cost by Two Orders of Magnitude using CLP
Long, long ago, the amount of data our systems output to logs was small enough that we were able to retain all of the log files. This allowed our engineers to freely analyze the logs, say for troubleshooting our systems or improving applications. But as Uber's business grew rapidly, the amount of da...
Now this is some really impressive work, taking costs from $1.8M/yr to $10k/yr for log storage. I liked how it was an iterative process, massaging and moving around data till it can be compressed much better. Reminds me of some work we did back in the day to split up data a little for better compression. The wins are huge!
“We have deployed Phase 1 (i.e., the custom Log4j appender with our custom float encoding) across our entire Spark platform. We are currently working on deploying the Phase 2 compression and integrating CLP’s search capability into our analytics and observability platforms.
Result of Phase 1 compression: In a 30-day window, our entire Spark ecosystem generated 5.38PB of uncompressed INFO level unstructured logs yet our CLP appender compressed them to only 31.4TB, amounting to an unprecedented 169x compression ratio. Now with CLP, we have restored our log verbosity from WARN back to INFO, and we can afford to retain all the logs for 1 month (as requested by our engineers).
Preliminary result of Phase 2 compression: The above mentioned result is only the size of the compressed IR. We have tested a prototype of CLP’s complete compression (including both Phase 1 and 2) on a subset of our Spark logs, and CLP’s compression ratio is 2.16x higher than Zstandard’s ratio and 2.28x higher than Gzip’s ratio. This is consistent with the results reported on other log datasets. “Posted on 2022-10-01T16:19:03+0000