Posts tagged with "Essay"

  • The Covert Opt-In

    About 13 years ago I built a web shop for my dad’s company. Like many small businesses, the company does not have an in-house development or IT department, so anything vaguely website-related tends to end up in my inbox. This is how I recently found myself in a conference call with Dom from IntegriMart1, a company which provides marketing tools for websites. This type of business is known as a “marketing tech” company, sometimes abbreviated to the crap-sounding “martech”, and a close cousin to “adtech”.
  • Productivity Is Happiness

    When we talk about productivity, it is usually in the context of our professional lives. Is this fair? Does productivity begin and end at the office door? I’d like to address this question indirectly, by backing up and taking a high-level look at the subject. No tips or “weird tricks” here; rather some brief thoughts on the scope of productivity. Productivity is happiness. Happiness is the sensation you get when you progress towards a goal.
  • The Elevator of Infinite Abstraction

    In software development, we often hear and speak of abstractions. When we use this term, we often mean some variation on concepts such as “hiding the implementation details”, “providing an interface”, “modelling a data type” or even “removing duplicate code”. But what is the essence of abstraction? The origin of "abstract" in the Macmillan Dictionary for Students I was recently looking up the term “abstract” in a dictionary, and was struck with the origin of the word:
  • Why I Haven’t Fixed Your Issue Yet

    Hi there. You opened an issue with my project on GitHub, and it’s getting kind of stale by now. I am aware of it - GitHub was kind enough to send me an email containing your report, which I scanned one morning a couple of weeks ago while I ate breakfast. I’ve even thought about it briefly a couple of times since then; once I was in the shower and I got the vague idea that I knew what caused it - but I wasn’t sure because I could not recall the specifics.
  • The Republic of Virtue: Terror, Tolerance and the Internet

    I’ve recently been listening to the excellent podcast series Revolutions by Mike Duncan. Right now we are in the thick of the French Revolution. It’s really riveting stuff, and offers some fascinating insights into the interplay of groups, ideology, virtue, violence and terror. If that list sounds familiar, perhaps you frequent Twitter or Reddit or some other online community. Detail from a painting of the execution of Robespierre Ah, the Internet - the defining technology of the new Information Age.
  • The Programmer Dad

    I’ve not typed a semicolon for a couple of weeks now. I don’t mean the look-at-me-I-know-fancy-punctuation kind (there will be plenty of those here). I am of course referring to ;, the token that denotes the end of a statement. No, I’ve not ditched JavaScript for Python or Erlang; I’m on holiday. I’m getting back to (half of) my roots in beautiful Malaysia, and as a result I’ve not done any programming at all.
  • One Year of GitHub and Open Source

    Next week sees the close of my first year as an active participant on GitHub and in the open source community. I’d like to mark the occasion by collecting together a few thoughts on my experience thus far. At the beginning of this year I wrote about my decidedly shaky start in the world of professional software development in the essay Confessions of an Intermediate Programmer. For those who have read the sorry tale, it’ll come as little surprise that it was only fairly recently that I started using any kind of version control system.
  • What Makes A Good Tech Talk?

    When I moved to Vienna last October, I was pleased to find a very active and vibrant development community. Just this week alone, there have been at least 19 tech meetups in the city. A quick search on meetup.com reveals 46 tech-related meetup groups at the time of this writing, and there’s even a website dedicated to listing all the meetups each week. During my time here so far, I’ve found the local tech meetups a great way to learn and improve as a developer, as well as a way to get involved in the community and get to know some cool people in a new city.
  • Confessions of an Intermediate Programmer

    I am an intermediate programmer. I have a pretty good grasp of the basics. I have made enough mistakes to have a good idea why they were mistakes. I am aware that there is a lot that I need to know more about. Crucially, I have some idea of what those things are, and I am actively and energetically working on improving. It has taken a while for me to get to the point where I am confident enough to admit that I am only average in ability.