Posts tagged with "essay"

  • But What About the Bus Factor?

    The term “bus factor” refers to the number of project maintainers who, if hit by a bus and incapacitated, would cause that project to stall. You can replace the bus crash with any other form of physical or mental incapacitation or even changes in life circumstances or priorities. The lower the bus factor, the greater the risk that a project might suddenly become unsustainable. Credit: Romain Chollet via Unsplash This is a topic close to my heart.
  • Welcome to the Twitterscape

    The land is flat and vast, extending as far as the eye can see. There is no sun, as such. Rather, an ambient glow with no obvious source permeates. Occupying this Plane is an ocean of people, gathered into groups large and small, distributed irregularly, coalescing and scattering like slow-motion static on a last-century TV. There are minstrels, artists, trinket-collectors and writers; bards and scientists, astronauts and soldiers. Most huddle together amongst their own kind, but at the periphery a continual jostling and switching takes place.
  • On Working Alone

    Earlier this year I quit my job to work full-time on an open source ecommerce framework. After three years working as the lead of a small team within a department of around 20 devs, I’m now back to working alone. Here are some reflections on the thrills and perils of the lone developer. Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash Communication & Efficiency The problems of development teams are essentially problems of communication.
  • Museum of the Analog Native

    If you, like me, were born in the 1980s, then you are a member of the generation of analog natives - those who grew up during that period in which the Information Age reached the masses. Of course, all of humanity up until that point lived fully analog lives; but uniquely, our generation is the one which experienced first-hand the transition from the analog to the digital world. So “analog native” is only meaningful in a world in which such thing as a “digital native” exists as a counterpart.
  • 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 Revolutionsby 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.