Summer 2018 round-up


A round-up of tweets, links and other gubbins from the past few months (click here to read last time's instalment, and why I don't like locking my data into someone else's walled garden).

What I've been working on

These past few months I've been kept busy working on the second phase of the online ordering system we built for MDL (Macmillan Distribution). Plenty of interesting moving parts, with an ASP.NET website, logic layer written in C#, SQL Server backend, various .NET scheduled tasks and Windows services, all interfacing with a legacy system within MDL's own network. Perhaps not the sexiest project, technology-wise, but complex business requirements, reasonable sized team, and a high-bar for quality control have kept things interesting.

What I've been reading

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari
Look to Windward, by Iain M. Banks

What I've been tweeting

Be honest - who hasn't daydreamed that they're "hacking into the mainframe" to try and stay motivated during a particularly dull day of coding? (Really, just me? Well this is awkward...)

Nice visualisation of the meteoric worldwide growth of Uber over the past 8 years:

These auto-generated parody LinkedIn recruiter messages are comically accurate:

One day later, and I just can't help myself: "...I'm thinking of this as a checklist to make sure that changing the hub-caps hasn't caused the exhaust to fall off..."

I wish I was capable of going more than 3 working days without using a dodgy car analogy with a client (latest offence: "...that's right, updating the 3rd party user control library won't happen automatically - you can think of it like replacing the gearbox in your car...")

The complexities of GDPR have been a bit of a headache for those of us in the tech industry, but stories like this remind me why it's fundamentally a pretty good idea:

As someone who spent his university years slightly obsessed with the dream of a nutritionally complete space food bar, I can't believe "Huel" has slipped beneath my radar all this time. Consider me curious...

I didn't have anything to do with this, but the guys in the office came up with a nice looking tool for comparing author popularity over the past 30 years, based on UK library data:

One for the intellectual property geeks - Evernote's original patent application:

I like fellow Cardiff company Inspiretec's approach to culture and employee perks, with their "One Programme". It's not unusual for tech firms to offer such benefits, but there's something really nice about the way it's branded, packaged and presented.

You know your compile times are taking waaay too long when you start searching YouTube for origami videos...

Four-day working weeks, it's the future!

Not that I'm obsessed with miniature cityscape models or anything...

I always knew they took technical accuracy pretty seriously on Mr Robot, but Scott Hanselman's chat with one of the show's security consultants, Ryan Kazanciyan, took my appreciation to delightfully geeky heights:
(very mildly spoilery)

Some non-hysterical thoughts on AI and machine learning from Ben Evans:

Enjoying the lovely hot British sunshine? Here's some apocalyptic beachfront reading to dampen your mood!

So amazing to see Dave Grohl and his band again - albeit after 26 years, and with a different band this time!!!
#foofighters #nirvana #manchester

At the day job: Yes, I realise it's totally Nathan Barley, but I'm thoroughly enjoying our new Bonzini foosball table. And nothing to do with the fact I'm currently top of the leaderboard ;-)

Does the Swedish government know something we don't...?

Guy Podjarny echoing some of my concerns about the new hotness that is serverless computing and functions-as-a-service: