Winter 2018/19 round-up


A round-up of tweets, links and other gubbins from the past few months (click here to read the previous instalment).

What I've been working on

Apart from a couple of big phases of work for Nokia, the main highlight this season has been getting my hands dirty with serverless computing, using Amazon's AWS platform. I've been sceptical of serverless, because it is often lauded as a miracle silver-bullet for a multitude of inappropriate problem spaces - admittedly more a fault of the geek press and surrounding "blogosphere" than anything inherently wrong with the tech itself, but still, it's off-putting. That said, for the solution we're currently investigating (more in a later post), I've been really impressed with AWS so far. It's a great fit for what we're hoping to build, and a much lighter touch than the traditional VM-based approach we're used to. No doubt the tears will come further down the track, but I'm enjoying the honeymoon period while it lasts!

What I've been reading

Born on the Fourth of July, by Ron Kovic
The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov
Life After God, by Douglas Coupland

What I've been tweeting

CloudFlare use lava lamps for random number generation, a bit gimmicky, but quite wonderful :-)

Ambiguous sums might add up after all...

I've been ignoring the whole "Uber flying taxis" thing, but this was a very interesting interview with Mark Moore (Uber's director of aviation engineering). Even if only half of it comes true, and it takes twice as long, it'll still be thoroughly cool:

Experience the web as it used to be "in the old days" by taking CERN's recreation of the first ever web browser for a spin:
(use "Document > Open from full document reference" to enter a URL)
More about the project here:

A long article (ironically), but contains some useful practical advice for improving "time affluence"

One for all you text-processing geeks - the "ghost characters of Unicode":

Finally made the move away from CrashPlan and over to BackBlaze for my home data backups. So far I'm very happy with BackBlaze, and would happily recommend them, though I'm yet to use their service in anger!

Fascinating photo-story about the "acoustic mirrors" built along the English coast during WWI:

Could come in handy: GitHub announces unlimited free private repos:

"...What is the ambitious mountain we are climbing? Why are we doing it? And what is going to happen when we get there?..."
More on the topic of growing and communicating company culture, this time from Michael Lopp:

New Year's Resolutions:

I've tried more to-do list systems than I've had hot dinners, and though this method doesn't add anything new, I can't help but like the metaphor (and sketches) of a busy chef managing a stove of projects: