Choose Boring Technology →

Dan McKinley:

The problem with “best tool for the job” thinking is that it takes a myopic view of the words “best” and “job.” Your job is keeping the company in business, god damn it. And the “best” tool is the one that occupies the “least worst” position for as many of your problems as possible.

Shiny new tools are irresistible and can sometimes solve problems in a better and more elegant way, but most times a proven and limited stack is what you need.

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Leadership is a Privilege

You shouldn’t be leading if:

  • You see it as a right.
  • You think people should be grateful.
  • You think of it as a burden.
  • You think you are owed.
  • You expect to be recognized.

Leading is not for everyone and that’s fine. Not everyone should be leading, specially if the only reason to do it is to advance their careers. I believe that leading is a vocation parallel to being an individual contributor. It doesn’t make one role “better” or “worse”. They are just different, and equally important. Hence my belief that just because you choose a leadership role shouldn’t mean that you are to be paid more than an individual contributor.

I believe both leadership and individual contributors roles need to be financially comparable. They should be based on the impact to the overall team and company and not because of the role.

When leading, I am grateful for those that grant me the privilege to lead them. I know that that privilege can be withdrawn at any time. I’ve made more mistakes while leading than are listed above but I strive to do my best to continue to grow so that I can enable others to do the same.

eBooks are being held back

Howard Oakley:

[…] few eBooks offer any advantage in use over their physical equivalents. eBook readers are still incredibly primitive, and won’t even let you refer to two or more sections of the book at the same time. You can’t photocopy them, copy quotations, or do anything remotely advantageous. What should have been a liberation from the printed page turns out to be the imposition of more restrictive rules.

Jason Snell:

I prefer to read on it than to read on an iPad or iPhone, which is why I keep buying Kindles even though I could definitely read on an iOS device without any trouble. The reflective E-Ink screen is more pleasant for long reading sessions, and the fact that my Kindle isn’t full of push notifications and Twitter apps helps it be a distraction-free reading environment.

[…]

Amazon’s approach to Kindle software updates has been erratic at best and absent at worst, and he’s right that using a Kindle “feels like trudging through soft sand.” The interface is inelegant and in so many ways unchanged from its original release in 2007, just months after the iPhone arrived on the scene. Typography on the Kindle is still mediocre, despite minor advances like support for custom fonts and (in limited cases) the elimination of force-justified text. Even support for library borrowing is hidden, because Amazon really wants you to buy books.
It’s the lack of a proper app story that stings the most, I think. I’d love a version of the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Athletic for my Kindle—the real apps, with the ability to read the latest stories. I know that my E-Ink Kindle screen isn’t going to give me vibrant color or animation, but it could certainly show me the text, which is what the Kindle excels at.

Andrew Albanese writing for Publisher’s Weekly(via DaringFireball):

Under Macmillan’s new policy, which is scheduled to go into effect on November 1, public libraries are allowed to license a usinge discounted, perpetual access e-book for the first eight weeks after a book’s publication. After eight weeks, libraries can purchase multiple two-year licenses at the regular price (roughly $60 for new works). Librarians, however, say that not being allowed to license multiple copies upon publication unfairly punishes digital readers, and will only serve to frustrate users and will hurt the ability of the library to serve their community, especially if other publishers follow suit.

“Libraries are prepared to pay a fair price for fair services; in fact, over the past ten years, libraries have spent over $40 billion acquiring content,” the ALA report reads. “But abuse of their market position by dominant actors in digital markets is impeding essential library activities that are necessary to ensure that all Americans have access to information, both today and for posterity. If these abuses go unchecked, America’s competitiveness and our cultural heritage as a nation are at risk.”

Wi-Fi 6’s Claims Are Real

In tech it’s hard to discern marketing buzz from factual data. After struggling for months to get a reliable Wi-Fi performance at home thorough the use of different equipment, software optimization, setting tweaking, etc all problems went away with a single device: Amplifi Alien with support for Wi-Fi 6. Here’s a good review of the Amplifi Alien.

In a matter of minutes after set up I was able to get 3x better performance with a single device than with two Amplifi HDs or with enterprise grade UniFi equipment (UniFi Security Gateway, Switch and AP) both on iPhone 11 Pro which has Wi-Fi 6 support and devices without it.

Chris Hoffman from HowToGeek on Wi-Fi 6:

As usual, the latest Wi-Fi standard offers faster data transfer speeds. If you’re using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5.

Wi-Fi 6 accomplishes this through more efficient data encoding, resulting in higher throughput. Mainly, more data is packed into the same radio waves. The chips that encode and decode these signals keep getting more powerful and can handle the extra work.

Better battery life for your devices through Target Wake Time and better performance in crowded areas:

When the access point is talking to a device (like your smartphone), it can tell the device exactly when to put its Wi-Fi radio to sleep and exactly when to wake it up to receive the next transmission. This will conserve power, as it means the Wi-Fi radio can spend more time in sleep mode. And that means longer battery life.

[…]

Wi-Fi tends to get bogged down when you’re in a crowded place with a lot of Wi-FI enabled devices. Picture a busy stadium, airport, hotel, mall, or even a crowded office with everyone connected to Wi-Fi. You’re probably going to have slow Wi-Fi.

The new Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, incorporates many new technologies to help with this. Intel trumpets that Wi-Fi 6 will improve each user’s average speed by “at least four times” in congested areas with a lot of connected devices.

Fast →

Patrick Collison:

Some examples of people quickly accomplishing ambitious things together.

Inspiring examples from many different industries and types of entities. Motivated people can do almost anything.Permalink

Only 15% of the Basecamp operations budget is spent on Ruby →

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Everything I’ve talked about so far is infrastructure we’d run and pay for regardless of our programming language or web framework. Whether we run on Python, PHP, Rust, Go, C++, or whatever, we’d still need databases, we’d still need search, we’d still need to store files.

So let’s talk about what we spend on our programming language and web framework. It’s about 15%. That’s the price for all our app and job servers. The machines that actually run Ruby on Rails. So against a $3 million budget, it’s about $450,000. That’s it.

Let’s imagine that there was some amazing technology that would let us do everything we’re doing with Ruby on Rails, but it was TWICE AS FAST! That would save us about ~$225,000 per year. We spend more money than that on the Xmas gift we give employees at Basecamp every year. And that’s if you could truly go twice as fast, and thus require half the machines, which is not an easy thing to do, despite what microbenchmarks might delude you into thinking.

“Ruby can’t scale” or “Ruby is too expensive” my ass.Permalink

Your Deadline Will Be Affected

Cleanup takes time. No matter if it is refactoring, fixing bugs, updating supporting libraries, adding the proper documentation, or test coverage to your code. There is no way around this.

It will affect your deadlines today, or sometime down the road. The difference is that today, it’s your choice to make.

Thinking that you get away with this is just naive. It just can’t happen. Not unless you give up on the project or decide to rewrite the whole project, which is an entirely different problem.

Balancing the feature and fixes needed with the necessary clean up work is not easy. It’s hard. You are not alone in having to make these choices. Making those calls is hard, no matter if you are the developer, internal or external client, product owner, or even an end-user. The work is needed. Sooner or later, it will become inevitable, and the choice won’t be yours to make.

There aren’t a lot of options other than just “doing it”. Just as it’s not wise to argue the existence of gravity, which you can debate all you want if it exists or not. If you try to debate this, you are going to have a bad time.

It’s been proven time and again that all the money in the world can’t get you off the hook. There are enough examples to go around.

What makes you think you can get away with it? Is it hubris, inexperience, or you get an adrenaline rush from living on the edge? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you should figure out a way to do it sooner, rather than later, and make communication front and center since your team, clients, or users need to understand and give you the necessary support.

When did work-life balance become such a bad thing? →

DHH:

The term work-life balance has taken a beating lately. It seems to be a favorite punching bag for grandstanding about what you really need is integration or that balance is a mirage anyway. Wat?

Balance simple means that each portion of the system has a sustainable weight which keeps the composition in harmony. Going down a pedantic, semantic rabbit hole of “well, actually, work is part of life, ergo seeking balance is wrong” is some perfidy circular logic.

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Roadblocks vs. Speed bumps →

Rob Walling:

As a founder you can choose to look at an obstacle as something that keeps you from moving forward (a roadblock), or as something that slows you down for a minute as you continue along your path (a speed bump).

[…]

Roadblocks put stress on your mind. Stress on your body. Stress on your relationships. It’s no way to live, especially for folks who are building startups to improve our lives rather than re-arranging our lives around our companies.

This seems easy and obvious, but it’s not.

When you’re in the middle of a crisis it can feel overwhelming and almost impossible to surmount. I always try to keep my head down and keep working on the problem.

If working on a problem doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, then walk away and do other things.

Let your mind do the thinking in the background. Once you are ready, you’ll come back to solve the issues wiser and stronger. A calm mind will take you further than you can imagine.Permalink