Issue #9: 10 Reads, A Handcrafted Weekly Newsletter for Humans


Hey y’all,
Here are 10 reads I thought were worth sharing this week. The total time to read this newsletter is 155 minutes.
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. – Jorge Luis Borges
  1. How I use Wireshark: 15 mins read. This is a quick tutorial that will help you understand how you can use Wireshark for debugging network related problems. Wireshark is a powerful tool but its user interface can be intimidating for the first time user. Julia Evans,  author of the post does a good job documenting how she uses Wireshark in her day to day job. I, myself, used Wireshark a month back to figure out why I am unable to connect to a VPN server. Wireshark helped me move in the right direction.
  2. The Facebook Nevers: 5 min read. And yet, the tectonic plates are shifting. But they’re shifting under Facebook, as tectonic plates do. The fall of Facebook was never going to be people quitting the service en masse — it’s too interwoven into the fabric of the way many of us use the web these days — it was always going to be the people who never really use the service in the first place. Kids.
  3. YAML: probably not so great after all: 15 mins read. A good post talking about shortcomings of YAML as the language for configuration files. I was not aware of most of the issues with YAML. The author points out that YAML is insecure by default, hard to edit when files are large, has complex specification, not portable across programming languages, and has surprising behaviours. I personally have not used YAML much so was unaware of most of the issues.
  4. React Native at Airbnb: 30 mins read. This is a 5 post series talking about Reactive Native usage at Airbnb. Airbnb is considered poster child for React Native. Airbnb has decided to stop using React Native for any new project and they will be migrating their highly used screens to Android and iOS native screens. Airbnb team faced technical and organisational challenges while building their hybrid applications. React Native for the most part fulfil the promise of write once and run on multiple mobile platforms but you start hitting limitations when you are a big company like Airbnb trying to push React Native to its limits.
  5. The War on Developer Productivity: 10 mins read. A couple of weeks back I gave a talk and touched upon the same point. I personally don’t use Slack even when Slack is the preferred tool in our organisation. As outlined in the post, tools like Slack forces you to give immediate reply. They make others feel that you are always available to answer or entertain them. I think tools like Slack are our servants and they should not drive us like they are our masters. We should use them wisely else our productivity will suffer.
  6. PostgreSQL Features You May Not Have Tried But Should: 15 mins read. A good list of PostgreSQL features that one can use in their work. I personally like Pub/Sub Notifications feature the most. I am thinking of using this feature to update the cache as soon as my database is updated by another process.
  7. Introversion as an Excuse: 20 mins read. Author writes In the last several years, these once common currents of thought have been undergoing a silent sea change. While the extrovert remains the ideal culturally, on the individual level, seemingly more and more people are identifying themselves — quite proudly — as introverts.
  8. How Pusher Channels has delivered 10,000,000,000,000 messages: 5 mins read. I used Pusher 4 years back when I was working with Red Hat. Pusher is a publish subscribe channel that you can use to build real-time applications. Few days back they processed 1 trillion messages. In this post which lack details, they give a 10,000 feet view of how Pusher Channels work. The main workhorse in their architecture is Redis.
  9. The Machine Fired Me: 15 mins read. Amazing read. Once the order for employee termination is put in, the system takes over. All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled. Once it is disabled, an email is sent to security about recently dismissed employees. Scanning the key card is a red flag. The order to disable my Windows account is also sent. There is also one for my JIRA account. And on and on. There is no way to stop the multi-day long process. I had to be rehired as a new employee. Meaning I had to fill up paperwork, set up direct deposit, wait for Fedex to ship a new key card.
  10. Pinterest Founder Ben Silbermann’s Lessons on Decision Making, Values, and Taking Time for Yourself: 15 mins read. The best point for me in this post was Write down decisions you make — and your rationale at the time — into a “decision journal.”

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