Issue #20: 10 Read, A Handcrafted Weekly Newsletter For Humans


The total estimated time to read this newsletter is 190 minutes.

The secret of getting ahead is to get started – Mark Twain

  1. Facial recognition: It’s time for action: 30 mins read. This is a post by Microsoft on the need for government regulation and responsible industry measures to address advancing facial recognition technology. This is a welcome step by Microsoft and it shows them that they are on the right side of the issue. The post lays out the potential dangers of facial recognition if it is not regulated. The three main problems outlined in the post are:
    1. Certain uses of facial recognition increase the risk of decisions, and, more generally, outcomes that are biased and, in some case, in violation of laws prohibiting discrimination
    2. Intrusion into people’s privacy
    3. The use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms

    Microsoft has also defined six principles that they are adopting to address the concerns. These are 1) Fairness 2) Transparency 3) Accountability 4) Non-discrimination 5) Notice and consent 6) Lawful surveillance.

  2. Why You Should Never, Ever Use Quora: 15 mins read. I personally don’t use Quora for last many years. I find it full of gossip and useless questions and answers. The author makes a good point about Quora lack of intent to make knowledge accessible. Quora does not provide any API or data export tool. They have explicitly forbidden Internet Archive from indexing their web site. Also, you will be forced to login before you can see full answer text. Moreover, they are having trouble making money. So, you never know if they will exist few years down the line. This makes it even more important that they allow shareability of their data.

  3. The Swiss Army Knife of Hashmaps: 30 mins read. This post covers new implementation of HashMap based called Hashbrown. Hashbrown is based on Google’s SwissTable implementation. The blog starts from HashMap basics covering hashes and different implementations of HashMap using linear probing, Robin Hood hashing, and finally talking about Hashbrown. This post gives you a good understanding of HashMap.

  4. Why you need both rituals and routines to power your workday: 10 mins read. The post covers the importance of routines and rituals to make most of the day. Routine is a series of regularly followed actions. Rituals, on the other hand, are those symbolic actions performed at key moments that help us move through the day smoothly.

  5. How Pinterest runs Kafka at scale: 10 mins read. This post talks about how Pinterest is using Kafka. Pintrest has one of the largest Kafka deployments in the cloud. Their Kafka deployments runs in three AWS regions. They make use of MirrorMaker to transport data among three regions. They created and open sourced DoctorKafka, a Kafka operations automation service to perform partition reassignment during broker failure for operation automation. They use d2.2xlarge instances for brokers.

  6. Using Golang to Build Microservices at The Economist: A Retrospective: 20 mins read. This article by Economist engineer covers in depth why they chose Golang for building their new content platform. The three main reasons outlined in the post are:

    1. Go has key design elements required for building distributed systems
    2. Go’s concurrency model is relatively easy to implement
    3. It is easy too get started and fun to write
  7. Serverless Tip: Don’t overpay when waiting on remote API calls: 15 mins read. I consider as good software developer, you should not shy away from validating your assumptions. This post goes in depth on how the author did detailed analysis to validate his hypothesis. Author writes, My hypothesis was that by lowering the memory configuration, that the execution of the Lambda function would be slower and perhaps not as cost effective. He then carried out experiments to validate his hypothesis. As it turns out, functions that make remote API calls can be broken down into small, asynchronous components with low memory settings. We get the same performance and significantly reduce our costs, especially at scale.

  8. Our learnings from adopting GraphQL: 20 mins read.In this post, Netflix Marketing Technology team shares their learning in adopting GraphQL. Author writes, We have been running GraphQL on NodeJS for about 6 months, and it has proven to significantly increase our development velocity and overall page load performance.

  9. How To Build A Real-Time App With GraphQL Subscriptions On Postgres: 30 mins read. This is a tutorial to build a real time pooling app. Author does a good job explaining why GraphQL is a good choice for building real time apps. You can use this tutorial to build your firsts GraphQL app.

  10. Your Intuition Is Wrong, Unless These 3 Conditions Are Met: 10 mins read. Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow explains why most intuitions are wrong. I loved how he compared two definitions of intuitions and explained why the second is better than the first. The first definition is Intuition is defined as knowing without knowing how you know. The second definition is intuition is thinking that you know without knowing why you do.

Bonus: I will end this week newsletter with a great talk on decision making.

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