Issue #14: 10 Reads, A Handcrafted Weekly Newsletters for Humans

Hello All,

Here are 10 reads I thought were worth sharing this week. The total time to read this newsletter is 195 minutes. This week newsletter has stories on bullshit web, CAP theorem, slow thinking, productivity, faster JSON parsing with Stanford Sparser, Serverless, Shopify tech stack and few more.

It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. – Antoine de Saint Exupéry

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Issue #13: 10 Read, A Handcrafted Weekly Newsletter for Humans

Hello All,
Here are 10 reads I thought were worth sharing this week. The total time to read this newsletter is 130 minutes. This week newsletter has stories on Firebase, how to manage your engineering superheroes, service discover, habits to adopt in your life, how to do full text search with PostgreSQL, being a remote developer,  few more.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong — H. L. Mencken

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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.”

Issue #8: 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 125 minutes.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. — Marcus Aurelius
  1. Introvert or Extrovert? Here’s How to Boost Your Productivity: 10 mins read. I consider myself an introvert and I have no issues accepting that. I agree with post’s author that few people are pure introverts or extroverts. It could depend on the situation or people we hang out with. For me the best part of the post was productivity tips for introverts. Interesting I also came with the same conclusions as shared in this post for boosting my productivity. The four productivity tips for introverts — 1) Control your environment 2) Focus on one-on-one interactions 3) Slow down 4) Prepare for meetings.
  2. Survivorship Bias And Startup Hype: 5 mins read. Luck plays a significant role in business success. Not just in the mere fact of success, but in the magnitude of any given company’s triumphs. We tend to overlook this reality because of a mental distortion called survivorship bias. It is a common cognitive failure, and a dangerous one because it obscures the distastefully harsh nature of the world.
  3. Don’t Eat Before Reading This: 20 mins read.  Anthony Bourdain shares some trade secrets of chef industry. He writes Being a chef is a lot like being an air-traffic controller: you are constantly dealing with the threat of disaster. You’ve got to be Mom and Dad, drill sergeant, detective, psychiatrist, and priest to a crew of opportunistic, mercenary hooligans, whom you must protect from the nefarious and often foolish strategies of owners. Year after year, cooks contend with bouncing paychecks, irate purveyors, desperate owners looking for the masterstroke that will cure their restaurant’s ills: Live Cabaret! Free Shrimp! New Orleans Brunch!
  4. The Bullshit-Job Boom: 15 mins read. We all have seen people bullshitting around and reaching the top and then building a senior team with all bullshitters together. This happens in most organization. I love the definition of bullshit job. Author writes a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.
  5. Becoming a dramatically better programmer : 15 mins read. It is always beneficial for me to read posts like these. They either teach me a new way to look at how I can become better programmer or they assure me if I am doing something right. I also realized most of the suggestions mentioned in the post and trying to follow them. The post is divided into two parts — 1) Learning skills directly 2) Learning meta-skills. The first part Learning skills directly talks about importance of building new skills that complement your existing skillset and learning things that you think you don’t completely understand. The second part learning meta-skills is about deliberate practice, identifying common mistakes, and deep work.
  6. Pain Plus Reflection Equals Progress : 10 mins read. Author writes, The easy path means being the same person you were yesterday. It’s easy and comfortable to convince yourself that the world should work differently than it does, that you have nothing to learn from the pain. The harder path is to embrace the pain and ask yourself what you could have done differently or better or what your blind spot was. It’s harder because you stop living in the bubble of your own creation and start living in reality.
  7. Seven Reasons Why RightSizing AWS EBS Capacity Is Hard : 10 mins read. Right-sizing EBS volumes can provide a handsome return on investment. The reason is simple: AWS charges for provisioned capacity, not consumed capacity, and almost all AWS customers over-provision their EBS volumes. In our experience, the average amount of unused storage is about 75%. That’s a lot of empty storage that AWS customers are paying for!
  8. CPU utilisation is wrong : 5 mins video. This is a 5 mins video by Netflix’s Brendan Gregg on why %CPU is not the right way to measure performance.
  9. Go code refactoring : the 23x performance hunt: 15 mins read. These days I am also working on a piece of code where I am trying to do performance optimisation. This blog give me some ideas to explore. A good post at the right time for me.
  10. Building A Pub/Sub Service In-House Using Node.js And Redis: 20 mins read. The primary reasons for building an in-house Pub/Sub system are 1) Reliability 2) High Performance 3) Cost effectiveness.