Practical AI Practical AI #26

2018 in review and bold predictions for 2019

Fully Connected – a series where Chris and Daniel keep you up to date with everything that’s happening in the AI community. This week we look back at 2018 - from the GDPR and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to advances in natural language processing and new open source tools. Then we offer our predications for what we expect in the year ahead, touching on just about everything in the world of AI.

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Andy Bell andy-bell.design

CSS doesn’t suck

Andy Bell: It’s turning into a bit of a trend—particularly in the JavaScript community—to crap on CSS wherever possible. I could lambaste those who frequently do this, but instead, I thought I’d write about CSS positively to counter the falsities that are spread over the tech tyre fire that is Twitter. Andy makes three compelling arguments in favor of CSS, and I’m glad people continue to talk about this. The conversation is ever more critical as our industry grows and matures.

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Business Insider Icon Business Insider

Startups are going all-remote to lure top talent away from Silicon Valley

If you’re a listener of Founders Talk, you’ve heard first-hand the perspective of Zapier from co-founder Bryan Helmig when it comes to their remote-only workforce policy. In this story from Business Insider, Rosalie Chan covers not only Zapier, but also how GitLab and InVision are going all-remote, and how that’s playing into the exodus of top talent from Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley, there’s a war constantly raging to recruit the very best talent. Startups and mega-corporations alike try to lure new recruits with the promise of lavish perks to go with their famously high salaries. By hiring only remote workers, though, startups are finding that they can bypass that battle altogether. Rather than go toe-to-toe with corporate giants in the major metropolitan areas, all-remote companies are finding success by recruiting from places that traditionally aren’t thought of as tech talent hubs.

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Virginia Balseiro freeCodeCamp

How I finished the entire freeCodeCamp curriculum in 9 months while working full time

Virginia Balseiro shared her story and experience of completing the freeCodeCamp curriculum last year. It wasn’t easy, I won’t lie. It helped that most of my friends and acquaintances don’t live near me, and I live in a small town that doesn’t offer a lot of entertainment opportunities. …I couldn’t just quit my job and study full time, since I needed to pay the bills, so I had to get really good at 3 things: Time management Discipline Organization Not only does Virginia share her experience and strategy, but also other supplemental resources she used on her freeCodeCamp journey.

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Paul Graham paulgraham.com

What business can learn from open source

Sometimes you need to look back in order to go forward. In this 2005 Paul Graham essay derived from his talk at OSCON that same year, Paul contrasts open source and blogging to extract wisdom for companies to follow. What’s more interesting is just how right this essay was, with the luxury of hindsight and history on our side today. …the biggest thing business has to learn from open source is not about Linux or Firefox, but about the forces that produced them. Ultimately these will affect a lot more than what software you use. Like open source, blogging is something people do themselves, for free, because they enjoy it. … People just produce whatever they want; the good stuff spreads, and the bad gets ignored. And in both cases, feedback from the audience improves the best work. In a world where the playing field is leveled and everyone has the same or similar access to share their ideas, ideas will “bubble up from the bottom, instead of flowing down from the top.” Well said Paul.

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Harj Taggar triplebyte.com

Choose where to work by thinking like an investor

Harj Taggar, former partner at Y Combinator and founder of Triplebyte, shared some really insightful wisdom on choosing a startup to work for… I believe that most advice on choosing a startup to work for is wrong. Early employees at wildly successful startups suggest you assume the value of your equity is zero and instead optimize for how much you can learn. In this post I’ll argue that evaluating how likely a startup is to succeed should actually be the most important factor in your decision to join one. As a former partner at Y Combinator, I know a lot about how investors do this. What do you think? How have you made choices like this in the past?

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Isaac Schlueter blog.npmjs.org

npm has a new CEO

npm has faced some interesting challenges with project creator and co-founder Isaac Schlueter playing the role of leading the company AND the product. I’m excited to see how this new leadership and focus for Isaac plays out for npm and the greater JavaScript community. In this post, Isaac shares some backstory and details about this transition: Today, I’m happy to introduce Bryan Bogensberger as npm, Inc.’s CEO. He brings a wealth of experience in Open Source and a ton of excitement and expertise to help grow npm to the next level and beyond. Commercializing something like this without ruining it is no small task, and building the team to deliver on npm’s promise is a major undertaking. We’ve sketched out a business plan and strategy for the next year, and will be announcing some other key additions to the team in the coming months. Meanwhile, I’ve taken on the title of Chief Product Officer and I will be spending my time focused on the part of the problem that I love.

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Rollbar Icon Rollbar – Sponsored

Error monitoring in React Native

This is a detailed guide on how to handle errors in React Native. Get started by learning how to handle errors in vanilla React Native, then learn how Rollbar is a game changer to get better error monitoring in your React Native apps. Rollbar’s React Native SDK makes it easy to add error tracking to your app. It captures detailed tracebacks when errors occur and only takes a few minutes to set up. You’ll know about errors right away so that your users can experience your app the way it is meant to be.

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Federico Viticci MacStories

This iOS shortcut proves you can do awesome programming with Shortcuts

Federico Viticci on MacStories didn’t understand why Apple Music doesn’t offer a “Year in Review” feature, so he built his own: But Apple doesn’t seem interested in adding this feature to Apple Music, so I decided to build my own using Shortcuts. The result is the most complex shortcut I’ve ever created comprising over 540 actions. I just tried out the shortcut last night, and it’s incredible. But as Federico himself points out, doing something this complex pushes the boundaries of Shortcuts and iOS: Apple Music Wrapped pushes the limits of what is possible to achieve with the ‘Find Music Where…’ and ‘Open URLs’ actions of the Shortcuts app. In the past few weeks, I (and other testers) have run into limitations and inconsistencies worth pointing out both for MacStories readers and Shortcuts engineers at Apple. It’s nothing short of a programmatic feat, and if you use Apple Music, I recommend you give it a shot.

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Johan Brandhorst grpc.io

The state of gRPC in the browser

Front-enders should check this out! Johan Brandhorst reviews the history of gRPC in the browser, the state of things today, and thoughts on the future of gRPC-Web. gRPC-Web is an excellent choice for web developers. It brings the portability, performance, and engineering of a sophisticated protocol into the browser, and marks an exciting time for frontend developers! So far the benefits have largely only been available to mobile app and backend developers, whilst frontend developers have had to continue to rely on JSON REST interfaces as their primary means of information exchange. However, with the release of gRPC-Web, gRPC is poised to become a valuable addition in the toolbox of frontend developers.

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Cathy Dutton cathydutton.co.uk

Stepping away from Sass

Cathy Dutton: …the more I looked at my old Sass files the more I questioned whether it was adding value to my site, or just an extra level of complexity and dependency. CSS has evolved over recent years and [sic] the problems that lead me to Sass in the first place seem to be less of an issue today. Lots of great examples in Cathy’s post. While I’m not 100 percent convinced to leave Sass, its days are numbered. CSS has come a long way since I started using Sass in 2012, and while I feel the syntax settled on for variables is a bit verbose, there’s no question it’s pretty powerful.

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Dan Abramov Increment

The melting pot of JavaScript

Dan Abramov, writing for Increment: Unconstrained by a single vendor, the JavaScript ecosystem closely reflects human culture. It is inventive, incremental, messy, assimilating everything on its way, and ubiquitous. I’ll be honest: I love the melting pot of JavaScript. And while there’s no denying that it’s harder for beginners now to get into it than it was for me five years ago, I believe there are a few things we can do to make it more approachable. But first, let’s see how the JavaScript ecosystem came to be this way. Whether are weighed down by JavaScript fatigue or revved up about the JavaScript renaissance, you’ll probably enjoy this insightful piece all about the melting pot that we call JS.

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Kubernetes tilt.build

Local Kubernetes development without the stress

Tilt makes it possible to develop all your microservices locally in Kubernetes while collaborating with your team. You define a Tiltfile that describes how your services fit together (which is supposed to be pretty straight forward if you already have a Dockerfile and a Kubernetes config), then share it with your team. Everyone runs tilt up and the app is up and running on their localhost. No more “it worked on my machine” – everything runs in containers so the right dependencies are always there. Tilt updates with container optimization tricks & best practices, so that even complex projects update in seconds.

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Eric Bailey CSS-Tricks

Reader mode: the button to beat

Eric Bailey writing for CSS-Tricks: Good design isn’t about forcing someone to walk a tightrope across your carefully manicured lawn. Nor is it a puzzle box casually tossed to the user, hoping they’ll unlock it to reveal a hidden treasure. Good design is about doing the hard work to accommodate the different ways people access a solution to an identified problem. For reading articles, the core problem is turning my ignorance about an issue into understanding (the funding model for this is a whole other complicated concern). The more obstructions you throw in my way to achieve this goal, the more I am inclined to leave and get my understanding elsewhere—all I’ll remember is how poor a time I had while trying to access your content. What is the value of an ad impression if it ultimately leads to that user never returning? Fantastic article full of amazing resources. As web developers, we want people to experience our site the way it was intended. But that means we have to put in the work to make that experience easy, accessible, and clutter-free.

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Steve Klabnik words.steveklabnik.com

thank u, next

In a post with a title borrowed from Ariana Grande, Steve Klabnik is announcing his departure from Mozilla and what he hopes could be his next moves. Mozilla is not interested in hearing what I have to say. And that’s fine, but when I take a step back and think about things, that means it’s time to go, for both my sake and Mozilla’s. So I’ve just put in my two weeks’ notice. The interesting thing isn’t exactly that he’s moving on from Mozilla, it’s that he’s betting big on WebAssembly. I’ve also been enamored with another technology recently: WebAssembly. 2019 is going to be a huge year for WebAssembly, even if many people don’t know it yet, and may not see the effects until 2020. So what’s his next move? Something different… In terms of the actual work I would like to do, I don’t think a traditional engineering role really suits me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write some code, but I don’t think that those kinds of roles really play to my unique strengths. What I really love to do is teaching, evangelizing, and growing something.

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GitHub thenextweb.com

GitHub to offer unlimited private repositories for free 🔥

In a post accidentally published a day early, we learn that GitHub will offer unlimited private repositories for free to users, effectively eliminating their smallest personal plan. However, the private repositories are limited to three collaborators. The article suggests the feature will roll out on January 8th. It will be interesting to see how the current pay subscriptions will change.

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