Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #11

Adam Clark wants to be independently wealthy

Adam Clark and I met back in 2013. We started a podcasting company together (which we both left), he shut down his consulting business to move to California and work for Apple, and now he’s back in Tennessee. Last year he launched a new business, Podcast Royale, a company he says will afford him more freedom to do whatever he wants to do. He talks to me about growing up in a cult, losing his father, marriage, and how being a parent gives him a purpose in life.

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Amazon Web Services enterprisedb.com

Is Amazon’s new MongoDB-compatible DBMS really PostgreSQL under the covers?

This is a nice rundown of the technical clues indicating that DocumentDB might be powered by Postgres. PostgreSQL isn’t the only DBMS that scales writes vertically and reads horizontally via replication, but when you add this all up, especially some of the specific limitations, I think it makes a pretty compelling argument that PostgreSQL is the engine powering AWS DocumentDB.

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Max Stoiber mxstbr.com

Regrets and lessons learned building Spectrum

Max Stoiber shares his regrets and lessons learned from tech choices made when building Spectrum. Yes, this is the same Spectrum recently acquired by GitHub. With the benefit of hindsight, here are the technology choices I regret and the lessons I have learned. … Changing these decisions would not have made Spectrum a better product by itself. Yet, it would have saved us time and allowed us to spend more time experimenting.

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Drew Devault drewdevault.com

I’m going to work full-time on free software

A year ago Drew Devault laid out his future plans and path to sustainably working on open source full-time. Today, those plans have been realized. I don’t want to make grandiose promises right away, but I’m confident that increasing my commitment to open source to this degree is going to have a major impact on my projects. For now, my primary focus is sr.ht: its paid users make up the majority of the funding. Drew goes on to say how he’s making this leap before the needed income is actually there, so if you dig what he’s up to, you can play a part in making his choice a success. I need to clarify that despite choosing to work full-time on these projects, my income is going to be negative for a while. I have enough savings and income now that I feel comfortable making the leap, and I plan on working my ass off before my runway ends to earn the additional subscriptions to sr.ht and donations to fosspay et al that will make this decision sustainable in the long term.

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Y Combinator Icon Y Combinator

Now you can listen to Startup Playbook by Sam Altman (for free)

The book is free in Kindle format on Amazon AND you can listen for free on the web! We spend a lot of time advising startups. Though one-on-one advice will always be crucial, we thought it might help us scale Y Combinator if we could distill the most generalizable parts of this advice into a sort of playbook we could give YC and YC Fellowship companies. Then we thought we should just give it to everyone. This is meant for people new to the world of startups. Most of this will not be new to people who have read a lot of what YC partners have written—the goal is to get it into one place.

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Medium Icon Medium

Apple succumbs to the smartphone malaise

When was the last time you got REALLY EXCITED about the latest iPhone announcement? It’s been awhile for me too…I mostly get excited about improvements made to the camera. We generally expect newer models to get faster and better, right? So, progress alone makes that an expectation. Everything else is just kinda, meh. From The Economist on Medium: Smartphones revolutionized everything from shopping and dating to politics and computing itself. They are some of the most popular products ever put on sale. But after a decade-long boom, devices once seen as miraculous have become ubiquitous and even slightly boring.

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O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference Icon O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference – Sponsored

This O'Reilly conference is focused on all things software architecture

Use the code CHANGELOG to get 25% off - join hundreds of software architects, engineers, software developers, and tech leads for unparalleled networking opportunities and hear from the leaders in application and system design. Some of our anticipated talks include: Keynote: Career advice for architects by Trisha Gee Chaos engineering and scalability at Audible.com by Tyler Lund Progressive Delivery: Evolution of your Software Development Lifecycle by Adam Zimman The next data engineering architecture: Beyond the lake by Zhamak Dehghani Use the discount code CHANGELOG and get 25% off Gold, Silver, and Bronze passes.

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Gaming github.com

Enjoy creating games like it's 1997? Try this retro gaming engine

The engine is a fork of the Quake II codebase that focuses on serving as a base for standalone games. Unlike other ports, it does not aim at being compatible with mods or the base Quake II game. In fact, many features were removed to reduce the complexity of the codebase and make the process of creating new games on top of the engine easier and faster.

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The Changelog The Changelog #330

source{d} turns code into actionable insights

Adam caught up with Francesc Campoy at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2018 in Seattle, WA to talk about the work he’s doing at Source{d} to apply Machine Learning to source code, and turn that codebase into actionable insights. It’s a movement they’re driving called Machine Learning on Code. They talked through their open source products, how they work, what types of insights can be gained, and they also talked through the code analysis Francesc did on the Kubernetes code base. This is as close as you get to the bleeding edge and we’re very interested to see where this goes.

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Chloe Condon medium.com

What it’s like to be a woman on the internet

Chloe Condon: Being a woman on the internet can be terrible sometimes. Unfortunately, me writing this article isn’t going to fix things overnight. We have a very long way to go until this awful behavior towards women online stops (and let’s face it- it likely never will). But I’m writing this article to shed light on an issue I think most folks (especially men) don’t see a whole lot of since it’s often behind-the-scenes and often only seen by the women who receive them and their partners/close friends. The creepy DMs, the gross messages from dudes on LinkedIn, the blog comments, and the “well actually”s on our tweets add up. It needs to stop. Chloe details a horrible story of harassment that unfolded this past week. It’s stories like these that get all of us fired up and upset, but Chloe’s reality reveals that she deals with similar things every single day. As she says later in the article, it’s the responsibility of men (myself included) to be allies and “call out this behavior if you see it happening.” It may also call for some self-reflection. Have I mistreated someone (maybe even without knowing it)? It’s always a good time to make changes and grow to be better humans.

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Ops rework.fm

Basecamp details biggest outage yet in episode of Rework podcast

Who knew an audio post-mortem could be so fun to listen to! On Thursday, November 8, Basecamp 3 went down for almost five hours. It was the worst outage to hit the company in a decade and a stress test of Basecamp’s practices around internal communication, customer support, and calm work. Today’s episode goes inside the company on November 8 to see how the outage unfolded.

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Chris Palmer noncombatant.org

The state of software security in 2019

Chris Palmer lays out The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of security in the software industry. The good news is that “The Good” section is the longest of the three. The bad news is that section length is an arbitrary measurement that I just made up. 😉 The big theme: E_TOO_MUCH_COMPLEXITY Hardware, software, platforms, and ecosystems are often way too complex, and a whole lot of our security, privacy, and abuse problems stem from that.

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Ben Thompson stratechery.com

The economic realities of open source

Ben Thompson, one of the voices behind Exponent and writer at Stratechery, covered the economic realities of open source from a lens of the music industry. More specifically, Ben talked about how the music industry’s revenue, medium, and distribution relates to that of open source in today’s world where AWS, Microsoft or Google are able to make money off of open source like MongoDB and Redis without having to share any of that money with the developers of the open source. He describes this conundrum for open source companies: MongoDB leveraged open source to gain mindshare. MongoDB Inc. built a successful company selling additional tools for enterprises to run MongoDB. More and more enterprises don’t want to run their own software: they want to hire AWS (or Microsoft or Google) to run it for them, because they value performance, scalability, and availability. This leaves MongoDB Inc. not unlike the record companies after the advent of downloads: what they sold was not software but rather the tools that made that software usable, but those tools are increasingly obsolete as computing moves to the cloud.

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Flavio Copes freeCodeCamp

Every developer should have a blog (here's why, and how to stick with it)

Flavio Copes is a great person to take this advice from. He’s been blogging for “more than 11 years,” more or less consistently. In this post he covers not only what you need to know to be successful, but also what you need to forget. One of ways I learn best is by doing. I literally decide on a topic I think I know something about, and I drill down in a spiral loop through things I didn’t know, or I didn’t even think about. They say you never fully understand a topic until you are able to explain it. Blogging is a low barrier to explaining things.

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Andreas Klinger klinger.io

A crash course in managing remote teams

If you’re digging into the whole remote teams thing, then you’ll enjoy reading this crash course on building and managing remote teams from Andreas Klinger. You need to systemize communication and expectations. When I say processes, I don’t necessarily mean heavy-handed workflows, piles of paper and someone using a giant stamp confirming every action. I mean “systemized communication and expectations made explicit”. This can be as simple as: “We do check-ins every morning…” “Please before you do X always do Y…” These simple explicit agreements allow other people to expect those actions to happen and avoid unnecessary communication loops.

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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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Go robustperception.io

Optimising startup time of Prometheus 2.6.0 with pprof

Brian Brazil: The informal design goal of the Prometheus 2.x TSDB startup was that it should take no more than about a minute. Over the past few months there’s been reports of it taking quite a bit more than this, which is a problem if your Prometheus restarts for some reason. Almost all of that time is loading the WAL (write ahead log), which are the samples in the last few hours which have yet to be compacted into a block. I finally got a chance to dig into this at the end of October, and the outcome was PR#440 which reduced CPU time by 6.5x and walltime by 4x. Let’s look at how I arrived at these improvements. I’ve been meaning to get more familiar with pprof, the Go profiling tool, as my job revolves around working on and around Go microservices. My team has been able to see the impact of the Go experts who can quickly find issues buried in a stack of profiles collected on a service. Brian’s post is a great example of 1) identifying the an issue, 2) diagnosing said issue and 3) observing the implemented improvements using pprof. His parting paragraph is particularly insightful, specifically: I did spend quite a bit of time pouring over the code, and had several dead ends such as removing the call to NumSamples, doing reading and decoding in separate threads, and a few variants of how the processWALSamples sharding worked Profiling and optimization is a mix of knowing your codebase and being able to identifying false leads. A tool like pprof is invaluable when identifying both issues and improvements in a measurable way.

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