Friday, April 12, 2013

It's weekend reading time!

In our neck of the woods, the Rhododendron are nearly blooming, and the wildflowers in the hills are at their peak.

Of course, that means a fair bit of sneezing. But in between the sneezes, I've been reading...

  • The Creator
    Minecraft’s maker is a kingmaker in the video-game realm. “There are so many sides to that,” he says. “I try to tweet about the games I love and feel passionate about. But it got to the stage where I could ‘make’ a small studio, and so it began to feel like a duty. I started promoting games that I wasn’t so enthusiastic about.”
  • Microsoft chooses key time to remind Olympia of its clout
    "It absolutely remains the case that Washington state is Microsoft's home," he said, adding that "it's more a question of whether the jobs that Microsoft is able to add in the future will be added in Washington state, another state or outside the United States."
  • Better 155 years late than never: John Snow
    Wakley may have been the most outspoken of Snow's critics but his views were shared by most medical men at the time: miasma, or the stench from decaying vegetable and animal matter, was widely held responsible for epidemic disease. Snow's On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, first published in 1849, set out the then radical idea that cholera was a disorder of the digestive system not the blood; and that it was contagious and spread through the oral-faecal route, largely through contaminated drinking water.
  • Running a software team at Google
    This is a huge relief from the constant pressure to work, work, work that is endemic of professors. I also feel that I get much more done now, in less time, due to fewer distractions and being able to maintain a clear focus. The way I see it is this: If I'm being asked to do more than I can get done in a sane work week, we need to hire more people.
  • The Bw-Tree: A B-tree for New Hardware
    Our new form of B tree, called the Bw-tree achieves its very high performance via a latch-free approach that effectively exploits the processor caches of modern multi-core chips. Our storage manager uses a unique form of log structuring that blurs the distinction between a page and a record store and works well with flash storage.
  • Meet the Bitcoin Millionaires
    After he recognized Bitcoin’s potential, he quit school and founded a company called Avalon, which sells hardware built solely for the purpose of mining Bitcoins. He isn’t interested in a quick score, he says: “Our goal is to protect the Bitcoin network so profits are available in the long term.”
  • I Tried Hacking Bitcoin And I Failed
    BitCoin made a technical choice during its initial design that allowed some people to do far more work than others, simply by having a graphical accelerator or even by designing custom hardware. This is the precise capability that large financial actors and nation states have above and beyond the private sector’s capacity to produce, and it’s not obvious that even the BitCoin developers have the political ability to override a technical choice that would also harm the technology’s largest (public) players.
  • Eventual Consistency Today: Limitations, Extensions, and Beyond
    This article begins to answer this question by describing several notable developments in the theory and practice of eventual consistency, with a focus on immediately applicable takeaways for practitioners running distributed systems in the wild. As production deployments have increasingly adopted weak consistency models such as eventual consistency, we have learned several lessons about how to reason about, program, and strengthen these weak models.
  • In a nutshell: How OpenStack works
    Its mission is to provide a flexible solution for both public and private clouds of any size, and for this matter two basic requirements are considered: clouds must be simple to implement and massively scalable.
  • Harmonic Averaging of Monitored Rate Data
    So, I wasn't completely sure about what I was saying. Good thing too, because the usual form of the harmonic mean doesn't work for time series! That, it turns out, is a very subtle subject and why I decided to use the slide format above to reveal my progressive technical understanding about what does work.
  • Practical Techniques to Achieve Quality in Large Software Projects
    Code review helps promote a quality-oriented culture in the office. Engineers will trend towards producing better code and more tests to increase the number of positive comments they receive. Furthermore, having such a system in place helps new engineers learn the ropes faster.
  • Gearing up for the Next Chapter
    Gary Kovacs, having accomplished the goals and objectives he and the team set out to achieve, will be stepping down as CEO later this year but will continue to provide vision and leadership as a member of our Board of Directors. An executive search will begin immediately for his replacement.
  • Git Koans
    Master Git turned and threw himself off the railing, falling to his death on the rocks below. Upon seeing this, the novice was enlightened.

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