Friday, July 17, 2015

Stuff I'm reading, mid-July edition

At last, summer is here; the weather is beautiful.

  • Reddit's Future Is the Future of the Internet
    Reddit’s conundrum is worth following not just because the site is one of the major anchors of the social web or because it attracts massive amounts of traffic - a whopping 164 million visitors each month. It’s important because the site is founded on principles that mirror the founding principles of the web itself. Reddit was conceived as an open forum, a place where conversation is self-regulated and community-driven, freedom of expression is prized above all, and authorities don’t meddle with - much less censor - content. And sometimes, wonderful things happen. But there’s also a dark side.
  • How does Shazam work
    This article is a summary of the search I did to understand Shazam.

    I’ll start with the basics of music theory, present some signal processing stuff and end with the mechanisms behind Shazam.

  • Key Takeaway Points and Lessons Learned from QCon New York 2015
    InfoQ reported from the event, and there are also numerous QCon photos on our Flickr page. This article, however, presents a summary of QCon New York as blogged and tweeted by attendees.
  • Java Annotated Monthly – July 2015
    You don’t always sign up for a free e-book about collecting garbage, but when you do, that book is by the unwavering Charles Humble at InfoQ. Within, you will find heaps of helpful pointers on monitoring and tuning, and a sweeping look at many practical topics in modern garbage collection. This book is an indispensable reference for new and old generations of Java developers alike.
  • The Java Garbage Collection Mini-Book
    The Java Garbage Collection Mini-book provides a concise, accessible guide for Java architects and senior developers who want to understand what garbage collection is, how it works, and how it impacts the execution of their programs.

    This book dives right into the details. Starting with an examination of the Java heap and pointers, safe-points, and generational collection, the book then explores each collector in turn, describing its memory structure, the basics of the algorithm, and its performance characteristics.

  • Interview: Larry Wall
    At FOSDEM 2015 in Brussels, we caught up with Larry to ask him why Perl 6 has taken so long (Perl 5 was released in 1994), how difficult it is to manage a project when everyone has strong opinions and pulling in different directions, and how his background in linguistics influenced the design of Perl from the start.
  • Getting into Linux Kernel Development
    The first thing that'll happen when you send the first version of your patchset to the mailing list is that it will be outright rejected. It's very uncommon that a patchset is merged immediately. Maybe you could've done something better, maybe you didn't grab some locks in the right order, maybe you missed a race condition, etc. It's important not to be dissuaded when your patch gets rejected. It happens to everyone, just take the feedback you got and move on.
  • IBM Cloud: it’s the infrastructure, stupid
    When everyone else in IT turned around one day and realised Amazon was going to eat their lunch just as surely as software was eating the world they had to do something about standardising and commoditising the infrastructure layers of the stack - storage, network and compute - in a topology that resembled Amazon’s own services, without directly aping them (Eucalyptus, acquired by HP, tried that route).
  • Speed Up Your Rails App by 66% - The Complete Guide to Rails Caching
    As a tip to newcomers to caching, my advice is to ignore action caching and page caching. The situations where these two techniques can be used is so narrow that these features were removed from Rails as of 4.0. I recommend instead getting very comfortable with fragment caching - which I'll cover in detail now.
  • The Web’s Cruft Problem
    Why does CNN show ads? To make money. Why does CNN include tracking services? To learn more about the reader, to show more targeted ads, to make more money. Why does CNN use social media buttons? To get people to share the article, to get more page views, to get more ad views, to make more money. Why does CNN include a weather widget? Ok I don’t get that one; they should really get rid of that.

    Again, I don’t mean to call out CNN as the "bad example," but rather use them to show a specific example of a model that has become pervasive for content on the web.

    My friend Brian Rinaldi recently wrote that the content model of the web is broken, in which he argues that we as web users thoroughly devalue content and writers. He argues that because we refuse to pay for content, content producers must resort to increasingly drastic tactics to make money off the content they produce - or have some ulterior motives to make the content production possible.

    Paywalls have failed (mostly), so we’re left with a bunch of sites that use an eclectic set of ads, tracking scripts, modals, and such, all in an attempt to scrape together enough revenue to fund the content that lives behind the cruft.

  • If You've Got Nothing to Hide...
    Because the attack on the civil registry in Amsterdam is widely appreciated as an example of the work the resistance did during the war it is still very much present in the Dutch collective consciousness (though, unfortunately, less so with the passing of time). Apparently innocent database fields suddenly came back to bite a very large group of citizens.
  • The Man With No Name, my role model for life
    The Ennio Morricone Anthology - A Fistful Of Film Music is my stranded on a desert island album of choice. It hits every emotion that I could ever want and I dare you - no - I double dare you to listen to Man With A Harmonica or Navajo Joe and tell me you feel nothing. If I listen to this collection from beginning to end, I still get goosebumps.

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