Sunday, April 24, 2016

Another collection of links

Spring has sprung, and the sun is shining; but I'm inside reading?

Let me just finish reading this one more article, and then I'll go out...

  • Ford hedges to deal with disruption
    If you have wondered how one company can have a separate car and mobility business you have already understood the problem. Cars are subservient to mobility, but Ford is treating them as distinct. Put simply, if disruption is coming from a new way of putting the parts of the system together, the solution cannot be to keep them separate. Yet that is what Ford, like so many before them, are doing.
  • The engineer’s engineer: Computer industry luminaries salute Dave Cutler’s five-decade-long quest for quality
    Cutler, 74, who still comes to his office each day on Microsoft’s sprawling Redmond, Washington, campus, has shaped entire eras: from his work developing the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late ‘70s, his central role in the development of Windows NT – the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 – to his more recent experiences in developing the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.
    It's interesting to see how Cutler's reputation has mellowed over the decades. When I was still a young sprout in the programming world, back in the early 1980's, Cutler had an absolutely ferocious reputation for his temper. The closest that the article gets to that, though, is the quote from Gordon Bell: "Dave is the ultimate competitor. He really wants to win." I do remember, however, that Cutler's reputation for excellence, however, was just as strong then as it is now.

  • How Etsy Formats Currency
    Formatting currency for international members is hard. Etsy supports browsing in 9 languages, 23 currencies, and hundreds of regions. Luckily, we don’t have to figure out the right way to format in all of these combinations, because the nice folks at CLDR have done it for us. CLDR is a massive database of formatting styles that gets updated twice a year. The data gets packaged up into a portable library called libicu. Libicu is available everywhere, including mobile phones. If you want to format currency, you can use CLDR data to do it.
  • Why aren’t we using SSH for everything?
    It means that SSH has authentication built into the protocol. When you join ssh-chat, not only do I know who you claim to be, but I can also permanently and securely attach an identity to your connection without any user intervention on your part. No signup forms, no clicking on links in your email, no fancy mobile apps.
  • Five ways to paginate in Postgres, from the basic to the exotic
    PostgreSQL gives us a number of server-side pagination techniques that differ in speed, integrity (not missing records), and support for certain page access patterns. Not all methods work in all situations, some require special data or queries. Let’s consider the methods in order of generality, starting with those that work for any query, then those which require ordered data. We’ll conclude with some exotic methods which rely on PostgreSQL internals.
  • Curing Our Slack Addiction
    your first instinct would be to switch to Slack and ask. And since everyone’s addiction was as strong as yours, you were sure to get someone’s attention.

    All of these interactions would happen in Slack, despite there being many other tools that are better suited. Tools like bug trackers and wikis would allow answers to be preserved so future questions wouldn’t even have to be asked but they weren’t as fun.

  • Why the Unicorn Financing Market Just Became Dangerous ... For All Involved
    All Unicorn participants — founders, company employees, venture investors and their limited partners (LPs) — are seeing their fortunes put at risk from the very nature of the Unicorn phenomenon itself. The pressures of lofty paper valuations, massive burn rates (and the subsequent need for more cash), and unprecedented low levels of IPOs and M&A, have created a complex and unique circumstance that many Unicorn CEOs and investors are ill-prepared to navigate.
  • Silicon Valley’s $585 Billion Problem
    All signs point to a continued slowdown in tech IPO activity in 2016, says Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance and the company's manager of IPO-focused ETFs. She says it won't take long for the unicorns to feel the chill as well. "What's happening now is just going to take the bottom out of these private valuations, many of which are imaginary," says Smith. "And this valuation reset is going to have a very negative effect on new funding."
  • Apple's Organizational Crossroads
    Apple employs what is known as a "unitary organizational form" — U-form for short — which is also known as a "functional organization." In broad strokes, a U-form organization is organized around expertise, not products: in the case of Apple, that means design is one group (under Ive), product marketing is another (under Schiller), and operations a third (under Williams, who is also Chief Operating Officer). Other areas of expertise represented by the members of Apple’s executive team include Software Engineering (Craig Federighi), Hardware Engineering (Dan Riccio), and Hardware Technologies (Johny Srouji).

    What is most striking about that list is what it does not include: the words iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Watch. Apple’s products instead cut across the organization

  • Why Are America's Most Innovative Companies Still Stuck in 1950s Suburbia?
    When Apple finishes its new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, the technorati will ooh and ahh over its otherworldly architecture, patting themselves on the back for yet another example of "innovation." Countless employees, tech bloggers, and design fanatics are already lauding the "futuristic" building and its many "groundbreaking" features. But few are aware that Apple's monumental project is already outdated, mimicking a half-century of stagnant suburban corporate campuses that isolated themselves—by design—from the communities their products were supposed to impact.
  • Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving
    Most of us took mathematics courses from mathematicians—Bad Idea!

    Mathematicians see mathematics as an area of study in its own right. The rest of us use mathematics as a precise language for expressing relationships among quantities in the real world, and as a tool for deriving quantitative conclusions from these relationships. For that purpose, mathematics courses,as they are taught today, are seldom helpful and are often downright destructive.

  • Anthropic Capitalism And The New Gimmick Economy
    If you look at your news feed, you will notice that the economic news no already longer makes much sense in traditional terms. We have strong growth without wage increases. Using Orwellian terms like "Quantitative Easing" or "Troubled Asset Relief", central banks print money and transfer wealth to avoid the market's verdict. Advertising and privacy transfer (rather than user fees) have become the business model of last resort for the Internet corporate giants. Highly trained doctors squeezed between expert systems and no-frills providers are moving from secure professionals towards service sector-workers.

    Capitalism and Communism which briefly resembled victor and vanquished, increasingly look more like Thelma and Louise; a tragic couple sent over the edge by forces beyond their control. What comes next is anyone's guess and the world hangs in the balance.

  • Backing up 18 years in 8 hours
    When I was a teenager, whenever a hard disk needed replacement, I'd pull the old drive and shove it in my closet. There they sat, some for over a decade, until I turned them back on last month.
  • Farewell, App Academy. Hello, Airbnb. (Part I) (and Farewell, App Academy. Hello, Airbnb. (Part II) )
    As an instructor at App Academy I ceaselessly pushed my students to negotiate hard, without fear of being rejected, looking stupid, or being perceived as greedy. Employers negotiate even harder and with more power behind them, and so it’s up to candidates to tip the scales back in the direction of employees. As absurd as it seemed now, given an offer of 220K, I had to take my own advice and ask for more.

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