The Most Interesting Reads in October 2022
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 2
- One of Kevin Kelly’s recommendations is “Underpromise, Overdeliver” — what is painstakingly clear from these brilliant analysis is how exactly that is the problem of Russian narrative-shaping.
The Russian MoD has consistently focused on exaggerating Russian success in Ukraine with vague optimistic statements while omitting presentations of specific details of the military campaign. The daily Russian MoD briefing has claimed to capture the same villages more than once as ISW and independent investigators have observed, and the Russian MoD rarely releases photographic evidence confirming claims of Russian advances
The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!) — Joel on Software
- The Classic
CS631 — Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment
- History of Unix in the First Lecture is great.
- Notes on Editors are great.
- Not understing much of the meat, but definitelly worth a bookmark.
For coding in your normal day to day? Sure use intellij. For trying to debug some deep level production only issue where every second of downtime means big money lost? You’ll want to know vim/emacs..
Trey Howard, arguing nuclear risk is low — Marginal REVOLUTION
- It is healthy to read contradicting opinions. Also a great Russian Historian Stephen Kotkin said ‘Ukraine is Winning War on Twitter’
Ukrainian military power is over-rated. It still seems like we are giving Ukraine 1/10th of the equipment they would need to actually eject the Russians.
Ask HN: In what ways is programming more difficult today than it was years ago?
- Complexity, complexity, complexity. Back to SICP.
Nowadays you spend most of your time figuring out all the tools and dependencies and configurations and systems and how to glue them all together and get them actually working together properly. There’s relatively little time left for the actual problem you’re trying to solve and the actual code that you’re writing. Actually doing the thing that achieves the objective is kind of just an afterthought done in your spare time when you’re not busy babysitting the ecosystem.
Copy If You Can: Improving Your UI Design Skills With Copywork — Smashing Magazine
- J.S.Bach was learning by transcribing. I believe the best way to read/learn code is to transcribe, too. Erik Kennedy has the same idea about learning UI/UX. Read, read, read ? A.k.a. Steal / Copy like an Artist.
Copywork is a technique that writers and painters have been using for centuries. It is the process of recreating an existing work as closely as possible in order to improve one’s skill. In our case, this means recreating a user interface (UI) design pixel for pixel.
Mike Acton’s Expectations of Professional Software Engineers — Adam Johnson
- Post and talk in a similar vein of Uncle Bob’s talk on demanding professionalism https://youtu.be/p0O1VVqRSK0?t=334, quite a humbling list.
I do not require multiple reminders to respond to a request or complete work.
Junior to Senior: Career Advice for the Ambitious Programmer — Holloway
- Adding to the readlist for the future times
But writing code is only part of our job as software developers. It’s equally essential for developers to cultivate the soft skills critical for adding value for their team, their company, their customers, and their career — and it’s often neglected.
The Paris Review — What Writers and Editors Do — The Paris Review
- Another Classic I am returning to regularly
writing is about getting to the core, something that can be done only once, in that one way, which can never be repeated, because if you repeat it then you are no longer at the core but at something false that merely resembles. So what writing is about, more than anything else, is not practicing, but failing. Failing, not succeeding, not being able to make it work, failing, failing, failing — but not in order to get to the core at some future time, that would be half-hearted, and the half-hearted is the antithesis of writing, no, failing must come from risking everything, in all earnestness, with the utmost of effort. Failing to get the ball properly under control on the football pitch can be annoying, but it doesn’t hurt. Failing in literature hurts, if it doesn’t then it’s an exercise and can lead nowhere. In other words, in order to write you must trick yourself, you must believe that this time I’m onto something, no matter how worthless it might turn out to be.
- On Knausgaard’s first volume of My Struggle
A fair amount of contemporary prose seems to have been written by people who, like Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilyich, refuse to accept that they will die; there is a puerile or evasive quality in many new novels (not to mention movies), especially in America, where infinite information promises to outlive us, and dazzle down the terminality of existence. Are there serious contemporary writers who remind us of our mortality?
How does the Russo-Ukrainian War end? — by Timothy Snyder
- optimistic & sober & wise
At first, no one could imagine that the Russo-Ukrainian war could begin. And yet it began. And now, no one can imagine how it will end. And yet end it will.
Meta Meets Microsoft — Stratechery by Ben Thompson
- A continuation of the argument that VR is coming through enterprise. Same as PC did (through Excel and ERPs), by the way.
What is clear is that Zuckerberg in particular seems more committed to VR than ever. It may be the case that he is seen as the founding father of the Metaverse, even as Meta is a potential casualty.
Plod has a bunch of questions — Marginal REVOLUTION
- On The Decrease of Male Ambition
I would blame (in no particular order): deindustrialization, women who don’t need male financial support anymore, marijuana, on-line pornography, improved measurement of worker quality, the ongoing rise of the service sector, too much homework in schools, better entertainment options, and the general increasing competitiveness of the world, causing many to retreat in pre-emptive defeat
Low Earth Orbit Visualization
Learn enough C to survive — by The Jesus — Code of Honor
- On C as being the classics language of Computer Science today
Heck, in 1900, Latin and Greek were required subjects in college, not because they served any purpose, but because they were sort of considered an obvious requirement for educated people. […] Are pointers and recursion the Latin and Greek of Computer Science?
Trying new programming languages helped me grow as a software engineer
- A great debate on the virtues of polyglotic efforts
Learning different programming languages definitely helped expose me to new ideas, but I think it’s a relatively shallow way to grow
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 16
- for life in general?
…one does not attempt to defend a position by standing on it — reliable defenses must be established well forward of the points or lines that must be held
E.W. Dijkstra Archive: On the role of scientific thought (EWD447)
In another mood we may ask ourselves whether, and if so: why, the program is desirable. But nothing is gained — on the contrary! — by tackling these various aspects simultaneously. It is what I sometimes have called “the separation of concerns”, which, even if not perfectly possible, is yet the only available technique for effective ordering of one’s thoughts, that I know of. This is what I mean by “focussing one’s attention upon some aspect”: it does not mean ignoring the other aspects, it is just doing justice to the fact that from this aspect’s point of view, the other is irrelevant. It is being one- and multiple-track minded simultaneously.
Walter Russell Mead on the Past and Future of American Foreign Policy (full)
- Wonderful illustration of the virtues of pragmatic thinking (hello Pragmatic Programmer)
I think that some of the problem, though, is not so much in the intellectual weaknesses of a lot of conventional postgrad education, but simply almost the crime against humanity of having whole generations of smart people spend the first 30, 35 years of their lives in a total bubble, where they’re in this academic setting, and the rule . . . They become socialized into the academy, just as much as prisoners get socialized into the routines of a prison.
Professio sano in vitam sanam (on balancing work and life) — Study Hacks — Cal Newport
- Yes another argument on less is more in a long term when it comes to productivity and another rebuttal of ‘loving 80 hour work weeks’ as popularized by young Steve Jobs in Apple.
(The same says Mark Andreesen on his partner Horowitz in Tyler Cowen’s podcast) “When I was at work, I worked. And when I was with my family, I concentrated on them. The change in focus cleared and refreshed my mind so that when I went to work, I was efficient…Five to eight hours per day of clear thinking and concentrated work five days per week produces more impressive results than the coffee, chit-chat, and various displacement activities that often fill the time of many of those who think they are working seventy or eighty hours a week.”
Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years
- Read with Cal Newport’s notes on Slow Productivity and with Hugh Howey’s ‘So You Want to be a Writer’
As Prof. K. Anders Ericsson puts it, “In most domains it’s remarkable how much time even the most talented individuals need in order to reach the highest levels of performance. The 10,000 hour number just gives you a sense that we’re talking years of 10 to 20 hours a week which those who some people would argue are the most innately talented individuals still need to get to the highest level.”
How SRE Relates to DevOps
- Reading through Google’s Great Book as a helper to a conversation I had with someone doing devops and my environment embracing the SRE role. Some nuances and the SRE stress on “the weeds” are really interesting
A note on “the wisdom of production”: by this phrase, we mean the wisdom you get from something running in production — the messy details of how it actually behaves, and how software should actually be designed, rather than a whiteboarded view of a service isolated from the facts on the ground. All of the pages you get, the tickets the team gets, and so on, are a direct connection with reality that should inform better system design and behavior.
My Top 10 Tips for Doing Time In ‘the Hole’
- This has an impression of being important for wellbeing of everyone (if you agree that life — by definition — is hard)
Always practice your faith. Day in and day out, I prayed, meditated and took Bible-related correspondence courses. I also practiced martial arts and breathing techniques, and I worked on improving my foresight. For me, faith is the most important survival tool. Faith is what got me through my worst-of-the-worst times in the hole.
This war is forever–you hear, Sofi? — APOFENIE
- Even if Bruno Macaes suggests that Ukraine is new Syria and this heartbreaking essay even finds solitude with the reconciliation of no end in sight, there is still wisdom of Timothy Snyder that war begins as unimaginable and their end is unimaginable as well. This is politics and nature of politics too.