Labnotes

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Take a look behind-the-scenes with design documents from The Legend of Zelda!


Design Objective

What Comes Next Is the Future A beautiful documentary film about the web, its origins and future.

Now I get it! How to design clarity in 3 steps.

snipe "Gosh, if only someone would tell me what tomorrow is! Why are calendars still such a mess? :("


Tools of the Trade

noam3127/github-code-folding Chrome extension that enables code folding in GitHub.

Visdown Write visualizations with Markdown and fenced block (three backticks).

Machine Learning Weekly Hand-curated newsletter (not an algorithm?) about machine learning and deep learning.

Eric Alper Epic thread. I remember when computers were made of 90% empty space and 0% batteries.

Without revealing your actual age, what something you remember that if you told a younger person they wouldn't understand?

Gingerbread CPU Much like:

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck (Spoiler alert)

What on earth is being stored on that magnetic tape cassette? Is it 5000 .bmp images loaded into slides in Powerpoint with accompanying animations? Why is DEATHSTARfinalfinal_FINAL.dwg.doc.gif.pdf so big?

Showerthoughts

Spiders are the only web developers who are happy when they find bugs.


Lingua Scripta

ECMAScript proposal updates @ 2016-11 64-bit integers, Promise.try, shared memory and more.


Lines of Code

What science says about naming Tackling the hardest problem in computer science:

Ironically, these papers fail to agree on one thing: the best name for bad naming. They variously refer to naming bugs, identifier flaws, linguistic anti-patterns, and none of them use Peter’s ‘naming smells’ name. It’s too bad that academic papers don’t have Rename refactoring

Changelog "What on Earth Jeff 😂"


Architectural

Brian Lonsdorf

The more you limit a system, the simpler it will be to understand. Less possibility = less complexity. Avoid power, embrace constraints.


Devoops

Upgrades How often do organizations upgrade infrastructure software?

Dᴀɴɪᴇʟ Mɪᴇssʟᴇʀ

OH: “Schrodinger’s Backup: The condition of any backup is unknown until a restore is attempted.”


Peopleware

Why A Body of Work Has Greater Long Term Value Than a Resume

One of my favorite Chris Sacca quotes is “your GPA only matters to people who have no other reason to find you interesting.” And you could replace GPA with a bunch of other things as well.

How to use rest to maximize creative output Take a break. I know I am.

When you Recharge, you give your ideas incubation time, solidifying and improving them.

Remote Stories Anonymous stories from remote workers.

DHH Worth repeating:

For every person who've heard your point or story ad nauseum, there's a thousand new ones who never even knew you existed. Keep repeating.


Locked Doors

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? A 59 minute presentation about the insecurity of travel systems, most of which are throwback to 80's technologies. Entertaining, and sober reminder to never Instagram your boarding passes (also don't: credit cards, passports, IDs, etc).

Gone in 60 Milliseconds Hacking AWS Lambda, a 33 min talk that you must watch if you're using Lambda in production.

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case The P in IoT stands for privacy.

GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity The FBI and DHS go on record about the Russian hacking of US elections.


None of the Above

xXToffeeXx "...Not like romance is subjective or anything. How images can feel romantic, not sure."

Americans believe crazy, wrong things Our tenuous relationship with facts. Related, Click on this f**cking outrage (that is not at all what it seems):

In the digital age, consumers have a greater responsibility than ever before about what we share — our shares, likes, and retweets are the currency of the new digital age of journalism. Use them wisely.

; DROP TABLE "COMPANIES";-- LTD Little Bobby Tables starts a consultancy.

A Brief Economic History of Time How capitalism changed the way humans perceive the passage of hours, days, and weeks.

Matthew Deiters

OH: where do you see yourself in 5 beers?

Extreme Sandbox "We are a Heavy Equipment Adventure company that lets clients play on construction equipment. Yes, we let people drive a 26 ton excavator or bulldozer for FUN!"

Steve Silberman "Best tech idea I've seen in months."

Published on

Leaked Footage of the Rogue One Sequel


Design Objective

The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything Cool is all about finding optimal newness:

The highest evaluation scores went to submissions that were deemed slightly new. There is an “optimal newness” for ideas, Lakhani said—advanced yet acceptable.


Tools of the Trade

24 ways Advent calendar for web geeks. 24 worth-your-time articles about web design and development to read over the holidays (or whenever, my Instapaper queue will take all of 2017 to read, so who am I to judge?)

Octobox Take back control of your GitHub Notifications.

Voca Modular JavaScript string manipulation library.

v.camelCase('bird flight');              // => 'birdFlight'  
v.sprintf('%s costs $%.2f', 'Tea', 1.5); // => 'Tea costs $1.50'  
v.slugify('What a wonderful world');     // => 'what-a-wonderful-world'  

10 Things You Might Not Know About Using S3 Such as:

Newcomers to S3 are always surprised to learn that latency on S3 operations depends on key names since prefix similarities become a bottleneck at more than about 100 requests per second.

Explaining the battery life problems with the new MacBook Pros Why the battery on the new MacBook Pros is a let down, and what (little) you can do about it. BTW it's normal if the first few days, battery life is non-existent, due to the setup overhead of apps like Spotlight, Dropbox, Mail, Backblaze.

The Methbot Operation Investigating a bot that makes its owner $3~5M a day by faking hundreds of millions of video views. The technology behind it includes Node, Cheerio, tough-cookie, and JWPlayer. (PDF)

7,500 Faceless Coders Paid in Bitcoin Built a Hedge Fund’s Brain A hedge fund that crowd sourced all its algorithms.


Lines of Code

JavaScript Clean Coding Best Practices Read, practice, share with your team. For example:

Use intention-revealing names and don't worry if you have long variable names instead of saving a few keyboard strokes.

If you follow this practice, your names become searchable, which helps a lot when you do refactors or you are just looking for something.

functional-programming-jargon From arity through functor and traversable, all the functional programming terms you may have heard but can't exactly figure out, explained in plain terms with simple examples.

christmas megazord 🎄

things that take way longer than they should:

  • standups
  • naming things
  • adverts at the cinema
  • DNS propagation
  • gift wrapping

Machine Teaching

A Visual and Interactive Guide to the Basics of Neural Networks A gentle introduction to the basics of neural networks. No brain science, just understanding the simple formula y = Wx + b.

Auto-Generating Clickbait With Recurrent Neural Networks Is as easy as you think it is.

Deep Learning the Stock Market Some of this goes over my head, still an interesting read on using machine learning for something that's fairly easy to grasp: predicting the VIX.

Лучший стрит-арт месяца


Locked Doors

Tom Scott New phishing attack that can easily fool anyone:

This is disturbingly clever. You get sent to a text/html data URI! Not testing any further but, blimey, talk about using power for evil.

Your threat model just changed EFF urging the tech industry to adjust to the new reality, work to defend Internet users, and delete your logs.


Peopleware

Jen Simmons Don't forget that …

Not everyone works for VC-backed app-focused startup. In fact by volume, globally, hardly anyone works for a VC-backed app-focused startup.

Fiora@MAGfest 🏳️‍🌈 "i'd like to propose an alternative to the whiteboard interview"

The Psychology of White-Collar Criminals

Usually, a gut feeling that something will be harmful is enough of a deterrence. But when the harm is distant or abstract, this internal alarm doesn’t always go off. This absence of intuition about the harm creates a particular challenge for executives.


Techtopia

Two days with the shadowy emoji overlords Investigating the secret cabal that decides which emojis are fit to grace your screen.

Andrew Benson That is me:

I just keep checking boxes with the phrase "I am not a robot" without any self-reflection.

Chris Miller Related:

Apparently there is a little known Fourth Law of Robotics that prohibits robots from clicking the checkbox "I am not a robot"


None of the Above

eleventh hour gifts

Luke Millar

Ok San Francisco, this is getting ridiculous. Deconstructed bread? How am I even supposed to eat this?!?

Aerial "Aerial is a Mac screen saver based on the new Apple TV screen saver that displays the aerial movies Apple shot over New York, San Francisco, Hawaii, China, etc."

Carl T. Bergstrom

My son clearly has a better grasp on the real world than his teacher does.

Published on

joel "someone's cow just walked over and fell asleep on my legs?? and now i cant fucking move or ill wake her up"


Design Objective

Design words with data Should the button say "Log in"? "Sign in"? How about "Sign on"? If only Google search could tell us what people call it …

Resilient Web Design A web book, and accompanying podcast. Check it out.

The Marline Story — From a sketch pad to #1 on the App Store I can see why people love this app.

Conversational Interface. Sketch/Illustrator templates for designing chatbots and messaging apps.

It’s not what you design, it’s why you are designing Why designers should think about "why" before delving into the "what".


Tools of the Trade

Fabulous macOS Tips & Tricks Shift + Cmd + Period is a cool trick if you're using dot files regularly.

How to create a good pull request A meta-guide for creating easy to review requests, and the follow up How to perform a good code review.

The Current State of Adaptive Design Comparing Sketch, Figma and Subform, to see how each deals with adaptive design.

dflemstr/rq A tool for performing queries on streams of records in various formats. Think awk/sed, but for working with structured (record) data instead of text.

Spacetime Helps your distributed team share their work hours on Slack.

CYHSM/chess-surprise-analysis "Find surprising moves in chess games". Sounds cool, but how do you teach a computer to recognize surprising chess moves?

The key concept is to compare the evaluations of a chess engine in low depths with the evaluation at high depths, with the idea that a low depth engine may represent a naive observer of the game

Mathpix Write an equation on paper, take a photo, and your phone will find a solution and plot it in 3D.


Lingua Scripta

The truth about traditional JavaScript benchmarks Time to retire SunSpider, Kraken, Octane and friends.

If we are serious about performance for the web, we need to start judging browser by real world performance and not their ability to game four year old benchmarks


Lines of Code

The Idea of Lisp is both simple and big:

Let me say that again: John McCarthy wrote 6 easy things in machine code, then combined them to make a programming language. Before that, the only higher-level programming language was Fortran, which took 18 man-years to develop. Fortran was a big achievement, but Lisp was a big idea.

Samantha 🐝 Quiñones

In 20 years of engineering I've never said, "thank goodness we hired someone who can reverse a b tree on a whiteboard while strangers watch"

Bob Ross, Game Dev

If you look at your old work and it looks terrible to you, that's a good thing. That means you are improving.


Architectural

Infographics: Operation Costs in CPU Clock Cycles Understanding the CPU cost of different operations, helpful when writing performance sensitive code.

How To Make Your Database 200x Faster Without Having To Pay More? For business intelligence queries, which rely on large data sets, you can often reach 99.9% accuracy with 0.1% sample size. There's a name for this — Approximate Query Processing — and it's not as simple as picking sample data at random.

Saving the internet 2000 terabytes a day: fixing Font Awesome's fonts All the tricks to reduce font file size without compromising quality.


Locked Doors

New Scheme: Spread Popcorn Time Ransomware, get chance of free Decryption Key Ransomware, meet growth hacking.

FastMailʼs Values If you're looking for an email provider that will not recklessly lose, or for a price sell, your data.

‏Chris Adams‎

This is why security questions are dangerously irresponsible: Yahoo can change their database but users can’t change facts used elsewhere


Techtopia

Ivor Tossell

My Lyft's GPS is confused and has the car literally driving in circles. The driver, being middleware between app and car, obeys, baffled.

Trammell Hudson™

They said USB-C will make it possible to use the same cable for everything. No one mentioned reading tiny pale serial numbers on the cables.


None of the Above

@assaf Ground to air trolling.

Paul Phillips

The spaghetti code you call your belief system was written mostly by others and committed without review. You are its vigilant maintainer.

David Newbury

Going through old papers my dad gave me, I found his map of the internet as of May 1973.

The entire internet.

Facebook Finally Gets Real About Fighting Fake News Welcome to the fact-check industrial complex.

Joon Lee "i have concluded that this is one of the greatest videos on the internet"

Published on

Nat Pryce "The importance of isolating your microservices"


Design Objective

Jonathan Lupo Hear, hear:

Biggest challenge in education is to divorce "Design" definition from aesthetics. #uxchat

The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think Keep it extremely simple, or two thirds of the population can’t use your software:

Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks.

Yes, progressive enhancement is a fucking moral argument TL;DR the moral argument is the argument.

Intuitive Design vs. Shareable Design I learned how to use Snapchat from my wife, who learned it from a friend, who … so that's pretty much my experience:

This is actually a return to the way we’ve always learned to do things in the world. ... Snapchat does this brilliantly, because each of those seemingly obscure features is an opportunity for its users to show their friends how to do something cool.

Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories Excerpt from a book about the challenges researchers encounter out in the field, where mishaps are inevitable, yet incredibly instructive.


Tools of the Trade

The Silver Bullet Syndrome "Why are we constantly riding the technology bandwagon? Where is the churn going to take us? And at what cost?" Make this the one conference talk you watch today.

date-fns Modern JavaScript date utility library. Lots of date/time functions, modular, doesn't extend core objects.

browsix Wow. Run C, C++, Go and Node.js in the browsers, even LaTeX, Make if you must, and POSIX shell scripts.

Fun hacks for faster content Cool hack using document.write and iframe for streaming of large HTML/JSON documents.

alizain/ulid An alternative to UUID that's ordered chronologically.

The Verification of a Distributed System The hardest problem in computer science.

Tom Moor "You’re not going to believe this… the #Westworld hosts are built in @reactjs"


Lingua Scripta

The State of Babel Where Babel is headed. Lots of cool stuff in the works.

ndm GUI for npm package management.

David Mark Clements

"It's a silent .js" - @VincentLima2


Lines of Code

Mitchell Hashimoto Do it.

On personal projects: just build things. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks its a bad idea as long as you think it isn’t. Really.

Every single thing we’ve built at HashiCorp (every. single. one.) at least one person has very passionately told me how bad of an idea it is

It Takes 6 Days to Change 1 Line of Code A story from the trenches at Big Corp.


Peopleware

How The Tech Sector Could Move In One Direction A story about curiosity, DCMA takedowns, cloud backup, fan art, and lessons for fixing diversity in tech.


Techtopia

Google, democracy and the truth about internet search Algorithms are failing us with misinformation. What will happen as they yield more control of our day to day?

Hannah Hart "well good morning to you too, phone"


Locked Doors

OverSight OverSight monitors a mac's mic and webcam, alerting the user when the internal mic is activated, or whenever a process accesses the webcam.


None of the Above

Ikea Renamed Products After Frequently Googled Problems That Those Products Solve Brilliant ad campaign.

Amazon Go Walk into the store. Find what you want. Walk out.

Lisa From TSA Wants You to Pick Up Your Laptop, Thanks Find this hard to believe, but hey, the world is a strange place:

In October and November, around 70 people left their laptops at a single airport security checkpoint at the Newark Airport.

Cat Science Officer

Boyfriend: Why is this pile of dirty clothes on the stairs?

Me: It's a write buffer for the upstairs laundry bin.

RocketBuilder ULA lets you configure a rocket, price it, and order all from your couch. E-commerce meets the next frontier.

La Vie Claire: the story behind professional cycling’s greatest jersey The story of the most iconic bicycle jersey.

Published on

Holiday and travel got in the way of publishing Weekend Reading, but I'm back and catching up on three weeks worth of fantastic links.

"Uh oh"


Design Objective

The dangers of delightful design Everything, in context and in moderation:

One thing I’ve learned is that it’s usually safer to be delightful on the screens that a user won’t see too often. ... This is why you’ll often see delightful imagery in onboarding flows.

Your Best Work Will Be Invisible

As a designer, your best work is going to always be invisible. It’ll be invisible because the best part of what you do will be everything that takes place behind the scenes, where nobody will ever see it.

Ryan Freitas

"A canceled meeting cannot be declined." I gotta say, Outlook, that's pretty zen.


Tools of the Trade

nathancahill/Anycomplete The magic of Google Autocomplete while you're typing. Anywhere.

CSS Reference A visual guide (try before you code?) to the most popular CSS properties.

When to use which CSS methodology Find the CSS methodology that's right for you, your project, or your team.

kubek2k/lambdoku Heroku-like command line for AWS Lambda functions.

htop explained. Explanation of everything you can see in htop/top on Linux.

davehull/Kansa A Powershell incident response framework.

Attacking discrimination with smarter machine learning Turns out you can build machine learning algorithms that don't amplify bias and give in to discrimination.

Probabilistic Data Structure Showdown: Cuckoo Filters vs. Bloom Filters "For similar space constraints, the Cuckoo filter provides lower false positives, particularly at lower capacities."

turbo.js Perform massive parallel computations in your browser with GPGPU.

Ben Bridts‏ The unintended consequences of machine intelligence:

Just did a test with @awscloud Rekognition, and it was capable of correctly classifying objects in google's reCaptcha


Lingua Scripta

ES6 is great, but use it cautiously Destructuring is one of those ES6 features that are easy to get carried away with:

"Let's use fancy ES6 destructuring"

"Seems hard to read"

"Fear not! I'll leave an explanatory comment"

The Missing Immutable.js Manual with all the Examples you’ll ever need What it says on the label.


Lines of Code

FunctionLength Martin Fowler answers the age old question, "how long should a function be?"

The argument that makes most sense to me, however, is the separation between intention and implementation. If you have to spend effort into looking at a fragment of code to figure out what it's doing, then you should extract it into a function and name the function after that “what”.

Slow Down to Go Faster Not convinced? Watch this unrelated video:

Yoni Weisbrod

Programming definitely has an addictive component. Those tiny wins that keep you solving a problem for hours and hours.

Please Don't Learn To Code From Stock Photos
"All websites should end with: <!-- End of Code forWeb -->"


Architectural

AWS Snowmobile Amazon taking Tanenbaum to the logical extreme:

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.

— Andrew S. Tanenbaum, 1989

You can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile, a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck.

— AWS re:Invent, 2016


Devoops

Etsy’s Debriefing Facilitation Guide for Blameless Postmortems

By placing the focus explicitly on learning first, a well-run debriefing has the potential to educate the organization on not just what didn’t work well on the day of the event in question, but a whole lot more.


Peopleware

No one expects the lady code troll Jenn Schiffer on why and how she satirizes the tech industry. Hilarious. And insightful.

The Fraud Who Isn't Impostor syndrome explained.


Techtopia

Silicon Valley Has An Empathy Vacuum

Silicon Valley’s biggest failing is not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry.

Justin Shanes

Amazon thinks my recent humidifier purchase was merely the inaugural move in a newfound hobby of humidifier collecting.

Elizabeth Spiers

There are an awful lot of stock photos for virtual reality that just consist of people wearing headphones incorrectly.


Locked Doors

How To Fight Calendar Spam If you’re getting calendar spam, do not decline. That just confirms your account exists. Read this article on how to deal with calendar spam.

drduh/macOS-Security-and-Privacy-Guide A practical guide to securing macOS.

San Francisco Rail System Hacker Hacked Because everyone loves a double hack story. Also have backups ready for all your production systems.

Oleg Šelajev

The S in the IoT stands for Security.


None of the Above

Smartphone Magnifier Turn your smartphone videos into blown-up retro masterpieces.

We went in search of the world’s hardest language "English is pretty simple. Learning to speak Ubykh or !Xóõ presents more of a challenge"

Books I’ve read Looking for something to read? Check out Derek Sivers' list of books he read.

Disrupt Cards Cards against humanity but for startups.

How to Write Email with Military Precision Please, everybody who emails me:

  1. Subjects with keywords
  2. Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)
  3. Be economical

Jaiden Mispy

This W3C spec reads like a text on gnostic mysticism

Wyoming, MN Police

Do NOT drive drunk. I will find you. I will arrest you. I will make you listen to One Direction cover bands on the way to jail.

Rescue Goat With Anxiety Only Calms Down In Her Duck Costume