Labnotes

Weekend Reading – Kitkat wins the internet

Published on

Icons that fuck up your day


Design Objective

§ If you're tasked with authoring HTML emails, great place to start is the Modern HTML Email e-book. A very fast read, covers all the key point, though not very deep.

§ Why cards are the future of the web:

In addition to their reputable past as an information medium, the most important thing about cards is that they are almost infinitely manipulatable. … In addition, we can take advantage of animation and movement. We can hint at what is on the reverse, or that the card can be folded out. … Cards are perfect for mobile devices and varying screen sizes. … They can be stacked horizontally, adding a column as a tablet is turned 90 degrees. They can be a fixed or variable height.

§ Color theory for developers: How to Choose Colours Procedurally (Algorithms).


Lines of Code

§ Does CoffeeScript Have A Future? Valid question in light of ES6 brining new language features.

You can get started with ES6 on Node.js using the harmony flags, or if you want ES6 on server and/or browser, have a look at Traceur.

§ I think generators are overly complex for anything but lazy evaluation. All the code I've seen so far looks clever by half.

But if you're curious about plain asynchronous JavaScript, promises and generators, start by reading this thoughtful and detailed analysis of generators and other async patterns in node.

§ Curious about Web components? Check out this list of Web Components Resources.

§ CloudConvert is a Web service that can convert between over 140 different audio, video, document and compressed formats. Supported formats include tar, zip, aac, mp3, docx, pdf, epub, pptx, flv and webm. Powerful stuff.

§ Features you may have missed since npm 1.3.7:

  • Remove devDependencies
  • Repository Shorthands
  • Open Repositories Directly in a Browser

I, Product

§ 10 Core Principles of Product Development. Case in point:

4. Processes are also products

Early stage startups don’t full appreciate the value of a process because of the perception that it slows you down. But when you adopt Lean or Agile, these are based on tried and true processes. Think of discipline as a process. If you are disciplined about certain things, you will succeed. Why? Because bad processes, bad habits and no discipline kill you. “You should cultivate in yourself an allergic reaction to bad processes.”

§ Digging deeper into why we're so bad at making estimates about software development. Coding, Fast and Slow: Developers and the Psychology of Overconfidence:

The key is that you first accept that making accurate long-term estimates is fundamentally impossible. Once you’ve done that, you can tackle a challenge which, though extremely difficult, can be met: how you can your dev team generate a ton of value, even though you can not make meaningful long-term estimates?

What we’ve arrived at is basically a first-principles explanation of why the various Agile approaches have taken over the world.

§ Relentless Quality:

Broken windows are the reason most large software projects suck to work on. A little technical debt here, a few shortcuts there, and pretty soon you’ve got a codebase so full of broken windows that no one even cares if they throw another pile of broken glass on the heap.

But just as broken windows are contagious, so is a dedication to quality. Carve out a little piece of a messy codebase and clean it up. Sharpen the edges, polish the surface and make it shine.

§ On the value of post-mortems and learning from mistakes. Not Sharing the Opportunity to Learn is a Cardinal Sin:

Despite their value, postmortems are uncommon. They exist only in delicate corporate cultures that demand excellence but support learning. Harder still, framing one’s own failure to colleagues daunts the entry-level employee as much a seasoned CEO.


Startup Life

§ Using blogs to build your audience before you have a product ready. Why Not Reverse Inbound Marketing:

If time is on your side, start blogging early, and expose yourself and your ideas to your potential market. You don’t know where it might lead you. Even if you don’t have a team, maybe your vision will resonate with someone out there, and they will reach out to you. Before you know it, you might start building a company with a team around it.

§ Why Your Startup Needs a Sales Methodology:

Pain is where you identify a business problem your prospect has and begin to get acceptance that there is a real need for a solution.

Unique Selling Proposition or USP is the things that your product is uniquely positioned to solve.

Compelling Event is the thing that forces your prospect to realize they need to kick off a project immediately.

Champion is the person who drives through the approval to give the go ahead (and secures budget) to your product or company.

Key Players are the other people involved in the sales process including enemies, technical experts, sponsors, etc.

Aligned Purchasing Process is the act of your customer being ready to buy when you’re ready to sell.


None Of The Above

§ DeskConnect is a cool Mac app that runs in the menubar, and a companion iPhone app (both free), that lets you share text, images and map links.

§ Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

This is consistent with the finding that leaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders, and that these personality characteristics are not equally common in men and women. In line,

§ Hilarious and creative. A disgruntled customer buys promoted tweets to complain about British Airways. Their response?

Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 0900-1700 GMT.

§ Hindsight 35 - a rear view camera for your bicycle (also doubles as cycle computer). Pricey, but intriguing.

§ Apparently the best way to NSA-proof your computer is to disconnect from the Internet. Until then, here are some tips for snoop-proofing your Mac based on NSA guidelines.

§ kitkat.com wins the internet.