Weekend Reading — Languages are bananas


From the amazing Miniature Calendar.

Design Objective

Dave Malouf 🤔

This notion that "it's all just a guess until we ship to production" flies in the face of decades of research in HCI, psych, etc.

The point isn't knowing for sure, but increasing confidence as investment increases.

Deciding to ignore those opportunities to learn is reckless.

We Need Fewer Product Managers Great products are a team effort:

We need MORE internal startup co-founders, UX, customer advocates, domain experts, service designers, complexity untanglers, researchers, and reliable ways to interact directly with users/customers. We need more product thinking, and less product managing.

Cory Doctorow Dark patterns:

This mobile ad designed to make it look like you have a speck of dirt on your phone, making you tap on it.


Tools of the Trade

Observable Wow. Notebook for JavaScript, with Markdown, async/await, D3 visualization, the works. Check out the five minute introduction.


johnlindquist So useful:

@ChromeDevTools has a copy method in the console. copy(myObj) will copy the entire myObj as json to the clipboard. 🤯

kap An open-source screen recorder built with web technology, just released 2.0.


Hans Peter Luhn and the Birth of the Hashing Algorithm "In early 1953, Luhn had written an internal IBM memo in which he suggested putting information into “buckets” in order to speed up a search."

esimov/caire A content-aware image resize library, using Seam Carving, which is a pretty interesting algorithm (Wikipedia explains it quite succinctly).


Vince Knight :w

Is your child texting whilst using vim?

rofl - replace current char with o and find l
brb - replace 1st char of previous word with a b
lmao - move a bit then edit next line
imo - type mo
nvm - go in to visual mode
wtf - move to next word


Jaiden Mispy Take this advice seriously:

Advice for starting web projects: think very carefully about url structure. You can change everything else later, but once someone shares a link you must support that indefinitely

XSS via a spoofed React element Watch out for this JSON-based vulnerability, not just with React:

I'd demonstrated to myself that I could cause e to have any JSON value I wanted … so it was no trick to make it into an object that had a key _isReactElement set to true … which would seem to tell the client that the object I'd created was a "valid element".

Scott Jehl 😢

Bad news web nerds. Punxsapolyfill saw its shadow DOM today so it looks like we’re going to have 2-3 more seconds of blank screen until this page renders.

Lines of Code

Hillel Forget about static vs dynamic typing. Code quality comes out of code review, checklists, documentation, planning ahead, sleep, etc.

To start with, this little trick will do wonders to your code quality:

Self review: before you submit code for code review, take a ten minute break then print out the code and review it yourself. This can find up to half the errors that others would find, and it's super efficient to boot!

Brandon Hays 😭

Developers are funny about language. We say "orthogonal" instead of "unrelated", "conflate" instead of "combine", and "algorithm" instead of "200 lines of shitty nested if statements".

Alejandro Oviedo git commit -m "look, I'm not proud of it but it works"



Using Postmortems to Understand Service Reliability Five questions for a postmortem, none of which are "Why?"

Alex Lambert The NIH lock-in:

so, you avoid vendor lock-in by building your own. and then later realize you still have vendor lock-in, but you're the vendor, and there are no other customers. oops.

Abiola Ibrahim 👍

If the error message is different, you have made progress.


John Le Drew 💯

Let's just stop referring to interpersonal skills as "soft" skills. They are both hard work and essential. They are the bricks and mortar supporting your team and the fuel and keeps it alive.

Electric Dreams

Teaching Alexa when not to respond How does Amazon prevent Alexa from responding to TV ads.

'Fiction is outperforming reality': how YouTube's algorithm distorts truth YouTube calls it the "largest scale and most sophisticated industrial recommendation systems in existence." But without human supervision, this is what we get:

The algorithm has been found to be promoting conspiracy theories about the Las Vegas mass shooting and incentivising, through recommendations, a thriving subculture that targets children with disturbing content such as cartoons in which the British children’s character Peppa Pig eats her father or drinks bleach.

Locked Doors

Bob Johnston "Security"



Shira Ovide A judge in a tech trial coaching jurors on Facebook privacy settings is possibly the most 2018 thing ever:

Judge Alsup in Waymo-Uber case tells jurors that they may want to change Facebook privacy settings because press might try to figure out who they are. In doing so, he delivers this classic line -- "There is something called friends of friends"

The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery How self-checkout lines are dealing with “external shrinkage”:

Perhaps it’s not surprising that some people steal from machines more readily than from human cashiers.

Presentation: A Young Profession Coping With Ethical Debt "Ethical debt".

None of the Above

Stone Cold "Just my luck, 250 million year old salt and it expires next year."


"Ian" Abramson 🐻

When you compare the size of a gummy worm versus a gummy bear, it starts to paint a horrific picture of the gummy universe.

Molly Telford 😭

Today's lesson about asking the right question to get meaningful data, brought to you by a 4 year old:

Me: Should I put a banana in your lunch today?
Him: Sure! They are healthy & I'm supposed to bring healthy food.
Me: Will you eat it?
Him: Definitely not. I don't like bananas.

Scott Hanselman "I’d rate it 'no way I’m touching this touchscreen you filthy animals.'"


BryceElder Bitcoin, a non-explainer:

Bitcoin is a decentralised currency that is backed by energy that is harvested from traffic on the world wide web, or internet.

Kelly Vaughn 🤣

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Unexpected '{' on line 32

Martin O'Leary "Languages are bananas"


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