Labnotes

Weekend Reading — The importance of specificity

Published on

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shley Mayer "We were promised flying cars, we got...a valuable lesson in the importance of specificity. 💁"


Design Objective

Laws of UX The core laws of UX, beautifully illustrated.

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How to improve your design process with copy docs How does your team manage copy?

A copy doc is a one-stop “source of truth” for all the copy in a project. There’s no single way to create or use one, but here are some basics to help you get started.

Make me think! Much of software design focuses on hiding technological complexity. But how can we use it successfully, when we don't understand the technology? This article asks the question: "Should the technology grow — or the person using it?"

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Two Very Different Kinds of Illustration Takes a hard look at the "monocultural aesthetic" that's common across startups:

In my experience, the vast majority of them are quite similar in their aesthetic: the colors range from primary to bright pastels; the figures are cleanly drawn and almost always rendered with vectors; the details are highly abstracted and shading is geometric if it appears at all; the compositions are generally minimal and only occasionally feature very limited background elements.

Customer Satisfaction at the Push of a Button The story behind HappyOrNot and their smiley face displays:

if you make it easy, people will give feedback every day, even if you don’t give them a prize for doing it

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Tools of the Trade

Productive Debugging Some tips to make your debugging sessions more productive. My favorite:

Some days you get the bug, other days the bug gets you.

CityLosAngeles-Jobs This job post is funny, as are the responses in this Twitter thread.

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Web-end

What’s New in HTML 5.2? HTML is still evolving. We're getting a new <dialog> element, and payment API support for 3rd party embeds (Stripe, Paystack, etc).

React’s ⚛️ new Context API Now a first-class API, using render props.

Declining Complexity in CSS Argues that as the CSS spec adds new features, the spec becomes more complex, but overall make our lives easier. Eventually, we would all use CSS Grid and not have to worry about float hacks. Meanwhile, though:

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Lingua Scripta

JavaScript: Can (a==1 && a==2 && a==3) ever evaluate to true? Yes. Because everything is an object.


Lines of Code

Hillel 🤔

You've probably seen a bunch of rants on why "do thing with linked list" is a terrible interview question. I'd like to explain why "do thing with linked list" is an interview question in the first place. Buckle up everyone, it's time for some g̶a̶m̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶o̶r̶y̶ HISTORY!


Architectural

Let a 1,000 flowers bloom. Then rip 999 of them out by the roots. Long but quick read, about the history and purpose of Twitter's Engineering Effectiveness group.

Let’s talk about usernames You'd think username is just a field in the database, how complicated would it get? But how you implement identity has implications on security and privacy. For example:

Well, it’s easy until we start thinking about case. If you’re registered as john_doe, what happens if I register as JOHN_DOE? It’s a different username, but could I cause people to think I’m you? Could I get people to accept friend requests or share sensitive information with me because they don’t realize case matters to a computer?

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Devoops

Cindy Sridharan Being on-call is not a reward, but also doesn't have to be a punishing experience. I agree with the premise of this thread — engineering managers can do a lot to make the on-call experience better:

Unpopular opinion but someone needs to say it and I’m going to be that person today:

If the idea of being “on-call” sucks to you, it means you’re responding negatively to a symptom

The cause is more systemic and more a reflection of the team/org’s basic engineering prowess

Daniel Westermann-Clark For example, start by measuring:

My team tracks life impact as a metric (pages outside business hours) and works to drive that down to zero.


Techtopia

Jani Eväkallio 😢

At a bank trying to prove my address:
CLERK: "We have a discrepancy here... Your name here is Jani Eväkallio but this proof of address says Evakallio without the dots. Can you explain that?"
ME: "How much do you know about Unicode?"

I don't think I'm getting a bank account today

Binyamin Appelbaum "Sad photo of Wall Street traders reacting as stock market plunges."

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Locked Doors

Mixpanel JS library has been harvesting passwords Not intentional, MixPanel is not a bad actor here. But another lesson in how every dependency decreases security:

We immediately began investigating further and learned that the behavior the customer was observing was due to a change to the React JavaScript library made in March 2017. This change placed copies of the values of hidden and password fields into the input elements’ attributes, which Autotrack then inadvertently received.

matt blaze Your periodic public service announcement:

Remember: even the worst password manager will make you more secure in practice than using the same password on multiple sites (which is what people without password managers inevitably do).


None of the Above

Emergency Kittens "You seeing this?!"

Limiting Your Child's Fire Time: A Guide for Concerned Paleolithic Parents "As with everything in life, balance is key."

fossils from the early Device Age 🔥

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Martin Bryant I do!

That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Deleting UTMs from URLs before I share them.

(I can't be the only one who does this)

Winamp2-js This needs no explanation.

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Is the Placebo Powerless? Interesting fact that recently came to my attention: when we test new medicine and find out it's no better than placebo, do we conclude the medicine (made by scientists!) is ineffective, or do we attribute therapeutic benefits to placebo? Well, surprise:

We found little evidence in general that placebos had powerful clinical effects. … Outside the setting of clinical trials, there is no justification for the use of placebos.

Imaging Without Lenses Fascinating look at new imaging systems, microscopes, and sensors, that rely on algorithms instead of lens.

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This is how the world’s most covetable cameras get made Verge takes us on a trip to Hasselblad.

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folu 2~3 days with 0 decisions:

types of vacations I need

  • a week to deep clean everything I own, twice
  • a week to just sleep, then sleep some more
  • a week where I don't speak to anyone
  • a week where I can cook constantly and never have to clean up
  • 2-3 days where I don't have to make any decisions

The blue marble Wow.