Sunday, July 5th, 2020
Poolside.FM, the lovely Mac throwback to 1997.
Sunday, May 17th, 2020
The Making of Prince of Persia
Video game maker Jordan Mechner wrote a rich diary of his life in the mid-1980s. This book covers the creation his second hit game, Prince of Persia, so we gain access of unique immediacy to the heroic tale of producing a universe-dent-making hit.
I wanted this book, which I discovered via Tyler Cowen’s most recent What I’ve been reading, as inspiration during a small lull in morale as I work on a digital product of my own.
Thirty years on there is some poignancy in that this early period of Mencher’s life was the peak: after graduating Yale, already dreamily successful, he shuttles between San Francisco and Hollywood creating video games and pushing screenplays, a digital Orson Welles (in his later game The Last Express, Mechner combines these passions, relying on cinema to produce an impressive commercial failure).
That said, perhaps it is no failure at all that one can point to the creative peak of a life — Mechner’s arguably was working within the memory constraints of the Apple II to create a foe, Shadow Man, based on the hero character. Here I’m reminded of Ken Kocienda’s not dissimilar Eureka moment when up against a constraint, that of using a dictionary to help create the iPhone keyboard.
Perhaps it would have been a better book if he had fleshed out the journal with an italicized retrospective written now, but count me a late-arrival Jordan Mechner fan. And don’t get the Kindle edition lacking the illustrations; I think I’m gonna need to buy the actual book.
Thursday, May 14th, 2020
The comfort of having an organization is largely illusory; it still comes down to one programmer in the end.
Jordan Mechner, The Making of Prince of Persia
Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
Doug Tarr weighs in on learning to code. I didn’t know my old roommate could write so well. Doug, write more.
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Sunday, February 16th, 2020
Great thread: What do software engineers who work at a large scale understand that other developers don’t? at /r/programming.
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Matt Layman’s handy Failed SaaS Postmortem — too much tech tinkering; I need to take heed. Plus it’s great he’s getting right back in the saddle.
Friday, December 6th, 2019
Friday, November 1st, 2019
A deep dive into the newness of the iPhone 11 camera at the Halide blog.
Friday, October 25th, 2019
Gadget: 1. Survey [PDF] is a cool history of software milestones “from Smalltalk to Minecraft” Chaim Gingold (2017). When you see these things collected you realize how much progress they collectively represent. I wonder what we’d have been doing otherwise…
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
For anyone (like me) working on doing the same, see Wenbin Fang’s article “The boring technology behind a one-person Internet company”. Of course the technologies used will differ, but the frankness here is refreshing, the contour of what’s required enlightening.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
“Please just leave me alone when I cross streets.” Richard Stallman’s terms of service for speaking engagements come to light [via The Register] surrounding his forced terminations. A couple of observations: for 66 his skin looks amazingly moist and smooth, like a healthy 25-year-old’s, which perhaps says something about his lifestyle and choices. And his exactingness regarding these terms is both ridiculous and admirable; few things are more important than knowing who we are and what we want and expressing these clearly.
Monday, September 9th, 2019
Philosophy of Computer Science, an ongoing text by William J. Rapaport for an eponymous course at SUNY, Buffalo.
Monday, August 5th, 2019
Saturday, June 8th, 2019
Interesting /r/webdev thread: Does real web dev exist? Like the stuff they write all those articles about? The consensus seems to be that the further along the spectrum from web site to web app, the more testing and whatnot becomes worthwhile.
Nice frank piece by Monica Lent, a software engineer in Berlin, about mistakenly believing one is a senior developer.
Friday, May 10th, 2019
First episode of Views on Vue that I’ve found worthwhile, on things people don’t like about Vue, including a discussion on language and translation.
Thursday, October 25th, 2018
Friday, July 20th, 2018
Programming Sucks is some cynical cuteness on coding by Peter Welch.
Doing this all day leaves you in a state of mild aphasia as you look at people’s faces while they’re speaking and you don’t know they’ve finished because there’s no semicolon.
Thursday, July 12th, 2018
Saturday, April 21st, 2018
We have entered an uncanny valley of algorithmic culture. I believe it’s still easy to step out of, but even easier not to. And maybe it’s merely a speeding up of how things have always worked.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Amazon Go physical grocery store opens in Seattle, featuring no check-out.
Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
The blockchain is our way back to the open internet, explains Steven Berlin Johnson in this long New York Times Magazine piece.
Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
When Google analysed their hiring, they were surprised to find that “among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last.” Instead, “The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills.” One smart commenter points out that since everyone will have the STEM skills anyway, these other things are the only differentiators.
Monday, December 18th, 2017
Real-Life BPMN: With introductions to CMMN and DMN
Jakob Freund, Bernd Rücker
With their years of experience as business process management consultants—and now vendors—the authors choose “real-life” as their approach, explicating their own methodology for delivering BPM projects. This book serves as invaluable guidance for newer practitioners.
Saturday, December 9th, 2017
The bureacrats have taken over agile. The big giveaway: talking about agile.
Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Thursday, September 28th, 2017
Vitalik Buterin video interview on creating Ethereum.
Monday, June 19th, 2017
Words of wisdom from Jacques Mattheij: How to Improve a Legacy Codebase (for the computer geeks only).
Sunday, September 11th, 2016
Among the lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children is to encourage effort rather than praise ability.
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
If it appears more than once, it’s almost always going to appear more than twice.
Karen Menezes on variables
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
It’s been a couple of days since reading “What’s Next in Computing?” by Chris Dixon and I’m still harking back to it. It’s kind of made me a quasi-believer in the Singularity, made me think that these are the final handful of years in which there’ll be some continuity with what has always been. Disconcerting.
Friday, February 5th, 2016
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
Hard to say which part of this is more valuable: John Gruber interviewing the right venerable Craig Federighi on Apple’s Swift programming language or the very lengthy and insightful follow-up with John Siracusa. Daring Fireball’s The Talk Show #139.
Friday, March 8th, 2013
Surely the definitive article about internet wunderkind Aaron Swartz. Only eating white or yellow food seems a glaring sign that not everything there was quite right.
Monday, November 16th, 2009
Invert, always invert.
Monday, October 26th, 2009
It’s so important to launch fast that it may be better to think of your initial version not as a product, but as a trick for getting users to start talking to you.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009