bookmark_borderFive for Friday – March 1, 2024

It’s Friday (again). Here are a few links I think you’ll like.

  • A great post from Janet Gregory this week on Quality Coaches.
  • Yesterday was that stupid day that happens every four years when stuff breaks that shouldn’t. Tech can’t handle dates.
  • So. Many. Great. Points in this article by Johanna Rothman on the continued quest for silver bullets.
  • Probably just a head-nodder for most of the FfF readers, but I liked the summary of these theam Productivity Hacks – especially the Ditch The Useless Meetings tip.
  • Last weekend I watched All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix. You can look at it as a four-part miniseries, or as I did, as a single four-hour movie. I thought it was fantastic.
    Yes, I know there’s a book too, and that the book was probably better (they always are), but I highly recommend this one.

And that’s all. Happy March – see you in a week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – February 23 2024

It’s the time of year in Seattle where we see a little sunshine and briefly think that Spring is near…but it’s a trap. It will be raining and 40f next week.

Here are a few things I read this week worth sharing.

  • As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Paramore’s cover of Burning Down the House for the 900th time. Everything I love from TH magically transported to the 21st century.
    Hayley Williams and David Byrne for president!
  • As regular readers know, few things irk me more than people describing why Agile “doesn’t work” and then explaining that their process isn’t Agile at all. Anyway – this article on Agile is a tainted term contains this gem of a quote.
    There are some takes out there that agile is dead. I don’t think that’s quite true, but the word “agile” is certainly dead dead. It’s devoid of any meaning because it means everything and nothing all at once. The principles of agile development are still wonderful and useful, but there is no longer a singular word that can helpfully convey them. Maybe there really never was, but for sure none exists today.”
  • In my never-ending quest to understand enough about LLMs and GenAI to not sound like as much of an idiot as the self-proclaimed experts on linkedin, I read this article on Large Language Models Are Drunk at the Wheel
  • Will Larson has a new book – The Engineering Executive’s Primer. I’ve read the first few chapters, and as is typical with Larson’s writing, it’s packed full of relevant and pragmatic information.
  • Finally – It’s that time of the year again – it’s time for the mediocre sports league that I love anyway (MLS) to kick off another season. If you’re reading this blog / newsletter thingy from outside the US, here’s a write up on the only match you care about. Lionel Messi skill lights up Inter Miami’s MLS season opener.

And that’s it for another week. See you in March!

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – February 16, 2024

Wow. This week went quickly – but the internet never fails to provide interesting things for me.

Hope you found something interesting – see ya’ in a week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – February 9, 2024

Another week, another five things I found that I though were worth sharing.

  • Last week, I posted a link to a great article on writing good commit messages. Joshah then showed me Better Commits – a cli that locks you into good commit messages. Super cool!
  • Speaking (sort of) of commits, I found out about jujitsu – which seems like some cool frosting for git.
  • And while we’re still on the command line, I heard about Sudo for Windows yesterday. I haven’t used windows regularly in nearly a decade, but when I did, I never ran as admin, and wrote an “as-admin” script that allowed me to easily elevate my access for specific commands. I’m sure a million other people who weren’t dumb enough to run as admin all of the time did the same. Now I guess it’s part of windows and someone was arrogant enough to call it Sudo for Windows. You do you, Microsoft.
  • I heard about The Friction Project when Bob Sutton was on Adam Grant’s podcast a few weeks ago, and it was an instant buy for me (Suttons research on assholes is impeccable). I’m a few chapters in, and my neck hurts from nodding.
  • It’s time for one of the few times a year anyone actually watches commercials. This year, I’m prepared for funny-commercial Sunday with this set of previews.

Stay safe this weekend – see ya’ next week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – February 2, 2024

Is it just me, or did January feel like it was about three months long? Here are a few things I spent some time with in what the calendar tells me was the last week of January.

  • I’m learning a lot from our guests on the AB Testing Podcast. Our most recent guest, Jason Arbon has an AI based test tool worth learning about – Checkie.AI
  • And before Jason, Bryan Finster was on the podcast and talked about his involvement in – which has a ton of great information.
  • Speaking of CD (sort of), Martin Fowler recently updated his wiki page on Continuous Integration, and it’s pretty freaking fantastic.
  • I despise performance reviews – not the concept as much as the wording. I prefer “career discussions” or at worst, “performance reflections”. But – corporate America is going do do what corporate America does. if you want to break out of the bubble, consider these tips on How to Create Your Own “Year in Review
  • Finally, an old article, but I’ve been thinking about pull request comments for some reason this week, and came across this old article on a favorite git commit – it’s a good reminder and tip for a lot of folks. I encourage you to click through on the links as well if you want more ideas.

Thanks for reading – see you next week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – January 26, 2024

Busy – and weird week for me. But here are some insights to what I’ve been up to.

  • More trash fiction. Almost done with the latest Jack Reacher “novel”. I’ve read them all, and while they’re completely templatized and formulaic, I still enjoy reading the new one every year. Note – the Reacher series on Amazon is also very good, but season 2 was a considerable drop off in quality from season 1 – but still worth watching.
  • I absolutely loved this article on Kubernetes from The Zynga Team. Great info, and wonderfully written.
  • There is SO much coming out about the benefits of Developer Experience recently – this ACM article from Nicole Forsgren, Abi Noda, and a cast of others (no offense) is a great read for those interested in the topic.
  • I read – and re-read this article about Agile fading at large companies due to burnout – and.. it’s frustrating. Personally, I blame SAFe, but on a larger scale, it’s yet another example of people/teams trying to use tools and processes to solve human problems. Agile isn’t “a framework for faster delivery” – the principles focus on learning and adaptability, and if businesses don’t build that culture, of COURSE you get burnout and shitty delivery.
  • The first programming language I learned (unless you call batch files programming) was C. My mentor, Chris, taught me the three most important things about programming in C (pointers, pointers, and pointers). With that in mind, I spent a considerable amount of time reading through reconstructed Duke Nukem 2 source code this week. I spent so much of my career reading and writing code similar to this that it brought warm fuzzies to my geek heart.

That’s all you get this week (not even gonna look to see if that’s five or not). Hang in there, and see you all in 7 days.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – January 19, 2004

It was a weird week for me. But there were some good points as well. As usual, here are some things I found interesting.

  • I’m reading Smart Brevity – and wishing a lot more people would read it as well. Great communication comes in fewer words, and gets to the point quickly. This book is both a reminder and a coach on that topic.
  • Leaddev published some predictions for 2024 (from engineering leaders). There’s nothing overly profound here – in fact, the predictions are things I feel like should happen. But I found them valuable to think of as an approach to thinking about how we approach software development in the coming year.
  • One of the best things to happen as a result of the McKinsey report on developer productivity has been the flurry of better articles rebutting their idiotic report. The latest is the lean perspective from build to sell.
  • I’ve been re-watching Ted Lasso and then listening to the episodes of the Pop! on Leadership podcast where they discuss the leadership lessons of each episode. Probably just me, but it’s a lot of fun.
  • I’m still working my way through Starfield – but currently stuck in a no-win situation and haven’t built up the nerve to go back to an old save to move forward. In the meantime, I’ve been playing Baldur’s Gate 3 and really enjoying it. Straight Dungeons and Dragons clone, and really well done.

Thanks for reading – see you next week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – January 12, 2024

I just walked back from the gym, where my normal 10 minute walk felt like much longer in the 20-degree (f) Seattle weather. Here are a few links I found scrawled on the sidewalk on the way home.

Enjoy your weekends everyone – see you in a week.

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – January 5, 2024

Happy New Year FfF readers. I had a nice little break from posting, but the random links of random things are back.

  • I read fiction during my break. I like fiction, but I read so many other books that I don’t make time for it. I read four books over break, but I am an absolute sucker for books about time travel. I just find it interesting to see how yet-another-author tries to explain how time travel works in their made up world. Nobody does a great job, but I read Recursion, by Blake Crouch, and Lost In Time, by A.G. Riddle, and both authors made a reasonable attempt. Neither of these two are literary masterpieces, but they were fun reads (Recursion being a bit better).
  • One link will get you many – this is the first post in a series on Writing and Improving Code with AI. I think the people who figure out how to accelerate and improve their work through AI will be the superstars of the future.
  • Linked in shared their Developer Productivity and Happiness Framework. I think it’s definitely worth browsing (if not bookmarking).
  • I read this article on 8 Essential Qualities of Successful Leaders – it’s pretty good, and there’s nothing I disagree with – but given that the attributes lean heavily on the human side, I think self-reflection may be missing. Without the ability to look at yourself, and the way you’re coming across, some of these would be hard to master.
  • Here’s a fun one to close with. A developer thought they were interviewing. Instead, the fake hiring company drained their crypto wallet.

It’s good to be back – thanks for reading (and thanks internet for an endless supply of interesting articles)

bookmark_borderFive for Friday – December 8, 2023

Hi folks – FfF is going to be sporadic over the remainder of the year due to travel, breaks, etc. But…I found some stuff this week worth reading.

  • This is a few months old, but this article on Death by a Thousand Microservices makes a lot of great points.
  • I read a lot of Seth Godin, but I don’t link to his posts very much. This one, however, is excellent. All of his posts are short, and easy to read in a minute – but most will make you think and reflect for much longer.
  • Another older one – this came out of a conversation I was having around pitch and frequency, and wondering exactly how music detection algorithms work. My guess was close, but massively incomplete. This article on How Shazam Works, answered all of my questions.
  • I’ve written before how much I’m a fan of The First Minute by Chris Fenning – as it teaches you an easy to use framework for framing conversations and getting to the point quickly. I thought this simple article on How To Introduce Yourself is fantastic as well for, and something here for all of us to learn.
  • Finally, another must-read (IMO) for leaders – The Key To Building A Psychologically Safe Team

If you don’t hear from me again until January, have a great holiday season. Catch up with you soon.