Golang Diaries: Generics · My coding time this year has been invested in Quamina, an event-filtering library implemented in Go. Just in the last couple of weeks I spotted an opportunity to bring Go’s shiny new generics to bear, and not just anywhere, but for a central data structure. I got good results, but the process was sort of painful; I kept trying things that looked like they ought to work but didn’t. I’m sharing this tour through that experience because I’m a reasonably competent programmer with mainstream tastes and if I hit these bumps in the road others probably will too ...
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Meet Quamina · No parent will name a favorite among their children. But I do have one among my brainchildren, my software contributions over the decades: The event-streaming code I helped build at AWS. After rage-quitting I missed it so much that over the last few months, I wrote a library (in Go) called Quamina (GitHub) that does some of the same things. This is about that ...
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Long Links · Once again, a selection of long-form pieces for those who (unlike me) have jobs and won’t have time for all of, but might benefit from ingesting one or two. This month we have lots of musical offerings, along with politics, advice on how to walk, and 5G ...
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4,000,000m Lessons · The odometer on my e-bike clicked over to 4K and, rather than a general-purpose “e-bikes are great” rave, I thought I’d assemble a few concrete arguments for them, suitable for re-use with friends and loved ones in the (likely) case that you’re already convinced. With pictures ...
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Three Perfect Tools · We live in a world of things that have Product Managers and Design Teams and Documentation Architecture and often vast ambition. And yet, so many of them are so bad. And worse, some which are good then become bad for no good reason. There is a particular joy in a product that just does what you need done, in about the way you expect or (thrillingly) better, and isn’t hard to figure out, and doesn’t change unnecessarily. Here are three to learn from ...
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Long Links · Welcome to another Long Links, selected pointers to long-form pieces that have added value to my semi-retired days and one or two of which might reward you if you make time for them. A few of this month’s pieces aren’t free; it’s a bitter fact that the truth is paywalled but the lies are free. Sorry ...
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5G Skeptic · When I was working at AWS, around 2017 we started getting excited pitches from companies who wanted to be part of the 5G build-out, saying that obviously there’d be lots of opportunities for public-cloud providers. But I never walked away convinced. Either I didn’t believe the supposed customers really needed what 5G offered, or I didn’t believe the opportunity was anywhere near big enough to justify the trillion-dollar build-out investment. Six years later, I still don’t. This is a report on a little online survey I ran, looking for actual real-world 5G impact to see if I was wrong ...
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Professor Dale and Me · To misquote William Gibson: “The past is still here with us, just unevenly distributed.” I have a story to tell that stars Sergei Rachmaninoff and me. It starts just before 1900 in Moscow. My part ends around 1972 in the mountains of Lebanon, looking down over Beirut and the blue Mediterranean. It doesn’t have to do with computers and nothing in it matters to anyone living except me, but maybe you’ll enjoy a faintly exotic musical echo from a long time ago a long way away ...
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Get Computer Glasses · Let me guess: You spend a lot of time in front of a computer, to which is attached a large high-resolution outboard screen, and you’re over 40, and you have glasses on your face. A lot of you will already know this, but if you don’t, run not walk to the nearest optometrist, get your eyes checked, and order a set of “computer glasses”. Trust me on this ...
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Long Links · Welcome to another curation of long-form pieces, the kind of thing that I, as a semi-retired person, have time for. While you probably don’t have the space for all of these, one or two might reward an investment of your attention. These are obviously grim times and indeed there’s grim stuff here but I’ve tried to add some smiles for balance ...
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Getting Back · I watched all eight hours of Jackson’s Get Back Beatles documentary. I’m a pretty intense music geek and while I gather there were some for whom this was Too Much Beatles, there was hardly a moment I wanted to look away. I found the whole thing intense and feel like sharing a few purely musical take-aways: If you care about will-George-quit or the-meaning-of-Yoko drama, I got nothing for you ...
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Google Memory Loss · I think Google has stopped indexing the older parts of the Web. I think I can prove it. Google’s competition is doing better. [Update, Feb. 2022: It’s still happening.] ...
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2022 Crocuses · It is an annual tradition on this blog to celebrate the early-spring arrival, in our front yard, of the first crocuses. Winters suck everywhere in Canada and while Vancouver’s don’t freeze your ass they do subtract light from life for way too many months. Thus, giving the little purple fellas a hearty greeting is therapeutic. With notes on photography and dead leaves ...
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Lock-in and Multi-Cloud · Alone in a room with the customer’s CTO, I said “So, I spent this morning talking to your people, and it looks like you’re using low-level generic tech for everything and managing it yourself. You could save a shit-ton of money by using high-level managed services and get load-scaling for free.”
“Yeah,” he said, “but then we’d be locked in and the next time our enterprise contract comes up for renewal, you can screw us.”
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Three Electric-Jaguar Years · This month marks three years of driving an electric car, a 2019 Jaguar I-Pace. I’ve written a lot about this, the research that went into it, what it feels like to own and operate, and the experience of driving it 1725km across Canada and back. All this on the theory that EV’s are an important tool in our best climate-emergency strategy. Like basically 100% of people who’ve gone electric, there’s no going back. In 2022, the requirements niche where a fossil-powered car makes sense is narrow and shrinking fast ...
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Pulp Fiction · A dozen years ago, our growing family created a problem: Too many books! So after I finished ripping our thousand CDs, we repurposed the CD rack into a bookcase, stuffed it with our genre paperbacks, and put it in the guest room. A few years later, the guest room became our son’s room and the pulp fiction went into boxes. But just now after another bout of domestic reorganization, they’re back out among us. I find their dingy colorful presence cheering. Check out the picture! ...
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New Year’s Day · In Vancouver, we have a tradition of going for a walk on New Year’s Day, no matter how foul the weather, if only to prove to Other Canadians that the thing is possible. 2022 too, despite its being an extremely low-expectations year. And it wasn’t the worst New Year’s Day beachwalk ever, so maybe it won’t be the worst year ever. And it leaves me with advice for the world. But first… ...
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Long Links · For a while there I was posting a Long Links early in each month, recommending long-form pieces that I’d had the time to read, acknowledging that people who aren’t semi-retired wouldn’t have time for all of them but perhaps one or two would add value even for the busy. I fell out of that habit but now it’s 2022 and there are plenty of tabs I meant to write about, some dating back to early 2021. So… Welcome, everyone, to 2022, and let’s go long! ...
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Locally Optimal · It’s six months since my second Covid shot (team AZ/Moderna) and thus booster time. Which I found out this morning via SMS from my local (BC, Canada) Centre for Disease Control. The registration process was fast and painless. This is exactly the sort of thing we thought we were building the Internet for, and has lessons to teach ...
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