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Category Archives: Sundry

A dumping ground for miscellany; the amusing, the thought-provoking, the otherwise memorable.

2017 Wrap-Up

by Rob Friesel

Personal 50 “home days” with E. while he was in part time preschool.1 Managed to ski 10 times between the bottom half of the 16/17 season and the start of the 17/18 season. Visited 2 National Parks that we’d never visited before.2 Read 36 books.3 Read 380 articles (blog posts, etc.) between September and December. […]

search term haiku: March 2016

by Rob Friesel

why not spacebar work? pipeline for Spring MVC a Snow Crash conflict “Search Term Haiku” is a series wherein I examine this site’s log files and construct one or more haiku poems from search terms and phrases that led visitors to the site. Where possible, I attempt to keep the search phrases intact. However, as […]

“People still crave that physical proximity…”

by not another Rob?

“It might seem paradoxical that in a world where media and technology are bringing people together in more ways than ever before, the most innovative cities are looking at ways to facilitate in-person interactions. People still crave that physical proximity and the energy and transfer of ideas that happen in these environments; a nod to the enduring potency of local, human-scaled interactions. There’s a balance to be found between high-tech and lo-fi, analog and digital.”

Katherine Oliver, “Think Global Act Local: It’s More Relevant Than Ever”

I think about what’s happening in my own town (e.g., the efforts to build a “more walkable downtown”), and this resonates in a big way with me. I think about how I work best at the office, and again: a big resonance.

“the most innovative cities are looking at ways to facilitate in-person interactions”

by not another Rob?

“It might seem paradoxical that in a world where media and technology are bringing people together in more ways than ever before, the most innovative cities are looking at ways to facilitate in-person interactions. People still crave that physical proximity and the energy and transfer of ideas that happen in these environments; a nod to the enduring potency of local, human-scaled interactions. There’s a balance to be found between high-tech and lo-fi, analog and digital.”

Katherine Oliver, “Think Global Act Local: It’s More Relevant Than Ever”

I think about what’s happening in my own town (e.g., the efforts to build a “more walkable downtown”), and this resonates in a big way with me. I think about how I work best at the office, and again: a big resonance.

building software is half strategy and half improvisation

by !undefined

“I’m writing this piece because building software is half strategy and half improvisation, and I really do think there are ways to train in both.”

Sara Simon, Learning Fluency

Given that my own background has a lot of overlap with her story, this struck a chord with me. The diverse interests, the broad learning, the liberal arts background. You can focus on computer science (or software engineering, or really anything) early and go as deep as possible, as fast as possible. But you’ll miss things.

But something else struck me here in Sara’s essay – something that should have been obvious to me because I have small children: that our important learning comes not in these big flashes (at least not most of the time), but in the repetition of small things. My kids do this. A tiny thing gets repeated over and over again until its mastered, and then it’s just… there. (And again: this should have been obvious to me from my recent study of Scrum and Agile, and its alignment to shu-ha-ri.)

“simply take up elsewhere with no change in thinking”

by not another Rob?

“And, to be honest, if I could be uploaded tomorrow into some AI version of the internet or become a nascent Mars colonist, I would reject both options as morally, ethically wrong. You cannot trash an entire planet, kill billions of organisms (often for no reason at all), and then simply take up elsewhere with no change in thinking or accountability.”

Jeff VanderMeer, Redefining Utopia and Dystopia or Post-Apoc

“Culture Fit” as an Instrument of Exclusion

by !undefined

Why Hiring for “Culture Fit” Hurts Your Culture:

Mathias Meyer’s discussion of “culture fit” works with too broad of a definition (e.g., ping-pong may be an instrument or reflection of your culture, but it isn’t culture itself) but manages to make a couple of important points. First (and most important) is the idea that relying on the “culture fit” question is usually an indication of an exclusive culture – and that you’re using it to keep out people who would disrupt the status quo. Which leads to the second critical point, that an over-reliance on that question suggests a toxic environment that is too busy being insular and self-congratulatory, at the expense of questioning its assumptions.

Meyer uses a lot of examples that involve drinking and bars, but I’d say that you should closer to the office first. How does the team engage with the work itself? With each other? When something fails, does it turn into a witch hunt? Or a learning opportunity? Are you using “culture fit” to find more people that are just like you? Or are you building an inclusive team with diverse opinions and talents?

Eric Clemmons re: Angular vs. React

by !undefined

Angular is Easy. React is Hard.:

Eric Clemmons’ perspective on the perception (myth?) that React is easier to reason about and therefore easier overall than AngularJS. Among his main criticisms of React: that it’s only solving the view problem, that you need to “bring your own architecture”, that there subtle bugs may be introduced by JSX, and that confusion around props vs. state can lead to tightly-coupled components.

Ultimately Clemmons’ opinion is that AngularJS is better for prototyping while React is a better fit for “universal” applications. He admits though that all his points may be irrelevant in the near future as newer versions of these frameworks come online. His conclusions seem even-handed and worthy of consideration (though I think he under-states how useful AngularJS can be when properly applied).