How do I email?

Posted Tue 05 May 2015 22:24 under category tech

Here are two things about me that some people don't know:

  1. I like e-mail. I mean, nobody looks forward to going through 700 e-mails every morning (which is about how many I get that I have to at least glance at), but it's far better than 700 meetings, 700 HipChats, 700 Slack messages, or anything else that requires synchronous attention. I'm all about being able to asynchronously "serially multitask", and being able to route everything through the dumb but asynchronous pipe of email makes that a lot easier. People who try to sell you on an e-mail-less office in favor of instant messaging tools are people who hate your productivity.
  2. I despise Gmail. I hate that most of the features only work in the awful web interface. I hate that the offline features of the mobile app only sort of work, and the web app hasn't been usable offline since Google Gears shut down. I hate that the IMAP server will sometimes turn off for 10 or 15 minutes and doesn't properly support the SEARCH command. Unfortunately, tech companies seem to exclusively use either Gmail or Outlook/Exchange, and Exchange is even worse than Gmail.

As you might expect given the intersection of those two facts, I have a pretty unusual mail setup. So I thought I'd share it on the Internet!

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Beating the Compiler

Posted Sat 28 February 2015 14:33 under category programming

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%.

— Donald Knuth

Measure. Don't tune for speed until you've measured, and even then don't unless one part of the code overwhelms the rest.

— Rob Pike

We spend a lot of our time in the modern, web services-driven technology industry ignoring performance issues. What's the point of micro-optimizing a 3ms function call when each request spends 8 or 9 seconds inside the SQLAlchemy ORM? Well, sometimes it's nice to practice those optimizion skills anyway, and today I'm going to walk you through micro-optimizing a simple problem and we'll see just how much better we can do than a naive solution... even though we probably normally shouldn't.

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"DevOps" is a dumb word

Posted Wed 25 February 2015 08:37 under category tech

Until recently1, my job was to synthesize a deep understanding of operating systems, networking, system administration, and my company's application and to use that synthesis to fix our existing systems and design better ones. A lot of folks in the technology industry (particularly in the bubble of Greater San Francisco) use the word "DevOps" when putting out job postings for roughly those tasks, and I just wanted to briefly write about why this word is somewhere between inaccurate and offensive and why you shouldn't use it.

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some old hardware

Posted Sun 28 September 2014 14:42 under category tech

My fiancée persuaded me to go through my drawer of old electronics and I thought I'd post a picture of some of the (working) portable computers that we went through today:

Included:

  • Apple Newton MessagePad 2100
  • Apple iPhone 3G
  • Nokia 770 (running Internet Tablet OS 2006)
  • Sony Cliè PEG NX-80V
  • Handspring Visor Edge
  • HP TouchPad

Combined, they might have as much computing power as the iPhone 6 I recently acquired. Probably not, though. It certainly is interesting to look at what has and hasn't changed over the last 20 years.

Also poked at today (but not pictured)

  • Toshiba ...
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iPhone 6

Posted Fri 19 September 2014 19:38 under category tech

iPhone 6

Hello friends. As you may remember from a few years ago, I am an iPhone user. Like several million of you, I decided to upgrade to the iPhone 6 this year. I thought I'd share some really brief impressions:

  • The 6 is gigantic. I have no idea how anyone is using the 6+. The photo above shows my 5s (which was already quite large) looking dwarfed by the 6. It still doesn't have anything on the iPad, though.
  • The curved edges of the front really do feel a lot better for the forward/backward swipe gestures in iOS ...
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Thoughts on the Moves Privacy Policy

Posted Mon 05 May 2014 11:07 under category tech

For a while, I've been using the Moves app for iOS. It's a little application that uses the accelerometer and GPS data from your phone to tell you where you've been and how many steps you've taken and so on and so forth. I've been using it in no small part because of their strong third-party privacy policy, which said:

We do not disclose an individual user’s data to third parties unless (1) you have given explicit consent to each such disclosure, (2) we are required to comply with a legal obligation or (3 ...

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