Mastering Programming

The theme here is scaling your brain. The journeyman learns to solve bigger problems by solving more problems at once. The master learns to solve even bigger problems than that by solving fewer problems at once. Part of the wisdom is subdividing so that integrating the separate solutions will be a smaller problem than just solving them together.
— Kent Beck

Bring in the Goddamn Adults Already

With product, if you deploy a breaking change, you can also usually roll back in minutes. Unless you’re building heart EKGs or something similarly mission critical, you can afford to be a bit cavalier. Okay, I’ll even say it: you can be disruptive. And disrupting product is lit, or whatever the kids in Brooklyn say these days.

Disrupting people is not lit. If you deploy a breaking change to your organization — i.e., hire an incompetent manager who is a huge dickbag — you can’t rollback the number of people who quit, go through real emotional issues, or are otherwise become dysfunctional in the organization.
— Zach Holman

Agile, etc.

TL;DR: This blog post is about 4000 words. I gave a talk at a University to some students about how to do good software consulting projects. I discussed focusing client needs, working in an agile fashion, team and client communications, and more. I spoke about how all computer problems are people problems and how projects rarely fail for technical reasons.

Confessions of a congressman

I am a member of Congress. I’m not going to tell you from where, or from which party. But I serve, and I am honored to serve. I serve with good people (and some less good ones), and we try to do our best.

It’s a frustrating, even disillusioning job. The public pretty much hates us. Congress polls lower than Richard Nixon during Watergate, traffic jams, or the Canadian alt-rock band Nickelback. So the public knows something is wrong. But they often don’t know exactly what is wrong. And sometimes, the things they think will fix Congress — like making us come home every weekend — actually break it further.

So here are some things I wish the voters knew about the people elected to represent them.

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life

As she made the long journey from New York to South Africa, to visit family during the holidays in 2013, Justine Sacco, 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC, began tweeting acerbic little jokes about the indignities of travel

Why We (Still) Believe in Private Offices « Blog – Stack Exchange

Everybody has their own rhythm. People come in at different times, take breaks at different times, need to socialize at different times, and have their most productive hours at different times. Management’s job is to accommodate that and create a space where all those conflicting needs don’t congeal into a persistent hum of distraction — not to enforce some top-down ideal of openness and creativity. Private offices put the people who do the actual work in control.

Roberto Saviano: My life under armed guard | World news | The Guardian

With the shooting in Paris, Europe has rediscovered that writing can be dangerous. We had forgotten. Perhaps Italians hadn’t forgotten, at least not those of us who write about the mafia. Ten Italian journalists currently live under police protection after being threatened by the mafia, including Lirio Abbate, whose bodyguards found a bomb under his car after he wrote a book about Cosa Nostra boss Bernardo Provenzano. Freedom of expression is not a right we are granted in perpetuity – if we neglect it, it will wither like a plant you forget to water.

On the Origin of Circuits • Damn Interesting

It seems that evolution had not merely selected the best code for the task, it had also advocated those programs which took advantage of the electromagnetic quirks of that specific microchip environment. The five separate logic cells were clearly crucial to the chip’s operation, but they were interacting with the main circuitry through some unorthodox method— most likely via the subtle magnetic fields that are created when electrons flow through circuitry, an effect known as magnetic flux. There was also evidence that the circuit was not relying solely on the transistors’ absolute ON and OFF positions like a typical chip; it was capitalizing upon analogue shades of gray along with the digital black and white.