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    As I transition away from my current gig, I’m going to be moving to the mountains and finally making some more progress on my side project: QueryClips [0]

    I was unhappy with the limits of Heroku Dataclips and wanted a fun project to occupy my spare time. It has all the features of dataclips + the ability to save exports, support for organizations, a (rudimentary) schema explorer, and more. Specifically this week I need to build some background job infra and some caching.

    [0] www.queryclips.com if you want to try it!

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      I’ve been working on a data querying tool - need to fix some bugs, schedule some user review sessions, and revamp the homepage based on what I learn.

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        title incorrect, should be: everyone from age 12 has an ego problem.

        “I’m not really sure why it’s hard. But it just seems harder which is cool.”

        Why do you care how this thing looks? You’re threatened by the fact that (it looks like it’s for children) && (you can’t do it)? Where are these strange values coming from?

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          Probably simpler, easier, and faster to solve the technology problem than solve the problem of the ego in a capitalist society ;)

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            damn you rationalists.

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          I liked this.

          Everything is cost benefit. It’s often quite difficult to equate “pain” with “cost”. Velocity points and/or engineering hours is the only effective metric I’ve seen used – does anyone have other approximations?

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            I really, REALLY hate this article. With a blind seething passion.

            Authors that entitle articles “Ruby XXX” and then spend the ENTIRE article talkins about Ruby on Rails should be … I dunno, given 1000 lashes with a wet noodle or something.

            Really. Why oh WHY do people equate one to the other?

            It would be like saying “C is terrible because UNIX sucks!”. What does one have to do with the other beyond the fact that it was a tool that was used.

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              Most of the errors in Rails are undefined method XYZ for nil:NilClass, this is a whole class of bugs that compilers have been able to detect for years and years.

              How does this not have anything to do with Ruby? It’s a Ruby error message.

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                The article mentions “Ruby” in its title, and as a reference to the Ruby is still great, that’s it. The rest is just a rant about how the author has never seen a clean Rails application…

                This reminds me of a recent article on Clean Code about managing errors, and nulls (or nils in Ruby’s case):

                Now, ask yourself why these defects happen too often. If your answer is that our languages don’t prevent them, then I strongly suggest that you quit your job and never think about being a programmer again; because defects are never the fault of our languages. Defects are the fault of programmers. It is programmers who create defects – not languages.

                And what is it that programmers are supposed to do to prevent defects? I’ll give you one guess. Here are some hints. It’s a verb. It starts with a “T”. Yeah. You got it. TEST!

                (please check the original article for context.)

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                  Why should the programmer be responsible for preventing an error that the computer could easily prevent for you?

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                    I’ll reply with a question too: when the type-safe program crashed, was it a computer error or a programmer error? :)

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                      Depends on the nature of the crash. If it’s something the type system was supposed to prevent, it’s either a language design or a language implementation error (or both).

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                  Think of it as the null pointer exception of ruby.

                  I very very rarely see it.

                  Why? Because I haven’t swallowed DHH’s (author of rails) bullshit about TDD being bad. If you listen to the others in the Ruby community and use TDD, you very seldom see that in a running app.

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                    I don’t think that’s a class of bug that most compilers detect. Somehow people still get NullPointerExceptions in Java.

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                      Try getting a null pointer exception in Haskell or Rust, it’s really only possible if you tell the compiler to let you do it.

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                        I edited my comment to say “most compilers” because I realized that was the case. Overwhelmingly web applications to-date have been written in languages where that is not the case. I -think- the author is clumsily making a case against Ruby’s type system, but it’s poorly-expressed here.

                        I get it that many consider that a language can eliminate an entire class of errors to be advantageous/superior. It takes some really generous interpretation to get from the author’s gripes to that argument. If that’s the point here, it’s not cogent.

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                      He’s essentially saying “I see segfaults all the time when I use C. Why doesn’t Unix use garbage collection?”

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                        Yes, this is a Ruby error message. However, the author is ranting about rails, and in fact not actually expressing anything interesting about the Ruby language itself other than “It’s not strongly/statically typed”. Duh! Want static typing? Go use another language :)

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                      I’ve had some success recently explaining tech debt using spreadsheets. In fact, it’s worked well because spreadsheets tend to be living manifestations of tech debt with very little recourse but to rebuild.

                      How many times have you heard the phrase “I have to go rebuild the model”? Would that be excusable for an engineering team to just go and rebuild something every time we hit an unforeseen circumstance? No? Then it shouldn’t be OK for the Biz Ops folks, either.

                      Every single time I have used this framing, my engineering team has been given leeway and dedicated time to work on tech debt. Every single time.

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                        What type of company do you work in that you hear “I have to go rebuild the model" from business folks?

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                          I’m on the executive team at a 100-person education company. Also, I was being a bit extreme – they don’t often say “rebuild”, but they do often make reference to the amount of work they must put into their operating model (and it’s true).

                          Whenever someone asks me why my engineering team is working on technical debt, it’s an exceedingly useful item to draw their thinking back to. “What if you couldn’t rely on the integrity of the cash reporting tab because of some prior hack you’d done to get it ready for a presentation?”

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                        I’ve interviewed many engineers from particular tech companies in the bay area – it’s more common than you think to employ programmers who are really, really bad at programming. In high paying positions. At companies you’ve heard of.

                        It surprised me at first, but now I accept it as a fact of life. Hiring is hard, and managing engineers is a skill unto itself.

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                          Mind sharing which companies are those? And how do those people who don’t know how to code originally get those jobs, and, even more so, continue to keep them?

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                            I have the most data points from interviewing Yahoo engineers. And, to your other questions, I have no idea. I can only fathom they kept their jobs due to a combination of continued restructuring, leaving people on different teams than they were originally hired, combined with a high degree of incompetent management (or maybe deliberately ignorant middle managers, more likely).

                            One engineer I interviewed had a “Sr. Web Developer” title at Yahoo, and couldn’t write a single line of Javascript. This person couldn’t manipulate the DOM.

                            It was certainly perplexing. And he wasn’t the only example.

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                            I enjoyed this. I work in the education industry and it continuously astounds me how high the barrier of vocabulary can be to newcomers. It’s easily half of the pain.

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                              This is really cool. The filesystem is such an enduring abstraction.

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                                [video] [slides]

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                                  Sorry about that. Thanks for the reminder.

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                                  • Becoming a better technical leader
                                  • Being healthy
                                  • Becoming a better executive team member
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                                      On the topic of “Becoming a Technical Leader”, I recommend reading “Leading Snowflakes”. Lots of great stories/tips in there.


                                      They even have a free weekly newsletter with solid articles: http://softwareleadweekly.com/

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                                        Thanks! I will check this out.

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                                        How are you finding Zen and The Art of Archery? I like archery, particularly because I find it such a relaxing, peaceful experience.

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                                          I think this paper provides a nice contrast to Zen in the Art of Archery, and provides further insight into the origins of kyudo:


                                          It does come off as attempting to invalidate Zen in the Art of Archery, but I find it provides lots of useful perspective, even if you disregard the premise.

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                                            As a german Kyudo archer (albeit very amateurish), I was communicated that Herrigels Book is generally not considered very interesting.

                                            Especially his interpretation the “target in darkness” event was explained to me by my sensei as problematic (I do have to say that I’m really just reiterating what I understood, take it with a huge grain of salt). Hitting the first arrow with the second is a western legend and mystical: Robin Hood. So probably Herrigel interpreted that into the event. Kyudo weapons are war weapons though: an arrow hitting the first is a destruction of equipment. The ultimate shot is the second shot hitting right next to the first. So, many things are possible: He was lied to out of shame or didn’t understand the complexity of the situation out of other reasons.

                                            Also, while some people are inspired by it, no pupil of Herrigel can be found in Germany. Kyudo was brought to Germany by different persons.

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                                              An interesting read, illustrating the problems of translation :~)

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                                              By the way, I can recommend Archery as a very good sport for programmers and desktop people in general. It has multiple interesting properties for me:

                                              • It’s a standing sport, upright and stretching the shoulders
                                              • It’s concentration without structured thought, which I find very appealing after a day of concentrating with structured thinking
                                              • It has a lot of rules to follow for good reasons (mainly projectiles of up to a meter flying around and people having to concentrate), which I find a nice variation over the usual worklife where people try to avoid rules like the pest.
                                              • And finally: most people are older then I am, which is a nice perspective shift after my day to day experience in coder offices.
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                                                Just finished it actually. I really enjoyed it. It was an easy read and quick.

                                                I’ve been on a big Alan Watts kick, and really enjoyed Pirsig’s two books as well. I don’t do archery but I take a lot away from the books.

                                                Biggest takeaway for me is how to be a leader and a teacher to the less experienced.

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                                              I’m working on making sure each of the engineers on my team is making progress on their goals. And getting better every day.

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                                                Embedded databases: They’re the boxer briefs of the database world in that they are underneath a wide variety of applications


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                                                  I’m listening to Alan Watts - The Essential Lectures on, well, a myriad of topics.

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                                                    Juggling technical, leadership, and management responsibilities after returning from a week-long Alaskan vacation.