whatif

What If?

xkcd is one of a kind: the popular stick-figure webcomic for nerds and geeks seems to offer relevant commentary for pretty much any occasion. Its blend of computing, physics, math, and insights on life works well at a time when – as adults, anyway – it’s much more culturally acceptable to get excited about the […]

Full Stack Development Interview

I recently did an interview with Talentbuddy. They’re a mentorship program that looks to get people started on full-stack web development in about three months time, and wanted me to speak to our front-end technologies at Square, specifically on our decision to use the Ember.js framework and our lessons learned. I was happy to oblige. […]

think-like-a-freak-book-cover-freakonomics-relationships

Think Like a Freak

Freakonomics was the book that, in my mind, started the “pop economics” trend: a brand of economics, applied to subjects that are relatable to the general public, targeted towards a mass audience as a different take on familiar matters. Though the book and its subsequent popularity wasn’t without its detractors, the authors realized they were […]

apple-pay

Apple Pay and the Complexity of Payments

For the past couple of years, “payments” has been a frequent area targeted for innovation, something that tech companies and startups boast about disrupting but rarely back up with actual results. It has stubbornly refused to evolve from systems in the 50s and 60s, the same banking and credit card and cash[1] toolkit to exchange […]

hearthstone

Virtually Collectable Card Bits

The story goes, I was tired and slightly bored during a recent business trip, and ended up downloading Blizzard’s free card game Hearthstone from my hotel room. A few hundred games later, I can start to appreciate the game and Blizzard’s game design magic. Hearthstone is a free-to-play game pitting two players in battle, a […]

The Great App Cheapening

During a fairly lonely drive to a friend’s gathering up in Tahoe a few weeks back, I was listening to ATP, and the hosts of the podcast were chatting about the newly announced iPhone 6 Plus. In their keynote, Apple showed off apps that made use of the additional screen real estate for more UI […]

The Prestige in Writing Code for a Living

This writeup on the software industry’s gender bias is maddening and depressing. To summarize, someone commenting on Secret made a horrendous assumption about a woman being “unqualified” to be a software engineer in the context of her giving an interview and disregarding her as defacto technically incompetent. The commenter was unwilling to back down from […]

Outsized Credit for Tangential Association

I figured out the reason I find tech punditry – I guess punditry in general – distasteful. I’m writing the first draft of this post in the afterglow of the Apple Watch event, as they announced bigger iPhones and Apple Pay. Of course, all of these announcements have been leaked: the manufacturing pipeline has long […]

The End of Standardized Readability

It started with Instapaper. The idea was to boost efficiency by employing the batching technique to article consumption, particularly mid- to long-form journalism found online. Saving an article for later separates the act of browsing content (say, from an RSS feed) from putting in the time commitment to engage with longer pieces of writing. As […]

pricenomics

Everything is Bullshit

Pricenomics is a startup that has somehow stumbled upon a pair of business models: data crawling, and blogging about data from a consumer-centric perspective. The latter has a pop-culture economics bent; it’s a technique taken straight from Freakonomics in appealing common curiosities to “dispel” myths and beliefs. The articles are freely available on their blog, […]