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Data Sync Not Invented Here

Posted in Apps, Engineering

You’d think that data syncing is a solved problem for applications. Dropbox has been around for close to 10 years, and they came up with a product model — a local folder whose files (usually) …

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Modular Agile Development

Posted in Engineering, Productivity

Are there any real alternatives to agile development in commercial software? There’s waterfall development, which overemphasizes software design in trading off the speed of iteration. It may be appropriate in specific, limited domains where accuracy …

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Embracing Language Variety

Posted in Engineering, Management

Programming language debates are the religious wars of software development. Much like the xkcd comic on the futility of standardization, attempts to unify or consolidate our existing landscape of languages – and libraries and frameworks …

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Review: Career Superpowers

Posted in Engineering, Reading

Self-improvement books – at least the ones I read – fall into two categories. There are those who claim to unmask universal truths via research and corroboration across many different sources, and the rest draw …

Software Eating Software Engineering

Posted in Engineering

A few days ago, a question was asked on Hacker News: What is the future of the programmer? I had briefly agonized about this before, in context of contrasting how I came into computing in …

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Not All Engineering is Equal

Posted in Engineering

I call myself a software engineer, and I consider what I do a type of engineering. There are arguments against such a characterization, and some corresponding defense for how software development can legitimately compare to …

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The Decline of the Cantonese Language

Posted in Thoughts

I have a 2-year-old son. He’ll be a second generation Chinese-American, who — unless our lives completely go sideways for the next two decades — will attend American schools and absorb American culture like any …

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Forever Backwards Compatible

Posted in Thoughts

In chatting with someone on Clarity a couple of days ago, I came across a peculiar question that didn’t seem that remarkable at the time. The topic was hiring a freelancer to build a website, …

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Life as Tetris

Posted in Games, Thoughts

I found a fun article a couple of days ago that tries to compare Tetris to life over Chess as the appropriate gaming analog. As a former addict to Tetris DS as well as a …

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A Quick Thought on H1Bs and Profitability

Posted in Thoughts

Tech companies love to vilify the H1B lottery and quota system. The pro-argument is that the likes of Google and Facebook and Microsoft can’t find enough talent in their established office locations, and would like …

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Checking Emails on Vacation

Posted in Thoughts, Work

Common advice for people going on vacation is to just don’t do it. Seeing that most workers have a lot of trouble unplugging from work as it is, keeping the email app closed is one …

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A Weighted Decision List

Posted in Thoughts

Sometimes I’m analytical to a fault. Take the traditional pros-cons list. I like the idea, in that listing out the goods and bads of a singular item should make for a more quantified, analytical position. …

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An Era Hostile to Innovation

Posted in Technology

140 characters instead of flying cars. Peter Thiel quipped this back in 2011, succinctly and pointedly describing the state of technological progress in the 21st century. It’s damning our modern tendencies to seek incremental improvements …

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Review: The Inevitable

Posted in Reading, Technology

Wired launched in 1993. It was a magazine and a website which came about just as modern computing had started to make a difference beyond academia and into everyday life: computers were small and cheap …

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Software as a Core Competency

Posted in Technology

Techies like writing about Tesla. Beyond the perhaps oversimplified comparisons to Apple, the company also feels like it’s a disruptive force, one taking on the old establishment of major car companies and their dealership cartels. …

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Fashion Choices and the Apple Watch

Posted in Technology

I just came across this astute article on the current state of Apple and Android smartwatches from FastCompany: Google Could Beat Apple At Fashion—Just Like It Did Phones It gets to the heart of one …

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Breaking Down Team Organization

Posted in Management, Work

Steven Sinofsky — former Microsoft Windows executive, now a16z board partner — wrote a really in-depth article about organizing teams within companies: Functional versus Unit Organizations For the uninitiated, functional organization is grouping people by …

How to Find a Good Manager

Posted in Management, Work

Recently, I was talking with a colleague at work who was about to leave the company, and they were asking me for any tips to take with them to their new job. In my head, …

Review: Fearless Salary Negotiation

Posted in Reading, Work

America loves itself some self-help and self-improvement. Whether it comes in the form of endless LinkedIn Pulse posts, self-help (and self-promoting) articles on Medium, or the vast industry of self-help books, we are all suckers …

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The Greener Grass on the Management Side

Posted in Management, Work

In modern tech companies, there’s a dual career ladder structure for software engineers: they can either progress more technologically (as senior and lead engineers) or advance on the management side (as engineering managers and directors). …

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The Cafe Workspace

Posted in Places, Work

Our team just had an offsite brainstorming meeting at the Workshop Cafe in the heart of the financial district in San Francisco. It is this neat little coffee shop attached to a spacious co-working space, …

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Prescriptive vs. Descriptive Promotions

Posted in Learning, Work

There are two schools of thought on how promotions should work. They can be summarized as prescriptive and descriptive: Prescriptive promotions are given to folks that have worked hard and deserve recognition. They come with …

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Checking Emails on Vacation

Posted in Thoughts, Work

Common advice for people going on vacation is to just don’t do it. Seeing that most workers have a lot of trouble unplugging from work as it is, keeping the email app closed is one …

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Simple, Accessible Notes

Posted in Apps, Work

Taking notes on a computer should be the most basic of functionalities: throw up a window that can accept text input, and save the text to a file. Optionally, sync these notes to the cloud, …

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Not Everyone wants to Work for Equity

Posted in Work

Amidst all the hoopla about iOS9’s content blocking feature and how mobile ad-blocking will ruin journalism forever, I discovered an old article by Marc Andreessen on his optimistic future of news. I was struck by …

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Review: Invisible Planets

Posted in Reading

The Three-Body Problem was a fun series. Granted, it won numerous awards, so the quality of the writing and plot points weren’t going in be in question, but I had enjoyed that specific take on …

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Review: Death’s End

Posted in Reading

Death’s End is the last volume of the The Three Body Problem trilogy. Here are the reviews for the first and second book. Spoilers ahead, at least for those books. Well, that escalated quickly. I …

Review: Covered Calls Made Easy

Posted in Finance, Reading

A good friend of mine recommended this light reader a couple of weeks ago: Covered Calls Made Easy: Generate Monthly Cash Flow by Selling Options It’s a fairly short book, written and published recently, about …

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Review: The Inevitable

Posted in Reading, Technology

Wired launched in 1993. It was a magazine and a website which came about just as modern computing had started to make a difference beyond academia and into everyday life: computers were small and cheap …

Review: Fearless Salary Negotiation

Posted in Reading, Work

America loves itself some self-help and self-improvement. Whether it comes in the form of endless LinkedIn Pulse posts, self-help (and self-promoting) articles on Medium, or the vast industry of self-help books, we are all suckers …

Review: The Dip

Posted in Learning, Reading

I read The Dip by Seth Godin because it promised to be a short book on self-improvement. It’s supposed to teach its readers how to decide to follow through on a personal or professional project, …

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Review: Ready Player One

Posted in Games, Reading

This year is the year of virtual reality. All the headsets launching this year is creating a lot of excitement, but given the price points and the 1.0-nature of these launches, I’m not quite ready …

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Review: Seveneves

Posted in Reading

Seveneves would probably be better as a movie. Seveneves is the latest novel from Neal Stephenson, and it’s a story that starts with an unexplained event which causes the breakup of the moon, but quickly …

Review: The One Minute Manager

Posted in Management, Reading

The One Minute Manager takes about 20 minutes to read through. And I can save you 19 minutes by summarizing the three things that the managerial protagonist in the book learns from the One Minute …

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Hooked on Picross

Posted in Games

I just discovered Picross. Also known as nonograms, they’re these puzzles that involve filling out 2D—and sometimes, 3D—grids. Clues to which areas are to be filled are listed down the sides of the 2D/3D grid …

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Finally the PC as a Gaming Console

Posted in Games

Recently, I got excited and bought an custom Xbox One controller, courtesy of the Xbox Design Lab. In this case, “custom” really just means being able to select a color scheme for its various parts, …

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Passive Loot Games

Posted in Games

I’ve been checking out Tom Clancy’s The Division for the past week or two. It’s a third-person shooter, set in a post-virus-infected Manhattan, where the primary conflict is sleeper government agents versus extremely organized looters. …

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Review: Ready Player One

Posted in Games, Reading

This year is the year of virtual reality. All the headsets launching this year is creating a lot of excitement, but given the price points and the 1.0-nature of these launches, I’m not quite ready …

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Life as Tetris

Posted in Games, Thoughts

I found a fun article a couple of days ago that tries to compare Tetris to life over Chess as the appropriate gaming analog. As a former addict to Tetris DS as well as a …

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Not Everything has to be Minimalistic

Posted in Rant

CES is wrapped up this past week, and as usual there’s plenty of computer hardware manufacturers showing off their latest gadgets and computers and new hardware. Most will gradually make it to full-fledged production, but …

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The Company Guessing Game

Posted in Rant

Raise your hand if you’ve ever received mysterious emails or LinkedIn messages that resemble this: We’re looking for awesome [engineers / designers / product managers] to join our totally awesome team in [major tech hub]! …

The Physical, Real World Production Environment

Posted in Rant

I was visiting a friend of mine who leads a software team at Tesla. He casually mentioned that, in their industry, manual QA is one of the most important roles they have, seeing that the …

Too Many Loaded Terms; Did Not Read

Posted in Rant, Reading

Early in the year, I decided that not everything that looked interesting was actually worth reading. Instead of stubbornly sticking with an article or a book or a story to its miserable conclusion, I figured …

Skimming More and Reading Less

Posted in Rant, Reading

I’m used to reading a fair amount. Back in grade school, I carried these giant fantasy novels around the house, and re-read the series on a regular basis. When my family got AOL, I was …

Solving Human vs. Natural Problems

Posted in Rant, Technology

Sam Altman wrote a short post which questions a premise: Why aren’t today’s startups more innovative? He notes that society has benefited from the consumer-centric technological focus in the last decade; starting with the smartphone …

The Privilege of Meaningful Work

Posted in Rant, Work

I’ve been listening to the Unprofessional podcast. The show’s premise is simple: a pair of hosts bring on a rotation of guests and talk about all things not work. But as hard as they try, …

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CSS All the Things

Posted in Apps, Front-End

There’s no shortage of minimalist text editors and writing utilities on the Mac. For whatever reason, the exact interface to inputting text in a window can be done a hundred different ways, and each permutation …

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Trying out the Opera Neon

Posted in Apps, Front-End

Remember when having multiple browsers was a requirement for desktop computing? Most users should be past that point. The default browsers for each operating system — Safari on macOS, Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer 10/11 for Windows, …

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Data Sync Not Invented Here

Posted in Apps, Engineering

You’d think that data syncing is a solved problem for applications. Dropbox has been around for close to 10 years, and they came up with a product model — a local folder whose files (usually) …

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Evernote → OneNote

Posted in Apps, Services

Late last year, I was investigating whether to migrate over from Evernote to OneNote. I had been an Evernote user for years, but recent questions on the health of the company have prompted me to …

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Simple, Accessible Notes

Posted in Apps, Work

Taking notes on a computer should be the most basic of functionalities: throw up a window that can accept text input, and save the text to a file. Optionally, sync these notes to the cloud, …

Whether Mobile Products Monopolize

Posted in Apps, Mobile

I got in a brief discussion with the famous Startup L. Jackson on Twitter the other day. The thread started with a comment from me: We went a bit back and forth on the characteristics …

Apps don’t Magically Increase Reach

Posted in Apps

Apps are supposed to be magical. Well, not so much magical as they are a supposedly a requirement for most businesses, the main way to get in front of users whose time is increasingly dominated …

The Great App Cheapening

Posted in Apps, Mobile

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 …

The End of Standardized Readability

Posted in Apps, Services

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 …

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CSS All the Things

Posted in Apps, Front-End

There’s no shortage of minimalist text editors and writing utilities on the Mac. For whatever reason, the exact interface to inputting text in a window can be done a hundred different ways, and each permutation …

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Trying out the Opera Neon

Posted in Apps, Front-End

Remember when having multiple browsers was a requirement for desktop computing? Most users should be past that point. The default browsers for each operating system — Safari on macOS, Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer 10/11 for Windows, …

Progressive Web Apps

Posted in Front-End

I read an interesting article a few days ago on the idea of building web apps “progressively”, in that they take on more characteristics of native apps but still retain the flexibility and reach of …

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The Art of Knowing What to Learn, When

Posted in Engineering, Front-End

Common wisdom tells us that software development requires constant learning. Particularly, client-side development (web and mobile) iterates so fast that its designers, engineers, and product folk have to stay up-to-date with the latest advances. “Expertise” …

The Cost of Best Practices on the Web

Posted in Front-End

Those of us who were building websites a decade ago remember the Internet Explorer tax. Project managers budgeted anywhere from 25% to 50% of additional engineering effort for building a site compatible in IE6 & …

Full Stack Development Interview

Posted in Front-End, Interview, Work

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 …

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Review: The Dip

Posted in Learning, Reading

I read The Dip by Seth Godin because it promised to be a short book on self-improvement. It’s supposed to teach its readers how to decide to follow through on a personal or professional project, …

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Prescriptive vs. Descriptive Promotions

Posted in Learning, Work

There are two schools of thought on how promotions should work. They can be summarized as prescriptive and descriptive: Prescriptive promotions are given to folks that have worked hard and deserve recognition. They come with …

Using Disruption Precisely

Posted in Learning, Startups

This is yet another awesome a16z podcast: Holy Non Sequiturs, Batman! — What Disruption Theory Is … and Isn’t Basically, one of the consultants that actually studied the original theory of disruption is clarifying exactly …

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Knowledge Rot

Posted in Learning

I just came across a fascinating observation on the nature of knowledge over time, how it rots and fades despite the rigorous recording, publishing, and indexing of information. This is a familiar story on a …

The Complexity of Mobile Software

Posted in Learning, Technology

Like most folks who work in technology, I get roped into helping non-technical friends and family out with their software woes. Though once in a while this would be a legitimately technical task (e.g., trying …

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Building the Factory that Builds the Widgets

Posted in Management

I just spent 40 minutes listening to a trio of software engineers speculate on the motivations of an executive jumping from Apple to Tesla. And while the ATP podcast spends an inordinate amount of time …

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Breaking Down Team Organization

Posted in Management, Work

Steven Sinofsky — former Microsoft Windows executive, now a16z board partner — wrote a really in-depth article about organizing teams within companies: Functional versus Unit Organizations For the uninitiated, functional organization is grouping people by …

How to Find a Good Manager

Posted in Management, Work

Recently, I was talking with a colleague at work who was about to leave the company, and they were asking me for any tips to take with them to their new job. In my head, …

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The Greener Grass on the Management Side

Posted in Management, Work

In modern tech companies, there’s a dual career ladder structure for software engineers: they can either progress more technologically (as senior and lead engineers) or advance on the management side (as engineering managers and directors). …

How Culture Matters

Posted in Management

I really like this quote from Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein, courtesy of this article from Stratechery contrasting cultures from familiar tech companies: If one wishes to distinguish leadership from management or administration, …

Automatable Management

Posted in Computing, Management

If there’s any truth left to the cliche that middle management adds little more than bureaucracy and communication overhead to an organization, then Slack’s manager bot product should fix that market inefficiency pretty quickly. Status …

Review: The One Minute Manager

Posted in Management, Reading

The One Minute Manager takes about 20 minutes to read through. And I can save you 19 minutes by summarizing the three things that the managerial protagonist in the book learns from the One Minute …

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Using Disruption Precisely

Posted in Learning, Startups

This is yet another awesome a16z podcast: Holy Non Sequiturs, Batman! — What Disruption Theory Is … and Isn’t Basically, one of the consultants that actually studied the original theory of disruption is clarifying exactly …

Overcoming the STEM Stereotype

Posted in Startups, Work

In other contrarian news… I came across this article today that purports that liberal arts majors are needed at today’s hottest tech startups, even moreso than engineers and other technical folk. As it turns out, …

Working Harder is not a Good Career Strategy

Posted in Startups, Work

Remember when a prominent and arrogant venture capitalist called out startup employees to basically stop whining and work harder? He was almost immediately rebuked by one of the subjects of his anecdote as hypocritical, that …

At the Mercy of Platforms

Posted in Startups

When and how do you move off of someone else’s platform? I read a few articles recently that espoused the idea of small startups focusing on doing just one thing well, and not owning the …

Why Unicorns Exist

Posted in Startups

I just listened to an excellent, thought-provoking conversation hosted by the a16z podcast on Venture Capital and unicorn private companies: Good Bubbles, Bad Bubbles – and Where Unicorns Come from It’s worth listening to the …

Go to College

Posted in Startups, Work

There is a curious rebellion against higher education. I get the sense that it’s an overreaction, a correction to the unquestioned emphasis placed onto college over the past few decades. The millennial generation is no …

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Everything is Bullshit

Posted in Reading, Startups

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 …

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Returning from a Blogging Hiatus

Posted in Blog

I’m typing this while glancing at my almost exactly, down-to-the-hour 4-week old daughter, as her older brother sleeps a room down with their mother. In the months leading up to this predicament, I’ve received plenty …

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Accelerated Mobile Pages

Posted in Blog, Mobile

On my to-do list, under the “software” category, there was an item on enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on this blog. I figured it’d take some research plus a bit of coding and styling, seeing …

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Ending the Medium Experiment

Posted in Blog

Well, at least I tried. A couple months back, there was a growing chorus of consensus that Medium is now the blogging platform, particularly for serious, long-form writing. There were types of perspective and insightful …

Cross-Posting to Medium

Posted in Blog

I’ve enabled the new WordPress plugin that cross-posts my blog to my Medium profile. It’s my latest attempt to advance my understanding of online publishing and the economics of writing. Previously, I had tried to …

An Experiment in Adsense Advertising

Posted in Blog

If you’re not running an ad blocker, you may notice that there are small Google Adsense ads running on this site. After having blogged for 11 years without ads, I had wanted to see what …

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A Fresh Coat of Paint

Posted in Blog, Web Design

It took staying up till about 3 am last night to push through the final tweaks I wanted to make to the About page before considering this version code complete. It took another handful of …

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The Daily Write

Posted in Blog

I’ve been writing on this blog now for a little over 4 years, and recently it’s been a daily exercise of sorts. Inspired by the prolific blogging of Fred Wilson, I’m now trying to spend …

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Quick Blog Design Update

Posted in Blog, Learning

I have a problem. I get bored/tired of how this blog looks. Given the time I spend every week writing and editing and posting, I overthink how impactful it makes its first (visual) impression. Compounded …

Writing, Blogging and Journaling

Posted in Blog

When I started blogging, my thought was that it’s an exercise in writing to an audience, in addition to garnering some attention and, dare I say, cred in the industry that I’ve now worked in …

Technical Blogger’s Block

Posted in Blog

Well, it’s been a month since I’ve had a chance to write here. As cliche as it sounds, family life plus a healthy heaping of work has made it a lot more challenging to keep …

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Personal Computers as a Niche

Posted in Computing, Hardware

I’m typing this post from a new MacBook Pro 13”, recently upgraded from my aging behemoth of a laptop, a discontinued 17” MacBook Pro that has eschewed retina screens and portable form factors for half …

Automatable Management

Posted in Computing, Management

If there’s any truth left to the cliche that middle management adds little more than bureaucracy and communication overhead to an organization, then Slack’s manager bot product should fix that market inefficiency pretty quickly. Status …

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Building a PC in 2016

Posted in Computing, Hardware

So I finally got all my parts to construct my PC after receiving the monitor a couple of weeks back. I’ve built PCs for upwards of 15 years now, and every time it’s been a …

Geolocated Breadcrumbs

Posted in Computing, Services

There’s an under-appreciated feature in iOS9 that reports on the amount of battery used by app over the last week or so. Casually browsing the list one evening, I noticed that the Moves app – …

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How Long Will we Keep Typing?

Posted in Computing, Technology

I’ve been playing through an old PC game – The Typing of the Dead: Overkill. It takes one of the campiest light-gun shooters (featuring zombies), and replaces shooting with the Wii-mote with typing out phrases …

Retina is Driving PC Hardware

Posted in Computing

Nope, couldn’t do it. I took the new Macbook “upgrade” that I bought a few weeks ago back to the Apple store and told them that I’d stick with my 4-year-old battleship for now. Quick …

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Unlearning Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted in Computing

Muscle memory is a powerful tool. I’m currently typing on a Kinesis Advantage keyboard. It’s yet another ergonomic keyboard, one those major difference – which contributes to its steeper learning curve – is in its …

4 Years Later, a Slower MacBook Upgrade

Posted in Computing

I went out and got the new MacBook to try for a week or two. It is quite a wonder of hardware and industrial design: thin and light, cools completely passively (so no noisy fans), …

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Another Year, Another iPhone

Posted in Mobile

Some hold this ritual annually; I manage to only do it every other year. Around midnight on a September evening, a mob of folks huddle around a handful of websites to try to get their …

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Accelerated Mobile Pages

Posted in Blog, Mobile

On my to-do list, under the “software” category, there was an item on enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on this blog. I figured it’d take some research plus a bit of coding and styling, seeing …

Whether Mobile Products Monopolize

Posted in Apps, Mobile

I got in a brief discussion with the famous Startup L. Jackson on Twitter the other day. The thread started with a comment from me: We went a bit back and forth on the characteristics …

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The Modularization of Microsoft

Posted in Mobile, Technology

All the interesting news coming out of Microsoft from their Build conference revolves around interoperation. Across desktop and mobile, they’re courting developers with initiatives – Visual Studio in OS X, Android apps running in Windows, …

The Great App Cheapening

Posted in Apps, Mobile

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 …

Peak Mobile Gaming

Posted in Games, Mobile

It’s been a couple of eventful weeks for mobile gaming, with some notable releases and twists and turns. In order of completely subjective industry importance: Threes! was released in the App Store. A well-polished, simple …

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Personal Computers as a Niche

Posted in Computing, Hardware

I’m typing this post from a new MacBook Pro 13”, recently upgraded from my aging behemoth of a laptop, a discontinued 17” MacBook Pro that has eschewed retina screens and portable form factors for half …

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The Demise of Lyve

Posted in Hardware, Services

Guess I called it. I just got the email last week that Lyve is shutting down. It started as a somewhat unique proposition around owning your own storage and interface around photos, which eventually had …

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Building a PC in 2016

Posted in Computing, Hardware

So I finally got all my parts to construct my PC after receiving the monitor a couple of weeks back. I’ve built PCs for upwards of 15 years now, and every time it’s been a …

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Geeking out on Keyboards, Part I

Posted in Hardware

This post on keyboards had been sitting in my drafts folder for a month, but I never got around to finishing it. Here’s part 1, which should motivate me to write part 2. I’ve now …

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Cards in Computing Interfaces

Posted in Games, Web Design

We relegated skeuomorphism to yesterday’s design fashion. It’s a tool that was supposed to be largely unnecessary, now that users fully understand purely digital interfaces. The remaining use case for realistic analogies in computing is …

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A Fresh Coat of Paint

Posted in Blog, Web Design

It took staying up till about 3 am last night to push through the final tweaks I wanted to make to the About page before considering this version code complete. It took another handful of …

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Design Thinking Patterns

Posted in Web Design

This is a remarkable observation about how the evolution of web design has parallels in architecture: The Future of Web Design is Hidden in the History of Architecture It’s not just that the thinking around …

Save #Longreads with Images and Video

Posted in Web Design

The proliferation of the link-bait blog listicles comes at the expense of more serious, long-form articles which used to be a staple of the (print) newspaper and magazine industries. Now that they are suffering a …

Designing for the 1%

Posted in Rant, Web Design

I guess it’s pretty common to come across software design whose main contribution is looking good in a screenshot or on a dribbble portfolio page. It’s a bit less common to find a design that …

Realizing the Limitations of Responsive Design

Posted in Mobile, Web Design

Responsive design! The One True Way(™), born from the humble media query, to restore principles of DRY for web development while allowing for optimized experiences on today’s myriad of devices. And it cures baldness. But …

Paying for Design

Posted in Apps, Web Design

App stores are pretty old news now. They’re easy repositories for developers to build small, usable – and in many cases, experimental – applications and make a few bucks selling them. It’s an awesome platform …

New Year, New Theme

Posted in Blog, Web Design

Hi 2012, nice to meet you. I took a small break from writing this blog at the end of last year to revise the design a bit. Now that I have a few months’ worth …

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The Demise of Lyve

Posted in Hardware, Services

Guess I called it. I just got the email last week that Lyve is shutting down. It started as a somewhat unique proposition around owning your own storage and interface around photos, which eventually had …

Google Photos has Won

Posted in Services

A year ago, I was trying to use a handful of services manage my private photos collection. Each service had its plusses and minuses, but since most were cheap and/or free, the right strategy was …

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Evernote → OneNote

Posted in Apps, Services

Late last year, I was investigating whether to migrate over from Evernote to OneNote. I had been an Evernote user for years, but recent questions on the health of the company have prompted me to …

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Controlling Data in the Cloud

Posted in Services

I’ve been using the Day One app for a while now to keep a personal diary. The frequency comes and goes, but I’ve kept at it often enough, ever since our son was born, that …

Geolocated Breadcrumbs

Posted in Computing, Services

There’s an under-appreciated feature in iOS9 that reports on the amount of battery used by app over the last week or so. Casually browsing the list one evening, I noticed that the Moves app – …

The End of Standardized Readability

Posted in Apps, Services

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 …

Games as a Service

Posted in Games, Services

MMORPGs introduced the concept of games as a service almost two decades ago. It was and remains a straight-forward idea: pay $x/month, and we’ll run the servers that enable the online game to function as …

See All Services Posts

Company Fit Matters

Posted in Hiring, Interview, Work

One difference I’ve noticed between those new to the software industry and those who’ve been around the block a few times is how selective they are about their jobs. Consequently, a piece of advice I’ve …

Building from the Fountain of Youth

Posted in Hiring, Thoughts

A few months ago, I opined on that hiring not just A-players is a legitimate strategy; the gist was that, for most jobs and business models, “A players” simply were not required for all positions. …

The Right and the Wrong Kind of Recruiters

Posted in Hiring, Rant

Maybe it’s hiring season, but I had a particularly bad day today fending off tech recruiters. I count: 4 LinkedIn requests 2 random emails[1] 23 unsolicited cold calls Sadly, the increasing volume of spam no …

Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk

Posted in Engineering, Hiring

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my software engineering career as a software engineer. I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly exceptional developers, and while most of them weren’t great teachers[1], they nonetheless impart …

Hiring, Interviews, and Being Productive

Posted in Hiring

I was pleasantly informed by one of our new Squares yesterday that some of my writing had helped him with his interviews at Square and front-end web development in general. Here are some relevant links that …

Right Talent for the Job

Posted in Hiring

If it’s not evident already, I think and write a lot about the interview and hiring process for engineers at software companies. Getting good people in the door, verifying their greatness, and then convincing them …

Developer Entitlement

Posted in Engineering, Hiring

I guess it was inevitable that software developers let the current talent crunch get into their heads. Recruiters continue to spam anyone who can slap two lines of code together, so developers are feeling pretty …

Some Thoughts on Engineering Salaries

Posted in Hiring

Today I saw an article from Hacker News about a Googler’s salary and the subsequent reaction from the community. For some, it’s a shock how fast engineering salaries have jumped in the past ~2 years; …

Stop Trying to Hire Just “A” Players

Posted in Hiring, Startups

Interviewing and hiring sure has become a hot topic recently in the tech. space, from startups to big companies. From problems with technical interviews to major companies acqu-hiring startups for their engineers to analyzing talent …

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Donald Trump and the Job Interview Gambit

Posted in Interview

I ran across this tweet a couple weeks back, on Donald Trump’s platform as he accepted the Republication party’s nomination for the presidency: It reminded me of a job interview tactic I read about years …

Faking Software Design

Posted in Interview

I’ve been having a back-and-forth with a friend on getting a software developer job in Japan. Cultural differences aside – and there are quite a few – we reached an impasse in debating how to …

Full Stack Development Interview

Posted in Front-End, Interview, Work

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 …

Company Fit Matters

Posted in Hiring, Interview, Work

One difference I’ve noticed between those new to the software industry and those who’ve been around the block a few times is how selective they are about their jobs. Consequently, a piece of advice I’ve …

“I Don’t Know”

Posted in Interview

One thing that’s inevitable in a growing software company is that engineers are tasked with the chore of interviews, and I’ve done more than my fair share of talking with candidates through technical problems and …

Conducting Developer Interviews

Posted in Engineering, Interview

Some comments from my last post and on Hacker News brought up an interesting point: it’s not easy to conduct software engineering interviews. If you’ve ever looked for a job as a developer, chances are …

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