The Stack Overflow Podcast

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 Sep 30, 2020

Description

For more than a dozen years, the Stack Overflow Podcast has been exploring what it means to be a developer and how the art and practice of software programming is changing our world. From Rails to React, from Java to Node.js, we host important conversations and fascinating guests that will help you understand how technology is made and where it’s headed. Hosted by Ben Popper, Cassidy Williams, and Ceora Ford, the Stack Overflow Podcast is your home for all things code.

Episode Date
Turns out the Great Resignation goes both ways
00:29:43

Companies like Meta, Twitter, and Netflix are enacting hiring freezes and layoffs, a situation that’s not great for anybody but is likely to have outsize effects on people of color in tech.

Gen Z may not understand file structures, but they sure understand Twitter toxicity. MegaBlock from Gen Z Mafia allows users to block bad tweets, their authors, and every single account that liked the offending tweet. There, doesn’t that feel better?

Apple’s WWDC 2022 is just around the corner. What are you most excited about?

Machine-learning start-up Inflection AI raises $225 million in equity financing to use AI to improve human-computer communication. Another reminder that building sophisticated AI systems isn’t cheap: who could forget that Open AI paid its top researcher just shy of $2 million in 2016?

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Patricia Shanahan for their answer to Difference between int and double.

May 24, 2022
Make your open-source project public before you’re ready
00:29:44

Highly-touted cryptocurrencies like TARA don’t always solve the problems they’re supposed to, as Bloomberg reports.

If you’re looking for a compelling deep-dive into a crypto scammer, Cassidy recommends BBC podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen.

Ceora is working to improve the quality of her commit messages in order to turn what’s now a personal project into an open-source project that others can contribute to. One great resource she’s found: Zen and the art of writing good commit messages.

Attention devs: if you have tips for basic project maintenance and hacks for improving commit messages, Ceora wants to hear from you.

Read up on the benefits of test-driven development.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Nina Scholz for their answer to What’s the difference between Object.entries and Object.keys?.

May 20, 2022
Building out a managed Kubernetes service is a bigger job than you think
00:26:21

You may be running your code in containers. You might even have taken the plunge and orchestrated it all with YAML code through Kubernetes. But infrastructure as code becomes a whole new level of complicated when setting up a managed Kubernetes service. 

On this sponsored episode of the Stack Overflow podcast, Ben and Ryan talk with David Dymko and Walt Ribeiro of Vultr about what they went through to build their managed Kubernetes service as a cloud offering. It was a journey that ended not just with a managed K8s service, but also with a wealth of additional tooling, upgrades, and open sourcing. 

When building out a Kubernetes implementation, you can abstract away some of the complexity, especially if you use some of the more popular tools like Kubeadm or Kubespray. But when using a managed service, you want to be able to focus on your workloads and only your workloads, which means taking away the control plane. The user doesn’t need to care about the underlying infrastructure, but for those designing it, the missing control plane opens a whole heap of trouble. 

Once you remove this abstraction, your cloud cluster is treated as a single solid compute. But then how do you do upgrades? How do you maintain x509 certifications for HTTPS calls? How do you get metrics? Without the control plane, Vultr needed to communicate to their Kubernetes worker nodes through the API. And wouldn’t you know it: the API isn’t all that well-documented. 

They took it back to bare necessities, the MVP feature set of their K8s cloud service. They’d need the Cloud Controller Manager (CCM) and the Container Storage Interface (CSI) as core components to have Vultr be a first-class citizen on a Kubernetes cluster. They built a Go client to interface using those components and figured, hey, why not open-source this? That led to a few other open-source projects, like a Terraform integration and a command-line interface. 

This was the start of a two-year journey connecting all the dots that this project required. They needed a managed load balancer that could work without the control plane or any of the tools that interfaced with it. They built it. They needed a quality-of-life update to their API to catch up with everything that today’s developer expects: modern CRUD actions, REST best practices, and pagination. All the while, they kept listening to their customers to make sure they didn’t stray too far from the original product. 

To see the results of their journey, listen to the podcast and check out Vultr.com for all of their cloud offerings, available in 25 locations worldwide.

May 18, 2022
Open-source is winning over developers and investors
00:16:03

Supabase, the open-source database-as-a-service company, raised $80 million in Series B funding in a round led by Felicis Ventures. In case you were wondering: YYes, the company is named for the Nicki Minaj song!.

Today in tech recs: Cassidy recommends budgeting app Lunch Money for everything from crypto to cash. Matt recommends Magnet for window management.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user dfrib for their answer to Error "nil requires a contextual type" using Swift.

May 17, 2022
Software is adopted, not sold
00:32:32

Ian and Corey met at Microsoft, where they built Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 (which boasted its own CD-ROM).

They went on to found Mattermost in 2016 to give developers one platform for collaborating across tools and teams.

Ian, who previously founded the game company SpinPunch, calls Mattermost “yet another of those video game companies turned B2B software companies,” like Slack and Discord. Says Ian: “Games are all the risk of a movie plus all the complexity of a B2B SaaS product.”

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Diogo for their answer to How can I call functions from one .cpp file in another .cpp file?.

Connect with Ian on LinkedIn.

Connect with Corey on LinkedIn.

May 13, 2022
Feeling burned out? You’re not the only one.
00:26:51

Check out a manager’s toolkit for preventing burnout put together by Gitlab 

Cassidy once asked Stephen Colbert for his favorite website. His answer may surprise you.

Today in tech recs: Pokémon GO (for extra motivation to get outside) and the Apple Watch activity tracker (to track activity and remind you to move around). Jon recommends that you not get a treadmill desk. 

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user JLRishe for their answer to Error "TypeError: $(...).children is not a function".

Follow Jon on LinkedIn or Twitter.

May 10, 2022
Why security needs to shift left into the SDLC
00:23:18

You can check out Michael’s bio here and tune in to his podcast Cloud Unfiltered.

If you're interested in some of open source work Michael and his colleagues are doing, check out API Clarity.

May 05, 2022
What counts as art, anyway?
00:26:31

Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey found that respondents overwhelmingly considered Elon Musk to be the person with the greatest influence on technology. Now that Musk is taking over Twitter, it’s safe to say that influence will increase.

James Stanier, engineering director at Shopify, has some thoughts on one of our perennial topics: transitioning from IC to manager. He’s proposed a 90-day trial period for IC engineers moving into management roles. Listen to Stanier on the Dev Interrupted podcast.

Ben talks up Samsung’s The Frame, which lets you display your favorite NFT or old-fashioned art when you’re not using it as a TV. Because who wants to look at a blank screen?

Cassidy recommends Adam Grant’s book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know and Matt recommends an LG C1 TV for folks in the market for a stunning gaming experience.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Drew Reese for their answer to Deprecation notice: ReactDOM.render is no longer supported in React 18.

May 03, 2022
Would you trust an AI to be your eyes?
00:32:39

The crew has complicated feelings about products like Apple’s augmented reality glasses and Google Glass. Ceora put it best: “I'm very cautious about any big tech company having any more access to my perception of reality.” 

On the other hand, products like Envision smart glasses that help visually-impaired people navigate their environments exemplify how AR technology can enable accessibility and empower users.

Speaking of different perceptions of reality, New York mayor Eric Adams dusts off that old chestnut about how remote workers “can’t stay home in your pajamas all day.” (Watch us.)

Matt recommends Oh My Git!, an open-source game that teaches Git. Ceora recommends Popsy, which allows you to turn your Notion pages into a website for free.

And some recommended reading: How to make the most out of a mentoring relationship from the GitHub blog and How to use the STAR method to ace your job interview from The Muse.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user metadept for their answer to Generate a two-digit positive random number in JavaScript.

Find Adam on LinkedIn here.

Apr 29, 2022
Meet the design system that lets us customize and theme Stack Overflow
00:32:17

If you’re not familiar with Stacks, Stack Overflow’s design system, it’s a robust CSS and JavaScript Pattern library that helps users create coherent experiences in line with Stack Overflow’s best practices and design principles. Explore more on Netlify or GitHub.

Missed our April Fool’s prank this year? Relive the hilarity and the pain.

Atomic CSS is a CSS architecture approach favoring single-purpose classes named based on visual function.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user ceejayoz for their answer to How do I do a database backup on Amazon RDS every hour?.

Connect with Ben Kelley.

Learn more about Aaron Shekey’s work.

Apr 26, 2022
How a college extra-credit project became PHP3, still the bedrock of the web
00:31:18

A high school class on Pascal launched Andi’s interest in programming (starting on an Apple IIc).

Andi was bored with his university studies and took on an extra-credit programming project that turned into PHP3, the version that built a million websites.

PHP gets a lot of hate, and we have two theories about why. First, it’s primarily brownfield development, and we all know that hell is other people’s code. Second, it democratized development—a great thing in many ways - that nevertheless led to a lot of less than professional code making it’s way to production.

Andi cofounded Zend Technologies to oversee PHP advances and served as CEO from 2009 until the company’s acquisition in 2015. After Zend Technology, Andi became one of what he jokes was “five folks in a garage” building a new graph database for Amazon.

Now, at Google, Andi runs the operational database for Google Cloud Platform, including managed third parties and cloud-native databases Spanner, Bigtable, and Firestore.

His background in programming makes Andi sensitive to the importance of prioritizing developer experience: “the number-one person using our services are our developers. And so we need to make [our technology] super-productive and simple and easy and fun for developers to use.”

Connect with Andi on LinkedIn.

Apr 22, 2022
What's the average tenure of a software developer at a big tech company?
00:29:40

Average tenure at Google has been reported at 1.1 years,  which stands in contrast to a broader average of 4.2 years for software developers across the board.

Tech jobs at many so called titans and disrupters last less than two years, according to research from Dice.

Uber is forging an unlikely alliance with two taxi tech firms.

The ultimate chron job - ensuring users can access a chronological feed on their favorite social media without sacrificing your recommendation algorithm's potency or data. 

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to alkber, who explained how to convert seconds to minutes, hours and days in Java

Apr 19, 2022
Warning signs that hot startup hiring engineers might not last
00:22:06

Cassidy is co-organizing Devs for Ukraine, a free online engineering conference from April 25-26 to raise funds in support of Ukraine. Register today and donate if you can.

Plex.tv is a hub for live TV, on-demand streaming content, and your own media library. 

Read the full story of Fast’s speedy shutdown.

Following the ultimate personal security checklist will protect your digital security and privacy—but it might also raise eyebrows at the FBI.

Today’s tech recs: Ben recommends TENS therapy, an electrical alternative to acupuncture (it’s tech, technically). Cassidy recommends Covatar for unique, personalized digital art like NFT avatars.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Joseph Silber for their answer to What’s a regex that matches all numbers except 1, 2 and 25?.

Apr 15, 2022
“Your salary shouldn’t be dictated by how good a negotiator you are.”
00:31:39

Read about how New Relic achieved pay equity—and what, exactly, that means.

Last month, hacker group Lapsus$ released screenshots showing it had successfully breached Okta’s internal systems using compromised credentials. What does it all mean? Read about it here and here.

Matt recounts a harrowing example of a man-in-the-middle attack that nearly emptied a friend’s bank account

Today’s recommendations: Cassidy recs Midjourney, an AI art-making tool currently in beta. (Learn more about Midjourney here.) Matt recommends Elden Ring to folks who want a more “adult” version of the Ceora-approved Breath of the Wild.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Subhajit for their answer to Send HTML in email via PHP.

Apr 12, 2022
Words of wisdom for self-taught developers
00:29:59

Quizzes and games like Roblox are a good way to build your knowledge, whether you’re learning to code or becoming a K-pop expert.

ICYMI: Listen to our conversation with HashiCorp cofounder Mitchell Hashimoto, who recently returned to an IC role after serving as CEO and CTO.

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Roko C. Buljan for their answer to Pure CSS 3 image slider—without JavaScript or radio inputs.

Apr 08, 2022
The new version of React, great tools for learning CSS, and the double standard for female engineers
00:38:03

React 18 is the latest major version of React. Cassidy also provides an excellent summary of React history.

Ceora is working on some CSS art (inspired by K-pop, natch) using CodePen.

Cassidy explains why Tanya Reilly’s talk-turned-blog-post Being Glue, which Ceora shouted out in Episode 425, was pivotal in shaping her career decisions.

Why do women in software engineering have to worry about being seen as “not technical enough”?

Today’s tech recs: Ceora recommends the Nintendo Switch™, Matt recommends Flexbox Froggy for people who want to learn CSS flexbox, and Cassidy recommends Loom.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user JosefZ for their answer to Start Windows Terminal from the CLI and pass in an executable command to run.

Apr 05, 2022
Embracing ambiguity in software with one of YouTube’s UX engineers
00:33:10

Read a profile of Mattaniah on People of Color in Tech (POCIT) here.

Connect with Mattaniah on LinkedIn or follow her on TikTok.

Who remembers Vine??

This week’s tech recs: Cassidy recommends her Hifiman headphones. Ben recommends his hybrid RAV4 (42 miles on the battery alone). Matt recommends Spline, a design app for 3D web experiences. Ceora’s recommendation is a clear phone case from Five Below, perfect for displaying a photo of your favorite K-pop idol (or, you know, your dog).

Plus, Mattaniah and the team get gushy about “incredible,” “joyful,” “super accessible” creative code educator Daniel Shiffman.

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Maulik Hirani for their answer to New Google Places Autocomplete and its pricing.

Apr 01, 2022
Give us 23 minutes, we’ll give you some flow state
00:23:21

Why has this empty NPM package been installed 700,000 times? We’ve got the answer for ya.

A nice article and podcast on flow state, including the claim that 23 minutes is the magic number of minutes it takes to find your flow.

Thanks to our Lifeboat badge winner of the week, Manjusha, for explaining how to: 

Parse a pipe-delimited file in Python

Mar 29, 2022
Human laziness is the ultimate security threat
00:37:16

Vercel is a developer-first, frontend-focused platform. Together with Google and Meta, Vercel built Next.js, an open-source React framework that helps developers build high-performance web experiences with ease.

PlanetScale is a MySQL-compatible serverless database platform that enables infinite SQL horizontal scale.

Tools like Webflow and Squarespace have made web development accessible for casual programmers, but what does this mean for professional developers?

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Michael Thelin for their answer to How can I play a Spotify audio track with Python?.

Find Guillermo on LinkedIn here.

Find Sam on LinkedIn here.

Mar 25, 2022
Getting through a SOC 2 audit with your nerves intact
00:26:03

Once a company reaches a certain size, their customers might start asking for proof that it has good security and data habits. They want to know if there’s a business continuity plan in place in case disaster strikes. For many companies, formalizing this proof means submitting to an auditing process known as SOC 2. If you’re a developer at one of these companies, particularly if you provide or use SaaS applications, you’ll end up having to implement the controls these audits require. 

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, Ben and Ryan talk with James Ciesielski, CTO and co-founder, and Megan Dean, information security and risk compliance manager, both of Rewind. We talk about how you can prep for and successfully get through a SOC 2 audit, how backing up your SaaS data can provide business continuity, and the benefits of establishing a relationship with your auditor. 

A SOC 2 report shows your customers the level of security controls that you have in place. It’s based on the auditing standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. You tell them what controls you have in place and they verify it. Once a company starts attracting enterprise-level customers, a SOC 2 becomes a must-have. 

Companies perform SOC 2 audits using a variety of tools: sometimes it’s purpose-built SaaS tools; sometimes it’s a cascade of spreadsheets. Ultimately, what’s important is providing an audit trail for your controls, a record that proves that your security does what you claim it does. Trust, but verify. 

The process can grow complicated, as companies can have 100 to as many as 300 SaaS applications running in their business. That’s a lot of important business data on someone else’s cloud. Many of these SaaS applications operate data on the shared responsibility model: they ensure the service is available and secure, and you ensure that your data is accurate and secure. 

A key part of these security controls is disaster recovery and business continuity. Imagine that you’re using a SaaS application to track your audit process. What happens if a disgruntled employee wrecks your data, or your cat walks over your keyboard, hitting just the right combination of keys to delete something important? Or what if you unwittingly get flagged on a T&C violation and get deplatformed? Your audit trail could be lost if you haven’t upheld your end of the shared responsibility model and backed up your data. 

Ultimately, having experts who know the process can help. Your auditor, too, can be a resource, so get to know them. They want you to succeed. They want to help you improve your audit process because it makes their lives easier.

Mar 23, 2022
Codespaces moves into public beta, the virtual real estate worth millions, and how microservices and CI/CD can hurt productivity
00:34:55

Geriatric millennials unite.

Learn more about GitHub’s move to put prebuilt Codespaces into public beta, plus check out CodeSandbox, home of self-proclaimed lazy developers.

Meanwhile, in blockchain: Polygon, a solution designed to expand transaction efficiency and output for Ethereum, raised $450 million “to consolidate its lead in the race to scale Ethereum.”

Is Decentraland the most annoying blockchain project? The competition is fierce.

The 2022 Java Developer Productivity Report found that microservices and CI/CD are decreasing developers’ productivity, not increasing it. The team talks through what that means.

This week, Ben recommends the book Appleseed by Matt Bell, Cassidy recommends the productivity app Centered, Adam points listeners to Unix-like operating system SerenityOS, and Ceora shouts out Tanya Reilly’s talk-turned-blog-post Being Glue.

Find Adam on LinkedIn here.

Mar 22, 2022
McDonald’s is to Chipotle what REST APIs are to GraphQL
00:37:29

Danielle’s path to software engineering began when she was accepted into MIT’s Women’s Technology Program, an education and mentorship opportunity for high schoolers interested in engineering or computer science. She later earned her CS degree from MIT.

Danielle’s first role out of college was a junior developer working on Meteor, a full-stack JavaScript framework that was just starting a GraphQL project they called Apollo. She tells the team how Meteor started looking at GraphQL and how that became Apollo.

If McDonald’s is a REST API, then Chipotle is GraphQL. Think about it!

Find Danielle on LinkedIn here.

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to user torek for their answer to Why doesn’t Git natively support UTF-16?.

Mar 18, 2022
Visual Studio turns 25, new ideas for supporting open source, and of course…NFTs
00:29:05

The team pays tribute to Microsoft’s Visual Studio, an IDE and source code editor that turns 25 this month.

Read Simon Willison’s article on how companies can financially support the open-source contributors they rely on. 

Learn more about open source’s diversity problem, and how to address it, here and here.

Why are K-pop NFTs so unpopular with fans? The Atlantic digs in.

ICYMI: Listen to our conversation with HashiCorp cofounder Mitchell Hashimoto: Moving from CEO back to IC.

Mar 15, 2022
Crypto feels broken. That’s because it’s the internet circa 1996.
00:20:08

David is a CS major who worked in Apple’s music group in the 90s and went on to become CEO of eMusic in the aughts. 

At Venrock, David invested in early-stage crypto, consumer, and enterprise tech companies. He was early to crypto as a node maintainer on the Bitcoin blockchain and an Ethereum miner, setting up a rig in his basement several years ago.

At CoinFund, he focuses on early- and growth-stage crypto and blockchain companies and technologies like Upshot, a platform for crowdsourced NFT appraisals, and Rarible, a digital art NFT platform.

ICYMI: Listen to our episode Web3 won’t save us.

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to user M-M for their answer to Find the area of an n-interesting polygon.

Mar 11, 2022
Who says HTML and CSS aren't real programming?
00:30:33

Learn more about GitHub’s ​​machine learning-based code scanning, which finds security issues before they make it to production.

Google invests $100 million in a skills training program for low-income Americans. Is there a catch?

Take2 is a New Zealand program that teaches incarcerated people to code: building marketable skills, opening up employment opportunities, and dramatically reducing recidivism. At the time of writing, Take2 has a 100% success rate in preventing recidivism.

We have two Lifeboat badges this week: Varad Mondkar, for answering How does the app:layout_goneMarginLeft and its variants affect the view arrangements in constraintlayout?, and Eugene Sh., for answering What is this “a.out” file and what makes it disappear?.

Mar 08, 2022
Why David Barrett, CEO of Expensify, still takes his turn on PagerDuty
00:37:32

Expensify is an expense management solution that integrates with your travel, ERP, and finance/accounting software. Check out their full list of integrations.

Expensify engineers rely on Stack Overflow for Teams to make knowledge accessible and shareable, rather than wading through swathes of documentation. Read the case study.

Flat organizations like Expensify have minimal or no middle management, meaning there’s no management layer between staff and executives. A similar model for decentralized management is Holacracy.

Find David Barrett on LinkedIn here.

Mar 04, 2022
The Great QR Code Comeback
00:24:38

Ceora shouts out Mermaid, a JavaScript-based diagramming and charting tool that creates diagrams dynamically based on Markdown-inspired text definitions. 

Coinbase’s bouncing QR code ad proved so popular it crashed the app. Considered passé pre-pandemic, QR codes have obvious value now: they’re touch-free, easy to scan, and ubiquitous. (Just don’t call it a comeback.)

In preparation for his move from New Zealand to Canada, Matt is overhauling his hardware and transitioning to an M1 MacBook Pro for performance and efficiency.

Speaking of hardware, Intel is buying Israeli chipmaking company Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion to build out its Intel Foundry Service division, launched last year to build chips for other companies.

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Basile Starynkevitch for their answer to the question Can you make a computed goto in C++?

Mar 01, 2022
Is functional programming the hipster programming paradigm?
00:27:50

Here’s a useful primer on functional programming with JavaScript.

This tutorial will guide you in exploring the fundamentals of functional programming with React.

If you’re looking for more info on functional programming in React, we’d like to tell you why hooks are the best thing to happen to React.

Functional not your thing? Learn why object-oriented programming (OOP) has become such a dominant paradigm.

Feb 25, 2022
Finally, an AI bot that can ace technical interview questions
00:20:51

Learn more about AlphaCode here.

Check out an amazing video essay critiquing the NFT market, The Line Goes Up.

Read up on Josh Wardle, the developer who built Wordle for his partner to help pass the time during the pandemic, then sold it to the NY Times for a sweet seven figures.

Feb 22, 2022
An algorithm that optimizes for avoiding ennui
00:19:43

You can learn more about Clement's career on his LinkedIn and on Twitter (assuming you speak French).

You can learn more about Dailymotion here and check out the roles they are hiring for here.

You can find Cassidy Williams on Twitter and at her website

You can find Ceora Ford on Twitter and at her website.

Our Lifeboat badge winner of the week is Swati Kiran, who helped solve an error causing permission problems in an angular app.

Feb 18, 2022
Column by your name: The analytics database that skips the rows
00:24:34

These days, every company looking at analyzing their data for insights has a data pipeline setup. Many companies have a fast production database, often a NoSQL or key-value store, that goes through a data pipeline.The pipeline process performs some sort of extract-transform-load process on it, then routes it to a larger data store that the analytics tools can access. But what if you could skip some steps and speed up the process with a database purpose-built for analytics?

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, we chat with Rohit (Ro) Amarnath, the CTO at Vertica, to find out how your analytics engine can speed up your workflow. After a humble beginning with a ZX Spectrum 128, he’s now in charge of Vertica Accelerator, a SaaS version of the Vertica database. 

Vertica was founded by database researcher Dr. Michael Stonebreaker and Andrew Palmer. Dr. Stonebreaker helped develop several databases, including Postgres, Streambase, and VoltDB. Vertica was born out of research into purpose-built databases. Stonebreaker’s research found that columnar database storage was faster for data warehouses because there were fewer read/writes per request. 

Here’s a quick example that shows how columnar databases work. Suppose that you want all the records from a specific US state or territory. There are 52 possible values here (depending on how you count territories). To find all instances of a single state in a row-based DB, the search must check every row for the value of the state column. However, searching by column is faster by an order of magnitude: it just runs down the column to find matching values, then retrieves row data for the matches. 

The Vertica database was designed specifically for analytics as opposed to transactional databases. Ro spent some time at a Wall Street firm building reports—P&L, performance, profitability, etc. Transactions were important to day-to-day operations, but the real value of data came from analyses that showed where to cut costs or increase investments in a particular business. Analytics help with overall strategy, which tends to be more far-reaching and effective. 

For most of its life, Vertica has been an on-premises database managing a data warehouse. But with the ease of cloud storage, Vertica Accelerator is looking to give you a data lake as a service. If you’re unfamiliar, data lakes take the data warehouse concept—central storage for all your data—and remove limits. You can have “rivers” of data flowing into your stores; if you go from a terabyte to a petabyte overnight, your cloud provider will handle it for you. 

Vertica has worked with plenty of industries that push massive amounts of data: healthcare, aviation, online games. They’ve built a lot of functionality into the database itself to speed up all manner of applications. One of their prospective customers had a machine learning model with thousands of lines of code that was reduced to about ten lines because so much was being done in the database itself. 

In the future, Vertica plans to offer more powerful management of data warehouses and lakes, including handling the metadata that comes with them. To learn more about Vertica’s analytics databases, check out our conversation or visit their website.

Feb 16, 2022
Gen Z doesn’t understand file structures
00:21:52

It’s not news that, as Cassidy says, “remote has grown wildly fast”—but Remote has gone from about 25 employees in March 2020 to 900 now (a 3,500% increase).

Ceora explains to Matt (oh, sweet summer’s child) what it means to get ratioed on Twitter.

Inspired by a great read, the team discusses how Gen Z, having grown up without floppy disks, file folders, or directories, thinks about information.

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to user 1983 for their answer to the question Why can I not use `new` with an arrow function in JavaScript/ES6?.

Feb 15, 2022
China’s only female Apache member on the rise of open source in China
00:27:08

SphereEX builds distributed data systems, making it easier for organizations to load balance massive data stores across multiple servers. 

Now that open-source software has taken over Western software, it’s China’s turn. Even big companies like Baidu and Bytedance are opening up their projects. 

Trista is the only female Apache member in China, which is both an honor and a demonstration of how much work needs to be done to support women in STEM. 

This episode’s Lifeboat badge shoutout goes to swati kiran for her answer to 

Error: EACCES: permission denied, mkdir '/usr/local/lib/node_modules/node-sass/build'

.

Feb 11, 2022
There’s no coding Oscars. Write software that works
00:28:26

Ceora has her second brain stored in Notion, complete with GIFs and pretty color to get that aesthetic.

Ancient history in blog years: Cassidy talks about the perils of being bleeding-edge instead of cutting-edge: Apollo Mission: The pros and cons of being an early adopter of new technology 

Everybody is aboard the VS Code train, which has the hottest TikTok around. Cassidy recommends the MonoLisa font helping viewers read your code during a livestream.

Today’s lifeboat goes to Bill the Lizard for Using IFF in Python.

Feb 08, 2022
Moving from CEO back to IC: A chat with Mitchell Hashimoto on his love for code
00:35:11

Neopets: A little-known gateway into a software career. (Nineties kids will remember.)

Among the products Mitchell helped build at Hashicorp: Terraform, Vagrant, and Vault.

Not many C-level execs return to IC roles, but you might be surprised how many managers move back to being individual contributors.

Follow Mitchell on Twitter here.

Feb 04, 2022
A collaborative hub for infrastructure as code
00:22:36

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, we talk with Marcin Wyszynski, founder and CEO at Spacelift. Marcin says Spacelift aims to be for infrastructure-as-code what GitHub is to git. It centralizes everything about your IaC system: it runs code, deploys within CI/CD pipelines, tracks the progress of your infrastructure, and gives you insight into who made what changes and why. Today it works with the IaC tools already out there: Terraform, Cloud Formation, and Pulumi, with plans to add support for services like Ansible and Kubernetes in the future. 

Like a lot of programmers, Marcin got into coding through games. Once he ran through the limited number of Commodore 64 games at his local shop in Poland, he learned to program his own. But he never thought of programming as a career, so when it came time to pick a college major, he followed a group of his peers into sociology. Sociology, with its heavy focus on statistics, brought him back to programming. 

He landed his first job at Google reviewing copy for Ads, which lasted until he could automate himself out of it. Google gave him increasingly technical roles until he moved into an SRE position handling tape backups, a job that is mostly very boring until it becomes extremely exciting. After that, it was a stint at Facebook spinning up point-of-presence clusters around the world, then CTO at a startup that didn’t catch on as he’d hoped. 

With this wealth of experience under his belt, he went into consulting. As a consultant, he had his bag of best practices, open-source tools, processes, and scripts that he brought with him, but he also built bespoke pieces of technology for every single one of his clients. One need his clients had in common was a way to manage the code that defined their infrastructure. 

During Marcin’s career, there were many times when he built the thing he needed: games, automation, scripts. When his consulting clients would leave for a new organization, they would reach out to ask if he could provide them with the solution he had built for infrastructure as code. Realizing that he had created something which addressed a pain point common to many companies, he decided to turn this solution into a new company: Spacelift. 

Spacelift aims to take the heavy lifting out of infrastructure-as-code, automate it, and make it auditable. When a change gets made, everyone can see it and comment on it. From the product manager to the junior dev, everyone knows what’s going on, even if an infrastructure change doesn’t fit the original architecture docs. Plus, the SRE team no longer need to go on archeological expeditions to find a database secretly running and costing the company five figures a month. 

To learn more about Spacelift, check out their website at https://spacelift.io/, where you can start a free trial and see it in action. 

Feb 02, 2022
Next stop, Cryptoland?
00:36:52

The Twitter thread that brought Cryptoland to the team’s attention.

Ceora wonders whether participants in a hypothetical, decentralized version of YouTube (a YouTube-like dApp) would need coding skills to contribute meaningfully.

Why is Ethereum so expensive and so congested?

Ben outlines how Solana has become the fastest-growing blockchain in the world by evolving the Ethereum concept to make it more scalable and less congested.

Feb 01, 2022
Using synthetic data to power machine learning while protecting user privacy
00:26:41

You can learn more about Gretel here. The company is hiring for numerous positions. 

Think your commits are anonymous? Think again: DefCon researchers figured out how to de-anonymize code creators by their style

We published an article about the importance of including privacy in your SDLC: Privacy is an afterthought in the software lifecycle. That needs to change.

Our Lifeboat badge shoutout goes to 1983 (the year Ben was born) for their answer to Why can I not use `new` with an arrow function in JavaScript/ES6?

Jan 28, 2022
How to defend your attention and find a flow state
00:23:02

The inspiration for today's episode was a terrific article from The Guardian about the many ways in which the modern world, specifically the software we use every day, was designed to steal our attention. 

During the episode, we discuss Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor know as the "father of flow" for his  pioneering research on flow states. Sadly, Prof. Csikszentmihalyi passed away in 2021, but you can find a terrific  tribute to him and his work here.

In the second half of the episode, we discuss "The California Ideology" and the ways in which hustle culture and libertarian ideals helped to shape Silicon Valley and the world of technology more broadly.

Congrats to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, UrbanoJVR, who answered the question: What is the difference between 'mvn verify' vs 'mvn test'?

Jan 25, 2022
Who's going to pay to fix open source security?
00:21:23

Will no one think of the maintainers? As The New Stack points out, watching millions of projects fail because of a bug in an open source library has become common enough that  we shrug and reply, "Told you so." It's gotten so bad, big tech companies are visiting the White House to discuss the issue as a matter of national security.

There is a great post up on the Stack Overflow blog examining  this issue, but it's not about color.js, it's about Log4J.  Traffic to questions on this logging library grew more than 1000% percent after the recent revelations about a new vulnerability. 

Also discussed in this episode: cryptographer and Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike stepped down from his role as CEO of the encrypted messaging service.  That's news, but he actually made bigger waves in tech circles with an unrelated blog post detailing  his first experience with Web3. Spoiler alert: it's not as decentralized or divorced from Web2 as you might have thought.

You can find Cassidy Williams on Twitter and her website.

Ben Popper can be found on Twitter here.

Ryan Donovan can be found on Twitter, or writing for the Stack Overflow blog.

 

Jan 21, 2022
A chat with the folks who lead training and certification at AWS
00:32:35

You can find Maureen here

You can find Scott here.

There is a wealth of free courses available through the AWS training website, including Operations, Advanced Networking, Machine Learning, and Data Science. 

 

 

Jan 18, 2022
Safety in numbers: crowdsourcing data on nefarious IP addresses
00:25:55

You can find Philippe on Twitter here and learn more about CrowdSec here.

They recently put together a list of the IP addresses trying to exploit the new Log4j vulnerability.

For a prescient view of today's cybersecurity challenges, Humeau recommends John Brunner's classic 1975 sci-fi novel, The Shockwave Rider.

Jan 14, 2022
Making Agile work for data science
00:20:53

Data scientists and engineers don’t always play well together. Data scientists will plan out a solution, carefully build models, test them in notebooks, then throw that solution over the wall to engineering. Implementing that solution can take months.

Historically, the data science team has been purely science-driven. Work on methodologies, prove out something that they wanted to achieve, and then hand it over to the engineering organization. That could take many months.

Over the past three to five years, they’ve been moving their engineering and data science operations onto the cloud as part of an overall Agile transformation and a move from being sales-led to being product-led. With most of their solutions migrated over, they decided that along with modernizing their infrastructure, they wanted to modernize their legacy systems, add new functions and scientific techniques, and take advantage of new technologies to scale and meet the demand coming their way. 

While all of the rituals and the rigor of Agile didn't always facilitate the more open-ended nature of the data science work at 84.51°, having both data science and engineering operating in a similar tech stack has been a breath of fresh air. Working cross-functionally has shortened the implementation delay. At the same time, being closer to the engineering side of the house has given the data science team a better sense of how to fit their work into the pipeline. 

Getting everyone on the same tech stack had a side effect. Between the increasing complexity of the projects, geographic diversity of the folks on these projects, a rise in remote work, and continued growth, locating experts became harder. But with everyone working in the same tech, more people could answer questions and become SMEs. 

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that 84.51° was asking and answering questions on Stack Overflow for Teams. It was helpful when Chris and Michael no longer had to call on the SMEs they knew by name but could suddenly draw more experts out of the woodwork by asking a question. Check out this episode for insights on data science, agile, and building a great knowledge base for a large, increasingly distributed engineering org.

Jan 12, 2022
Helping communities build their own LTE networks
00:34:52

Esther and Matt are graduate students in computer science at the University of Washington, where they study community networks.

Esther explains how open-source, community-owned and -operated LTE networks are a good solution for expanding public internet access and ensuring digital equity.

Matt walks the team through Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), a shared wireless spectrum that allows users to build their own LTE networks.

Chris Webb of the Black Brilliance Research Project lays out how a digital stewardship program in Detroit helped inspire his work.

Jan 11, 2022
Are developers helping to drive the Great Resignation?
00:30:14

Developers are leading the Great Resignation, according to some reports. Others feel developers aren't resigning, so much as seizing the moment to find better opportunities. 

You can find out hosts online at the links below

Cassidy

Ceora

Ryan

Ben

Have an experience with the Great Resignation you want to share with our podcast and blog? Hit us up by email:

Podcast

Pitches for the blog

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Umer, for explaining how to: align an anchor to the right

Jan 07, 2022
Professional ethics and phantom braking
00:20:27

Hear why Ben thinks the Workplace Stack Exchange and the Academia Stack Exchange have the richest questions in the Stack Exchange network (or maybe just the most sitcom-worthy).

ICYMI: Jack Dorsey stepped down from Twitter. Will he be back?

At Twitter, Tess Rinearson is leading a new team focused on crypto, blockchains, and decentralized tech. Follow her on Twitter here.

The team winces over a review of a Tesla Model Y hatchback that describes phantom braking so frequent and so dangerous that it’s “a complete deal-breaker.”

If you’re a fan of our show, consider leaving us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts.

Jan 04, 2022
Teaching developers about the most lightweight web “framework” around, VanillaJS
00:20:09

What exactly is VanillaJS? Tongue-in-cheek, it's the most lightweight JavaScript framework out there and used by pretty much every website on the internet. Seriously though, it's just JavaScript…without a framework. 

If you're interested in reading and learning more about JavaScript, Chris has a bevy of courses and eBooks over at vanillajsguides.com

Like Chris's ideas so much you want to subscribe to his newsletter? Right over this way!

Since you are a connoisseur of podcasts, check out Chris's own at vanillajspodcast.com.

Chris has kindly put together a collection of resources for listeners like you at gomakethings.com/overflow

This week’s Lifeboat badge goes to prograils for their answer to How can I read the number of lines in Fortran 90 from a text file?

 

Dec 21, 2021
Bringing AI to the edge, from the comfort of your living room
00:24:28

Bill gives an  overview of edge computing and why it matters.

His team wants to enable developers by democratizing access to AI. OpenVINO is an open-source toolkit for high-performing AI inference.

DevCloud lets developers prototype, test, and run their workloads for free on Intel hardware and software. For more on OpenVINO, check out this example we shared that increases image resolution. 

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention another way Intel is bringing its technology to developers: joining Collectives™ on Stack Overflow.

Dec 17, 2021
Skills, not schools, are in demand among developers
00:26:59

The pathway to a software developer job has shifted over the years. It used to be that you had to go through a college computer science program before you could get a developer job. But as online education became better and programming jobs became more specialized, people were getting hired on the strength of their bootcamp or certification experience. Our 2021 Developer Survey found that almost 60% of respondents learned to code using online resources

Mike spent most of his time in the worlds of programmer education and publishing, including a 14 year stint at O’Reilly Media. He worked with numerous great technologists, people who wrote popular languages, and other luminaries in the software world. Much of his focus was on analyzing the signals that come from the data he saw and the conversations with people around the world. 

What those signals told him was the focus for recruiters was on skills instead of educational background. A computer science education used to be the thing that proved you had the skills. But not everyone has the four years to spend getting a degree. In today’s tech industry, many people turn to Skillsoft and other companies for certifications and classes that provide a quick boost in skills to prepare them for a changing job market. 

It’s not just people who want to break into programming who can benefit from online courses and certifications; working developers who want to continue to succeed need to make learning a habit. That can be hard to manage with a full-time job, so their organizations need to make learning a cultural norm. Setting time aside every day for learning pays dividends, not just for the individual, but for that organization. 

With the incredible growth of cloud adoption in the past couple of years, one of the hottest skills in demand right now is cloud engineering. Skillsoft offers an AWS certification course that prepares you for the certification exam. Like many of their other courses, it caters to different learning styles and modalities, while also letting you get comfortable and assess your readiness by taking practice exams. 

With a little bit of intent and planning, you can build a skill path that gets you hired or lets you make the next leap in your career. The world of software is always changing and you as a developer need change with it. With course completions and certifications, you’ll have the skills and the evidence to show employers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Skillsoft’s offerings, check out http://www.globalknowledge.com/aws30

Dec 16, 2021
An oral history of Stack Overflow - told by its founding team
00:27:34

Find Joel Spolsky on Twitter here.

Jeff Atwood is on Twitter here.

Geoff Dalgas is on Twitter here.

Follow Jarrod Dixon on Twitter here.

Dec 14, 2021
Zero to MVP without provisioning a database
00:22:24

PlanetScale is built on Vitess, the open-source database clustering system that runs at colossal scale hosting YouTube, Slack, and GitHub.

A familiar theme: Big cloud companies aren’t set up for independent developers. Sam and Ceora discuss how serverless can get projects—even businesses—up and running quickly.

Choosing the stack for a new business? Tools like Netlify can scale with your product, so you don’t have to change your architecture as you evolve.

Staging environments should be a thing of the past. That’s why PlanetScale enables database branching.

And finally, a question from Law Stack Exchange: Can satellite images be copyrighted?

Dec 10, 2021
Feeling insecure about your code's security?
00:16:55

This “Trojan source” bug (get it?) could threaten the security of all code.

In its annual report on its user community, GitHub found that developers appreciate automation, reusing code, and remote work. (No surprises there.) 

Ceora explains how automation and code reuse are game changers for independent developers and how this logic is spreading to big tech companies, too.

GitHub’s first Chief Security Officer has the company focused on keeping your repo secure.

GDPR  makes you legally responsible for data someone else shares with you. That’s just one of the reasons it’s not a good idea to solicit personal information through a form and then read those secrets on TikTok.

Dec 07, 2021
Is crypto the key to a democratizing the metaverse?
00:25:55

Ethan's book, Once a Bitcoin Miner: Scandal and Turmoil in the Cryptocurrency Wild West, is available now.

The metaverse isn’t just inevitable; it’s already here (and it has a booming real estate market).

As we move more of our lives online onto platforms controlled by increasingly powerful digital giants, Ethan explains the democratizing power of cryptocurrency and blockchain. 

On the other hand, China’s new digital currency (government-issued but crypto-inspired) raises questions about privacy and surveillance. And why did China declare all cryptocurrency transactions illegal?

Is crypto the new oil—an environmental disaster burning all this energy in the face of climate change? Bitcoin was using  as much energy as Finland or Pakistan

.

Dec 03, 2021
Does modern parenting have to rely on spyware?
00:19:35

The conversation was inspired by Epic's decision to make it's Kid's Web Service's parent verification free to all developers.

Ben has been grappling with these questions since 2013, when he wrote about allowing screen time into his young son's life. 

One thing that old article does remind us; how incredibly indestructible the original iPad was. A true tank of a tablet!

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, javimuu, for explaining: How to get a Thumbail / Preview image from Server Video Url in Swift 3.0

Nov 30, 2021
Who is building clouds for the independent developer?
00:24:39

We kick things off by weighing the merits of two gender-neutral regional pronouns: the familiar y’all and the under appreciated yinz. Now that’s covered...

The global population of developers will hit 45 million by 2030, up from 26.9 million in 2021 (EDC). What platforms will they want to build on?

Did Kubernetes solve all your problems? Did it create new ones?

It seems there’s always an XKCD relevant to our conversation. Today, it’s How standards proliferate.

Nov 23, 2021
Who owns this outage? Building intelligent, automated escalation chains
00:22:52

Maxwell, a solution architect at xMatters, took a winding road to get to where he is. After a computer engineering education, he held jobs as field support engineer, product manager, SRE, and finally his current role as a solutions architect, where he serves as something of an SRE for SREs, helping them solve incident management problems with the help of xMatters. 

When he moved to the SRE role, Maxwell wanted to get back to doing technical work. It was a lateral move within his company, which was migrating an on-prem solution into the cloud. It’s a journey that plenty of companies are making now: breaking an application into microservices, running processes in containers, and using Kubernetes to orchestrate the whole thing. Non-production environments would go down and waste SRE time, making it harder to address problems in the production pipeline. 

At the heart of their issues was the incident response process. They had several bottlenecks that prevented them from delivering value to their customers quickly. Incidents would send emails to the relevant engineers, sometimes 20 on a single email, which made it easy for any one engineer to ignore the problem—someone else has got this. They had a bad silo problem, where escalating to the right person across groups became an issue of its own. And of course, most of this was manual. Their MTTR—mean time to resolve—was lagging. 

Maxwell moved over to xMatters because they managed to solve these problems through clever automation. Their product automates the scheduling and notification process so that the right person knows about the incident as soon as possible. At the core of this process was a different MTTR—mean time to respond. Once an engineer started working to resolve a problem, it was all down to runbooks and skill. But the lag between the initial incident and that start was the real slowdown. 

It’s not just the response from the first SRE on call. It’s the other escalations down the line—to data engineers, for example—that can eat away time. They’ve worked hard to make  escalation configuration easy. It not only handles who's responsible for specific services and metrics, but who’s in the escalation chain from there. When the incident hits, the notifications go out through a series of configured channels; maybe it tries a chat program first, then email, then SMS. 

The on-call process is often a source of dread, but automating the escalation process can take some of the sting out of it. Check out the episode to learn more. 

Nov 22, 2021
What if the value of software platforms ACTUALLY flowed to the users?
00:30:24

You can learn more about Roll, which describes itself as blockchain infrastructure for social money, here.

If you want to follow them on social, check out @tryrollhq as well as their personal socials: @bradley_miles_ and @sidkal

If you are interested in this kind of tech, check out previous conversations on Web3 and our chat with Chris Dixon on blockchain.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is Notnooop, who explained how you can :Make An Emoji Enabling App

Nov 19, 2021
250 words per minute on a chorded keyboard? Only if you can think that fast.
00:24:40

GitHub's CEO, Nat Friedman, stepped down recently to focus on his startup roots. Chief product officer, Thomas Dohmke, will be moving to CEO. 

The Verge reviewed our no-longer-a-joke April Fool's keyboard. 

How many keyboard layouts are there anyway? Including non-English layouts, there's lots

Do you have a mind's eye? How about an inner monologue? We explore why some people have a voice in their head when they think and some don't

Nov 16, 2021
The polyglot who leads Stack Overflow's Platform team
00:28:41

Rennie grew up in Kenya, Honduras, Somalia, and Oklahoma; his parents volunteered for the Peace Corps before working for the US Government overseas. 

Audio tape drives are real!  Check out this Retrocomputing question about how the Commodore 64 audio interface worked. 

If you  want  to remember something better, a 2014 study says you should write it out by hand. 

Rennie worked at Blackberry, and Ben remembered his colleagues at the Verge fondly hoping for their comeback. In fact, here's Ben hoping for their comeback!

We did a podcast on moving from engineer to manager, which Rennie said was one of the hardest things to do. 

Rennie gave a shoutout to the book he's reading now, The Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson. 

Rennie works on our Platform team, which works on all of our reusable stuff, including our design system, Stacks

This week's Lifeboat badge goes to Vinzzz for explaining how to Create an array of random numbers in Swift.

Nov 12, 2021
The semiconductor shortage: explained
00:35:33

You can find Alex's writing for Employ America here. You can find him on Twitter here

You can find Hassan's blog here and his Twitter here.

You can find their writing on the semiconductor industry and shortages here and here.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is jasme, who helped someone figure out how to fix email validation with Laravel.

Nov 09, 2021
Web3 won't save us
00:37:45

What is Web3? The Decentralized Internet of the Future

Cassidy

Ceora

Ryan

Ben

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Tadeck, for showing us how to design a : Function for Factorial in Python

Nov 05, 2021
The big problem with only being able to solve big problems
00:22:16

We start out the show talking about this article: I Don't Know How To Count That Low.

Is Apple normalizing surveillance?

Toyota trucks and Land Cruisers were very popular with ISIS. 

Instead of a lifeboat, we shoutout this fun question: How do I stop annoyed wizards from killing people all the time? A common problem for us muggles. 

Nov 02, 2021
Software for your second brain
00:27:39

Alex comes up with better ways to interact with technology and writes about it on his website

Is there a link between playing music and writing code? A previous article of ours covered the merger of the two in the music programming language, Sonic PI. 

If you're curious about the weird extremes of operating system development, check out TempleOS

Cassidy and Alex both take copious notes through Obsidian. Alex has a plugin that may help you organize notes automatically. 

 

Oct 29, 2021
A murder mystery: who killed our user experience?
00:28:58

The infrastructure that networked applications lives on is getting more and more complicated. There was a time when you could serve an application from a single machine on premises. But now, with cloud computing offering painless scaling to meet your demand, your infrastructure becomes abstracted and not really something you have contact with directly. Compound that problem with with architecture spread across dozens, even hundreds of microservices, replicated across multiple data centers in an ever changing cloud, and tracking down the source of system failures becomes something like a murder mystery. Who shot our uptime in the foot? 

A good observability system helps with that. On this sponsored episode of the Stack Overflow Podcast, we talk with Greg Leffler of Splunk about the keys to instrumenting an observable system and how the OpenTelemetry standard makes observability easier, even if you aren’t using Splunk’s product. 

Observability is really an outgrowth of traditional monitoring. You expect that some service or system could break, so you keep an eye on it. But observability applies that monitoring to an entire system and gives you the ability to answer the unexpected questions that come up. It uses three principal ways of viewing system data: logs, traces, and metrics.

Metrics are a number and a timestamp that tell you particular details. Traces follow a request through a system. And logs are the causes and effects recorded from a system in motion. Splunk wants to add a fourth one—events—that would track specific user events and browser failures. 

Observing all that data first means you have to be able to track and extract that data by instrumenting your system to produce it. Greg and his colleagues at Splunk are huge fans of OpenTelemetry. It’s an open standard that can extract data for any observability platform. You instrument your application once and never have to worry about it again, even if you need to change your observability platform. 

Why use an approach that makes it easy for a client to switch vendors? Leffler and Splunk argue that it’s not only better for customers, but for Splunk and the observability industry as a whole. If you’ve instrumented your system with a vendor locked solution, then you may not switch, you may just let your observability program fall by the wayside. That helps exactly no one. 

As we’ve seen, people are moving to the cloud at an ever faster pace. That’s no surprise; it offers automatic scaling for arbitrary traffic volumes, high availability, and worry-free infrastructure failure recovery. But moving to the cloud can be expensive, and you have to do some work with your application to be able to see everything that’s going on inside it. Plenty of people just throw everything into the cloud and let the provider handle it, which is fine until they see the bill.

Observability based on an open standard makes it easier for everyone to build a more efficient and robust service in the cloud. Give the episode a listen and let us know what you think in the comments.

Oct 27, 2021
The first ten years of our programming lives
00:22:33

This episode was inspired by Joma Tech's review of his first ten years in coding. 

Ben Popper shared  a fair amount of his coding journey through the series Ben Popper is the Worst Coder in the World

Should you actually write out code on paper as some of us had to do? Maybe.

Modding games gets people into programming. For Ryan, Freedom Force got him into Python. Today, it's Minecraft and Roblox

Want to jump start your career? Find a community on Discord or Twitter and make some contacts. The software industry is made of people. 

Hackathons helped Cassidy find a deeper love for coding, oh and her husband too.

Oct 26, 2021
Quality code is the easiest to delete
00:22:26

Isaac's piece, Code quality: a concern for businesses, bottom lines, and empathetic programmers, ran recently on the Stack Overflow blog. 

A simple metric for code quality code be how easy is it to delete any given piece of code. 

There's no algorithmic way to judge quality code, but experienced engineers know it when they see it. 

Jeff Atwood's Performance is a Feature blog post gets a lot of mileage with our writers. But code quality isn't on the same axis; it's not a feature you can prioritize. It's part of the development process. 

Oct 22, 2021
Getting your first job off the CSS mailing list
00:19:09

At LinkedIn scale, it pays to save your developers a few minutes or even seconds on repeat tasks. Sara walks us through her experience managing senior engineers, and trying to improve developer experience and tooling, on a massive, global platform with over a billion user interactions a month.

Paul  shares some of his firm's latest work, helping to visualize the impact of climate change at Probable Futures. Interested in doing work in software focused on climate change? Paul recommends you learn a bit about NetCDF files.

Follow Sara on Twitter here.

Follow Paul on Twitter here.

Enjoy our brain teaser of the week: a new way to cut pizza.

Oct 19, 2021
Can AI solve car accidents and find you a parking space?
00:24:32

Graybeard conference alert! Eran and Ryan both started their technology journeys on the venerable Commodore 64

During his academic days, Eran helped to map all the BGP (background gateway protocol) gateways in the world. This got a fair bit of press recently during the six hour Facebook outage.

Nexar provides smart dashcams and an app that help cars understand the roads around them. 

While networked cameras on every car could be a privacy nightmare, Nexar says that they have privacy as a foundational part of the SDLC.

Oct 15, 2021
A database built for a firehose
00:24:26

HarperDB is a startup that focuses on highly scalable databases that handle real-time data. 

Harper is built on Node.js and Express with a little help from Fastify

They know where they excel and where they don't. High data throughput like  gaming and vision, great! High data resolution and transactional software like financial applications, not so great. It's speed over accuracy. 

Instead of a Lifeboat badge today, we shared a relevant question: Q: How to create HarperDB table with lambda.

Oct 12, 2021
Wait, we're all content moderators now?
00:31:34

Read more about the climate debate surrounding NFTs here.

We really enjoyed this piece: You either die an MVP, or live long enough to build content moderation.

You can find Ben on Twitter here.

You can send ideas for blog posts to Ryan Donovan at our pitch box.

You can find Cassidy on Twitter here and read the newsletter she helps us curate here.

You can find Ceora on Twitter here and check out more about Apollo GraphQL here.

Oct 08, 2021
Building image search, but for any object IRL
00:23:58

You can learn more about Paul here.

You can read more about Physna here.

Paul is excited about the Metaverse. So are we

Oct 05, 2021
It's 2FA's world, we're just living in it
00:20:22

Check out more about Microsoft's efforts to ditch passwords here.

When  2FA just won't do, 3FA to the rescue. Just pray we aren't headed towards five factors.

 

Oct 01, 2021
Automate away your boring standup meetings
00:27:30

Right now, most development teams provide visibility into their overall process and lifecycle through standup meetings and spreadsheets. It can be a painfully manual process that uses up valuable engineering time. 

Value stream management aims to solve that by mapping out the entire software development life cycle and providing visibility into areas where things are breaking down or getting stuck. It borrows ideas from Agile and the automate-all-the-things attitude from DevOps to ensure engineering teams are moving fast with direction, avoiding bottlenecks, and reaching the the key objectives management planned weeks ago.

In this episode, we chat with Nick Mathison and Sylvan Carbonell from HCL Software DevOps about value stream management and how their product, HCL Accelerate, brings visibility into the entire gamut of the SDLC, from the request coming in from a customer to deploying code to the production servers. 

At the foundation of this process is a good map of the company’s value stream. Think of it as bringing all your teams together to map out the entire workflow of your development cycle on a whiteboard, from receiving feature requests and bug reports, assigning out tickets, merging code, requesting code reviews, passing build tests, QA processes, and finally deploying to production. 

The value stream map brings that whiteboard to life. Once the process is mapped out and the data flows revealed, it is very easy to track where the work is at any given time and how fast it is flowing through the value stream. Every company has little idiosyncrasies that make their process unique: their specific slowdowns, time sinks, and manual approvals that grind development to a halt. Value stream management spots those and helps you eliminate them. 

In a value stream, you’re no longer watching individual devs; your best metrics cover the “two-pizza team,” a team small enough to be fed by two pizzas. This team’s interactions—working through epic tickets, code reviews, internal support, etc.—provides the best metrics to identify ways to increase the value that a team provides. 

With many technology companies working fully remotely during the pandemic, understanding each team’s process is critical. HCL offers a way to accomplish this without bringing lengthy standups back in the picture.

Start benefiting from value stream management today with the forever-free Community Edition of HCL Accelerate. Try HCL Accelerate now.

Sep 29, 2021
Become a better coder...with this one weird click
00:32:46

Go get your copy of They Key here.

Our frequent collaborator, Cassidy Williams of Netlify, helped design the key and joined this episode to share her love for all things mechanical keyboard.


 

Sep 28, 2021
The paranoid style in application development
00:24:34

We talked about obscuring DNS traffic based on this article.

Cassidy and Ben are pretty excited about all the new Apple stuff announced recently. Ryan, the curmudgeon, does not. 

There are several theories as to where the word dongle came from. 

The Conductor framework makes building web apps simpler in a  low-code/no-code  style. 

Did the pandemic worsen everyone else's guilt and self-loathing over decreased productivity or was it just us?

Our only point of contact during the height of the pandemic was the Internet connection. Has the loosening of quarantine made us less likely to  live online?

 

Sep 24, 2021
You don't need a math PhD to play Dwarf Fortress, just to code it
00:33:00

Tarn and his brother Zach are the brains behind Dwarf Fortress and the community that rose around it.

Dr. Tarn Adams  received a math PhD, but left his post-doc because he was too busy making games. 

A bug created the statue Planepacked, a massive structure that contained the entire history of the world as well as 73 copies of the statue itself.

Many people, including one of our hosts, found out about Dwarf Fortress through a Let's Play session in a fortress called Boatmurdered

If you want a more human readable  version of Dwarf Fortress, you can wishlist it on Steam or use one of the Lazy Newb packs

 

Sep 21, 2021
Writing the roadmap from engineer to manager
00:23:49

Former co-host Sara Chipps  now manages engineering teams at LinkedIn, but her best content is still on Twitter.

Cassidy's former boss, Sarah Drasner, recently wrote a book to help engineers level up to management: Engineering Management for the Rest of Us

Cassidy's new favorite software tool is Astro, a single-site generator that looks to minimize the amount of client-side JavaScript in a site. 

The two books Ms. Chipps mention as the old standbys for new engineering managers are Peopleware and Smart and Gets Things Done

Sep 17, 2021
This AI-assisted bug bash is offering serious prizes for squashing nasty code
00:19:17

While every developer loves a good story about discovering and fixing a gnarly bug, not everyone enjoys the work of finding those bugs. Most folks would prefer to be writing business logic and solving new problems. But those input validation errors and resource leaks won’t solve themselves. 

Or will they?

AWS Bug Bust is a global competition launched with the goal of finding and fixing one million bugs in codebases around the world. It takes the traditional bug bash and turns it into a competition that anyone can enter. Got a repo or two that you’ve been meaning to clean up? Enter the Bug Bust and start squashing. 

This competition awards points to organizations, as well as individuals within an organization, for every bug that they fix in their own repos. A little friendly competition can motivate developers to fix more bugs in order to move up the leaderboards. How do you think we built Stack Overflow? Fake internet points are very important around here. With the Bug Bust competition, it’s not just fake internet points and personal glory; top bug squashers—overall and within top organizations—can win all expense paid trips to re:Invent 2021

In a traditional bug bust, someone has to find the bugs, file tickets on all of them, then collect them for squashing. In the Bug Bust, Amazon has managed to automate that part of the process. That’s because the Bug Bust is built on their AI-powered code review and profiling tool, CodeGuru. 

CodeGuru uses static analysis and machine learning with some additional automated reasoning to find bugs in code; everything from best practices to concurrency issues, resource leaks, security problems, and more. AI isn’t here to take your jobs, it’s here to automated away the tedious stuff. Developers get to harness the power of artificial intelligence in their everyday lives.

Concurrency and resource leak issues tend to drain the soul out of the developers. You could spend all day trying to optimize and close those. CodeGuru includes a function profiler that looks for a codebase’s most expensive calls. It’s a lightweight agent actively running and looking for ways to reduce the cost of the running application. 

These bugs, along with security issues and AWS API calls, are the ones that earn the most points. But all bugs earn their bashers points; CodeGuru spots code inefficiencies, duplications, and general code quality detectors, and performs input validation. The model behind this is pretrained on years of Amazon bug hunting experience. The system does learn from you as to what is a good bug in your codebase, but it’s not training on your code. It’s your feedback that makes CodeGuru a better bug hunter.

If you have Java and Python code in a GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Bitbucket, or AWS CodeCommit repository, you can jump into the competition. Sign up with your email and you get 30 days to run as many Bug Busts as you want for free. The top ten individual bug busters get VIP treatment at the 2021 re:Invent conference (and an all-expense-paid trip there), which is being held in person this year. Top participating organizations get  a ticket to give to one of their developers as well. For those bashers outside of the top ten, you can still earn some sweet swag by passing some point milestones. 

The contest to win the trip to re:Invent 2021 runs through September, but you can still automate your bug bashes and get swag anytime. Want to get started? Head over to the AWS Bug Bust site now.

Sep 15, 2021
Managing Kubernetes entirely in Git? Meet GitOps
00:27:49

Weaveworks helps DevOps folks manage their Kubernetes settings entirely 

Paul's first computer was a Sinclair ZX-80, which had a clock speed of 3.25 MHz, 1 KB of static RAM ,and 4 KB of read-only memory. Pretty good for 1980. 

Weaveworks based their project on Flux, an open source engine. If you're not a big corporation and you want to use it, it's free!

Before there was Kubernetes, Google created Borg, an internal cluster manager. It has yet to be assimilated by Kubernetes. 

Ben thinks that, if it gets too easy to manage Kubernetes clusters, we'll be out of a job talking about the pain of cluster manages. 

Today's lifeboat badge goes to Daniel Ribeiro for the answer to How can I run Go binary files?

Sep 14, 2021
How valuable is your screen name?
00:29:00

You can send ideas for blog posts to Ryan Donovan at our pitch box.

You can find Cassidy on Twitter here and read the newsletter she helps us curate here.

You can find Ceora on Twitter here and check out more about Apollo GraphQL here.

Cassidy's piece on GraphQL, the first item she ever wrote for Stack Overflow, is here

Want to learn more about AVIF and how it compresses images so well? Check out good read from Netflix's tech blog here.

Instead of a lifeboat badge we're highlighting an amazing question: Can celestial objects be used in cryptography?

Sep 10, 2021
Authorization is complex. Oso is a library designed to help you structure it.
00:22:53

You can learn more about Sam on his LinkedIn here. You can find him on Twitter here.

Learn more about Oso, check out the code, and join their Slack community here.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is Evgeny Lisin, who answered the question: How to find UIWebView in Project and replace it with WKWebView?

Sep 08, 2021
Why yes, I do have a patent on a time machine
00:22:19

You can find Angie's blog here, catch her on Twitter here, and connect with her on LinkedIn here.

You can check out Applitools and  learn about the visual AI system it uses for testing here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to  Alex Klyubin for explaining: What is the difference between Jar signer and Apk signer?

Sep 03, 2021
Exploring the magic of instant python refactoring with Sourcery
00:27:26

Nick is now Sourcery's CTO.  You can find him on Twitter here.

Brendan serves as Sourcery's CEO. You can find him on Twitter here.

You can try out Sourcery for free here and check out the company's open positions here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week, fittingly, goes to Martin Evans, for explaining how to parse an integer from a string in Python.

Aug 31, 2021
Changing of the guards: one co-host departs, and a new one enters
00:19:14

Paul is stepping away down as CEO of Postlight to focus more on understanding climate change and how we can address it. The science hurts his brain. 

Cassidy Williams, currently at Netlify, has published articles on our blog and provides links in our newsletter.

We dig into some of the results of the dev survey, including how kids today are learning to code on the internet. There's so much to learn from now!

Did everyone step back from working full time? Our survey data shows a decrease in full time employed respondents. Was there an existential moment for everyone during the pandemic where they thought that there must be something else?

Our surveyed devs love Svelte but get paid the most for Ruby on Rails. 

This week's Lifeboat badge goes to Suren Raj for his answer to Java convert bytes[] to File.

Aug 27, 2021
Passwords are dead! Long live the new authentication flows.
00:18:57

Every password can be compromised. Stych helps companies build authentication flows that don't need user passwords. 

Julianna grew up in Idaho, where she didn't even know what computer science was. After stints as a software engineer and product manager, she found a role where could figure out what the organization should be building: CTO and founder. 

Their first product was email magic links, which is more complicated than you think. Most importantly, how do you always avoid the spam folder? Copy changes in an email can make all the difference. 

Developer tooling is undergoing a renaissance now that smaller companies are getting into the game with API offerings. The big thing that differentiates good tools from bad is easy to understand  documentation. 

The right metaphor for API services isn't SaaS, it's eCommerce. Plug it in into your app without giving up design and user experience. 

Aug 24, 2021
Extending the legacy of Admiral Grace Hopper
00:14:33

In 1987, Anita Borg, AnitaB.org's namesake, saw how few women were at a "systems" conference. A few casual chats turned into the listserv, Systers, which continues to offer a place for women in engineering to meet and discuss. 

Grace Hopper—that's Navy Rear Admiral Hopper to you, civilian—was the first to devise a theory of programming languages that were machine-independent. She created the FLOW-MATIC programming language, which served as the basis for COBOL

Quincy started in electrical engineering and learned FORTRAN. That experience with how computers operate on hardware helped her teach C++. The difference is like listening to vinyl vs. mp3s. 

Should UX designers create technology that you need to adapt to or adapts to you? And will different generations create different interaction paradigms?

We're out of lifeboat badges, so we summoned a Necromancer winner! Congrats to stealth who was awarded the badge for their answer to the question, Adding multiple columns in MySQL with one statement.

Aug 20, 2021
Building a better developer platform
00:23:41

We're officially part of the Prosus family now that the acquisition has closed. It’s a huge milestone and a big deal for our company and community.

Prosus has a global reach and will help us meet the needs of developers and technologists everywhere. 

Have no fear: there will not be a paywall on the community sites. We have separate free and paid products for a reason. 

We combined our Ads and Talent businesses into Reach & Relevance, which gives companies the opportunity to showcase their products and engineering organizations to software engineers around the world. 

Remote work is here to stay, and a lot of knowledge workers are starting to adapt the processes that software engineers have been using for years. 

Our lifeboat shoutout goes to Jordi Castilla for the answer to the question: Convert HH:MM:SS into minutes using JavaScript

Aug 17, 2021
Move fast and make sure nobody gets pager alerts at 2AM
00:26:25

Ethan started his career when the marquee tag was king and is bullish on its comeback. 

His focus as an investor is on developer tools & infrastructure, open source software, space, and emerging compute.

We talk about his time as a Product Group Leader at Facebook, and his strong feelings on the state of DevOps.

You can find his investor profile here, his blog here, and on Twitter here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Denys Vuika, who answered the question: How do I configure Yarn as the default package manager for Angular CLI?

 

 

Aug 13, 2021
Using AI to fake your own voice, podcasting never been easier
00:19:33

Mason began his career as a developer, went on to be a CEO, but also found time to produce 80s alt rock album full of advice on how to run your startup.

Slack began life as a video game company, eventually pivoting to make an internal chat tool it had built into its main business. Descript had a similar journey, taking  the editing software Mason and his team developed at Detour, and moving it to become the center of a new business after Detour was acquired by Bose.

Headquartered in Montreal, Lyrebird is the AI division of Descript . It was founded by PhD students studying under Yoshua Bengio, who won the Turing Prize in 2019 for his pioneering research into deep learning and neural networks.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes Avinash, who explained what to do with a invalid syntax error that arises while running an AWS command

Aug 10, 2021
What's the blast radius when your database goes down?
00:25:42

Mark started out on a 4k TRS-80. He had to program it in assembly language, as there wasn't enough memory to use the local Basic copy.

Throughout his career, he's oscillated between using databases and building databases. He started at Caltech and NASA, using databases to store and organize space data and chip data. Then he built databases at Oracle, including versions, 5 6, 7, and 8.

After that it was back to using databases at NewsCorp for huge student data systems. 

He built databases at AWS with Amazon RDS, then moved to Grab Taxi, the Uber of Southeast Asia, and finally back to MongoDB, where he is building again.

You can find Mark on Twitter here.

This week's lifeboat badge goes to Erik Kalkoken, who answered the question: In a Slack, is there a way to see all the members that is part of that channel? 

Aug 06, 2021
Highlights from our 2021 Developer Survey
00:18:13

This year over 80,000 respondents took the time to share their feedback on the tools and trends that are shaping software development.

We learned a lot about the way developers learn. For the rising cohort of coders under the age of 18, online resources like videos and blogs are more popular than books and school combined, a statistic that doesn’t hold for any of our other age cohorts. 

Roughly a third of respondents responded to our question on mental health. This is twice the percentage that offered feedback in 2020 and may reflect a growing awareness of the importance of mental health’s and the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Another trend that may be linked to the pandemic is work status. We see a greater percentage of respondents working part-time or in school, while those indicating full time employment decreased. This may reflect the effects of the pandemic, which saw workers from all industries stepping back and reevaluating their relationship to a five day work week and in-person employment.

Check out the full results of the 2021 Dev Survey here.

Aug 03, 2021
Exploring the cutting edge of privacy and encryption with Very Good Security
00:22:34

We chat discrete mathematics, differential privacy, and homomorphic encryption. But don't worry, we also break it down in laymen's terms.

Interested in working in security? Mahmoud will personally extend an offer to anyone who solves this puzzle.

Puzzles not your thing? You can still learn more about Very Good Security and its open positions here.

Mahmoud is on Twitter here.

 

 

Jul 30, 2021
Why startups should use Kubernetes from day one
00:23:24

You can read Max's full article on Kubernetes on our blog here.

You can find Max on Twitter here and his personal website here.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is Mantas, who answered the question: Determine if all the values in a PHP array are null

Jul 27, 2021
From AOL chat rooms to Wikipedia, Reddit, and now, Stack Overflow
00:21:51

Beaudette cut his teeth in the days of AOL chat rooms, then became an early Wikipedian. More recently he worked at Reddit, where his team of ten professional community managers supported 300 million monthly unique visitors. Before his recent promotion to VP,  Beaudette was on the Trust and Safety team at Stack Overflow. 

For more detail on his experience, check out his LinkedIn here.

Our lifefboat badge of the week goes to Arty-chan for answering the question:What is gitlab instance url, and how can i get it?

Jul 23, 2021
Crafting software and games for the selfie generation
00:21:24

You can find Tara on  Twitter here. 

Sam is on Twitter here.

You can learn more about Loveshark's latest games and the roles they are hiring for here.

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Elliott Frisch, for answering the question: Convert list of integer into comma separated string?

 

 

Jul 20, 2021
Github Copilot can write code for you. We put it to the test.
00:26:39

You can find some fun video of Cassidy putting Copilot to the test here.

If you want to take the Jamstack survey, check it out here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Andomar, who answered the question: Will multiple calls to `now()` in a single postgres query always give same result?

 

 

Jul 16, 2021
Leaving your job to pursue an indie project as a solo developer
00:30:05

We discuss how Simões learned to code and the feature set that allowed Poker Now to differentiate itself in a crowded space. 

Simões shares the tech stack he used to craft the first version of Poker Now, and how he rebuilt the service after it crashed under the weight of a massive wave of new users. During the peak of lockdown, his site went from an average of 100 concurrent users to more than 10,000 at a time.

Lastly, we chat about the allure of leaving a regular job behind to work on a passion project, and about the challenges of maintaining a service and earning a living as a solo developer.

Today we're celebrating Divakar, who was awarded a lifeboat badge for answering the question: Searching a sequence in a NumPy array.

Jul 13, 2021
So you're not getting along with your engineering team
00:20:02

If you want to catch up on the first half of the episode, you can find it here.

Jul 12, 2021
Is everyone starting to work like a developer?
00:27:23

The massive shift to remote work that so many companies undertook over the last year has pushed many to adopt an asynchronous, merge driven workflow that has been pioneered and perfected by software developers. With tools like Airtable, and Coda, the boundary between programming and other forms of media and knowledge work is beginning to blur. 

What happened to Google Wave? Can products with passionate fans get pushed into the Commons after they are sunset?

Peek under the hood, and it's spreadsheets all the way down. Some companies are now turning a simple spreadsheet into an interactive web app

Spreadsheets on steroids, what could go wrong?

No Lifeboat badge this episode, but tune in tomorrow, we'll have Part 2 of our live episode from the Fishbowl.

 

Jul 09, 2021
Building for AR with Niantic Labs augmented reality SDK
00:29:16

You can learn more about Lightship, Niantic's AR SDK, here. They are hiring developers, and openings can be found here.

Richard can be found on LinkedIn here

Kelly can be found on LinkedIn here.

A big thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Karim, for answering the question: Check if value exists in Array object Javascript or Angular?


 

 

Jul 06, 2021
Bring your own stack: Why developer platforms are going headless
00:21:51

As explained in this piece, "A headless CMS is a back-end only content management system (CMS) built from the ground up as a content repository that makes content accessible via a RESTful API or GraphQL API for display on any device." Shopify has leaned hard into GraphQL and APIs in general. 

The goal, as Coates describes it, is to allow developers to bring their own stack to the front-end, but provide them with the benefits of Shopify's back-end, like edge data processing for improved speed  at global scale. Shopify also offers a wealth of DevOps tooling and logistical support when it comes to international commerce. 

We also discuss Liquid, the flexible template language Shopify uses for  building web apps.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to chunhunghan for answering the question: How to customize the switch button in a flutter?

Jul 02, 2021
How product development at Stack Overflow has evolved
00:20:42

If you're full up on technical content and just want funny retweets, follow Adam on Twitter here

If you're interested in learning more about tag pages, check out what the community created for Rust.

Thanks to Peter Cordes, our lifeboat badge winner of the week, for answering the question: How can I accurately benchmark unaligned access speed on x86_64?

Jun 29, 2021
Stack Overflow has a new product: Collectives™. Here's how we built it, and why.
00:20:11

You can check out all the details about Collectives in our launch post here.

We detailed the user research that allowed our community to help shape this product in a Meta post here.

Teresa is on Twitter here and Jascha is on LinkedIn here.

 

Jun 25, 2021
From search trees to neural nets, a deep dive into natural language processing
00:34:22

We chatted with three guests:

Miguel Jetté: Head of AI R&D

Josh Dong: AI Engineering Manager

Jenny Drexler: Senior Speech Scientist

When Jette was studying mathematics in the early 2000s, his focus was on computational biology, and more specifically, phylogenetic trees, and DNA sequences. He wanted to understand the evolution of certain traits and the forces that explain why our bones are a certain length or our brains a certain size. As it turned out, the algorithms and techniques he learned in this field mapped very well to the emerging discipline of automatic speech recognition, or ASR. 

During this period, Montreal was emerging as a hotbed for artificial intelligence, and Jette found himself working for Nuance, the company behind the original implementation of Siri. That experience led him to several positions in the world of speech recognition, and he eventually landed at Rev, where he founded the company’s AI department. 

Jette describes Rev as an “Uber for Transcription.” Anyone can sign up for the platform and earn money by listening to audio submitted by clients and transcribing the speech into text. This means the company has a tremendous dataset of raw audio that has been annotated by human beings and, in many cases, assessed a second time by the client. For someone looking to build an AI system that mastered the domain of speech to text, this was a goldmine. 

Jette built the earliest version of Rev’s AI, but it was up to our second guest, Josh Dong, to productize and scale that system. He helped the department transition from older technologies like Perl to more popular languages like Python. He also focused on practical concerns like modularity and reusable components. To combine machine learning and DevOps, Dong added Docker containers and a testing pipeline. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of keeping a system like Rev’s running at tremendous scale, you’ll want to check out this part of the show. 

We also explore some of the fascinating future and promise this technology holds in our time with Jenny Drexler. She explains how Rev is moving from a hybrid model—one that combines Jette’s older statistical techniques with Dong’s newer machine learning approach—to a new system that will be ML from end-to-end. This will open up the door for powerful applications, like a single system that can convert speech text across multiple languages in a single piece of audio. 

“One of the things that's really cool about these end to end models is that basically, whatever data you have, it can learn to handle it. So a very similar architecture can do sequence to sequence learning with different kinds of sequences. The model architecture that you might use for speech recognition can actually look very similar to what you might use for translation. And you can use that same architecture, to say, feed in audio in lots of different languages and be able to do transcription for any of them within one model. It's much harder with the hybrid models to sort of put all the right pieces together to make that happen,” explains Drexler.

If you’re interested in learning more about the past, present, and future of artificial intelligence that can understand our spoken language and learn how to respond, check out the full episode. If you want to learn more about Rev or check out some of the positions they have open, you can find their careers page here.

Jun 23, 2021
Tickets please! Exploring the joys of being a junior engineer
00:18:52

Bligh explains her love for front end and the simple pleasure of bringing a designer’s vision to life

We also talk about making the transition from journalism and digital media to the world of software development. 

You can find her on Twitter here.

You can check out Contact here.

Learn more about Makers here.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is Rami Amro Ahmed, who answered the question: What is the difference between Model Factory and a DB seeder in Laravel?

Jun 18, 2021
Information foraging: the tricks great developers use to find solutions
00:18:35

You can check out some more of Henley's work on his blog here. Recent pieces include: 

How much time does the average developer spend typing in their editor versus researching, exploring, and pondering? Henley believes half an hour of inputting actual code a day is realistic, despite what you've heard about the 10X developer in your area. 

Jun 15, 2021
Forget view-source, young coders are learning by making Discord bots and hacking Roblox
00:28:45

You can find Jenn on Twitter here. She is the creator of the wonderful website, make8bitart.com

You can check out Glitch here and dig into some of its WebXR projects.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Ruberandinda Patience, who explained why you got a 404 Not Found, even though the route exist in Laravel.

Jun 11, 2021
A good software tutorial explains the How. A great one explains the Why.
00:21:47

Karl is interested in the use of low code tools to extend development work beyond the engineering department. He also believes this approach, when done properly, allows teams to release new iterations more rapidly.

Check out his company, draft.dev.

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

This week's lifefboat badge goes to Günter Zöchbauer, who explained: How to use 2 mixins in State in Flutter? 

Jun 08, 2021
Don't build it: advice on civic tech from MIT's GOV/LAB
00:18:30

Innocent is  a research associate at the MIT Gov /Lab. You can find him on Twitter here.

Luke is the Founder and Executive Director of the civic technology organization Grassroot, as a practitioner-in-residence in 2021. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Our lifeboat of the week goes to John Rotenstein, who explained: Why some services are called “AWS XXX” and the others “Amazon XXX”.

 

Jun 04, 2021
Unpacking observability and OpenTelemetry with Spiros Xanthos of Splunk
00:34:01

You can read more about Spiros on his LinkedIn or Twitter.

There is some good backstory on his first company, Log Insight, here. A rundown of the acquisition that led to Spiros joining Splunk is here. There are also some interesting details in Splunk's blog on the deal, which calls out Omnition as a "a stealth-mode SaaS company that is innovating in distributed tracing, improving monitoring across microservices applications."

If you enjoy the conversation and want to hear more, Spiros has done some interesting talks that are up on Youtube here.

Our lifeboat of the week goes to Willie Mentzel, who explains how to: Round Double to 1 decimal place in kotlin: from 0.044999 to 0.1.

 

Jun 01, 2021
WFH? Developers learn to be their own operations department
00:31:41

You can check out our piece how developers can be their own operations department here.

Our piece on preventing scope creep while working from home is here.

You can follow Mike on Twitter here and learn more about building apps for Slack here.

This week's lifeboat badge goes to averroes for helping us to : Check if integer == null

 

May 28, 2021
Blocking the haters as a service
00:36:52

Chou, a  Stanford educated computer scientist and electrical engineer, cut her teeth in Silicon Valley with stints at Facebook, Quora, and Pinterest, where she advocated for a stronger focus on diversity. 

Block Party describes its mission as building "anti-harassment tools against online abuse, but more fundamentally we are building solutions for user control, protection, and safety."

As CEO and lead engineer, Chou gets to choose the company's tools. Block Party is built with technologies like Render, Flask, and Jinja. Paul is very jealous of this stack.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is Bryan Oakley, who answered the question: How to redirect print statements to Tkinter text widget?

 

 

May 25, 2021
Build engineering at Apple and the future of deploy previews
00:24:06

Eric was a build engineer at Apple for many years, then started a FeaturePeek which went through Y-combinator. He talks about what he learned from those experiences and how he'll be applying that knowledge to his new job at Netlify.

The teams combined forces to make the process of submitting and gathering feedback on deploy previews easier and more broadly accessible outside technical teams. As Cassidy explained:

“Based on technology from FeaturePeek, Deploy Previews enables reviewers to comment, screen record, and annotate right from the actual preview link. No new tabs. No new tools. Everyone’s feedback is recorded back in the GitHub pull request and can even extend to popular productivity tools such as Clubhouse.io, Linear, and Trello.”

This feature set is near and dear to Ben’s heart. Now folks from marketing and design can offer feedback and be more tightly involved in the development process for new features, products, and websites. All without really learning Git! 

Also discussed this episode: weirdware, workflow automation, Jerry Garcia, compound bows, and the spread of Git and branch methodology to areas well outside software development.

May 21, 2021
Where design meets development inside Stack Overflow
00:32:21

David helps us understand where great designers fit on web companies these days, somewhere between front-of-the-front-end and back-of-the-front-end.

Right now a lot of projects have to be maintained in multiple places - one for marketing, one for design, one for development. David shares thoughts on how to combine workspaces and where design systems can be integrated with tools.

Congrats to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Jon, for helping unpack this riddle: Execution failed for task ':fluttertoast:compileDebugKotlin'

May 18, 2021
Why are good Ruby developers so hard to find?
00:24:00

Ilya brought a host of good topics to the table. Bold Penguin went from one offshore developer, to one key dev, to one team, to multiple teams, multiple leaders, multiple external teams, to having a complete reboot only to go through it again. Ilya explains the lessons learned along the way.


If you’re trying to grow a software startup, you have to understand and adapt your business. Bold Penguin had to figure out if its focus was being a platform, a product, a SaaS company, an enterprise technology solution company, or all of the above. 

You can check out Bold Penguin here and find Ilya on LinkedIn here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Gibin Ealias, who helped to solve the enternal conundrum: Flex align-items: center not centering.

May 14, 2021
Saying goodbye to our co-host, Sara Chipps
00:22:16

Sara has been part of the open source community since 2001 and was formerly on the board of the .NET foundation. Recently she was elected to the board of the OpenJS foundation and was eager to get back in the trenches, helping people solve computer problems.

In this episode we talk about coding interviews and brushing up on your puzzle solving chops.

Later we dive into Ember.js, the framework Sara will be using with her new colleagues at LinkedIn.

We explore what it’s like to join a team when everyone is still remote and you never get the chance to onboard with your team in person.

This week’s lifeboat badge winner is Perfect28, who answered the question: Linq OrderBy custom order. Spoiler alert, there are char arrays involved. 

May 11, 2021
NFT art, Ethereum gas, and a dive into Gemini's data lake
00:30:35

You can find Tommy on Twitter here and check out his NFT collection here.

Evan tweets his undying love for The Mets here.

Before you lay out your critique of NFTs, here's a great documentary on fraud and forgery in the fine art world. 

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is Oriol, who answered the question: What is the difference between 'remove' and 'removeChild' method in javascript?

May 07, 2021
Open source contributors helped a helicopter fly on Mars
00:24:08

You can check out the badge Github gave to folks for helping with the Mars flight here. You can learn more about F´, NASA’s open source flight software and embedded system framework, here.

Paul tells the story of a shady financial operator who offered to take his blog public during the dot com boom. Yes, Ftrain.com was once an IPO candidate.

Who copies and pastes from Stack Overflow? We dig into some of the data from our April Fools joke to get a sense of the scale and collaboration happening across our community.

Paul takes a tutorial on coding with Ethereum but decides decarbonizing is the real future for software.

Today's lifeboat badge winner is Scott M., who answered the question: How to remove one line from a txt file?

 

May 04, 2021
One founder's journey from personal trainer to "frontend mentor"
00:21:16

You can check out Frontend Mentor here. Try a few challenges or join their Slack, where thousands of students are chatting about how they are approaching the projects.

You can follow Matt on Twitter here. If you want to read about how he made the jump from personal trainer to web developer, he did a nice interview with Indie London.

Our lifeboat of the week goes to Banex for answering the question: why do we use NULL in strtok()?

Apr 30, 2021
From music to trading cards, software is transforming curation and collecting
00:31:46

You can follow David on Twitter here and read his blog here.

Check out more about Dapper Labs and it's work with the NBA and NFTs here.

David has written some influential pieces on the world of digital music and the role of software platforms. Check out a few of his pieces here.

Read about David's adventure's setting up a Minecraft server for his kids and using software for griefer detection. 

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Keith Thompson, for answering the question: Go lang differentiate “\n” and line break

As Keith eloquently explains, "There is no distinction between a 'real' and an 'unreal' line break."

 

Apr 27, 2021
Non-fungible Talking
00:24:44

Want to try developing with Ethereum? Free Code Camp has you covered.

On the other hand, here are some thoughts on why it's not the greatest language for developers.

Interested in minting your own NFT? There are lots of options. Ethereum can be more expensive to use (those gas fees, ouch) but it also has the most active network of artists and collectors.

Thanks to Phlume, our lifeboat badge winner of the week, for answering the question: How do I remove the double border on this table?

Apr 23, 2021
One in four visitors to Stack Overflow copies code
00:14:52

You can check out our deep dive into the copy paste data here. We saw over 40 million copies in the two weeks worth of activity we analyzed.

Kyle  Pollard graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia and worked as a computer technician and  programmer for the City of Prince George in Canada.  You can find him on GithubTwitter, and his website.

There’s lots of info about Cassidy’s various projects at cassidoo.co.  You can catch her coding live at @cassidoo, Thursdays at 12:30 PT/2:30 Central/3:30 Eastern.

Our lifeboat badge winner of the week is TJ Crowder, who answered the question: How can I see the source of built-in JavaScript functions?

Apr 20, 2021
How to build and maintain online communities, from gaming to open source
00:37:25

You can follow David on Twitter here. If you want to check out his new book, The Business of Belonging,  the first chapter is available here.

You can find out more about CMX here and learn more about Bevy here.

Cesar prefers to remain off social media, but you can find him on LinkedIn.

Apr 16, 2021
Two words for ya: networked spreadsheets
00:24:55

Dave Winer wrote a fun piece on the lost apps of the 80s. We explore the paradox of software that is "too good" to become popular among mainstream consumers. 

Microsoft has been releasing new versions of its flagship flight simulator each year for a whopping 38 years now. Now we know what makes it seem so very, very real. But just how big can that next patch be? 

Another day, another data breach. At this point, we've become numb to the notion that our identity is compromised.  Is acceptance better for your health than constantly being on guard? See for yourself.

Apr 13, 2021
For Twilio's CIO, every internal developer is a customer
00:21:50

You can find Michelle on Twitter here.

You can learn more about building apps with Twilio here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to TryingToLearn for explaining the error that pops up in Python when: you can't assign to literal.

Apr 09, 2021
Web programming with nothing but Python
00:32:20

Lots of people who work outside of programming learn Python as part of their job. When folks from telecom, academia, or medical science want to build a web app to help with their job or share their findings with the world, they may feel they need to learn Javascript, CSS, HTML, and half a dozen frameworks to get started. 

Anvil is a platform that hopes to enable the creation of great web apps with nothing but Python code. You can drag and drop your user elements and rely on Anvil to handle your server and database. 

He also created Skulpt, which you can check out here. It's decscribed as follows, "Python. Client Side. Skulpt is an entirely in-browser implementation of Python. No preprocessing, plugins, or server-side support required, just write Python and reload. 

Want to go deeper? Check out his talk on Full Stack Web Development with nothing but Python here. 

You can follow him on Twitter here and Github here.

Apr 06, 2021
What does being a "nerd" even mean these days?
00:25:25

Despite its reputation, there is a Go To for every language. You can dive deeper with the Summer of Go To.

There is a lot you can learn from it as a beginner, even if it is worth avoiding as a professional.

Paul's children have learned to inspect the element and the document object model. Being deep into computers seems normal in an era of remote school and omnipresent devices. 

Who doesn't like making tree maps of memory usage or cropping and splicing footage on TikTok? 

If all kids are into computer hacking and AV Club activities like film editing and music producing...what does being a nerd mean anymore? 

Google has a whole slew of online certificates that allow you to find entry points into a career in  data analysis, UX design, or project management.

 

Apr 02, 2021
How we keep Stack Overflow's codebase clean and modern
00:22:15

You can find Roberta on Twitter. For anyone who understands Portuguese, you can also check out her podcast

Check out Roberta's recent blog post on best practices, and when to ignore them.

If you're interested in Dapper, an open source project built by Stack Overflow folks that works as a simple object mapper .Net, you can check it out here.

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Colonel Panic, for explaining: What the boolean literals in PowerShell are

 

 

Mar 30, 2021
We chat with Slack developers about building apps, APIs, and open source communities
00:24:16

Shay is a developer advocate building open source tools and writing education content. Outside of work she writes poetry, indulges fad hobbies, and reads whatever’s left out on the coffee table. 

Steve Gill a Developer Relations Manager, currently managing the SDK tools team at Slack. The tools teams develops all of our open sourced SDK, such as Bolt for JavaScript, Python, and Java. In his spare time, he enjoys playing ice hockey, woodworking and gaming.

You can find Shay on  LinkedIn and  Twitter

Learn more about Steve on LinkedIn and Twitter 

If you're interested in Bolt, there is lots to learn here.

No lifeboat this week, but thanks to Alex for emailing us to ask: "alternatives to more better element usage?" If you have ideas, we're all ears.

Mar 26, 2021
A director of engineering explains scaling from dozens of employees to thousands
00:30:29

You can find out more about Suyog and his career here. True story, he once worked on tablets way before tablets were a thing.

He's on Twitter here. You can check out Elastic Cloud and it's suite of services here.

Suyog talks a bit about data gravity, a concept you can learn more about here.

If you're a fan of release notes and want to get a sense of what Suyog worked on at Elastic over the years, check out his blog archives here.

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, lhf, for anwering the question: How can I get the current UTC time in a Lua script?

Mar 23, 2021
Dev, meet Ops. Ops, meet Dev.
00:25:08

You can check out more of Tom's work and some of his books on his website, Everything SysAdmin

Tom also wrote a great blog post for our site that explains his method for crafting a positive feedback loop between Dev and Ops using real-time documentation.

You can find Tom on Twitter and check out his books on Sys Admin and  Cloud System Administration.

Mar 19, 2021
Taking a risk and moving to a new team
00:28:42

Ian is Brooklyn bred a tech junkie, NBA stats nerd, hip hop connoisseur, and co-creator of GameFlo and Ujima Now. He graduated from Brown University and was a teaching fellow at FullStack Academy before coming to Stack Overflow. You can find him on Twitter and Github.

Kyle  Pollard graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia and worked as a computer technician and  programmer for the City of Prince George in Canada.  You can find him on Github, Twitter, and his website.

Our lifeboat this week goes to  Max Pevsner, who answered a question, but cautioned against taking his advice: Don't reuse cell in UITableView

Mar 16, 2021
Covid vaccine websites are frustrating. This developer built a better one.
00:25:01

It was a pandemic, Olivia was on maternity leave after giving birth, and she also had a toddler to take care of. Somehow she still managed to build a website, macovidvaccines.com, that provided far better service than what was available through government and private industry.

You can find out more about Olivia on the sites below. 

Twitter

Website

LinkedIn

Mar 12, 2021
Building a bug bounty program for the Pentagon
00:22:27

Cleghorn works for Defense Digital Services. On Twitter, the group describes itself as  "a SWAT team of nerds on tours of duty."  

You can read more about the group's goals on their website

You can see some of his work over on Hacker One.

Mar 09, 2021
How long does good code last?
00:20:53

This week's discussion was inspired by an article from Sandi Metz, which you can find here. It begins with a terrific line, defining the half-life of software as, "the amount of time required for half of an application's code to change so much that it becomes unrecognizable."

This topic also connected to a post we ran on the Stack Overflow blog this week,  Sacrificial Architecture: learning from abandoned systems. The author, Mohamad Aladdin, suggest that one should "think of your code quality as if it will run forever, but adapt to change as if your code will be obsolete tomorrow."

Our lifeboat badge winner for this episode is Ishmael, who explained why JSON dumps your formatting and how to fix it.

Mar 05, 2021
Chatting with Google's DeepMind about the future of AI
00:26:46

You can find  the paper on MuZero here.

He blogs at Furidamu and can be found on Twitter here.

The story on drug discovery powered by AI can be found here.

 

Mar 02, 2021
When it comes to package managers, don't forget security
00:23:05

If you’re a programmer working with npm, Sara has some basic advice on best practices that will keep your codebase safe.

Today’s discussion was inspired by a blog post from Michel Gorny which you can find here.

Need to simplify the address where people can send you bitcoins? Check out https://ens.domains/, which even offers .club for your TLD.

Thanks to Tagir Valeev for answering the question: How to Split odd and even numbers and sum of both in collection using Stream. You’re our lifeboat badge winner of the week.

Feb 26, 2021
How to use interference to your advantage - a quantum computing catch up
00:29:52

Blake has a PhD in physics from Yale and is the quantum platform lead. You can find him on Twitter here and read some of his recent writing here.

Robert is VP of IBM Quantum Ecosystem Development, IBM Research. He's the author of Dancing with Qubits  and has put together a great list of tutorial videos on his website.

No Lifeboat badge winner today, but if you're a fan of Schrödinger's cat, be sure to check out this question from our Quantum Computing Stack Exchange.

 

 

Feb 23, 2021
Introducing The Stack Overflow Podcast
00:01:54

Welcome to The Stack Overflow Podcast!

Feb 22, 2021
How do digital nomads pay their taxes?
00:15:37

A nice story on how to avoid the Nomad Tax Trap.

Got a lot of employees moving to Texas? The state is notorious for the number of patent lawsuits filed there, and having employees living in the area may expose companies to great legal liability.

If the work from home boom is here to stay, get ready for a lot of "cost-of-living" adjustments to follow.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to kd12 for explaining: How to get an element by its data-id in jQuery

Feb 19, 2021
What makes for a great API?
00:35:38

Pattern matching in Python 3 - a nice new feature, a  gift to Stack Overflow point seekers, or a big pain in the neck? 

Curious about the Jamstack? You can find lots of great information on how it works and who works with it here.

Want to follow Matt? He's on Twitter here.

Our lifeboat badge winner for this episode is Jim Mischel, who explained how to: Find the first character in a string that is a letter.

 

Feb 16, 2021
We're building a web app, got any advice?
00:26:52

Thanks to Marceli Wac for sending us a question about cron jobs. We love getting mail from listeners and try our best to read interesting questions on the show. 

The goal for Ben's app is simple: let anyone register their intention to show up to the dog park at a certain time so that strangers can have a better chance of arriving at the same time and get some exercise for the pups. What's the simplest web app that would collect the least personal information and reset every 24 hours. Bonus points if we can do it without a database! 

Kristina Lustig, a veteran Stacker, wrote a great blog post for us: I followed my dreams and got demoted to software developer. 

Our lifeboat of the week goes to Mike Nakis, who answered the question: What is the difference between memberwise copy, bitwise copy, shallow copy and deep copy?

Feb 12, 2021
How to think in React
00:29:03

You can check out Cassidy's course on React here. It will teach you how to "build a reusable and declarative React component library. It's perfect for developers who are looking to build a scalable design system for their team and product." If you're not in the mood to subscribe, Cassidy would recommend Free Code Camp.

There's lots of info about Cassidy's various projects at cassidoo.co.  You can catch her coding live at twitter.com/cassidoo, Thursdays at 12:30 PT/2:30 Central/3:30 Eastern.

Sara  made it to the ending credits of Hades, so you know she's a fan. Cassidy is excited for the latest version of Stardew Valley and has been impressed with  Half Life Alyx and the Valve Index VR headset.

Feb 09, 2021
Command Line Utilities: Fix-Server
00:25:35

Check out the great post from Laura Nolan, a senior engineer at Slack, breaking down their outage. Paul wants some simple command line utilities for "fix-server" and "boot-it-all-up."

Clubhouse was known early on for being popular with Silicon Valley, but it's increasingly becoming a global phenomenon. You don't have to wait for it to go public to invest,  you can buy shares right now in Agora, the Chinese company powering its real time audio chat.

Got ideas for how we can version Q&A on Stack Overflow to ensure questions with accepted answers don't become outdated or obsolete? We're planning to work on this problem, so send suggestions our way.

This week's Lifeboat badge winner is Quinn, who answered the question: How to replace a string in a file using regular expressions?

 

Feb 05, 2021
Can't stop, won't stop, GameStop.
00:32:12

Maybe you don't think GameStop is a tech story, but rest assured, the screenwriting duo behind The Social Network and  21 will inject plenty of nerdery into the Hollywood version.

Sara is eager to share the history of CSS, and all the ways it has let her down.

We dig into a wise act of self-prersevation from Ben B Johnson. As he writes:  

"Similar to SQLite, Litestream is open source but closed to contributions. This keeps the code base free of proprietary or licensed code but it also helps me continue to maintain and build Litestream.

As the author of BoltDB, I found that accepting and maintaining third party patches contributed to my burn out and I eventually archived the project. Writing databases & low-level replication tools involves nuance and simple one line changes can have profound and unexpected changes in correctness and performance. Small contributions typically required hours of my time to properly test and validate them.

I am grateful for community involvement, bug reports, & feature requests. I do not wish to come off as anything but welcoming, however, I've made the decision to keep this project closed to contributions for my own mental health and long term viability of the project."

Hurray for new approaches that don't ignore personal wellbeing. 

Today's lifeboat badge winner is Quinn, who explained: How to replace a string in a file using regular expressions

Feb 02, 2021
What are young developers into? They're all getting AWS certified
00:32:16

You can follow Brian on Twitter. and check out the Cloudcast here. 

If you're just getting started, he has a cloud basics podcast that covers a new topic each month. 

And if you are just really, really into containers, well he's got you covered

Paul was talking with someone who mentors a lot of young coders. What are they all into these days? Typescript? Web Assembly? Nope, they're all getting AWS certified.

A certification for AWS , Azure, and GCP has become an efficient way to break into the job market. Companies like Cloud Guru make it simple to understand what you need. We discuss what this new on-ramp to the world of software means for the rising generation of coders, or those looking to become programmers down the line.

Jan 29, 2021
Owning the code, from integration to delivery
00:16:24

Today's conversation was inspired by a great blog post from Charity Majors.

We also discuss the Chrome team's decision to migrate Puppeteer to Typescript, and the way in which large tech organizations are increasingly interconnected by a set of open source tools and platforms. 

Lastly, we discuss the impact expanded funding for community colleges could have on the pipeline of software engineers entering the job market.

Today's lifeboat badge winner is Abdul Saboor, who answered the question: How do you convert negative data into positive data in SQL Server?

Jan 26, 2021
Gaming PCs to heat your home, oceans to cool your data centers
00:16:52

Joe Biden just wants to ride his Peleton, but equipment connected to WiFi  with a camera and microphone can pose a real security risk.

If you've got a chicken coop or greenhouse that needs a little warmth this winter, maybe team it up with your gaming PC or bitcoin mining rig, which tend to give off a lot of heat.

Speaking of heat, we dive into datacenters that were sunk under the ocean in an effort to create more economically efficient and environmentally friendly computing.

Our favorite meme of the week, a Heroku app that puts a chilly Bernie Sanders anywhere in the world.

Our lifeboat badge winner is Lukas Kalbertodt, who answered the question: What's the most efficient way to insert an element into a sorted vector?

 

 

Jan 22, 2021
What exactly does it mean to be a "senior" software engineer
00:20:45

Joocelyn hosts the Git Cute podcast, which you can find here.

She's working on a book about seniority in the software industry, which you can pre-order here.

You can follow her on Twitter at javavvitch.

Our lifeboat badge goes to LMc for explaining how one can: Count the Letter Frequency in a String with Python

Jan 19, 2021
Our stack is HTML and CSS
00:28:16

The title of this week's episode comes from a Hacker News thread where Guillermo argued that the complexity of front end performance goes beyond simplifying your stack to bare web primitives.

You can find out more about Vercel, which  recently raised a $40 million round, on Guillermo's blog, where he details what the company has planned for the future.

You can find more info on Next.JS here. It's a very active tag on Stack Overflow with dozens of new questions a day.

Our lifeboat badge for this episode goes to paxdiablo for answering the question: What does .split() return if the string has no match?

Jan 15, 2021
What would you pay for /dev/null as a service?
00:27:17

How could you not love a team with a bio like this: "We’re a young and dynamic team of messy data-scientists who have failed at being employed on the real market. Our experience in losing data and throwing files away is more than amazing! Over the years, we have managed to get rid of so much important data at home and even at work." Find out how you pay other people to throw your data away here.

The New York Times reports on the rising prices of old computers and their parts. Retro-computing is fun, especially when you're stuck at home for...feels like a while now.

Stack Overflow memes have made it to Tik Tok, and it is joyous.

To round things out we chat about our love of e-ink, the desire to buy a reMarkable 2, and this amazing piece of digital wall art.

This week's lifeboat badge winner is Gordon Larrigan, who answered the question:  How can you sort an array of arrays in JavaScript?

Jan 12, 2021
Programming in PowerPoint can teach you a few things
00:20:42

The starting point for today's conversation was an argument made by Guillermo Rauch in this blog post. "And each time, your frontend has an opportunity to impress, delight, perform, be accessible and memorable. What's more, frontend is an area of technological and artistic differentiation, while backend becomes increasingly commoditized, turnkey and undifferentiated."

Sure, programming in PowerPoint isn't very practical. That doesn't mean it can't be lots of fun, and teach you a few things.

Speaking of learning things, we chat a bit about Alan Kay, who has a wonderful talk on the ways we can use computers to illustrate complex concepts to children.

Jan 08, 2021
What can you program in just one tweet?
00:24:32

If you're interested in learning a bit of BBC Basic, there is a fun introduction here. You can tweet at this bot, and it will run the contents as code and reply with a video of the results.

If you are interested in life-logging and want to see it done with a lot of very pretty graphs, check out this post, My Year in Data.

Last but not least we chat about Svelte, which lets you create "cybernetically enhanced web apps." Shout to Murali, a listener who suggested this topic.

Our lifeboat of the week goes to koekenbakker for answering the question:  R plots: Is there a way to draw a border, shadow or buffer around text labels?

 

 

Jan 05, 2021
Welcome to 2021 with special guest Joel Spolsky
00:37:24

You can find the first episode of the SO podcast here. It was conducted over Asterix, open source telephony software that allowed for fancy operations like voice messaging and recording calls! 

What would social software look like if we designed them to remove commerce and popularity? Are services like Mightybell an interesting example of where we might be headed?

If you want to build a model of something - say traffic patterns in your town or a hypothetical zombie invasion - you should check out a new project Joel is involved in, Hash.ai.

 

 

Jan 01, 2021
It's hard to get hacked worse than this
00:24:55

There is a nice breakdown of the Solarigate attack here, but the most important thing to know is that just seeing the words BusinessLayer.dll is enough to make our eyes glaze over and our defenses go down.

One interesting second order effect of this intrusion is that it will be difficult to know when all malicious code and access has really been removed. It brought to mind the classic Turing Award Lecture, Reflections on Trusting Trust by Ken Thompson. 

If you're trying to entertain kids over the holidays, Ben will be messing around with Roblox, which lets you create your own mini-games and has several hooks to deeper programming capabilities.

Our Lifeboat badge winner this week is Chinito, who answered the question of how you can: Set style using pure JavaScript

Dec 29, 2020
A Very Crypto Christmas
00:13:55

With Bitcoin hitting all time highs, there has been a lot of speculation about what will happen next in the market crypto market.

Meanwhile, regulators are targeting Ripple with a lawsuit and arguing that crypto isn't really a currency after all. 

You have until Jan, 4, 2021 to participate in our annual Winter Bash. By answering questions on Stack Overflow and across Stack Exchange, you can unlock some unique digital flair for your avatar.

Don't forget to tune in the first day of the new year for episode 300 of the podcast, we booked a very special guest. Check out this episode to learn more..

 

Dec 25, 2020
All Time Highs: Talking crypto with Li Ouyang of Coinbase
00:17:19

There is a lot to think about when designing trading algorithms, especially in the world of cryptocurrency, where prices can be extremely volatile and limited liquidity means a single trader moving big volume can have a hefty influence on price.

Bitcoin is at a record breaking price these days, but investing in it is not for the faint of heart. To learn more, we chat with Li, who is a software engineer at Coinbase. You can find her on Twitter here.

If you're interested in learning more about Bitcoin, we would have to recommend Bitcoin Developer. After all, they were kind enough to recommend our Bitcoin Stack Exchange as a key resource. 

Dec 22, 2020
Adventures in Javascriptlandia
00:32:17

You can read more about Javascriptlandia here. It is part of larger conversation happening on Google's Open Source Blog and through initiatives like Github allowing corporations into their Sponsors program.

For a delightfully old school and interactive website about Myles, click here. For his Twitter, go here.

You can find Jory's website here and her Twitter presence here.

This week's lifeboat badge goes to Marijn van Vliet for answering the question: How do I return a char array from a function?

Dec 18, 2020
Diving into headless automation, active monitoring, Playwright and Puppeteer
00:29:29

You can find the original tweet here. AWS will work with them on publicity and open source their version so that there can be a flow of value in both directions. 

You can learn more about Tim's company, Checkly.hq, which works on active monitoring for developers. 

The team there also works on  Headless Recorder, a Chrome extension that records your browser interactions and generates a Playwright or Puppeteer script. 

They also operate The Headless Dev, which helps coders learn Playwright and Puppeteer. 

This week's Lifeboat badge goes to Ravindra Bagale for answering the question:  How to Convert Integer to Character Array using C

Dec 15, 2020
Cleaning up build systems and gathering computer history with Adam Gordon Bell
00:29:04

As promised, here is the grass hat.

You can find out more about Earthly here.

We spend a little time talking about Nix OS the operating system you can roll back if you don't like a patch.

Raise your hand if you remember learning computer science with Turbo Pascal.

Maybe you didn't know, but discs aren't as slow as people think. Adam's recent episode is about upending common assumptions on IO performance. 

Shoutout to our Lifeboat badge winner of the week, Josh Smift, for answering the question: How to delete *.web files only if they exist.

 

Dec 11, 2020
Connecting apps, data, and the cloud with Apollo GraphQL CEO Geoff Schmidt
00:34:16

You can read about GraphQL here and Apollo here. 

Cassidy Williams, who curates our newsletter, wrote about her experience as an early adopter of the technology last summer.

You can find more on Meteor here

Schmidt also helped create Monument,  which he describes as "an affordable live/work art event space in downtown San Francisco. The upstairs is 24 private bedrooms and studio spaces and the downstairs is a 200+ capacity person event venue and makerspace. Our goal is to connect creative people across different fields, and in particular build bridges between art and technology."

 

Dec 08, 2020
Goodbye to Flash, we'll see you in Rust
00:23:26

Gone in a Flash. Actually it took quite a while. Adobe explains its decision to stop supporting Flash here.

You can learn more about Ruffle, the Flash emulator written in Rust, here.

Here are some tips on writing a developer resume from a hiring manager who's written an entire book on the topic.

You can read more about the Supreme Court case considering the limits of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act here and here

Our Lifeboat badge of the week goes to a user named simply 4386427, who answered the most basic and frustrating question: why does “printf” not work?

Dec 04, 2020
Why developers are increasingly demanding ethics in tech
00:28:38

You can find more about Resner here

Learn more about the topics we discussed by following some of Resner's suggested links below: 

People to follow on Twitter: Safyia Noble, Ruha Benjamin, and Kamal Sinclair.

Ellen Pao and Project Include.

Eli Pariser and New Public by Civic Signals.

Dec 01, 2020
Big Tech is getting cozy with computer science departments
00:25:57

You can read more about the operating systems and business principles schools are adopting from their corporate sponsors here.

You can read about the latest version of Tailwind and what it has to offer here

 

Nov 27, 2020
React, Vue, jQuery: what flavor do you like your Vanilla JS?
00:16:23

You can find Ferdinandi's post and video here.

12 years ago, back when Stack Overflow was a brand new site with just a few thousand users, someone asked a basic question: What is the difference between a framework and a library?

FreeCodeCamp has its own take on this question with a pretty interesting answer. "When you use a library, you are in charge of the flow of the application. You are choosing when and where to call the library. When you use a framework, the framework is in charge of the flow. It provides some places for you to plug in your code, but it calls the code you plugged in as needed."

There was no Lifeboat badge to call out this week, so we honored a Lifejacket winner instead. Shout out to Andreas for answering the queston: Are byte arrays initialised to zero in Java?

Nov 24, 2020
Tim Berners Lee wants to put you in a pod, a web pod.
00:20:44

You can find out more about Sir Berners-Lee's work on Solid here.

Other topics discussed in this episode: 

Docker puts a limit on free containers. That has to be good for the environment. But is it also good for Docker and the future of its products? Sometimes, forcing yourself to make something worth purchasing  helps drive innovation. 

The Tao of Programming isn't new, and some of its technical references are a bit out of date. But it's still good for a laugh and little bit of enlightenment-lite.

Are you interested in putting on your own drone light show? Intel offers options to fit a range of budgets

This week's lifeboat badge goes to JCL for answering the question: C# compiler: CS0121: The call is ambiguous between the following methods or properties.

Nov 20, 2020
How do you make software reliable enough for space travel?
00:21:30

You can learn more about the Power of 10 here

TIOBE's latest index can be found here.

Our lifeboat of the week goes to lealceldeiro for answering the question: What does the multi: true attribute of HTTP_INTERCEPTORS mean?

Nov 17, 2020
If you could fix any software or technology, what would you change?
00:16:22

Paul spent the weekend building a parser, cause who doesn't? He needed a Regex, found one on Stack Overflow, looked over the characters, and realized this is not the way to get folks interested or excited about code. "You come across a problem and you think to yourself, I know I'll use a regular expression. Now you have two problems." 

This sets Sara off on a tangent about CSS. What's wrong with CSS in her opinion. Well, all of it. She shares a few thoughts on how it could have been built right. 

Ben dives into the endless annoyances Bluetooth has been bringing to his life recently. When you have four people in a family sharing six mobile devices and five sets of headphones, audio signals are constantly getting piped to the wrong ears. Now his car wants to connect. When Bluetooth tells you it's forgetting a device, how come it never keeps it promise?

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Zero Piraeus for answering the question: Why must dictionary keys be immutable? He provided his answer in the form an elegant short essay, and it's definitely worth checking out.

Nov 13, 2020
Turning your coding career into an RPG with Sai Vennam
00:25:37

You can find Sai's videos here. Come for the deep dives on Docker, stay for the live lightboard  magic. Yes, I know what the comments say, but no, he isn't writing backwards. 

Sai also does a lot of work around OpenShift, the containerization software products created by Red Hat. He talks about what the tie up between IBM and Red Hat has been like and how the enterprise is increasingly learning to work with open source. 

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Alex for explaining why you're Getting this as undefined when using arrow function.

If you want to find more from Sai, you can follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

 

Nov 10, 2020
The pros and cons of the SPA
00:15:25

Pawel Skolski wrote this definition of the SPA in 2016. "A single-page application is an app that works inside a browser and does not require page reloading during use. You are using these type of applications every day. These are, for instance: Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook or GitHub.
SPAs are all about serving an outstanding UX by trying to imitate a “natural” environment in the browser — no page reloads, no extra wait time. It is just one web page that you visit which then loads all other content using JavaScript — which they heavily depend on."

Tom McWright recently sparked some good discussion in the developer world with his article, If Not SPAs, What? He had written before about his belief that SPAs had done little to reduce the complexity of web development, but hadn't really given readers other options. In his latest post, he tried to offer some possible alternatives. 

Our lifeboat of the week of the week goes to Glortho for explaining how to add http:// to url if no protocol is defined in javascript?


 

 

 

Nov 06, 2020
Cleaning up the cloud to help fight climate change
00:29:37

You can find some more of Holly's work and bio here

She gave a great talk at KubeCon 2020, How to Love K8s and Not Wreck the Planet, which you can watch on YouTube here.

And here's a lovely presentation, Containers Will Not Fix Your Broken DevOps Cultures, drawing on her long history of programming and consulting. 

Nov 03, 2020
Stack Overflow's CEO reflects on his first year
00:22:58

You can find a more in depth discussion of these topics on our blog. Prashanth shares his ideas about the importance of community and what it means to be a product led company.

Oct 30, 2020
The story behind Stack Overflow in Russian with Nicolas Chabanovsky
00:22:15

Nicolas will be the first to tell you that the version of Stack Overflow he helped to create began as a clone. It developed into a very popular site on RuNet and through persistent emails, Nic was able to find a way to make it an official part of the Stack family. 

Nic talks a bit about the unique culture of SO's Russian community and how each regional version of SO, from English to Spanish to Japanese, has developed its own etiquette and approach to moderation and Q&A. 

Nic and Sara also share some updates on their love of Jupyter Notebooks and how they make it easy to combine blogging with data analysis and presentation. 

Shout out to our life boat badge of the week, Aliaksandr Kavalenka , for answering the question: How to use DatePickerDialog in Kotlin? 

Oct 27, 2020
How should tech titans act when productizing tiny open source projects?
00:26:55

We break down some thoughts on this issue, which came to light after a tweet from Tim Nolet.

Later in the episode we talk about the debate raging right now around elections and technology. What role should software play and where is regulation appropriate? 

Last but not least, we consider what the next US administration might do with regards to regulating big tech. Will they lean towards a European model or continue to be more hands off? 

Shout out to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Kin3Tix, for helping to identify good tutorials for SDL 2.0 for C (Not C++) programming.

Oct 23, 2020
Making Kubernetes work like it's 1999 with Kelsey Hightower
00:29:49

You can find Kelsey on Twitter here. His Github is here. His personal journey with Kubernetes is detailed in a nice piece here.

Kelsey has an interesting role at Google. He sits at the director level but is an independent contributor with no direct reports. Instead he works to help galvanize interest in particular tools and topics, driving adoption at a broad scale. 

Oct 20, 2020
The downside of going viral with your programming joke
00:32:10

That skit made it to the front page of Reddit, and was soon seen across the internet. It's nice to make people laugh, but following the surge of interest, Emily also had to deal with severe harassment and cyber stalking. She wrote a piece about the experience which you can find here.

In this episode, we discuss how moderation can be improved and the work that remains to be done to make the software industry feel safe and inclusive for everyone.

 

 

Oct 16, 2020
Where do game developers fit in the world of software?
00:21:34

Has there ever been a gaming company that brought more joy to the world than Nintendo? They were making playing cards back in 1889 and continue to find ways to be different but fun with inventions like the Switch and Labo.

Sara gives us some the scoop on Rimworld. Check out the trailer here and feel free to lend your skill to a new mod if you have ideas for how to improve it.

A Excel sheet meltdown led to critical health data about the pandemic being lost in the UK.  Rows can go to millions, but they used columns.

For those of us who need our reading glasses to see the tiny emoji people post in Slack, Paul has come to your rescue. He asked for the ability to zoom In on Twitter, the CEO of Slack co-signed, and boom, we got a new feature.

We discuss what other new Slack features might take off: stories, push-to-talk, and sneakers.

Oct 13, 2020
Ben answers his first question on Stack Overflow
00:18:51

You can find some of Jack's art and other projects here.

Ben breaks through and answers his first SO question—by copy/pasting from the comments, of course. 

Sara finds the relevant XKCD.

Later, we check out Darling.hq, a MacOS translation layer for Linux 

If you are in the mood to learn programming with colors and shapes, check out the website that Jack built: Maria.cloud 

Oct 09, 2020
Talking Arduino, bits, and boards with Dr. Duino
00:23:56

Sara shares the story of a developer conference that was smoke bombed by an Arduino bot gone haywire. It was this chaos that inspired her to dig deeper into Arduino, which would eventually play a big role in helping her to found her company, Jewelbots

Paul unravels the mystery of what's really inside the Goonie Box: a timepiece, puzzle, and mechanical wonder that Guido uses to test his house guests. 

This week's lifeboat goes to Terminator17, who helped solve a problem around object detection using a Tensorflow-gpu. 

 

 

 

Oct 06, 2020
Who's afraid of a little merge conflict?
00:20:34

Today's episode was inspired by a question on folks who postpone a merge for fear of being the one to resolve a conflict. Shout out to Candied Orange for the thoughtful answer.

Paul and Sara reminisce about the days before Git, when version control was very different from what it is today, and Paul accidentally left many a project in shambles. Do you remember the days of Subversion and CVS

Later, we dig into Sara's new adventure with Jupyter Notebooks. They are extremely useful for developers, but what would it take to make them a tool for any kind of knowledge worker? Default to a PowerPoint style, obviously.

Last but not least, we dig into the endless argument over the 10X developer, Reed Hastings' love for the 100X developer, and the true formula for attracting employees that will contribute their genius without wrecking the team.  Clive Thompson has a great piece on the myth, meritocracy, and messy reality of rockstar coders.

Oct 02, 2020
Chris Anderson on drones, driverless cars, and creating communities around code
00:27:18

Chris is the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Long Tail and Free as well as Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

He is lso the CEO of 3DR, founder of the Linux Foundation's Dronecode Project, and founder of the DIY Drones and DIY Robocars communities, including the ArduPilot autopilot project.

Not surprisingly, he also created something called GeekDad.

If you want to get involved, you can learn how to build your own Donkey Car racer here.

Sep 29, 2020
Episode 272: Pull Requests Are Welcome
00:19:21

"Sorry I missed your comment of many months ago. I no longer build software; I now make furniture out of wood." Life is lived in stages.

Most people are working remotely these days, but offices may return, and even if they don't, these skills could come in handy. Teamwork, persuasion, communication, and leadership, just a few of the things you can learn in this Technion course.

Big thanks to TwilioQuest, which has gotten Ben, the worst coder in the world, practicing his Javascript skills again.

What gives you that special feeling: a nice, sharp recursive function or a deep, winding ternary statement?  Paul and Sara debate the finer points of feeling smugly satisfied with your own code.

Sep 25, 2020
Next Level Command Line
00:21:21

You can check out more about the Github news here.

Here is the farewell to updates from Moment.js.

Would you take a nice bonus today for a pay cut in the future? Stripe is offering its employees that option, spurred by an exodus of developers from dense urban areas. 

A big thanks to Jim Mischel, who was our lifeboat badge winner of the week. 

Sep 22, 2020
Oracle wants to Tok, Nvidia Arms Up
00:26:04

Oracle is in the midst of trying to negotiate and get approved a deal that would allow it to acquire Tik Tok's US Operations, and allow Tik Tok to avoid a ban on its service in the United States. For US citizens, software being banned over geopolitical concerns is a new reality. 

What will happen to the code if the deal goes through? Is there a clean room where software updates are inspected before rolling out? Is data segregated to local servers, and if so, will it be siloed from the rest of Tik Tok's global user base? 

Tik Tok users have thoughts on what is really happening with their private data.

In the second half of the episode we talk about Nvidia's purchase of Arm from Softbank.  Paul and Sara speculate about what this means for our personal computers and mobile devices, as well as its implications for GPU programming, which has found new homes in burgeoning fields like machine learning and crypto mining.

If you're a reader looking to spend some quality time with other book worms, check out this Kickstarter from our friend Jeffrey Zie. 

No lifeboats this week, but be sure to check out this amazing question on the math behind spider webs. 

Sep 18, 2020
What tech is like in "Rest of World"
00:30:06

Sophie founded Rest of World in 2019 after a decade of living and working across Asia, Africa & the Middle East, and with companies like Uber and Xiaomi. She graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Kennedy School and Princeton University. Sophie is based in New York. Read why she started this publication in her founder’s note. You can subscribe to Rest of World's newsletter here.

In this week's episode we talk about Okash, a peer-to-peer lending app that show what happens when you gamify public social shaming

We explore honjok, a South Korean sub-culture that emphasizes a movement away from ambitious professionalism and towards a more stoic loner lifestyle. In some ways, the apps, services, and online communities that formed around this tribe perfectly predicted what many people are experiencing in 2020. "The accidental pioneers of a lifestyle that has been forced on all of us," as Sophie explains.

And finally, we explore what it takes to break into the world of digital finance in Indonesia, where a board of clerics must certify that your code halal - consistent with Islamic religion and law - before you can break into a market of more than 220 million potential customers.

Sep 15, 2020
How developers can become successful writers
00:25:32

Along with her work writing and editing, Stephanie works as a product manager at Microsoft and runs Developer Content Digest, a biweekly newsletter with content tips. She has worked for companies like Digital Ocean, Github, and General Assembly.

Twitter: @radiomorillo

eBooks: developersguidetocontent.com

Newsletter and blog: stephaniemorillo.co/links


 

Sep 11, 2020
The magic of metric, micro frontends, and breaking leases on Silicon Valley offices
00:23:13

Every experienced software engineer can tell you a story about a standardization effort that ended up causing more problems than it solved. Queen Elizabeth's decree adding 280 feet to each mile made it easy to divide up acres, but has haunted those of us stuck with Imperial units ever since. 

Sara dives into micro frontend services and how they can help to add agility to a modern development team. There is a nice article on the topic here, and Sara found it through the Thought Works  Tech Radar.

Pinterest paid just under $90 million dollars to break its lease in San Francisco. Paul and Sara are hearing about lots of developers who are fleeing major cities, and it seems clear that Pinterest won't be the last company to abandon expansion plans or ditch fancy corporate offices for at least the next few years. 

Our lifeboat badge of the week the week goes to Sravya Nagumalli, who explained why Angular is associated with the Single Page App and just what an SPA is anyway. Thanks for sharing some knowledge, Sravya!

Sep 08, 2020
Ok, who vandalized Wikipedia?
00:21:59

You can read the hilarious tale of how Paul was alerted to "Frenchpoop Butt" here.

Enjoy an all time classic tale of a security expert being outwitted by his daughter. Her approach was not in his threat model. 

Want to try your hand at a little hacking? Here's a fun online game called Telehack.

We asked some teens what would motivate them to participate more on Stack. The answer was obvious: loot boxes. What kind of digital swag would you want receive for helping spread  knowledge across our network? 

Sep 04, 2020
The tiny open-source pillar holding up the entire internet
00:23:13

It's dependencies all the way down...

Remote learning is a bad joke. Who has ideas for some tech or gaming inspired solutions? 

What's your favorite way to refer to software of very large size? Everyone's got their favorite nickname for that big ol' pile of code. 

Lemon juice is recommended in lots of natural cures and remedies. But could it also be MELTING YOUR BONES? 

Sep 01, 2020
What it's like learning to program in prison
00:26:25

Here is the Reddit comment that inspired us to reach out to Garry. 

This is the Vice news article that started the thread.  As you can see, the ban has affected a lot of books that would seem to have little bearing on cybersecurity. "Rejected books that are geared towards hacking, such as Justin Seitz’s Black Hat Python, may represent a clearer threat to the Department of Corrections, which fears that prisoners could use those tools to compromise their systems. But how did books such as Windows 10 for Dummies, Microsoft Excel 2016 for Dummies, and Google Adsense for Dummies (marked as posing "clear and present danger"), fail the prison’s security test?"

If you want to read about programs helping prisoners learn to code, check out this story on the Bard Prison Initiative. 

We also did a podcast episode back in January of this year that focused on The Code Cooperative, an organization dedicated to teaching software skills to formerly incarcerated individuals. 

 

 

Aug 28, 2020
Try your own cooking: turning our employees into Stack users
00:28:30

Our guests this week were two of our employees: Yaakov Ellis and Stephanie Cantor. Yaakov is a Principal Web Developer, Community Advocate on the Public Platform team at Stack Overflow, and Former Team Lead for Internal Development at Stack. Stephanie is the Program Manager for Community Strategy at Stack. 

Want to learn more about how the Community-athon worked? Read up on it here. And yes, of course there was a leaderboard and internet points. 

Yaakov was undercover as a brand new user, but some of his answers gave him away. Can you spot the tell? 

Our very own CEO spent a lot of time asking extremely important and nerdy question on our SciFi Stack Exchange. 

We bumped our engagement from employees by more than 100%. Many questions were asked, much knowledge was spread.

Aug 25, 2020
Should managers of developers ever make technical decisions?
00:30:57

To start things off, we talk about the launch of Articles, a new content type for Stack Overflow Teams that lets you write longer, subjective pieces. Sometimes it's best to share knowledge through Q&A, but other times you've got complicated, narrative, DevOps recipes or a policy paper and FAQ. Now your knowledge artifacts can all live in one place. 

"The FAQ is the great folk form of the internet" - quotable moments featuring Paul Ford.

If you're interested in another cut at this old saw, Mailchimp.com/developer is Postlight's take on what developer docs should look like. Sara is convinced it's all about the left nav.

Speaking of convictions, a conflict is tearing Sara's home apart. Ben and Paul step in to save her marriage. The question at hand: should managers of developers EVER make technical decisions?

Finally, Paul talks about his experience using Google Cloud Run to build a fun little tool called Ephemeralist. It pulls in random images from public domain collections hosted by museums and archives. Use it to take a break from the negativity of social media or the news. Also, revel in the joy of Paul's neologism, the Browseulator. It recently brought me this little gem.

Aug 21, 2020
Maxing out our stats with Personal Development Nerds
00:30:47

Juvoni describes himself as someone who helps people explore ideas and strategies for improvement. He focuses on combining multiple skills, better thinking and tools for thought, inner engineering healthy habits, and discovering how systems in the world affect us.

You can follow him on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/juvoni

You can join the Personal Development Nerds Facebook group here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/pdnerds/

The PDNerds discord server can be joined at www.pdn.community

Find Juvoni's book recommendations on his site: www.juvoni.com/books

He can be contacted at juvoni@hey.com

If you are or know a Black software engineer, you can recommend they join /dev/color a community dedicated to helping black software engineers empower each other to become industry leaders.
http://devcolor.org/

Aug 18, 2020
Tik Tok's Tech Troubles / Developers Flee San Francisco
00:20:42

Tik Tok has been accused of spying on users and siphoning up their data, although it's important to point out the same criticism has been leveled at many American tech giant's apps and web services. In working to address security flaws, it seemed that Tik Tok programming  was just as often sloppy as malicious

All that hasn't stopped reports from surfacing that Microsoft might be wiling to pay as much as $30 billion to acquire Tik Tok, at which point it intends to "transfer all of TikTok’s code from China to the U.S. within one year." This code just needs a supportive home. 

Speaking of moving to new digs, according to a recent survey, two out of three techies in the San Francisco Bay area say they are considering moving if their employers allow it. 

Will we see the rise of a complex system of salaries that fluctuate not just by rank and performance, but by proximity to the home office? 

Will Silicon Valley's once unshakable grip on the cutting edge of startup culture and product acumen start to wane if developers flee for remote working locales in more affordable areas? Can you turn back the clock once they can acquire bigger homes or enjoy more of the great outdoors during a pandemic that doesn't yet have a firm end date. 

Aug 14, 2020
From web comics to React core with Rachel Nabors
00:36:16

You can read our story on Rachel and the work she is doing with the React community here.

Nabors' is the author of Animation at Work, which you can find on A Book Apart.

If you want to get a feel for an animated web project Rachel worked on, check out DevToolsChallenger, an interactive site she helped create for Mozilla. 

Nabors has digitized a lot of her work, signal boosting members of the React community at Reactjs.org/stories

Aug 11, 2020
Never program in bed
00:25:15

Is there any more fitting end to a day of working from home, deep into months of a fully remote world, than using your smartphone to finish up a little Python code with your head resting on your pillow? Paul has no regrets. If you look at that big, bright, shiny computer monitor late at night, you'll never fall asleep. 

Sara helps us trace the origin of the word software. It was originally meant as a joke, a clever play on computer "hardware" used in casual conversation, not as an iron clad piece of marketing. Over time, as it was used in correspondence - at public talks, and eventually in academic papers - it began to take on serious weight as a term of art for the product you produce with computers and code.

Ben would prefer to be Less Wrong, and is starting to use the podcast to put his deference to a supreme AI into the historical record, just in case Roko's basilisk rears its ugly head. 

Our lifeboat this week is about an error in some non-standard syntax. Who among has not missed a paren, but hey, sometimes you just need another pair of eyes. Two kind members of our community answered this question, elaborated on how to improve the code, and earned a lifeboat. Congrats! 

And finally, a bit of recommended reading on just how much power is consumed by the data centers that make cloud computing run 24/7, and what that means for our planet.

Aug 07, 2020
A few of our favorite haxx
00:25:45

No list of great hacks would be complete without the Samy worm that ran amok on Myspace back in 2005. As Rachel points out, lots of hackers start out as experimenters, naturally curious coders who enjoy learning the rules and seeing how far they will bend before they break. 

If any hack made it's way into the mainstream consciousness over the last decade, it was WannaCry. It introduced a mainstream audience to the concept of ransomware and, because of the impact it had on critical hospital equipment, showed just how far software has embedded itself into our society.

If you want to learn more about the Fullstack Cyber Bootocamp, you can check it out here. You can find Rachel here or email her- rachel dot troy at fullstackacademy dot com.

This week, as part of our security theme, we skipped the lifeboat, and picked this gem from our Information Security Stack Exchange. Remember, when in doubt, if you absolutely need to erase all data off a drive, a plasma cutter will always come in handy.

Aug 04, 2020
25 Years of Java - the present to the future
00:19:20

For this episode we spoke again with Georges Saab, Vice President of Software Development at the Java Platform Group and Manish Gupta, Vice President of Global Marketing for Java and GraalVM. 

The very first feature that made a massive impact wasn’t a change in the Java language at all. It was the vastly improved library support that happened in the early releases. Between 1.0 and 1.3, these libraries included the Swing window toolkit, the Collections framework, a RPC-like API for remote calls, JDBC for interacting with databases, and more. The standard libraries grew richer, more sophisticated, and allowed Java to become a real enterprise language. 

In 2004, Java added generics, which allowed types, methods, and interfaces to be specified with the associated data types to be specified when that item was instantiated without sacrificing type safety. “At the time, generics were a challenge and people had strong opinions about them,” said Saab. Today, generics are one of the enduring features of the language. 

Java may have been designed as a completely object oriented language, but when Java SE 8 was released in 2014, it added Lamda expressions (aka closures), which added some functional programming elements. Not every problem is best served by OOP, and by adding Lambdas, Java became more flexible. 

Despite its prominence across numerous industries, Java isn’t sitting still. Saab mentioned four big projects coming to Java that had him excited, all designated by codenames: Loom, Valhalla, Leyden, and ZGC. You can read all about them on our blog.

If you want to learn more, Oracle has put together a wealth of resources to celebrate Java's 25th anniversary.

Jul 30, 2020
25 Years of Java - the past to the present
00:20:39

For this episode we chatted with Georges Saab, Vice President of Software Development at the Java Platform Group and Manish Gupta, Vice President of Global Marketing for Java and GraalVM. 

In the beginning, the nascent Java language project, codenamed Project Green and later Oak, was designed to create interactive televisions. Think of the kind of overlays and interactivity that you see with most flat screen TVs today. Back in 1995, this was brand new territory. There was no hardware or operating system standard for a computing platform within a TV, so the team had to figure out how to create a programming language that could run on virtually anything. Code it once and run it everywhere through a virtual machine. 

Interactive TV was ahead of its time in the early 90s, but Java found a strong foothold for its cross-platform ideas in web applets and WebStart programs that downloaded and ran an application entirely from a web address. This evolved over time, and today it provides a lot of the processing muscle for server-side web apps and cloud-based SaaS applications. Here at Stack Overflow, the Java tag has remained one of the most popular over the years, with 1.7 million total questions on the site. 

When Sun announced Java in 1995, they did so with Marc Andreessen—then cofounder and “rockstar” at Netscape—on stage with them. Andreessen had agreed to integrate Java into the Navigator browser, a major coup for a brand new language. At the time, Navigator was the clear leader in the browser market, taking over 75% of the share. Even before this announcement at the SunWorld conference, the volume of downloads of the language became so great that it overwhelmed the T1 line attached to the java.sun.com web server. 

Today's episode covers the past and present of Java. Tomorrow, we'll air episode two, which takes us from the present and looks towards the future. If you want to learn more, Oracle has put together a wealth of resources to celebrate Java's 25th anniversary.

Jul 29, 2020
You down with GPT-3? Yeah you know me!
00:27:10

If you're wondering why GPT-3 matters and how it compares to prior efforts in this area, here is a good summary.

If you want to dive deeper into the effect anxiety has on the interview process and hiring in tech, you can read up on the research here.

This week's lifeboat badge goes to PerformanceDBA, who left an incredbily long and detailed answer, complete with charts and code snippets, on the following question: how to organize a relational data model for double entry accounting? 

Jul 28, 2020
Forming new habits with 100 Days of Code
00:17:40

You can learn all about 100 Days of Code on their website.

Alex also published a newsletter about habit forming and self-improvement. You can learn more about that and subscribe here.

If you want to follow Alex on Twitter, you can find him here.

This week's Lifeboat badge goes to Chris, who helped a user understand why ComponentDidCatch was not working in their react-native app.

Jul 24, 2020
Code Newbie's approach to education and community
00:32:35

Saron explains how she went from working in the marketing department of a startup to learning code, creating a supportive community for novice developers, and founding two podcasts about the art and science of learning to program. 

You can read more about the Dev acquisition and what the dynamic duo have planned here.

Sara and Paul spend some time bantering with Saron on that classic developer debate: why learn computer science? Besides the ego boost and the desire to avoid imposter syndrome, how much of a four-year-degree is actually useful when you're a new graduate trying to land your first job? 

Later on, we dig into the debate over toxic positivity. During these challenging times, it can be addictive to watch others flaunt their hustle and hard work on social media. But there is a downside to tuning out the failures and negative emotions we all live with. You can read more about it here.

Ever wondered about the difference between a subview and a superview? Find out more with this week's lifeboat badge

 

 

Jul 21, 2020
Is Scrum making you a worse engineer?
00:14:25

What began as a question on our Software Engineering Stack Exchange graduated into a blog post for further discussion. 

Paul points out that modern tooling has internalized so much of agile methodology that developers tend to work this way without having to explicitly create a culture or process around Scrum. 

And as Sara points out, if it turns out you're being driven to optimize for finished work over quality work, the problem may not be Scrum, but the pressures of your particular manager or company. 

Our lifeboat of the week goes to an old school Excel question with over half a million views. Thanks to Michelle for earning a badge while answering this query: How do I append the same text to every cell in a column in Excel?  

Jul 17, 2020
A conversation on diversity and representation
00:29:15

Syeeda and Ian talk with Sara and Paul about how affinity groups came to exist within Stack Overflow, and how the  BNB group helped to lead the design of the company's short and long response to issues of systemic racism. You can find more about Stack's plans here.

More generally, the group discusses how people at all levels of their organizations are putting a renewed emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and how individual contributors, managers, and executives can come together to find new ways to listen and learn.

You can find Ian on Twitter and Github. He has also written for the Stack Overflow blog. You can find Syeeda's images and writing on Instagram and more about her education and career on LinkedIn.
 

Our lifeboat badge for this episode goes out to IsVForAll, who answered the following question: How to check if a value exists in an object using JavaScript?

 

Jul 14, 2020
How to interpret the compiler
00:17:05

This is a great crash course on just-in-time compilers written by Lin Clark, who works in advanced development at Mozilla on Rust and Web Assembly. It references the film Arrival and kicked off our discussion on the podcast. 

Paul talks about his first love, XSLT, and how that language actually foreshadowed a lot of what would become popular staples of modern programming languages. 

Sara and Paul share their thoughts on what it takes to craft a new language as a programmer and why they have never embarked on this arduous intellectual adventure. 

This brought to mind a well written essay from one of the creators of Redis, who is stepping back from managing the project to work on something new. Here is, in my opinion, a profound quote from that piece: 

"I write code in order to express myself, and I consider what I code an artifact, rather than just something useful to get things done. I would say that what I write is useful just as a side effect, but my first goal is to make something that is, in some way, beautiful. In essence, I would rather be remembered as a bad artist than a good programmer."

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Farhan Amjad, who answered the question - How can I implement PageView in SwiftUI?

 

 

Jul 10, 2020
How We Hire Developers at Stack
00:19:16

When it comes to hardware that cranks, Paul is a fan of Micro Center's in-house brand - PowerSpec.

This week we chew through a great post from Jon Chan about how Stack Overflow hires developers. Sara recalls flunking her first few code screenings while applying for jobs. The hard lesson she learned? Sometimes, it pays to skip the collaboration and just show off. Ben wishes that he had known about real-time tests back when he was hiring bloggers.

Last but not least, this week's lifeboat goes to Yigit, who answered the following question: 

"In Android Rooms persistence library, how would I write the following SQL statement: SELECT * FROM table WHERE field LIKE %:value% As a @Query? This syntax is invalid, and I can't find anything about it in the docs."

Thanks Yigit for sharing your knowledge and helping the Stack Overflow community to grow and thrive. 

Jul 07, 2020
Java goes to outer space
00:19:43

From Mars rovers to Minecraft to the makeup of our DNA - these are some of the Java apps that may leave a mark on  the world of software for decades to come.

Thanks to Hizbul25, our winner of the week, for answering a question and earning a lifeboat badge: query to order by the last three characters of a column. 

Jul 03, 2020
Can't Pay Your Taxes if The Website Won't Load
00:22:49

You can read about the IRS and its Sisyphean efforts to modernize its computer systems here.

Ben's Twitter thread on amazing and obscure trade periodicals you can find online is here.

You can read more about what Apple is doing with biometric identity on the web here.

Jun 30, 2020
Paul Explains It All
00:23:42
This week, Ben and Paul are flying as a duo, a true dad-cast. We walk through the slow build of increasingly complex keyboard macros, followed by the inevitable cleansing and renewal of an empty slate. Pus, type systems and type safety, the galaxy brain edition.
Jun 26, 2020
Chatting with Robin Ginn, executive director of the OpenJS Foundation
00:21:56

You can learn more about today's event and all the livestream broadcasts here.

If you want to learn more about Robin, you can get in touch here.

 

Jun 23, 2020
It Ain't Real Till You Break Prod
00:25:51

Cassidy helps to write The Overflow newsletter and is two months into a new gig as a Principal Developer Experience Engineer at Netlify. That's where she broke Prod, but it turned out ok.

We chat about Hey what it means for software engineers when prominent coders are arguing with big mobile platforms about the fees that the owners of the OS collect. What's old is new again. 

Bot armies are farming gold in World of Warcraft, which takes us down a wandering path of wondering how often people have access to powerful computers, but limited access to money they can spend on essentials.

Last but not least, we try to dissect a great question from our Software Engineering Stack Exchange: ways to explain code when told it doesn't make sense.

Shout out to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, "wizard", who answered the following question: is there an equivalent method to C's scanf in Java.

Jun 19, 2020
Dropping knowledge with Drupal's creator, Dries
00:16:08

Dries explains how Drupal began: as a intranet, not internet, message board for his college community. It's now the technology underpinning tens of millions of websites, including some of the biggest in the world. 

We get the story behind the name, an accident  overlap of language that became the software's iconic mascot. And we talk about the process that allowed this to scale from an open source project shared across a few dorm rooms to something used by massive public companies. 

Stay tuned Friday, when we'll publish part two of our chat with Dries.

As always, shout out to our Lifeboat badge winner of the week, for helping to answer the question: Can you use React Native to create a desktop app? As to whether or not you should, well, that's another question for another time. 

You can find more about Dries at his website. You can read more about his experience with Acquia here.

Jun 16, 2020
Turn on, tune in, drop out, log off
00:16:11

This week on the pod, we chat about Cloudflare.tv, a 24/7 streaming channel dedicated to discussions of software, startups, and technology. 

We also dig into a new offering called Github Classroom. Do pedagogy and programming mix well? Can this approach to collaborative work be useful beyond the computer science classroom?

So, you want to delete half your database? Well, I can guarantee this method will delete about half your database...most of the time. Thanks, as always, to our Lifeboat badge winner of the week!

Jun 12, 2020
You're Over Reacting
00:21:34

If you're in the market for a used car and some retro web design, look no further.

Thanks to our Lifeboater of the week, Günter Zöchbauer, for explaining how to use the MyHomePage widget in Flutter.

Jun 09, 2020
New tools for new times
00:21:06

You can find Textmoji here. A few taps and you're the hippest typographer in your company's work chat. 

Seek, the app from iNaturalist, is available on Android and iOS. You can find it here. Ben has over 30 plants, a dozen insects, and five amphibians, so if you're feeling competitive, it's gonna be a long hike to catch up.

It can be hard selling software or design in a period where vendors and potential clients can rarely meet in person. Paul has been enjoying Whimsical, which advertises itself as allowing users to "communicate visually at the speed of thought." 

We also spend some time discussing Supabase, an open source Firebase alternative.

As discussed in the intro to this episode, we wanted to share some resources connected to the ongoing protests and memorials happening in the US. Black and Brown, a group of employees within Stack Overflow, put together some recommendations of social media accounts to follow.

Jun 05, 2020
Javascript is ready to get its own place
00:24:01

Has there ever been a tech startup that raised shy of $3 billion, inflation-adjusted for any era, while barely making a ripple with actual customers? Magic Leap just pocketed a fresh $350 million in funding, on the condition that its co-founder and CEO Rony Abovitz, agree to step aside and allow new leadership to take the reins. We chat AR/VR, dot-com flameouts, and why crazy tech is worth believing in.

Sara hips us to the 11th anniversary of Node.js and the 25th anniversary of Javascript. The latter has the distinction of being the only language to appear in the top 10 for most loved and most hated languages on our 2020 developer survey

Paul and Sara reminisce about Javascript callbacks. Hard work builds character, don't ya know.

This episode was recorded before the recent protests, and so does not contain any discussion of current events in the United States. We will touch on it in future episodes, but you can find Stack Overflow's statement on it here.

Jun 02, 2020
I would D.I.E. for that IDE
00:39:59

Brian is a contributor to Deno, and walks us through what this project has to offer.  He also made it easy to work with Deno right in the browser. You can check it out here.

You can learn more about Begin here. If you want to follow Brian, you can find him on Twitter here and on Github here.

We spend a bunch of time digging into the overlaps between Deno, Rust, Java, and Typescript. In case you missed it, Typescript is now the second most beloved language, based on the results of our 2020 Developer Survey.

 

May 29, 2020
Mayor of Open Source Town
00:23:08

Sara is spending her time as a fully remote worker trying to learn more about open source governance and foundations. Turns out there is a lot of overlap with the work Stack does alongside its community. 

Paul has a project for playing with math in your storytelling. You can check it out here.

Our lifeboat of the week goes to Stack Overflow user Scolytus, who answered the following question: Why am I getting an error when creating a C Struct initialization with char array?

May 26, 2020
Digging into Deno 1.0
00:26:41

You can read up on Deno 1.0 here.

The star-studded ceremony for the 2020 Webby's can be watched on repeat here (not that we're doing that...)

This is the Wired story about Lee Holloway, a brilliant coder who helped build Cloudflare, but then mysteriously fell into decline. It's a sad but beautifully written tale.

Thanks to Stack Overflow user htamas for saving a question and winning a lifeboat : Gradle project refresh failed, unable to get the CMake.

Ryan's piece on how coders beg, borrow, and steal can be found here.

May 22, 2020
A Glitch In The Matrix
00:27:59

Before we can move on to business as usual, the crew has to recount each and every way in which our first live podcast went spectacularly wrong. Laggy video, overwhelming audio, and too many silly hats. But hey, DevAroundTheSun did raise over $60,000 to help folks impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

We chat about Patio 11's law, and the incredible percentage of successful software startups that never gain any recognition in the mainstream tech press, but manage to build and grow successful, profitable operations.  

The debate rages on about how permanent this new world of completely remote work will be. Which companies will return to renting expensive officers and pampering employees with food and snacks and which companies will decide to start hiring across the globe and cutting back on IRL engagements. 

Lastly we chat about Typescript, why it's getting so popular, and how it reminds Jenn of her days as an academic teaching Java to aspiring computer science majors. 

To learn more about Jenn, check her out her website. And to see what her company has been working on, head over to Glitch and Glimmer.

May 20, 2020
An emotional week, and the way forward
00:22:50

This episode was recorded Thursday, May 9th, two days after Stack Overflow announced it was going to furlough 15% of its staff. We talk about how this process played out internally and the ways in which we are hoping to grow our business so we can bring these great people back. You can read more about it in a blog post from our CEO here.

After that, we discuss Zoom's acquisition of Keybase. Usage and wider public awareness of Zoom have been growing by leaps and bounds as the world shifts to remote work and learning during this pandemic. This has exposed some security issues with Zoom's platform, and the acquisition of Keybase seems to be aimed at shoring up their cybersecurity and encryption capabilities. 

Sara, never one to miss an opportunity to plug Bitcoin, hips us to The Halvening. What does it all mean? Read more about it here.

Finally, Paul walks us through Deno, which was created by Ryan Dahl, who also created Node.js. Deno is  "a brand new JavaScript runtime for the backend, but instead of being written in C++, it’s written in Rust, based on the Tokio platform (which provides the asynchronous runtime needed by JavaScript), still running Google’s V8 engine though." You can read more about it here.

Our lifeboater of the week is Stack Overflow user James Kanze, who was awarded the badge for answering the question: C++: What is the difference between ostream and ostringstream?

Thanks for listening :)

May 15, 2020
.Net and DevAroundTheSun - We're doing an episode live!
00:31:36

In addition to her role as PM's on Microsoft's .NEt team, Claire is an Executive Director of the .NET Foundation. Jeff, meanwhile, is a Twitch Partner, technical educator and founder of @theLiveCoders. He can be found streaming live coding projects and challenges as CsharpFritz on Twitch. 

Both have been working with our own Sara Chipps to organize today's DevAroundTheSun event in order to raise money for those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to this episode, you can tune in this morning at 9am Eastern Standard Time to catch a live episode of the Stack Overflow podcast on Twitch, where we'll be highlighting some of the fascinating talks and great speakers happing at DevAroundTheSun, and generally having a few laughs talking about software, tech, and life.

May 12, 2020
Contact Tracing and Civil Liberties: Part 2
00:22:39

Sham Kakade is a professor of computer science, statistics, and data science at the University of Washington. A group from his university, along with volunteers from Microsoft, is creating a contact tracing app called Covid Safe. Sham explains how technology could make it possible for democratic nations to fight the pandemic while preserving civil liberties.

You can read more about Sham’s app, Covid Safe, here.

The app isn’t live in the iOS or Android app store yet, but you can download an Android demo here and help the team work out the bugs. You can also use that link to find their GitHub community.

You can read Paul’s take on the contact tracing spec released by Apple and Google here.

May 08, 2020
Contact Tracing Calibration: Balancing Civil Liberties with Fighting the Pandemic
00:28:11

You can read more about Sham's app, Covid Safe, here. You can  find his university bio here.

The app isn't live in the iOS or Android app store yet, but you can download an Android demo here and help the team work out the bugs. You can also use that link to find their GitHub community.

You can read Paul's take on the contact tracing spec released by Apple and Google here.

This is a two part episode, so tune in Friday for the second half.

May 05, 2020
Make it So
00:26:55

What happens when the grizzled captain decides they need to stop delegating and put their hands back on the helm? Sara is rewatching Star Trek and trying to find some wisdom in Picard's approach to crisis.

Where did React come from? What's the line between a library, a framework, and a whole new language? You can learn lots more in this extensive video from the Women in React conference that happened remotely last weekend. 

One thing we didn't know about that conference was that they gave out original swag you can use while playing Animal Crossing. And just yesterday we noticed the Deserted Island DevOps conference, where the entire event is actually happening inside Animal Crossing. 

From there we got to talking about Second Life, Linden Bucks, and the amazing concert that Travis Scott put on in Fortnite recently. The longer this quarantine goes on, the closer we move to a truly virtual work world.  You can find the Fortnite concert here. It's just ten minutes long, but skip ahead to 2:10 if you want to see something really cool. 

Last but not least, Paul didn't take the easy way out. He finalyl sat down and did some parsing.  He is ready for you to make fun of him.

May 01, 2020
Mastering the Mainframe
00:31:33

JJ came to our attention when we saw a tweet about his work to get an ETL pipeline with COBOL running on Kubernetes. 

Elizabeth comes from the world of Linux Systems Administration, but more recently has been working on COBOL and mainframe computing. She tells us that there is actually a cohort of college students actively learning and using COBOL, both for competitions like Mastering the Mainframe, but also because it's a language that can attract a high paying job at a number of big banks, healthcare providers, and government institutions. 

You can find JJ on Twitter here and on Github here. Prior to IBM he was a partner architect at Chef Software

You can read more about Elizabeth on her website, princessleia.com, and yes, we are going to have her back on the podcast in the future to talk about how and when she got that domain name.

If you're interested in learning COBOL, a ton of resources are available here.

As always, don't forget about the upcoming charity event, DevAroundTheSun, which is bringing together a lot of cool developers for talks and activities, with proceeds going to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Apr 28, 2020
Jokes on Us
00:17:58

In this episode, we pay our respects to John Conway, a legendary mathematician known for the Game of Life and Surreal Numbers. Our math Stack Exchange paid respects to some of his lesser known results.

Jon and Adam give us a rundown of some of their favorite April Fools projects from the past, many of which they helped build. Adam has a soft spot for Unikong, while Jon is more of a rubber duck man.

Don't forget to check out DevAroundTheSun for ways tech folks can support those impacted by COVID-19.

 

Apr 24, 2020
So, what's it like being a developer at Stack Overflow?
00:23:24

Jon is the team lead for Public Q&A, which is what we call the platform that hosts the 172 community sites across Stack. Adam is a senior software developer on the community team and a former community manager. 

Jon describes his job these days as intercepting all the meetings, phone calls, and busy work that would keep the devs on his team from actually writing code. That, and to deliver product on time and to spec, with the hope that a predictable product pipeline is the best way to keep all stakeholders happy.

Adam spends most days writing code, although his most productive days are the ones when he deletes more than he creates. He was part of the team that helped ship our recent Dark Mode feature. 

If you want to learn more about some of our plans for upcoming changes to Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange, tune in Friday for part two of this episode.

Apr 21, 2020
The Great Bluetooth Trace
00:25:48

Monday's big story on Bloomberg was that the US unemployment system was being slowed by problems with an "ancient" programming language. Well, yah heard it here first. Also, ancient seems a bit extreme for something that is 60-years-old, but perhaps in the world of software, that does qualify as nearly pre-historic. 

After that, we switch to the biggest news in tech, or perhaps in the world, over the last week. Apple and Google have released a spec for a contact tracing system. As countries around the world work to slowly reopen their economies, contact tracing is a powerful tool for preventing new surges in coronavirus outbreaks. The system the duo of tech giants devised includes specs for bluetooth, cryptography, and APIs. You can read Paul's deep dive take on it at the link above.

Last but not least, if you're interested in donating to help those affected by COVID-19, Sara is working with the .NET foundation on a project called Dev Around The Sun. They are providing assistance and mentorship to folks impacted by this pandemic, and you can learn more about how to donate time or funding at the link above. 

Be safe, be well, and we'll talk to you again on Tuesday.

 

Apr 17, 2020
Coding Tutorials Can Be A Real Drag
00:31:53

I asked Anna to describe herself in her own words. "Anna Lytical is a drag queen and engineer who creates sickeningly entertaining and educational coding tutorials in order to engage more LGBTQ+ people with coding and the tech industry. Anna shows how to use technology to represent yourself through various projects like websites, Instagram filters, glamorous command prompts and so much more."

Sara has been a big fan for a while, both on Twitter and YouTube. Below are some highlights: 

PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER CODES WEBSITE BY ONLY COPYING & PASTING

YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOUR COMMAND PROMPT COULD LOOK THIS GLAM!

Speaking of great coding projects, Sara is helping to support DevAroundTheSun. It's a 24-hour coding jam that offers mentorship and tutorials, with all proceeds going to help people impacted by COVID-19.  Check out the link above to learn how you can participate. 

Apr 14, 2020
The Great COBOL Crunch
00:24:10

Earlier this week, New Jersey Governer Phil Murphy announced that the state desperately needed the help of COBOL programmers. The 60-year-old programming language runs the state's unemployment system, and crashed under the historic influx of applications created by the COVID-19 crisis. So, if you're a COBOL programmer listening to this show or know a retired COBOL ace who wants to lend a hand, you can help get folks access to the funds they desperately need. 

In the second half of the episode, we talk about Ben's many trips to CES over the years a journalist. This annual pilgrimage got him added to lots of email lists from manufacturers and suppliers of electronic components. In the last few weeks, the emails have suddenly shifted: instead of offering widgets and wires, they are pitching the ability to make and deliver critical medical supplies. We dig into the ways in which technology, hardware, and manufacturing have changed over the last few decades and the ripple effects that massive global transformation is having today. 

 

Apr 10, 2020
Cryptocurrency-Based Life Form
00:26:15

It's just your hosts this episode - Paul, Sara, and Ben. We chat about the end of the influential open-source events that O'reillly held for many years, conferences that in many ways helped to form the personality of the early web. 

Engineers love to solve problems and create new tools. So what do you do when the best solution is to stay home? We have a few ideas about how to deal with the  moment.

If we all go into cryosleep, will the bots keep trading the market, and for how long? Sara recommends a novel - Machines Like Me.

Apr 07, 2020
Embrace the Darkness
00:14:36

You can check out more about Aaron at his website. He is a designer, developer, and musician who worked at Github and Adobe prior to joining Stack. 

You can also read Aaron's post on how he built dark mode here. For the next 48 hours, you also have the option to try out our April Fool's gag, Ultra Dark Mode.

Apr 03, 2020
Getting to Know Our Moderators
00:30:55

If you follow community issues on the Stack network, you may be familiar with Aaron Hall. He took the time to respond to a post from our CEO and subsequently came by Stack Overflow to engage more deeply with our leadership and community teams.  You can find his summary of events here. Most days, you can find him streaming on Twitch here.

Nitsua60 is a moderator over on our RPG Stack Exchange, which is one of the 25 largest communities  our users have created. He's there to help guide curious role players through the important questions in life, like: How Can a Unicorn Establish a Foreign Location as its own Lair When its Already The Lair of a Lich? Answer --> here.

We chat a little about the new Instagram account Stack Overflow just launched. We created fun animations that bring to life some of the best questions and answers from across the Stack network. 

Chatrooms are one of the less well known features of Stack communities. Nitsua60 said that not only has he seen more conversation in  the RPG chat, but a new room has been created for folks from across the family of Stack networks to chat about issues and emotions relating to the global pandemic we are all dealing with. It made him think of the recent op-ed from Stanley McChrystal about the importance of "digital leadership" and communication in modern crises. 

A great example of that is what's happening over at the Academia Stack Exchange. This community has seen a massive influx of activity as schools from kindergarten through university have shut down. In response, they put together an incredible set of resources for folks who are trying to adapt their workflow to the reality of shuttered schools , remote learning, and social distancing. 

We hope you're staying safe, and thanks as always to the brave folks working on the front lines to keep essential services running and medical care available.

Mar 31, 2020
Right Back At Ya: We're Doubling Our Podcast
00:25:16

Ben is now the full time IT department for his two sons, one of whom is in kindergarten and one in first grade. The children have transitioned from public school to Zoom, Google Classroom, Konstella, FaceTime, and five million other services. 

Paul's neighbors in his apartment building are digging old laptops out of storage and leaving them in front of his door. They bleach them first, so that they are 100% disinfected. Then Paul slaps on a little Ubuntu/Lubuntu and those old machines are suddenly zippy netbooks that help adults and kids work and study from home. 

Sara reveals she has an amazing "resting interested face" - a skill that makes her the most popular person at any live talk in front of an audience. 

That box of old cables finally came in handy! We shout out our lifeboat badge winners, as we near the major milestone of 1000 lifeboats. Keep them coming.

 

Mar 27, 2020
NYC on Pause
00:22:41

Many countries around the world have now ordered citizens to work from home, exempting only those in essential industries. We have some tips on our blog about how to make remote work the best it can be, and a new piece up on how to handle remote hiring if your company is trying to fill positions during these unusual circumstances. 

Sara is nervous about working from home with her husband, who is also a software engineer. There can only be so many commits in a committed relationship. But she has double the space per person of Paul, who shares a 1200 square foot Brooklyn abode with a wife and two kids.  Ben, meanwhile, has decamped for upstate New York. 

Buzzfeed asks, if this sudden experiment in mass remote work goes well for certain companies, will they simply opt to transition to full remote forever after the pandemic ends. 

Stack Overflow was born remote, an idea that germinated across blogs and Skype calls. The very first episode of the Stack Overflow podcast tells the tale

Our community saved us from major egg on our face, warning us about a Let's Encrypt bug that would have left Stack Overflow with expired certificates. You can hear a more detailed explanation of how this works here.

If you're cracking out an old computer to use for home schooling you children or lending to a neighbor, Paul asks you to consider that now, in this wild moment of uncertainty, an Ubuntu Linux machine might be just the solution you need.

Mar 24, 2020
Time Keeps On Slipping
00:24:47

When Robinhood went down at the beginning of March, many speculated it might have been caused by the extra  day, February 29th. This is a leap year after all. Robinhood blamed the outage on an unprecedented spike in usage. Either way, it go us thinking about time. 

For example, Postgres has a great understanding of time as a database. Like, it really knows all the different things that happened going back to literally year 4,000 BC including years that were skipped when they re-crafted the calendar and just like bananas stuff that happens with calendars over time. An excellent source of truth if it fits with your project.

Next, a user shared the story of a wild interaction between Docker and the driver used by Razor peripherals. You can't have your fancy gaming mouse fired up and also be working on some container orchestration. Apparently they request the same GUID and get a bit confused if one already exists. 

If you're still feeling a little uncertain about exactly how Docker/Kubernetes works, Paul suggests this lovely illustrated guide for children or this comic, which is for grown ups.

We chat about MySpace and whether it was ever cutting edge during its rise to prominence? 

Last, we dive into the pronunciation of "char", by the end of which, half of us have turned into full blown pirate impersonators. 

 

Mar 17, 2020
All Your Data is Base
00:31:41

Sara reveals that she won a $500 gift card at a MongoDB hackathon, building an app that removed mustaches from people's pictures.  This was many years ago, and no we were not paid in JetBlue gift cards to have Eliot on the show, although MongoDB is a client of Stack Overflow in other areas.

Mongo comes from humongous, cause, ya know, scale. That, plus HumongousDB.com was already taken and is a real mouthful to say. 

Eliot talks about the frustrations he and his co-founder, Dwight Merriman, experienced while working together at DoubleClick and ShopWiki. DoubleClick began as a New York City ad tech company and evolved into the heart of Google’s real-time ad business after being acquired. 

Frustrations with the database systems available at both these companies led the pair to decide it was time for a better mousetrap. Today, MongoDB is a public company  worth north of $7 billion and a staff of more than 1900 people

We chat about why relational databases are still the core of computer science education in high school and college across the United States, and whether or not this will ever change. 

During the show we skimmed some of the latest questions on Stack Overflow related to Mongo. Eliot took it back to his team and Tom Hollander, the PM for Mongo's chart product, delivered a great answer! Can you believe this website is free?

Mar 10, 2020
How to Find Your Next Stop
00:25:29

Echeruo's new venture is called Love and Magic, a startup studio that helps companies of all sizes maximize their ability to innovate. 

For anyone that has an idea they have been hoping to turn into a startup, Echeruo and his collaborators just introduced the Startup School of Alchemy. It's being taught at WeWork and Princeton University. It offers a six-week curriculum designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs find product-market fit.Apply with the code "stackoverflow" and you get $1000 off the course, a 40% discount.

Echeruo says his time working in finance and with Microsoft Excel was what gave him the ability to think of how data from maps could be optimized by an algorithm and built into a useful mobile app. 

For those who don't know, our co-founder and Chairmam, Joel Spolsky, was part of the team at Microsoft that built Excel. Here is legendary 2015 talk, You Suck at Excel, where he organizes a spreadsheet to keep track of what he pays his Pokemon, ahem,I mean, uh, employees. 

You can take a deeper dive into the backstory of how Chinedu built HopStop below, related in his own words.

I've always had difficulty with directions. When I grew up in Nigeria, I remember getting lost in my own house. It wasn’t like it was a mansion, it was a four-bedroom house. 

So you can imagine how I felt when I got to NYC and had to get around with the subway and bus system! I remember walking up once to one of those blown up maps in the subway station. My nose was a feet away from the dust laden map. The subway lines looked like tangled noodles. Complexity galore! 

New Yorkers used to walk around with these pocket guides—Hagstrom maps. I was going on a date in the Lower East Side. It doesn’t have the grid like the rest of the city. I got lost and was very late getting to the bar.I can't remember how, the date went but I remember what I did first thing next morning. I walked over to the subway station, grabbed a subway MAP and laid it on the floor and tried to figure it out. There’s driving directions. But there weren’t subway directions. So I was solving my own problems. 

I was looking for the complete directions—leave your house, turn left, go into this particular entrance, get on this train, get off at this station, use this exit. Because I was, in a lot of ways, the ultimate user, we ended up building a product that solved the complete problem—get me from where I am now to where I need to be. 

I was non-technical, I worked for a hedge fund. I may have been thinking algorithmically, I knew that this was computationally possible. But I didn’t know how to make it a reality. In conceiving the problem, I threw all the data into spreadsheets. I interned at this company when I was in college, where I learned about spreadsheets. I found the work very tedious, but I learned how to think about data, to think in tables. It allowed me to conceptualize complexity. 

To conceptualize the first subway data as a spreadsheet, I started by staring at the subway map laid on the wood floor of my apartment. The most obvious features were colors, lines, and stops. So those are the tables I typed into Excel first. Then I realized the lines also represented two train directions so I redid the spreadsheet. Then I realized the stops served multiple subway lines, so I redid the spreadsheet. Then I realized some of the stops would only be active during certain periods, so I redid the spreadsheet. We kept on learning and adjusting. It took us a long time before we had a data model that robustly described NYC's subway system. We even figured out how to automatically account for the frequent weekend NYC subway diversions.

To build the first version of the app, I went to eLance, described to these computer scientists the data set in Excel, routes, stops, exits, entrances, and I sent it in. This developer in Siberia, Russia, emailed me, came up with a solution. But he turned out to be a complete genius, he built the core of the first version of Hopstop. Here I was, a Nigerian, sitting in my apartment using messenger, email, on a laptop. And I never met Alex for four years. We built Hopstop over four years without ever meeting each other.

We ran very lean. Alex did all the coding. I did the subway data and user experience. I'd have to ride to different subway stations to note each subway entrance and exit, etc. When we added the bus system, Rajeev and his data team in India helped input the bus stops and schedules. And four years later, we were purchased by Apple, so quite the ride.

Mar 03, 2020
A Dash of Anil, a Pinch of Glimmer, a splash of Glitch
00:29:39

Glitch, a platform that makes it easy for anyone to create or remix a web app, has seen over five million apps created by users. You can read more about how it works here. If you want to learn a little about how it works with Docker, check out this piece here.

If you want to know more about the shared history of Stack and Glitch, you can read up on it here. TLDR; Glitch was born out of Fog Creek software and counts Joel Spolsky and Michael Pryor as founders. 

Glimmer is a new web magazine from the folks at Glitch. It focuses on creators and makers, with a special emphasis on unearthing the human stories of people building today's software.

While you're here, don't forget to take 15-20 minutes and share your opinions in our 2020 Developer Survey. Whether Stack Overflow helped you during your journey as a programmer or not, we want to hear from everyone who codes. 

Some fun background for younger listeners: 

Geocities - a popular platform for building and hosting a personal website and linking it with others that share similar themes. 

BetaBeat - a website launched by The NY Observer that covered the SIlicon Alley tech scene. It was how Ben first met Anil, Joel, and many others. 

Heroku

Docker

If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please send us an email at podcast@stackoverflow.com

Today’s episode is brought to you by Refinitiv. Unlock new possibilities with consistent, high-value market data from Refinitiv. Try the Refinitiv Eikon Data API for the largest breadth and depth of data and community tools with native Python support. Check out refinitiv.com/stackpodcast to try the Eikon Data API today. Refinitiv. Data is just the beginning.

Feb 25, 2020
Coaching A Developer Interview
00:44:31

Paul and Sara walk us through the teetering tower of abstraction. Ben still hasn't mastered a single language, so it's a tough for him to know if it's better to start with the difficult fundamentals or stay in the simplified sandbox.

Flatiron tries to teach developers how to code, but also how to communicate. Every student has to do some public writing or speaking about their education. We check out Human Readable Magazine and the painfully honest Reddit thread of early reviews.

Rebekah tries to coach Ben through a mock interview for a junior web developer position. A torrent of word salad ensues. Paul and Sara show no mercy.

New York City parking meters aren't the only systems being taken down by calendar bugs. We chat about the delightful Twitter thread on Y2038.

You can follow Rebekah here and learn more about The Flatiron School here.

 

Feb 18, 2020
Make My Monolith A Micro
00:25:20

You can find the podcast and article that inspired our chat here. It's the second of Kelsey Hightower's "Unpopular Opinions" series. 

We have heard the requests for full episodes transcripts and we know accessibility is important, so we're working on a solution. Stay tuned. 

The recipients of the lifeboat badges this episode were for questions that were between three and six years old. It's a testament to the ongoing value of the knowledge shared on our network and to the contributions of our community to help others through questions and answers. 

Last but not least, our 2020 Developer Survey is open. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, and we want to hear from as many coders as possible, regardless of age, experience, or occupation. 

Feb 11, 2020
Your Buddy is Typing
00:23:25

What happens when millions of minimum byte packets start pinging off your network every few seconds? Bandwidth is a restriction most network engineers are familiar with. It's less often they have to think about packets per second. Teresa shares an awesome story of how a new feature for AOL Instant Messenger, AIM for you 90s nerds, turned up the heat on AOL's servers.

After regaling us with war stories from the days of dial-up internet, we chat about what the job of a chief product officer is today. At a place like Stack Overflow, how do you unite functional departments across the company - from marketing to sales to engineering? How do you figure out the right incentives, so that the data you're measuring against is aligned with the long term health of the company and the community?

"I don't focus on shipping, I focus on impact," Teresa told us. "That's where product management, engineering, and design come together. Product management is focused on value. Engineering is focused on quality, and design is focused on usability. If you think of that as Venn diagram, impact is where those three things overlap and happen."

Lastly, we chat about the incredible velocity with which new coding languages and development frameworks emerge in the tech industry. Teresa shares her philosophy for encouraging an engineering team to level up and learn new skills while ensuring that this kind of continuous evolution doesn't create a lot of friction for the overall organization.

"That which we measure, we incentivize towards," is one of her favorite sayings, and Teresa applies it to scoping an overall product roadmap for a company, including what tools, new and old, to use along the way.

Feb 04, 2020
From Prison to Programming - The Code Cooperative
00:22:54

Alex graduated from NYU with a degree in computer science and worked as a developer and engineer at several startups in New York City, eventually assuming senior roles like engineering team lead and director of technology. 

Along the way, however, she found herself face with discrimination and harassment. In 2016, she dramatically altered her appearance, an experience she discusses in a humorous and poignant talk - Shaving My Head Made me a Better Developer

In 2016 she read the book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and was inspired to  do more to help people impacted by the justice system. She began organizing donations of unused laptops, and then moved on to help found the Code Cooperative in October of 2016.  the group describes itself as a community of people who learn, use, and build technology to create life changing possibilities for individuals and communities impacted by incarceration.

If you want to get involved, you can donate a laptop or make a financial contribution here. If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, you can apply here.

 

 

 

Jan 28, 2020
Scripting the next era of Stack Overflow
00:15:48

Three months ago, we interviewed Prashanth during his first week on the job. Now, with a full quarter of work under his belt, our new CEO reflects on what we accomplished over the last decade and lays out his vision for where Stack Overflow, as a company and community, will be heading over the next year and beyond.

Paul explains why engineers prefer to give blunt feedback, even in a public setting.

Sara drops some hints about our plans for the future of the Stack Exchange network. One of these big goals is to better integrate knowledge from these with the activity that happens on Stack Overflow, so that the knowledge being shared on Server Fault or Super User can easily be found by users on Stack Overflow, and vice versa. Stay tuned for more details and feel free to share your thoughts for what would work to improve the user experience.

Prashanth talks about the forces reshaping the developer landscape: cloud services, machine learning, container orchestration, and more. How can we help new developers, both hobbyists and professionals, find what they need on our sites, and empower them so they feel comfortable asking questions and providing answers.

Jan 21, 2020
Occam's Blazor
00:18:33

Software is eating the world, but what's on the menu for dessert?

This week we chat about the best way for engineers to give feedback to executives. Paul explains the Purple room method they use at Postlight. Sara references Zero to One and why engineers and marketers have so much trouble communicating.

As a member of a marketing department , it's true our job is to see the glass as half full. But sometimes the point of the exercise is to be aspirational. Police learn how to be suspicious, marketers learn how to sell, and engineers look for what's broken so they can fix it.

We chat about the ten thousand or so parking meters that went on the fritz in New York City. The company says it was the result of a fraud prevention protocol. Was this a Y2K style glitch or a logic bomb?

Sara finds the developer angle on the recent rift in the British Royal Family. New technologies always reshape the Monarchy's relationship to the public. From the first radio address to the televised coronation, to a Wordpress website and an Instagram post, each generation tries to use the modern medium to their advantage.

We discuss a fairly devious bit of brilliant parenting. If your young child wants to be a YouTube star, and you can build them their own private version of the platform, with randomly generated likes and none of the cyber-bullying, are you protecting them? Or, perhaps, crafting a Truman Show for the internet age that will have consequences down the road.

Last but not least, we check out the Blazor tag, one of the fastest growing areas of interest on Stack Overflow. It's a framework that extends the established Razor syntax. The goal is to enable developers to write client-side code in .NET, backed by WebAssembly.

Jan 14, 2020
The Director's Cutts
00:26:06

For many years Matt worked on defending the quality of Google's web search results, and you may know him as the creator of the first version of SafeSearch.As Paul noted on the show, he was seen as one of the few people  with whom ordinary folks could communicate about the often inscrutable world of Google search results and rankings.  You can read his blog here.

In 2016 Matt joined  USDS, initially at the Department of Defense. Since 2017, Matt has served as the USDS Administrator and is responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy for projects.  He has worked on everything from Healthcare.gov to online services for veterans to fraud prevention at the IRS. 

Topics discussed on this episode: 

The 1993 comedy film Dave, in which Kevin Kline plays a presidential body double who manages to fix government and melt the steely heart of Sigourney Weaver. 

Open source as an ever growing trend, even inside of big government. 

Which organization has more meeting and process, Google, or the US federal government?

Jan 07, 2020
Time For Some Major League Hacking
00:34:26

To kick things off, we talk about Yap, a fun new project from Paul’s company, Postlight. Employees get to partake in a Labs program where they can pursue side projects that interest them. Yap is "an ephemeral, real-time chat room with up to six participants. Your messages appear and disappear as quickly as you type them.” It was built with Elixir...ooooh.

For our interview this week we sat down with Jon Gottfried and Mary Siebert from Major League Hacking. Jon is the company’s co-founder and Mary is the Hackathon Community Manager. We discuss how this organization has become a global phenomenon over the past few years, reaching hundreds of thousands of developers. 
 

Things that happen these days at Major League Hackathons: 
 

  • Painting succulents

 

  • Cup stacking competitions

 

  • Therapy dogs, lots of them

 

If you're interested in sponsoring a Major League Hackathon, check out the info here.

This is our last episode of the year. We’ll be back in 2020 with some more amazing guests and brilliant banter. Thanks for tuning in, see ya in the new year.
 

Dec 17, 2019
Searching For The Next Frontier With Chris Dixon
00:40:11

You can check out the back story of Dixon’s first company, SiteAdvisor, here. It was built during a time when spyware was a booming business and browsers had few systems in place to combat bad actors. The company was acquired by McAfee in 2006. It's a great trip through the history of web security at the time.
 

Dixon next turned his attention to machine learning. He and his co-founders created Hunch, which worked to learn users’ tastes and recommend items they might enjoy. It was an early attempt to build the taste graph, a parallel to the social graph. It was acquired by eBay in 2011. Many of these techniques are now widely used across the biggest social networks in the world.


Dixon then moved into the world of venture capital. You can read more about the Crypto Fund he helps to lead and the new startup school a16Zz is launching to help educate a new generation of programmers and founders. Application are still open.

If you're interested in learning more about the background of Hashcash, which foreshadowed a lot of the ideas found in Bitcoin, there is some good info here.

Dec 10, 2019
A Conversation with the Author of Black Software
00:34:00

We discuss how a demand for more diverse clip art helped lay the foundation for some of the first black owned and operated software companies in the United States, and the ways in which social media has helped to empower a new generation of voices to demand change in the tech industry and beyond. 

You can check out some of the pioneering work on building digital community at Afrolink, NetNoir, and UBP.

McIlwain also draws attention to the history of computer technology as a tool of police surveillance, going all the way back to the Police Beat algorithm in 1968.  

You can find out more about Prof McIlwain here. You can purchase his book here.

We also spend some time this week talking about our new community initiatives. 

Sara, along with Juan Garza from our community team, wrote a big post outlining all the work we’re hoping to do in 2020 and how we’re using data to inform the changes we are making. 

Keep an eye out for future posts in this series, The Loop,  and let us know what you want to see by lending your voice to our Through The Loop survey.

Dec 03, 2019
TFW You Accidentally Delete Your Database
00:33:39

Brian shares a delightful tale of the time one of his co-workers accidentally deleted the company's database, and how they recovered it through binary transaction logs. No better way to learn than a trial by fire.

Juan explains why typing is taking over frontend development. First off, we discovered unit tests, and learned types can take care of it.

Paul dreams of a day when object-oriented PHP runs in the browsers. Sara has had nightmares about similar scenarios.

Splice has lots of interesting products for musicians and technologists and they're hiring.

Brian helped to build the amazing Brooklyn JS, so if you're in the NYC area, be sure to check it out.

Juan helps to run an amazing community of developers in Colombia, as well as the Bogota JS meetup.

Dylan TallChief made a drum machine in Excel and it's something special.

Nov 25, 2019
How Would You React?
00:39:48

 

Part 1

The crew chats about how Paul and Sara made the transition from individual contributors to managers overseeing teams of engineers. Sara used to see this transition as a form of selling out, but has a new perspective after having made the shift. Paul admits he still doesn’t feel like a “CEO” and how he approaches his role as the co-founder who focuses on creating signal instead of operations. OF course, we argue about Bitcoin, and finally we examine the role luck plays in life, especially for The Rock. 

Interview - Kent C Dodds

Kent admits that when he first tried programming, he just couldn’t understand strings, and decided the career path wasn’t for him. He ended up on a track that would have made him an accountant or business intelligence analyst. From that perch, however, he began to find ways to automate and improve his workflows. Not only did this help him stand out at work, it reawakened his interest in coding, which is now his full time career. 

Part 2 

Sara talks about the difference between writing code for software applications, and writing firmware, which she got into while helping to launch and run Jewelbots. Paul and Sara recall what it was like working in tech during the 90s, when they had to constantly worry about how to conserve RAM. We also talk about the days before Git, when folks passed a hard drive around from hand to hand. The kids today have no idea how good they have it.

Nov 19, 2019
Too DEV.to Quit
00:37:20

Part 1

Paul and Sara chat about what language is best to choose as your first when you're just getting started on your journey as a programmer. Probably not Mathmatica, but it's a neat one.

Jupyter Notebooks - an in-browser notebook for working with Python. You can write your words, have your code right next to it, and see how things play out. Or as Tom Butterworth put it on DEV.

"Jupyter Notebook is an interactive web application that interfaces with the iPython repl, allowing you to run structured but iterative Python scripts. It is the de facto choice for data scientists to rapidly prototype pipelines, visualise data, or perform ad hoc analysis."

Interview: Jess Lee

Jess Lee had some great perspectives to share on what it means to balance being an entrepreneur and a coder.

Issac Lyman kicked off a community project on DEV to create a book that would help guide readers through their first year in code. 15 contributors ended up writing chapters for the book, which is available for free here.

DEV is open source, and they have decided it can be a software platform other organizations can use to build their own communities. As Ben Halpern writes, "The future of our company will be based on delivering the DEV open-source software to power new standalone communities. We will work with a network of partners both inside and outside of the software ecosystem."

Part 2

We dig into D3.JS. Stack Overflow has a lot to teach folks on this subject.

What's the best way to make a d3.js visualization layout responsive?

Just don't ask about a good book for learning the subject!

And finally, what's the difference between d3.js and jQuery? It's a silly question with some interesting answers and a nice history of the web in the background.

Nov 12, 2019
Buggin Out
00:35:01

SHOW NOTES

Part 1 (0:00-9:58)

the crew discusses Google's declaration of Quantum Supremacy and tries to wrap their mind around qubits and superpositions. Ben mangles the pronunciation of ASP.net, Sara finds a name for her new pet snake, and Paul wonders how JFK would have pronounced quantum. Also, updates on the Stack Overflow helicopter.

From our Physics and Quantum Computing Stack Exchanges: 

Is Quantum Computing just pie in the sky?

Why is Google Quantum Supremacy experiment impressive?

What does Google's claim of Quantum Supremacy mean?

Interview (9:59-26:05)

Clive Thompson. When it comes to bugs, Thompson says the best book on the subject is The Bug by Ellen Ulman. Got a different recommendation? Let us know in the comments below.

You can check out Clive's band, the Dolorean Sisters, here. He is currently writing software to help optimize the group's set lists. Clive, you own me a blog post on this.

Part 2 (26:52-fin)

We chat about the wonderful Ian Allen and his introduction to programming.

Paul declares CSS is a plate of scrambled eggs.

Sara hips us to a wonderful talk - Cascading S**t Show. As you might have guessed from the title, the language in the video is NSFW.

Later, Sara declares that CSS Grid is, in fact, just tables, mostly to troll her good friend Brenda Storer.

Paul protests, but then remembers an old tweet.

Nov 05, 2019
Projectile Productivity
00:37:24

Chloe Condon has a great post about how she created her medication reminder app and an official endorsement from Smash Mouth

You can find some writing from Iheanyi Ekechukwu on our blog here and you can find his podcast here

Learn about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. It’s not funny so don’t laugh.   

Decades old code is putting millions of critical devices at risk. Should we be regulating software more closely? 

Ben Popper is the worst coder in the world

Oct 29, 2019
Do You Believe in Life After Keyboards?
00:37:59

Tilde Club: It’s your chance to LARP as a 70s sys admin! 

What you do on your computer is your business. Don’t be tricked by scammers.

Paul makes the mistake of sharing his Anxiety Box on This American Life

Sara’s favorite Kanye tweet is available, beautifully framed, for only $75. 

cKeys is an amazing Seattle non-profit that teaches folks how to make their own keyboards!

When we recorded this episode Cassidy worked at CodePen, but not she works at React Training, so check them out.

Oct 22, 2019
We’re Back: compilers, turtles, and a brand new crew
00:30:24

Is it legal for source code containing undefined behavior to crash the compiler?

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/57652799/is-it-legal-for-source-code-containing-undefined-behavior-to-crash-the-compiler

True, you’re the boss, and the compiler works for you. But that doesn’t mean it always behaves just as you instructed. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/56802645/understanding-the-as-if-rule-the-program-was-executed-as-written

What is Logo, you ask?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_(programming_language)

And what about Netlogo? 

https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/docs/programming.html

William Chipps’ golden years - so close, and yet so far

http://wacretiring.com/

Oct 15, 2019
Podcast #123 - Jon Skeet Wants You to Be a Feminist
01:09:00

In this episode, Host Jon Skeet takes the reins along with Jay, Jess, Ilana, and special guests Casey Ashenhurst (SO Inclusion Manager & Senior People Ops Partner) and Cassie Montrose (SO Executive Assistant) to chat about hitting a million rep on Stack Overflow; Jon's thoughts on feminism and inclusion and how those have evolved over the years; and a rant about a regrettable Applebee's experience in Times Square. You should'a known better, Jon...

Mar 12, 2018
Podcast #122 - Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer, and Dasher, and Prancer, and Vixen
01:02:01

Happy Holidays from The Stack Overflow Podcast! On today's episode: Winter Bash 2017 details are revealed, Abby Reads Nice Tweets, and we ponder the questionable morality behind Santa's favorite narc, The Elf on the Shelf.

Dec 18, 2017
Podcast #121 - Another Ducking Episode
01:02:05

Today's hijinks include: Talking about engineering management (and pranks)with Ben Kamens; discussing a new study on how to ask a question on Stack Overflow, and chatting way too much about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Nov 13, 2017
Podcast #120 - Halloween Spooktacular with Anil Slash
01:22:31

Today's episode is a real scream. Recorded in a haunted house, this week's host is longtime podcast friend Anil Dash, joined by Fog Creek's Jenn Schiffer, Stack Overflow engineering manager Matt Sherman, news editor Ilana Yitzhaki, and executive producer Kaitlin Pike. Special guest is Leon Young of Cogniss.

Oct 30, 2017
Podcast #119 - This Podcast is Definitely a Simulation
01:10:10

On today's episode we chat about the nature of VR and reality with IBM Watson's Michael Ludden, plus SO marketing manager Rachel Ferrigno stops by to present the NYC Dev Hiring Ecosystem report.

Oct 16, 2017
Podcast #118 - What's a travel-hacker, anyway?
01:06:27

On today's episode, we learn about travel-hacking and building a fully remote company with the co-founders of FlightFox, as well as chat with former Stack Overflow mods turned current Stack Overflow developers to learn about moderator processes at SO.

Oct 11, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #117 - Your Friendly Neighborhood Code Mentor
01:12:32

On this week's edition of The Stack Overflow Podcast, we get a visit from Gitlab CEO Sid Sijbrandij. We also chat with UX Research Kristina Lustig about Stack Overflow's mentorship program experiment. As usual, the gang gets into other shenanigans.

Oct 02, 2017
Podcast #116 - What is Technology? Do we even know?
00:53:58

Today we welcome Jonathan Lipps, Dir. of Open Source at Sauce Labs, to chat (and sing) about some of the philosophies behind the tech that we all use every day. Also Stack Overflow PM Joe Friend is here to continue the conversation about improving the user experience on SO.

Sep 25, 2017
Podcast #115 - Stack Overflow Reads Mean Tweets
01:13:32

We're back! In today's episode: Jay, David, Ilana, Jess, and special guest Abby Mars read mean tweets, discuss what we are doing to prevent further mean tweets, and wait, the iPhone X does what with your face? Warning: Explicit content

Sep 18, 2017
Podcast #114 - Every Conference Needs a Break-Dancing Greeter
01:05:34

Join us for a chat with CodeNewbie Founder (and all-around amazing person) Saron Yitbarek, stay for Kevin's failures and many many banana references.

Jul 31, 2017
Podcast #113 - Frustrating Miracles
00:59:24

In this week's episode: We chat with Linux Academy CEO and Founder Anthony James, we play a "Florida Man" edition of Fake News, and Matt Sherman wonders how computers work.

Jul 24, 2017
Podcast #112 - Please Direct All Hate Mail to Jay Hanlon ℅ Stack Overflow...
01:07:24

Today's shenanigans include Sarah Clatterbuck, Director of Engineering at LinkedIn and all-around awesome person! Also, Jay and David introduce Channels while Jess and Jenn compete to see who knows less about Star Wars.

Jul 17, 2017
Podcast #111 - SRE: Occasionally Maintaining Infrastructure That You Hate
01:10:22

Special SRE takeover! David and Ilana are joined by Tom Limoncelli, Mark Henderson, and Jason Harvey from the SO site reliability team to discuss the infrastructure and maintenance of the Stack Overflow sites. Plus, we're hiring! https://stackoverflow.com/company/work-here

Jun 12, 2017
News Clip from Podcast #110 - IBM dismantles its remote work policy
00:03:59

IBM, You're wrong, remote work matters.

May 22, 2017
Podcast #110 - IBM, You're Wrong
00:59:08

In today's episode the gang chats about remote work with Zapier CEO Wade Foster and celebrates SO en Español with CM Juan Garza. Plus in the News Stack Overflow converted to HTTPS and IBM makes a huge mistake.

May 22, 2017
Podcast #109 - Nick hates making people cry, but...
01:10:22

Today we chat with SO developer Nick Larsen about dev interview tips, the new Stack Overflow Trends Tool, and tourist photography etiquette. Follow @stackpodcast on twitter for news and updates!

May 15, 2017
Podcast #108 - Welcome back Joel!
01:01:21

This week we welcome Joel back from leave, talk a LOT about the correct pronunciation of "hummus", and chat with special guest Sarah Drasner about the awesomeness that is SVG Animation. Also, NEW LOGO! I guess you can say we're official...

May 08, 2017
Podcast #107 - We're just trying to be non-terrible
01:11:12

Anil Dash joins us for hosting duties again this week along with co-founders Jess Lee and Ben Halpern of the Practical Dev. Topics include Shabbat elevators, Failure, and racist AI.

May 01, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #106 - Data Team Assemble!
01:07:37

On this week's episode, we talk about the what the data team has been up to lately as well as learning a thing or two about rockets. Guest host - Anil Dash!

Apr 25, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #105 - The Results Are In! Developer Survey 2017
01:06:15

On this week's episode, we discuss the results of the 2017 Stack Overflow Survey with resident data scientists Dr. Dave and Dr. Julia. Also this week, Joel is actually not here right now, and Jay and David go mad with power. Anything goes on this episode...

Mar 22, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #104 - Jenn Schiffer Talks to Us about Fog Creek's New Glitch
01:10:39

On this week's episode, Jenn Schiffer - aka jennmoneydollars - talks to us about joining Fog Creek as the company's new Community Engineer. She'll be focused on their brand new community, Glitch, which launched today. The gang also listens to Joel rant a lot about a shack he owns.

Mar 13, 2017
Maybe It's Maebeline
00:03:46

The gang tries to give tech support to Grandma Maebeline. It doesn't go well.

Mar 06, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #103 - Grandma, Is That You?
00:52:19

In this week's episode, Mazin Gilbert - VP of AT&T Labs Advanced Technology - joins us. The gang talks about the Amazon S3 outage as well as about an AI that's learned how to copy/paste code, just like a real developer! Finally, Joel provides tech support to Grandma Maebeline.

Mar 06, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #102: What Can We Learn from Uber?
00:47:03

In this week's episode (with only a brief IT interlude), the gang talks about the Dell XPS-13, Macbook Pro touch bars, and ugh, Uber… And our special guest this week is Erica Brescia, co-founder and COO at Bitnami. She speaks to us about her passion for dev tools as well as the challenges of being a predominantly remote company (something that Stack Overflow knows a little bit about).

Feb 27, 2017
Episode 101 Special Segment - Stump Alex Miller
00:02:11

This week, Nick Craver wasn't available. So we decided to Stump Alex Miller. Will he win a fantastic prize?

Feb 20, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #101 - Matt Mullenweg on Open Source, Blogs, and Beyoncé
01:03:53

In this week's episode, Matt Mullenweg of WordPress joins us to tell us how he built the organization that powers 27% of the internet and more importantly, what it was like going to the same high school as Beyoncé. The gang also tells us why the site nav changed colors. We also learn what programming languages are used on the weekends most and what programming languages college students use the most. Finally, Joel tries to Stump Alex Miller while the TSA watches.

Feb 20, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #100 - Jeff Atwood is back! (for today…)
01:11:13

Calling our guest today 'special' would be an understatement. He's the co-founder of Stack Overflow (and this podcast), founder of Discourse, prolific writer and blogger at codinghorror.com, and most importantly, the subject of many internal Stack Overflow memes. It's @codinghorror himself, Mr Jeff Atwood! Jeff and Joel chat about where we came from and where we are going, including clips from past podcasts. If you care at all about SO history, then this episode is a must-listen.

Jan 30, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #99 - The Requested Operation Requires Elevation
01:01:30

In this week's episode, Joel complains about Excel on Mac, the hosts play Start Up or Shut Up, and surprise! The One Minute Tech Review is NOT about light switches. And Stack Overflow's own Dr. Julia Silge comes by to tell her Developer Story.

Jan 23, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #98 - Scott Hanselman Is Better Than Us at Everything
01:01:01

On this week's episode, Joel rants about travel for the first time ever, Jay explains the Developer Survey (launched last week), and the hosts ponder the reason for Connecticut's existence. Also, our friend Scott Hanselman tells us what we should be doing.

Jan 16, 2017
Stack Overflow Podcast #97 - Where did you get that hat?!
00:58:04

On this week's episode, the gang talks about their favorite hats... for Winter Bash 2016! Developer Dan Luu comes by to tell Joel why he's wrong, and Joel talks about awful airports.

Dec 19, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #96 - A Face Full of Code
01:06:30

In this week’s podcast, Anil Dash - new CEO of Fog Creek and old friend of ours - stops by, as does Dr. Dave Robinson for our new segment, Dr Dave’s Data Desk with Dr. Dave Robinson. Because alliteration. And this week’s Stack Overflow Constitution question has the potential to destroy us all: Is it pronounced GIF with a hard G /ɡif/ or GIF with a J /jif/?

Dec 12, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #95 - Shakespearian SQL Server
01:03:51

In this week's episode... Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! Microsoft has now joined the Linux Foundation; Google has joined the .Net steering committee; and Visual Studio is available for Mac. The end times are here. Luckily, our good friend and Jewelbots founder Sara Rey Chipps stops by to make us feel better about the world.

Nov 21, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #94 - We Don't Care If Bret Is Famous
00:52:40

In this week's episode, we chat about our annual company meetup, which took place this year in the sometimes sunny Philadelphia, and featured a now-viral talk. Our very special guest this week is Fereshteh Forough, the founder and executive director of Code to Inspire, which is celebrating its one year anniversary this week. Code to Inspire uses technology, education and outreach to support Afghan women in their fight for social, political, and economic equality.

Nov 14, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #93 - A Very Spolsky Halloween Special
01:00:53

In this week’s frightening episode, Joel gets a visit from his very own Annie Wilkes, er, number one fan: Genius.com CEO Tom Lehman. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be a Halloween show without something dying: This year, it’s the Experts Exchange paywall. Finally, David forgets to turn off his phone and gets called mid-recording by a recruiter, and we decide to tape their increasingly odd conversation so we can share it with you, our listeners.

Oct 31, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #92 - The Guerilla Guide to Interviewing
00:52:05

In this week's episode, the gang talks about terrible, awful, no good, very bad recruiter questions, and how to actually interview developers. Additionally, the gang plays our new game, Startup or Shut Up. Jay doesn't do very well.

Oct 24, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #91 - Can You Stump Nick Craver?
00:55:32

In this week's episode, everyone tries to stump Nick Craver. Today's episode also stars Dr. Omoju Miller, data scientist extraordinaire, talking about media representations of developers and how the evil or geeky hacker stereotype hurts us.

Oct 17, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #90 - Developer Stories, Charger Butts, and Joel's Tiny Hands
00:48:39

In this week's episode, the hosts talk about the launch of Stack Overflow's latest product, Developer Story. They also talk about Jay's unique vernacular, and what angers programmers the most.

Oct 11, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #89 - The Decline of Stack Overflow Has Been Greatly Exaggerated
00:50:38

In this week's episode, our hosts talk about a few recent blog posts concerning the declining quality of Stack Overflow including what they got right, what they got very wrong, and what we can learn. Also listen to hear "Grandpa Joel" tell stories about the Xerox Alto.

Oct 03, 2016
Stack Overflow Podcast #88 - All About Documentation, Mostly
00:55:50

In this week's episode, our hosts give updates on what's happening with Stack Overflow Documentation and the new Stack Overflow Constitution. They also argue about what to do with a time machine.

Sep 26, 2016
Stack Exchange Podcast #72 - Jay Doesn't Get a Raise in This Podcast
00:49:08

In this week's edition of the Stack Exchange podcast, our hosts talk about salary transparency for developers, Joel's One-Minute Tech Review, and why we're banning a particular insult from Stack Overflow.

Aug 24, 2016
Stack Exchange Podcast #71 - A Bunch of Bald Yaks
00:58:26

Stack Exchange Podcast #71 - A Bunch of Bald Yaks by The Stack Overflow Podcast

Jul 04, 2016
Stack Exchange Podcast #70 - David Was Wrong And Jason Was Right
00:37:33

Stack Exchange Podcast #70 - David Was Wrong And Jason Was Right by The Stack Overflow Podcast

Jan 04, 2016
Stack Exchange Podcast #69 - It's Too Rainy For A Parade
00:41:29

Stack Exchange Podcast #69 - It's Too Rainy For A Parade by The Stack Overflow Podcast

Nov 18, 2015
Stack Exchange Podcast - Episode 68 - A Badger, A Horse, and a Dik-dik (The Documentation Episode)
00:55:59

Stack Exchange Podcast - Episode 68 - A Badger, A Horse, and a Dik-dik (The Documentation Episode) by The Stack Overflow Podcast

Sep 10, 2015
Stack Exchange Podcast - Episode #67 - The Firehose of Nerd-dom
00:51:43

Stack Exchange Podcast - Episode #67 - The Firehose of Nerd-dom by The Stack Overflow Podcast

Aug 23, 2015
Stack Exchange Podcast - Episode #66 - Thank You For Saying Words To