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Cassidy becomes a CTO!
Ceora shares her experience representing Auth0 at REFACTR TECH, reflecting on what it was like being back in-person after years of virtual events.
Cassidy announces her move to CTO and how her current leadership role at Contenda fits into her career journey and future aspirations as a technologist.
Ben talks about Stack Overflow’s Flow State, the first IRL event he’s attended since 2019 and Stack’s first ever customer conference.
In case Cassidy pulled you down a rabbit hole of wondering how eels reproduce, check out this piece in the New Yorker from 2020.
Speaking of the power of curiosity, today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user448810 for answering the question, Feasible implementation of a prime-counting function. Thanks for helping 6,000 people gain valuable knowledge.
|Sep 30, 2022|
Don't let software steal your time
Guilo gives building UI components as an example of where software innovation has given him time back: he started building them as static images in Photoshop, then Sketch brought connected, interactive components, and Finally, Figma let you collaborate and build an entire system together.
If you missed any of the previous episodes, you can find them waiting for you here.
Connect with Paolo Passeri on LinkedIn.
Connect with Giulio Barresi on LinkedIn.
Check out more mechanical keyboard products from Logitech.
Congrats to KnutKnutsen for their answer to How can I specify a one-argument constructor using Lombok?, saving the question and picking up a Lifeboat badge.
|Sep 28, 2022|
Ethereum finally merges, semiconductors stay scarce
It finally happened. In the words of the Ethereum Foundation, ETH is now “ready for its interstellar voyage,” having transitioned from proof of work to proof of stake. With no centralized authority insisting on a ship date, we’re witnessing a feat. We’re all wondering what comes next.
The Great Debate about hybrid and remote work continues. Is the decentralized talent movement winning? What can we do to prevent cabin fever? What do government workers do with their laptops if they need to cross the border?
The semiconductor chip shortage hasn’t ended yet, but some companies seem to be hurting more than others. What gives?
We conclude with a reflection on the new Apple Watch—and whether it can actually save our lives.
Big thanks to Androidian who is our latest Inquisitive badge recipient for coming to Stack Overflow for 30 separate days, maintaining a positive question record.
Catch you all later.
|Sep 27, 2022|
We hate Scrum and Agile too...when it's done wrong
About three years ago, when our public platform engineering team at Stack started growing, we realized that we needed a more robust formal project management system that could scale with all the creativity coming on board. That’s when we started looking at formal, by-the-book frameworks to empower and coach our teams to their fullest potential. We landed on Agile and Scrum.
Agile and Scrum get a lot of hate. But is that their fault or are you doing it wrong?
We talked about this on the podcast a few years ago, when Ben, Paul, and Sara wondered, “Is Scrum making you a worse engineer?”
It’s about providing support—not punishing people. Done right, Agile and Scrum can be a force of freedom and autonomy when they start with trust.
‘Til next time.
|Sep 23, 2022|
Five nines uptime without developer burnout
Like other folks we’ve talked to on the podcast, Chronosphere was born out of work pioneered at Uber. When you can’t find solutions to help you scale, sometimes you have to build them.
Everything in Chronosphere was built from scratch, from the ingestion tier to the query layer. If you’re going to build something cloud native from the ground up, the clear choice for the team was Go.
Cloud native observability changes the way developers interact with their code in production. Infrastructure is more complex, dev and test environments are gone, and data increases massively while data sources are more ephemeral.
Congrats to david, who won a lifeboat badge for their answer to Can we convert a byte array into an InputStream in Java?
|Sep 22, 2022|
Can integrating hardware with software save developers time and energy?
We dive into some of the ways developers can customize their keyboard with shortcuts, macros, and apps to eliminate repetitive tasks and automate the busywork that stands in the way of bigger, breakthrough innovations.
Flow state can be affected by things as simple as the right lighting, so Logitech created keyboards that automatically adjust their keyboard backlighting.
For those not familiar with the MX series, you can read more about the different versions, including the mechanical one, here.
If you missed episode two, you can check it out below. In it, we chat with Marcel Twohig, Head of Design for the MX Series at Logitech, and Thomas Fritz, Associate Professor of Human Aspects of Software Engineering at the University of Zurich. We cover the research that Professor Fritz has done on flow states, the design work that Marcel and team have done to incorporate that research, and the tools that you can use to maximize your daily flow.
|Sep 21, 2022|
A serial entrepreneur finally embraces open source
Watch Arpin’s talk on how a low-cost, low-tech solution can simplify online payments.
Arpit isn’t the first engineer we’ve talked to whose career was sparked by the digital pets of the 90s. Listen to Episode #431: Words of wisdom for self-taught developers.
It’s time to get excited about Hacktoberfest, an annual DigitalOcean event that encourages people to contribute to open-source projects throughout the month of October.
Last but not least, today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Belzebub for their answer to the question Custom alert dialog with rounded corners and a transparent background.
|Sep 20, 2022|
Like a lot of good tools, Backstage started as a way to stop using a spreadsheet. They knew it was something worth open-sourcing when conference attendees paid more attention to the tool than the topics of the talks.
Backstage treats docs-like-code, keeping markdown files in the same repo as the code. Down with wikis, up with pull requests!
If you want to learn more about Backstage, check out our recent webinar with Emma Indal, a web engineer at Spotify.
|Sep 16, 2022|
What science says about achieving the flow state
If you’re interested in diving deeper into Professor Fritz’s research on developer flow states, check out his list of publications.
Flow states can be affected by things as simple as the right lighting, so Logitech created keyboards that automatically adjust their keyboard backlighting.
Lights can be used to indicate your interruptibility.; Prof. Fritz did some research on FlowLight, which indicates your willingness to be interrupted with a simple red light/green light protocol. These days, you can use your Slack status to the same effect.
If you’re looking for apps to improve your daily flow, Cassidy recommends Centered.
|Sep 14, 2022|
Hackathons and free pizza: All about Stack Overflow’s new Student Ambassador Program
As part of an effort to work with students at college and universities, Stack Overflow is partnering with Major League Hacking (MLH) to recruit our first cohort of Student Ambassadors. These folks will represent us on campus and lead the way in tackling challenges, earning rewards, and planning out the future of the program.
Our pizza fund events are open to students in the US and Canada, and Global Hack Weeks are open to all. You can learn more about how to apply here.
ICYMI: Major League Hacking cofounder Jon Gottfried and Hackathon Community Manager Mary Siebert previously came on the podcast to describe what a Major League Hackathon looks like (the succulents were a surprise).
|Sep 13, 2022|
Plug-and-play AI for your own projects
AssemblyAI is an AI-as-a-service provider focused on speech-to-text and text analysis. Their mission is to make it easy for developers and product teams to incorporate state-of-the-art AI technology into the solutions they’re building. Their customers include Spotify, the Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. Need AI to run semantic analysis on your forum comments or automatically produce summaries of blog post submissions? Rent an ML model on-demand from the cloud instead of building a solution from scratch.
Just three months after its $28M Series A, AssemblyAI raised another $30M in a Series B round led by Insight Partners, Y Combinator, and Accel. In this economy?
Connect with Dylan on LinkedIn.
|Sep 09, 2022|
Flow state at your fingertips - how keyboards impact developer productivity
For those not familiar with the MX series, you can read more about the different versions, including the mechanical one, here.
Stayed tuned for episode #2, airing next week, when we'll be digging deeper into the science behind keyboards and coders with Prof. Thomas Fritz and Marcel Twohig Head of Design for the MX series.
|Sep 08, 2022|
Does AI-assisted coding make it too easy for student to cheat on schoolwork?
You can find a great essay on AI helping students, and what that means for their teachers, here.
Here's a piece on W4 Games plans to monetize the Godot engine.
Snap says it now has one million subscribers for its Snapchat+ offering.
There were no fresh lifeboats badges this week, so shoutout to Jemo for being awarded the Great Question badge. They asked: What's the difference between thread and coroutine in Kotlin
|Sep 06, 2022|
ReleaseHub provides on-demand environments for development, staging, and production. Every developer knows that environments can be a bottleneck, so ReleaseHub’s mission is to empower developers to share their ideas with the world more quickly and easily, sidestepping what Tommy calls “the big bottlenecks in development.”
As CTO of TrueCar, Tommy was leading an effort to rebuild that company’s tech stack, but he needed an environment management platform, and nothing on the market fit his needs. The homegrown environment management system he developed with his cofounders would become ReleaseHub.
Tommy joined Y Combinator in 2009.
Connect with Tommy on LinkedIn.
|Sep 02, 2022|
What companies lose when they track worker productivity
What do companies want to gain through monitoring software—and what do they, and their employees, stand to lose? Read more.
In Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport makes the point that our world isn’t geared toward deep, focused, flow-state work; instead, it rewards the appearance of busyness. Workers who see their keystrokes or mouse movements tracked are likely to focus on those behaviors instead of their projects.
More than 50 countries are establishing rules to control their digital information and achieve data sovereignty. Read more.
Gather round for the latest in cautionary crypto tales: The Crypto Geniuses Who Vaporized a Trillion Dollars. If you’re in the market, you can buy their yacht, the Much Wow (we kid you not).
|Aug 30, 2022|
The luckiest guy in AI
Varun is the cofounder and CTO of AKASA, which develops purpose-built AI and automation solutions for the healthcare industry.
Building a physics simulator for a robot helicopter as a student at Stanford helped Varun connect his interests in physics, machine learning, and AI. Check out that project here. His instructor? Andrew Ng.
Along with Ng, Varun was lucky to connect with some brilliant AI folks during his time at Stanford, like Jeffrey Dean, Head of Google AI; Daphne Koller, cofounder of Coursera; and Sebastian Thrun, cofounder of Udacity.
When Varun earned his PhD in computer science and AI, Koller and Thrun served as his advisors. You can read their work here.
Connect with Varun on LinkedIn.
Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user John Woo for their answer to the question Update the row that has the current highest (maximum) value of one field.
|Aug 26, 2022|
Why AI is having an on-prem moment
Learn why some companies are moving AI and ML data and models off the cloud and back on premises.
Oxide is a rack-scale server with tightly integrated hardware and software. Cofounder and Chief Product Officer Jessie Frazelle was an early core maintainer of Docker. You can find her on GitHub or LinkedIn.
It’s no secret that Instagram has made changes to its feed, emphasizing video content in an effort to compete with TikTok. Nor is it a secret that these changes have proved unpopular with creators, from Kylie Jenner to independent photographers and other artists. Just another reminder that these platforms are rarely for creators; they’re built to generate revenue.
What Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot (of Roomba fame) might mean.
Earthships are sustainable dwellings constructed from recycled and natural materials. Built for off-the-grid living, they use thermal and solar power, harvest rainwater, and often incorporate gardens to supplement food supply.
Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user SILENT for their answer to the question In React and Next.js constructor, I am getting “Reference Error: localstorage is not defined”.
|Aug 23, 2022|
Combining the best of engineering cultures from Silicon Valley and Shanghai
Born and raised in China, Liam arrived in the US to attend the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied human-computer interaction. After some initial “culture shock” at the differences between his education in China and the “open and innovative” Berkeley environment, Liam thrived. After graduating, he worked at LinkedIn before returning to China to found a startup called Zaihui, offering ecommerce SaaS solutions for retailers.
Liam describes the still-commonplace 9-9-6 schedule (working from nine in the morning until nine at night, six days a week) and the approach of assigning multiple teams to compete on different visions for the same product.
In Liam’s view, US and Chinese engineering teams take different approaches to work, work-life balance, innovation, and risk. US teams pursue “breakthrough innovations” that impress customers, while “hustling and hardworking” Chinese teams “want to move fast and break things” to copy what works and make it incrementally better.
What would a hybrid of these approaches look like? Liam’s new startup, Immersive, is combining teams from the US and China to find out.
Follow Liam on LinkedIn.
|Aug 19, 2022|
The last technical interview you'll ever take
Since the day a hiring manager first wheeled a whiteboard into a conference room, software engineers have dreaded the technical interview, which can be an all-day process (or multi-day homework assignment). If you’re interviewing for multiple roles, you can expect to write out a bubble sort in pseudocode for each one. These technical interviews do no favors for hiring companies, either, because the investment needed from both parties limits the number of candidates a company can consider. In this age of data-driven decisions, perhaps there’s a way that AI and ML can help candidates and companies find each other.
On this episode of the podcast, sponsored by Turing AI, we chat with Chief Revenue Officer Prakash Gupta about building a better hiring process with AI. Turing helps companies scale their engineering programs quickly with remote developers from around the world. We talk about how to vet a profession without standard markers, the benefits of soft skills, and how AI-assisted hiring helps everyone involved.
While companies have been outsourcing development for years, COVID made the software industry almost entirely remote. Suddenly, every company has the ability to hire the best developers regardless of location. And good developers can find work at companies of all sizes without packing up and settling in Silicon Valley.
But when any company could conceivably interview any candidate, how do you vet candidates at scale? There is no standardized board certification for software engineers, after all. Every interviewer has to vet the candidates themselves, and that’s where human biases come in.
On one side, you have Fortune 500 companies developing complex systems and undergoing digital transformation projects, plus startups looking to scale their engineering organizations as their product finds market fit. On the other, you have a new generation of engineers trained on bootcamps and online resources who may not have opportunities where they live. That’s where Turing comes in, matching 1.7 million engineers from over 140 countries with jobs at hundreds of companies.
Turing strives to mitigate bias by collecting hundreds of signals about candidates over a four- to six-hour process. This process covers projects candidates have worked on, technology aptitude, and soft skills through 30-minute tests, candidates’ online presence in places like GitHub and Stack Overflow, and qualitative assessments refined over two years of feedback loops.
A process that once consisted of ten interviews can now drop to two or three at the most. Some Turing customers have eliminated interviews altogether, relying on Turing’s AI-powered solutions to surface and evaluate the best candidates. To see how Turing can streamline your interview process, either as a candidate or a company, check out turing.com today.
|Aug 17, 2022|
A history of open-source licensing from a lawyer who helped blaze the trail
Heather is a General Partner at OSS Capital, which provides VC backing to seed-stage COSS (commercial open source) startups. Her law practice focuses on intellectual property and open-source licensing, and she serves on the IEEE-ISTO Board of Directors.
|Aug 16, 2022|
A conversation with Spencer Kimball, creator of GIMP and CockroachDB
Spencer was one of the original creators of open-source, cross-platform image editing software GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), authored while he was still in college. He went on to spend a decade at Google, plus two years as CTO of Viewfinder, later acquired by Square.
Database sharding is essential for CockroachDB: “a critical part of how Cockroach achieves virtually everything,” says Spencer. Read up on how sharding a database can make it faster.
Like many engineers who find themselves in the C-suite, Spencer went from full-time programmer to full-time CEO. He says it’s been a “relatively gentle” evolution, but he can always go back.
Like lots of you out there, Spencer started programming on a TI-99/4, the world’s first 16-bit home computer.
Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Hughes M. for their answer to the question Multiple keys pointing to a single value in Redis (Cache) with Java.
|Aug 12, 2022|
The internet’s Robin Hood uses robo-lawyers to fight parking tickets and spam calls
DoNotPay offers more than 250 “automated justice” services in every US state, from suing robo-callers to annulling marriages to fighting eviction. It earned Joshua the title “Robin Hood of the internet.”
DoNotPay leverages AI and ML solutions, including GPT-3, to shape and refine its decision trees.
Read about how DoNotPay is helping crypto traders who’ve lost money file suit against fallen leaders.
Why PDFs are unfit for human (or computer) consumption.
Follow Joshua on Twitter.
|Aug 09, 2022|
Satellite internet: More useful than sending a car into space
A coding error reportedly caused the massive outage at Canadian telecom company Rogers that affected more than 10 million customers—a quarter of Canada’s population.
In a rut? Hacker News has some advice for climbing out. (Hint: More screen time won’t help.)
Michael Pollan’s 2019 book How to Change Your Mind—an exploration of psychedelic therapy’s history, current status, and future potential—is now a four-part Netflix documentary. We at Stack Overflow DO NOT recommend illegal drug use, but we can recommend the documentary.
|Aug 05, 2022|
Monitoring data quality with Bigeye
Kyle and Egor made a clean break with Uber before founding Bigeye, eager to avoid even the appearance of an Anthony Levandowski-like situation. If you’re not familiar with the ex-Google engineer sentenced to prison for stealing trade secrets (and later pardoned by Trump), catch up here.
Learn how to save your energy for innovation by choosing boring technology.
Connect with Kyle on LinkedIn.
Connect with Egor on LinkedIn.
Compiler is an original podcast from Red Hat discussing tech topics big, small and strange like, What are tech hiring managers actually looking for? And, do you have to know how to code to get started in open source? Listen to Compiler anywhere you find your podcasts or visit https://link.chtbl.com/compiler?sid=podcast.stack.overflow
|Aug 02, 2022|
San Francisco? More like San Francisgo
San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed says a seismic shift (definitely not an exodus) is underway as tech workers continue working from home and companies like Salesforce (the city’s largest private employer) reduce office space. Breed says San Francisco lost $400 million in tax revenue in 2021, as companies shuttered offices or moved to other cities. San Francisco offices haven’t been this empty since 2009.
The Wall Street Journal reports that 71 cities (and counting) are offering cash grants and other incentives to lure remote workers from Silicon Valley to, say, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Customizable open search platform You.com debuts YouCode, a specialized search engine intended to increase developer efficiency. You.com allows users to deploy AI to customize the sources they want to see, the order in which results appear, and how private results are, reports VentureBeat.
Matt is the proud owner of a new tongue scraper (TMI?), and Ben is 3D-printing him a customized holder. What are friends for?
|Jul 29, 2022|
Team analytics: Less creepy, more empowering
Multitudes helps managers and CTOs create happier, higher-performing teams, using data they already have. Multitudes is focused on software development teams to start, but their bigger vision is to make it easier for any manager to understand and improve their teams’ culture and performance.
“Developers in our audience have expressed skepticism or dismay in the past about software that tracks performance or output,” Lauren explains. Multitudes’ approach is to break down an organization’s approach to ethical team analytics in order to balance delivering value to management with respect and support for the individual developers whose work is being measured. How does that work? Read Lauren’s blog post about data ethics.
Lauren founded Multitudes based on insights she acquired running Ally Skills NZ, which supports organizations in building equitable, inclusive teams. Before that, she worked with high-performance, fast-growth companies in Silicon Valley, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and New Zealand. A Stanford grad, Lauren is passionate about making equity the default both at work and in the wider world.
|Jul 26, 2022|
Game Boy emulators, PowerPoint developers, and the enduring appeal of Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO is six years old (it makes us feel old, too).
What kind of game could you build with PowerPoint? Two game developers go head-to-head over 24 hours to show you: Watch the video.
Did you know a moose can dive 20 feet deep and swim faster than Michael Phelps? It’s true.
Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user zvone for their answer to Error message "TypeError: descriptor 'append' requires a 'list' object but received a 'dict'".
|Jul 22, 2022|
How APIs can take the pain out of legacy system headaches
Today's episode is sponsored by Opentext. You can learn more about their information management solutions here.
You can find out more about Claire and here career on her LinkedIn.
Opentext has a fascinating history. It began as an academic project at the University of Waterloo. The researchers were looking to digitize the Oxford English Dictionary, and created an early search engine, similar to Project Gutenberg. The private company spun out of that work.
No lifeboat badge today, so we'll shout out SDK, who claimed the benefactor badge for placing a bounty on his question: How to make a dynamic slide up transition? Seems like it worked, as the question now has an accepted answer :)
|Jul 20, 2022|
Code completion isn’t magic; it just feels that way
Anvil is an open-source web framework for building full-stack applications entirely in Python.
Ready to dig deeper into code completion? Check out Meredydd’s talk at PyCon 2022 (he even built a code completion engine live on stage).
ICYMI: Listen to our previous episode with Meredydd about countering the complexity of web programming: Full-stack web programming with nothing but Python.
|Jul 19, 2022|
At your next job interview, you ask the questions
The GPU shortage is (allegedly) over! Read about it at The Verge.
On the job market? Don’t be afraid to turn the tables on your interviewer.
This week’s tech recs: Help foster more equitable compensation conversations by taking Devocate’s Developer Relations Compensation Survey.
Appsmith is an open-source, low-code platform for building, shipping, and maintaining CRUD apps.
Finally, if you’re wondering how to get that startup idea from back-of-napkin to exit, start with Kernal.
|Jul 15, 2022|
Money that moves at the speed of information
Devraj Varadhan is the SVP of Engineering at Ripple, which provides crypto and blockchain solutions for businesses. Ripple’s mission is to provide practical access to investment tools that can deliver economic freedom for unbanked and underbanked people around the world. Plenty of companies have pressed pause on recruitment efforts, but Ripple is hiring.
Before working at Ripple, Dev spent 15 years at Amazon, building customer experiences and products across a wide swath of categories, including as VP of Delivery Experience. Connect with Dev on LinkedIn and read his blog post about how Ripple is working to accelerate financial inclusion through technology with partnerships with STASIS, the Republic of Palau, and Bhutan.
Who remembers Pets.com?
We normally shout out a Lifeboat badge winner, but today we’re congratulating user Ram on a Curious badge: they asked a well-received question on five separate days and maintained a positive question record. Stay curious!
|Jul 12, 2022|
A conversation with Stack Overflow's new CTO, Jody Bailey
Interested in learning more about the changing trends in Developer education? Check out data from our latest Dev Survey and research from the teams at Skillsoft, another member of the Prosus Ed-tech portfolio.
Today’s lifeboat badge goes to Anton VBR for explaining: What's the function of dedent() in Python?
|Jul 08, 2022|
Skills that pay the bills for software developers
If you want to dive deeper on lucrative skills, you can read a blog post Mike wrote for us last month.
If you want to learn more about Mike's background and career, check out his LinkedIn.
Mike was previously on the blog and podcast discussing Skillsoft research about the certifications that are most in demand for top paying roles. You can read up on that and listen to his earlier interview here.
As always, we want to shout out the winner of a Lifeboat badge. Today's hero is Philip, who answered the question: Substring is not working as expected if length is greater than length of String
|Jul 07, 2022|
Developers vs the difficulty bomb
|Jul 05, 2022|
Exploring the interesting and strange results from our 2022 Developer Survey
Huge thanks to the more than 73,000 devs from 180 countries who spent 15 minutes each completing our 2022 Developer Survey. This year’s survey was longer than usual, since we wanted to ask about new topics as well as provide a historical throughline to understand how your responses have changed over the years.
Among the takeaways from the survey: 2022 saw a 10% jump in how many folks are learning to code online (versus through a conventional coding school or from textbooks). Nearly 85% of organizations represented in the survey have at least some remote workers, while the vast majority of developers are still working remotely at least part of the time. You can read more about the results here.
Worth noting: Just because you’ve learned to code doesn’t mean you have to pursue a career as a programmer. Here are four different career paths coders can follow, including product manager and sales engineer.
Wondering how Ikea’s Friheten or Fjӓdermoln would actually look in your living room? The company’s new virtual design tool lets you scan rooms in your home, delete your furniture, and replace it with shiny new stuff from Ikea. You can also fill virtual showrooms to your heart’s content.
|Jul 01, 2022|
GitHub Copilot is here. But what’s the price?
Yes, Copilot is impressive; no, it’s not gunning for your job. ICYMI, check out our blog post exploring whether AI is poised to steal our livelihoods: The robots are coming for (the boring parts of) your job.
Mullvad VPN is removing the option to add new subscriptions because they want to know “as little as possible” about their users: “We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the amount of data we store while still providing a usable service.”
Data scraping is both ubiquitous and seemingly unavoidable—but it raises serious privacy concerns, writes David Golumbia for Real Life.
Thanks to Liam for emailing the podcast to share Physics Girl’s terrific explanation of quantum cryptography.
|Jun 28, 2022|
Living on the Edge with Netlify
Salma helps “developers build stuff, learn things, and love what they do.” She loves helping people get into tech, where she started working after a career as a music teacher and comedian. Active in the developer community, she’s a Microsoft MVP for Developer Technologies, a partnered Twitch streamer, and a relentless advocate for building a truly accessible web. Salma is the founder of Unbreak.tech, Women Who Stream Tech, and Women of Jamstack, projects that call for social change and equality in tech. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Phil is passionate about browser technologies, the web’s empowering properties, and ingenuity and simplicity in the face of overengineering. He has built web apps for Google, Apple, Nike, R/GA, and The London Stock Exchange, and is a coauthor of Modern Web Development on the Jamstack (O’Reilly, 2019). Connect with Phil on Twitter or LinkedIn, or read his blog posts for Netlify.
|Jun 24, 2022|
An Engineer's Field Guide to Great Technical Writing
Docs for Devs: An Engineer’s Field Guide to Technical Writing can be found here.
Jared worked as a technical writer at Google for more than 14 years and recently transitioned to Waymo, the self-driving car company spun out under the Alphabet umbrella. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Zachary has been a technical writer at GitHub and the Linux Foundation, and now works as a staff technical writer at Stripe. You can find all her online accounts at her website.
Interested in exploring approaches for collaboration and knowledge management on engineering teams? Why not try a tool developers already turn to regularly? Check out Stack Overflow for Teams, used by Microsoft, Bloomberg, and many others.
Tired of security bottlenecks? Today’s episode is sponsored by Snyk, a developer security platform that automatically scans your code, dependencies, containers, and cloud configs — finding and fixing vulnerabilities in real time, from the tools and workflows you already use. Create your free account at snyk.co/stackoverflow.
|Jun 21, 2022|
Our favorite features and updates from WWDC
WWDC22 was last week (check out Apple’s highlights here). Among the most exciting demonstrations: passkeys, a new approach to authentication with the potential to finally replace passwords altogether.
Now that iMessage users will be able to edit or even unsend text messages after the fact, will your group chat (or your relationship) ever be the same?
Multitaskers rejoice: A new iPadOS function called Stage Manager organizes apps in a tile formation that allows users to rapidly tap from workspace to workspace.
And yes, you can finally check the weather on your iPhone lock screen.
Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Stephen Docy for their answer to Proving that a two-pointer approach works (pair sum).
|Jun 17, 2022|
Privacy is a moving target. Here’s how engineering teams can stay on track.
Ever since personal information started flowing into applications on the web, securing that information has become more and more important. General security and privacy frameworks like ISO-27001 and PCI provide guidance in securing systems. Now the law has gotten involved with the European Union’s GDPR and California’s CPRA. More laws are on the way, and these laws (and the frameworks) are changing as they meet legal challenges. With the legal landscape for privacy shifting so much, every engineer must ask: How do I keep my application in compliance?
On this sponsored episode of the podcast, we talk with Rob Picard and Matt Cooper of Vanta, who get that question every day. Their company makes security monitoring software that helps companies get into compliance quickly. We spoke about the shifting sands of privacy rules and regulations, tracking data flows through systems and across corporate borders, and how security automation can put up guardrails instead of gates.
Many security frameworks are undergoing modernization to reflect the way that distributed applications function today. And more countries and US states are passing their own privacy regulations. The privacy space is surprisingly dynamic, forcing companies to keep track of these frequent changes to stay current and compliant. Not everyone has in-house legal experts to follow the daily developments and communicate those to the engineering team.
For an engineering team just trying to understand the effort involved, it may be helpful to start figuring out where your data flows. Tracking it between internal services may be overkill; instead, track it across corporate boundaries, from one database, cloud provider, SaaS system, and dependency. Each of those should have their own data privacy agreement—plug into your procurement process to see what each piece of your stack promises on a privacy level.
Your DevOps and DevSecOps teams will probably want to automate much of the security engineering process as possible. Unfortunately, automating security is hard. The best path may not be to automate the defenses on your system; it might be better to instead automate the context that you provide to engineers. If someone wants to add a dependency, pop up a reminder that these dependencies can be fickle. Automate the boring stuff—context, reminders, to-dos—and let humans do the complex problem solving we’re so good at.
If you’re looking to add an in-house security expert as a service, check out Vanta.com. Their platform monitors connects to your systems and helps you prep for compliance with one or more security frameworks. If those frameworks change, you don’t need to do anything. Vanta changes for you.
|Jun 16, 2022|
Run your microservices in no-fail mode
Temporal Technologies is a scalable open-source platform for developers to build and run reliable cloud applications.
ICYMI, here’s a post we wrote with Ryland Goldstein, Head of Product at Temporal, discussing how software engineering has shifted from a monolithic to a microservices model—thereby introducing a whole new set of challenges for software engineers.
Maxim, who grew up in Russia, is renowned in the microservices world. He spent decades architecting mission-critical systems at MSFT, Amazon, and Uber, where he designed Cadence and spun it out into Temporal. Netflix, Descript, Instacart, Datadog, Snap, and plenty more are all betting their critical systems on Temporal’s OSS technology, so Maxim has a dedicated following in the dev community.
Dominik’s father is a nuclear physicist, so Dominik had early access to computers growing up in Germany. His professional path led him from SAP in Germany to SAP in Palo Alto, then to Cisco, and finally to Temporal.
Replay, Temporal’s inaugural developer experience conference, is happening IRL from August 25-26, 2022 in Seattle. Check it out!
Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Thanos for their answer to How to wrap text without regard to space and hyphen. (This makes up for the Snap, right?)
|Jun 14, 2022|
Want to be great at UX research? Take a cue from cultural anthropology.
Maggie recommends the Nielsen Norman Group website as the best resource for folks getting up to speed on research-based UX.
|Jun 10, 2022|
On the quantum internet, data doesn’t stream; it teleports
The first step in quantum computing? Quantum internet: a network capable of sending quantum information between far-distant computing machines (as in, one on Earth and one on Mars). Still have questions?
In case it’s been a while since your last physics course: Schrödinger’s cat.
Retool’s 2022 State of Engineering Time reveals how software engineers spend their time, what they want to do more (and less) of, and the most frustrating and satisfying parts of their jobs.
A great resource from GitHub for folks working on open-source projects: Why creating a popular OSS library is a marathon, not a sprint.
Cassidy recommends Centered again—the app that helps you stay in your flow state.
Congrats to Ceora on her new role at Auth0!
|Jun 07, 2022|
Kidnapping an NFT
Ceora served as a resident emcee at this year’s Remix Conf. She and Cassidy offer advice for developers who want to give talks or host conferences.
In tech industry news: Broadcom acquires VMWare for $61 billion, one of the largest tech acquisitions in history.
Today in tech recs: Matt recommends Logitech’s MX Mechanical keyboard; Adam recommends roadmap.sh, a community dedicated to creating roadmaps, guides, and other resources to guide developers as they start their careers or upskill along the way.
|Jun 03, 2022|
Talking blockchain, functional programming, and the future with Tezos co-founder Arthur Breitman
While blockchains are huge right now, finding one to build on that doesn’t use a ton of energy, has good privacy protections, and operates efficiently is harder than it looks. The original breakout blockchain, Bitcoin, was slow to adopt any innovations coming out of research. Other blockchains use the electricity of a small country to play elaborate gambling games. For someone looking to build the future of Web3, what are your options?
On this sponsored episode of the podcast, we talk to Tezos co-founder Arthur Breitman. After finding out that the Bitcoin blockchain wouldn’t incorporate all the good ideas generated around it—proof of stake, privacy improvements, and smart contracts to name a few—he decided to build his own.
Arthur has a background in machine learning and statistics but spent his early 20s teaching self-driving cars how to turn left and working in quantitative finance for high-frequency trading. High-frequency trading was data-driven, but there was so much noise that machine learning didn’t do very well. Self-driving cars, meanwhile, presented a more structured problem, so neural networks could yield good results.
Around that time, Arthur got bit by the crypto bug. It lived at the intersection of a lot of his interests: Cryptography touched on computer science and math, but his time in finance got him wondering about banks and money work. The idea of individual sovereignty scratched a personal philosophical itch.
Naturally, Arthur decided to try some mining software. It took all of his computer’s resources, so he uninstalled it. But after seeing the price of Bitcoin break a dollar and other news items about it, he looked closer. He started to think about what a company could do if it didn’t have to maintain banking relationships. He thought about possible applications, like decentralized poker.
When Bitcoin refused to adopt the improvements developed by competing alt coins, Arthur started thinking about a new blockchain that would respond to new developments and focus on efficient processing, security, and a good smart contract system. Forking the code wasn’t enough; he needed a new ledger.
That’s when Tezos was born. It was initially built by a small team of OCaml programmers using that language’s functional subset. Arthur was inspired by the example of WhatsApp, which was built by a small team of senior Erlang engineers. While OCaml would limit the talent he could hire, it would be a very efficient way to build an error-free transaction system. He could have built the whole thing in Java, sure, but Arthur estimates that it would have cost a whole lot more.
If you’re interested in learning more about what an engineer’s blockchain ecosystem looks like, check out the Tezos home page. Discover building on Tezos: https://tezos.com/build/
|Jun 01, 2022|
How a very average programmer became GitHub's CTO
He describes himself as a "very average" programmer, but an excellent engineer, and explains how he parlayed his unique skill set into key roles at Heroku and GitHub.
Our lifeboat for the week goes to dfrib for suggesting a solution to: Error "nil requires a contextual type" using Swift
|May 31, 2022|
Games are good, mods are immortal
Following the success of the Mac Mini, Windows is getting into the tiny computer business. Oh, and it’s running on ARM chips. Oh, and Visual Studio and VS Code will now offer native ARM support.
Video games got a lot of us into programming thanks to their openness to mods. It’s what made The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind such a hit 20 years ago.
Minecraft may live forever thanks to its modding community and parent-friendly tools. Just don’t be surprised when you have to ban local kids for virtual arson and murder.
The old security exploit hits are still out there: cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and cross-site request forgery. Could be because 86% of developers do not view application security as a top priority.
Two great questions today:
and a Lifeboat-worthy response from Markus Meskanen on
|May 27, 2022|
Turns out the Great Resignation goes both ways
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?
|May 24, 2022|
Make your open-source project public before you’re ready
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
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
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’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
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.
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".
|May 10, 2022|
Why security needs to shift left into the SDLC
|May 05, 2022|
What counts as art, anyway?
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?
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.)
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.
Find Adam on LinkedIn here.
|Apr 29, 2022|
Meet the design system that lets us customize and theme Stack Overflow
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
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.
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?
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
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 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.”
Read about how New Relic achieved pay equity—and what, exactly, that means.
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.
|Apr 12, 2022|
Words of wisdom for self-taught developers
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.
|Apr 08, 2022|
The new version of React, great tools for learning CSS, and the double standard for female engineers
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 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
Read a profile of Mattaniah on People of Color in Tech (POCIT) here.
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.
|Apr 01, 2022|
Give us 23 minutes, we’ll give you some flow state
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:
|Mar 29, 2022|
Human laziness is the ultimate security threat
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.
Find Guillermo on LinkedIn here.
Find Sam on LinkedIn here.
|Mar 25, 2022|
Getting through a SOC 2 audit with your nerves intact
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
Geriatric millennials unite.
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
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.
Find Danielle on LinkedIn here.
|Mar 18, 2022|
Visual Studio turns 25, new ideas for supporting open source, and of course…NFTs
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.
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.
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.
ICYMI: Listen to our episode Web3 won’t save us.
|Mar 11, 2022|
Who says HTML and CSS aren't real programming?
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
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.
Find David Barrett on LinkedIn here.
|Mar 04, 2022|
The Great QR Code Comeback
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.
|Mar 01, 2022|
Is functional programming the hipster programming paradigm?
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
|Feb 22, 2022|
An algorithm that optimizes for avoiding ennui
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
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
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.
|Feb 15, 2022|
China’s only female Apache member on the rise of open source in China
SphereEX builds distributed data systems, making it easier for organizations to load balance massive data stores across multiple servers.
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
|Feb 11, 2022|
There’s no coding Oscars. Write software that works
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
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
Neopets: A little-known gateway into a software career. (Nineties kids will remember.)
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
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?
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
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.
|Jan 28, 2022|
How to defend your attention and find a flow state
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?
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.
Ben Popper can be found on Twitter here.
|Jan 21, 2022|
A chat with the folks who lead training and certification at AWS
|Jan 18, 2022|
Safety in numbers: crowdsourcing data on nefarious IP addresses
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
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
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.
|Jan 11, 2022|
Are developers helping to drive the Great Resignation?
You can find out hosts online at the links below
Have an experience with the Great Resignation you want to share with our podcast and blog? Hit us up by email:
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
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
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
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.
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
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
|Dec 14, 2021|
Zero to MVP without provisioning a database
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?
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?
Ethan's book, Once a Bitcoin Miner: Scandal and Turmoil in the Cryptocurrency Wild West, is available now.
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?
|Dec 03, 2021|
Does modern parenting have to rely on spyware?
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?
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
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?
You can learn more about Roll, which describes itself as blockchain infrastructure for social money, here.
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.
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
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
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
|Nov 05, 2021|
The big problem with only being able to solve big problems
We start out the show talking about this article: I Don't Know How To Count That Low.
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
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.
|Oct 29, 2021|
A murder mystery: who killed our user experience?
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
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.
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
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
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?
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
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?
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.
|Oct 08, 2021|
Building image search, but for any object IRL
|Oct 05, 2021|
It's 2FA's world, we're just living in it
|Oct 01, 2021|
Automate away your boring standup meetings
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
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
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
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.
|Sep 21, 2021|
Writing the roadmap from engineer to manager
|Sep 17, 2021|
This AI-assisted bug bash is offering serious prizes for squashing nasty code
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
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?
You can send ideas for blog posts to Ryan Donovan at our pitch box.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
|Aug 17, 2021|
Move fast and make sure nobody gets pager alerts at 2AM
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.
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
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?
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
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
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
You can read Max's full article on Kubernetes on our blog 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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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
Richard can be found on LinkedIn here.
Kelly can be found on LinkedIn here.
|Jul 06, 2021|
Bring your own stack: Why developer platforms are going headless
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
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.
|Jun 25, 2021|
From search trees to neural nets, a deep dive into natural language processing
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
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
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
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.
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.
|Jun 08, 2021|
Don't build it: advice on civic tech from MIT's GOV/LAB
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
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
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.
|May 07, 2021|
Open source contributors helped a helicopter fly on Mars
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"
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.
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
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|
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
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 Github, Twitter, and his website.
|Apr 20, 2021|
How to build and maintain online communities, from gaming to open source
|Apr 16, 2021|
Two words for ya: networked spreadsheets
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
|Apr 09, 2021|
Web programming with nothing but Python
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?
Despite its reputation, there is a Go To for every language. You can dive deeper with the Summer of Go To.
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
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
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.
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
You can find out more about Suyog and his career here. True story, he once worked on tablets way before tablets were a thing.
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.
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.
|Mar 19, 2021|
Taking a risk and moving to a new team
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.
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.
|Mar 12, 2021|
Building a bug bounty program for the Pentagon
|Mar 09, 2021|
How long does good code last?
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
|Mar 02, 2021|
When it comes to package managers, don't forget security
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
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
Welcome to The Stack Overflow Podcast!
|Feb 22, 2021|
How do digital nomads pay their taxes?
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?
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
|Jan 12, 2021|
Programming in PowerPoint can teach you a few things
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?
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
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
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.
|Dec 29, 2020|
A Very Crypto Christmas
With Bitcoin hitting all time highs, there has been a lot of speculation about what will happen next in the market crypto market.
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
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.
|Dec 22, 2020|
|Dec 18, 2020|
Diving into headless automation, active monitoring, Playwright and Puppeteer
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.
They also operate The Headless Dev, which helps coders learn Playwright and Puppeteer.
|Dec 15, 2020|
Cleaning up build systems and gathering computer history with Adam Gordon Bell
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
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
Gone in a Flash. Actually it took quite a while. Adobe explains its decision to stop supporting Flash here.
Here are some tips on writing a developer resume from a hiring manager who's written an entire book on the topic.
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
|Dec 01, 2020|
Big Tech is getting cozy with computer science departments
|Nov 27, 2020|
React, Vue, jQuery: what flavor do you like your Vanilla JS?
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.
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?
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?
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
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.
|Nov 10, 2020|
The pros and cons of the SPA
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.
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.
|Nov 06, 2020|
Cleaning up the cloud to help fight climate change
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
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
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.
|Oct 27, 2020|
How should tech titans act when productizing tiny open source projects?
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
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
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?
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.
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
You can find some of Jack's art and other projects here.
|Oct 09, 2020|
Talking Arduino, bits, and boards with Dr. Duino
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?
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?
|Oct 02, 2020|
Chris Anderson on drones, driverless cars, and creating communities around code
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
"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.
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
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
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"
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
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.
Newsletter and blog: stephaniemorillo.co/links
|Sep 11, 2020|
The magic of metric, micro frontends, and breaking leases on Silicon Valley offices
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?
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
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
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
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?
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.
|Aug 21, 2020|
Maxing out our stats with Personal Development Nerds
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.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Aug 18, 2020|
Tik Tok's Tech Troubles / Developers Flee San Francisco
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?
|Aug 14, 2020|
From web comics to React core with Rachel Nabors
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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?
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
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.
|Jul 14, 2020|
How to interpret the compiler
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
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
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
|Jun 30, 2020|
Paul Explains It All
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
|Jun 23, 2020|
It Ain't Real Till You Break Prod
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
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.
|Jun 16, 2020|
Turn on, tune in, drop out, log off
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
|Jun 09, 2020|
New tools for new times
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|
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
|May 20, 2020|
An emotional week, and the way forward
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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?
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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.
|Apr 03, 2020|
Getting to Know Our Moderators
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
|Feb 25, 2020|
Coaching A Developer Interview
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