The Stack Overflow Podcast

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 Sep 30, 2020


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

Episode Date
What do the tech layoffs really tell us?

Naturally, tech layoffs are top-of-mind for many of us. Despite comparisons to the dot-com bubble, what we’re seeing right now is different. Here’s what the tech and media layoffs really tell us about the economy.

In praise of analog technology: why Millennials and Gen Z are springing for paper maps.

Make Time, a way of “rethinking the defaults of constant busyness and distraction so you can focus on what matters every day,” was developed in response to always-on Silicon Valley culture.

Wifi routers can now be used to detect the physical positions of humans and map their bodies in 3D. Terrifyingly dystopian or interestingly practical? Why not both?

In recent accessibility news, a brain-computer interface (BCI) that converts speech-related neural activity into text allows a person with paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to communicate at 62 words per minute, nearly 3.5 times faster than before. From the abstract: “These results show a feasible path forward for using intracortical speech BCIs to restore rapid communication to people with paralysis who can no longer speak.” 

Shoutout to Lifeboat badge winner Holger for their answer to Sort an array containing numbers using a 'for' loop.

Jan 31, 2023
The less JavaScript, the better

Astro is a site builder that lets you use the frontend tools you already love (React, Vue, Svelte, and more) to build content-rich, performant websites. 

Astro extracts your UI into smaller, isolated components (“islands”) and replaces unused JavaScript with lightweight HTML for faster loads and time-to-interactive (TTI).

Ben and Nate explain why Astro’s compiler was written in Go (“seemed like fun”).

To learn more about Astro, start with their docs or see what people are doing with the framework.

Connect with Ben on LinkedIn, GitHub, or via his website.

Connect with Nate on GitHub.

Shoutout to Lifeboat badge winner Aurand for their answer to How to convert list to queue to achieve FIFO.

Jan 27, 2023
How chaos engineering preps developers for the ultimate game day

In complex service-oriented architectures, failure can happen in individual servers and containers, then cascade through your system. Good engineering takes into account possible failures. But how do you test whether a solution actually mitigates failures without risking the ire of your customers? That’s where chaos engineering comes in, injecting failures and uncertainty into complex systems so your team can see where your architecture breaks. 

On this sponsored episode, our fourth in the series with Intuit, Ben and Ryan chat with Deepthi Panthula, Senior Product Manager, and Shan Anwar, Principal Software Engineer, both of Intuit about how use self-serve chaos engineering tools to control the blast radius of failures, how game day tests and drills keep their systems resilient, and how their investment in open-source software powers their program. 

Episode notes: 

Sometimes old practices work in new environments. The Intuit team uses Failure Mode Effect Analysis, (FMEA), a procedure developed by the US military in 1949, to ensure that their developers understand possible points of failure before code makes it to production. 

The team uses Litmus Chaos to inject failures into their Kubernetes-based system and power their chaos engineering efforts. It’s open source and maintained by Intuit and others. 

If you’ve been following this series, you’d know that Intuit is a big fan of open-source software. Special shout out to Argo Workflow, which makes their compute-intensive Kubernetes jobs work much smoother. 

Connect on LinkedIn with Deepthi Panthula and Zeeshan (Shan) Anwar.

If you want to see what Stack Overflow users are saying about chaos engineering, check out 

Chaos engineering best practice

, asked by 

User NingLee

 two years ago.

Jan 25, 2023
From your lips to AI’s ears

In a win for accessibility, GitHub Copilot now responds to voice commands, allowing developers to code using their voices.

Speaking of accessibility, learn how Santa Monica Studio worked with disabled gamers and the community to build accessibility into God of War Ragnarök.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that lab-grown meat is safe to eat.

Looking for some high-quality entertainment content? Look no further than Simone Giertz’s YouTube channel, where she builds robots to (among other things) wash her hair and wake her up with a slap in the face.

Blast from the past: Listen to our episode with MongoDB CTO Eliot Horowitz.

Shoutout to Lifeboat badge winner ralf htp for their answer to How to listen for and react to Ace Editor change events.

Jan 24, 2023
How to build a universal computation machine with Tetris

First, some self-administered back-patting for the Stack Overflow editorial team: great engineering blogs give tech companies an edge (The New York Times says so). 

Hiring aside, engineering blogs are fresh sources of knowledge, insight, and entertainment for anyone working in tech. You can learn a lot from, for instance, blog posts that break down an outage or security incident and detail how engineers got things up and running again. One classic of the genre: Amazon’s explanation of how one engineer brought the internet to its knees. And here’s an example from our own blog

When you’ve finished catching up on the Stack Overflow blog, check out those from Netflix and Uber.

Good news for late-night impulse shoppers: Instagram is removing the shopping tag from the home feed, reports The Verge. Is this a response to widespread user pushback, and does this herald the end of New Instagram? We can hope.

Sony announces Project Leonardo, an accessibility controller kit for PS5.

Did you know? Using only Tetris, you can build a machine capable of universal computation.

Developer advocate Matt Kiernander is moving on to his next adventure. If you’re looking for a developer advocate or engineer, connect with him on LinkedIn or email him.

One of Matt’s favorite conversations on the podcast was 

our episode with Mitchell Hashimoto

, cofounder and CEO of HashiCorp. It’s worth a (re)listen.

Jan 20, 2023
How Intuit improves security, latency, and development velocity with a service mesh

At an SaaS company like Intuit that has hundreds of services spread out across multiple products, maintaining development velocity at scale means baking some of the features that every service needs into the architecture of their systems. That’s where a service mesh comes in. It automatically adds features like observability, traffic management, and security to every service in the network without adding any code. 

In this sponsored episode of the podcast, we talk with Anil Attuluri, principal software engineer, and Yasen Simeonov, senior product manager, both of Intuit, about how their engineering organization uses a service mesh to solve problems, letting their engineers stay focused on writing business logic. Along the way, we discuss how the service mesh keeps all the financial data secure, how it moves network traffic to where it needs to go, and the open source software they’ve written on top of the mesh. 

Episode notes:

For those looking to get the same service mesh capabilities as Intuit, check out Istio, a Cloud Native Computing Foundation project. 

In order to provide a better security posture for their products, each business case operates on a discrete network. But much of the Istio service mesh needs to discover services across all products. Enter Admiral, their open-sourced solution. 

When Intuit deploys a new service version, they can progressively scale the amount of traffic that hits it instead of the old version using Argo Rollouts. It’s better to find a bug in production on 1% of requests than 100%.

If you want to learn more about what Intuit engineering is doing, check out their blog

Congrats to Great Question badge winner, 


, for asking 

Detect whether input element is focused within ReactJS

Jan 18, 2023
Flake it till you make it - how to handle flaky tests

There is a ton of great research to be found on Prof. Kapfhammer's website, including: 

  • Flaky Tests: Finding and fixing unpredictable and harmful test cases
  • Database Testing: Automatically testing relational database schemas
  • Web Testing: Detecting and repairing poor responsive web page layout

We've written a bit about how Stack Overflow is upping its unit testing game and how you can evaluate multiple assertions in a single test.

Thanks to our lifeboat badge winner of the week, Survivor, for answering the question: Is it possible to find out if a value exists twice in an arraylist?

Jan 17, 2023
Commit to something big: all about monorepos

Juri is currently Director of Developer Experience (Global) and Director of Engineering (Europe) at Nrwl, founded by former Googlers/Angular core team members Jeff Cross and Victor Savkin.

Nrwl has compiled everything you need to know about monorepos, plus the tools to build them, here.

Connect with Juri on LinkedIn or explore his website.

Shoutout to Lifeboat badge winner penguin2718 for their answer to Storing loop output in a dataframe in R.

Jan 13, 2023
Taming multiple design systems with a single plugin

Any large organization with multiple products faces the challenge of keeping their brand identity unified without denying each product its own charisma. That’s where a design system can help developers avoid reinventing the wheel every time, say,  a new button gets created 

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, we talk with Demian Borba, Principal Product Manager, and Kelvin Nguyen, Senior Engineering Manager, both of Intuit. We chat about how their design system is evolving into a platform, how AI keeps their brand consistent, and why a design system doesn’t have to solve every use case. 

Episode notes

Treating a design system as a platform means providing a baseline of tokens—colors, typography, themes—and allowing developers to deviate so long as they use the right tokens. 

Alongside a company-wide push towards greater AI usage, Intuit’s design system team is beginning to leverage AI to help developers make better design decisions. As an example, they’re including typeahead functionality to suggest possible solutions to design decisions. 

The team is using a Figma plugin to manage a lot of the heavy lifting. Their presentation at Config 2022 built a lot of excitement for what’s possible. 

Congrats to RedVelvet, who won a great question badge for The most efficient way to remove first N elements in a list?

Find Kelvin  and Demian  on Linkedin.

Jan 11, 2023
From CS side project to the C-suite

LogRocket helps software teams create better experiences through a combination of session replay, error tracking, and product analytics.

LogRocket’s machine-learning layer, Galileo, cuts through the noise generated by conventional error monitoring and analytics tools to identify critical issues affecting users.

LogRocket is hiring, so check out their open roles or connect with Matt Arbesfeld on LinkedIn. You can also give LogRocket a free trial.

Jan 10, 2023
Our favorite apps, books, and games of 2023

Adobe closed out 2022 and celebrated 40 years with an employee-only Katy Perry concert. Related: Ceora makes the case for virtual concerts.

DeepMind is teaching AI to play soccer, which naturally makes us think of QWOP.

ICYMI: Ghost calls out Substack and Substack responds.

BeReal is the iPhone app of the year. But not even Resident Youth Ceora knows anyone who actually uses it.

Some 2023 recommendations from the team: 

Ceora recommends Realworld (not to be confused with BeReal), an app that guides you through tasks and decisions big and small, from deciding on health insurance to improving your credit.

Cassidy recommends Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott.

Matt suggests fellow side hustlers check out The Freelance Manifesto: A Field Guide for the Modern Motion Designer by School of Motion founder Joey Korenman.

Ben recommends Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, a terrific novel about a love triangle between indie video game creators, especially fun if you grew up with Oregon Trail, Myst, and Super Mario. 

Jan 06, 2023
The future of software engineering is powered by AIOps and open source

Over the past five years, Intuit went through a total cloud transformation—they closed the data centers, built out a modern SaaS development environment, and got cloud native with foundational building blocks like containers and Kubernetes. Now they are looking to continue transforming into an AI-driven organization that leverages the data they have to make their customers’ lives easier. Along the way, they realized that their internal systems have the same requirements to leverage the data they have for AI-driven insights. 

Episode notes

Wadher notes that Intuit uses development velocity, not developer velocity. The thinking is that an engineering org should focus on shipping products and features faster, not making individual devs more productive. 

No, the robots aren’t coming for your jobs. Wadher says their AI strategy relies on helping experts make better insights. The goal is to arm those experts, not replace them. 

In terms of sheer volume, the AI/ML program at Intuit is massive. They make 58 billion ML predictions daily, enable 730 million AI-driven customer interactions every year, and maintain over two million personalized AI models. 

Intuit’s not here to hoard secrets. They’ve outsourced their DevOps pipeline tool, Argo. They found that a lot of companies used it for AI and data pipelines, and have recently launched Numaproj, which open sources a lot of the tools and capabilities that they use internally. 

Congrats to Lifeboat badge winner Bill Karwin for their answer to Understanding MySQL licensing

Jan 04, 2023
From life without parole to startup CTO

If you want to read more about Jessica, you can check out the blog we worked on together for the launch of our Overflow Offline initiative. If you've ever wondered what it's like learning to code from an XML file of raw Stack Overflow data, be sure to check this episode out.

You can learn more about the Supreme Court case that led to Jessica's release here.

Her company's mission is to build a better justice system from the inside, specifically by educating incarcerated individuals so they can teach the next generation and have valuable skills upon release. Read more about Unlocked Labs here.

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to mx0 for answering the question: How do you extract the 'src' attribute from an 'img' tag using Beautiful Soup?

Follow Ben on Twitter and if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a rating and review.

Jan 03, 2023
Let's talk about our favorite terminal tools

You can learn more about Anthony here.

His favorite terminal tool at the moment is Warp, which describes itself as "a blazingly fast, Rust-based terminal reimagined from the ground up to work like a modern app." 

His personal website features a live chat function. Sometimes it's actually Tony, sometimes it's just a bot. 

No lifeboat badge today. We''ll be taking a break for the holidays and will resume episodes in 2023. Until then, enjoy the holidays. 

Dec 20, 2022
An honest end-of-year rundown

Ben asks Matt to explain Mastodon to him like he’s five. Matt says the experience feels a lot like…LinkedIn?

Matt explains that he took social media apps off his phone for a while…just to chill out. (Ed. note, they're already back on.)

We cover the latest AI to emerge that can write essays, jokes, and yes, some code.

While everyone’s confused about the state of social media and AI chat, physicists have created a wormhole using a quantum computer. (Though it may have been a publicity stunt.)

Follow Ben and Matt.

Shout out to Lifeboat Badge winner ralf htp for their answer to the question ‘how to listen for and react to Ace Editor change events.’ Your answer has helped more than 20,000+ people, so rock on.

Dec 16, 2022
Talking about drag and drop tech stacks with's Steve Sewell

Steve was working as an engineering manager at ShopStyle and found that an increasing amount of his team's time was spent working on custom requests from departments like marketing and sales. They tried moving to a headless CMS but the data and components couldn't keep up with ever evolving needs. They wanted a drag and drop system connected to their code, data, and components.

This pain point inspired him strike out on his own to create a new product. The vision was a tool that would allow colleagues from across a company to make changes to web pages without requesting dev time, but would also ensure that any changes made would be up to the standards of the design department and not introduce errors that engineering would then have to fix. 

Hence, the company's pitch for a plug & play system that integrates with your existing sites & apps. It relies on a few key ideas:

  • API-based infrastructure that is native to your tech stack
  • Works with any frontend or backend
  • Build with your own data, like product catalogs or customer data platforms, to create rich, dynamic experiences

You can check it out for yourself over at

Follow Steve on Twitter and TikTok where he breaks down websites and effects he finds interesting.

Congrats to phoenisx for being awarded the Necromaner badge after answering the question: Property 'share' does not exist on type 'Navigator"? 

Dec 13, 2022
The next step in ecommerce? Replatform with APIs and micro frontends


Around the world, billions of people can sell their wares online, in part thanks to solutions that handle the complexities of securely and reliably managing transactions. Businesses, large and small, can sell directly to customers. But a lot of these ecommerce services provide a heavier surface than many need by managing product catalogs and requiring inflexible interfaces. 

On this sponsored podcast episode, Ben and Ryan talk with Filippo Conforti, co-founder of Commerce Layer, an API-only ecommerce platform that focuses on the transaction engine. We talk about his early years building ecommerce at Italian luxury brands, the importance of front-ends (and micro-frontends) to ecom, and how milliseconds of page load speed can cost millions. 

Episode notes

Conforti was the first Gucci employee building out their ecommerce, so he got to experience life in a fast-moving startup within a big brand. When he left five years later, the team had grown to around 100 people. 

The ecommerce space is crowded—one of Commerce Layer’s recent clients evaluated around 40 other platforms—but Conforti thinks Commerce Layer stands out by making any web page a shoppable experience. 

Conforti thinks composable commerce back ends that neglect the front end neutralize the benefits. Commerce Layer provides micro-frontends—standard web components that you can inject into any web page to create shoppable experiences. 

Getting your ecommerce platform as close to your customer makes real monetary difference. A report from Deloitte finds that a 100ms response time increase on mobile translates to an 8% increase in the conversion rate. 

Thanks to Mitch, today’s Lifeboat badge winner, for their answer to the question, How to get all weekends within a date range in C#

Dec 12, 2022
Ready to optimize your JavaScript with Rust?

Webpack has been king for several years. Vercel wants folks to embrace Turbopack, but their claims about speed raised a lot of backlash after it was first announced. Lee explains why he thinks the Rust-based approach will ultimately be a big benefit to developers and how organizations who are deeply ingrained with existing tools can safely and incrementally migrate to what is, for now, a very Alpha and experimental release. 

We go over the routing and rendering updates in Next.JS 13, exploring where it might offer developers more flexibility and the ability to use React server components to ship less, maybe a lot less, JavaScript. As Lee says in the episode: 

“So to your point about wanting to ship less JavaScript, that was a kinda fundamental architectural decision of where we headed with the app directory. And the core of this is because it's built on React server components. 

The key thing with React server components is that as your application grows in size from one component to a hundred thousand components, the amount of client-side JavaScript you send can be exactly the same. It can be constant because you can render every single component on the server. 

And that's a lot different from the world of React applications today, where every new component you add for data fetching or just putting some HTML on the screen also adds additional client-side JavaScript.

So this is kind of inverting the default, back from the client to be server first. Now, of course, we still love client-side interactivity that React provides making really interactive and rich UI experiences, but the default for data fetching or just getting HTML to the browser happens from the server, and that's gonna help us reduce the amount of JavaScript.”

You can learn more about Lee on his website, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To diver deeper into his take on how Rust will impact the future of Javascript, check out a post he wrote here.

Dec 09, 2022
The tech to build in a crypto winter

You can learn more about Andrew, from building out a telco in Canada to cyber security at Deloitte, on his LinkedIn.

Validation Cloud bills itself as the world’s fastest node infrastructure and cites networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance as clients it supports. Learn more at the company’s website here.

The company announced the launch of it's latest product, Javelin, earlier today.

Shout out to this week’s lifeboat badge winner, Derek, for helping answer the question: How do you open  the file chooser in an Android app using Kotlin?

Dec 06, 2022
Taking stock of the crypto crash and tech turbulence

Data show's Silicon Valley's share of new startup funding deals dropped below 20% for the first time.

What does it mean to experiment with big changes to an engineering org, in public and in real time?

SBF would like the chance to explain himself.

Today's lifeboat badge goes to CodeCaster for explaining: What is E in floating point?

Dec 02, 2022
Talking UX philosophies and deployment best practices with Patreon's VP of Engineering

Srivastava reflects on his upbringing in India, learning to write Assembly, and going to Stanford University to complete his Ph.D in computer science.

He shares his early career experiences at big tech names like Yahoo!, Google, Twitter, and Google.

The group reflects on some of the engineering challenges at Patreon including technical debt, migrations to open source services, and troubleshooting bugs.

Srivastava walks us all through upcoming product features that his engineering team is working to implement.

Andy wins a Lifeboat Badge for answering this question about a list of all tags on Stack Overflow.

Follow Ben, Matt, Cassidy, and Utkarsh.

Nov 29, 2022
Here’s what it’s like to develop VR at Meta

Cami and Cassidy take us down memory lane, sharing how they got into computer science together, hosted a web series (and still podcast together sometimes), and overlapped at two jobs together.

We discuss the technologies being used to build in/for the Metaverse like  Horizon WorkroomPresence Platform, Insights SDK, and of course, React

Cami shares how object and scene recognition work in VR.

Cami reveals a family secret — so listen up if you want to know how to beat Cassidy at board games.

Blackbishop wins the Illuminator Badge for answering and editing 500 different questions on Stack Overflow.

Follow Ben, Matt, Cassidy, and Cami.

We’re taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday so no podcast this Friday…have a good one, and see you next week.

Nov 22, 2022
Cloudy with a chance of… the state of cloud in 2022


Early in the days of high-traffic web pages and apps, any engineer operating the infrastructure would have a server room where one or more machines served that app to the world. They named their servers lovingly, took pictures, and watched them grow. The servers were pets. But since the rise of public cloud and infrastructure as code, servers have become cattle—you have as many as you need at any given time and don’t feel personally attached to any given one. And as more and more organizations find their way to the cloud, more and more engineers need to figure out how to herd cattle instead of feed pets. 

Show notes

Gartner forecasts that around $500 billion will be spent worldwide on end user cloud computing during 2022. Firment says that’s only 25% of IT budgets today, but he expects it to grow to 65% by 2025.

Don’t doubt the power of your people. Gartner estimates that 50% of all cloud IT migration projects are delayed up to two years simply because of the lack of skills.

Pluralsight just published its State of the Cloud report. 75% of of all leaders want to build new products and services in the cloud, but only 8% of the technologists have the experience to actually work with cloud related tools. 

Today we’re highlighting a Great Question badge winner—a question with a score of 100 or more—awarded to Logan Besecker for their question: How do you cache an image in JavaScript?

Want to start earning your cloud certificates? Head over to Pluralsight.

Connect with Ben  or Ryan on Twitter. Find Drew on LinkedIn.

Nov 21, 2022
The creator of Homebrew has a plan to fix the funding problem in open source

Over the years Homebrew, an open source package manager, has emerged as the project with the greatest number of individual contributors. Despite all that, it’s creator Max Howell, couldn’t make a living off the occasional charity of the millions of people who used the software he built. This XKCD cartoon is probably the most frequently repeated joke on the podcast over the last three years.

While he is not a crypto bull, Max was inspired with a solution for the open source funding dilemma  by his efforts to buy and sell an NFT. A contract written in code and shared in public enforced a rule sending a portion of his proceeds to the digital objects original creator. What if the same funding mechanism could be applied to open source projects? 

In March of 2022, Max and his co-founder launched Tea, a sort of spirtual successor to Homebrew. It has a lot of new features Max wanted in a package manager, plus a blockchain based approach to ensuring that creators, maintainers, and contributors of open source software can all get paid for their efforts. 

You can read Max’s launch post on Tea here and yes, of course there is a white paper. Follow him on Twitter here.

Nov 18, 2022
Want to work as a developer in Japan?

Eric explains that great jobs are available for developers in Japan, but it can be tough to find these opportunities.

We talk about interesting startups that are gaining traction in the Japanese tech sector (like Visual Alpha, Treasure Data, and Exawizards, to name a few examples of companies on the Japan Dev platform).

Matt is impressed to learn Japan Dev generates an average of $60,000/month in revenue.

Eric reflects on starting Japan Dev as a side project while he was employed full-time as an engineer.

Eric elaborates on why he doesn’t think venture capital is a good fit for Japan Dev.

Night owls unite! Eric says that his most productive hours are between midnight to 4AM.

Follow Matt and Eric.

Nov 15, 2022
Another hard week in tech

Episode notes:

The team questions whether a print out of 60-90 days worth of code is the right benchmark for whether to lay someone off. 

Ben gives our podcast  listeners a heads up to reports of repo jacking on GitHub (who got ahead of the issue quickly).

We reflect on whether or not we’re okay with generative AI—and question tradeoffs between copyright and the ability for more people to create stuff.

Ben discusses how his internet browser might be becoming his second brain.

Matt and Cassidy get props from Ben for their rising popularity on Stack Overflow’s YouTube channel.

Follow Ben, Matt, and Cassidy.

Nov 11, 2022
Hashgraph: The sustainable alternative to blockchain

When most people talk about Web3 or cryptocurrencies and related technologies, they usually mean blockchains. But blockchain is only the first generation of distributed ledger technology (DLT). As with any new technology, once people see how it works, new generations come along rapidly to address the faults in the previous ones. 

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, Ben and Ryan chat with Matt Woodward, head of developer relations at Swirlds Labs. Swirlds Labs created the Hedera ecosystem, a DLT built on a hashgraph, not a blockchain. We chat about what the difference is between a blockchain and a hashgraph, Hedera’s focus on environmental sustainability, and why the Web3 version of “Hello, World!” takes a little more effort. 

Show notes

Hedera’s hashgraph is a third-generation DLT: it’s an open-source consensus algorithm and a data structure that uses a direct acyclic graph and two novel inventions, the gossip about gossip protocol and virtual voting. 

Where Bitcoin can only handle between three and seven transactions per second, a hashgraph can support upwards of 10,000. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies. Woodward says that a single Bitcoin transaction uses 1000kW-hours—the equivalent of driving a Tesla Model S 5,500 km—while Hedera uses 160 MW-hours of energy per year, about 2.5 million times less.

Congrats to the winner of a Stellar Question badge, g.revolution, for their question What is an anti-pattern? 100 users saved it for later. 

Find out more about Hedera and hit the start button

Connect with Matt, Ben, or Ryan on Twitter.

Nov 09, 2022
Fighting to balance identity and anonymity on the web(3)

Shoemaker spent his childhood in Silicon Valley and learned Assembly when he was just 16 years old.

In his early 20s, he applied to work at Apple and was continually rejected. So he went to work for seven startups instead.

Finally, in 2009, Shoemaker ended up at Apple overseeing the review process for the App Store.

After seven years at Apple, Phillip became interested in cryptocurrency after discovering his personal information on the dark web.

His interest grew in the topic of self sovereign identities, which led him to become CEO and co-founder of

Phillip and Ben reflect on the utility of Web3 in gaming.

Follow Ben and Phillip.

Thank you to lifeboat badge winner Marchingband for their answer to the question about running C or C++ code from Node.js in an efficient way.

Nov 08, 2022
Going from engineer to entrepreneur takes more than just good code

In today’s podcast, Matt, Ceora, and Cassidy reflect on Cara’s founder journey.

Cara shares her experiences living in New York and San Francisco— and why she and her co-founder ultimately located Stashpad in North Carolina.

She elaborates on the exact steps that she took to pivot her startup following limited initial interest in V1 of the product.

Despite being in the Bay Area and working at Twilio, she was struggling to meet people because her full brain power was going to her products.

She shares what it was like for her and her co-founder to hire Stashpad’s first employees.

The group discusses Stashpad’s pathway to monetization in the context of developers wanting free tools.

Follow, Ceora, Matt, Cassidy, and Cara.

Marchingband gets today’s lifeboat badge for their answer to the question about running C or C++ code from Node.js in an efficient way

Nov 04, 2022
Making location easier for developers with new data primitives

When Foursquare launched in 2009, the app was consumer facing, letting you know where friends had checked in and what spots might appeal to you. People competed to be the “mayor” of certain locations and built guides to their favorite neighborhoods., The service expanded to allow merchants to offer discounts to frequent guests and track foot traffic in and out of the stores. While you can still use the Swarm app to find the best Manhattan in Manhattan, the company realized that real estate and data share the same three key rules: location, location, location. 

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, Ben and Ryan talk with Vin Sharma, VP of Engineering at Foursquare, about how they’re finding the atomic data that makes up their location data—their location data—and going from giving insight to individual app users about the locations around them to APIs that serve these location-based insights to developers at organizations like Uber, Nextdoor, and Redfin, who want to build location based insights and features into their own apps. 

Show notes

If you still want to check in at your local bakery and remember all the place you’ll go, the original Foursquare app is now Swarm

If you’re looking to build on their data instead, you can start with their developer documentation

They have almost 70 location attributes that they are starting to deconstruct and decompose into fundamental building blocks of their location data. Like data primitives—integers, booleans, etc.—these small bites of data can be remade with agility and at scale. 

Through the recent acquisition of Unfolded, Foursquare allows you to visualize and map location data at any scale. Want to see patterns across the country? Zoom out. Want to focus on a square kilometer? Zoom in and watch the data move. 

Today’s lifeboat shoutout goes to Rohith Nambiar for their answer to Visual Studio not installed; this is necessary for Windows development

You can find Vin Sharma on Twitter

Nov 02, 2022
Homelabbing tricks to level up your WFH game

The group laughs about setting up JIRA workflows and Trello boards for our family lives—Matt says heck no.

Ceora speaks to the power of homelabbing as a way to gain profitable skills. 

JJ talks about the VPN system he has running on his phone to access his home network using tools like WireGuard and ZeroTier.

Cassidy suggests setting up a personal knowledge base as a second brain (and recommends Obsidian). 

JJ shares how homelabbing is popular among kids under 18 as a pathway for them to get into the tech industry.

Follow, Ceora, Matt, Cassidy, and JJ.

High fives to Lifeboat Badge winner Manquer for the answer to his question How can I upgrade the Yii 1.x version to the Yii 2.0 latest release version?

Nov 01, 2022
How to get more engineers entangled with quantum computing

Katzgraber reflects on his time as a university professor up until 2020 and why he switched to working at Amazon.

He walks us through a quantum computing challenge that he hosted with BMW, through his role at Amazon (and what real world applications he sees emerging from these types of collaboration experiments).

We discuss what inspires him to stay curious — raising the bar for scientific research, crowdsourcing breakthroughs, and opening up the playing field for more people to jump in.

Follow Ben, Ryan, Matt, and Helmut.

‘Til next time, all.

Oct 28, 2022
Goodbye Webpack, Hello Turbopack! The big news from today’s Next.JS conference

We got the chance to sit down with Guillermo Ruach, Guillermo Rauch, CEO of Vercel and co-creator of Next.JS, about the news coming out of today's conference. The most interesting was a new product called Turbopack. You can read more about it here.



Oct 25, 2022
A flight simulator for developers to practice real world challenges and surprises

Freund reflects on his early days at Applied Materials, where he worked on a machine that inspected silicon wafers.

It was in this early role that Freund gained an appreciation for rigorous software testing protocols in the manufacturing process.

At WeWork, Freund was fascinated by the idea of a full stack business, which is a business building itself.

While Freund officially launched Wilco in 2021, the origin story for the company dates back to 2013 when he was hiring and managing a team of engineers—he saw a need in the market to help developers build critical skills to problems-solve in real-time.

You can think of Wilco as the equivalent of a flight simulator for engineers.

Shoutout to Lifeboat Badge winner Zico for their awesome answer to the question, “Hiding sensitive information in response

Follow On and Ben.

Oct 25, 2022
He went from .NET and VS Code to working on Web3

John explains that Web3 is about the convergence of technology, economics, and social trends.

He elaborates that foundations begin with service-based architecture (SOA), the notion of how to design loosely coupled systems that consist of economic services and components.

He goes on to explain how DeFi represents this thinking of a loose composition of services.

With all of this, blockchain brings together technology and economic incentives into a holistic equation—people contribute because they want to contribute.

Nonsense it is not, says baby Yoda.

Crypto isn’t the end game. It’s a segue along the way.

Follow Ben, Matt, and John.

Learn more about the Global Blockchain Business Council and John’s company, ngEnterprise.

Speaking of awesomeness, we’d like to give a shout out to Stellar Question Badge winner GateKiller for asking a question “How can I get the DateTime for the start of the week?” that has been bookmarked by a hundred people.

Oct 21, 2022
Faster feedback loops make for faster developer velocity

Having trouble with understanding your team’s productivity outside of frameworks and tooling? Create a backlog and work through it: Instant Agile! How much of that backlog you work through is a good baseline measure. 

The Stack Overflow blog recently featured an article from Stack Overflow’s Director of Engineering, Ben Matthews: Does high velocity lead to burnout? That may be the wrong question to ask

If you're interested in seeing how Couchbase’s SQL database solutions can help improve your team’s velocity, check out Capella.  

Cory House helps teams deliver successful React projects through his consulting business, ReactJS Consulting.  

If you want to learn more about Matt, check out his LinkedIn.

Congrats to Lifeboat badge winner, 


, who threw a great answer to rescue the question, 

Display button with  inline CSS


Oct 19, 2022
Driverless cars give us the heebie jeebies

Before jumping into driverless car talk, Ben shares a heads up about fake jobs at credible companies that are actually phishing scams meant to steal your identity and hijack your bank accounts. Beware the job offer that seems too good to be true!

Jon, Cassidy, Ceora, Matt, and Ben reflect on whether they trust software to operate a vehicle.

Cassidy tells us that she once sat in a car that parked itself and screamed the entire time.

Matt brings us back to reality, reminding us that airplane flights have been automated for a while now.

Matt and Ben point out that in the medical technology space, robotic surgeons are so advanced that they have become more precise than human hands.

Shoutout to lifeboat badge winner GKG4 for a great answer to the question “how can I check if an array index is out of range?” which has been viewed 67,000 times.

Follow Jon, Ben, Ceora, Matt, and Cassidy.

Oct 18, 2022
The robots are coming… but when?

Despite our hope for the power of robotics, the technology is still far from mainstream. That’s because the amount of effort needed to get hardware to do useful things at scale is…well…hard.

When Eliot started Viam, his goal was to address this challenge by creating software that supports a range of hardware builds right out of the box. As the company explains - “we’re addressing these issues by building a novel robotics platform that relies on standardized building blocks rather than custom code to create, configure and control robots intuitively and quickly. We’re empowering engineers – aspiring and experienced – across industries to solve complicated automation problems with our innovative software tools.” The company announced the opening of its public beta earlier this week.

While Eliot elaborates on his vision for Viam, Ben reflects on his time covering drones for The Verge and working on robotics at DJI.

Inquisitive badge winner, Neeta, gets props for asking well-received questions on 30 separate days.

Follow Ben and Eliot on Twitter.

Oct 14, 2022
The right way to job hop

Ceora and Cassidy talk about why engineers are so good at job hopping — and why it can pay to upgrade roles every year or two.

Ceora speaks openly about the privileges of working in tech compared to other industries.

Apparently, in some places, it’s a thing for engineers to leave their teams and then rejoin the organization with a promotion to get ahead. Do you boomerang?

Cassidy’s husband’s favorite interview question to ask is, “If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about this company, what would you change?”

Ben poses a question about whether LinkedIn AB tests are disadvantageous to some career seekers over others.

Matt introduces us to the world of AI generated Pokémon.

Ceora, our resident voice of Gen Z, tells us why she thinks millennials are the only true generation to understand tech.

High fives to Unique Username for answering the question “how can I print to the console using JavaScript?” You get a Lifeboat Badge for helping 140,000 people.

Follow Ben, Ceora, Matt, and Cassidy.

Oct 11, 2022
A chat with Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks on the path from developer to leader

Matt takes us back to the origins of his open source days and the spark that inspired his love for engineering — including the point at which he discovered Linux.

He shares how he began learning from the code itself, which was ultimately a different style of learning than what was available to him at university. Then, it was to the stacks, but not Stack Overflow. Think Barnes and Noble, not YouTube videos.

Imagine trying to  navigate getting your first engineering job during the dot-com crash of the late 90s and early 2000s.

We reflect on Matt's experience building projects with his daughter, including an AI-powered doorbell he built himself.

Speaking of insatiable curiousity, we’d like to give a big high five to Wonton, who received the Inquisitive Badge. Thanks for coming on 30 separate days to maintain a positive question track record.

Follow Matt, Ben, and Cassidy.

Oct 07, 2022
Meet the AI helping you chose what to watch next

Our guests have done most of their ML work on AWS offerings, from AWS Personalize for their initial recommendation engine to SageMaker for model training and deployment pipeline. Now they’re building models from scratch in TensorFlow

Want to see these recommendations in action? Check out the offerings at Discovery+ and HBOMax

If you’re a ML/AL data scientist looking to shape the future of automated curation, check out their open roles

Follow our guests on LinkedIn:

Oct 05, 2022
The many strengths of neurodivergence

Mariann shares how she and her UX research team at Stack Overflow are taking steps to create a more inclusive product experience, while reflecting on her experiences as a mother to a neurodiverse daughter.

Wesley talks about what it’s like to be a developer with dyslexia and why self-empathy and self-compassion have been important to his evolution as a senior leader.

Ceora explains why it’s important to be on a psychologically safe team from her perspective as a Black woman who is also neurodivergent.

We talk about giving people the space necessary to do their best work, implementing more inclusive hiring practices, and everyday routines that help us stay our happiest and most productive.

We conclude with a note about why supporting neurodiversity is good for everyone of all walks of life.

Follow Ceora, Wesley, and Marianne.

Oct 04, 2022
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.

Be sure to follow Ceora and Cassidy on Twitter. 

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.

Be sure to follow @mattkander and @benpopper on Twitter to keep the convo going.

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. 

Admittedly, our development team was nervous about implementing Scrum and Agile at first. So we focused on the goals of introspection and accountability rather than the rigidness of enforcement.

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.

Connect with Shanda and Jon on LinkedIn.

We conclude with a big high five to Lifeboat badge winner jminkler for their answer to how to create an Instagram share link in PHP (thank you).

‘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 don’t know about Cassidy’s passion for keyboards, you can check out her website here or listen to a previous episode diving deep into the details of mechanical keyboards 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

Appsmith is an open-source, low-code platform for building and maintaining internal tools like custom dashboards, admin panels, and, of course, CRUD apps.

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.

Connect with Arpit on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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
Hypergrowth headaches

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

Show notes

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).

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Manquer for their answer to the question How can I upgrade Yii 1.x to Yii 2.0?.

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?

When it comes to new and cutting-edge AI developments, what’s Dylan excited about right now? This open-source implementation of AlphaFold from GitHub user lucidrains.

Connect with Dylan on LinkedIn.

Today we’re shouting out the winner of an Inquisitive Badge: User Edson Horacio Junior asked a well-received question on 30 separate days and maintained a positive question record.

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.

If you don't know about Cassidy's passion for keyboards, you can check out her website here or listen to a previous episode diving deep into the details of mechanical keyboards 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
Environments on-demand

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.

Today we’re shouting out the winner of an Inquisitive Badge: L-Samuels asked a well-received question on 30 separate days and maintained a positive question record.

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).

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Tonyyyy for their answer to the question In what way does wait(NULL) work exactly in C?.

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.

In 2017, Udacity acquired Varun’s startup, CloudLabs, the company behind Terminal.  

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.

Check out FauxPilot, a locally hosted version of GitHub Copilot.

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.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Abhijit for their answer to the question Set difference versus set subtraction.

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 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.

Connect with Heather on LinkedIn or explore her work on her website.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user keshlam for their answer to the question Why do we need abstract classes in Java?.

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.

In 2014, he cofounded Cockroach Labs to back his creation CockroachDB, a cloud-native distributed SQL database.

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.

Connect with Spencer on LinkedIn or learn more about him.

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.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user EM-Creations for their answer to the question The PHP header() function is not redirecting.

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.)

The Verge reports on how Starlink and other companies that provide internet connectivity through low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites are shaping an “orbital internet.”

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.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Satpal for their answer to the question 'setinterval' with random time in JavaScript.

Aug 05, 2022
Monitoring data quality with Bigeye

Bigeye is a data observability platform that helps teams measure, improve, and communicate data quality clearly at any scale. Explore more on their YouTube channel.

Bigeye cofounders Kyle Kirwan and Egor Gryaznov met at Uber, where Kyle worked on data and Egor was a staff engineer.

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

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.

If you’re a member in good standing of the Hellfire Club (or any D&D group), check out the free AI image generator from AI Dungeon.

Customizable open search platform debuts YouCode, a specialized search engine intended to increase developer efficiency. 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?

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user LuLuGaGa for their answer to the question Is there a way to create BottomBar using SwiftUI?

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.

Check out Multitudes’ success stories or explore their blog.

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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). 

Check out NoobBoy, the Game Boy emulator. Need more nineties nostalgia? You can still play DOOM on almost anything.

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

Connect with Meredydd on LinkedIn or Twitter.

The Lifeboat badge shoutout is back. Today’s badge goes to user Tomasz Nurkiewicz for their answer to Best performance for string-to-Boolean conversion.

Jul 19, 2022
At your next job interview, you ask the questions

The GPU shortage is (allegedly) over! Read about it at The Verge.

Learn how low code demands more creativity from developers.

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. offers scheduling infrastructure for anyone and everyone—and it’s open-source.

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

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

Episode notes

Before joining Stack, Jody spent time at Pluralsight and AWS Training, two roles that helped him to understand the growing market for online educational self-taught developers. We interviewed his former colleagues at AWS training in this episode.

Enjoy the frustration of debugging your own code. Maybe you it brings you eustress? Ben does not experience this, nor does he like the classic video game Myst. But it takes all kinds.

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

Episode notes

An interesting podcast episode on the multiple delays that have kept Ethereum from its long-anticipated merge and kicked the difficulty bomb down the road.

Since we recorded, more news broke about delaying the boom.

How to Find Open Source Projects to Contribute

A pretty cool write up on the creation of spring animations by a few Figma engineers.

Looking to build your own image search engine? Check out APIs from Clarifai and Roboflow that make it easy to train your own ML model.

A creative and interesting Codepen from a newly minted Figma engineer. And for those who enjoy the CSS art of yummy snacks, Cassidy’s Codepen has a few treats.

Yet another rumor about Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset. Will it ever arrive, and how would its demands for GPU-intensive work mesh with Apple’s hardware ecosystem?

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.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Jarzon for their answer to Make a hidden field required.

Jul 01, 2022
GitHub Copilot is here. But what’s the price?

GitHub Copilot is now available to all developers. There’s also the GitHub Copilot Labs extension for Visual Studio Code, which has some neat tricks up its sleeve. 

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.

Tech recs: a ladder to bypass (almost) any paywall, the smartest way to learn a new language, how to explore the JavaScript universe, a great place to listen to longform journalism, and the email-free way to read your favorite newsletters.

Thanks to Liam for emailing the podcast to share Physics Girl’s terrific explanation of quantum cryptography.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user martineau for their answer to How to start and stop a thread.

Jun 28, 2022
Living on the Edge with Netlify

RIP Internet Explorer (1995-2022), “a good tool to download other browsers.” Bummer epitaph, but the meme stands.

Netlify’s unified web development workflow has out-of-this-world benefits for developer experience. Learn more by watching A Tale of Web Development in Two Universes.

Netlify recently announced Netlify Edge Functions, a fully serverless runtime environment. Here’s what that means and how it works.

For more on “The Edge” (not this guy or this guy), check out this episode of the Remotely Interesting podcast, featuring Phil, Salma, and Cassidy.

Jamstack makes developers’ lives “pretty peachy,” to borrow Salma’s phrase. Here, she explains what Jamstack is and how it makes the web (and developers) faster.

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, 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.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Anton vBR for their answer to What’s the function of dedent() in Python?.

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

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. 

Apple also announced enhancements to Swift, its programming language, and a new flagship processor, the M2 chip.

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 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!

Connect with Maxim on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Connect with Dominik on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Medium.

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.

HASH, where Maggie works along with Stack Overflow cofounder Joel Spolsky, is an open-core platform for creating simulations that help people make better decisions.

Explore Maggie’s writing on everything from digital anthropology to best practices for illustrating invisible programming concepts.

Maggie recommends the Nielsen Norman Group website as the best resource for folks getting up to speed on research-based UX.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user Sten for their answer to Detecting transparency in an image.

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

The Web3 crime of the century? Seth Green’s Bored Ape NFT is kidnapped by dastardly phishing scammers, kiboshing the TV series Green was developing around the Bored Ape character. Read more.

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, a community dedicated to creating roadmaps, guides, and other resources to guide developers as they start their careers or upskill along the way.

Today’s Lifeboat badge goes to user munk for their answer to Python path as a string.

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:

Jun 01, 2022
How a very average programmer became GitHub's CTO

Jason is now a managing director at Redpoint Ventures and has led one investment so far, backing a company called Alchemy that is focused on infrastructure and dev tools for web3.

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: 

Is it illegal to ride a drunk horse?

 and a Lifeboat-worthy response from Markus Meskanen on 

Checking if a number is not in range in Python

May 27, 2022
Turns out the Great Resignation goes both ways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read up on the benefits of test-driven development.

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

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

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

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

May 17, 2022
Software is adopted, not sold

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".

Follow Jon on LinkedIn or Twitter.

May 10, 2022
Why security needs to shift left into the SDLC

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

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

May 05, 2022
What counts as art, anyway?

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.)

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

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

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

Find Adam on LinkedIn here.

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

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

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

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

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

Connect with Ben Kelley.

Learn more about Aaron Shekey’s work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect with Andi on LinkedIn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 19, 2022
Warning signs that hot startup hiring engineers might not last

Cassidy is co-organizing Devs for Ukraine, a free online engineering conference from April 25-26 to raise funds in support of Ukraine. Register today and donate if you can. is a hub for live TV, on-demand streaming content, and your own media library. 

Read the full story of Fast’s speedy shutdown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 12, 2022
Words of wisdom for self-taught developers

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

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

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect with Mattaniah on LinkedIn or follow her on TikTok.

Who remembers Vine??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parse a pipe-delimited file in Python

Mar 29, 2022
Human laziness is the ultimate security threat

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

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

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

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

Find Guillermo on LinkedIn here.

Find Sam on LinkedIn here.

Mar 25, 2022
Getting through a SOC 2 audit with your nerves intact

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Find Adam on LinkedIn here.

Mar 22, 2022
McDonald’s is to Chipotle what REST APIs are to GraphQL

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

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

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

Find Danielle on LinkedIn here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 11, 2022
Who says HTML and CSS aren't real programming?

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

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

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

Find David Barrett on LinkedIn here.

Mar 04, 2022
The Great QR Code Comeback

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 01, 2022
Is functional programming the hipster programming paradigm?

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

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

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

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

Feb 25, 2022
Finally, an AI bot that can ace technical interview questions

Learn more about AlphaCode here.

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

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

Feb 22, 2022
An algorithm that optimizes for avoiding ennui

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

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

You can find Cassidy Williams on Twitter and at her website

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Feb 11, 2022
There’s no coding Oscars. Write software that works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Mitchell on Twitter here.

Feb 04, 2022
A collaborative hub for infrastructure as code

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, 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.

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

Jan 28, 2022
How to defend your attention and find a flow state

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.

You can find Cassidy Williams on Twitter and her website.

Ben Popper can be found on Twitter here.

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


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

You can find Maureen here

You can find Scott here.

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



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

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

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

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

Jan 14, 2022
Making Agile work for data science

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

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

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

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

Jan 11, 2022
Are developers helping to drive the Great Resignation?

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

You can find out hosts online at the links below





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris has kindly put together a collection of resources for listeners like you at

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.

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

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

Dec 17, 2021
Skills, not schools, are in demand among developers

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

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

Find Joel Spolsky on Twitter here.

Jeff Atwood is on Twitter here.

Geoff Dalgas is on Twitter here.

Follow Jarrod Dixon on Twitter here.

Dec 14, 2021
Zero to MVP without provisioning a database

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.

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

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

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

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


Dec 03, 2021
Does modern parenting have to rely on spyware?

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?

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

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

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

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

Nov 23, 2021
Who owns this outage? Building intelligent, automated escalation chains

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 09, 2021
Web3 won't save us

What is Web3? The Decentralized Internet of the Future





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

Nov 05, 2021
The big problem with only being able to solve big problems

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

Is Apple normalizing surveillance?

Toyota trucks and Land Cruisers were very popular with ISIS. 

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

Nov 02, 2021
Software for your second brain

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

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

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

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


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

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.

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

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

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

Oct 26, 2021
Quality code is the easiest to delete

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.

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

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

Oct 08, 2021
Building image search, but for any object IRL

You can learn more about Paul here.

You can read more about Physna here.

Paul is excited about the Metaverse. So are we

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

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

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


Oct 01, 2021
Automate away your boring standup meetings

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

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


Sep 21, 2021
Writing the roadmap from engineer to manager

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 08, 2021
Why yes, I do have a patent on a time machine

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

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

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

Sep 03, 2021
Exploring the magic of instant python refactoring with Sourcery

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

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

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

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

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

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,'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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Aug 13, 2021
Using AI to fake your own voice, podcasting never been easier

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.

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

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

Jul 27, 2021
From AOL chat rooms to Wikipedia, Reddit, and now, Stack Overflow

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

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

Richard can be found on LinkedIn here

Kelly can be found on LinkedIn here.

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



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

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.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Jun 11, 2021
A good software tutorial explains the How. A great one explains the Why.

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,

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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

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

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

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


Jun 04, 2021
Unpacking observability and OpenTelemetry with Spiros Xanthos of Splunk

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

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

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

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


Jun 01, 2021
WFH? Developers learn to be their own operations department

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

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

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

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


May 28, 2021
Blocking the haters as a service

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, 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.

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

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

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

May 14, 2021
Saying goodbye to our co-host, Sara Chipps

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

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

Evan tweets his undying love for The Mets here.

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

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

May 07, 2021
Open source contributors helped a helicopter fly on Mars

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

Paul tells the story of a shady financial operator who offered to take his blog public during the dot com boom. Yes, 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.

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

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

Apr 30, 2021
From music to trading cards, software is transforming curation and collecting

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

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

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

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

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

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


Apr 27, 2021
Non-fungible Talking

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 GithubTwitter, and his website.

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

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

Apr 20, 2021
How to build and maintain online communities, from gaming to open source

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

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

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

Apr 16, 2021
Two words for ya: networked spreadsheets

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

You can find Michelle on Twitter here.

You can learn more about building apps with Twilio here.

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

Apr 09, 2021
Web programming with nothing but Python

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

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

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

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

You can follow him on Twitter here and Github here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Apr 02, 2021
How we keep Stack Overflow's codebase clean and modern

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

You can find Shay on  LinkedIn and  Twitter

Learn more about Steve on LinkedIn and Twitter 

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

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

Mar 26, 2021
A director of engineering explains scaling from dozens of employees to thousands

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 23, 2021
Dev, meet Ops. Ops, meet Dev.

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

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

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

Mar 19, 2021
Taking a risk and moving to a new team

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,, 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

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

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

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

Mar 09, 2021
How long does good code last?

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

You can find  the paper on MuZero here.

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

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


Mar 02, 2021
When it comes to package managers, don't forget security

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, 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

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

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

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



Feb 23, 2021
Introducing The Stack Overflow Podcast

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.

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

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

Feb 09, 2021
Command Line Utilities: Fix-Server

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 29, 2021
Owning the code, from integration to delivery

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 12, 2021
Programming in PowerPoint can teach you a few things

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

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

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

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



Jan 05, 2021
Welcome to 2021 with special guest Joel Spolsky

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

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

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



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.

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

Dec 29, 2020
A Very Crypto Christmas

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Dec 22, 2020
Adventures in Javascriptlandia

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

For a delightfully old school and interactive website about Myles, click here. For his Twitter, go here.

You can find Jory's website here and her Twitter presence here.

This week's lifeboat badge goes to Marijn van Vliet for answering the question: How do I return a char array from a function?

Dec 18, 2020
Diving into headless automation, active monitoring, Playwright and Puppeteer

You can find the original tweet here. AWS will work with them on publicity and open source their version so that there can be a flow of value in both directions. 

You can learn more about Tim's company, Checkly.hq, which works on active monitoring for developers. 

The team there also works on  Headless Recorder, a Chrome extension that records your browser interactions and generates a Playwright or Puppeteer script. 

They also operate The Headless Dev, which helps coders learn Playwright and Puppeteer. 

This week's Lifeboat badge goes to Ravindra Bagale for answering the question:  How to Convert Integer to Character Array using C

Dec 15, 2020
Cleaning up build systems and gathering computer history with Adam Gordon Bell

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

You can read about GraphQL here and Apollo here. 

Cassidy Williams, who curates our newsletter, wrote about her experience as an early adopter of the technology last summer.

You can find more on Meteor here

Schmidt also helped create Monument,  which he describes as "an affordable live/work art event space in downtown San Francisco. The upstairs is 24 private bedrooms and studio spaces and the downstairs is a 200+ capacity person event venue and makerspace. Our goal is to connect creative people across different fields, and in particular build bridges between art and technology."


Dec 08, 2020
Goodbye to Flash, we'll see you in Rust

Gone in a Flash. Actually it took quite a while. Adobe explains its decision to stop supporting Flash here.

You can learn more about Ruffle, the Flash emulator written in Rust, here.

Here are some tips on writing a developer resume from a hiring manager who's written an entire book on the topic.

You can read more about the Supreme Court case considering the limits of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act here and here

Our Lifeboat badge of the week goes to a user named simply 4386427, who answered the most basic and frustrating question: why does “printf” not work?

Dec 04, 2020
Why developers are increasingly demanding ethics in tech

You can find more about Resner here

Learn more about the topics we discussed by following some of Resner's suggested links below: 

People to follow on Twitter: Safyia Noble, Ruha Benjamin, and Kamal Sinclair.

Ellen Pao and Project Include.

Eli Pariser and New Public by Civic Signals.

Dec 01, 2020
Big Tech is getting cozy with computer science departments

You can read more about the operating systems and business principles schools are adopting from their corporate sponsors here.

You can read about the latest version of Tailwind and what it has to offer here


Nov 27, 2020
React, Vue, jQuery: what flavor do you like your Vanilla JS?

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

You can find Sai's videos here. Come for the deep dives on Docker, stay for the live lightboard  magic. Yes, I know what the comments say, but no, he isn't writing backwards. 

Sai also does a lot of work around OpenShift, the containerization software products created by Red Hat. He talks about what the tie up between IBM and Red Hat has been like and how the enterprise is increasingly learning to work with open source. 

Our lifeboat badge of the week goes to Alex for explaining why you're Getting this as undefined when using arrow function.

If you want to find more from Sai, you can follow him on Twitter here.




Nov 10, 2020
The pros and cons of the SPA

Pawel Skolski wrote this definition of the SPA in 2016. "A single-page application is an app that works inside a browser and does not require page reloading during use. You are using these type of applications every day. These are, for instance: Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook or GitHub.
SPAs are all about serving an outstanding UX by trying to imitate a “natural” environment in the browser — no page reloads, no extra wait time. It is just one web page that you visit which then loads all other content using JavaScript — which they heavily depend on."

Tom McWright recently sparked some good discussion in the developer world with his article, If Not SPAs, What? He had written before about his belief that SPAs had done little to reduce the complexity of web development, but hadn't really given readers other options. In his latest post, he tried to offer some possible alternatives. 

Our lifeboat of the week of the week goes to Glortho for explaining how to add http:// to url if no protocol is defined in javascript?




Nov 06, 2020
Cleaning up the cloud to help fight climate change

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. 

Shout out to our life boat badge of the week, Aliaksandr Kavalenka , for answering the question: How to use DatePickerDialog in Kotlin? 

Oct 27, 2020
How should tech titans act when productizing tiny open source projects?

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

You can find Kelsey on Twitter here. His Github is here. His personal journey with Kubernetes is detailed in a nice piece here.

Kelsey has an interesting role at Google. He sits at the director level but is an independent contributor with no direct reports. Instead he works to help galvanize interest in particular tools and topics, driving adoption at a broad scale. 

Oct 20, 2020
The downside of going viral with your programming joke

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.

Sara gives us some the scoop on Rimworld. Check out the trailer here and feel free to lend your skill to a new mod if you have ideas for how to improve it.

A Excel sheet meltdown led to critical health data about the pandemic being lost in the UK.  Rows can go to millions, but they used columns.

For those of us who need our reading glasses to see the tiny emoji people post in Slack, Paul has come to your rescue. He asked for the ability to zoom In on Twitter, the CEO of Slack co-signed, and boom, we got a new feature.

We discuss what other new Slack features might take off: stories, push-to-talk, and sneakers.

Oct 13, 2020
Ben answers his first question on Stack Overflow

You can find some of Jack's art and other projects here.

Ben breaks through and answers his first SO question—by copy/pasting from the comments, of course. 

Sara finds the relevant XKCD.

Later, we check out Darling.hq, a MacOS translation layer for Linux 

If you are in the mood to learn programming with colors and shapes, check out the website that Jack built: 

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

Later, we dig into Sara's new adventure with Jupyter Notebooks. They are extremely useful for developers, but what would it take to make them a tool for any kind of knowledge worker? Default to a PowerPoint style, obviously.

Last but not least, we dig into the endless argument over the 10X developer, Reed Hastings' love for the 100X developer, and the true formula for attracting employees that will contribute their genius without wrecking the team.  Clive Thompson has a great piece on the myth, meritocracy, and messy reality of rockstar coders.

Oct 02, 2020
Chris Anderson on drones, driverless cars, and creating communities around code

Chris is the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Long Tail and Free as well as Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

He is lso the CEO of 3DR, founder of the Linux Foundation's Dronecode Project, and founder of the DIY Drones and DIY Robocars communities, including the ArduPilot autopilot project.

Not surprisingly, he also created something called GeekDad.

If you want to get involved, you can learn how to build your own Donkey Car racer here.

Sep 29, 2020
Episode 272: Pull Requests Are Welcome

"Sorry I missed your comment of many months ago. I no longer build software; I now make furniture out of wood." Life is lived in stages.

Most people are working remotely these days, but offices may return, and even if they don't, these skills could come in handy. Teamwork, persuasion, communication, and leadership, just a few of the things you can learn in this Technion course.

Big thanks to TwilioQuest, which has gotten Ben, the worst coder in the world, practicing his Javascript skills again.

What gives you that special feeling: a nice, sharp recursive function or a deep, winding ternary statement?  Paul and Sara debate the finer points of feeling smugly satisfied with your own code.

Sep 25, 2020
Next Level Command Line

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.

Twitter: @radiomorillo


Newsletter and blog:


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. 

"The FAQ is the great folk form of the internet" - quotable moments featuring Paul Ford.

If you're interested in another cut at this old saw, is Postlight's take on what developer docs should look like. Sara is convinced it's all about the left nav.

Speaking of convictions, a conflict is tearing Sara's home apart. Ben and Paul step in to save her marriage. The question at hand: should managers of developers EVER make technical decisions?

Finally, Paul talks about his experience using Google Cloud Run to build a fun little tool called Ephemeralist. It pulls in random images from public domain collections hosted by museums and archives. Use it to take a break from the negativity of social media or the news. Also, revel in the joy of Paul's neologism, the Browseulator. It recently brought me this little gem.

Aug 21, 2020
Maxing out our stats with Personal Development Nerds

Juvoni describes himself as someone who helps people explore ideas and strategies for improvement. He focuses on combining multiple skills, better thinking and tools for thought, inner engineering healthy habits, and discovering how systems in the world affect us.

You can follow him on Twitter:

You can join the Personal Development Nerds Facebook group here:

The PDNerds discord server can be joined at

Find Juvoni's book recommendations on his site:

He can be contacted at

If you are or know a Black software engineer, you can recommend they join /dev/color a community dedicated to helping black software engineers empower each other to become industry leaders.

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? 

Will Silicon Valley's once unshakable grip on the cutting edge of startup culture and product acumen start to wane if developers flee for remote working locales in more affordable areas? Can you turn back the clock once they can acquire bigger homes or enjoy more of the great outdoors during a pandemic that doesn't yet have a firm end date. 

Aug 14, 2020
From web comics to React core with Rachel Nabors

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

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