summing up 40

a more or less weekly digest of juicy stuff

  • you and your research by richard hamming. i claim that some of the reasons why so many people who have greatness within their grasp don't succeed are: they don't work on important problems, they don't become emotionally involved, they don't try and change what is difficult to some other situation which is easily done but is still important, and they keep giving themselves alibis why they don't. highly recommended
  • it's not information overload. it's filter failure, we have had information overload in some form or another since the 1500's. what is changing now is the filters we use for the most of the 1500 period are breaking, and designing new filters doesn't mean simply updating the old filters. they have broken for structural reasons, not for service reasons. highly recommended
  • it's time to engineer some filter failure, filters do a great job of hiding things that are dissimilar and surprising. but that's the very definition of information! formally it's the one thing that's not like the others, the one that surprises you. i want my filters to fail, and i want dials that control the degrees and kinds of failures
  • asking questions beats giving advice, i rarely advise people on what they should do. i don't know what they should do. instead i try to ask good questions in the hope of creating new ideas for them to consider, and new places for answers to fit
  • why i like java, java is neither a good nor a bad language. it is a mediocre language, and there is no struggle. in haskell or even in perl you are always worrying about whether you are doing something in the cleanest and the best way. in java, you can forget about doing it in the cleanest or the best way, because that is impossible. whatever you do, however hard you try, the code will come out mediocre, verbose, redundant, and bloated, and the only thing you can do is relax and keep turning the crank until the necessary amount of code has come out of the spout
  • we are not normal people, when it comes to building products, the biggest problem technical (and creative) people have is this: increasing the technical challenge while creating a product does not increase the chance for more sales
  • healthy open source projects need people, software is like fruit. it tastes great when it's fresh, but goes bad very quickly. in fact, it is ridiculous how quickly software rots
  • chernobyl's hot mess, "the elephant's foot" is still lethal
  • validation, short film by kurt kuenne

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