ENTRIES TAGGED "culture"

Four short links: 28 October 2013

Four short links: 28 October 2013

The Internot of Things, Explainy Learning, Medical Microcontroller Board, and Coder Sutra

  1. A Cyber Attack Against Israel Shut Down a RoadThe hackers targeted the Tunnels’ camera system which put the roadway into an immediate lockdown mode, shutting it down for twenty minutes. The next day the attackers managed to break in for even longer during the heavy morning rush hour, shutting the entire system for eight hours. Because all that is digital melts into code, and code is an unsolved problem.
  2. Random Decision Forests (PDF) — “Due to the nature of the algorithm, most Random Decision Forest implementations provide an extraordinary amount of information about the final state of the classifier and how it derived from the training data.” (via Greg Borenstein)
  3. BITalino — 149 Euro microcontroller board full of physiological sensors: muscles, skin conductivity, light, acceleration, and heartbeat. A platform for healthcare hardware hacking?
  4. How to Be a Programmer — a braindump from a guru.
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Lessons Learned from Cultivate

Kate Matsudaira, co-chair of O'Reilly's first Cultivate Conference, shares her take-aways from the event

Last week I had the pleasure of co-chairing Cultivate.  The conference was one-day event focused on technology and leadership.

The Backstory

The original idea for the conference came from my co-chair, Eli Goodman, who wanted a place where like-minded folk could discuss some of the challenges, successes, and experiments that come along with leading technical teams.  I have been super passionate about this topic since I started my career as a bad manager, and I have had to work hard to build the skills necessary to lead groups of highly intelligent and opinionated people.

When we were planning the conference, we thought about all sorts of ways we could shake things up with format – panels, structured networking sessions, or even shorter/longer talks.  In the end, though, we decided it was most important to have fabulous speakers with compelling messages, so we stuck to a typical conference format (45-minute slots) and just let people do their best work.  The only thing we did differently was adding a closing networking event and morning yoga session to get things started, both of which were quite positively received.

I was so worried our speakers would overlap with one another’s topics, but thankfully each person had a clearly different message, style, and, when put together, they all added up a day where you couldn’t leave without learning something new.

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Four short links: 27 September 2013

Four short links: 27 September 2013

Amen Break, MySQL Scale, Spooky Source, and Graph Analytics Engine

  1. The Amen Break (YouTube) — fascinating 20m history of the amen break, a handful of bars of drum solo from a forgotten 1969 song which became the origin of a huge amount of popular music from rap to jungle and commercials, and the contested materials at the heart of sample-based music. Remix it and weep. (via Beta Knowledge)
  2. The MySQL Ecosystem at Scale (PDF) — nice summary of how MySQL is used on massive users, and where the sweet spots have been found.
  3. Lab41 (Github) — open sourced code from a spook hacklab in Silicon Valley.
  4. Fanulus — open sourced Hadoop-based graph analytics engine for analyzing graphs represented across a multi-machine compute cluster. A breadth-first version of the graph traversal language Gremlin operates on graphs stored in the distributed graph database Titan, in any Rexster-fronted graph database, or in HDFS via various text and binary formats.
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Four short links: 26 September 2013

Four short links: 26 September 2013

Google's Data Centers, Top Engineers, Hiring, and Git Explained

  1. Google Has Spent 21 Billion on Data Centers The company invested a record $1.6 billion in its data centers in the second quarter of 2013. Puts my impulse-purchased second external hard-drive into context, doesn’t it honey?
  2. 10x Engineer (Shanley) — in which the idea that it’s scientifically shown that some engineers are innately 10x others is given a rough and vigorous debunking.
  3. How to Hire — great advice, including “Poaching is the titty twister of Silicon Valley relationships”.
  4. Think Like a Git — a guide to git, for the perplexed.
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Four short links: 18 September 2013

Four short links: 18 September 2013

No Managers, Bezos Pearls, Visualising History, and Scalable Key-Value Store

  1. No ManagersIf we could find a way to replace the function of the managers and focus everyone on actually producing for our Students (customers) then it would actually be possible to be a #NoManager company. In my future posts I’ll explain how we’re doing this at Treehouse.
  2. The 20 Smartest Things Jeff Bezos Has Ever Said (Motley Fool) — I feel like the 219th smartest thing Jeff Bezos has ever said is still smarter than the smartest thing most business commentators will ever say. (He says, self-referentially) “Invention requires a long-term willingness to be misunderstood.”
  3. Putting Time in Perspective — nifty representations of relative timescales and history. (via BoingBoing)
  4. Sophia — BSD-licensed small C library implementing an embeddable key-value database “for a high-load environment”.
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Process Is Not a Four-Letter Word

Standardization done right can save your sanity and improve your culture

Capital-P “Process” ™ is something many software developers, operations engineers, system administrators, and even managers love to hate.

It is often considered a productivity-killing, innovation-stifling beast whose only useful domain is within the walls of some huge, hulking enterprise or sitting in a wiki nobody ever reads.

I have always found distaste for process fascinating and now even moreso that configuration management and version control have become such core tenets of the DevOps movement. The main purpose of those tools is to provide structure for software development and operations to increase reproducibility, reliability, and standardization of those activities.

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Four short links: 13 September 2013

Four short links: 13 September 2013

Remote Work, Raspberry Pi Code Machine, Low-Latency Data Processing, and Probabilistic Table Parsing

  1. Fog Creek’s Remote Work PolicyIn the absence of new information, the assumption is that you’re producing. When you step outside the HQ work environment, you should flip that burden of proof. The burden is on you to show that you’re being productive. Is that because we don’t trust you? No. It’s because a few normal ways of staying involved (face time, informal chats, lunch) have been removed.
  2. Coder (GitHub) — a free, open source project that turns a Raspberry Pi into a simple platform that educators and parents can use to teach the basics of building for the web. New coders can craft small projects in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, right from the web browser.
  3. MillWheel (PDF) — a framework for building low-latency data-processing applications that is widely used at Google. Users specify a directed computation graph and application code for individual nodes, and the system manages persistent state and the continuous flow of records, all within the envelope of the framework’s fault-tolerance guarantees. From Google Research.
  4. Probabilistic Scraping of Plain Text Tablesthe method leverages topological understanding of tables, encodes it declaratively into a mixed integer/linear program, and integrates weak probabilistic signals to classify the whole table in one go (at sub second speeds). This method can be used for any kind of classification where you have strong logical constraints but noisy data.
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A Programming Life: Choose Your Own Adventure

Honesty, Evaluation, and a Success Story

I caught up with, Amye Scavarda (@amye), Client Advisor, Acquia, and Leslie Hawthorn (@lhawthorn), Community Manager, Elasticsearch at OSCON 2013 where both gave a talk on how to grow a career, that you’ll enjoy, in the open source world and beyond. Turns out it might not be so hard.

Key highlights include:

  • Some old school first steps in taking a look at your work life [Discussed at 0:57]
  • Don’t start by trying to improve what you are worst at [Discussed at 2:38]
  • How and when should you learn new programming languages? It depends. [Discussed at 4:09]
  • Success stories aka how this has worked for Amye [Discussed at 5:24]

You can view the full interview here:

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Four short links: 12 September 2013

Four short links: 12 September 2013

PaaS Vendors, Educational MMO, Changing Culture, Data Mythologies

  1. Amazon Compute Numbers (ReadWrite) — AWS offers five times the utilized compute capacity of each of its other 14 top competitors—combined. (via Matt Asay)
  2. MIT Educational MMOThe initial phase will cover topics in biology, algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics, providing students with a collaborative, social experience in a systems-based game world where they can explore how the world works and discover important scientific concepts. (via KQED)
  3. Changing Norms (Atul Gawande) — neither penalties nor incentives achieve what we’re really after: a system and a culture where X is what people do, day in and day out, even when no one is watching. “You must” rewards mere compliance. Getting to “X is what we do” means establishing X as the norm.
  4. The Mythologies of Big Data (YouTube) — Kate Crawford at UC Berkeley iSchool. The six months: ‘Big data are new’, ‘Big data is objective’, ‘Big data don’t discriminate’, ‘Big data makes cities smart’, ‘Big data is anonymous’, ‘You can opt out of big data’. (via Sam Kinsley)
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Four short links: 28 August 2013

Four short links: 28 August 2013

Cloud Orchestration, Cultural Heritage, Student Hackers, and Visual Javascript

  1. Juju — Canonical’s cloud orchestration software, intended to be a peer of chef and puppet. (via svrn)
  2. Cultural Heritage Symbols — workshopped icons to indicate interactives, big data, makerspaces, etc. (via Courtney Johnston)
  3. Quinn Norton: Students as Hackers (EdTalks) — if you really want to understand the future, don’t look at how people are looking at technology, look at how they are misusing technology.
  4. noflo.js — visual flow controls for Javascript.
Comment: 1