On Scaling Code and Static Typing

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Seemingly legit question on proggit just now: “Out of curiosity, is static typing really that large an advantage? Yeah, I get that run-time errors could be worse than compile-time, but isn’t that something that oughtn’t to get past testing?” The answer is yes, static typing is a huge advantage. When you start out in software development by writing hobby projects, hobby websites, or code for school, the code bases are not very large.…

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Don't be afraid of code

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Two scenarios of fear to discuss today. #1. The Legacy App.It was designed 10 years ago. It grew organically. No one wants to touch it out of fear. The code languishes as everyone searches for a way to work around the beast. Things don’t get fixed. Silver bullet syndrome takes over. People would rather leave the company than fix it. #2. The Low Level Solution.Things are slow. The most direct solution would be to just write a little C or C++.…

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Why Node is the Future of the Web Tier

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Everyone I know hates Javascript. Including people who do it professionally. I hate Javascript. I long for the day where it’s been completely destroyed in favor of something else, I don’t even care what. Typescript and Dart both look really promising, though I question whether either will ultimately make a dent in the dominance of Javascript. Node is a gigantic hack. A browser Javascript engine pulled into the server layer? Single threaded?…

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Learn to math, not to code

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The “learn to code” meme has gotten so strong that even our President was weighing in on it late last year: I love his message, I do. I think kids should be learning to program games. I love what code.org is doing and the idea of the “hour of code”. We absolutely need more programming classes in K-12. But the resources  made available are almost like a trade school for “…

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The most productive UIs have steep learning curves

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A friend posted on Facebook this video of a baby using an iphone with the tag “If there was ever any doubt that the iPhone interface is so intuitive that a baby could use it, here’s proof.”

I replied “The problem is the UI doesn’t mature beyond that age group”, to which she replied “Why should it?” The answer is, because babies using iPhones to play music and look at pictures doesn’t imply that UX can lead to super productive tools for more demanding needs that grownups have.

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How The RBS Incident Relates to Choosing Clojure for Your Startup

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Couple of Hacker News/proggit articles worth combining today: “where my mouth is” and “RBS Mainframe Meltdown: A Year On”. The first article is about a long-time LISP guy who has bet his company on using Clojure. The second is about how the Royal Bank of Scotland has had a complete computing meltdown with their ancient mainframe running COBOL and is going to be spending half a billion pounds trying to fix it.…

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Pretend Grace Hopper is in the audience

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There’s been a ton of flap about some presentations made at TechCrunch “Disrupt”, deservedly so. The “Titstare” presentation has generated the most backlash. There’s also the “Circle Shake” presentation. ValleyWag has the details on them both, in case you haven’t heard already. Enter these into the annals of now dozens of “tech” conference presentations that were inappropriate or, even worse, misogynistic, homophobic and otherwise prejudiced. There are even serial inappropriate presenters, such as Matt Van Horn (google search).…

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On the ubiquity of chicken rotisseries

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Once upon a time, long long ago – i.e. 1995 – rotisserie chicken was a huge business. The trend was started with Boston Chicken (now Boston Market). The idea was making a healthier, classier, more expensive alternative to fast food. The original founder of Boston Chicken bought the idea and franchised it (not unlike Ray Kroc) because the owners were ringing up an average of $13.75 per bill. Many clones popped up in the early-90s.…

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Hubris: the biggest security risk

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A couple days ago on Hacker News, the thread about Chrome’s security for stored password erupted and culminated with one of Chrome’s security mavens posting responses. Within that chain, he posted this quip: I appreciate how this appears to a novice, but we’ve literally spent years evaluating it and have quite a bit of data to inform our position. And while you’re certainly well intentioned, what you’re proposing is that that we make users less safe than they are today by providing them a false sense of security and encouraging dangerous behavior.…

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Brain Drain and Microsoft

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I’ve been known to say silly things like “everyone must learn to code” and “STEM education trumps all other education”. BUT, hear me out on this one. The future is pretty clear: the knowledge-worker economy. In the future, people are never cogs. We’ve automated everything cog-like, long ago. The people who do that automation – who facilitate it, create it – those people are gold. Their knowledge and ability to create is what empowers the companies that employ them.…

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