Fascinating! February 2020

published by Henne
in fascinating Cover image: Kalapana Lava Flow by Buzz Andersen

The universe is full of captivating, compelling and exquisite things. The internet, the most complete representation of humanity, is no different in that regard. Both are vast, seemingly endless and full of places you should know about. Let me share content that has moved me, in some way, in the last month. February was mostly inter-personal stuff like ethics, hiring or collaborating remote. Enjoy.

YubiKey 5C Nano a product by yubico

Some collegue of mine mentioned andOTP and good Free Software citizen I am, moved all of my 2FA to it. Doing so made me think of checking support for hardware security modules on Linux again. Ordered this YubiKey, now I'm off 2FA with my phone and just touch my laptop when asked. Thanks WebAuthn! One of those "Why they heck did I not do this earlier?" moments.

A student guide for navigating ethical issues in the tech industry by Mozilla

I have no idea why Mozilla says this is for students? Clearly this is for everybody! Be it people considering going into the tech industry (like students), people already in it or even people who just want to know what it going on in this cesspool.

Especially if you are in this industry already: Read this, think about it, talk about it with your peers, dive deeper into this topic. Do this so you can help to save the environment you probably planed to work the rest of your life in. Ethics help them who help themselves!

git sparse-checkout a post by Derrick Stolee

An experimental git command that allows you to checkout one or more sub-directories of a repo. Primarily meant for monorepos with gazillion of projects in it. But I think this could also turn out to be usefull for other situations. Like skipping large infrequently used directories etc. Check it out!

The 2020 State of Remote Work a survey by Buffer.com

No real shockers this year, the concept of distributed teams is humming along. One thing I find interesting about this is how much the top challenges are also the top challenges of (larger) Free Software communities. If you reach a certain size your community fractures because people start their own communication neighborhoods. Mailing lists, forums, IRC etc. Each group get's enough information about the community (mostly from wanderers between the neighborhoods) so they feel they don't miss out. Yet, some important things fall through the cracks. Frequent cries for unification of groups are either ignored or end up in XKCD#927. In the end, you just live with it and realize that you can't streamline a large amount of people to this degree.

And I think loneliness is also at the root of many of the problems that Free Software communities face. Especially I suspect this to be the top reason for contributor churn. You can't vent at the time you're angry about something in the code base. You don't have anyone to share your joy with, at the time you finally feel confident enough to open this super cool feature pull request. You have to context switch to something else because no one is around at the time you need to know why this code behaves like it behaves. Those situations are just a little less fulfilling than they are if you're together with people. And this will bite at your willingness to continue, one at a time. And that's how you can eat an elephant.

Often I'd wish we would not have been such punks in the Free Software movement. That we instead collectively focused some of the time and energy we've spend on creating software on figuring out what happened to us and between us. We made collaboration among free equals into a viable option to be creative. But we were to lazy to write the documentation how to organize people doing it...

The Horrifically Dystopian World of Software Engineering Interviews a post by Jared Nelsen

One persons odyssey through many of the ridicolous hiring practices in play today. And the best analysis of why this is like it is I have read to today.

We are being consumed by our own mythology. We all know algorithm challenges are a contrived game. Why are we measuring people and not learning about people?

I start to feel bad for the nail, as much as this hits it on the head. Or as Chelsea puts it “Smart” is Not a Hiring Criterion.

Tools I found interesting

Talks I enjoyed

Neat stuff! Hope some of it makes you think/act in new ways, as it has me.


Any criticism, remarks or praise about this post? Get in touch, I'm looking forward to your input!