Random stuff I learnt

  • There Is No Now

    This paper is a discussion around the issues faced by distributed systems when dealing with time, ordering and failures. This is particularly relevant with the work I am doing at the moment designing a very large distributed system that will need to scale massively. It is remarkably readable and illustrates key issues and limitations in the field. It has already got me researching other areas mentioned in the paper. Links

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  • A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Consensus Algorithms

    This is a summary of a number of consensus algorithms currently being used in the Blockchain space. The most common at the moment is Proof of Work however this is slowly being replaced by other approaches that are more performant and don’t use all the Earth’s energy. Links A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Consensus Algorithms

  • REST API Guidelines

    This is here for future reference - a very good set of guidelines for REST APIs. Links Zalando RESTful API and Event Scheme Guidelines

  • Image Processing Developments

    There are some amazing things happening with image processing at the moment. I remember my graphics class at university 25 years ago and the primitive, by comparison to now, image processing algorithms we had to code. Oh how things have moved on. The first link below is some incredible work to make very low light images intelligible. The example results are quite incredible - making a viewable image out of an image that looks completely dark.

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  • The Mother Of All Demos

    There is a video of a demonstration given by Doug Engelbart in 1968 which is commonly referred to as “The Mother Of All Demos”. In the demo, he demonstrates a lot of technologies for the first time together that are common place today and some which we haven’t even achieved properly now: windows hypertext graphics efficient navigation and command input video conferencing the computer mouse word processing dynamic file linking revision control collaborative real-time editor (collaborative work) One of the demonstrations that is particularly of interest to me is the chorded keyboard.

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  • Working From Home Boosts Productivity

    I am fortunate with my current role that I am able to work 2-3 days per week from home. This saves me about 2.5 hours of commuting time per day as well as about £2000 per year. A new study from Stanford University has shown that working from home can increase productivity significantly. There is a small proviso that working 100% of the time from home can also have a detrimental effect as it can lead to isolation.

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  • The Bosses We Remember

    I have been very fortunate in my career to have some exceptional bosses that have had a massive impact on my career. Kim Ho When I came out of university it was in the middle of a recession. Despite coming second in my whole year I had to send my CV out to 45 places before I got a single response. Fortunately I got the role and I have never been out of work since (in over 25 years).

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  • Armada by Ernest Cline

    Took me a little while to get into this book. It starts out in a school where a pupil spots a spaceship from his favourite video game. This then moves on to it being a precursor to an invasion by the aliens from the video game and the game itself was actually put together as training so the players could pilot drones in the war. A slightly surreal concept but pretty well executed.

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  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel

    I had read a lot of good things about this book and it had sat on my Kindle for a long time. Really enjoyed the first half of the book but thought the second half was more focused on things that weren’t relevant to me. There were some statements made that were clearly opinions but were stated as facts. Overall a bit disappointing. Links Zero To One

  • The Little Trade-Offs

    I found this article to be a very astute observation that it can be all the “little trade-offs” that can add up to cause issues. The article highlights it from the perspective of a leader who can make small decisions, usually around putting something off or taking a short cut, that can add up to impact their work and those around them. I have also seen this with technical projects. Sometimes small decisions can cascade through a project and cause massive problems later.

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