I learnt …

about these things and thought they might be useful

  • Abandoning Agile

    I have worked with various flavours of “Agile” over numerous years. These have ranged from the very formal where everything is done by the book to more ad-hoc versions where different parts are cherry picked or in most cases done because people think they should be done. What is clear is that “Agile” has become more about the processes than about the results and the actual aims of the original manifesto.

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  • Abolish Performance Reviews

    I have never been a fan of performance reviews. It may have been down to the way they were implemented at the places I worked however they never seemed to achieve what they were set out to do. The review would usually consist of going over the “achievements” for the past period and then setting a bunch of artificial goals for the next period. The only time these new goals were actually consulted was in the run up to the next review.

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  • GeoGuessr

    This is a very simple idea for a quiz. It drops you in a random place somewhere in the world and you use Google StreetView to work out where it is. If you are lucky you end up in a town or city, sometimes you end up in the middle of nowhere. It is amazing how much you can work out by looking at the flora or a random signpost.

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  • Network Developments

    This article documents developments over the last ten years at all layers of the network stack. It also highlights how vulnerable the current Internet is. Links Another ten years later

  • Simple Change = Big Impact

    A simple change in message can lead to a big impact. Without changing the price of the drink, the University of Winchester reduced the number of disposal cups used in a year by 34K. This was achieved by saying there was a “25p penalty” for using a disposable cup rather than a “25p discount” for using a reusable one. Links Plastic coffee cup waste is being cut by a simple change

  • 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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