Category Archives: Other

Other technology stuff.

Eventual Consistency taster

If I send an update to one system, then a minute later send that update to another system, my system will be inconsistent for that minute. Not quite. In my system there’s only one application that creates new data. Think of that application as the author of a novel. Updates to the novel are sent… Read More »

Prototyping, fighting layout bugs, and model-based testing

Recently, I’ve ran into a few interesting talks related to testing.  In this first talk, Steven Dow talks about some early studies on how prototyping has an effect on the performance of the end result.  As you’ll see in the Q&A, people are hungry to know more about how we can structure tests for our… Read More »

Using instant messaging for distributed application communication

During the first session of the Lightweight Languages 3 workshop (includes video of the talks), Dana Moore and Bill Wright presented ACME: Toward a LL Testing Framework for Large Distributed Systems (abstract), in which they described a distributed application which used the XMPP (aka Jabber) instant messaging protocol to communicate between nodes. XMPP addresses many… Read More »

Network theory – detecting cascades

In his talk, Dynamics of real-world networks, Jure Leskovec discusses where to place sensors in a network to detect cascades such virus outbreaks or rising memes.  I particularly enjoyed Jure’s explanation of how the cost-effective lazy forward-selection algorithm, which his team developed, helps to balance the cost of the sensors versus the reward of early… Read More »

Debugging on Software Engineering Radio

Another podcast I listen to is Software Engineering Radio.  The Debugging episode talks about how testing does not prevent the need to debug, that debugging is a search problem, and tools for estimating where source for bugs are located. Related links: Why Programs Fail: A Guide to Systematic Debugging by Andreas Zeller – book on… Read More »

Time and attention: THE soft skill of every knowledge worker

In his talk, Time and Attention, Merlin Mann talks about being conscious of what grabs your attention, negotiating requests for attention, and communicating organization culture around communication. I enjoyed the part about defaults.  Simple tips for improving concentration: Configure your email client to not notify you when an email arrives. Configure your instant messenger to… Read More »

TV Ontario’s Big Ideas

I’ve received some requests to share some of my favorite podcasts. The first I’d like to share is a non-technical podcast called Big Ideas.  It’s the only regularly scheduled program dedicated to the art of the lecture and the importance of ideas in public life.  One of my favorite Big Ideas lectures is by Oxford… Read More »

Signals, Truth, & Design

In her talk, Signals, Truth, & Design, Judith Donath discusses intentional and unintentional signals as well as truth in signals. Related links: The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove – book on Amazon


In his talk, Drive-By Pharming and Other WebApp Bummers, Sid Stamm discusses creative exploits.

Managing Email

In his talk, Inbox Zero, Merlin Mann discusses one of the most important soft skills of a knowledge worker. Related links: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen – book on Amazon Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day by Gina Trapani – book on Amazon