Social Connections by Numbers

by Tom Harrison Jr on June 6, 2015

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We spend lots of time wondering how new technologies will affect (read: harm) our children. I am not sure these technologies are so bad, and maybe fill a gap that a lot of other social changes have created. Also, it strikes me as funny that a phone number is still an important identifier … more […]

API as Product Definition

by Tom Harrison Jr on May 14, 2015

Selling into large institutions is hard unless you hold all the cards. Sales are a visual thing — customers see demos, slide decks, mockups and all the rest and start thinking along the lines, “Wow, that’s kind of like what I want … hey, can your product do this?” Of course the answer is usually […]

Just Do It (Sometimes)

May 13, 2015

We have an incredibly clever system designed to solve several problems. These were not problems we had yet but were built in anticipation of the need. It would accept jobs to be executed, allocate resources from those available or create more machine instances, pull jobs from a queue, balance priority, scale down when needed, allow […]

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As It Happens, Sometimes Things Don’t Work

May 8, 2015

Some code I was trying to fix today had this delightful snippet: def needs_update? bundle_command(‘check’) $? != 0 end OK, so let’s go “la la la” and ignore the dependency on the global system variable $?. The intent is to use the return value of a system command (bundler) to return a boolean value from […]

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Biggest performance bump in ages: SSD

May 6, 2015

I hadn’t realized how slow my MB Pro was until I started using one with SSD.  Two nearly equivalent machines for home and work: 16GB RAM, modern CPU, but one with SSD. Everything is faster, notably reboot, but any startup.  If I restart Chrome, where I typically have 15 or 20 tabs open it is […]

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I Would Fail Most Tech Interviews

May 3, 2015

I have interviewed several hundreds of engineers over the years. I confidently say I am a good and experienced software and systems engineer.   But I would instantly fail most of the technical interviews whose questions I see posted on the web, and even that members of my team have asked. I Googled “software interview […]

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You Never Really Go Back

April 30, 2015
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I had the chance to talk to some technical folks today.  The conversation helped me further coalesce my ideas about “Make it work, Make it beautiful, Make it fast” that I have written about here before.  In short, it’s three parts of one whole, and not three distinct phases. One person said that it was […]

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Use Externalized Variables and  Constants

April 22, 2015

My latest battle with bad code has been to make our distinct environments … distinct. In production we do send email alerts to users who ask; otherwise we do not. In development, stack traces from exceptions show on the screen, but not on staging or production.  Our environments have different domain names, test and production […]

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We Need CB Radio “Voice Procedure” for Chat <10-4, good buddy>

April 20, 2015

I am working remotely now and it’s awesome. Slack is absolutely brilliant, a huge upgrade from things like HipChat, Skype, Adium, GChat, or IRC. But… I hate chat for conversations. Especially when there are several different conversations going on at once. But even when there’s just one. We need a protocol, or voice procedure for […]

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Polymer 0.8 Alpha is out

April 18, 2015
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Polymer is coming. It’s the next big thing on the web. It’s still alpha (man, it’s been a while since I have seen this term) but it’s good. Check it out at

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