Weekly Thing #136 / Wikipedia, Side Quest, Latency, Signal
I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing. You signed up on my website. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click the link at the bottom. One-click, all done, goodbye. 👋
Is there a similarity between meditation and intermittent fasting? When you meditate you attempt to clear your mind and be present. You want to recognize thinking, and let it pass, and be present. You experience the moment as it is, without the thinking mind clouding things.
Is there a similar way of connecting and observing the body when it is not distracted with food? Without the act of digestion, is the experience and feeling of the body more observable? I think the opposite is certainly true. After a large, indulgent meal you really only experience that. The other signals of the body are drowned out.
A good overview, history, and introduction to Wikipedia. Also, a bit of a love letter to Wikipedia, but one that I feel is justified. In my opinion, Wikipedia is one of the most incredible things to come out of the web since it’s inception.
Today, Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited site in the world. The English-language version recently surpassed 6 million articles and 3.5 billion words; edits materialize at a rate of 1.8 per second.
The community behind Wikipedia, MediaWiki, and the hundreds of sites that it powers are incredible.
More than an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto—the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web. A free encyclopedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?
You should consider donating to Wikimedia!
Watching: We have been watching The Good Place since S1. The whole story was a bit wild, and I wasn't sure it was going to stick. The show is about going to the "good place" or "bad place," or even the "middle place" after you die. It did indeed stick, and this week we enjoyed watching the series finale. Recommended series if you are looking for one. 📺
Flying: I've been having a lot of fun learning to fly my new DJI Mavic Mini. I’m very impressed with how easy it is to operate, and the photo and video quality is really amazing.
Dining: Tammy and I had a thoroughly enjoyable and delicious meal at Snack Bar. For those of you in the Twin Cities, I highly recommend getting there. We had Crispy Artichokes w/ Walnut Pesto, Pici w/ Pistachio & Ricotta, Cheese Pastizzi, Meatballs, and a fantastic slice of Pepperoni Pizza. We finished it with the Ginger Tart. As a bonus, my cousin Kortni Ringwall is the pastry chef!
Selfie taken from 50 meters in the air. 🚁
Cannon Lake, Minnesota
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Fowler shares what shortly happened after she published her critically important article about harassment at Uber. I need to read Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber.
I wonder how much of the benefit of intermittent fasting you can get just from just not eating after dinner until breakfast, and having 16 hours with no food intake, versus the prolonged 24 hour or longer fasting windows.
Video game analogy to working through blockers across multiple teams. The reference to this as a component of dealing with growth is spot on.
A key engineering skill is noticing what’s blocked, and figuring out why, following a thread of hints from person to person until you can see what's not moving. You might end up asking the same question again and again. You might get handwavy responses that seem like answers but don't actually give you extra information. That’s how these games go.
Read the above and think about that for writing code. It’s the same thing, just applied to a different system.
An interesting essay highlighting the challenges of building software that doesn't fail. I would emphasize that as an industry, we do know how to create software that does work with very high quality, but it is expensive. Understanding that expense and comparing it to the cost of failure is a practice that doesn't often happen, if ever.
This essay helped me develop a personal takeaway: I need to formalize the cost of a redo when planning a project. I’ve handled this intuitively in the past, but it should be explicit. This formalization makes it easier to determine which tasks cannot be compromised on. This matches my past behavior; I used to work in mobile robotics, which had long implementation cycles and the damage of failure can be high. We spent a lot of time adding observability and making foolproof ways to throttle and terminate out-of-control systems. I’ve also worked on consumer websites for a decade, where the consequences of failure are lower. I’ve been more willing to take on short-term debt and push forward in the face of temporary failure, especially when rollback is cheap and data loss isn’t likely. After all, I’m incentivized to do this. Our industry also has techniques for teasing out these questions. "Premortems" are one example. I should do more of those.
I wonder if there are any formal models for determining this. 🤔
This made me chuckle as I read it. I've built many websites and know how important speed is to how people use it. We would optimize pages like crazy and directly see that the more we optimized them, the more people used the sites. The idea of applying that same method, on the client-side, to decrease your own usage, is brilliant and non-obvious!
So if you can inject latency into sites artificially, you can reduce the actual impact of the addiction in a controllable way while not denying the enjoyment of the Internet to yourself.
Hacker News with 100ms latency feels like liquor: Hacker News with 9000ms latency feels like small beer.
I personally just block all of these sites using 1Blocker, but I know a lot of people won't go that far. Adding randomly increasing latency to your user experience is probably a very good way for those that can’t imagine leaving Facebook to get a healthier relationship with it.
Great reflections from a local CIO on attending a recent Women Leaders in Technology (WLiT) event. I’m going to add joining an upcoming meeting to my list. 👍
This article got me to reinstall Signal on my iPhone and follow along as they advance the capabilities. I don't see Signal as displacing iMessage anytime, but having a secure messaging channel established and available is probably a good idea. The biggest challenge I have had with Signal is using it on multiple devices.
Watched Ford v Ferrari tonight. Loved it. Great story, acting, and action. 🎬
Thawing out the Big Green Egg so I can make dinner! Frozen shut! ❄️🔥
Finished my LEGO Yoda!
I have no need for one of these coolers, but they are so cool and well designed that I nearly want one. 😎
This is one of those annoying "Git repo as a wiki" things, but still a big collection of 1:1 topics.
Very practical tips for reducing time on your phone.
Tweet often? 🔥
Help put out the dumpster fire and share this on Twitter.
You've made it all the way to the end! 👏 Here is your fortune for this week.
Artistic ventures highlighted. Rob a museum.
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The Weekly Thing highlights helpful, engaging, or insightful articles from the week. I am a voracious reader of technology, culture, leadership, privacy, and many other topics as my interests roam. Each item I share is framed with personal commentary combining my decades of experiences. My goal is to positively impact your journey with knowledge and insight.
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