The eli4d Gazette – Issue 042

Tech Pick

I’ve been using the Firefox browser for a very long time. It embodies the spirit of the Internet in both freedom and privacy. I’m not sure if this can be said of the other mass market browsers.

Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox, has come out with a new version of Firefox that is amazingly fast and stable. It is called Firefox Quantum and it’s ridiculously awesome.

So if you’ve grown tired of the slowness of your current browser – give Firefox Quantum a try (and you’ll also get excellent privacy controls too).

Media Pick

I’ve written about Net Neutrality before, and I feel the need to mention “one more thing” (especially since the FCC’s vote is coming up on December 14).

My favorite business podcast, Exponent, had a great discussion about the topic. While I don’t agree with Ben Thompson’s anti-title II position, I do respect his well-thought-out discussion points with James Allworth on the podcast.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 041

Tech Pick

While I usually range far and wide from politics Net Neutrality is an issue that fundamentally affects everyone’s use of the Internet. Net Neutrality is once again threatened by the current FCC chairman – Ajit Pai. There is much that can be said about Mr. Pai, his attack on Net Neutrality and his motivations.

It seems like the only way this issue will ever be resolved is if Congress passes a law that fully protects Net Neutrality.

Useful links regarding this:

Media Pick

Do you use YouTube Kids? Even if you’ve never heard of this app – what immediately think of when reading about this app? You would probably think that it is safe for kids. However, you would be wrong:

The best one-paragraph summary comes from the above article:

“Algorithms are not a substitute for human intervention, and when it comes to creating a safe environment for children, you need humans,” Mr. Golin said. His group and the Center for Digital Democracy filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in 2015 accusing YouTube Kids of deceptive marketing to parents based on inappropriate videos.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 040

Tech Pick

I’ve mentioned the source control management system Git before as well as Jason McCreary’s excellent course. I recently came across some great information from Atlassian in regards to Git. Atlassian hosts a Github competitor called Bitbucket. One of Bitbucket’s great advantage is free hosting for unlimited private repositories.

Now onto the awesome tutorials from Atlassian:

Media Pick

It’s that time of the year, the leaves are turning gold and falling in some places, and Costco has Christmas decorations for sale. It’s also the time of the year for non-profit pledge drives like Radiotopia – a purveyor of independent, thoughtful, and occasionally heart wrenching podcasts. I am a big fan of “99% invisible”, “The truth”, and “Trump Con Law”.

Consider that only 7 in 10,000 listeners are actual supporters of Radiotopia (and I would guess similar podcasts).

Fun Pick

The iPhone X’s animoji capability is like Snapchat’s face filters on steroids. Here are some best animoji karaoke videos that I’ve come across (I know it’s ridiculous, but this cracks me up when I imagine the faces of the people that are producing this – contorting their faces and lip syncing to create the animoji facial expressions):


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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 039

Tech Pick

I’ve mentioned Julia Evans’ awesomeness in an Issue 14 and her neat zines where she draws cartoons/comics to explain technical concepts. In a recent blog post Julia goes over her steps for teaching technical concepts with cartoons. It’s a nice actionable article covering a fun approach to technical writing.

She references Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” book. Her post inspired me to read this book, and it’s a fantastic book covering the complex underpinnings of comics. I’ve undervalued comics for a very long time, though now I realize that my technical writing is similar to comic form (in terms of sequential art and conveying information with images and words).

Media Pick

The Imaginary Worlds podcast hit another one out of the park with an episode about the Disney’s development of the Haunted Mansion ride. This is an episode that any Disney fan will love.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 038

Tech Pick

This past week I came across an excellent career path article from Ycombinator: Three Paths in the Tech Industry: Founder, Executive, or Employee.

I like the neutrality of this article and how it provides the pros/cons of each path. This is better information than any guidance counseling that I have ever encountered.

 

Media Pick

I’ve come across a very short podcast about current tech – Twit Bits. These are 2 to 10 minute daily snippets from various shows on the Twit network. They’re nice tasty bites of happenings in the tech world.

More Drobo Blues

My Drobo difficulties continue even with the switch from the 5N to the 5D. I had the 5D running for about two weeks. I had loaded some data on it, and then it just died. I suspect it’s the power supply, but I’m not sure since I don’t have another supply to switch out. So far: three Drobo 5Ns that have been bad and now a 5D. Am I really this unlucky or is Drobo hardware really (really really really) bad?

I was hoping that I could trust the 5D hardware but no such luck. I asked for a refund, and this (of course) was refused (it’s way past the original purchase, so I get it…but still ). I’m in the process of returning my 5D for another 5D. My trust in Drobo hardware is non-existent, so I’m not sure what to do when/if I get a 5D that is working.

 


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


 

The eli4d Gazette – Issue 037

Tech Pick

I’ve been going through Jason McCreary‘s Getting Git course. I’ve used git superficially in the past, but I didn’t ‘get’ it. At $29 it is an amazing bargain and is well worth purchasing. The course is broken down into the following sections:

  • Making Changes
  • Viewing History
  • Managing Workflows
  • Sharing Work
  • Everyday Git

Each section contains the git commands related to that section, and it is covered through two videos. There’s an ‘init’ video which is a short video (typically one minute max) introducing the command. This is followed by a ‘Master’ video covering greater details of the command and providing context to both the section and its usage.

One core feature of this course is that it is all about the practical usage of git. There’s no esoteric ‘stuff,’ which is helpful when you need to work with git quickly.

My approach has been to mirror what Jason shows in a terminal window of my own and to take notes about it. Jason keeps each video’s set-up (in terms of the initial repository) to the bare minimum, which makes it fairly easy to follow and practice.

Media Pick

If you’re looking for a quirky podcast – check out Reply All. It’s hard to describe this podcast. I’d recommend that you start with the Phantom Caller episode.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 036

Tech Pick

I came across this interesting question about choosing a development stack.

The Question:

When building a new web app, project, website, how do you choose your development stack? Nowadays there are hundreds of ways one could go about building the same project.

I am a entry level software developer wanting to start a side web project, but I feel stuck in analysis paralysis. I don’t mind trying to learn new languages either. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated! Thanks, guys!

I completely identify with the analysis paralysis issue. There’s just so much interesting technology out there (whether a tech stack or programming language).

There’s an answer (further down the page) that mentions a neat article – The Boring Stack – The Best Way To Build Interesting Things. It’s a worthwhile article that gets to the heart of the question.

The top answer given asks the questioner to distinguish between the desire to learn something new versus the desire to start a business that needs a development stack. This is a very thoughtful criteria (emphasis mine):

If your goal is to learn a new language [or a new development stack], that’s fine – pick something that looks interesting, or that furthers your career development. As a web developer: rails, python + django or node are all decent choices with wide adoption, and you should probably know at least one of them.

If your goal is to start a business, pick a tech stack that you know and that lets you move fast with safety. Learning new tech is not the goal here.

Media Pick

I’ve mentioned the Functional Geekery podcast previously. I like how it completely focuses on functional programming. I found episode 106 to be good in following the interviewee’s (Reid Evans) journey into functional programming. The show notes also had some interesting functional JavaScript resources including Reid’s channel on YouTube.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter