The eli4d Gazette – Issue 070: Sarah Drasner’s Amazing Article about Learning to Learn and on Startups and Stock Options

(Pretty) Please read Sarah Drasner’s Amazing article about Learning to Learn

This is absolutely the best article that I have read about learning in a very (very) long time: https://css-tricks.com/learning-to-learn/. The article is excellent because it is comprehensive and actionable. Sarah shows the steps she takes to learn in a very well written and detailed way.

On Startups and Stock Options

I came across an interesting Hacker News thread discussion stock options. It’s an interesting back and forth about the value of stock options and whether it is worth giving up on salary for something that’s not likely to yield anything.

I think that user’s code4tee comment is quite on the mark:

Easiest strategy is to just assume the options are worthless and base your comp assessment on that. Doing otherwise sets people up to get burned badly. Furthermore the risk reward for all but the founders is typically significantly lopsided.

If you can accept the risk great, but again assume you’ll never see a penny from options or far far less than you might think (as the calculator highlights nicely).

If things go well you’ll get a nice bonus. Not life changing for the vast majority of people, but a nice financial surprise.

The mistake most people make is accepting far too little cash comp on the grounds that their options may be worth something some day. When they turn out not to be they get burned twice. First on not getting that money period, and second on not having higher cash comp all along which means they also missed out on compound savings or investment with that money.

Net net see options for what they are in most companies—-a way to “pay” people when the company can’t really afford to pay people.

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You can find the newsletter archive at https://eli4d.com/category/newsletter/ and the blog at eli4d.com.

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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 069: Results from the 2018 Python Developers Survey and REST API Testing Resources

Interesting results from a 2018 Python Developers Survey

JetBrains, the makers of many IDEs teamed up with Python Software Foundation to run developer survey for 2018 (this is similar to the State of JavaScript survey for JS developers).

The 2018 survey can be found here: https://www.jetbrains.com/research/python-developers-survey-2018/ (There’s also a 2017 survey too)

Some interesting survey points:

  • Python 3 adoption is inching closer to 100 percent. Considering that Python 3 was released in 2008, the adoption curve has been very very slow.
  • The key take aways is a nice summary of the current state of Python development. It’s interesting to note that data science has overtaken web development among Python users. This is not completely surprising considering the availability of Jupyter notebook in conjunction with excellent tooling available through data science frameworks and libraries like NumPy, Pandas, Matplotlib, and SciPy.

Neat REST API Testing Resources

I came across these interesting REST testing resources:

  • https://reqres.in/: a hosted REST API that is ready to go
    • advantages: no setup needed
    • disadvantages: no guarantees of where your data resides (privacy, etc…)

  • JSON Server: an easy way to locally deploy a fake REST server
    • advantages: you can put whatever data you want since it’s on your machine (so no worries about privacy)
    • disadvantages: need to set it up (though the setup seems very easy using Node.js)

You can find the newsletter archive at https://eli4d.com/category/newsletter/ and the blog at eli4d.com.

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


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 068: An Excellent PHP Benchmarks Site and the Magic of Instant.page

PHP Benchmarks Site

I came across this PHP Benchmark site which is cool in terms of framework, template engines, and PHP version comparisons. Of course, benchmarking is just one item of comparison, and there are many somewhat more important factors in choosing and learning a framework/template language like:

  1. How well do you know the language?
  2. How much have you studied the framework/template engine?
  3. How many projects have you deployed with a particular framework?

That last point is very critical. The more projects (personal, work, etc…) the more you know the framework, and the more quickly you can deploy an idea or a solution to a problem. Of course, the other side of knowing something well is tending to use it as a solution for everything (the Masslow’s hammer problem).

Note: I came across this benchmarking site while reading “Moving from Go to PHP again” via this Hacker News post.

Instant.page magic by preloading a page right before a user clicks it

I came across this page (https://instant.page/) through the fantastic Post Status club Slack workspace. I haven’t had a chance to play with this, but it seems pretty amazing that a 1 line addition to your HTML can potentially bring a significant increase in speed due to the link/hover behavior of users.

The technical details page provides information about this approach. Caveat emptor of course but it does seem pretty neat.


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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 067: Fast.ai’s Deep Learning Course and SvN Blog moving from Medium to WordPress

Fast.ai’s Deep Learning Course

I came across this deep learning site: https://www.fast.ai/2019/01/24/course-v3/. It looks like a great learning tool for anyone who is interested in machine learning.

Additionally, the Hacker News thread about this site also references other deep learning resources which seem pretty neat.

The Signal versus Noise Blog moving from Medium to WordPress

The Signal versus Noise Blog has been around since 1999. It is a mixture of a company (Basecamp) blog and the strong opinions of Jason Fried, as well as DHH (aka David Heinemeier Hansson).

The blog just got moved from Medium to WordPress. Medium is a blog publishing platform that changed business models over time (like many businesses that starts with a freemium model and realize that it’s unsustainable at some point).

I find it instructive to look at the reasons for this move:

  • DHH’s tweets about the move from Medium to WordPress
  • Basecamp’s podcast episode covering the move

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


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 066: GitHub’s FREE private repos, Neat 2019 Tech Conferences, and the Amazingly Written “Leviathan Wakes”

GitHub announces unlimited free private repos

GitHub is the standard when it comes to Git based source control management.

Up to now, you could get a free account as long as your code was publicly viewable. While this has been great for public facing open source projects, it was problematic for those that wanted private source repositories (aka ‘repos’). A viable free private repo alternative has been Atlassian’s Bitbucket.

GitHub has recently announced unlimited free private repos. This change is great for anyone who wants to experiment around with some code without exposing their cruft out in public.

Some folks have lamented that now there will be many personal projects that will be locked away in private repos and that takes away valuable code that could be “out there.” While I understand this objection, I think it’s somewhat questionable. Every developer has the right to determine what is crappy code and what isn’t, and whether s/he is comfortable publishing it. After all, once something is public on the internet, it’s there forever.

Before GitHub’s change, Bitbucket was already used for private repos – so what exactly has changed? Am I to understand that Bitbucket’s free private repo feature was so secret that no developer ever used it? Or perhaps developers were too lazy to switch from GitHub to Bitbucket for personal projects?

Some interesting conferences from Delicious Brains

Delicious Brains is a WordPress company that develops high-end plug-ins for WordPress developers. They have a really nice development blog.

In a recent blog entry, they had a comprehensive listing of upcoming JavaScript, WordPress, CSS, UX, Tech and PHP conferences: https://deliciousbrains.com/php-javascript-wordpress-conferences-2019/

Just Finished Reading

I just finished reading Leviathan Wakes which is the first book from The Expanse Series. This was an amazingly well-written book covering the near future. In all honesty, no amount of words can express how well written this book is so I’ll pick three sentences that scratch the surface of this writing:

Here is a description of a space ship…can you see the image?

Three-quarters of a kilometer long, a quarter of a kilometer wide—roughly shaped like a fire hydrant—and mostly empty space inside, the Canterbury was a retooled colony transport.

What about these sentences?

Seven years in Earth’s navy, five years working in space with civilians, and he’d never gotten used to the long, thin, improbable bones of Belters. A childhood spent in gravity shaped the way he saw things forever.


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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 065: NPM’s JavaScript Report and Firefox Monitor

NPM’s JavaScript Report

I mentioned the amazing 2018 State of Javascript report in the last issue. Right on the heels of this report, NPM came out with its own survey results.

It’s interesting to compare NPM’s survey results with the 2018 State of Javascript report. It is also important to keep in mind that NPM is a private company whose goal is to enhance and increase the usage of its services (nothing wrong with that but it’s important to know which grains of salt to use).

Some related information:

Firefox Monitor: A way to check if your email address was part of a data breach

A recent episode of Security Now mentioned Firefox Monitor. It is well worth to check your email(s) against sites that have been breached. I checked Monitor with an email address that I’ve used for over a decade and discovered that it was part of 4 data breaches.

Firefox Monitor also gives you some great advice regarding breach related next actions (from the site):

  1. Change your passwords, even for old accounts: If you can’t log in, contact the website to ask how you can recover or shut down the account. See an account you don’t recognize? The site may have changed names or someone may have created an account for you.

  2. If you reuse an exposed password, change it: Hackers may try to reuse your exposed password to get into other accounts. Create a different password for each website, especially for your bank account, email and other websites where you save personal information.

  3. Take extra steps to secure your financial accounts: Most breaches only expose emails and passwords, but some do include sensitive financial information. If your bank account or credit card numbers were included in a breach, alert your bank to possible fraud, and monitor statements for charges you don’t recognize.

  4. Get help creating good passwords and keeping them safe: Password managers like 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane, and Bitwarden generate strong passwords, store them securely, and fill them into websites for you.

Recently Finished Reading

I just finished “Forging Zero”…sigh. I so wanted this independent author to be awesome. The story is similar to taking five extremely different boxes of different jigsaw puzzles and mixing them all in one big jumble. The book had some excellent descriptions of aliens, but the coming-of-age story combined with military grind was exhausting, and the stuttering plot lines kept kicking me out of the story. I ground through the finish but (unfortunately) I won’t be reading any more stories from this author.


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


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 064: State of JavaScript Report for 2018 and Google’s Flutter

Check out the State of JavaScript Report for 2018

The yearly “State of JavaScript” report has come out. It’s a survey of over twenty thousand developers and this year’s survey is beautiful in terms of visualization and succinctness.

The results of this year’s survey show through amazing periodic table type of charts with conclusions through quadrant charts. Conclusion pages are the best way to quickly get through the survey though it’s certainly worthwhile to savor it by going through all of it.

If you have limited time then check out the wonderful summaries:

Google’s Flutter SDK and the Holy Grail of Mobile Cross-platform Development

In software development, there is this holy grail of write once, run everywhere. The goal is to write one piece of code that runs in an optimized way (code/compile/UI efficiency) on different hardware. Recent emphasis on Mobile-first design has shifted this pursuit to cross-platform mobile development.

Flutter is an open-source mobile application development SDK created by Google. It is used to develop applications for Android and iOS, as well as being the primary method of creating applications for Google Fuchsia.

The long and short of it is that this is a cross-platform development environment/language. Its biggest competitor is React Native.

I’ve come across an excellent article by Marco Bellinaso covering his learning and use of Flutter: “Flutter: the good, the bad and the ugly”. This article is great in that it pulls no punches and it provides resources to anyone that’s interested in learning and using Flutter.


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