Slack: Where Annoyance Happens

I remember the first time I started working remote and how amazing live chat was. No more annoying face to face conversations around your desk, but this totally new medium where introverts can have time to get into the conversation without being overpowered by all those talkers.

Jump forward a few years and the live chat medium has gone from awesome to annoyance. From the constant unread bubbles vying for your attention to the feel of having to always have it connected. Like a conjoined twin.

Luckily for me, at my full-time​ job we are given “slack free” hours throughout the day where we are expected to quit the app, and not check in for anything unless it’s an emergency and someone texts or calls. This is fantastic and is truly​ forward thinking because I’ve heard some dreadful horror stories about other companies.

I heard of one that has a special room that is just for status updates. The workers are expected to give updates every 15-minutes on what they are working on. It’s apparent some in the upper management would prefer a job at a preschool instead of running a software development company.

Other companies are a little better but I feel like the instant side of it has conditioned everyone to get that instant gratification and to forget other people are trying to get work done. Of course, I’m guilty of it too but I’m trying hard to change and move conversations to a different medium. I’m so tired of searching looking for a bug that I know we discussed only to find a conversation that happened over many days with a lot of other banter in between.

Have you found anything better? I’ve heard Basecamp is one answer to this problem but it still feels like “one more place” when most of us already have a half a dozen. Some days I wish we would all just go back to email.

The Phoenix Project

I just finished a novel about IT, DevOps, and business named The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford.

I loved this book. It made me mad, it made me sad, it touched on so many emotions and this is one of the best books I’ve read. I love how through a narrative story they were​ able to cover many advanced IT and DevOps topics and make it approachable. I hope to see more tech-related books designed like this.

Some of the story does start to feel repetitive especially when you get toward the end, but overall I’m satisfied and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. They also just released an updated 5th-anniversary​ edition that is available on Amazon.

iOS App Icons Should Snap to a Grid

Rands published a Tweet asking others to show their iPhone home screens and being the nerd that I am I couldn’t get enough of scrolling through all the replies looking for inspiration. One thing I noticed in quite a few of the replies was many had the apps they use pushed down where you can easily access with one hand. Here is an example:

Apparently, you can’t do this without janky workarounds like blank home screen or Makeover. I tried the invisible but it’s actually black so you need a black background, and Makeover just seems like too much trouble.

I wish Apple would just make the app icon grid snappable, or drag/drop so I could put stuff where I want. On my phone I only have the top two rows to push the others so I can access them easier and would be much less dim to have this feature included.

Operator Mono and Alternatives

Since first seeing Operator Mono by Hoefler & Co. I’ve been in love with the font. I bought myself a license and have been using ever since.

Of course, when I share screenshots on social media I get a lot of people asking me about it and when I send them the link they get sticker shock on the price and it is expensive at $199. I personally justified it because I know I’m going to use it for many years and it’s something I can own forever. Granted I’m lucky that I am in a position where I can spend this amount of money on a font.

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If you like the font and the italic comments but the price is too expensive, Matt McFarland put together a post outlining alternatives and how to set those up.

This is nice as it gives everyone an option that wants this setup.

Hand-drawn​ maps from running routes

On the Strava blog they have just highlighted an artist and runner named Owen Delaney who creates these wonder map images after his runs:

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In the interview when asked about the process, Owen says:

I’ve always enjoyed looking at maps, but now I’ve got a good excuse for it! I’ve been finding more and more inspiration online from the map makers of years gone by, and a lot of the daily maps are following their styles, with the 17th & 18th century being my favorite eras. It amazes me how accurate they were hundreds of years ago, without all the technology we have today. So with that research, I tend to have an idea for how I want the map to look before I’ve been for my run (or occasional walk, I’ve not got the legs for running every day…), and with limited free time, I try to keep them pretty quick to do.

I personally find that using competition against friends inspires me to push harder and keep working out, but I love the idea of tying it to a creative act so you aren’t reliant on others.

Alto’s Odyssey is now out

I loved playing Alto’s adventure on iOS and now the sequel Alto’s Odyssey is now in the app store. I’m excited to get to play this and hope it’s as much as the first, and that I can finally beat it. I never did get that last goal in Alto’s Adventure.

Vanity Fair: How Twitter Lost the Internet War

How Twitter Lost the Internet War:

At the same time, her defenders say, Harvey has been forced to clean up a mess that Twitter should have fixed years ago. Twitter’s backend was initially built on Ruby on Rails, a rudimentary web-application framework that made it nearly impossible to find a technical solution to the harassment problem. If Twitter’s co-founders had known what it would become, a third former executive told me, “you never would have built it on a Fisher-Price infrastructure.” Instead of building a product that could scale alongside the platform, former employees say, Twitter papered over its problems by hiring more moderators. “Because this is just an ass-backward tech company, let’s throw non-scalable, low-tech solutions on top of this low-tech, non-scalable problem.”

If only Twitter would have built that first version with (Java|PHP|C|Go) they would have no problems. Every day​ at Twitter would be like interacting with unicorns and rainbows.