DPL Reading List – June 26, 2015


| June 26, 2015 | in

Here are some of the articles we’ve been reading around this office this week.

To Understand Code, Don’t Read 38,000 Words. Just Start Coding – “To program professionally is hard and requires a lot of experience, but to program recreationally is easy and requires none. What is code? It’s a good question, and Ford’s is a noble attempt at an answer. But you’ll get a better one if you just start here [www.codecademy.com].”

You Can’t Multitask (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “Software often requires us to actively think about two things at once: like needing to know if the current content of the clipboard is important (when you should be thinking about the edit you want to make), or whether the “predictive” text entry on cell phones has incorrectly guessed the word you want (when you really just want to be writing your message). Unfortunately, this is like asking us to simultaneously press two buttons that are 10 feet apart. It’s impossible, and it’s not humane, so we’ll make mistakes. But, it’s not our fault.”

Exception Monitoring and Response (Thanks to Paul Bauer for recommending this article) – “Like most software applications, GitHub can generate a few exceptions. Incoming exceptions range from system-level issues including Git timeouts and missing references, to application-level issues including simple code mistakes and JavaScript errors. We take stability and performance seriously, so we need a way to quickly identify issues as they surface, determine the best teams or individuals to ping, and ship any relevant changes as soon as possible. Haystack helps us do that.”

Apple’s Latest Product Is Privacy – “These bold assurances about privacy weren’t a first for Apple. But their prominence at its big annual event escalated a recent campaign to emphasize that the tech giant stands for privacy — and that, by implication, Google does not. At the same time, Apple’s case for privacy isn’t airtight. In effect, privacy itself is now a key product — and a key marketing point — for Apple, as much as the Apple Watch or the skinny new MacBook.”

The Web is Getting its Bytecode: WebAssembly – “In spite of these improvements, the question of “why JavaScript?” remains. This is not without reason. The use of JavaScript incurs certain overheads: browsers have to read and interpret a text-based language that was designed for human authors, not for machines. The design of JavaScript itself has features that are suboptimal from a performance perspective; the way a single JavaScript variable may at different times represent a number, a string, or a fragment of HTML means that a JIT compiler may not be able to optimize as aggressively as it would like. The ability to modify the behavior of even built-in objects such as arrays can be similarly problematic.”

7 Overused Marketing Buzzwords (and What to Say Instead) – “The great challenge of marketing is to cut through the noise and get your message both heard and acted upon. This is difficult or impossible if your marketing materials use the same vague clichés that everyone else uses. To make your marketing message clear and memorable, replace your “heard it all before” verbiage with statements that are precise and vivid.”

Beach Reading (and More) – “Last year, there was only one book on my summer reading list that you could reasonably call a beach read. This year I tried to pick a few more things that are on the lighter side. Each of these books made me think or laugh or, in some cases, do both. I hope you find something to your liking here. And if it’s not summer where you live, this list will still be here six months from now…”

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