Monthly Archives: August 2011

Corporate stereotypes, and why Microsoft could kill your startup career

In reality, Microsoft just epitomizes the large bureaucratic environment that seems to confine an engineer to become just that, an engineer.  This typically leads to detailed knowledge in some proprietary technology which is not compatible outside of the company it applies to.  Moreover, larger companies tend to position engineers to remain engineers.  If you want to someday start your own company, you will need to have a network of investors and people with diverse and complimentary skillsets to your own.  And after three years at Googlesoft, the only people you know will be engineers.

How the work for large organization impairs the ability to join or build a startup.

Product design at GitHub

Having the role of “Product Designer” or having a CEO who says they’re going to “focus on product design now” never made much sense to me. Aren’t you hiring smart people who use your product? Don’t you trust your employees? Doesn’t everyone at your company want to make your product better? Doesn’t that make everyone product designers all of the time?

Insight into development and design culture at github.

Zombie Operating Systems and ASP.NET MVC

In 1973, an operating system called CP/M was born. CP/M had no directories, and filenames were limited to 8.3 format. To support input and output from user programs, the pseudofiles COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, LPT1, LPT2, CON, AUX, PRN, and NUL were provided.

Code archeology or the story of almost 40 year old legacy carried through generations of Microsoft products to ASP.NET.

Does the press have an ethical duty to out powerful gays in tech?

In the end, I can’t help but notice that this now makes two Apple CEOs in a row where the press has struggled to define limits covering their private lives. Jobs’ health issues are still the subject of speculation (and a recent tasteless photograph that I will not link), and there, too, many journalists argued that his health was practically public domain because of shareholder interest. With Steve stepping down, the debate moves from a CEO’s health to a CEO’s sexuality. Voyeurism isn’t the right word, but whatever it is, it is still there. We’ve just moved the justification of our journalistic ingress into private lives from shareholder interest to social justice.

As soon as Tim Cook was announced to be the next Apple CEO, his private life was put in the spotlight because of an article by Reuters’ journalist. I don’t understand why, according to some, gay people must report on their intimacy and make it a news story. Reminds me of some decent journalist who said a dozen years ago why he avoids reporting on celebrities’ private life: “I’m not anybody’s bed cover”.

A Short Rant About Hosting

My own experience with virtualized hosting is that I/O performance can be very poor, and that it can be impossible to diagnose underlying I/O problems from within the virtual machine. For example, in early days of Pinboard we found ourselves hosted on a machine that needed to recover a RAID volume. This so crippled I/O that it forced the site onto a backup server for three days, and yet from the perspective of the virtual machine everything looked the same. The ‘physical’ device was still mostly idle, just a hundred times slower than it used to be. That and similar adventures cured me of any desire to host on a non-dedicated server.

On choosing hosting provider for your web service.

Steve Jobs’s Best Quotes

“I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.” [On Bill Gates, The New York Times, Jan. 12, 1997]

A collection of quotes from Jobs, on design, business and life.

Icon Ambulance

I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?

A personal story about Steve from Vic Gundotra, of Android fame. Reading things like this I realized that it’s only a matter of time that the Church of Steve will be formed. Seriously.

The Secret Guild of Silicon Valley

A couple of weeks ago, I was drinking beer in San Francisco with friends where someone remarked:

“You have too many hipsters, you won’t scale like that. Hire some fat guys who know C++.”

It’s funny but it got me thinking.  Who are these “fat guys who know C++”, or as another friend put it, “the guys with neckbeards, who keep Google’s servers running”?  And why is it that when you meet one, it’s like pulling on a thread, and they all seem to know each other?

A romantic vision of who these “fat guys” are.