Articles and notes (short, untitled posts, a.k.a. microposts). You can also see articles only or browse by topic.

  • “What is GitHub?”: from The Economist, a solid, layperson-friendly explanation of why Git & GitHub are so important to programmers, and why some are concerned about Microsoft’s acquisition of the latter.

  • Sarah Mei on pair programming:

    I did full time (~7hrs/day everyday) pair programming for many years.

    For the first three months I was exhausted all. the. time. I actually don’t have clear memories of those 3 months; the only other time in my life that happened was right after each baby was born😅

    After that, it got better. Like any other skill, if you communicate a lot, it gets easier.

    Talking to other developers was communication “easy mode” - we had similar backgrounds & interests, so we could just launch into code & design discussion.

    But after a few months, I found I was also better at talking to people on the outside - who weren’t developers or sometimes who weren’t even in tech! 😱

    Pair programming felt like a cheat code - I could “just” communicate about code & design, but it secretly made me better at communicating other things as well.

    I know there are lots of reasons to pair program for code quality and etc etc etc, but I don’t see much written about the personal benefits.

    For me, an introvert with meh social skills, pairing opened up a previously-inaccessible world.

    It made me good at talking to people.

    My previous career as an ESL teacher had a similar effect on me. That’s why I’m glad that I didn’t study computer science in college the first time, or get into software development right after I graduated. I needed to be forced to work on my people skills. I think I’m a much better developer now than I would have been if I’d gone straight from school into coding for a living.

  • Ever since I read “The Sass Jerk”, I think of it every time I feel myself getting a bit too evangelical about some tech. I think to myself, “OK, better tone it down or I’ll be the Micro.blog/Jekyll/RSS/IndieWeb/Ruby jerk.”

  • The same Hebrew phrase from which we get "coat of many colors" has been interpreted by various translators to mean:

    • "coat with long sleeves"
    • "long coat with stripes"
    • "a richly ornamented robe"
    • "a coat reaching to his feet"
    • "an ornamented tunic"
    • "a silk robe"
    • "a fine woolen cloak"
  • Haven't taught ESL in over two years, but my brain is still unable to hear a pop song that uses repetitive grammatical structures without thinking, "This would make a great lesson!" Today: "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick. 📺

  • Gave my blog a little makeover. Heavily inspired by this 404 page (of all things) from the Tachyons component library, even though I didn't actually use Tachyons. See the new look here.

  • Avdi Grimm on the Ruby community 💬

    But it is this environment of trust and safety that has led, I think, to a community that threw conferences featuring talks about empathy, and depression, and burnout, and activism and other squishy-but-scary topics. And that did it long before most of the rest of the software industry got up the nerve to talk about those things in public.

    And it's why I have heard from so many people: “I mostly code in $other_lang, but I come to Ruby events for the community”.

  • Failure to Lunch 🔗

  • From Geoffrey K. Pullum, the sassiest abstract in the history of academic writing:

    Writing advisers have been condemning the English passive since the early 20th century. I provide an informal but comprehensive syntactic description of passive clauses in English, and then exhibit numerous published examples of incompetent criticism in which critics reveal that they cannot tell passives from actives. Some seem to confuse the grammatical concept with a rhetorical one involving inadequate attribution of agency or responsibility, but not all examples are thus explained. The specific stylistic charges leveled against the passive are entirely baseless. The evidence demonstrates an extraordinary level of grammatical ignorance among educated English language critics.

  • Not trying to tempt fate or anything, but I am done with assembly language! Forever! 🙌💯😁👍🍾🎉