Today it’s all about the technology links.
First, Peter Knego data mines Stack Overflow and finds that older developers are scarce but valuable.
John Gruber compares Apple’s approach to Google’s when it comes to software development, arguing that Apple focuses on quality of user experience whereas Google focuses on reach — making their software available to the largest audience possible. I think he’s right on the money, and of course it’s worth pointing out that Google’s usability is fine for most users. I prefer Apple’s approach to interface design, but I am a happy user of a large number of Google products.
Tim Bray compares native apps to web apps on mobile devices. In my opinion, a good Web interface is the basic price of entry. Every company that’s deploying Web-based services should have one. Then, if they have the budget to support it, they should build native OS X and Android clients as well, if they can provide any value at all over the basic Web interface. Like Tim, for services I like, if there’s a native client, I pretty much always install it and use it rather than the Web site.
James Fallows looks at a non-obvious reason why Google may be deprecating its translation API. Very interesting.
OK, this link isn’t technical, but it is interesting. Researchers found that rebounding in basketball is a mental skill. I loved this bit:
What allowed the players to make such speedy judgments? By monitoring the brains and bodies of subjects as they watched free throws, the scientists were able to reveal something interesting about the best rebounders. It turned out that elite athletes, but not coaches and journalists, showed a sharp increase in activity in the motor cortex and their hand muscles in the crucial milliseconds before the ball was released. The scientists argue that this extra activity was due to a “covert simulation of the action,” as the athletes made a complicated series of calculations about the trajectory of the ball based on the form of the shooter. (Every NBA player, apparently, excels at unconscious trigonometry.) But here’s where things get fascinating: This increase in activity only occurred for missed shots. If the shot was going in, then their brains failed to get excited. Of course, this makes perfect sense: Why try to anticipate the bounce of a ball that can’t be rebounded? That’s a waste of mental energy.
Links for February 28
It’s been a month since my last link blog post. That’s terrible.
Why is Google interested in owning the entire “.dev” top level domain?
Business Insider has a long piece on the downfall of Fab and its CEO. He turned a bad idea (yet another social network) into a good idea (flash sales of interesting goods) and then implemented a strategy that wasted tons of money and ultimately killed the company. Strategy matters.
It seems like everyone in the analytics infrastructure world is talking about stream processing. Martin Kleppmann’s post is a good starting point.
Will Yager explains why Go is not a good programming language. My main takeaway was that I don’t know or use any good programming languages.
The government can compel companies to disclose information about users and then prohibit them from reporting that they have done so. However, they are able to report that they have never been subjected to such a request. Such statements are referred to as “warrant canaries.” The EFF’s Canary Watch tracks companies that have issued these warrant canaries.
Jocelyn Goldfein explains how to ask for a promotion. Her blog is an excellent resource for all things HR-related in tech.
Branko Milanovic explains why human capital is not actually a kind of capital, and why the use of the term is harmful.
Jason Punyon’s explanation of what went wrong on the Providence project at Stack Exchange is a useful dose of reality for people making technology choices. The kinds of mishaps he describes are incredibly common and rarely discussed openly.