Archive for the ‘chat’ Category

So, I discovered a little miracle the other day. I’ve gone in heavily for Emacs org-mode, which is about 50% of what I want. It’s not terribly visible, and what I really want is something that is heavily web-enabled, but in the meantime it’s "good enough." Ever better, there’s a good Org Mode to-do manager […]

05Nov

“Huh. So UML is actually useful?”

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat, Design

Since I’m generally opposed to giving Hacker News oxygen, I refuse to comment there on a recent question, Do You Still Use UML? As I’ve made clear, I have both anxiety and confidence about being an older developer in this world of high-tech startups and high-speed, high-burnout “only twentysomethings can do anything” world. Bloomberg the […]

29Oct

Will there ever be a Flying Shuttle for Software?

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat

Fred Brooks once famously wrote that there was no silver bullet for software development. Once a project and its tooling were agreed upon, software development took the time that it took. Brooks’s insight was that software developers spend their days more or less at the limits of their intellectual capacity, and no amount of tooling […]

So, Spectrum IEEE has a “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” article claiming that in 2016 tech layoffs have been nasty and that in 2017 it’s going to get even nastier. This is one of many articles on this theme, but it’s a little disheartening to see it in Spectrum. Worse, none of […]

There’s been a bit of chatter on the topic of being an old geek. As most people here know, code quality in the small is one of my favorite topics, and I realized after reading an article this morning that the two topics are actually significantly linked. Kent Dodd’s Why Users Care About How You […]

26Sep

The limits of my abilities…

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat

In the cellar was a tunnel scarcely ten yards long, that had taken him a week to dig. I could have dug that much in a day, and I suddenly had my first inkling of the gulf between his dreams and his powers. — H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds The past week, work has […]

21Aug

Menders, Makers, Mentors

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat

Andrea Goulet is giving me an existential crisis. The CEO of a software development consultation shop, she recently wrote an article called Menders vs. Makers, and something happened this week that makes me think, maybe I’m in the wrong line of work. I’m starting to suspect I’m a mender in a business that only values […]

13Aug

Programmers need a class in aesthetics.

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat

The three kinds of code: 1. It’s clear what this does. 2. After much thought, it’s clear how the developer got here. 3. WTF. — Eλf Sternberg (@elfsternberg) August 8, 2016 Sometimes it’s a little hilarious to read the back-and-forth of academics. My favorite is this exchange from Roman R. Redziejowski and Brian Ford over […]

11Aug

What comes next?

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat, programming

After publishing The Semantics of Python Import and explicating on the history and internals of how Python turns source code into running operations, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what to do next. I extended Hy such that it was now possible to write an entire Django application in a Lisp dialect, […]

14Jun

The weirdest interview I ever had…

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat

The weirdest interview I ever had was shortly after I got laid off from Isilon. One-fifth of Isilon had been laid off in one brutal morning, and I was among them. The economy was deep into the recession, and like everyone else who had been laid off recently I had put out my resume and […]


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