Weekly Reads 2018: 12.02-12:30

How To Stop Wasting Time On The Internet – Barking Up The Wrong Tree
I’m not even as bad as some folks are with my social and internet use, but this makes me want to get a little closer to the minimalism discussed here. I have a lot of things I feel like I don’t have time for and that’s probably not as true as it seems.

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When someone dies, these people spring into action. Lessons on death, grief and life – The Washington Post
“We know how to have funerals, burials, cremations and scatter ashes. But grief? It’s not something where there’s a recipe.” This was beautiful, a little sad, but worth the read.

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I read only non-white authors for 12 months. What I learned surprised me | Sunili Govinnage | Opinion | The Guardian
“In addition to the philosophical questions, I had some technical issues with this whole endeavour. The most frustrating were the practical problems, such as how difficult it was to get hold of well-known books by people of colour – even in ebook format.”

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I Read Only Books by Women For a Year: Here’s What Happened
“So, how did it change me as a reader? It’s subtle, but it’s there. I find myself more attuned to characters now, whether they feel like real people or just vessels caught in a narrative tide. I’m more interested in narratives whose conflicts don’t revolve around violence. I’m less willing to suspend disbelief for the rule of cool. To some extent this is just a natural extension of my evolution as a reader and writer, but I can definitely feel the influence of my year of reading women.”

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The Yoda of Silicon Valley – The New York Times
“I am worried that algorithms are getting too prominent in the world,” he added. “It started out that computer scientists were worried nobody was listening to us. Now I’m worried that too many people are listening.”

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Influencers Are Faking Brand Deals – The Atlantic
“Though it may seem like a useful tactic when you’re starting out, more established influencers worry that fake sponcon is creating a race to the bottom. Because brands can piggyback off of waves of unpaid influencer promoters, some have ceased paying influencers completely, or now pay rates far below what they previously spent.” My Gen X, anti-sellout self is wondering what the fuck is going on with these kids. They’re selling out and not even getting paid for the privilege of being fucked over by these companies.

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The internet as television – Blair Reeves
“The promise of the internet was that of a panoply of riches; a nearly limitless tapestry of human potential where geography was no longer a factor. But what we’ve gotten is rather the opposite. The vast audiences of the internet are mostly guarded by gatekeepers who are careful to extract and monetize your identity for access.” And the theme of the day is “damn, remember when the internet used to be cool?”

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The 2018 Good Tech Awards – The New York Times
“I’m continuing that tradition this year, in the spirit of reminding us that although scandals and wrongdoing in tech rightly get a lot of attention, there’s good happening elsewhere.”

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Headspace vs. Calm: The Meditation Battle That’s Anything but Zen – WSJ
I have very very mixed feelings about the commoditization of meditation. One one hand, ew, you can just find a youtube video or read a book. On the other, I understand that for a lot of people the reassurance of having a guide through learning how to meditate and keeping on track with it is beneficial and worth the price of admission.

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Daniel Ortberg: Top surgery was the best $6,250 I ever spent – Vox
“When I woke up in the recovery room, all I could think was, Of course. Oh, thank goodness. Oh, of course. Of course, of course, of course. But I didn’t know it was the best money I’d ever spent until I’d spent it.”

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Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert – Brain Pickings
“Poised and serious at twenty, dressed in black for the sister who had just died in childbirth and who had been her maternal figure since their parents’ death, Susan cast a double enchantment on Emily and Austin Dickinson.”

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Six Years With a Distraction-Free iPhone – Member Feature Stories – Medium
“In short, if you had handed me this device when I was a kid, in the 1980s, I would’ve lost my freaking mind with joy. A distraction-free iPhone is a futuristic tool that I control. It’s what I really wanted all along.”

Weekly Reads 2018: 11.19-12.01

Opinion | Puberty for the Middle-Aged – The New York Times
As someone already in perimenopause I can confirm this stuff is accurate, but also that it’s very frustrating that there isn’t a “What to Expect” style book for the experience. We just don’t know shit about the female reproductive system.

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Guksi – Gastro Obscura
I’ve taken an interest in woodwork and carving of late and will be adding this cup to the list of potential projects.

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This User-Friendly Menstrual Cup Is What Happens When Design Is Inclusive – Motherboard
Great piece. Not just about diversity in product design, but also about diversity in what a startup can look like.

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Front-end development is not a problem to be solved | CSS-Tricks
Hear, hear!!! I heartily agree with everything in this piece.

Weekly Reads 2018: 10.15-10.27

The Architecture No One Needs
Yeah, I’m giving a big yes to this article. SPAs seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.

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Reboot, Resets, and Reasoning | CSS-Tricks
Techie, but it was interesting to read about the mostly current state of css resets for browsers.

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The Whippet #56: Enough to sustain a living hoard
Just go read the “unsolicited advice” section because it’s fabulous. Do your best not to get distracted by the platypus facts.

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How Technochauvinism Derailed the Digital Future – The Atlantic
The only way to make technology that helps a broad array of people is to consult a broad array of people to make that technology. But the computer industry has a multi-decade history of gender discrimination. It is, perhaps, the industry’s original sin.

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The Absinthe Enthusiasts Hiding Bottles in the Swiss Woods – Gastro Obscura
Never tried absinthe and I’m not a fan of anise, but the idea of it all has always held a certain mystique for me.

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The revolutionary strategy hidden in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram feed – The Washington Post
The young women who have come to Congress have come to elevate, praise and admire one another. Not because they’re immature fangirls but because this coalition-building is their best hope for success in what remains, at its core, another mostly male workplace.

Weekly Reads 2018: 10.15-10.27

I didn’t get a lot of time to read interesting things recently. I had surgery and then was doing a lot of studying. Still, the pieces I did read are pretty fab.

I don’t want to get good at gaming, I want to escape the relentless pressure to improve myself | Eleanor Robertson | Opinion | The Guardian
“If I’m going to enjoy the absurd capitalist soma of video games, the last thing I want to do is feel like I’m being badgered by a superior at a dead-end job.” Yes. This. But also this whole article because I don’t want to “git gud” at video games either.

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Love, Kindness, and the Song of the Universe: The Night Jack Kerouac Kept a Young Woman from Taking Her Own Life – Brain Pickings
A beautiful tale. For all the turbulence and other problems in Kerouac’s life, this stands alone almost as a piece of fiction someone dreamed up.

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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea: George Orwell’s 11 Golden Rules – Brain Pickings
Orwell tells us how a proper cup of tea should be made, including some associated opinions.

Weekly Reads 2018: 9.16-10.15

A bit behind on posting these because of some ongoing health issues. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more reading again soon. 😀
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How One Man Is Recreating Lost Colors – The New York Times
In our ephemeral world, so many things slip quietly away. It always pleases me to find someone is doing this kind of work and research.

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The Rise and Demise of RSS
Fabulous article on the history of my beloved RSS. I still miss Google Reader every single day.

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Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong – The Huffington Post
This is a long read, but no matter what your weight is, it’s worth the time.

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558m-year-old fossils identified as oldest known animal | Science | The Guardian
How on earth these scientists even found these fossils in the first place feels miraculous. The journey from 558m years ago to today, where these fossils exist and show us a picture of an incomprehensibly long ago past? Mind boggling.

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Now Damien Echols Will Teach You the Secrets of Magick – The New York Times
Surprised to see this level of openness in an article about high magick, though in a lot of ways this reminds me of Alan Moore.

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Where in the World Is Larry Page?
Interesting read that gives some insight into what’s going on at Google, and I was really surprised to hear that Page is little more than a phantom at the company.

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How Your Notifications Are Lying to You and How to Make Them Stop
A much healthier approach to dealing with notifications. These things are tools that are supposed to help us, not make us miserable. It is possible to have a more humane relationship with our devices, but it takes a little work.

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The Festival Where Millions of Women Prepare a Feast for a Goddess – Gastro Obscura
It’s unfortunate that for the rest of the year these women’s lives are so restrictive, but even so, this kind of ritual is amazing to learn about.

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Kitchen Soap – On Being A Senior Engineer
As I struggle to find my identity in this field, this piece was helpful in clarifying that my attitudes and approaches are in the right place, even if my technical skills are a mashup.

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The Joy of Cooking for One – The New York Times
I’ve been cooking for myself a lot lately out of necessity and this sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling about it.

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’M.A.S.H.’ Remains One Of The Most Influential Sitcoms of All Time | Inverse
A piece of writing that sums up so much of what I love about this show. It remains relevant in so many ways and had a huge influence on me.

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We Could All Use a Little Snail Mail Right Now – The New York Times
Love this and would love to get into sending more snail mail. Just tactile, physical things in general seem to be getting more and more important to me.

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How to build rock-solid Ruby on Rails apps with BDD – DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻
Coincidentally part of a book I have queued up to read. This was a nice overview of the flow from scenario to code and back.

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Notes to Myself on Software Engineering – Member Feature Stories – Medium
A great set of reminders for those that build software. Some real gems of wisdom in here.

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A Suggestion on How to Spend a Day at Home
This is just delightful. And full of breakfasts.

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Weekly Reads 2018: 9.9-9.15

Companies worry more about access to software developers than capital
Interesting to read about software developers as a resource from the perspective of the “C suite” set. My work feels simultaneously more respected and objectified at the same time. Probably a good reality check, to be honest.

On Writing Beautiful Tests – CrateDB
This post on testing practices sparked some thought on the discipline of software engineering in general and how I’ve seen people react to the concept. There’s a lot I’m taking away from this one.

MythBusters’ Adam Savage on the tech he carries everywhere – The Verge
Yeah, sometimes I just like reading about what folks carry with them when they go about their days.

How Tor.com went from website to publisher of sci-fi’s most innovative stories – The Verge
I run a small press and magazine myself. I love how Tor.com has embraced shorter fiction and it gives me ideas of what’s possible in the world of publishing.

Who Are the Forgotten Greats of Science Fiction? | Tor.com
Tremendous resource for science fiction by folks who’s work has fallen by the wayside. Looks like there’s a couple gems in here. Leigh Brackett is quietly my personal favorite on the list.

Five Young Women With Prize-Winning Book Collections
A bookstore gives an award for young women who have some awesome book collections. This is the hardcore kind of collecting, not just having a bazillion books like me.

Ugliness Is Underrated: Ugly Design
Fabulous piece on the “ugly design” trend that is slowly growing, and posits that it’s the natural outcome of a reality that has suddenly become more fragile.

Did the Oscars Just Prove That We Are Living in a Computer Simulation? | The New Yorker
Slightly old article that discusses the question we’ve all been asking ourselves since David Bowie died.

A Woman Was Here: An Introduction | Luna Station Quarterly
Outstanding start to a new column on my very own magazine. I can’t wait to see where she takes this.

An Ode to Two Dots, the Game That Eases My Anxious Mind – Tonic
Two Dots is one of my favorite puzzle games. Similar to the author, I find it soothing and a great break for my brain when I need to step away from whatever I’m working on for a few minutes. A perfect example of games as self care.

Weekly Reads 2018: 8.26-9.1

FATFREE: The Low Fat Vegetarian Recipe Archive
Oh goodness. I just rediscovered the fat free vegetarian recipe archive. 1993-2007. There is zero site design, but this is a treasure trove of recipes. pardon me while I trip down nostalgia lane to 20 years ago when it was so much harder to be a vegetarian and this site was a life safer.

Is It Okay to Say “Hey Guys”? – The Atlantic
Sums up the struggle with the term and yeah, I’ve mostly removed the phrase from my vocabulary because it makes me uncomfortable at this point.

Katharine Hepburn: Leading Man
Oh wow. This gives me a whole new spin (and even more adoration) for Kate the Great.

Unethical programming – DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻

Is Rails still relevant in 2018 ?
More than just an “Is Rails dead?” article, the author backs up their statement with a nice reasoning why Rails is still valid. A few philosophical points about developer lifestyle I disagree with heartily, but a good take otherwise on the current Rails/Elixir/JS pros and cons.

What Makes a Superhero a Superhero? | Luna Station Quarterly

A neuroscientist explains what tech does to the reading brain – The Verge
I pretty much want everyone I know to read this interview. The internet really is fucking up our ability to hold attention and view things critically. This is why I’m trying to read more articles, more long form pieces and spend less time on social media and its hot takes.

Design documents: maybe the only record of what the hell you were thinking — No Idea Blog
I’m a sucker for clear communication on projects. Design docs feel like an extension of, or preliminary to, writing tickets. Similar to a spike.

Stop future proofing software – George – Medium
Mostly agree with this article. Reducing future-proofing, but keep things flexible. I only disagree with the idea of designing for current and next year, as part of the reason for designing for present and last year is to make sure everyone gets to come along for the ride, not just those with the latest and greatest.

What would cities look like if they were designed by mothers? | Christine Murray | Opinion | The Guardian
A call for architects to think more diversely when designing public (and private) spaces that should accommodate folks who aren’t all able-bodied and without children.

4 practices for better code – DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻
A succinct overview of some basic best practices.

Opinion | The Gift of Menopause – The New York Times
An outstanding piece on growing older, passing menopause, and letting go of a lot of the garbage we carry with us every day.

How I learned to love unit testing – DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻
Because I’m still trying to learn to love unit testing. I am on board with its power, but learning to actually write tests is still challenging.

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media | Society | The Guardian
I don’t even have anywhere near the pressure these kids do to be on social media and I feel this kind of grind anyway. More and more I consider closing it all down. LSQ and losing touch with the tech world I need to engage with for work are the only things holding me back at this point.

Techie to tech lead: My five biggest mistakes | ThoughtWorks
This was a helpful piece for me as I’m thinking about working toward this kind of role in the future. Some good insights and I can see mistakes I’ve made in the past myself.