Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

2017 in Books

Some things I read in 2017, with some brief opinions/recommendations.

All categorisations are approximate at best and will probably cause some kind of contention.

Welshcakes, the Snacking Cake You Didn't Realise You Needed

Welshcakes (or welsh cakes) are little fluffy circles of joy, around 1cm thick and 7cm in diameter, made from flour, butter, currants, eggs and milk, plus a little dusted caster sugar.

They’re light enough that you could easily eat an entire six-pack, but substantial enough that just one is a pleasant snack, and perfect any time of day or night.

Feature Factories and How to Avoid Them

I’ve used the term Feature Factory at a couple conference talks over the past two years. I started using the term when a software developer friend complained that he was “just sitting in the factory, cranking out features, and sending them down the line.”

The Wheel of Time

In 1984 Robert Jordan started writing The Wheel Of Time, a high-fantasy series intended to span six books.

In September 2007, when Jordan died, 12 books had been published with more still planned.

The series was concluded by Brandon Sanderson with another three books, coming in at around 11,000 pages and 4.5 million words in total.

It’s quite long.

Building a Smart Home: My User Stories

I want to augment my home with technology.

I can go out and buy commodity kit, except that mostly seems to consist of WiFi-connected lightbulbs that will DDoS the neighbours, and other tech that displays a woeful lack of security and/or interoperability.

I can plug in timer sockets before going on holiday then remove them on return, but that’s not especially convenient. I can buy plenty of “remote control power sockets” but they’re often controlled by unsecured broadcast radio that anyone could emit.

Fortunately in 2017 there’s plenty of available kit for me to DIY something better.

On that basis, here are some of my user stories for augmenting my home. They’re not necessarily novel or hard, but represent achievable things that will provide concrete improvements.

Suggestions of your own? Let me know!

My Favourite Talks

I often struggle to fully engage with a lot of conference talks. I like being able to consume things at my own pace, I read faster than I can listen, and I take in information better when it’s written rather than spoken.

Thus I’m often found participating in the hallway track, or sat right at the back of the audience on my laptop - I mean no slight to the speaker or the talk, it’s just that it doesn’t particularly work for me.

However there are some talks that have really stuck with me:

T-Shaped Time: Little and Often Plus Dedicated Bursts

There’s a common concept of having “T-shaped skills” - combining both expertise in a specific area (the vertical bar of the T) plus breadth of knowledge and exposure to a variety of other things (the horizontal bar).

I’m a believer in spending what I call T-shaped time on things you care about: combining both “little and often” with periodic dedicated bursts.

Switching to Atom Summaries in Octopress

I really like Brandon Mathis’s Octopress as a blogging framework.

One of the many useful features is the ability to mark a break-point in a post with a more comment, so the preceding section is used as a preview excerpt on the index page.

The Atom feed generated by Octopress uses the full post content. If you instead want to switch it to only display the summary excerpt (particularly useful if you’ve used it for content warnings) you’ll need two changes to source/atom.xml: