Stumble upon in late May 2024

Midjourney prompt: A sheep is standing away from its flock on a grass field with trees in the far background. A small bird is sitting on the sheep's back. The style is of John Carson.

Summer or something resembling it has come to Denmark, and the winter blues is losing its grip. Grass fields with flocks of sheep have been a common sight along the motorway for a couple of months now. But the other day, I saw something that I don’t expect to see again any time soon. A fairly big bird sitting comfortably on the back of a sheep, and neither seemed to make a big deal about it. It put a big grin on my face. If I had a bad day, I no longer remember. Apparently, my stumblings aren’t confined to the digital world. Though with my limited “getting outside”, I guess that is where it mostly happens, as the following can testify to.

Several years ago I watched a talk online that made a huge impression on me. The more reason to be annoyed with myself when the memory resurfaced recently and I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it, what it was called or who did the talking. Imagine my delight, when I read a blog post a few days later, mentioning a talk called Growing a Language, by Guy Steele from an OOPSLA Conference in ‘98, and I realized: That’s the talk! 🤯
The talk is brilliant, and original and tickles my brain exactly the right way. I will not spoil it by getting into details, but if you are into programming you will love it. In some sense, it feels like he is talking about Clojure.

Over the years I’ve spent countless hours learning a wide array of things related to programming. From CLI tools like git and grep to network protocols and Cloud products. I’ve noticed how this investment has a compounding positive effect on solving problems of all kinds in my professional life. Sometimes the effectiveness almost feels magical. In defense of blub studies, by Ben Kuhn made me notice how others also experience the benefits that follow from accumulating this kind of knowledge. Though, I am not sold on the phrase “blub studies”.

Another interesting read is about archetypes, specifically Two types of software engineers, by Thorsten Ball. They serve the purpose of describing the specter in which problems are being perceived by engineers.

Lastly, I’ve read Systems design explains the world, by apenwarr. It touches on so many interesting things: Centralized vs distributed control structures, the chicken-egg problem 🐔🥚, the Innovator’s Dilemma and why it is a really bad idea to rewrite your software from scratch (again?). Not much else to say than Do yourself a favor and read it.