Ensuring system rewrites are truly necessary

You probably know that software rewrites, while very tempting, are expensive and can be the mistake that kills a project or a company. Yet they are routinely proposed as the solution to all problems. Is there anything you can do to minimize the risk? In this post, I propose that you actively improve the old system to ensure the new system cannot make progress in a haphazard way. This forces the new system to be designed in such a way that delivers breakthrough improvements and not just incremental improvements.

January 24, 2020 · Tags: bazel, essay, featured, sre
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On smartphones and email procrastination

I used to be good at replying to emails on time. When tens of emails came in every day, I would sort them out and I would reply right away to anything that needed or caught my attention. The so-called Inbox Zero wasn’t a specific goal that required effort: “it just was”. Things have changed over the years and I am now quite awful at dealing with personal email. Some emails can go weeks (or, I confess, months) before getting a reply.

January 22, 2019 · Tags: essay
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Compilers in the (BSD) base system

A commonly held axiom in the BSD community is that the C compiler belongs in the base system. “This is how things have been since the beginning of time and they define the way BSD systems are”, the proposition goes. But why is that? What makes “having a compiler in base” a BSD system? Why is the compiler a necessary part of the base system? Hold on, is it? Could we take it out?

October 23, 2015 · Tags: bsd, compilers, essay, featured, software
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An open letter to online support staff

Dear online support staff member, I am probably not your average customer. If I send a support request to your team by email, it is because I have already exhausted all possible resources on my side and concluded, with good certainty, that there is an issue on your service. Yes, I have read your online support material. I have tried different browsers. I have tried different devices and operating systems. I have tried disabling browser extensions.

September 24, 2015 · Tags: essay, fun
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"Your English is pretty good!", they said

As I spend September in Seoul and attend an intensive Korean language course, my story with English comes to mind. This is a story I have told a bunch of times to friends and coworkers and it’s time to write it down for posterity’s sake. In the title of this post is a verbatim quote of something I have been told many times throughout the years: Your English is pretty good!

September 20, 2015 · Tags: english, essay, featured, personal-story, writing
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My coding workflow

How would you best organize your work environment for maximum productivity if you were tasked to develop a type of application you had never developed before? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could witness how an experienced developer manages the tools of the craft so that you could draw ideas and incorporate them into your own workflow? This post aims to answer the above for the type of work I do by sharing how my workflow looks like. I want to compel you to share your own story in the comments section, and by doing so, create a collection of stories so that others can benefit from them.

September 7, 2015 · Tags: best-practices, development, essay, featured, workflow
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How to commit a code hack and not perish along the way

You are the developer in charge to resolve a problem and have prepared a changelist to fix the bug. You need the changelist to be reviewed by someone else before checkin. Your changelist is an ugly hack. What kind of response are you gonna get from your reviewer? Well as with everything: it depends! (Cover image courtesy of http://www.startupstockphotos.com/.) If you have: clearly stated upfront that the changelist is a hack, explained how it is a hack, justified that the hack is the right thing to do at this moment, and outlined what the real solution to get rid of the hack would be then your reviewer will most likely just accept the change without fuss (!

June 19, 2015 · Tags: best-practices, development, essay, featured, software
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Get a handle on email subscriptions

Do you have any idea which online services and stores have you given your email address to? Are you able to quantify the effort it would take to fully migrate to a different email account if you ever wanted to? (Cover image courtesy of http://www.startupstockphotos.com/) Three years ago, I was not able to answer these two simple questions when I decided to move my email account to our new family-owned domain.

June 6, 2015 · Tags: best-practices, email, essay, featured, workflow
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Six years at Google

Mission: Site Reliability Engineer for the Storage Infrastructure at Google D-Day: May 25th, 2009 Location: Dublin, Ireland Duration: Unspecified Six years have passed. Six years since I dropped out of a Ph.D. program, left home, and took a plane to Dublin, Ireland, to start my work life adventure by joining Google. Two years later, I moved to New York City and I am still here without any specific plans to leave.

May 26, 2015 · Tags: essay, featured, google, personal-story, work
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Hello, Medium!

In search for a new home to personal essays. 11 years. Next month will mark 11 years since the creation of The Julipedia, the personal blog that got me started into this writing journey. 11 years that have brought 690 posts (yeah, yeah, not that many for such a long time). And after all this time, it finally hit me: personal blogs have lost their original appeal. It is time for a change.

May 24, 2015 · Tags: essay, featured, writing
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