Catherine Deneuve as Donkeyskin

Many years ago, I was struck by the similarity between two very well-known fairy tales from Charles Perrault: Cinderella and Donkeyskin. Because they are so famous, there is no point in recollecting them in detail here, but let me re-tell them in parallel, in a way that will highlight that each other precisely inverts most of the narrative elements of the other.

At the beginning of the tales, the heroine, who lives with her father and whose mother has died, finds herself in a rather unstable and socially threatening relationship with her family. Cinderella is being put too far away…

Near the middle of A Room of One’s Own, while considering what could have been the life of women during the past centuries, Virginia Woolf regrets that they are largely absent from the writings of historians (themselves mostly men), unless they’re an Elizabeth, or a Mary. Remarkably, she published this essay in 1929, the same year where in France scholars like Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch were starting to look at history in a new way: not just as a succession of kings and battles, but as a whole, from the bottom up, with the goal to understand and reconstruct…

In popular culture, the words “Turing Test” evoke a simple dialogue, a series of questions and answers, between a human interrogator and a computer, where the task of the computer is to make the interrogator believe that it’s actually a human being. Usually the discussion happens through some kind of text-only interface. Over time this setup has become a foundational story, or a meme, and as all such stories go, it is only a simplified description of what Turing proposed in his original paper on machine intelligence.

That paper was published in 1950, in Mind, an academic journal specialized in…

At, we’re big fans of monitoring. With the usual battery of system-level monitors, we keep an eye on the health of our servers. As you would expect from any commercial internet company, we also keep track of various business metrics. However, we also collect data specifically for monitoring the performance of our applications and subsystems.

We’re practitioners of frequent and liberal deployment (our twist on continuous deployment), and as such we need to quickly pinpoint any problem introduced by a specific code roll-out, or by the activation of a new feature — either plain run-time application errors, or noticeable performance problems. But real-time monitoring is not sufficient; production problems can’t always be traced back to a single root cause, and performance degradation can happen in many small steps.

In order to ensure that our systems are not drifting unnoticed into sluggishness, we use the data we collected in production to better understand how our applications…

Rafaël Garcia-Suarez

Book addict

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