Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

A group selects a speaker to present on a specific professional topic. Some people — who find aspects of the speaker’s personal life anywhere from distasteful to outright threatening — find out about the speaker’s selection and protest, on the grounds of potential “inappropriate” content. Some other people defend the group and the speaker, and reasonably suggest that the nature and content of the presentation be agreed upon beforehand, to alleviate any nominal “concerns”.

Sound familiar? It should. Except this story is not about LambdaConf.

The year is 2005. The group is the…


Update 2016–01–07: The AWS docs website page has been corrected. The information in “The Longer Version” below may still be of interest.

Amazon Web Services are making some headway on using DynamoDB as a backend for the Titan graph database. They have posted instructions for a minimal starting setup on the AWS docs website. Unfortunately the docs are not sufficient by themselves; there is one typo and one important omission that keeps the instructions from Just Working™ as written. The short version of this post will get you unblocked. …


A minor Clojure mystery solved.

Reading other people’s Clojure code (which I highly recommend doing, by the way), I occasionally run across this idiom:

And I wonder why not just set the value of thing to nil directly, say with another def?

While this would certainly work, it’s considered kind of gauche, particularly if the second def were to appear nested inside some other code. The second def happens to have the effect of updating the value of an existing thing, but we really should think of def as defining things. …


Our story begins with a tweet.

My initial reply:

This, while pithy and tweetable, is not remotely sufficient. Learn what? Teach how? Specifics will vary across business domains and tech stacks, but there should be some common threads that we can recognize across our industry.

I promised Ted I would think some more on it and post a long-form answer somewhere. Here, distilled from my years of experience as a software developer, even more years reading medieval fantasy books, and a few shots of Bärenjäger, is that answer.

Craftsmanship in the Modern Era

Some modern-day equivalents

The Apprentice

  • Has narrow breadth and shallow depth of scope. These days…

(A counterpoint to http://blog.statuspage.io/we-tried-building-a-remote-team-and-it-sucked.)

The LonoCloud team at ViaSat has been remote for its entire existence. We started in October 2011 with myself in Atlanta, and quickly added Aaron and Jonathan (New Hampshire), Joel (Dallas), and Chris (Fort Wayne (Indiana)). LonoCloud was acquired by ViaSat in April 2013, and was allowed to continue intact as a remote team. Today the team includes over a dozen developers, representing all of the time zones in the continental U.S.

Why has our experience been so much more positive than that of the StatusPage team? I have no idea. There is no one-size-fits-all, your-mileage-may-not-vary…

David Rupp

Amazon Web Service by day. Polyglot by night. Ex-ThoughtWorks.

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