I wonder if this guy is a contributor to any node_modules in my project. (Image credit: Netflix, Black Mirror s3e3.)

Note: these are my personal opinions and not those of Netflix.

The event-stream incident, eslint-scope incident, and David Gilbertson’s I’m harvesting credit card numbers from your site reveal fundamental weakness in the JS package ecosystem. Because of JS’ limited standard library and other cultural reasons, modern JS apps have massive dependency trees, placing a lot of trust in third parties. We’re now learning that this trust may be misplaced, and we may be recklessly endangering our users, businesses, and reputations.

To be clear, I’m a huge proponent of the JS ecosystem. Like capitalism, I believe it’s “the worst [package management…


Full Stack Fest 2015 in Barcelona. Photo by the conference organizers.

Over the past few years, I’ve given a number of talks at various conferences and internal company events. I am by no means the most accomplished or well-known tech speaker. However, if I had a time machine, I’d have some things to tell myself as I was first getting interested in speaking.

Before you start speaking at conferences, you should figure out why you want to. Presenting can be a lot of work, and you should make sure that you’re aiming towards what’s most fulfilling for you.

Why You Might Speak

Become Internet Famous

Some people have a bunch of Twitter followers and YouTube views, and this…


I’ve been a huge fan of Sid Meier’s Civilization Series since Alpha Centauri came out in 1999. (Amusingly, the game installer offered a “laptop install” option, since the full ~150mb installation was too big for portable devices.) According to Steam, I’ve logged 178 hours in Civ 5, 33 hours of Civ Beyond Earth, and 19 hours in Civ 6. (These are not huge counts, obviously, but I feel that it’s enough to justify the opinions written here.)

I just finished another Civ 6 game, and although I greatly enjoyed most of it, I’m also fairly frustrated with the game’s flaws.

The Late Game is an Interminable Click Fest


By Lyn Gateley from Silicon Valley, CA, USA (CC BY 2.0)

An article from the July / August 2017 issue of The Atlantic, The Smartphone Psychiatrist, by David Dobbs, mentioned digital privacy in a way that readers could take as advice about their personal digital safety. The discussion was a little hazy, and I care about people having informed consent, so I’m going to provide clarifications.

Dobbs writes:

The only thing stopping [your mental health data from being accessed by someone trying to exploit you] might be the strength of [the company mentioned in this article’s] firewall or its willingness to defy a government request for data.

This dangerously omits the…


A response to WSJ’s “The Phony Internet Privacy Panic

FCC HQ in Washington, DC by Ser Amantio di Nicolao

On March 31st, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed claiming to “add a few facts” to the discussion over S.J. Res. 34, which undoes Obama-era FCC protections for consumer internet privacy. Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal’s fact-finding mission is fundamentally marred by inaccuracies of its own.

What the WSJ Got Wrong, Objectively

Comcast and Google are not the same

The FCC ditched this approach and promulgated a rule [for internet-service providers] that, curiously, did not apply to companies like Google or Amazon…

The crew pushing the rule say cable companies deserve scrutiny because it is easy to change websites but hard to change internet-service providers. The reality is the reverse: The average…


The Unintended Consequences of Punching Richard Spencer

Photo credit Wikimedia Commons; CC BY 2.0

On January 20th, a man was assaulted on camera by a masked man in Washington DC. Because the victim had unpopular opinions, people are divided about whether this violence was justified. While the debate as a whole has been discussed elsewhere (see Pros and Cons), I’d like to try to bring clarity to a few specific aspects.

Is Richard Spencer a Nazi?

The conversation has been framed in terms of whether it’s ok to punch a Nazi.

Calling Richard Spencer a Nazi obscures the conversation:

  1. Liberals often argue, with good reason, that people should be able to decide which labels apply to them. Richard…

Take a look at the following two images, deliberately chosen to represent different parts of the political spectrum:

from the Opinionated Democrat Facebook page

The Creation of Adam

Joe Queenan recently wrote a light-hearted piece for the Wall Street Journal decrying “badly dressed museum-goer[s]”:

People go to museums to see beautiful things: madonnas, knights in white satin, glorious sunsets, improbably muscular stallions, anything that’s classy. Why, then, do they dress like pigs?

If he’s complaining about “the jerk in the mesh travel hat”, he’d be aghast at the behavior of the visitors at the Musei Vaticani, enabled by the museum staff. I recently spent a day in there. If you’re looking for a contemplative experience considering the deep beauty of millennia of Western art, I don’t recommend it.


Christopher Durant CC by SA 2.0

I have attended six conferences and spoken at four. These numbers are dwarfed by those of many other people, and I don’t claim to be an expert on public speaking. However, I have noticed some repeating problems, which stem from the fact that in the tech community, our primary competency is making computers do things, not giving presentations. (I have been guilty of many of these problems myself.) In an effort to improve talk quality, I’m going to make some suggestions here.

Some of these points are my own opinion of what makes a good talk, and some of them…


It works!

Getting Started with F# on a Mac using the Windows 10 Preview

In preparation for my talk at LambdaConf, I wanted to be able to develop in F# on my Mac. There wasn’t a super easy guide that explained everything I needed to do, so I thought I’d write one. (I don’t claim to be an expert in F# or Windows development, but these are the steps that worked for me.)

I’d heard about .NET being made available for Mac and Linux, but they are still in preview mode. I suspected that the best development experience would be on Windows…

Nick Heiner

Senior UI engineer @ Netflix. Opinions are those of your employer.

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