The past few weeks have been on the intense side at work, so I completely lost track of the blog and haven’t had a chance to write much in that time. However, I’m now on a holiday break, and finally have time to sit down at a keyboard to write more than code and Slack messages.
One of the highlights of the past few weeks was a trip to San Jose, and the NVIDIA headquarters. I changed teams at work back in July, transferring from a group that was closely integrated with product management, to a more straightforward engineering team which designs and builds new high-performance computing systems.
This was the first chance I’ve had to meet up with other members of my new team in person, and it was a really wonderful experience to be in the same physical space as folks who were previously just images on my screen. I love working remotely, but it’s also great to be able to stand in front of a white board with someone and brainstorm, or get coffee and just have a chat with a coworker outside of a video call with an agenda.
(Plus, we were all careful and managed to avoid catching COVID from each other! Which was a win on its own.)
Now, for the next two weeks I’m off work, and planning to take some time to relax and spend time on projects that are harder to focus on during busy work weeks. Expect (maybe) less about computers in my blog and social feeds, and more about D&D, baking, and tasty cocktails.
What I’m reading, watching, and listening to
I’ve been a bit too scattered to focus on actual books the past few weeks, but I did find time for a few interesting articles and podcasts. In particular,
- “Why Roman Egypt was such a strange province”, from Bret Devereaux: As usual from Devereaux, an accessible but extremely detailed discussion of why so much of what we know about the Roman empire is from Egyptian records, but why that also might not be representative of the broader empire.
- “Emoji as incident resolution tools”, from Will Gallego: A fun discussion of how using emoji as part of a team’s communication can add nuance and shared understanding during incident management, along with a discussion of the disadvantages and costs associated with the practice.
- “What does modern software architecture look like in 2022?”, from Bartosz Mikulski: A nice article which discusses how service-oriented software architecture can often include an explicit expectation of change. For example, the architecture might include notes on an ongoing deprecation of a library, or might signpost the need to factor a new microservice out when overall system load gets high enough.
- The Brady Heywood podcast: Found via the Oxide and Friends podcast, the Brady Heywood podcast is a series on engineering disasters and their consequences from a forensic engineering firm. It’s mostly not being updated any more (with the podcasters moving on to a separate series on complexity science), but it has a deep back catalog of good episodes, and includes thoughtful discussions of human factors, safety engineering, and how organizational pressures become manifest in engineering artifacts.
- Smitten Kitchen’s Homemade Irish Cream: This is a recipe I make every year, and I often give away small bottles of it as holiday gifts. It’s really ridiculously tasty, much better than Baileys or similar, and good either on its own or in hot chocolate.
- Smitten Kitchen’s Fairytale of New York: This is a really tasty whiskey cocktail, and the star of the show is a “winter warmth syrup” that substitutes in for simple syrup. The syrup is simply very tasty, and turns what’s effectively an OId Fashioned variant into a lovely holiday cocktail.
- Sparkling gingerbread from Yossy Arefi’s Snaking Cakes: This recipe takes a little more prep than most of Arefi’s “snacking cakes”, as it includes ginger three ways (ground, fresh, and crystallized), but it’s worth the few minutes of extra work.