I don’t know if it’s early spring and articles I found interesting are sprouting anywhere… In any case this week issue is massive. Brace yourselves and let’s go for my web review for the week 2023-08.

Google Greenwashes a Dirty Partnership with Saudi Aramco

Tags: tech, google, greenwashing, ecology, ethics

This is indeed a massive greenwashing operation right there. And then they will claim things like “AI for good” or such…

AMD CEO: The Next Challenge Is Energy Efficiency - IEEE Spectrum

Tags: tech, cpu, performance, energy, architecture

Interesting position from AMD regarding the race on the next super computers. They’re all being caught up by energy efficiency so it’ll need to be addressed both at the processor architecture level but also at the software architecture level. How we design our computing tasks will matter more and more.

We need to talk about your Github addiction

Tags: tech, github, criticism, foss

Definitely agree with this, Github benefited from a powerful network effect and now a good chunk of important projects are “trapped” there. This can’t be good long term.

Social Media is a Major Cause of the Mental Illness Epidemic in Teen Girls. Here’s The Evidence.

Tags: tech, social-media, science, criticism

Lengthy but thorough. The evidences are now getting much clearer. Admittedly, the most worrying bit I find is that getting off the social media wagon might not help the impacted people to get better… indeed they might still be isolated if everyone else is still trapped on social media.

The FBI now recommends using an ad blocker when searching the web | Evening Standard

Tags: tech, attention-economy

If you didn’t have an adblocker yet (who doesn’t really?) it’s time to really think about it. When even the FBI starts to advocate for ad blockers it’s a sign of how bad the online ad market has become.

Can We Trust Search Engines with Generative AI? A Closer Look at Bing’s Accuracy for News Queries | by Nick Diakopoulos | Feb, 2023 | Medium

Tags: tech, ai, gpt, search

Inaccuracies, contradicting itself, conflating events, misquoting sources… all of that mixed with some correct facts, it’s a perfect misinformation spreading machine. This just can’t be trusted at this point. Those experiments should be stopped in my opinion, better do proper homeworks first, then relaunch when this can be better trusted.

Tags: tech, ai, gpt, google

Excellent piece as usual from Cory Doctorow. It quite clearly point out why Google is anxious and running off the chatbot cliff

Large language models will change programming… a little | by Amy J. Ko

Tags: tech, ai, gpt, programming

Or why they are definitely not a magic tool for programming. Far from it. This might help developers a tiny bit, at the expense of killing the learning of students falling for it and the creation of a massive amount of low quality content.

Man beats machine at Go in human victory over AI | Ars Technica

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, neural-networks

Interesting strategy, shows a fascinating blind spot in the typical AIs used for Go nowadays. It kind of hints to the fact that the neural networks abstract knowledge much less than advertised.

AI Image Generators Keep Messing Up Hands. Here’s Why.

Tags: tech, ai, generator, art, funny, surprising, culture

Interesting and surprising limitation. This makes a lot of sense when you think about the set of images used for training though. Also says something about our own art history.

The Breadth of the Fediverse | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Tags: tech, fediverse, twitter

Indeed people still seem to assume Mastodon is just a Twitter clone. This is a good reminder that it’s not, it’s just one front to the Fediverse and that’s much more interesting than a Twitter clone.

Self hosting in 2023 - Grifel

Tags: tech, self-hosting

It is indeed getting easier every day to self host a website. Some other services or email are a different story though.

How The Post is replacing Mapbox with open source solutions - Kevin Schaul

Tags: tech, geospatial, map

Interesting set of tools for displaying maps and managing their tiles.

SSH: what is the randomart image for?

Tags: tech, security, ssh

This is actually an interesting feature to know when a key changes.

Null safety: Kotlin vs. Java | by Nicolas Fränkel

Tags: tech, java, kotlin, type-systems

I think it’s the single one reason which makes Kotlin tempting to me every time I dabble in the Java ecosystem.

Project Valhalla: A look inside Java’s epic refactor | InfoWorld

Tags: tech, java, object-oriented

Interesting move. Looks like Java will get value types at last. Coming from C++ this feels long overdue.

Comby · Structural code search and replace for ~every language.

Tags: tech, refactoring, tools

Looks like an interesting tool for scripting refactorings. Seems lightweight and more forgiving than Semgrep, looks like there’s space for both in our tool belts.

Named Booleans prevent C++ bugs and save you time -

Tags: tech, programming, c++

To me that looks like a fine advice even outside of C++. If conditions get at least a bit complex moving them out of the if to assign them to const booleans is always a good idea.

C-rusted: The Advantages of Rust, in C, without the Disadvantages

Tags: tech, c, safety, memory, static-analyzer

Interesting approach. There’s still a lot we can achieve with static analysis in those good old languages.

I love building a startup in Rust. I wouldn’t pick it again. | PropelAuth Blog

Tags: tech, programming, rust

That’s an interesting perspective. Rust definitely gets in the way of iterating quickly indeed which might be a problem to test ideas. Introducing it gradually later is thus a better path. That being said it doesn’t always have a great story for mixing with other languages, there are a few tools to help, but nothing I’ve seen really used in the wild so far (this will probably come though).

Postgres Full Text Search vs the rest

Tags: tech, search, postgresql, databases

Yet another article about Postgres full test search features. This one has the advantage of giving us a glimpse about the other available options. Sometimes you want something typo resistant for instance.

Perf engineering with Python 3.12

Tags: tech, python, performance, profiling

perf now available also to Python programs. This definitely can be useful for proper profiling.

Tags: tech, python, django, portability

Another impressive feat from the people behind the Cosmopolitan project. A self contained and portable binary which run your Django application on almost any platform? Apparently doable. The versions used for the dependencies are a bit old but that’s clearly something which will be solved soon.

Introducing Ambient 0.1

Tags: tech, rust, 3d, webgpu, webassembly, distributed

Looks like an interesting runtime. Seems to make it easy to create multiplayer 3D experiences. Maybe too easy to be true? I guess I need to find an excuse to test it.

Tomorrow Corporation Tech Demo - YouTube

Tags: tech, programming, debugging, profiling, gaming

Alright, that’s an impressive set of tools they created to build their games. Lots of efforts went into this, very inspiring.

React Is Holding Me Hostage

Tags: tech, frontend, web, react

A bit of a rant, but even though React is well established at that point and here to stay (shake a tree and half a dozen React developers fall from it), it doesn’t mean it can’t be criticized. It does a good job at listing the main ergonomics problems React is suffering from. The funny part is towards the end, the envisioned solutions for another framework look eerily familiar to a Qt developer, it talks about signals and what looks like property changed notifications. :-)

Faux Progress - Jim Nielsen’s Blog

Tags: tech, gui, ux

Indeed, quite a lot of spinners and progress bars are not tied to anything meaningful. This definitely creates uncertainty from the user perspective.

DevLife #5: Microservice Hell - by Daniel Dersch

Tags: tech, microservices, architecture

Interesting explanations of the main drawbacks of microservices. Nothing is magical so you need to know what you loose, in this case this is mostly about increased coordination efforts and latency in feature availability.

Insignificant — Census Engineering

Tags: tech, programming, culture, small

In praise of the little ideas and the small achievements. They are often overlooked but definitely needed.

advice you might as well take

Tags: tech, xp, yagni

YAGNI is one of the easiest to misunderstood ideas behind eXtreme Programming. That’s why I think it’s a good thing it stays under active discussion. Often people understand it too literally which can create issues. That’s why people talking about “PAGNI” (probably are gonna need it) are right. After all, people who also conceptualized YAGNI wrote back then: “This doesn’t mean you should avoid building flexibility into your code”.

Scaling Extreme Programming: Dependencies - by Kent Beck

Tags: tech, project-management, xp, agile

Interesting to see the beginning of Kent Beck’s thinking about scaling Extreme Programming. This was clearly missing. First by looking at dependencies which are definitely a problem which arises quickly at scale.

The age of cargo cult Agile must end. | by Jason Yip

Tags: tech, agile, ux, criticism

Excellent response to an article full of misconceptions about the Agile approaches. This turns in a good summary of cargo cult agile we see in the wild and the original intent. I especially like how it points out approaches to properly integrate UX as well.

Stop Obsessing Over Development Velocity, Focus on This Instead - Itamar Gilad

Tags: tech, product-management, velocity

Admittedly biased thought experiment but there’s definitely some truth in there. Focusing on the impact of what you release is way more important than focusing on releasing lots of features.

How I give formal written feedback — quad

Tags: hr, management

This is a sound advice, it’s better if it’s a conversation. Some companies push for that some don’t. If they don’t the proposed plan is a good one.

Bye for now!