Simon Willison’s Weblog

Quotations in Apr

Filters: Type: quotation × Month: Apr ×


If microservices are implemented incorrectly or used as a band-aid without addressing some of the root flaws in your system, you’ll be unable to do new product development because you’re drowning in the complexity.

Alexandra Noonan # 29th April 2020, 5:56 pm

The biggest thing people don’t appreciate about large companies is the basic productive unit isn’t an individual it is an engineering team with about ~8 members.

Patrick McKenzie # 29th April 2020, 6:39 am

Spotify introduced the vocabulary of missions, tribes, squads, guilds, and chapter leads for describing its way of working. It gave the illusion it had created something worthy of needing to learn unusual word choices. However, if we remove the unnecessary synonyms from the ideas, the Spotify model is revealed as a collection of cross-functional teams with too much autonomy and a poor management structure.

Jeremiah Lee # 24th April 2020, 9:57 pm

One of the standards you have to have demonstrated to being able to reach Principle Engineer inside Amazon is “Respect what has gone before”. It’s very likely you don’t know the why, what or how of it. Often what was written was the best that could be done to the constraints.

Paul Graydon # 25th April 2019, 5:52 pm

Lots of people calling for more aggressive moderation seem to imagine that if they yell enough the companies have a thoughtful, unbiased and nuance-understanding HAL 9000 they can deploy. It’s really more like the Censorship DMV.

Alex Stamos # 21st April 2019, 4:36 pm

In the five years since the shark was erected, no other examples have occurred … any system of control must make some small place for the dynamic, the unexpected, the downright quirky. I therefore recommend that the Headington Shark be allowed to remain.

Peter Macdonald # 9th April 2019, 1:58 pm

China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet

Jeremy Hodges # 25th April 2018, 7:19 am

The current linkedin.com homepage clocks in at 1.9MB of CSS (156KB compressed). After re-building a fully-functional version of the homepage with CSS Blocks, we were able to serve the same page with just 38KB of CSS. To be clear: that’s the uncompressed size. After compression, that CSS file weighed in at less than 9KB!

Chris Eppstein # 24th April 2018, 8:40 pm

Migrations are both essential and frustratingly frequent as your codebase ages and your business grows: most tools and processes only support about one order of magnitude of growth before becoming ineffective, so rapid growth makes them a way of life. [...] As a result you switch tools a lot, and your ability to migrate to new software can easily become the defining constraint for your overall velocity. [...] Migrations matter because they are usually the only available avenue to make meaningful progress on technical debt.

Will Larson # 23rd April 2018, 3:03 pm

Suppose a runaway success novel/tv/film franchise has “Bob” as the evil bad guy. Reams of fanfictions are written with “Bob” doing horrible things. People endlessly talk about how bad “Bob” is on twitter. Even the New York times writes about Bob latest depredations, when he plays off current events. Your name is Bob. Suddenly all the AIs in the world associate your name with evil, death, killing, lying, stealing, fraud, and incest. AIs silently, slightly ding your essays, loan applications, uber driver applications, and everything you write online. And no one believes it’s really happening. Or the powers that be think it’s just a little accidental damage because the AI overall is still, overall doing a great job of sentiment analysis and fraud detection.

Daniel Von Fange # 17th April 2018, 8:51 pm

A rating system for open data proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web. To score the maximum five stars, data must (1) be available on the Web under an open licence, (2) be in the form of structured data, (3) be in a non-proprietary file format, (4) use URIs as its identifiers (see also RDF), (5) include links to other data sources (see linked data). To score 3 stars, it must satisfy all of (1)-(3), etc.

Five stars of open data # 17th April 2018, 4:20 am

The way I would talk about myself as a senior engineer is that I’d say “I know how I would solve the problem” and because I know how I would solve it I could also teach someone else to do it. And my theory is that the next level is that I can say about myself “I know how others would solve the problem”. Let’s make that a bit more concrete. You make that sentence: “I can anticipate how the API choices that I’m making, or the abstractions that I’m introducing into a project, how they impact how other people would solve a problem.”

Malte Ubl # 15th April 2018, 5:23 pm

So Fishing Times’s ad department is selling access to the prime Fishing Times readership. But the Data Lords can say, ‘we can show your ad just to Fishing Times readers when they’re on Facebook, or on some meme site, on the Times or TPM or really anywhere.’ Because the Data Lords have the data and they can track and target you. The publication’s role as the gatekeeper to an audience is totally undercut because the folks who control the data and the targeting can follow those readers anywhere and purchase the ads at the lowest price.

Josh Marshall # 9th April 2018, 3:16 pm

Scientific results today are as often as not found with the help of computers. That’s because the ideas are complex, dynamic, hard to grab ahold of in your mind’s eye. And yet by far the most popular tool we have for communicating these results is the PDF—literally a simulation of a piece of paper. Maybe we can do better.

James Somers # 8th April 2018, 1:14 pm

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

Steve Jobs # 29th April 2010, 3:22 pm

Good design in computer programming consists of inventing abstractions that don’t leak.  Good programming consists of implementing those abstractions in such a way that they don’t leak.

Mike Taylor # 26th April 2010, 5:42 pm

Telescopes and bathyscapes and sonar probes of Scottish lakes, Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse explained with abstract phase-space maps, some x-ray slides, a music score, Minard’s Napoleonic war: the most exciting new frontier is charting what’s already here.

xkcd # 23rd April 2010, 10:43 am

Twitter is turning itself from a social network into a gigantic tuple-space pubsub platform that just happens to have a big social network implemented on top of it.

Daniel Lucraft # 17th April 2010, 5:23 pm

Imagine if 10% of the apps on iPhone came from Flash. If that was the case, then ensuring Flash didn’t break release to release would be a big deal, much bigger than any other compatibility issues. [...] Letting any of these secondary runtimes develop a significant base of applications in the store risks putting Apple in a position where the company that controls that runtime can cause delays in Apple’s release schedule, or worse, demand specific engineering decisions from Apple, under the threat of withholding the information necessary to keep their runtime working.

Louis Gerbarg # 12th April 2010, 5:24 pm

“... the interchange format needed to be able to support future Flash Player features, which would not necessarily map to SVG features. As such, the decision was made to go with a new interchange format, FXG, instead of having a non-standard implementation of SVG. FXG does borrow from SVG whenever possible.”

FXG 1.0 Specification # 11th April 2010, 6:58 pm

We all think of Java as a boring server-side language now, but the initial idea behind Java was that software developers could write applications in Java rather than writing them for Windows, and that those applications would work everywhere, thus defanging Microsoft’s desktop OS monopoly. Microsoft took various steps to prevent that from happening, but they lacked a tool like App Store that would enable them to just ban Java. Apple has that card to play, so they’re playing it.

Rafe Colburn # 10th April 2010, 6:42 pm

Bring bandwidth and disks. Help me save Geocities. Not because we love it. We hate it. But if you only save the things you love, your archive is a very poor reflection indeed.

Jason Scott # 26th April 2009, 10:30 am

Perhaps it’s just frustration speaking here, but when Apple ties my hands behind my back and lets users punch me publicly in the face without allowing me to at least respond back, it’s hard to get excited about building an app.

Garrett Murray # 22nd April 2009, 12:17 pm

I used to think Twitter would never catch on in the mainstream because it’s somewhat stupid. Now I realize I was exactly wrong. Twitter will catch on in the mainstream because it’s somewhat stupid. It’s blogging dumbed down for the masses, and if there’s one surefire way to build something popular, it’s to take something else that is already popular and simplify.

Matt Maroon # 20th April 2009, 8:50 pm

We did some studies and found that the attribute was almost never used, and most of the time, when it was used, it was a typo where someone meant to write rel=“” but wrote rev=“”. To be precise, the most commonly used value was rev=“made”, which is equivalent to rel=“author” and thus was not a convincing use case. The second most common value was rev=“stylesheet”, which is meaningless and obviously meant to be rel=“stylesheet”.

Ian Hickson # 14th April 2009, 4:34 pm

You guys are moving on this stuff too fast! Welcome to 2002, when lots of us had more spare time than employment and we deployed new crap like this on our blogs and sites daily.

Les Orchard # 14th April 2009, 8:57 am

We’re using the same trick on flic.kr to avoid having to maintain a look up database, though we’re using base 58.

Kellan Elliott-McCrea # 12th April 2009, 4 pm

The App Store has an inscrutable, time-consuming, whim-dependent approval process. The App Store newsgroup postings are full of angry claims that this is a bug, but I bet it’s a feature. If you can’t get an app approved until it’s working perfectly, and you have to wait a week or two -- or more -- between approval rounds, you’re much more likely to put a lot more effort in up front to get it right.

Marc Hedlund # 12th April 2009, 1:49 pm

We advise startups to launch when they’ve added a quantum of utility: when there is at least some set of users who would be excited to hear about it, because they can now do something they couldn’t do before.

Paul Graham # 2nd April 2009, 10:43 am

We are happy to announce that the Google Contacts Data API now supports OAuth. This is our first step towards OAuth enabling all Google Data APIs. Please note that this is an alpha release and we may make changes to the protocol before the official release.

Wei Tu # 26th April 2008, 10:15 am