Simon Willison’s Weblog

Quotations in Aug

Filters: Type: quotation × Month: Aug ×

Why weekly? You want to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s really going on. When 1:1s are scheduled bi-weekly, and either of you have to cancel, you’ll likely be going a month between conversations and that is far too long to go without having a 1:1 with your direct report. Think of how much happens in a month. You don’t want to be that far behind!

Adrienne Lowe # 21st August 2020, 5:02 pm

We’re generally only impressed by things we can’t do—things that are beyond our own skill set. So, by definition, we aren’t going to be that impressed by the things we create. The end user, however, is perfectly able to find your work impressive.

@gamemakerstk # 13th August 2020, 3:12 pm

COVID-19 attacks our physical bodies, but also the cultural foundations of our lives, the toolbox of community and connectivity that is for the human what claws and teeth represent to the tiger.

Wade Davis # 8th August 2020, 3:48 pm

When you talk with cheese aficionados, it doesn’t usually take long for the conversation to veer this way: away from curds, whey, and mold, and toward matters of life and death. With the zeal of nineteenth-century naturalists, they discuss great lineages and endangered species, painstakingly cataloguing those cheeses that are thriving and those that are lost to history.

Ruby Tandoh # 2nd August 2020, 6:57 pm

The impact of crab mentality on performance was quantified by a New Zealand study in 2015 which demonstrated up to an 18% average exam result improvement for students when their grades were reported in a way that prevented others from knowing their position in published rankings.

Crab mentality on Wikipedia # 1st August 2020, 4:25 pm

Y’all decided you could send 6x as much script because the high-end could take it...but the next billion users can’t. There might have been budget for 2x, but not 6x. Not by a long shot.

Alex Russell # 9th August 2019, 6:53 am

This is when I pull out “we don’t do that here.” It is a conversation ender. If you are the newcomer and someone who has been around a long time says “we don’t do that here”, it is hard to argue. This sentence doesn’t push my morality on anyone. If they want to do whatever it is elsewhere, I’m not telling them not to. I’m just cluing them into the local culture and values.

Aja Hammerly # 5th August 2019, 3:59 pm

Documentation needs to include and be structured around its four different functions: tutorials, how-to guides, explanation and technical reference. Each of them requires a distinct mode of writing. People working with software need these four different kinds of documentation at different times, in different circumstances—so software usually needs them all.

Daniele Procida # 3rd August 2019, 8:29 am

In too many organizations, deploy code is a technical backwater, an accumulation of crufty scripts and glue code, forked gems and interns’ earnest attempts to hack up Capistrano.  It usually gives off a strong whiff of “sloppily evolved from many 2 am patches with no code review”. This is insane.  Deploy software is the most important software you have.  Treat it that way: recruit an owner, allocate real time for development and testing, bake in metrics and track them over time.

Charity Majors # 27th August 2018, 9 pm

Most administrators will force users to change their password at regular intervals, typically every 30, 60 or 90 days. This imposes burdens on the user (who is likely to choose new passwords that are only minor variations of the old) and carries no real benefits as stolen passwords are generally exploited immediately. [...] Regular password changing harms rather than improves security, so avoid placing this burden on users. However, users must change their passwords on indication or suspicion of compromise.

UK National Cyber Security Centre # 25th August 2018, 7:57 pm

In case you missed it: @GoogleColab can open any @ProjectJupyter notebook directly from @github! To run the notebook, just replace “” with “” in the notebook URL, and it will be loaded into Colab.

Jake VanderPlas # 25th August 2018, 3:16 am

How about if, instead of ditching Twitter for Mastodon, we all start blogging and subscribing to each other’s Atom feeds again instead? The original distributed social network could still work pretty well if we actually start using it

@simonw # 18th August 2018, 8:59 pm

Every day more than 1 trillion events are written into a streaming ingestion pipeline, which is processed and written to a 100PB cloud-native data warehouse. And every day, our users run more than 150,000 jobs against this data, spanning everything from reporting and analysis to machine learning and recommendation algorithms.

Netflix Technology Blog # 18th August 2018, 5:35 pm

With a sufficient number of users of an API, it does not matter what you promise in the contract: all observable behaviors of your system will be depended on by somebody.

Hyrum's Law # 11th August 2018, 12:33 am

Easy explainer: a “blockchain” is a linked list with an append-only restriction, and appending is made incredibly expensive but super parallelizable, so when things work well a big group of people can work together and it’s too expensive for a small evil group to compete. [...] Does your problem benefit from storing information in an append-only list, and relying on a central authority to manage it is so bad that it’s worth paying the enormous append costs to have a bunch of Chinese servers manage it for you? Then *maybe* look at a blockchain.

Tab Atkins # 9th August 2018, 1:27 am

There is plenty of evidence in the ecosystem to support the hypothesis that, if given the tools to do so easily, object-oriented programmers are ready to embrace functional techniques (such as immutability) and work them into an object-oriented view of the world, and will write better, less error-prone code as a result. Simply put, we believe the best thing we can do for Java developers is to give them a gentle push towards a more functional style of programming.

Brian Goetz # 19th August 2011, 12:20 pm

If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.

blue_beetle on MetaFilter # 27th August 2010, 12:58 pm

A little deeper investigation showed that nothing I had posted on Buzz had gone public since August 6. Nothing. [...] No one noticed. Not even me. It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years on Twitter, Jaiku, Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, and, yes, Google Buzz, has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves.

Leo Laporte # 22nd August 2010, 6:43 pm

When all of human endeavor falls under the rubric of the “hack” the word ceases to mean anything. Hack your commute, take public transit! Hack your next dinner party with parlour games. Delightfully clever key hack keeps all your keys on the same ring. Hack Mexican food with a “burrito” sized tortilla! Hack your brain with REM sleep. Hack the sun with a straw hat. Hack hygiene with silver oxide “deodorant”. Hack girls with compliments. Hack your windowsill with a pot of wheatgrass, and hack the sky with the goddamn moon.

qwzybug on Hacker News # 10th August 2010, 11:54 am

My ability to decide how I feel about Wikileaks’ activities is totally annihilated by my ongoing realization that it cannot possibly be real. It’s a plot device in a near-future thriller novel. I mean, seriously, semi-stateless man with an unusual appearance uses an army of anonymous allies to expose governments’ secrets, and posts an insurance file in public with some kind of deadman switch in case he’s taken out by his enemies? That shit does not happen in real life. Julian Assange is a Neal Stephenson character who’s escaped in to the real world.

Tomorrowful on MetaFilter # 1st August 2010, 12:30 am

We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission.

Harry Schoell, CEO of Cyclone # 23rd August 2009, 10:51 am

For those who haven’t heard the story the details were pulled from a Christian dating site which had a query parameter injection vulnerability. The vulnerability allowed you to navigate to a person’s profile by entering the user id and skipping authentication. Once you got there the change password form had the passwords in plain text. Someone wrote a scraper and now the entire database is on Mediafire and contains thousands of email/password combinations.

rossriley on Hacker News # 23rd August 2009, 10:10 am

you seem to think i’m random, but i’m only psuedorandom. you would be exactly this way, were you seeded at the very same time and place.

_why # 20th August 2009, 10:26 am

JavaScript cannot save you. Even if it could, you should not let it, for the price of this short-term salvation is the end of what you like about the web.

Alex Russell # 19th August 2009, 11:33 am

rather baffling finding: POST requests, made via the XMLHTTP object, send header and body data in separate tcp/ip packets [and therefore,] xmlhttp GET performs better when sending small amounts of data than an xmlhttp POST

Iain Lamb # 18th August 2009, 12:27 pm

It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

Harry S Truman # 18th August 2009, 12:20 pm

Last night I woke up at 2am and realized that there was a fundamental problem with cursor preservation in today’s real-time collaborative applications [...] MobWrite now has what I believe to be the most advanced cursor preservation algorithm available.

Neil Fraser # 14th August 2009, 10:38 am

When we get the tools to do distributed Twitter, etc., we get the tools to communicate in stanzas richer than those allowed by our decades-old email clients. Never mind Apple being anti-competitive, social networks are the peak of monopolistic behaviour today.

Blaine Cook # 13th August 2009, 1:06 pm

New authentication schemes such as OpenID, or Microsoft’s CardSpace, may help as adoption increases. These systems make it possible to register for one site using credentials verified by another. Instead of having many sites with poor verification procedures, the internet could have a few sites with strong verification procedures, that are then used by others. The advantage for the user is that they no longer have to jump through multiple hoops for each new site they encounter.

Tim Anderson (in the Guardian) # 29th August 2008, 10:01 am

As duplicitous and sad as “fake following” sounds—and let’s be honest: the whole idea’s pathetic on a number of levels—for a certain kind of user, I can see why there’s a desire for this functionality. Especially on a site like FriendFeed, which has quickly become the platform of choice for the web’s least interesting narcissists—and the slow-witted woodland creatures who enjoy grooming their fur—this is a major breakthrough in the makebelieve friendship space. Yes, primate culture may be primitive, but it is not without its evolving needs.

Merlin Mann # 26th August 2008, 10:28 pm