John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

Another fortnight, another newsletter jam packed with all the usual kind of things I send to you each fortnight.

Could I ask a big favour of you? I’m running a quick little reader survey here and I’d really appreciate it if you could fill it in. Thanks!


How to write idempotent Bash scripts
One of those really high ROI posts of tactical dev stuff. A few little bash-isms to memorise that will cover you for 90% of your ad-hoc scripting needs.

Head in the clouds.
Useful framework for evaluating whether cloud (or multicloud) is right for your business. Spoilers: it probably is. Yes, even for you.

Making On-Call Not Suck
There’s a lot to like in here, but the thing I hadn’t seen before was the particular approach to carve up a monolith for smaller, developer lead on call rotations. Great case study in improving on call within legacy contraints.

Why Did I Have Difficulty Learning React?
I was so glad to learn I wasn’t the only one. Every point here resonated with me.

Programmer Test Principles
Some clear and hopefully not that contestable principles for programmers writing tests.

Business & Management

The biggest mistake I made as a new manager
There are a lot of blog posts warning you of the dangers of not paying enough attention to the new, managerish parts of your job post-promotion, but this warns you against overshooting on that advice.

Why Your Startup Doesn’t Invest Sufficiently in its Differentiators
This is one of my favourite frameworks for ripping through your product backlog and making sure you’ve got a balanced roadmap.

How a bad idea turned into a cash machine
A hometown success story of some local founders finding their way to a profitable business after an accelerator and finally buying back the accelerator equity.

Don’t ask forgiveness, radiate intent
I have a less kind version of this framework, which is you don’t get to say I told you so without pre-registering, largely to stop repeat renegades drawing bulls-eyes around bullet-holes no one asked for. This version is heaps better.

The Sales Learning Curve
An oldie but a goodie. Prudent guidelines to keep you from overcooking your sales process versus your real progress as a business.


Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.
Have you ever been in a Bob Ross YouTube hole? Me either. Ever wondered where all the paintings went?

Your new reality TV addiction? A show about artisanal glass-blowing
This show consumed all of my discretionary attention this week. An amazing show and an amazing review.

Fugitive U.S. tech guru: Cryptocurrency is next Cuban revolution
I’m still waiting for someone else to produce the newsletter dedicated to wacky John McAffee stories, in the meantime I’ll just slide this one in here.

Fireworks Technology: How Computers Made Fireworks Displays Better
An Oral History of the Great San Diego Fireworks Fail of 2012
A well matched pairing of a piece the rise of computers within the fireworks industry with the biggest, bestest fireworks cock up in recent history.

The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack reviewed, 18 years later
I’m coming up on midlife crisis season, and this may have been the necessary inoculation against false nostalgia.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

How European sailors learned celestial navigation
You know that box of old school notebooks floating around in your parents garage somewhere? Maybe in hundreds of years it will get used in an awesome article about how we learned to do whatever thing people won’t do any more like navigate by the stars.

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