John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

Lots of interesting links for you this fortnight. The central theme appears to be dystopian post-apocalyptic computer science fact and fiction, wrapping up with a couple of my favourite monster stories.


Small world with high risks: a study of security threats in the npm ecosystem
After all the left-pad and event-stream drama in the javascriptverse someone has gone and done the hard yards in quantifying the risk within the npm ecosystem. Then someone else did the hard yards writing a summary of those hard yards in a way I can actually understand.

SQL queries don’t start with SELECT
Super helpful visual guide to the various steps and stages inside your every day SELECT query. Like Things native English speakers know, but don’t know we know but for database people.

Multi Cloud Happens But Not Necessarily By Design
Here’s why some degree of multicloud usage is almost inevitable for tech companies so maybe no need to hang shit on everyone who does it?

List of fiction encompassing programming/compsci concepts at deeper than surface level
Arguably a link for the culture section, but you nerds need to be reading more books anyway, so here’s a great list of computer science focussed sci-fi if you don’t want to stray too far from your day job.

Collapse OS
If retro micro-architectures and binge-watching Doomsday Preppers is your kind of thing have I got the side project for you.

Business & Management

What The Downturn Will Probably Look Like in SaaS
If you run a SAAS company and you’re thinking the economy might go sideways soon, here’s a handy look at another startups metrics through the GFC that can help you calibrate your expectations.

The Nightmare of Valve’s self-organizing “utopia”
Example 7,196 of “we have this meritocratic flat org chart that’s magical” is actually the total opposite.

Supply Chains of the Roman Empire
If your SAAS product’s demo account isn’t set up to let you simulate the logistics of a wealthy olive oil dynasty in the ancient Roman Empire are you even trying?

Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper
This is an outstanding set of guidelines for writing any kind of clear non-fiction prose. He also wrote a very good post-apocalyptic novel, just to stay on brand.

A Review Process
Interesting look at Buzzfeed Tech department’s 360 review process. Two key things: no anonymous feedback, and structured writing prompts.


All the Reasons Why People Get Kicked Out of Zeitgeist
This is very SF specific kind of semi-journalistic humour, but it came up because of, and provides a great segway into an impromptu LINC meetup with drinks at Zeitgeist on the evening of the 9th. Hang with cool aussie tech peeps doing cool frontend tech.

The Good Place season 4 premiere: inside the show’s moral philosophy lessons
“It’s like, who died and left Aristotle in charge of ethics?”. The Good Place is the best show on TV right now. Turns out that the philosophy isn’t just used for the jokes, but seeps into the story structure itself.

Snowden in the Labyrinth
This is meant to be a review of Snowden’s autobiography but it ends up being a much bigger essay on duty, privilege, privacy, and freedom. Long read but very worthwhile.

Rage Against the Machine’s ‘The Battle of Los Angeles’ Is 20, and It Hasn’t Aged a Day
If only someone wrapped up a bunch of warnings about our dystopian econo-political future into a package palatable to broad swathes of the population maybe twenty years ago. If only.

Meet the Elite Monster Energy Collectors
In the year of our lord of 2019, a year where I did not think I could be shocked by anything again, I discover that you can in fact go pro collecting cans of awful soft-drink. It’s got what plants crave.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

To keep going with that big monster energy we’ve built up, let me tell you the etymology of the name of the kraken. The giant cephalopod originates from Scandinavian myth and so does the name. It translates to one or both of the unhealthy animal or the twisted thing, which I believe we can also apply to the overly enthusiastic monster energy collector. Or any sponsored instagram influencer for that matter.

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