General Reading

The Castle and the City
One of the topics for my upcoming book "Culture and Empire" is how to build online communities. I'm going to argue that there are two general layouts for a large organization — the Castle and the City — and compare these. Is your project a Castle, or a City?

date.png29 Jul 2013 16:59 | comments.png 0 Comments | tags.png community writing

The Gender Gap in Coding
My daughter, nine, comes with me to tech conferences like FOSDEM, in Brussels. She's been using a Linux PC since she was two, self-taught and self-motivating. I'd like to teach her to code, and perhaps make a profession in the software industry. But the chances she'll succeed at that are getting lower each year. I think there's a reason for the so-called "gender gap" but it's not any of the usual explanations.

date.png29 Apr 2013 21:33 | comments.png 2 Comments | tags.png community writing

10 Tips for an Awesome Open Source Project
In this article, ten top tips for making your open source project awesome! We've collected these tips by paying scientists to study the most awesome open source projects in the world. Whether you're starting a new open source project, or open sourcing your company's kind of old codebase, these tips will help you. Enjoy and retweet!

date.png29 Apr 2013 13:53 | comments.png 0 Comments | tags.png community writing

Patents Considered Evil
The concept of "intellectual property" dates from the French revolution, and patents in their modern form were solidified in the 1850s. At that time, Europe debated the pros and cons of patents exhaustively. The Economist newspaper was founded as an anti-patent, pro-free trade paper. Most familiar arguments for and against patents date to this era. The patent system was ended in several countries (Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany). However, free-trade economists lost power after a serious economic crisis, and the patent system came back into force by the 1870s. The patent system remained largely unquestioned until the 21st century, when it started to seriously affect the software industry.

date.png07 Feb 2013 14:54 | comments.png 6 Comments | tags.png patents writing

Code Connected Volume 1
The title of this book for programmers, "Code Connected", is a homage to Steve McConnell's "Code Complete", which was easily one of the best books on software development ever written. Code Connected focuses on the basic skill of producing working code, in minimal form, to answer a wide diversity of problems. All the problems are related one way or another to distributed applications, and the answers all, in one way or another, use ZeroMQ.

date.png07 Feb 2013 14:31 | comments.png 2 Comments | tags.png codeconnected writing

Measuring Cost Gravity
The other day I bought a little black and white laser printer for my office. It cost about 50 Euro, and it prints very nicely, and rapidly. The first comparable consumer lasers came from HP in 1985 and cost about $4,000. They were huge, and slow. I wondered, could we use these two data points to compute the "cost gravity" of laser printers?

date.png21 Jan 2013 10:04 | comments.png 0 Comments | tags.png writing

A Tale of Two Bridges
Two old engineers were talking of their lives and boasting of their greatest projects. One of the engineers explained how he had designed the largest bridge ever made.

date.png03 Aug 2011 22:09 | comments.png 0 Comments | tags.png writing
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