- Decisions are not dichotomies of either/or.
It’s not clicks or code, its clicks and code, or clicks at first, and then replacement with code. Or too much code, for the wrong reason, or too many clicks, for the right non-functional performance requirements. Some questions aren’t ‘Should I do this in clicks or code’ its ‘Should we do this at all’ or ‘What happens if I do it this way?’
- Becoming an Architect isn’t a destination.
It’s a progressive journey that does not end. It may reach an inflection point (with a job title), but it’s not a mountain you climb where you reach the top and gaze down on the world below.
- You can’t study all the answers, but you can seek the experience.
There is no book of ready-made answers to every situation. There are only things you see and hear and read. Ideas picked up from colleagues, war stories told by clients or friends, that project that failed, that idea that didn’t work out, that thing that succeeded. You do it over and over and over. The study gives you ingredients but cooking the meal, that comes from experience.
- There are no right answers. There are principles to learn and apply.
There are better or worse answers, depending on the circumstances. Do you know all the circumstances? Have you considered the options for the answers? Do you know the questions to ask?
- It’s not about being ‘right’
Indeed, you might not know if the design has succeeded or failed until years later. What was a success could be declared a failure with changing business conditions, changing assumptions, changing politics, changing technology. Often the right answer isn’t easily seen, it is simply your answer, supported by the reasons you can articulate and accepting the trade-offs you know come with it. If you think you are the smartest person in the room… then you are on your way to failure. Staggering insecurity is a feature, not a bug.
- The idea is the easy part, the persuasion is where all the work is.
Can you convince a room full of people they are looking at the problem the wrong way? Can you justify your choices with the right props? Can you use diagrams, analogies, examples, stories, a raised voice or a timely question to win over a group of people?
- More here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND-dX-__I1Y&t=528s
Still not sure what to do with these posts, so here’s a bumper one that has a few weeks worth of links.
Leave No Trace – loved this, one of best films I’ve watched in a while
BlacKKKlansman – great story but found the film didn’t know what it was in places
First Man – well made and great acting
Widows – good film, fell a little towards the end
- Deepfakes and the New Disinformation WarThese are getting too realistic.
- Jennifer Buscemi: Deepfakes Are More Terrifying Than EverI mean, look at this. Uncomfortable watching. How long before people believe they are watching politicians – look how much fake news gets shared but the apologies never do.
- Group B – The Age of the Supercar – YouTubeProper rallying.
- Police stop people for covering their faces from facial recognition camera then fine man £90 after he protested | The IndependentWTF?!? Going too far.
- Why CAPTCHAs have gotten so difficult – The VergeI’ve got good eyesight and struggle with them. They are putting in barriers to many people.
- Digital exchange loses $137 million as founder takes passwords to the grave | Ars TechnicaOuch. So glad I never got into crypto.
- APOLLO 11 [Official Trailer] – YouTubeThis looks amazing.
- No thank you, Mr. Pecker – Jeff Bezos – MediumBrave post from Bezos, love that he told his investigator to proceed with whatever budget he needed to pursue the facts in this matter. Bond villian?
- Death and Valor on an American Warship Doomed by its Own NavyScathing report on what went wrong with the USS Fitzgerald.
- Pressure grows to oust Christopher Chope after FGM law blocked | Society | The GuardianTotal abuse of position. More annoying was the token quotes from Tories saying they were disappointed…do something about it!!!
- It’s the Real World—With Google Maps Layered on Top – WSJLove a map story.
- The Friendship Files: The Great British Bake Off’s Selasi and Val – The AtlanticBest thing about GBBO isn’t the bakes but the real warmth that the contestants have. Great read.
- The British-Irish Dialect Quiz – The New York TimesThe quiz worked for me – how about you?
- This Comic About NASA’s Mars Rover Will Make You Sad, And Then Incredibly ProudA few years old but seems apt given the news that Curiosity is finally dead.
- It’s almost impossible to function without the big five tech giants | John Naughton | Opinion | The GuardianThey are becoming impossible to live without. Is that good for us?
- The Secret History of Women in Coding – The New York TimesThinking about this a lot recently – great writing explaining what went wrong.
2 weeks. That how long I lasted. Although I said I’d be retiring my weekly posts I’ve missed doing them over the last few days. So don’t call it a comeback but there will be some sort of wrap-up appearing on the site going forward.
Searching – really enjoyed this. Good twists although a couple were sign posted early on.
Manhunt – even though based on real life events and knowing the outcome, this was well made and acted by all.
Brexit:The Uncivil War – enjoyed it but it still feels like it was too early for this.
Apple in 2019
There’s always speculation around Apple and it’s unannouced products but 2019 has taken on increased importance. After the surprise downgrade in it’s sales forecast many are now wondering what’s next for Apple. While this is unheard of in Apple’s recent history the signs were there that iPhone sales had peaked. Smartphone saturation, increased costs, devices lasting ever longer and a sense that Apple devices were no longer “the best” to justify the premium. I’ve seen many posts saying Cook needs to come up with the next new category to drive Apple forward like AR glasses or a car but I disagree.
Apple need to do a Microsoft. Become more open, offer more services, stop locking content to only their hardware…and look to offer better value for money or start to innovate over and above their competitors. For more on why Apple got into this position and what they can do next read either Ben Thomson or MG Siegler for great analysis on what’s next for Apple.
Watching Andy Murray’s press conference from the Australian Open was pretty hard. This is Scotlands greatest sportsman having to give up what he loves as his body has let him down.
I really liked this post on his career from The Independent but that was trumped today by The National’s Open Love Letter. Murray has provided so many great sporting moments and had a wonderful career but worth also remembering his support for women throughout his career. Still love the “male player” and withering “mmmmmmmm” when talking to this American journalist. He’ll be sorely missed in British sport and I hope he can finish at this years Wimbledon.
What a mess
Politics in both Britain and America are in such a mess. One breath of fresh air is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She is fire and I love that she makes mistakes but admits them. She also uses social media better than most. One to watch.
And one we can’t stop watching is brexist. This topic has dominated UK politics for too long and it’s still clear the country is split. The mood is perfectly captured by Marina Hyde. I only hope the vote on Tuesday will move things on, and hopefully for the better. Brexit is such a car crash.
RSS has been one of the open web’s success stories. So I was pretty pissed when I read about it’s demise on Motherboard. While Google Reader was abandoned many years ago I still get most of my news via RSS and the services that replaced Google Reader offer many more features than Google ever did.
RSS is also at the heart of the podcast industry and means podcasts can be heard anywhere in any client on any platform although some companies are trying to change that. What surprised me recently is that the BBC have moved one of their podcasts, Fortunately, to be only available via the BBC Sounds app. Really disappointed in the BBC and hopefully they will reconsider this over time.
The end of another year spawns yet another wrap up post, so in no particular order.
I focussed a lot more on my photography this year. Always a keen snapper but was lazy when it came to actual editing and publishing online. It took me a while but towards the end of April I started a new Instagram account and in the middle of the year sorted out a website (still unfinished) and domain for my photography.
You’ll find my photographs at one of the following locations:
My biggest challenge is still getting out and about with the camera although I’ve done a better job of that since October. The shorter days certainly help with the sunrise/sunsets which seem to be popular for some reason 😉
Instagram has been interesting. I’ve been growing who I follow slowly and finding lots of inspiration from fellow photographers. However the constant nagging from Instagram/Facebook around boosting posts, the variation in engagement and the smell of shit in general from that company is making me question the investment in time. I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for years and amazingly, despite everyone saying it’s dead, I’ve found that to be the more rewarding place to visit. Images look so much better and you aren’t constantly being socially engineered when you use their platform. They also have an iPad app and I’ve a bit more confidence in their future since their tie up with SmugMug.
2019 will see me stretching my legs a bit more out and about around Scotland. Still focussing on landscape photography although I’d love to mix in a bit of street and astro.
Health has been slowly getting better. Still have really bad days with the viral chest thing I’ve got and still couldn’t go for a run yet but it feels like the running could be back in 2019. Really miss those frosty winter runs.
I have kept the rings streak going though. Today I closed my Apple Watch rings so thats a calendar year crossed off and day 657 of the streak. It’s still too easy for me to sit on my arse and do nothing so I find the rings a helpful nudge to stay active.
Finally my weight has stayed pretty consistent…but the trend is a slow increase. 1kg heavier than this time last year so need to keep an eye on things over 2019.
A pretty quiet tech year for me…kind off. The photography kit saw some upgrades starting off with a new drone – the DJI Mavic Air. Loved the size and portability of it. Also invested in Lee filters to help with long exposures. This meant the camera bag I had was just too small so bought the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW which has been fantastic in the last six months of usage. Everything fits well, it’s really comfy over long distances and I can carry just one bag and hold all my photography kit. Version 2 of the bag has now been released and it comes highly recommended.
The Lowepro even coped with another drone. DJI brought out the Mavic 2 Pro and although I called Shak mad for selling his Mavic Air and upgrading, I did the same a week later and have no regrets. Still portable it is faster, quieter and takes better images than the Air and my old Phantom. The extra battery life also allows you to do far more with one battery. The Mavic 2 Pro is my favourite purchase of 2018.
Two other upgrades were the Apple Watch and the iPad. The Apple Watch has been great. Much better battery life, bigger screen and general speed of operation are my favourite features. The iPad is also impressive. Went for the 12.9″ screen and I love it in every day use. Design is great, speed is fantastic but it is held back by iOS. Hopefully 2019 will see some much needed improvements to iOS and across the Apple software platform in general.
Final tech mention of 2018 is web hosts. Through the summer I moved over to Linode and it’s been a great move. Host all my sites with them and despite it being more work to setup this is outweighed by the power and flexibility they offer.
All good things…
One thing that is coming to an end is my “Weekly Digest” posts. I’ve been running a weekly “what I’ve read/watched” post since March 2015 but they’ve run their course and so last week’s was the final digest on the site. Although that was the final post here’s the final final what I’ve read/enjoyed this week:
How Imgur avoids the ugliness of social media – Recode
Imgur really does fly under the radar when you think of large web presences.
How Much of the Internet Is Fake?
Most of it? But when our politics seems to be mostly false who do you blame?
How the Surprise Interactive ‘Black Mirror’ Came Together | WIRED
Bandersnatch was interesting. The branching mechanic was implemented really well but the overall story was average. Keen to see what they do next with the technology.
Almost 4 hours after release and I think I have mapped Bandersnatch. Throw tea over computer. : blackmirror
Good old Reddit – here are the many branches you can take in Bandersnatch. Spoilers be here if you haven’t watched it.
‘Craig Bellamy swung the golf club hard. He could have ended my career’ | Football | The Guardian
This is wild. Always thought Bellamy was a dick – this confirms it.
Sneakernomics: All change in the trainer business – BBC News
Good to see some challengers to the big brands.
If you want to keep up to date with things I read or store for future reference then Pinboard is the best bet or the associated RSS feed. Warning – there’s a lot of stuff I throw into Pinboard. I’ve also started to make more use of Letterboxd for my movie watching.
2018 for me has been fine but in general has felt a pretty dark year. So much negativity with politics, brexit and around social networks and technology. 2019 promises more of the same…if anything worse. On that cheery note, all the best for 2019 and chin up – it is always darkest just before the day dawneth.
It really is Christmas Eve and this is the last update for the year. Hopefully this post finds you well and I wish you all the best for the rest of the holidays and into 2019.
This is a bumper update too…and may be the last for a while so enjoy.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Single player completed. Chris described it as a Tour de Force and I can’t disagree. A truly believable world that is so rich both graphically and due to the characters and their stories. The game isn’t without it’s issues including some predictable missions and also some repeating gameplay elements…and some not very intelligent enemies in some missions but these are minor niggles. This is the first single player game I’ve completed in years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cobra Kai – cheesy as hell, terrible acting, bad writing but some funny moments
The Predator – not the best, just watch the original instead.
- Marmite sprouts? Why retailers are pushing the boundaries with festive food – BBC News
Nothing wrong with sprouts – leave them alone.
- Kelvin Court: A Glasgow icon at 80 and a warning for the future | HeraldScotland
Drive past this daily and it still looks magnificent.
- Glasgow Motorway Archive – Film of M8 & Glasgow Inner Ring Road (1974) – YouTube
So much has changed but so much still familiar. The M8 really did rip the heart out of Glasgow.
- Delete All Your Apps
2018 has been quite the year for the big internet companies.
- How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon – Motherboard
Doubt I could do this for all of them although thinking of quitting Instagram despite the photo account going well.
- Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla’s Production Hell | WIRED
Grim…but what do we really know about the products we buy and how they are made?
- China: Emergence of a Trade Leviathan
Great visuals on the emergence of China over the last few decades.
- Happy Christmas, Britain – SNL – YouTube
Even the yanks are taking the piss now.
- LEAKED: Footage From Inside No. 10 Downing Street! – YouTube
- Brexit (2019) | Official Trailer | HBO – YouTube
- Frankie Boyle’s review of 2018: ‘Let’s forget Brexit and enjoy our last Christmas with running water’ | Politics | The Guardian
Perfect from Boyle.
- James O’Brien’s Most Talked About Moments Of 2018 – LBC
It has been a busy year for “the man who made radio viral”. And as the Brexit debate intensifies, here are James O’Brien’s best bits.
Depressing really. Brexit has brought out the racists and idiots.
- John Barnes tells BBC Breakfast racism in football ‘not improved’ – YouTube
John Barnes is so good in this short interview. Racism seems to be back in British football – was it ever really away? Just look at the nonsense with the Glasgow teams.
- Not Here to Dance | By Ada Hegerberg
Loved this – forget the idiot presenter and the twerk comment.
- Darkroom 4.0: The MacStories Review – MacStories
Great alternative to Lightroom on the iPad.
- My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2018 Edition – MacStories
A must read list of the best current iOS apps.
- My Must-Have Mac Apps, 2018 Edition – MacStories
And here’s the Mac equivalent – both have some good recomendations.
- What’s the recipe for a Christmas number one? – BBC News
Does it include sausagemeat and pastry?
- 2018 Movie Trailer Mashup – YouTube
So well done – how many have you seen?
- Behold Arguably The Most Spectacular Photo Of NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft Ever – The Drive
I had an Airfix model of the Shuttle and it’s Carrier when I was young. So pleased to see the Shuttle in the flesh four years ago in Washington.
- Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap – YouTube
Speaking of NASA, how awesome is this. How fecking brazen are the thiefs?
- Hate To Break It To You, But The Amazing Glitter Bomb Package Video Is Pretty Much Staged
Too good to be true – well done Internet.
Why is Digital Transformation even slightly relevant to the average employee? Because, if done well, the organisation becomes not only competitive again (-> job security, wages) but a place of joy and excitement. Sadly, it’s almost never done well – not even a little bit.
When I think of digital transformation, it’s about empowering people to accomplish things unimaginable in previous times. It’s not about dropping expensive new technology on peoples’ heads.https://twitter.com/joemckendrick/status/1057264249150627840
There’s no such thing as shadow IT; there’s just business change you’re involved in, and business change that you’re not involved in.https://twitter.com/EnterprisingA/status/1038099506108227584
Tree’s up – Christmas is here. Almost. Is it only me thats looking forward to a crazy week in politics?
Venom – Load of shite. What a waste of a great cast. Better off just being an animated movie.
Red Dead 2 – 68% through story mode…closing in on the finish and still loving it.
- Samsung used my DSLR photo to fake their phone’s “portrait mode” – DIY PhotographyShady. What I don’t get…does anyone at these companies think they will get away with this nowadays?
- Facebook Well Aware That Tracking Contacts Is Creepy: EmailsSpeaking of shady Facebook takes some stopping at the moment. Pure filth…plotting my move of their platform.
- The Friendship That Made Google HugeEnjoyed this, felt a total contrast to Facebook.
- Microsoft Putting Edge on Chromium Will Fundamentally Change the Web – MotherboardSeems a simple change but this is an amazing strategic move by Microsoft. Impressive.
- 52 things I learned in 2018 – Fluxx Studio Notes – MediumWhat a great read. Found out quite a bit I hadn’t learned…until now.
- The 2018 kottke.org Holiday Gift GuideIf you are struggling to find a gift this isn’t a bad place to start.
- Images of 2018: AP photographers capture a world in motionStunners.
- David Ehrlich’s 25 Best Movies of 2018 Video Countdown | IndieWireSome great films in this list.
- The Best Movies of 2018 – The RingerSome more – quite a few I haven’t watched yet.
- The 30 Best Superhero Movies 2018The best superhero movies since Blade. Strong list.
- Marvel Studios’ Avengers – Official Trailer – YouTubeCan’t wait to see this…just over 4 months. Tempted to rewatch a Marvel movie a week next year – should be just about ready for Endgame.
- BRIGHTBURN – Official Trailer (HD) – YouTubeLike the concept of this…what if Superman came to earth and was evil.
- Isle of Dogs – Sushi Making Scene Timelapse on VimeoShared the stunt breakdown from Atomic Blonde last week but this top trumps it. It was a great scene but I had no idea it took so long to shoot.
I rarely use the term “agile” these days. If I mean “responsive to change” or “adaptive”, I just say those words. If I mean “self-organising”, I say it. If I mean “lightweight”, I say that. If I mean “cynically exploiting a trend to sell certifications”, I say that