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The Stack Overflow Podcast

The Stack Overflow Podcast

For more than a dozen years, the Stack Overflow Podcast has been exploring what it means to be a developer and how the art and practice of software programming is changing our world. From Rails to React, from Java to Node.js, we host important conversations and fascinating guests that will help you understand how technology is made and where it?s headed. Hosted by Ben Popper, Cassidy Williams, and Ceora Ford, the Stack Overflow Podcast is your home for all things code.

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Taking stock of the crypto crash and tech turbulence

Data show's Silicon Valley's share of new startup funding deals dropped below 20% for the first time.

What does it mean to experiment with big changes to an engineering org, in public and in real time?

SBF would like the chance to explain himself.

Today's lifeboat badge goes to CodeCaster for explaining: What is E in floating point?

2022-12-02
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Talking UX philosophies and deployment best practices with Patreon's VP of Engineering

Srivastava reflects on his upbringing in India, learning to write Assembly, and going to Stanford University to complete his Ph.D in computer science.

He shares his early career experiences at big tech names like Yahoo!, Google, Twitter, and Google.

The group reflects on some of the engineering challenges at Patreon including technical debt, migrations to open source services, and troubleshooting bugs.

Srivastava walks us all through upcoming product features that his engineering team is working to implement.

Andy wins a Lifeboat Badge for answering this question about a list of all tags on Stack Overflow.

Follow Ben, Matt, Cassidy, and Utkarsh.

2022-11-29
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Here?s what it?s like to develop VR at Meta

Cami and Cassidy take us down memory lane, sharing how they got into computer science together, hosted a web series (and still podcast together sometimes), and overlapped at two jobs together.

We discuss the technologies being used to build in/for the Metaverse like  Horizon WorkroomPresence Platform, Insights SDK, and of course, React

Cami shares how object and scene recognition work in VR.

Cami reveals a family secret ? so listen up if you want to know how to beat Cassidy at board games.

Blackbishop wins the Illuminator Badge for answering and editing 500 different questions on Stack Overflow.

Follow Ben, Matt, Cassidy, and Cami.

We?re taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday so no podcast this Friday?have a good one, and see you next week.

2022-11-22
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Cloudy with a chance of? the state of cloud in 2022

SPONSORED BY PLURALSIGHT

Early in the days of high-traffic web pages and apps, any engineer operating the infrastructure would have a server room where one or more machines served that app to the world. They named their servers lovingly, took pictures, and watched them grow. The servers were pets. But since the rise of public cloud and infrastructure as code, servers have become cattle?you have as many as you need at any given time and don?t feel personally attached to any given one. And as more and more organizations find their way to the cloud, more and more engineers need to figure out how to herd cattle instead of feed pets. 

Show notes

Gartner forecasts that around $500 billion will be spent worldwide on end user cloud computing during 2022. Firment says that?s only 25% of IT budgets today, but he expects it to grow to 65% by 2025.

Don?t doubt the power of your people. Gartner estimates that 50% of all cloud IT migration projects are delayed up to two years simply because of the lack of skills.

Pluralsight just published its State of the Cloud report. 75% of of all leaders want to build new products and services in the cloud, but only 8% of the technologists have the experience to actually work with cloud related tools. 

Today we?re highlighting a Great Question badge winner?a question with a score of 100 or more?awarded to Logan Besecker for their question: How do you cache an image in JavaScript?

Want to start earning your cloud certificates? Head over to Pluralsight.

Connect with Ben  or Ryan on Twitter. Find Drew on LinkedIn.

2022-11-21
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The creator of Homebrew has a plan to fix the funding problem in open source

Over the years Homebrew, an open source package manager, has emerged as the project with the greatest number of individual contributors. Despite all that, it?s creator Max Howell, couldn?t make a living off the occasional charity of the millions of people who used the software he built. This XKCD cartoon is probably the most frequently repeated joke on the podcast over the last three years.

While he is not a crypto bull, Max was inspired with a solution for the open source funding dilemma  by his efforts to buy and sell an NFT. A contract written in code and shared in public enforced a rule sending a portion of his proceeds to the digital objects original creator. What if the same funding mechanism could be applied to open source projects? 

In March of 2022, Max and his co-founder launched Tea, a sort of spirtual successor to Homebrew. It has a lot of new features Max wanted in a package manager, plus a blockchain based approach to ensuring that creators, maintainers, and contributors of open source software can all get paid for their efforts. 

You can read Max?s launch post on Tea here and yes, of course there is a white paper. Follow him on Twitter here.

2022-11-18
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Want to work as a developer in Japan?

Eric explains that great jobs are available for developers in Japan, but it can be tough to find these opportunities.

We talk about interesting startups that are gaining traction in the Japanese tech sector (like Visual Alpha, Treasure Data, and Exawizards, to name a few examples of companies on the Japan Dev platform).

Matt is impressed to learn Japan Dev generates an average of $60,000/month in revenue.

Eric reflects on starting Japan Dev as a side project while he was employed full-time as an engineer.

Eric elaborates on why he doesn?t think venture capital is a good fit for Japan Dev.

Night owls unite! Eric says that his most productive hours are between midnight to 4AM.

Follow Matt and Eric.

2022-11-15
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Another hard week in tech

Episode notes:

The team questions whether a print out of 60-90 days worth of code is the right benchmark for whether to lay someone off. 

Ben gives our podcast  listeners a heads up to reports of repo jacking on GitHub (who got ahead of the issue quickly).

We reflect on whether or not we?re okay with generative AI?and question tradeoffs between copyright and the ability for more people to create stuff.

Ben discusses how his internet browser might be becoming his second brain.

Matt and Cassidy get props from Ben for their rising popularity on Stack Overflow?s YouTube channel.

Follow Ben, Matt, and Cassidy.

2022-11-11
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Hashgraph: The sustainable alternative to blockchain

When most people talk about Web3 or cryptocurrencies and related technologies, they usually mean blockchains. But blockchain is only the first generation of distributed ledger technology (DLT). As with any new technology, once people see how it works, new generations come along rapidly to address the faults in the previous ones. 

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, Ben and Ryan chat with Matt Woodward, head of developer relations at Swirlds Labs. Swirlds Labs created the Hedera ecosystem, a DLT built on a hashgraph, not a blockchain. We chat about what the difference is between a blockchain and a hashgraph, Hedera?s focus on environmental sustainability, and why the Web3 version of ?Hello, World!? takes a little more effort. 

Show notes

Hedera?s hashgraph is a third-generation DLT: it?s an open-source consensus algorithm and a data structure that uses a direct acyclic graph and two novel inventions, the gossip about gossip protocol and virtual voting. 

Where Bitcoin can only handle between three and seven transactions per second, a hashgraph can support upwards of 10,000. 

There?s been a lot of talk about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies. Woodward says that a single Bitcoin transaction uses 1000kW-hours?the equivalent of driving a Tesla Model S 5,500 km?while Hedera uses 160 MW-hours of energy per year, about 2.5 million times less.

Congrats to the winner of a Stellar Question badge, g.revolution, for their question What is an anti-pattern? 100 users saved it for later. 

Find out more about Hedera and hit the start button

Connect with Matt, Ben, or Ryan on Twitter.

2022-11-09
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Fighting to balance identity and anonymity on the web(3)

Shoemaker spent his childhood in Silicon Valley and learned Assembly when he was just 16 years old.

In his early 20s, he applied to work at Apple and was continually rejected. So he went to work for seven startups instead.

Finally, in 2009, Shoemaker ended up at Apple overseeing the review process for the App Store.

After seven years at Apple, Phillip became interested in cryptocurrency after discovering his personal information on the dark web.

His interest grew in the topic of self sovereign identities, which led him to become CEO and co-founder of Identity.com.

Phillip and Ben reflect on the utility of Web3 in gaming.

Follow Ben and Phillip.

Thank you to lifeboat badge winner Marchingband for their answer to the question about running C or C++ code from Node.js in an efficient way.

2022-11-08
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Going from engineer to entrepreneur takes more than just good code

In today?s podcast, Matt, Ceora, and Cassidy reflect on Cara?s founder journey.

Cara shares her experiences living in New York and San Francisco? and why she and her co-founder ultimately located Stashpad in North Carolina.

She elaborates on the exact steps that she took to pivot her startup following limited initial interest in V1 of the product.

Despite being in the Bay Area and working at Twilio, she was struggling to meet people because her full brain power was going to her products.

She shares what it was like for her and her co-founder to hire Stashpad?s first employees.

The group discusses Stashpad?s pathway to monetization in the context of developers wanting free tools.

Follow, Ceora, Matt, Cassidy, and Cara.

Marchingband gets today?s lifeboat badge for their answer to the question about running C or C++ code from Node.js in an efficient way

2022-11-04
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Making location easier for developers with new data primitives

When Foursquare launched in 2009, the app was consumer facing, letting you know where friends had checked in and what spots might appeal to you. People competed to be the ?mayor? of certain locations and built guides to their favorite neighborhoods., The service expanded to allow merchants to offer discounts to frequent guests and track foot traffic in and out of the stores. While you can still use the Swarm app to find the best Manhattan in Manhattan, the company realized that real estate and data share the same three key rules: location, location, location. 

On this sponsored episode of the podcast, Ben and Ryan talk with Vin Sharma, VP of Engineering at Foursquare, about how they?re finding the atomic data that makes up their location data?their location data?and going from giving insight to individual app users about the locations around them to APIs that serve these location-based insights to developers at organizations like Uber, Nextdoor, and Redfin, who want to build location based insights and features into their own apps. 

Show notes

If you still want to check in at your local bakery and remember all the place you?ll go, the original Foursquare app is now Swarm

If you?re looking to build on their data instead, you can start with their developer documentation

They have almost 70 location attributes that they are starting to deconstruct and decompose into fundamental building blocks of their location data. Like data primitives?integers, booleans, etc.?these small bites of data can be remade with agility and at scale. 

Through the recent acquisition of Unfolded, Foursquare allows you to visualize and map location data at any scale. Want to see patterns across the country? Zoom out. Want to focus on a square kilometer? Zoom in and watch the data move. 

Today?s lifeboat shoutout goes to Rohith Nambiar for their answer to Visual Studio not installed; this is necessary for Windows development

You can find Vin Sharma on Twitter

2022-11-02
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Homelabbing tricks to level up your WFH game

The group laughs about setting up JIRA workflows and Trello boards for our family lives?Matt says heck no.

Ceora speaks to the power of homelabbing as a way to gain profitable skills. 

JJ talks about the VPN system he has running on his phone to access his home network using tools like WireGuard and ZeroTier.

Cassidy suggests setting up a personal knowledge base as a second brain (and recommends Obsidian). 

JJ shares how homelabbing is popular among kids under 18 as a pathway for them to get into the tech industry.

Follow, Ceora, Matt, Cassidy, and JJ.

High fives to Lifeboat Badge winner Manquer for the answer to his question How can I upgrade the Yii 1.x version to the Yii 2.0 latest release version?

2022-11-01
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How to get more engineers entangled with quantum computing

Katzgraber reflects on his time as a university professor up until 2020 and why he switched to working at Amazon.

He walks us through a quantum computing challenge that he hosted with BMW, through his role at Amazon (and what real world applications he sees emerging from these types of collaboration experiments).

We discuss what inspires him to stay curious ? raising the bar for scientific research, crowdsourcing breakthroughs, and opening up the playing field for more people to jump in.

Follow Ben, Ryan, Matt, and Helmut.

?Til next time, all.

2022-10-28
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Goodbye Webpack, Hello Turbopack! The big news from today?s Next.JS conference

We got the chance to sit down with Guillermo Ruach, Guillermo Rauch, CEO of Vercel and co-creator of Next.JS, about the news coming out of today's conference. The most interesting was a new product called Turbopack. You can read more about it here.

 

 

2022-10-25
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A flight simulator for developers to practice real world challenges and surprises

Freund reflects on his early days at Applied Materials, where he worked on a machine that inspected silicon wafers.

It was in this early role that Freund gained an appreciation for rigorous software testing protocols in the manufacturing process.

At WeWork, Freund was fascinated by the idea of a full stack business, which is a business building itself.

While Freund officially launched Wilco in 2021, the origin story for the company dates back to 2013 when he was hiring and managing a team of engineers?he saw a need in the market to help developers build critical skills to problems-solve in real-time.

You can think of Wilco as the equivalent of a flight simulator for engineers.

Shoutout to Lifeboat Badge winner Zico for their awesome answer to the question, ?Hiding sensitive information in response?

Follow On and Ben.

2022-10-25
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He went from .NET and VS Code to working on Web3

John explains that Web3 is about the convergence of technology, economics, and social trends.

He elaborates that foundations begin with service-based architecture (SOA), the notion of how to design loosely coupled systems that consist of economic services and components.

He goes on to explain how DeFi represents this thinking of a loose composition of services.

With all of this, blockchain brings together technology and economic incentives into a holistic equation?people contribute because they want to contribute.

Nonsense it is not, says baby Yoda.

Crypto isn?t the end game. It?s a segue along the way.

Follow Ben, Matt, and John.

Learn more about the Global Blockchain Business Council and John?s company, ngEnterprise.

Speaking of awesomeness, we?d like to give a shout out to Stellar Question Badge winner GateKiller for asking a question ?How can I get the DateTime for the start of the week?? that has been bookmarked by a hundred people.

2022-10-21
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Faster feedback loops make for faster developer velocity

Having trouble with understanding your team?s productivity outside of frameworks and tooling? Create a backlog and work through it: Instant Agile! How much of that backlog you work through is a good baseline measure. 

The Stack Overflow blog recently featured an article from Stack Overflow?s Director of Engineering, Ben Matthews: Does high velocity lead to burnout? That may be the wrong question to ask

If you're interested in seeing how Couchbase?s SQL database solutions can help improve your team?s velocity, check out Capella.  

Cory House helps teams deliver successful React projects through his consulting business, ReactJS Consulting.  

If you want to learn more about Matt, check out his LinkedIn.

Congrats to Lifeboat badge winner, 

Alohci

, who threw a great answer to rescue the question, 

Display button with  inline CSS

.

2022-10-19
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Driverless cars give us the heebie jeebies

Before jumping into driverless car talk, Ben shares a heads up about fake jobs at credible companies that are actually phishing scams meant to steal your identity and hijack your bank accounts. Beware the job offer that seems too good to be true!

Jon, Cassidy, Ceora, Matt, and Ben reflect on whether they trust software to operate a vehicle.

Cassidy tells us that she once sat in a car that parked itself and screamed the entire time.

Matt brings us back to reality, reminding us that airplane flights have been automated for a while now.

Matt and Ben point out that in the medical technology space, robotic surgeons are so advanced that they have become more precise than human hands.

Shoutout to lifeboat badge winner GKG4 for a great answer to the question ?how can I check if an array index is out of range?? which has been viewed 67,000 times.

Follow Jon, Ben, Ceora, Matt, and Cassidy.

2022-10-18
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The robots are coming? but when?

Despite our hope for the power of robotics, the technology is still far from mainstream. That?s because the amount of effort needed to get hardware to do useful things at scale is?well?hard.

When Eliot started Viam, his goal was to address this challenge by creating software that supports a range of hardware builds right out of the box. As the company explains - ?we?re addressing these issues by building a novel robotics platform that relies on standardized building blocks rather than custom code to create, configure and control robots intuitively and quickly. We?re empowering engineers ? aspiring and experienced ? across industries to solve complicated automation problems with our innovative software tools.? The company announced the opening of its public beta earlier this week.

While Eliot elaborates on his vision for Viam, Ben reflects on his time covering drones for The Verge and working on robotics at DJI.

Inquisitive badge winner, Neeta, gets props for asking well-received questions on 30 separate days.

Follow Ben and Eliot on Twitter.

2022-10-14
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The right way to job hop

Ceora and Cassidy talk about why engineers are so good at job hopping ? and why it can pay to upgrade roles every year or two.

Ceora speaks openly about the privileges of working in tech compared to other industries.

Apparently, in some places, it?s a thing for engineers to leave their teams and then rejoin the organization with a promotion to get ahead. Do you boomerang?

Cassidy?s husband?s favorite interview question to ask is, ?If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about this company, what would you change??

Ben poses a question about whether LinkedIn AB tests are disadvantageous to some career seekers over others.

Matt introduces us to the world of AI generated Pokémon.

Ceora, our resident voice of Gen Z, tells us why she thinks millennials are the only true generation to understand tech.

High fives to Unique Username for answering the question ?how can I print to the console using JavaScript?? You get a Lifeboat Badge for helping 140,000 people.

Follow Ben, Ceora, Matt, and Cassidy.

2022-10-11
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A chat with Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks on the path from developer to leader

Matt takes us back to the origins of his open source days and the spark that inspired his love for engineering ? including the point at which he discovered Linux.

He shares how he began learning from the code itself, which was ultimately a different style of learning than what was available to him at university. Then, it was to the stacks, but not Stack Overflow. Think Barnes and Noble, not YouTube videos.

Imagine trying to  navigate getting your first engineering job during the dot-com crash of the late 90s and early 2000s.

We reflect on Matt's experience building projects with his daughter, including an AI-powered doorbell he built himself.

Speaking of insatiable curiousity, we?d like to give a big high five to Wonton, who received the Inquisitive Badge. Thanks for coming on 30 separate days to maintain a positive question track record.

Follow Matt, Ben, and Cassidy.

2022-10-07
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Meet the AI helping you chose what to watch next

Our guests have done most of their ML work on AWS offerings, from AWS Personalize for their initial recommendation engine to SageMaker for model training and deployment pipeline. Now they?re building models from scratch in TensorFlow

Want to see these recommendations in action? Check out the offerings at Discovery+ and HBOMax

If you?re a ML/AL data scientist looking to shape the future of automated curation, check out their open roles

Follow our guests on LinkedIn:

Shrikant DesaiSowmya Subramanian
2022-10-05
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The many strengths of neurodivergence

Mariann shares how she and her UX research team at Stack Overflow are taking steps to create a more inclusive product experience, while reflecting on her experiences as a mother to a neurodiverse daughter.

Wesley talks about what it?s like to be a developer with dyslexia and why self-empathy and self-compassion have been important to his evolution as a senior leader.

Ceora explains why it?s important to be on a psychologically safe team from her perspective as a Black woman who is also neurodivergent.

We talk about giving people the space necessary to do their best work, implementing more inclusive hiring practices, and everyday routines that help us stay our happiest and most productive.

We conclude with a note about why supporting neurodiversity is good for everyone of all walks of life.

Follow Ceora, Wesley, and Marianne.

2022-10-04
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Cassidy becomes a CTO!

Ceora shares her experience representing Auth0 at REFACTR TECH, reflecting on what it was like being back in-person after years of virtual events.

Cassidy announces her move to CTO and how her current leadership role at Contenda fits into her career journey and future aspirations as a technologist.

Ben talks about Stack Overflow?s Flow State, the first IRL event he?s attended since 2019 and Stack?s first ever customer conference. 

In case Cassidy pulled you down a rabbit hole of wondering how eels reproduce, check out this piece in the New Yorker from 2020.

Be sure to follow Ceora and Cassidy on Twitter. 

Speaking of the power of curiosity, today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user448810 for answering the question, Feasible implementation of a prime-counting function. Thanks for helping 6,000 people gain valuable knowledge.

2022-09-30
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Don't let software steal your time

Guilo gives building UI components as an example of where software innovation has given him time back: he started building them as static images in Photoshop, then Sketch brought connected, interactive components, and Finally, Figma let you collaborate and build an entire system together.  

If you missed any of the previous episodes, you can find them waiting for you here

Connect with Paolo Passeri on LinkedIn. 

Connect with Giulio Barresi on LinkedIn. 

Check out more mechanical keyboard products from Logitech

Congrats to KnutKnutsen for their answer to How can I specify a one-argument constructor using Lombok?, saving the question and picking up a Lifeboat badge. 

2022-09-28
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Ethereum finally merges, semiconductors stay scarce

It finally happened. In the words of the Ethereum Foundation, ETH is now ?ready for its interstellar voyage,? having transitioned from proof of work to proof of stake. With no centralized authority insisting on a ship date, we?re witnessing a feat. We?re all wondering what comes next. 

The Great Debate about hybrid and remote work continues. Is the decentralized talent movement winning? What can we do to prevent cabin fever? What do government workers do with their laptops if they need to cross the border?

The semiconductor chip shortage hasn?t ended yet, but some companies seem to be hurting more than others. What gives?

We conclude with a reflection on the new Apple Watch?and whether it can actually save our lives.

Be sure to follow @mattkander and @benpopper on Twitter to keep the convo going.

Big thanks to Androidian who is our latest Inquisitive badge recipient for coming to Stack Overflow for 30 separate days, maintaining a positive question record.

Catch you all later.

2022-09-27
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We hate Scrum and Agile too...when it's done wrong

About three years ago, when our public platform engineering team at Stack started growing, we realized that we needed a more robust formal project management system that could scale with all the creativity coming on board. That?s when we started looking at formal, by-the-book frameworks to empower and coach our teams to their fullest potential. We landed on Agile and Scrum. 

Admittedly, our development team was nervous about implementing Scrum and Agile at first. So we focused on the goals of introspection and accountability rather than the rigidness of enforcement.

Agile and Scrum get a lot of hate. But is that their fault or are you doing it wrong?

We talked about this on the podcast a few years ago, when Ben, Paul, and Sara wondered, ?Is Scrum making you a worse engineer?

It?s about providing support?not punishing people. Done right, Agile and Scrum can be a force of freedom and autonomy when they start with trust.

Connect with Shanda and Jon on LinkedIn.

We conclude with a big high five to Lifeboat badge winner jminkler for their answer to how to create an Instagram share link in PHP (thank you).

?Til next time.

2022-09-23
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Five nines uptime without developer burnout

Like other folks we?ve talked to on the podcast, Chronosphere was born out of work pioneered at Uber. When you can?t find solutions to help you scale, sometimes you have to build them. 

Everything in Chronosphere was built from scratch, from the ingestion tier to the query layer. If you?re going to build something cloud native from the ground up, the clear choice for the team was Go

Cloud native observability changes the way developers interact with their code in production. Infrastructure is more complex, dev and test environments are gone, and data increases massively while data sources are more ephemeral. 

Congrats to david, who won a lifeboat badge for their answer to Can we convert a byte array into an InputStream in Java?

2022-09-22
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Can integrating hardware with software save developers time and energy?

We dive into some of the ways developers can customize their keyboard with shortcuts, macros, and apps to eliminate repetitive tasks and automate the busywork that stands in the way of bigger, breakthrough innovations. 

Flow state can be affected by things as simple as the right lighting, so Logitech created keyboards that automatically adjust their keyboard backlighting

For those not familiar with the MX series, you can read more about the different versions, including the mechanical one, here.

If you don?t know about Cassidy?s passion for keyboards, you can check out her website here or listen to a previous episode diving deep into the details of mechanical keyboards here.

If you missed episode two, you can check it out below. In it, we chat with Marcel Twohig, Head of Design for the MX Series at Logitech, and Thomas Fritz, Associate Professor of Human Aspects of Software Engineering at the University of Zurich. We cover the research that Professor Fritz has done on flow states, the design work that Marcel and team have done to incorporate that research, and the tools that you can use to maximize your daily flow.

2022-09-21
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A serial entrepreneur finally embraces open source

Appsmith is an open-source, low-code platform for building and maintaining internal tools like custom dashboards, admin panels, and, of course, CRUD apps.

Watch Arpin?s talk on how a low-cost, low-tech solution can simplify online payments.

Arpit isn?t the first engineer we?ve talked to whose career was sparked by the digital pets of the 90s. Listen to Episode #431: Words of wisdom for self-taught developers.

It?s time to get excited about Hacktoberfest, an annual DigitalOcean event that encourages people to contribute to open-source projects throughout the month of October.

Connect with Arpit on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Last but not least, today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user Belzebub for their answer to the question Custom alert dialog with rounded corners and a transparent background.

2022-09-20
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Hypergrowth headaches

Like a lot of good tools, Backstage started as a way to stop using a spreadsheet. They knew it was something worth open-sourcing when conference attendees paid more attention to the tool than the topics of the talks. 

Backstage treats docs-like-code, keeping markdown files in the same repo as the code. Down with wikis, up with pull requests!

If you want to learn more about Backstage, check out our recent webinar with Emma Indal, a web engineer at Spotify.

2022-09-16
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What science says about achieving the flow state

Show notes

If you?re interested in diving deeper into Professor Fritz?s research on developer flow states, check out his list of publications

Flow states can be affected by things as simple as the right lighting, so Logitech created keyboards that automatically adjust their keyboard backlighting

Lights can be used to indicate your interruptibility.; Prof. Fritz did some research on FlowLight, which indicates your willingness to be interrupted with a simple red light/green light protocol. These days, you can use your Slack status to the same effect. 

If you?re looking for apps to improve your daily flow, Cassidy recommends Centered.

2022-09-14
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Hackathons and free pizza: All about Stack Overflow?s new Student Ambassador Program

As part of an effort to work with students at college and universities, Stack Overflow is partnering with Major League Hacking (MLH) to recruit our first cohort of Student Ambassadors. These folks will represent us on campus and lead the way in tackling challenges, earning rewards, and planning out the future of the program. 

Our pizza fund events are open to students in the US and Canada, and Global Hack Weeks are open to all. You can learn more about how to apply here.

ICYMI: Major League Hacking cofounder Jon Gottfried and Hackathon Community Manager Mary Siebert previously came on the podcast to describe what a Major League Hackathon looks like (the succulents were a surprise).

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user Manquer for their answer to the question How can I upgrade Yii 1.x to Yii 2.0?.

2022-09-13
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Plug-and-play AI for your own projects

AssemblyAI is an AI-as-a-service provider focused on speech-to-text and text analysis. Their mission is to make it easy for developers and product teams to incorporate state-of-the-art AI technology into the solutions they?re building. Their customers include Spotify, the Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. Need AI to run semantic analysis on your forum comments or automatically produce summaries of blog post submissions? Rent an ML model on-demand from the cloud instead of building a solution from scratch.

Just three months after its $28M Series A, AssemblyAI raised another $30M in a Series B round led by Insight Partners, Y Combinator, and Accel. In this economy?

When it comes to new and cutting-edge AI developments, what?s Dylan excited about right now? This open-source implementation of AlphaFold from GitHub user lucidrains.

Connect with Dylan on LinkedIn.

Today we?re shouting out the winner of an Inquisitive Badge: User Edson Horacio Junior asked a well-received question on 30 separate days and maintained a positive question record.

2022-09-09
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Flow state at your fingertips - how keyboards impact developer productivity

For those not familiar with the MX series, you can read more about the different versions, including the mechanical one, here.

If you don't know about Cassidy's passion for keyboards, you can check out her website here or listen to a previous episode diving deep into the details of mechanical keyboards here.

Stayed tuned for episode #2, airing next week, when we'll be digging deeper into the science behind keyboards and coders with Prof. Thomas Fritz and Marcel Twohig Head of Design for the MX series.

2022-09-08
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Does AI-assisted coding make it too easy for student to cheat on schoolwork?

You can find a great essay on AI helping students, and what that means for their teachers, here.

Here's a piece on W4 Games plans to monetize the Godot engine.

Snap says it now has one million subscribers for its Snapchat+ offering.

There were no fresh lifeboats badges this week, so shoutout to Jemo for being awarded the Great Question badge. They asked: What's the difference between thread and coroutine in Kotlin

2022-09-06
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Environments on-demand

ReleaseHub provides on-demand environments for development, staging, and production. Every developer knows that environments can be a bottleneck, so ReleaseHub?s mission is to empower developers to share their ideas with the world more quickly and easily, sidestepping what Tommy calls ?the big bottlenecks in development.?

As CTO of TrueCar, Tommy was leading an effort to rebuild that company?s tech stack, but he needed an environment management platform, and nothing on the market fit his needs. The homegrown environment management system he developed with his cofounders would become ReleaseHub.

Tommy joined Y Combinator in 2009.

Connect with Tommy on LinkedIn.

Today we?re shouting out the winner of an Inquisitive Badge: L-Samuels asked a well-received question on 30 separate days and maintained a positive question record.

2022-09-02
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What companies lose when they track worker productivity

What do companies want to gain through monitoring software?and what do they, and their employees, stand to lose? Read more.

In Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport makes the point that our world isn?t geared toward deep, focused, flow-state work; instead, it rewards the appearance of busyness. Workers who see their keystrokes or mouse movements tracked are likely to focus on those behaviors instead of their projects.

More than 50 countries are establishing rules to control their digital information and achieve data sovereignty. Read more.

Gather round for the latest in cautionary crypto tales: The Crypto Geniuses Who Vaporized a Trillion Dollars. If you?re in the market, you can buy their yacht, the Much Wow (we kid you not).

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user Tonyyyy for their answer to the question In what way does wait(NULL) work exactly in C?.

2022-08-30
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The luckiest guy in AI

Varun is the cofounder and CTO of AKASA, which develops purpose-built AI and automation solutions for the healthcare industry.

Building a physics simulator for a robot helicopter as a student at Stanford helped Varun connect his interests in physics, machine learning, and AI. Check out that project here. His instructor? Andrew Ng.

Along with Ng, Varun was lucky to connect with some brilliant AI folks during his time at Stanford, like Jeffrey Dean, Head of Google AI; Daphne Koller, cofounder of Coursera; and Sebastian Thrun, cofounder of Udacity.

When Varun earned his PhD in computer science and AI, Koller and Thrun served as his advisors. You can read their work here.

In 2017, Udacity acquired Varun?s startup, CloudLabs, the company behind Terminal.  

Connect with Varun on LinkedIn.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user John Woo for their answer to the question Update the row that has the current highest (maximum) value of one field.

2022-08-26
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Why AI is having an on-prem moment

Learn why some companies are moving AI and ML data and models off the cloud and back on premises.

Oxide is a rack-scale server with tightly integrated hardware and software. Cofounder and Chief Product Officer Jessie Frazelle was an early core maintainer of Docker. You can find her on GitHub or LinkedIn.

Check out FauxPilot, a locally hosted version of GitHub Copilot.

It?s no secret that Instagram has made changes to its feed, emphasizing video content in an effort to compete with TikTok. Nor is it a secret that these changes have proved unpopular with creators, from Kylie Jenner to independent photographers and other artists. Just another reminder that these platforms are rarely for creators; they?re built to generate revenue. 

What Amazon?s acquisition of iRobot (of Roomba fame) might mean.

Earthships are sustainable dwellings constructed from recycled and natural materials. Built for off-the-grid living, they use thermal and solar power, harvest rainwater, and often incorporate gardens to supplement food supply.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user SILENT for their answer to the question In React and Next.js constructor, I am getting ?Reference Error: localstorage is not defined?.

2022-08-23
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Combining the best of engineering cultures from Silicon Valley and Shanghai

Born and raised in China, Liam arrived in the US to attend the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied human-computer interaction. After some initial ?culture shock? at the differences between his education in China and the ?open and innovative? Berkeley environment, Liam thrived. After graduating, he worked at LinkedIn before returning to China to found a startup called Zaihui, offering ecommerce SaaS solutions for retailers.

Liam describes the still-commonplace 9-9-6 schedule (working from nine in the morning until nine at night, six days a week) and the approach of assigning multiple teams to compete on different visions for the same product.

In Liam?s view, US and Chinese engineering teams take different approaches to work, work-life balance, innovation, and risk. US teams pursue ?breakthrough innovations? that impress customers, while ?hustling and hardworking? Chinese teams ?want to move fast and break things? to copy what works and make it incrementally better. 

What would a hybrid of these approaches look like? Liam?s new startup, Immersive, is combining teams from the US and China to find out.

Follow Liam on LinkedIn.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user Abhijit for their answer to the question Set difference versus set subtraction.

2022-08-19
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?The last technical interview you'll ever take

Since the day a hiring manager first wheeled a whiteboard into a conference room, software engineers have dreaded the technical interview, which can be an all-day process (or multi-day homework assignment). If you?re interviewing for multiple roles, you can expect to write out a bubble sort in pseudocode for each one. These technical interviews do no favors for hiring companies, either, because the investment needed from both parties limits the number of candidates a company can consider. In this age of data-driven decisions, perhaps there?s a way that AI and ML can help candidates and companies find each other.  

On this episode of the podcast, sponsored by Turing AI, we chat with Chief Revenue Officer Prakash Gupta about building a better hiring process with AI. Turing helps companies scale their engineering programs quickly with remote developers from around the world. We talk about how to vet a profession without standard markers, the benefits of soft skills, and how AI-assisted hiring helps everyone involved. 

While companies have been outsourcing development for years, COVID made the software industry almost entirely remote. Suddenly, every company has the ability to hire the best developers regardless of location. And good developers can find work at companies of all sizes without packing up and settling in Silicon Valley. 

But when any company could conceivably interview any candidate, how do you vet candidates at scale? There is no standardized board certification for software engineers, after all. Every interviewer has to vet the candidates themselves, and that?s where human biases come in. 

On one side, you have Fortune 500 companies developing complex systems and undergoing digital transformation projects, plus startups looking to scale their engineering organizations as their product finds market fit. On the other, you have a new generation of engineers trained on bootcamps and online resources who may not have opportunities where they live. That?s where Turing comes in, matching 1.7 million engineers from over 140 countries with jobs at hundreds of companies. 

Turing strives to mitigate bias by collecting hundreds of signals about candidates over a four- to six-hour process. This process covers projects candidates have worked on, technology aptitude, and soft skills through 30-minute tests, candidates? online presence in places like GitHub and Stack Overflow, and qualitative assessments refined over two years of feedback loops. 

A process that once consisted of ten interviews can now drop to two or three at the most. Some Turing customers have eliminated interviews altogether, relying on Turing?s AI-powered solutions to surface and evaluate the best candidates. To see how Turing can streamline your interview process, either as a candidate or a company, check out turing.com today.

2022-08-17
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A history of open-source licensing from a lawyer who helped blaze the trail

Heather is a General Partner at OSS Capital, which provides VC backing to seed-stage COSS (commercial open source) startups. Her law practice focuses on intellectual property and open-source licensing, and she serves on the IEEE-ISTO Board of Directors.

Connect with Heather on LinkedIn or explore her work on her website.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user keshlam for their answer to the question Why do we need abstract classes in Java?.

2022-08-16
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A conversation with Spencer Kimball, creator of GIMP and CockroachDB

Spencer was one of the original creators of open-source, cross-platform image editing software GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), authored while he was still in college. He went on to spend a decade at Google, plus two years as CTO of Viewfinder, later acquired by Square.

In 2014, he cofounded Cockroach Labs to back his creation CockroachDB, a cloud-native distributed SQL database.

Database sharding is essential for CockroachDB: ?a critical part of how Cockroach achieves virtually everything,? says Spencer. Read up on how sharding a database can make it faster.

Like many engineers who find themselves in the C-suite, Spencer went from full-time programmer to full-time CEO. He says it?s been a ?relatively gentle? evolution, but he can always go back.

Like lots of you out there, Spencer started programming on a TI-99/4, the world?s first 16-bit home computer.

Connect with Spencer on LinkedIn or learn more about him.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user Hughes M. for their answer to the question Multiple keys pointing to a single value in Redis (Cache) with Java.

2022-08-12
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The internet?s Robin Hood uses robo-lawyers to fight parking tickets and spam calls

DoNotPay offers more than 250 ?automated justice? services in every US state, from suing robo-callers to annulling marriages to fighting eviction. It earned Joshua the title ?Robin Hood of the internet.?

DoNotPay leverages AI and ML solutions, including GPT-3, to shape and refine its decision trees.

Read about how DoNotPay is helping crypto traders who?ve lost money file suit against fallen leaders.

Why PDFs are unfit for human (or computer) consumption.

Follow Joshua on Twitter.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user EM-Creations for their answer to the question The PHP header() function is not redirecting.

2022-08-09
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Satellite internet: More useful than sending a car into space

A coding error reportedly caused the massive outage at Canadian telecom company Rogers that affected more than 10 million customers?a quarter of Canada?s population.

In a rut? Hacker News has some advice for climbing out. (Hint: More screen time won?t help.)

The Verge reports on how Starlink and other companies that provide internet connectivity through low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites are shaping an ?orbital internet.?

Michael Pollan?s 2019 book How to Change Your Mind?an exploration of psychedelic therapy?s history, current status, and future potential?is now a four-part Netflix documentary. We at Stack Overflow DO NOT recommend illegal drug use, but we can recommend the documentary.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user Satpal for their answer to the question 'setinterval' with random time in JavaScript.

2022-08-05
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Monitoring data quality with Bigeye

Bigeye is a data observability platform that helps teams measure, improve, and communicate data quality clearly at any scale. Explore more on their YouTube channel.

Bigeye cofounders Kyle Kirwan and Egor Gryaznov met at Uber, where Kyle worked on data and Egor was a staff engineer.

Kyle and Egor made a clean break with Uber before founding Bigeye, eager to avoid even the appearance of an Anthony Levandowski-like situation. If you?re not familiar with the ex-Google engineer sentenced to prison for stealing trade secrets (and later pardoned by Trump), catch up here.

Learn how to save your energy for innovation by choosing boring technology.

Connect with Kyle on LinkedIn.

Connect with Egor on LinkedIn.

Compiler is an original podcast from Red Hat discussing tech topics big, small and strange like, What are tech hiring managers actually looking for? And, do you have to know how to code to get started in open source? Listen to Compiler anywhere you find your podcasts or visit https://link.chtbl.com/compiler?sid=podcast.stack.overflow

2022-08-02
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San Francisco? More like San Francisgo

San Francisco?s Mayor London Breed says a seismic shift (definitely not an exodus) is underway as tech workers continue working from home and companies like Salesforce (the city?s largest private employer) reduce office space. Breed says San Francisco lost $400 million in tax revenue in 2021, as companies shuttered offices or moved to other cities. San Francisco offices haven?t been this empty since 2009.

The Wall Street Journal reports that 71 cities (and counting) are offering cash grants and other incentives to lure remote workers from Silicon Valley to, say, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

If you?re a member in good standing of the Hellfire Club (or any D&D group), check out the free AI image generator from AI Dungeon.

Customizable open search platform You.com debuts YouCode, a specialized search engine intended to increase developer efficiency. You.com allows users to deploy AI to customize the sources they want to see, the order in which results appear, and how private results are, reports VentureBeat.

Matt is the proud owner of a new tongue scraper (TMI?), and Ben is 3D-printing him a customized holder. What are friends for?

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user LuLuGaGa for their answer to the question Is there a way to create BottomBar using SwiftUI?

2022-07-29
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Team analytics: Less creepy, more empowering

Multitudes helps managers and CTOs create happier, higher-performing teams, using data they already have. Multitudes is focused on software development teams to start, but their bigger vision is to make it easier for any manager to understand and improve their teams? culture and performance.

?Developers in our audience have expressed skepticism or dismay in the past about software that tracks performance or output,? Lauren explains. Multitudes? approach is to break down an organization?s approach to ethical team analytics in order to balance delivering value to management with respect and support for the individual developers whose work is being measured. How does that work? Read Lauren?s blog post about data ethics.

Lauren founded Multitudes based on insights she acquired running Ally Skills NZ, which supports organizations in building equitable, inclusive teams. Before that, she worked with high-performance, fast-growth companies in Silicon Valley, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and New Zealand. A Stanford grad, Lauren is passionate about making equity the default both at work and in the wider world.

Check out Multitudes? success stories or explore their blog.

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn or Twitter.

2022-07-26
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Game Boy emulators, PowerPoint developers, and the enduring appeal of Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is six years old (it makes us feel old, too). 

Check out NoobBoy, the Game Boy emulator. Need more nineties nostalgia? You can still play DOOM on almost anything.

What kind of game could you build with PowerPoint? Two game developers go head-to-head over 24 hours to show you: Watch the video.

Did you know a moose can dive 20 feet deep and swim faster than Michael Phelps? It?s true.

Today?s Lifeboat badge goes to user zvone for their answer to Error message "TypeError: descriptor 'append' requires a 'list' object but received a 'dict'".

2022-07-22
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