Things I Read About Recently [#Issue 2024.06]

Because the world needs better dashboards

While my own professional interests in Building Better Data Insights Faster rely on using visuals and narratives to show data-driven results, “Starting from first principles” is the question you have to ask. Identifying the quality data sources, the time to delivery and the confidence of accuracy are critical aspects of any dashboard.

Source: WrapText by Equals

This is the second article I’ve read about Equals in a week, and while I’m not ready to go back to a spreadsheet, this company has some great previous posts with excellent content, such as the 2023 summary and How to ship fast. An appropriate statement would be.

What a year. We embraced AI. We reimagined BI. We waved freemium goodbye. And as the cliché goes, we’re only just getting started.

[Last Week in AWS] Issue #352: New Year, New You, Here’s December in Review

Damm right, I think you are giving too much created by saying “a year”. More than once I had to rewrite code because AWS was years behind standard Python releases. AWS Lambda adds support for Python 3.12.

Whatever was going on with the delays in getting new language runtimes out a year or more after the language version itself was released seems to have been resolved. I wonder how long it’ll take that unpleasant chapter to fade from the collective awareness around Lambda?

Source: Last Week in AWS

Latency is the new outage

While technically a video that I listened to with Getting Started with ElastiCache for Redis Performance & Cost Optimization, this needs to be a slogan used more frequently. It is so true. The speaker in the opening minutes also describes some compelling reasons why our proliferation of data can contribute to a negative impact.

Source: Random AWS reading.

About “Things I Read About Recently”

Most days I take some time early in the morning to scan my inbox newsletters, the news, LinkedIn or other sources to read something new covering the professional and personal topics of interest. Turning what I read into some actionable notes in a short committed time window is a summary of what I learned, what I should really learn and use, or what is of random interest.

Some of my regular sources include TLDR, Forbes Daily, ThoughWorks Podcasts, Daily Dose of Data Science and BoringCashCow. Also Scientific American Technology, Fareed’s Global Briefing, Software Design: Tidy First? by Kent Beck, Last Week in AWS to name a few.

Things I Read About Recently [#Issue 2024.05]

Why I’m excited about profit-sharing startups

Every year there is a list of the startups that failed and 2023 failures was no different. There is also the list of likely IPOs for the year. Is it going to be Space X, DataBricks and Reddit for example.

This article along with a host of links reaching out to sites such as Creator Fund, Humanism and Weekend Fund and other interesting stories re-iterate that it is great people and not great ideas that are the right way of being an entrepreneur. The concept of investing that asks for a return of 1-5% of future earnings is an interesting movement from going down the VC slog.

The article lists these points:

  • There’s a culture shift in tech toward profit-generating businesses.
  • There’s a tech shift that enables talent to build more with less.
  • There’s a regulatory shift that makes exits challenging.

… believe a few big shifts will drive more founders and investors to pursue profit-sharing models in 2024 and beyond.

This tweet talks about Gumroad issuing dividends back to our investors. I always understood that investors wanted to see a return, or a positive change in the return capabilities within a 5 year horizon. Also interesting is this Challenging your assumptions about starutps video.

Combined with Why the Future of Startups are Studios really helps me consider what I started back in 2011 with a number of technology leaders in New York as a viable alternative to what we know about funding a startup. We were always able to get through the first 3 steps easily.

  • Generate an idea
  • Flesh out the idea
  • Launch and experiment
  • Create a project
  • Create a big company

I believe Graham was ahead of his time with Ultra Light Startups some 15 years ago.

Source: TLDR

About ‘Things I Read About Recently’

Most days I take some time early in the morning to scan my inbox newsletters, the news, LinkedIn or other sources to read something new covering the professional and personal topics of interest. Turning what I read into some actionable notes in a short committed time window is a summary of what I learned today, what I should really learn and use, or what is of random interest.

Some of my regular sources include TLDR, Forbes Daily, ThoughWorks Podcasts, Daily Dose of Data Science and BoringCashCow. Also Scientific American Technology, Fareed’s Global Briefing, Software Design: Tidy First? by Kent Beck, Last Week in AWS to name a few.

Things I Read About Recently [#Issue 2024.04]

NoOps and Serverless solutions

I was reminded of an upcoming expiry of a test website that I have on PythonAnywhere. This site enables you to host, run, and code Python in the cloud without any infrastructure and starts with a free account and then a $5 account. Striving towards NoOps and serverless is an important consideration for any small and simple application, I’d forgotten completely about this service.

5 IT services industry trends on tap for 2024

As major companies either want to use a service provider or maintain a relationship with one, knowing the trends lets you to consider what SaaS providers of all the services you use like authentication, security, chatbots, support systems and more are thinking about.

This article considers these trends:

  • Cloud cost optimization
  • Focused transformation, innovation
  • Investment in generative AI skills
  • Vertical market focus
  • Partner programs, reconsidered

Rapid developments in AI will also shape business prospects for consulting firms, MSPs, and systems integrators. AI could potentially provide a way to deliver new capabilities in shorter timeframes that satisfy the C-level demand for a quick ROI.

Source:https://www.techtarget.com/searchitchannel/feature/IT-services-industry-trends-on-tap

Context switching is killing your productivity

I believe the title says its all. The article provides a number of ways to combat this productivity killer.
Source: https://asana.com/resources/context-switching

Exploding Topics

A colleague pointed me to Exploding Topics. An interesting look at the growth of certain topics over recent years. I’m not sure if they are measuring, articles, products, websites, or just conversations on the topic in question.

Thoughtworks Technology Radar

I spent a lot of time reviewing the recent Thoughtworks Technology Radar. I was hoping that 2024 would issue a current version however Sep 2023 is still recent. My thoughts on the tools, techniques platforms and frameworks in vogue I’ll leave for a separate post.

About ‘Things I Read About Recently’

Most days I take some time early in the morning to scan my inbox newsletters, the news, LinkedIn or other sources to read something new covering the professional and personal topics of interest. Turning what I read into some actionable notes in a short committed time window is a summary of what I learned today, what I should really learn and use, or what is of random interest.

Some of my regular sources include TLDR, Forbes Daily, ThoughWorks Podcasts, Daily Dose of Data Science and BoringCashCow. Also Scientific American Technology, Fareed’s Global Briefing, Software Design: Tidy First? by Kent Beck to name a few.

Things I Read About Recently [#Issue 2024.03]

Lessons from going freemium: a decision that broke our business

As an entrepreneur always considering how to produce a sustaining passive revenue, what licensing model to use, how to acquire and retain customers, the allure of a freemium model is ever present in so many offerings. You may wish to read this article, and look at visualizations provided with the narrative. I found this a useful data storytelling example.

The allure of seeing a new product is the strongest motivator new users have to complete setup. If you make onboarding too easy, they’ll never come back to do the hard task you let them skip.

Read more at Lessons from going freemium: a decision that broke our business Source: TLDR

Newsletters and online content creators

Lenny’s Newsletter from the prior article, listed with over 574,000 subscribers is one of several Substack newsletters I subscribe to. Substack is described as “The subscription network for independent writers and creators”. I have been collecting the number of subscribers from several newsletters I follow, however there is no way to see that growth over time. Also missing is the price rates over time, and the ratio of free to paying subscribers. Random Idea: What is missing is a history of this information. Other stats I’ve noted previously include 66,000 subscribers for Kent Becks Newsletter with 3 subscription plan offerings, 1,250,000 subscribers for the free TLDR (I can remember this years ago being much less) and 65,000 subscribers for the Seattle Data Guy newsletter.

FWIW this post from Lenny’s Newsletter This newsletter is growing up is from 2020.

Golden Kitty Awards 2022

I came across the Golden Kitty Awards which unfortunately are only current to 2022 (fail on being current). It was interesting to scan the list for innovative ideas. I’ve yet to visit any sites, but I’m always encouraged by what people think of and commit to building regardless of the motivation or incentive. What counts is an entrepreneur takes an idea and releases a product. 

Source: Random

Streamer JS – Video stream layout manager for OBS Studio and other streaming applications.

I am a new user of Twitch streaming for personal projects.  My good friend Sergey Chernyshev organizer of the large New York Web Performance Group has created Streamer JS as a means to drive more dynamic content in the browser and with common languages of HTML/CSS/Javascript and using OBS more as the streaming only component.  One objective is to have better version control management of assets/scenes/sources/filters/etc.  It’s interesting that  PouchDB is an eventually consistent distributed datastore in Javascript. Yet another simple data-store to review for suitability. 

Source: Word of mouth

The 37th Chaos Communication Congress (37C3) by the Chaos Computer Club

Last month I was introduced to the Chaos Computer Club. This is a large german-based annual tech conference with a focus on security & infrastructure / hacking.  Over 100 talks from the most recent event last week have been posted here.

Source: Word of mouth

About ‘Things I Read About Recently’

Most days I take some time early in the morning to scan my inbox newsletters, the news, LinkedIn or other sources to read something new covering the professional and personal topics of interest. Turning what I read into some actionable notes in a short committed time window is a summary of what I learned today, what I should really learn and use, or what is of random interest.

Some of my regular sources include TLDR, Forbes Daily, ThoughWorks Podcasts, Daily Dose of Data Science and BoringCashCow. Also Scientific American Technology, Fareed’s Global Briefing, Software Design: Tidy First? by Kent Beck to name a few.

Things I Read About Recently [#Issue 2024.02]

Indie Newsletter Tool Generates $15,000 a Month

There are so many different email newsletter sites you could wonder if there is market saturation. MailChimp, Mailgun, ConvertKit, Sendgrid (now part of Twilio it seems), Moosend and Mailersend come to mind.

It seems the space still has plenty of revenue-producing options including buttondown.email reportedly a side gig generating $15k per month. Source: BoringCashCow

When I asked a good friend and author of the Technical SEO Weekly his use of ConvertKit directed me to this Baremetrics Dashboard which is another product to look at sometime.

LLMs and Programming in the first days of 2024

How do use an LLM? If you are still on the fence start getting into the habit of using it more frequently then start. I now use ChatGPT and Claude AI daily, and with a crowded market there are many other emerging technologies to also consider.

I use ChatGPT for coding and image generation with DALL.E. I use Claude more for reviewing large documents that seems to be ideal for producing a summary, or to generate a fictitious movie script from those documents.

I do not like Javascript nor do I wish to actually learn this language however I write it daily via ChatGPT. Javascript is the ever changing technology of web development and it’s impossible to keep up with the next product, or version of a product you may know. ChatGPT helps me navigate this combined with asking for HTML and TailwindCSS.  However, it’s not perfect, you need to be an experienced engineer that has learned how to write code for many years to ask the right questions and to correct the LLM when it does not produce what you expect. Lets look at CSS. Now there is flex and grid and its hard to keep up with changing features that browsers support. This is where ChatGPT has helped me. I have been using Tailwindcss but it still took an expert friend 30 minutes to help me debug a CSS formatting issue of a future OBS twitch streaming project to correctly size the content all in a 1920×1080 box. I actually learned a lot of new features of Google Chrome Developer Tools inspector I did not know and are probably just the start of expert debugging features.

Until a few months ago I never knew it’s now much easier to read JSON in Javascript.

async function fetchData() {
  try {
    const response = await fetch('data.json');
    const data = await response.json();
    console.log(data);
    return data
  } catch (error) {
    console.error('Error fetching data:', error);
  }
}

let data = await fetchData();

I’d like to remind users that  ChatGPT can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.. Source:  TLDR

ParadeDB (GitHub Repo)

Every day there is another PostgreSQL product to review.  I am a current user of ElephantSQL which I didn’t know existed two months ago. Neon and Tembo are two more postgreSQL serverless-related products on my product review list.  Now adding ParadeDB as well as reading Thoughts on PostgreSQL in 2024.

About ‘Things I Read About Recently’

Most days I take some time early in the morning to scan my inbox newsletters, the news, LinkedIn or other sources to read something new covering the professional and personal topics of interest. Turning what I read into some actionable notes in a short committed time window is a summary of what I learned today, what I should really learn and use, or what is of random interest.

Some of my regular sources include TLDR, Forbes Daily, ThoughWorks Podcasts, Daily Dose of Data Science and BoringCashCow to name a few.

Announcing InstanceHunt

InstanceHunt identifies the instance (families/types/classes) available for a cloud service across all the regions of that cloud.

The initial version is a working example of several AWS database services. Future releases will enable advanced filtering and will cover other service categories (e.g. compute) as well as GCP and Azure cloud platforms, as well as providing the full list of instance types within families within the service matrix.

For a few days investment this MVP is a usable service, complete with adding new regions the same day, for example ca-central-1 data was available the day of release. It is interesting and can answer questions like what regions the new generation 7 instance families are available? What consistent instance types can use use across Europe regions? Where is MemoryDB not available?

Feature requests are welcome. From today’s reading, being able to show a feature of a service may be also a useful future matrix, e.g. AWS Aurora Serverless Data API now available in Serverless v2, but only one of two engines and only in a few regions.

China regions and AWS Gov Cloud regions are coming soon.

InstanceHunt - Find what instances you can use for your cloud services

Things I Read About Recently [#Issue 2024.01]

The Tiny Stack (Astro, SQLite, Litestream)

I spent many years in the LAMP stack, and there are often many more acronyms of technology stacks in our evolving programming ecosystem. New today is “The Tiny Stack”, consisting of Astro, a modern meta-framework for javascript (not my words), and Lightstream Continuously stream SQLite changes. I’ve never been a fan of Javascript, a necessary evil in modern stacks, but it changes so rapidly it’s a constant stream of new products with never the time to learn any. Lightstream is interesting. Replication of SQL operations to a database is nothing new, the Change Data Capture (CDC) of your data, however I’d not thought of SQLite which is embedded everywhere offered this type of capability.

Amazon Aurora Introduces Long-Awaited RDS Data API to Simplify Serverless Workloads

AWS Aurora Serverless version 2 has been out for at least a year (actually 20 months – Apr 21, 2022), but a feature of version 1 that was not available in version 2 is the Data API. This is for developers without SQL skills to have a RESTful interface to the database, however it only works in AppSync and only for recent versions of PostgreSQL and only in certain regions. I’ve never used it myself, but it is news.

Speaking of what is available in what AWS region, recently released InstanceHunt allows you to identify the instance families/type available different regions across various AWS Database services. I developed this in just a few days and released it only last week as a working MVP. Future goals are to include other clouds, and other categories of services such as Compute. The prior announcement may facilitate a future version that supports the features of services in regions.

Stop Stalling And Start Your Dream Side Business In 2024

Well the title kinda says it all. As an inspiring enterprenuer my pursuits have only offered limited minimal success over the decades and never a passive revenue stream. While the article did not provide valuable knuggets, the title did. One of my goals of 2024 is to definitely elevate my creation and release of side projects, regardless of each project being a source of revenue. I consider refining my design, development, testing and implementation skills and providing information of value, are all resources of a soft income that showcase some of my diverse skills.

About ‘Things I Read About Recently’

Most days I take some time early in the morning to scan my inbox newsletters, the news, LinkedIn or other sources to read something new covering the professional and personal topics of interest. Turning what I read into some actionable notes in a short committed time window is a summary of what I learned today, what I should really learn and use, or what is of random interest.