Weeknotes — 16th February 2019

It’s been a busy few weeks. But I think, overall, worthwhile. I will have some exciting news to share next week!

  • Two weeks ago I went to FOSDEM 2019, which is run in Brussels. It was my first time in Belgium and even after struggling with a confusing subway system, I loved it. The conference itself was incredibly cool, and I actually began writing up some of the highlights in that week’s weeknotes but have given up as there was just too much going on. The photo is of the Palace of Justice, which has its own fun background..

  • Spent the first half of this week learning about Nikkei’s approach to handling data warehousing and the specifics are very impressive. There is an open-source web client-side tracking library that goes alongside it, and it’s particularly interesting because it implements a number of web performance tricks—including listening to requestAnimationFrame, queuing events to fire via beacon and using intersection observers to monitor page tracking—to minimise overhead to the user. Its source is available here and is well worth a read.

  • Over the past few years podcasts have been becoming a larger and larger part of my life, and if various industry stats have anything to say about it, I’m not alone. They’re a very disruptive media form which nobody has really figured out. This week Spotify rather abruptly bought Gimlet media, one of the largest independent podcast networks out there, claiming to want to preserve its independence (both in general, and from Spotify’s distribution platform).
  • Overall it’s an interesting MO, and Spotify seem to want to build out a regularly updated, spoken-word repertoire: Where music streaming is becoming increasingly competitive—and with music licensing increasingly combative—podcasting has been rather quiet, dominated by Apple and niche “power-user” services like Overcast and Pocket Casts. Since introducing their podcasting platform last year, Spotify has surged ahead and have become the second largest podcast platform, rather incredibly by adding to (and not taking from) market-share. So are podcasts the key to Spotify’s salvation?

  • AWS released a new iconset. I appreciate this probably doesn’t mean much to anyone, but I really didn’t like the old one. So, yay?
  • On Thursday I went to the Birmingham AWS Meetup and learned about Sysdig, an incredibly cool debugging tool. It reminds me a lot of the utility of eBPF, but has built-in eventing and so can be used to automate a stack. Their value proposition of “rich monitoring and eventing” is that it can be used as a user-land-level security tool in a container platform, and for example can be used to whitelist the system calls a given container can actually execute. And then adjust if you have misconfigured. Very cool stuff.
  • This is by no means new, but I only found out about it this week. Los-Angeles Metro commissioned some videos which I can only describe as … I am not even really sure, but please give it a watch. It is glorious. Metro Manners PSA: Super Kind – No loud music ミュジック - YouTube
  • The Open University is offering some courses for free. And the selection is actually pretty OK!
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