2018 Posts


Below are links to all the 2018 weekly digest roundup posts grouped with high level seasonal themes along with summary highlights from each.


  • 73 – On Coding (31.12.18): Is the wide push on coding literacy misplaced?  Skeptical thinking, Hinton and Hassabis downplay superintelligence, Fjord trends, automation in the enterprise, procurement woes in China, Jupyter notebook extensions, the state of Python, Project Euler, on scaling an engineering team, two-slice team antipattern, software testing, the importance of writing, Voyager 2, Facebook’s cavalier attitude to your privacy, Amazon strikers, cybersex.
  • 72 – Information War (15.12.18)The Digital Maginot Line, Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat’s extraordinary Google partnership, the Mother of all Demos 50 years on, Amazon Channels is a money-making machine, AI literacy, Walmart AI janitors, Deep Mind AlphaZero progress, automation in society, how China became a superpower, how late 20th century countercultural technoutopians failed, Uber’s pitch deck, importance of hiring again, co-worker types, a Keras Flask app, the state of JavaScript, the Permian extinction, Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to Big Questions, negative gravity, a cruise with the crypto-riche, Brexit agonies.
  • 71 – A Screw Fell To the Ground (30.11.18)How technoutopianism met its match in China, poetry from a Foxconn ghost, why Alexa may be moving away from hardware, the importance of APIs, the journey to Series A, Benedict Evans on applications for ML, the state of the Github Octoverse, the perils of C++ and lessons on its use from Symbian, code reviews, horse programming, gRPC and microservices, functional programming in JavaScript, why open sourcing your codebase can help with recruitment, a mass scale Android ad fraud, Brexit as a paranoid fantasy.
  • 70 – Gone (15.11.18)Rafael Zoehler’s contemplation of life and death, wabi-sabi, PyWeek won by Dan Pope again, JavaScript modularity, OWASP top security risks, modern backend development, getting to the truth of company culture, Pokemon Go and fitness, Google and sexual misconduct, the connection between consciousness and Bohemian Rhapsody, smartphones and environmental damage, the centenary of the end of World War I, James O’Brien on Brexit and why it could be worse than Suez.
  • 69 – Collapse (30.10.18)Why America didn’t see fascism coming, why the lamps of the Enlightenment are going out, Going to a Town that has already been burnt down, Amazon’s robotic picker quest, Jeff Bezos’s collected letters, Nokia’s admirable chairman did an online course to better understand ML, on Paul Allen, China’s smartphone software strategy, radical candour, demystifying Kano, on-call engineering at Monzo, of grit and determination and divide and conquer, vscode bracket pair colorizer, Google’s JavaScript style guide, the rise of PWAs, changelogs, sleep, Millennial angsts.


  • 68 – The Elephant In The Room (30.09.18): The problem of the literal elephant in the AI room, Microsoft’s Open Innovation Network patents and Linux, on working in a mindless feature factory, Goomics, how to disappear completely online, why people problems are harder than code problems, managing org change, Umair Haque on the Age of the Imbecile and why America isn’t going to make it, the inevitable rise of digital totalitarianism, May’s Chequers deal goes pop.
  • 67 – Technical Debt (20.09.18):  Why technical debt is killing your business and test automation can help, Benedict Evans on ecosystems, Amazon join Apple in the $1trillion club, Baidu’s EZDL, Romanbot and augmented eternity, how MCUs will transform IoT, brain flow, Nesta on UK skillsets, how China has changed beyond recognition over the last 45 years, sound conservation, Clive James on heading into oblivion.
  • 66 – Nobody Knows Anything (30.08.19)Nobody knows anything when it comes to existential threats, Deloitte on the increasing application of ML in the enterprise, why the future of AI may be more about FPGA and ASICs than CPUs, demystifying neural style transfer, GAN art, the North Sense, the history of calculators, how Amazon swallowed Seattle, Evan You and vue.js, Nadia Eghbal on open source project health, the great dinosaur extinction, hyperpolyglots, smart animals, sweating on a no deal Brexit, digital totalitarianism and dataism.
  • 65 – Losing Earth (16.08.18):  Losing Earth and the decade when we nearly stopped climate change, logic-centred thinking, deep fakes, are Alexa skills just a gimmick? Andrew Chen and the engaged user power law, Google Dragonfly, Orwell and China, how virtualisation is impacting real-world job locations, the history of vim, vscode extensions, octonions, maize, why the Fermi Paradox acts as a societal mirror, group meetings are a waste of time and the lean startup doesn’t exist, things people were better at 100 years ago, kosher working spaces, the Brexit leavers.
  • 64 – AWS as a Service (31.07.18): When AWS sneezes lots of companies get a cold, streaming video, YubiKeys data point, why Google’s EdgeTPU could be the Raspberry Pi of AI, how the GAFA empire struck back against the startup rebels, Python creator Guido van Rossum has quit without a successor, Moveable Type, Apple in the 80’s, mental health at work for tech staff, mindful walking, transhumanism and tech inequality, China’s Skynet, how eCommerce is changing society, James Bridle on the lead-damaged generation, Trump’s European tour, Brexit stockpiling.
  • 63 – Ways to think about Machine Learning (15.07.18): Benedict Evans on ways to think about Machine Learning, Keras creator F. Chollet on Deep Learning skepticism, sentiment analysis demystifier,  what is computer programming?  What is devops?  What is an SRE?  What is serverless?  The rise and fall of Nokia, data science big and small, Alex Honnold, lessons learned late in life, in praise of being washed, humans as solution and problem, how VHEMT addresses the latter, Primitive Technology, Michael Moore fears a new American Civil War, the Great Firewall of China.
  • 62 – Civic Tech (30.06.18): Are we entering a new tech-enabled Dark Age?, the role of tech in civic society, Kyndi is building smarter AI using Prolog, the life of an Amazon Flex driver, Amazon Pivot, how the BBC can counter Netflix, the impact of serverless, the Micron chip heist, KaiOS, Symbian 20 years on, James Hansen climate model is also 20 years old and still holding up, ghosting, Aztec sacrifice at Templo Mayor, plastic disaster, emotional disconnection, Brexit lurches on without any direction.
  • 61 – Deep Learning Appraisal (07.06.18): Gary Marcus’ Deep Learning appraisal, edge computing, Deep Mind Streams, Amazon AI spend, Microsoft and GitHub, employee burnout, Essential is up for sale, is Amazon too big to tax?, Freeview Play, how the new subscription economy is replacing the product one, Reinforcement Learning notebooks, Pong, Bitcoin skepticism, plastic, eudaimonia, Vice Media, musical paralysis, the US as a collapsing society.


  • 60 – Open Your Mind (30.05.18): Why we must insist that claims of truth require evidence, Harari on human unification, the ALCU on AWS Rekognition being used by the police, digital surveillance in China, Amazon and subscription video, automation at Ocado, Rust, Serverless, Cringely on cloud, DevOps culture, frontend dev, EU innovation is falling behind, scaling data science, older workers, the toxicity of beef, vinyl and the Timewaster letters.
  • 59 – The Arrow of Time (20.05.18): Carlo Rovelli’s Order of Time, the growth of compute power in AI, Google IO, the Selfish Ledger, microservices, Gartner on public cloud, Jupyter notebook productivity, a look inside the digital Economist, blockchain skepticism, SoftBank, Rebecca Solnit on being a woman, Trump’s assault on liberal democracy and international trading norms.
  • 58 – Dumb Sucks (09.05.18): Our complicity in Facebook’s privacy crisis, who owns our data?, Jeff Bezos’ 6 pagers, the teachability or not of high standards, the growth of online retail, Lighthouse home security camera, Lobe deep learning, awesome collection of Python articles, documentation, WebAssembly, history of the resume, zero hours work cultures, US student visa decline under Trump, mass surveillance and the dang’an, Stephen Hawking’s last paper.
  • 57 – What the World Needs (30.04.18): Why the default outcome on climate change is doom, Amazon rising with home speakers, robots and now Fire TVs, Bezos, high standards and the 2PT model, the UK is lagging in industrial robots, avoiding distractions, Tim Urban on careers, graph theory with Python, Flipboard engineering blog, Adrian Cockcroft on mapping your tech stack, Brexit economic fantasies.
  • 56 – Remaking the Internet (20.04.18): Jaron Lanier on remaking internet, the joy of coding, impact investment, Amazon Key, the flip-phone revival, the Factory of the Future, what was the first programming language written in?, the remarkable rise of Jupyter, how Tim Cook was persuaded to join Apple, giving better feedback, founder myths, getting more women into Engineering, an enzyme that eats plastic, the Silurian Hypothesis, 2001 50 years on.
  • 55- A Question of Trust (08.04.18): Why it’s better to be trusted than liked, Amazon’s relentless growth, the futility of Donald Trump’s ‘war’ with Amazon, Ben Evans on the standard model of autonomous vehicles, tensorflow.js, a Black Mirror person-blocker implemented in TensorFlow, GCP update, how babies learn, reputation inflation, manager as role model, Shturmovshchina,using BeautifulSoup to analyse your Facebook data, the best programming languages to learn in 2018, HAL’s voice, the case for protopia, Trump’s real crime is failing to bridge divides, the madman theory.


  • 54 – Tech Ethics (31.03.18): Silicon Valley and the oath of silence, contrasting Zuckerberg and Jobs on privacy, how the Facebook scandal is the ‘A-bomb’ moment for computing but not in China which is rushing forward into digital Orwellianism, consumer caution on home speaker privacy, Deep Learning state of the nation and capsule networks, code review best practice from Palantir, the agile engineering manager, the extraordinary lamassu of Trafalgar Square.
  • 53 – I drink your Milkshake (24.03.18): Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a disaster long in the making, if social media data is the new oil Zuckerberg is the new Daniel Plainview, Theranos, Amazon’s Kiva robots, crummy machine jobs for humans, Steve Jobs on Marketing, Yahoo, Shanzai phones, climate change and grey infrastructure, Trump on trade makes no sense at all, El Paquete, human craving, Jeff Buckley.
  • 52 – Facebook the Memorius (17.03.18): Facebook and all the data it has on you, weaning yourself of your smartphone addiction, Amazon’s bottomless appetite and digital brutalism in design, random stow and fulfillment centres, Amazon Video in numbers, Spotify IPO, Twilio Flex, smart locks, agile at Ableton, Rust in action, Simulation Hypothesis, the death of Stephen Hawking and why death is a growth business.
  • 51 – The New Luddism (10.03.18): Why 2018 will be the year of the neo-luddite, the Unabomber Manifesto, the four horsemen of the software apocalypse and why you should write less software, Instacart’s lore deep learning framework, the Python machine learning stack, TensorFlow crash course, AI and art, Amazon HQ2, front door tech, the Nokia Communicator 20 years on, ElasticSearch, Google’s pernicious promo circus and Sinofsky’s response on performance management, the Peter Principle, why MBAs are killing your economy, Brexit, the British class system and Suez.
  • 50 – The Long Now (28.02.18):  The clock of the Long Now, George Harrison and the Art of Dying, Alexa as a new industry vertical, IoT is mostly boring, advice for managers, credential creep, the contribution curve, the importance of grit and asking questions, Brexit and the Customs Union, walking into old age, mass mortality events, Rubik’s cube at 40.
  • 49 – Facebook Troll (20.02.18): Facebook’s two years of hell, Russian trolls, Flipboard, the importance of decentralisation, hyperparameter fiddling, Netflix and the internet of taste, Dyson’s electric car, Google Pixel phone, Sinofsky on Apple, China as a tech superpower, behavioural interviewing and TMAATW, Suster on scaling, death by plastic in the Anthropocene, how blogging has changed, the wonder of Jeff Goldblum.
  • 48 – DIY AlphaGoZero (13.02.18): An AlphaGoZero implementation in Python, a neural network in 12 lines of Python, bias-variance tradeoff, Douglas Hofstader on the shallowness of Google Translate, more deep learning skepticism, automation dystopia or not, Logstash, ElasticCache + Kibana, Amazon Prime, Go and Key, GDPR, Apple at 40, Operaatio Elop, how computers work, the future past, Chinese surveillance tech, diversity.
  • 47 – The Voynich Manuscript (06.02.18): The Voynich Manuscript meets AI, a deep learning network built with Keras, AlphaGoZero, fake Coachella, Alexa at the SuperBowl, Amazon’s dominance, HQ2, MyCroft AI, engineering management, Facebook in Cambodia, Twitterbots, ICO, open and closed tech, life expectancy, nationalism, why we forget the books we’ve read.
  • 46 – The Legend of the Mighty Fall (28.01.18): Mark E. Smith and the Mighty Fall,  crawling robot baby, murder by machine learning, the Silicon Valley Culture Wars, disinformation, the internet of Ring, Steve Yegge on leaving Google, passion at work, Brexit woes, Trump’s irreverence in the face of America First, why we are two minutes to midnight as a species.
  • 45 – Post-Work (21.01.18): Of technological unemployment and the sixth great extinction, UBI and Millennials, Deep Learning skepticism, AWS as a low-code platform, Amazon Go, InSpectre, fake voice, the Bitcoin bubble, why you shouldn’t capitalise your software development costs, the beauty of Peter Norvig’s spelling corrector.
  • 44 – Chatbot Winter (14.01.18):  Chatbots in the trough of disillusion with Facebook M’s shutdown, Alexa’s inroads with third party manufacturers, Google tactron 2  text to speech technology, mycroft.ai switching to Deep Speech, Deep Mind health initiative, advances in Machine Learning in 2017, deep learning infrastructure at Facebook, robot farming, GitOps, CES and the Hoover Dam, the Silicon Valley backlash that isn’t but dark developments that are and digital detox.
  • 43 – Of Superhuman Order (07.01.18):  The teleology of transhumanism, total surveillance and agnotology, Deep Learning skepticism, capsule networks, computers that can predict death, reaction to Spectre and Meltdown, mastering Python according to Quora, trunk-based development, join the FSF, Adobe Jesus and why there’s never been a better time to be single.