This Issue’s Highlight
Valve Employee’s Handbook – Any geek into computer games knows Valve. Their the company responsible for a number of amazing titles, as well as the game delivery platform, Steam. Naturally one might look to them for guidance on good company culture. I read some bits of their handbook, and I must admit, I was both impressed and afraid. Their corporate culture is based on mutual trust and specifically in trusting people to do the right thing. Right out of the gate the author starts explaining that Vale’s structure is much flatter than expected, and as a result the employees has a significant amount of freedom and control of where the company goes. I invite those interested in development, management, self-organizing teams and any related disciplines to take a read!
How to build a 500000 user app on a 100 dollar server in 5 days – The author built an app which partnered with and used PokemonGo data, and ramp-ed up to half a million users in around a week. He discusses the design decisions and rationale that he used. He also describes a counter-example of a similar app in a similar time-frame which did not fair as well. He frames his discussion around the idea of an MVP built to fail, and how this is a flawed practice for young entrepreneurs.
Why experts tend to make bad teachers – Before I continue, I wish to express that I have experienced both ends of this spectrum with great and terrible teachers. Naturally I was pleased to find the author is not arguing against expert teachers. Instead he describes the way an expert, who is not trained as an educator, will tend to teach. Normally, they will focus on the abstractions which they, being experts, have learned over the course of many years. They do this in an effort to make the student’s learning easier. However this tactic tends to back-fire since the abstractions are more difficult to learn when told, rather than experienced. The author concludes his discussion with some suggestions for how an ideal Expert-lead class might look.
Cracking the Adventure Time Cipher – The artists for adventure time put out a series of comic on the web with a strange cipher printed around the panes. Naturally this spurred interest in the community, and the race was one. This discussion focuses on the logic to code breaking, and the rationale used at each step, along with some code examples. Overall it makes for an interesting read!
An Enjoyable Online Logic Puzzle – This little flash puzzle is deceptively simple. I tinkered with it for a few minutes and was intrigued. Naturally I passed a few levels, but eventually stumbled on some solutions. The few levels can be solve by a number of moves equal to their positions (1 for level 1, 2 for level 2 and so on.) I encourage anyone with some spare time to try it out.
Linux Mint has released version 18 – Linux Mint has reached version 18! For anyone unfamiliar with Mint, it is a Linux distrobution based on Ubuntu. But unlike ubuntu Mint is a slower moving, and thus more stable OS. I personally use it for most computer tasks at home, and I feel that it is an easy jump from Windows. I strongly recommend it to anyone wishing to dodge the “Big Brother”, Windows 10.
This Issue’s Curiosity
The Glider from Nausicaa actually flies! – Any Hayao Miazaki will immediately recognize this design. Being a fan of his works, I was quite pleased to see it fly so well. Kudos to the engineers behind it! Any for anyone who is curious, my favorite Studio Ghibli film is The Wind Rises