Getting the world off Chrome
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
3M ago
I'm seeing more and more folk post, "we got out of IE, we can get out of Chrome," on social media, referencing the nigh-monopoly Chrome has on the browsing experience. Unless you're using Firefox or Safari, you're using Chrome or a Chromium-derived browser. For those of you too young to remember what internet life under Internet Explorer was like, here is a short list of why it was not great: Once Microsoft got the browser-share lock in, it kind of stopped innovating the browser. It conquered the market, so they could pull back investment in it. IE didn't follow standards. But then, Microsoft ..read more
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Why I don't like markdown docs in a git repo as documentation
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
3M ago
Every time the topic of documentation comes up at work, at multiple workplaces, someone always says a variant of the following: What we really need is markdown in a git repository. We get version control, there is a lot of tooling to make markdown work good in git, it's great And every time I have to grit my teeth and hope I don't cause dental damage. My core complaint is that internal documentation has fundamentally different objectives than open source software documentation repositories, and pretending they're the same problem domain means we'll be re-having the documentation discussion i ..read more
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I've been in Firefox a long time
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
6M ago
I intended to write a "history of my browser usage" post as part of a longer piece on the Chrome monoculture, but this blog is nearly 20 years old and it turns out I already did a history. https://sysadmin1138.net/mt/blog/2008/09/a-history-of-browsing.shtml where I give a good account of my pre-Mozilla browser usage. The first HTTP browser I used was NCSA Mosaic on a DEC station in college, flirted with Opera a few times, before going Mozilla-land. https://sysadmin1138.net/mt/blog/2009/11/the-firefox-anniversary.shtml Firefox had their fifth anniversary, and I walked through my changes in Moz ..read more
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"Industry standard" isn't useful in arguments
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
6M ago
This is a controversial take, but the phrase "it's industry standard" is over-used in technical design discussions of the internal variety. Yes, there are some actual full up standards. Things like RFCs and ISO-standards are actual standards. There are open standards that are widely adopted, like OpenTelemetry and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation suite, but these are not yet industry standards. The phrase "industry standard" implies consensus, agreement, a uniform way of working in a specific area. Have you seen the tech industry? Really seen it? It is utterly vast. The same industry incl ..read more
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Where Web-Environment-Integrity came from
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
7M ago
Some engineers at Google have put forth a proposal called Web-Environment-Integrity that has the open source community up in arms. The leading criticisms of this proposal are "Google wants to make DRM for websites" and "Google wants to ban ad-blockers." These are catchy headlines intended to capture attention, they're also mostly true. For the people who don't want to wade through the discourse, this post is about what WEI does and where it came from. This story begins in the previous decade when Google put forth the "Zero Trust framework" as a way to get rid of the corporate VPN. Zero Trust w ..read more
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Why corporate diversity-in-hiring efforts are like that
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
8M ago
I ran into a pretty common attitude regarding workplace diversity the other day. It was on a Q/A site. Paraphrased, the issue is: Q: How can we improve the diversity of the candidates we hire? A: That actually hurts the diversity of your hiring pool, because many people see "diversity!" on a hiring page and immediately go somewhere else. Who wants to be hired to a place that'll give a job to an unqualified minority just to meet some numbers? The mechanism this answerer was assuming, that diversity programs are quota systems, has been explicitly illegal in the US since the 1980s. The Supreme ..read more
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Monitoring IS a pain, but we do it anyway
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
8M ago
Mathew Duggan wrote a blog post on June 9th titled, "Monitoring is a pain" where he goes into delicious detail around where observability, monitoring, and telemetry goes wrong inside organizations. I have a vested interest in this, and still agree. Mathew captures a sentiment I didn't highlight enough in my book, that a good observability platform for engineering tends to get enmeshed ever deeper into the whole company's data engineering motion, even though that engineering observability platform isn't resourced enough to really serve that broader goal all that well. This is a subtle point, bu ..read more
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The trajectory of "AI" features
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
9M ago
I've been working for bay area style SaaS providers for a bit over a decade now, which means I've seen some product cycles come and go. Something struck me today that I want to share, and it relates to watching product decisions get made and adjusting to market pressures. All the AI-branded features being pushed out by everyone that isn't ChatGPT, Google, or Microsoft all depend on one of the models from those three companies. That, or they're rebranding existing machine learning features as "AI" to catch the marketing moment. Even so, all the features getting pushed out come from the same bas ..read more
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Why SaaS providers don't share status
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
9M ago
Jeff Martins at New Stack had a beautiful take-down of the SaaS provider practice of not sharing internal status, and how that affects down-stream reliabiilty programs. Jeff is absolutely right, each SaaS provider (or IaaS provider) you put in your critical path decreases the absolute maximum availability your system can provide. This also isn't helped by SaaS providers using manual processes to update status pages. We would all provide better services to customers if we shared status with each other in a timely way. Spot on. I've felt this frustration too. I've been in the after-action review ..read more
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"Have you ever seen a culture recover?"
Sysadmin1138
by SysAdmin1138
10M ago
For many reasons, discussions at work have turned to recovering/handling layoffs. A coworker asked a good question: Have you ever seen a company culture recover after things went bad? I have to say no, I haven't. To unpack this a bit, what my coworker was referring to is something loooong time readers of my blog have seen me talk about before, budget problems. What happens to a culture when the money isn't there, and then management starts cutting jobs? In the for-profit sector of American companies, you get a heck of a lot of trauma from the sudden-death style layoffs (or to be technical re ..read more
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