About the presenters
For the last few months, we’ve been collecting book recommendations internally to present at our monthly all-hands engineering meeting. It started out as work related material, but in the processes of collecting everyone’s recommendations it became very apparent that people are far more excited to share their non-work-related picks. It turned out those books were also the more interesting ones to discuss. Of course, the tech books were also solid picks and show what our engineers are excited about on a professional level. The list seemed too good to keep to ourselves… So we thought we’d share it with everyone. We hope you enjoy these as much as our team has. Leave us a comment if you’ve already read or plan to read any of these.
“From the days of the early MIT hackers to the explosion of the personal computer and software industry revolutions, Hackers explores the history of the subculture of tinkerers and creators that made it happen. The stories are testimonials showing that when you give people access to tools and infomation, they are capable of great things. This book is inspirational not in the mushy sense, but in a very direct way that makes you want to grab a soldering iron, some microcontrollers, and start compiling code.”
by Daniel H Plink
“Lots of random ideas. Seems like the author went out and did a bunch of cool travels and reading then found a way to tie it in to how right-brainers are becoming super important. Not many take-aways, other than for how to design tools to be holistic, beautiful, and meaningful.”
by Bryan O’Sullivan
“The Haskell book was quite mind blowing as an approach to programming. I found Haskell appealing because it combines static typing, compile time checking, functional programming, and a powerful type system, among other things. Usually you only get two or three of those in a language.”
by Michael Lewis
“If you want to know the power of a milli-second and at the same time pissed about the going ons in the financial industry read this. It’s really a story about the power developers have over the world.”
by David Herman
by Nate Silver
“Nate Silver dives into a diverse set of topics to explore the statistics and methods for making predictions within each of those areas. The topics vary from Major League Baseball to weather prediction to chess. It’s a longer book, but the diversity of topics keep it seeming relatively fresh throughout.“
Article by Bret Victor
“Great thoughts on getting the initial process of coding beyond minds and into hands. Written by a powerhouse in UI design.”
by Dave Morin
“The blog post details the Japanese design philosophy of “Super Normal,” which means that when you are trying to create a new product, instead of reinventing the wheel, you take a product or concept that is “normal” to the world and improve upon it. I recommend this article because people often fall into a position of comfort and settling for experiences that seem to be just what we want when they can often be better. We accept a product’s shortcomings, like the cold, difficult-to-hold bucket mentioned in the article, because it gets the job done and/or no one else has done or conceived of anything better yet. The more friction we can remove in all aspects of having our members achieve their goals, the better, and that’s something we should continuously strive toward.“
by Dan Ariely
“Discusses how humans aren’t always as rational and logical as we might expect. The book uses interesting experiments and case studies to highlight these irrational behaviors.”
by Brandon Sanderson
“Book 2 of the Way of Kings series. EPIC fantasy. EPIC AWESOME”
by Roger Lowenstein
by Stephen King
“Three bios – What they all had in common, was they had a passion for what they did, they were driven to do it, and were not in for fame and money. They were willing to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy following their dream, though it often impacted personal relationships. The Buffet one was good in that he always boiled everything down, no matter how complicated, into simple things. The King one, likewise, he had a straightforward process and stuck to it diligently. The Richards one, just because I’m amazed he’s still alive.“
by Mark Bowden
- there’s a lot going on at a low level on the internet that I don’t know much about
- the guys that do are pretty scary smart
- we’re all gonna die
same author as Black Hawk Down
(point 3 might be hyperbole)”
by Michio Kaku
“An interesting blend of biography and science. Offers up some insight into Einstein’s life and his revolutionary theories.“
by Rob Lowe
“It’s actually fascinating. lots of cool Hollywood stories”
by Neal Stephenson
“Snow Crash predates the Matrix movies and the .hack series of games, and its influence on the subject of virtual-reality in fiction is obvious. A sword-wielding, code-slinging pizza-delivery driver working for the mafia is fired from his job, and begins to uncover the mystery of a new virtual narcotic, “Snow Crash” – which is both a computer virus and a degenerative nerve disease in the real world.”
by Matt Galloway
“It’s a great book on Objective-C. I find I can go back to those books and learn and relearn.”
by Nir Eyal
“A typical and ok book about how we get hooked into habit forming products. Interesting but if you read something similar probably not worth your time.”
My colleague Peter Eisentraut and I had the opportunity to speak at PGConf NYC 2014. I gave a talk on how we use pgTAP as part of our Postgres test harness to unit test the PostgreSQL function API we provide to the application developers at MeetMe.
You can find the the slides at http://github.com/grzm/2014-pgconf-nyc-harnessing-pgtap.
The audience asked a lot of good questions and I got to meet some great developers. One of the benefits of speaking at a conference is interacting with the attendees and other speakers. Everyone has a different story to tell based on their own experience. It’s a wonderful way to get fresh perspectives on issues that we see in our own work.
As always, a lot of sharp minds turn out for Postgres events, challenging (in a good way!) the ideas I present, which in turn gives me the chance to reevaluate and improve what we do.
We’ll be releasing the test harness as a Ruby gem in the coming days. We’ve found it useful in providing a straightforward way to develop and test our API. There’s a lot of great work being done in the area of database testing and deployment (such as sqitch), and I’m looking forward to feedback.
I recently wrote about the benefits of speaking, and within that article, I mentioned having recently spoken at the Atlassian Summit 2013 conference. Now that the video is up, I can share it with you. Here it is. Excuse the excessive moving.