Interesting Things #21 — De-Googled Smartphone


This is Beng Tan and welcome to Interesting Things, a curation of interesting stories and links from tech, work, biz, science, life and stuff.

Happy reading!


Pining For A De-Googled Smartphone — The key to happiness is low expectations. (hn)

I Wish My Relational Database Tables Were Narrower — Narrower tables are generally better than wider tables in a relational database management system. (hn)

A nasty bit of undefined timezone behavior in Golang — Calling Format on a time object changes the default timezone information for everything else. As a side effect.

How Docker broke in half — What happened to one of the hottest enterprise technology businesses of the cloud era? (hn)

The Persistent Gravity of Cross Platform — Coordinating a large product org is hard.

Monkey: the satirical Go package used unwittingly by Arduino and SalesForce — These high-profile software projects broke the license agreement for Monkey. The license? No one should use it, ever. (hn)

Javascript Anti Debugging — Some Next Level Sh*t (Part 2— Abusing Chromium Devtools Scope Pane) — Track the flow of debugging done by the user and change the flow of execution accordingly. (hn)

Documents ≠ Programs — One of my biggest problems with the Web today is the lack of separation between documents and “apps”.

How I like to work (as an IC) — In my last role as an IC, I got exposed to a different way of working. It was a revelation but it didn’t end here. (hn)

Clean Architecture on Frontend — A way of separating responsibilities and parts of functionality according to their proximity to the application domain.

The padded grid: a designer’s hack to achieve baseline fit — A mental model and detailed guide for crafting a set of UI components that systematically fit your grid. (hn)

The Little Things: Comparing Floating Point Numbers — Comparing floating-point numbers is not always easy. Let’s look at different approaches and their tradeoffs.

Study about the impact of open source software and hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in the EU economy — The main breakthrough of the study is the identification of open source as a public good. (hn)

From Firebase/Redis to MySQL with PlanetScale — Learn how I migrated my Next.js website, resulting in 10x faster response times for my APIs. (hn)

The Screen in Your Car Is Beckoning — Infotainment systems are becoming flashy, feature-packed distractions. It’s just getting started. (hn)

My favorite git aliases — I use git aliases to automate complicated or repetitive operations. Here are my favorites.


Why We Don’t Do Daily Stand-Ups at Supercede — What value can be had from these meetings anyway?

My Desk Bike Is A Permanent Fixture in my WFH Office Setup — It’s a great release for fidgety energy, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. (hn)

Traditional companies are losing because they mismanage software engineers — Lack of key software management skills at legacy companies means they are wasting shareholder value. (hn)

The language of marketing is so imprecise as to be almost meaningless — Few marketing terms have agreed definitions. This prevents accountability. (hn)


Zhang Yiming’s Last Speech — One of the most philosophical company anniversary speeches by a CEO I’ve ever read. By the outgoing CEO of ByteDance. (hn)

What to do when it’s not working — At some point in your company’s life, things will go wrong. You need to figure out why, and how to fix it. Here’s a plan. (hn)

What I’ve Learned from the 16 Engineers who Turned Down Job Offers at Our Startup — We’ve made 36 job offers to engineering candidates, and 16 of them turned us down. Here’s what I’ve learned. (hn)


What Slime Knows — There is no hierarchy in the web of life. (hn)

Our Universe may have a fifth dimension that would change everything we know about physics — What else could there be beyond the three dimensions of space and one of time? (hn)

One Lab’s Quest to Build Space-Time Out of Quantum Particles — How the fabric of space-time may emerge from some kind of quantum entanglement. (hn)

Cosmic indigestion: Swallowing a neutron star can cause a star to explode — Researchers argue that new observations are best explained by a theorized merger. (hn)

Earth’s inner core is growing unevenly so why isn’t the planet tipping? — Scientist have worked out that the inner core of our planet is growing more on one side than the other. (hn)

The strange race to track down a missing billion years — A billion years have vanished from the geological record and scientists can’t agree on why. (hn)

Wild cockatoos observed using tools as ‘cutlery’ to extract seeds from tropical fruit — Two wild cockatoos crafted tools from tree branches and used them to extract seed matter from sea mangoes.

Atomic-scale imaging reveals ants use zinc to sharpen their teeth — The hardness of ant teeth increases from about the hardness of plastic to the hardness of aluminum when zinc is added.

Dogs distinguish human intentional and unintentional action — We critically discuss our findings with regard to dogs’ understanding of human intentional action. (hn)

Scientists say a telescope on the Moon could advance physics — and they’re planning to build one — The Moon’s lack of atmosphere and darkness could offers unique observations of the universe. (hn)

The five most impressive geological structures in the solar system — From the tallest cliff in the solar system to its largest impact basin, geological processes on other worlds are similar to our own.


Some of Scott Alexander’s Writing Tricks — He’s done everything that shouldn’t be done. Yet he’s probably one of the most respected bloggers out there.

Two brutal tests — can you pass them? — We all give people “tests” when we meet them, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Here are two of mine. (hn)

Why Does Coffee Sometimes Make Me Tired? — Lethargy, blood sugar and dehydration explain in part the paradoxical effects of coffee on our energy levels. (hn)

Why Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Refuse to Believe in Quality Time — I ended up wanting to work a little harder because we had spent garbage time together. (hn)

True understanding is “seeing” in 3D — Whereas partial understanding is merely seeing a lower-dimensional projection. (hn)

Why Do We Work Too Much? — In the modern office, stress has become a default metric for judging whether we are busy enough. (hn)


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Enjoy your reading and have a good day, Beng