zander m's blog

Give a damn

In my last post, at the very end, I alluded to a Docker cli gotcha. For those of you who didn't have a shudder of recognition, I'll tell you something it took me a while to figure out: docker run koolKontainer:latest /bin/bash does not update your local copy of the image with that tag. You must docker pull koolKontainer:latest to make sure your image is up to date. In other words, if you have an old copy of that image, tagged with latest, the former command will run that old local copy.

The Joys of debugging

Today at work I was trying to merging a PR, and I noticed something very strange during the rebase. I work on a team that, among other things, manages dependencies for applications [https://github.com/buildpack]. We define the versions of a runtime available to an application through a manifest, which is in YAML form. And part of the manifest includes SHAs of the runtimes, which we use to verify their integrity. A select few of SHAs now had single quotes around them.

'Learning How to Learn'

‘Learning how to learn’, by Barbara Oakley, is a compendium of techniques for learning effectively or more effectively, backed by neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Increasing ones ability to learn speeds up your knowledge compounding rate, and is time magnificently well spent. Know of and take advantage of the different modes of the brain: Diffuse and Focussed. If you're learning something totally new or you're stuck on a problem, take a break of some sort to allow diffuse mode to do its work.

Working hard to be lazy

So that's a picture of a great writer, UKLG. She's completely not lazy, so apologies to her for inclusion. She's here, though, because she invented something great: The ansible 🌌. And why is that relevant? We'll get there… As any smart human person in charge of configuring and managing computers knows, I'm bad at my job. Or rather, my job is nearly impossible to be good at, given my human limitations.

Important Problems

Richard Hamming asked the chemists in the Bell Labs Cafeteria: What are the most important problems in your field? And why aren't you working on them? The ever brilliant Haroon Meer got me thinking about this question recently; what are the important problems these days? And why aren't I working on them? In technology, so much seems driven by the market, advertising, and hype. I suppose that's better than war being the engine, but it somehow seems hollow.