by Vadim Drobinin

Your weekly crème de la crème of the Internet is here!

21.07.2020 (read in browser)

Hello, world!

I am pretty much a knowledge addict.

I use Twitter, RSS, and numerous other mediums of information — from Telegram channels to standalone blogs.

Out of a thousand articles a hundred gets skimmed through. A few dozens make it to my "Read Later" list, and only a fraction I find worthy of sharing.

They end up here.

You might have heard the term triage, originally used across hospitals to prioritise the order of patients. Over the last few decades it made the way to software industry to define prioritisation of anything comparable: from bugs to features.

This endeavour — the weekly newsletter — is my attempt to do the same with the Internet.

Triage it. Every Tuesday.

To, as the Oxford Dictionary puts nicely,

...determine the most important people or things from amongst a large number that require attention.

Things I enjoyed reading

1. What should you know about a navigation history stack in iOS 14 by Sarun W.

The navigation is one of the pillars of almost every mobile app. Partly because users hate to re-adjust their fingers every time they want to do a task. Partly as issues with navigation highlight way more sinister problems with the data flow.

iOS 14 undercover the actual stack of your screens to users, so a mixture of segues and hardcoded routing with custom back buttons won't really cut it anymore. Here is how to fix some of that.

2. Navigating the iOS Interview by Lea Marolt Sonnenschein

While this article is marked as it is for beginners, I wish it was published earlier. It has a great collection of insights: from iOS-specific nuances to questions to ask the potential employer to great resources to use for preparing.

3. Thoughts on Cross-platform by Rui Peres

Building products for multiple platforms at once was always thrown upon by the "native" community.

One might remember a questionable reaction of folks, celebrating that Facebook's Messenger went under rewriting. They falsely assumed that it was rewritten from React Native to Swift; it was in fact rewritten from Swift to Swift.

However this post looks at the problem from a different perspective of reducing brain-cycles and bringing members of mobile teams together, not replacing them. Here's to the unified logic 🍸

4. This is a thread about making a cookbook of family recipes by Allen Hemberger

A great insight into going through a box of previous generations' recipes to build a cookbook (the author is one of the folks behind ZERO and The Aviary Cocktail Book, both of which I strongly recommend):

Really, the task here is being a custodian of memories, not a chef or a writer or a photographer.

That's the thing that really fascinates me about this.

So my intent is to start stepping through each recipe in this big box, re-writing them all and photographing them, trying to add information where it is useful but not adulterating it from its original intent.

5. Heston's Journey to the Centre of Food

Heston Blumenthal, a British celebrity chef, an honorary Doctor of Science, the first chef to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Society of Chemistry, yadda yadda yadda, is finally back with a new series of his podcast about a forensic deep dive inside our food. Easy to listen to, free, very insightful. Five bacon ice-creams out of five.

6. Debunking The Myth Of 10% Brain Usage by Iulian Gulea

There is a popular myth that we use our brains at only 10% of its capacity. How to use the rest 90% of it? Does it work like with a wardrobe, where items just hang, dusty, while we don't know how to pick them up?

Apparently (such a surprise!) the brain is not exactly the same as a wardrobe and this article explains why.

7. On Trouser Pockets by Sam Bleckley

If you ever found trouser pockets to be broken, you'll enjoy this take on their history (which dates back for only 200 years) and potential ways to have a pocket innovation:

Men’s pockets were also separate pouches if you go back far enough; but going back the same 150-200 years, they lived in the waistcoat and the mandatory jacket; if breeches had pockets they were behind the falls and so, I suspect, not used as much in public.

8. The future of flooding and how it may affect waterside cities

I am moving to a riverside soon and seems like in long-term it might not be the smartest decision:

9. Who do they think they are? by The Economist

A brief but nice overview of English's struggle with singular use of "they" which started with grammar books back then, in 1700s.

Nonetheless, “he includes she” was in textbooks, and so, for a time, proto-feminists tried to take advantage where they could. Laws saying that each person should pay “his” taxes required women to pay, too. So, 19th-century suffragists reasoned, the statute books referring to a generic voter as “he” gave women the right to vote. Seemingly hoist on the chauvinist petard, defenders of male-only suffrage tactically retreated: he included she unless it would produce an “absurd” reading—such as offering women the vote.

10. Reflections on Software Performance by Nelson Elhage

It’s probably fairly intuitive that users prefer faster software, and will have a better experience performing a given task if the tools are faster rather than slower.

What is perhaps less apparent is that having faster tools changes how users use a tool or perform a task. Users almost always have multiple strategies available to pursue a goal — including deciding to work on something else entirely — and they will choose to use faster tools more and more frequently. Fast tools don’t just allow users to accomplish tasks faster; they allow users to accomplish entirely new types of tasks, in entirely new ways.

Could it be the answer to the question posed by the Tesler's Law?

11. As We May Code by Mattt

Dreams Suggestions on building a better world for developers, within the existing and partly open-sourced ecosystem (and some reflection on the road behind).

When faced with missing or incomplete documentation, developers are left to search Google for blog posts, tutorials, conference videos, and sample code to fill in the gaps. Often, this means sifting through pages of irrelevant results — to say nothing of outdated and incorrect information.
A knowledge graph can improve search for documentation much the same as it can for code, but we can go even further. Similar to how academic papers contain citations, example code can be annotated to include references to the canonical APIs it interacts with. Strong connections between references and its source material make for easy retrieval later on.

Things I didn't know last Tuesday

1. The Tiffany Problem

"The Tiffany Problem" is term coined by the author Jo Walton to describe the tension between historical facts and popular perception of history.

No one would believe that a woman in Middle Ages could be named Tiffany, and yet it was a real medieval name, short for Theophania.

2. How Bouillon Cubes Became an International Pantry Staple

In the 14th century, the Magyar warriors of Hungary boiled salted beef until it fell apart, cut it into pieces, dried it in the sun, ground it into a powder, and carried it around in small bags—something of a forerunner to the packets of Lipton’s Cup-o-Soup.

3. Multiple commit messages in one line

Apparently, git supports multiple commit messages in one line, so one could do:

git commit -m "Title message" -m "Description message"

and the second message will be added under a cut.

4. MagiCan

In May 1990 The Coca-Cola company released special mechanical cans of Coke, some of which had a spring-loaded tab and dispensed cash and gift certificates.

To make the cans feel and weigh normal, and prevent people from easily finding the prize cans, a sealed area within the cans was filled with a mixture of chlorinated water and a foul-smelling substance to discourage drinking

5. Croak

In English frogs and crows make the same sound:

croak, verb
1.(of a frog or crow) make a characteristic deep hoarse sound.
"the frogs settled in the shade, croaking happily"

In Russian, for example, a frog's sound would be [ˈkvak] (квак), while a crow's sound would be [ˈkar] (кар).

6. Zheleznogorsk's coat of arms

The city of Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, has the coat of arms featuring a bear tearing the core of an atom.


7. Tomato Soup Cake

In 1920s something called "Mystery Cake" became extremely popular. It stayed popular even when people found out that the secret of the recipe was to put a can of tomato soup into cake batter (I would love to know the story of an accident behind it!):

Given the widespread accessibility of Campbell’s tomato soup, the cake took the country by storm, popping up in local papers and eventually being co-opted by Campbell’s itself in 1947. They stand by their original recipe, to which they suggest adding your favorite cream cheese frosting.

Book of the week

I was reading "Brut Force" by Peter Stafford-Bow recently, and while the book itself is hilarious and well-worth attention of any wine aficionado, this excerpt in particular drew my attention.

I'd agreed to meet Lily in the Olde Cittie of Yorke, an ancient pub with a row of secluded booths down one side of the saloon. It was a lawyers' pub, where legal functionaries from the nearby chambers met to discuss fine and confidential points of the law — a perfect venue for our assignation.

Ironically, I know the Ye Olde Cittie of Yorke very well, and used to have an occasional pint or two there after work for more than two years in a row, or drop by for a Steak and Ale pie during lunchtime.

A fun trivia: while the pub looks old, and most likely there was a pub in situ since the 15th century, the actual building is circa 1920s. It was quite famous anyway, namely the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas featured it in one of his poems.

Thank you and see you in a week!

If you have any questions, or want to suggest a link for the next newsletter, please drop me a message on Twitter or reply to this email.

Cheers! 🍸