TFW you’re trying to fix an inconsistency, find & fix a bug, only to realize that if that’s the only bug it would have been broken everywhere.

Red Rocks III

Spent the afternoon in the studio yesterday, carving and printing my third Red Rocks print. I’ve been trying to get practice in with my new tools and this piece definitely provided that. I learned a lot from making it; on to the next exercise. 

Exactly Once Delivery

At Remind I helped build the announcement and chat message delivery platform. With thousands of messages streaming through a system that bridged Heroku and our AWS VPC, network partition and other failures were real occurrences, which led to some creative work ensuring messages were only delivered once to each recipient. So I was interested to see two articles posted within a day of each other talking about “exactly once delivery”.

TL;DR: It’s really hard, a lot of the systems wind up looking alike (ie, two-phase ack), and the one we built probably wasn’t as bullet proof as we thought. The interesting question wasn’t “Are we doubling up?” or “Are we dropping things?”, but “How will we know when either happens?”

The Busy Trap

Tim Kreider writes:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

There’s a voice in my head that says curiosity has to have an outcome, that if there isn’t something to show at the end, it’s not worth exploring. Nice to be reminded there are other perspectives.