Newsletter Archive

Maintenance and janitorial activities

You walk into a room. You haven't been here before but you need to find something. Your friend told you, that you'll find it here: "It has to be there somewhere. Please just take a thorough look around!". You find old snack boxes, papers upon papers and stuff that you wouldn't want to touch because it looks like it might already be alive. A distinctive smell permeates the room. You don't want to be in here for too long. But you want to find the thing...! After looking around for 10-15 minutes you notice that you lost track of where you've already searched before. The whole mess is just too much for you.

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Premature optimization

Yesterday I told you about our struggles with the new doorbell. While, sadly, this state is still unchanged, there's another story there that relates to software development:

The new doorbell needed some power. The old one did not need this much power (230 volts), so there were no appropriate power cables laying around. That's why we cut a different cable that lay in the vicinity but usually powers the automatic gate for the car. The plan was to have something like a t-shaped connection between the cables. So the gate would still have power, but a new cable would lead to the doorbell and everything would be fine™. So I cut the power cable to the gate. What I did not know at the time was, that there are literally t-shaped connectors for power cables (not an affiliate link, just for reference. Don't buy it! 😉). Continue reading Premature optimization

Spaghetti wirings no-one knew about

Over the course of the weekend, we tried to install a new doorbell for our house. The old system is really old, falls apart and works only some days. So we bought something from a respectable German engineering company named Gira. They make high-quality products and we had prior experiences with their parts. We also happen to really like their clean design language. The reviews online spoke about the easiness of installation, "connect just a few wires", nothing can go wrong there.

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The bullshit web and our responsibility

My home computer in 1998 had a 56K modem connected to our telephone line; we were allowed a maximum of thirty minutes of computer usage a day, because my parents — quite reasonably — did not want to have their telephone shut off for an evening at a time. I remember webpages loading slowly: ten to twenty seconds for a basic news article.

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When do you know enough?

“When did you reach the point where you didn't need to read another research report, didn't need to absorb another scouting analysis, didn't need to stop by the bookstore… because it simply wasn't useful or efficient to learn another thing about your field?”

This question was posed by Seth Godin. Seth is big in marketing and entrepreneurship. Perhaps you already know him.

This question is a deep one.

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The 4-day workweek

In this enlightening article from the New York Times, Charlotte Graham-McLay reports about a company from New Zealand that tried something out. They switched all their employees to work only 32 hours per week instead of the regular 40 hours. All of them still received the same salary for 40 hours though. What they found was that their productivity increased and the employees got the same amount of work done. Sometimes even more.
To reach this level of productivity, they reduced meeting times, didn’t leave early or took longer breaks.

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