Noel Rappin Writes Here

Five Things: April 29, 2016

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Five For 4/29

Okay, I really am doing this for a second week in a row, even though it’s a bit late.

The week in me:

The web payments book is continuing slowly. Currently, I’m writing about how to set up administrative users, which I’m convinced that most people are penny-wise and pound-foolish about. (“It’s the admin users, we can train them”, yeah, I’ve said it too).

I also did a medium post about agile, communication, and the like, which doesn’t seem to have gotten out there much, but you should probably read it anyway.

I also somehow got people to say some nice things about Rails 4 Test Prescriptions on Twitter. You should read that too.

Thing One: A book!

Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen. Every year, it seems, there’s one book I read that stands out for the sheer audacity and weirdness of its premise. I usually call that my “if you only read one” book, as in “if you only read one book about anthropomorphic sentient elephants who can talk to the dead and are part of a space empire of other anthropomorphic species, make it Barsk.

You probably are either all-in or totally out based on that description. (We do eventually learn how all the talking animals came to be, if that helps. Or hurts). The elephants, who have been exiled to a single planet, are the sole creators of the drug that lets some people speak to the dead. The rest of the alliance has basically had enough and are willing to go to great lengths to recover the drug. In addition to being totally bonkers, the book is really clever, the characters are memorable, and the ending lands. So pretty much everything I look for in a book.

Thing Two: Hamilstuff

You are just going to have to deal with a lot of Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda stuff, sorry. In addition to writing a song about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis for John Oliver’s show, he also performed what I guess you’d call a mash up of Hamilton and Sweeney Todd for a charity event this week. It’s the tune of the opening to Hamilton to the story of the opening to Sweeney Todd. If you are me, which none of you are, that’s just about the greatest thing ever.

Thing Three: Old Developers

A couple of interesting blog posts this week on different sides of the age spectrum. Adrian Kosmaczewski posted a transcript of a talk about being a developer after 40, a topic that has been of keen interest to me for about five years. Adrian and I started our professional careers about a year apart (I started later). Anyway, I agree with most of this (though I don’t hate open spaces as virulently…)

Thing Four: Young Developers

On the other side, Ryan Bigg on hiring juniors, a topic that’s also been of keen interest to me for some time. I agree with pretty much all of this, too.

Thing Five: SF Is For Everybody

The founding editor of one of my favorite sites, Charlie Jane Anders of io9 is stepping down to work on her fiction full time. (Consider this a recommendation of her last novel, All The Birds In The Sky). She ended her time by recounting the founding principles of io9, including science fiction belongs to everyone. Please read.