253: TZ Discussion – Kidmail

Justin and Jason discuss Digedu’s latest technical hire, how Uber’s real-time team uses Github, the growth of Uber’s engineering team and what Jason has been working on, building software that never gets used and the three criteria by which to evaluate a job, the two most unrealistic aspects of the TV show 24, Jason’s latest trip to SF and why he doesn’t like to spend money, math team madness, Jason’s idea for how to share information within a large engineering department, how Tesla has completed it’s L.A.-to-New York charger network, the Bitcoin exchange arrests, how Jason finally got an email reply from that HFT firm, how Richard Feynman became such a great problem solver, how Digedu is moving from the Allman coding style to the K&R coding style, how Starmade has taught Colby the importance of prototyping, avoiding premature optimization and how to manage expectations, the animated TV series Star Blazers, the guy who offered Jason $300 for a link to his algorithmic trading website, the “good guy” discounthow the NSA and GCHQ are now targeting mobile apps, the Tor developer who may have become the first known victim of the NSA’s laptop interception programhow the FBI probably owns your TorMail inbox and how the UK porn filter blocks League of Legends update for having ‘sex’ in file name.

  1. nethy says:

    It might be interesting for you guys to interview a teacher. You both seem to be dabbling a lot in teaching and have some interesting ideas about it.

  2. Star Blazers…wow, such a formative part of my childhood. From my memory, this is an epic show. But I haven’t watched it in 30+ years.

    It’s on Netflix, but only on DVD (not streaming). Amazon has it streaming for $22/season. Hulu Plus has it (with commercials). I’m going to be diving into this one, probably with my 7-year old (Fin). There’s no way I can’t revisit it after the memories it brought back hearing Jason talk about it.

    Thanks gents!

  3. Totally agree about building software that never gets used. Actually that’s one of the main reasons I left my last job. The last 4 projects I delivered (under budget, zero defects in prod) etc… and all 4 were not used at all once delivered. Even worse, one was done by an external contractor (which I wanted to do) and was of such bad quality I had to scrub the code-base over 2 weeks to make it work. So demoralizing.

    As for the times tables going to 12… I have a theory about this. I suspect that it goes back the use of 12 for counting everything, eggs, inches etc…. Hence it made sense to go to 12 since if you are doing inventory etc… Why do we still go to 12? Historical reasons I suspect (teachers tend to be stubborn) and also that any multiple of 12 is easily divisible by 1,2,3,4 and 6 so going up to 12 is still quite useful.

  4. You guys have been my favorite podcast, pretty much since the first time I listened to you.

    So when Jason started talking about the charity event you were at, and the silent auction, I was so hoping it was one of our events. A few months ago I took a job as Lead Web Developer at AuctionsByCellular. What started out as a bootstrapped startup by a friend of mine has turned into a nationwide company that helps charities do fundraising events, mainly with our mobile bidding platform. We are actually doing an event with the LA Kings tomorrow night – http://www.auctionsbycellular.com/blog/la-kings-team-auctionsbycellular/

    If Sandy is going to be doing any more charity events with silent auctions, our LA team would love to help! (I’m in Chicago, yeah, I am loving hearing about Justin getting exposed to the full Chicago weather experience!)

  5. Hello from frigid Chicago (glad you survived Justin) 😉

    I look forward to your podcasts every week! It’s like sitting down and kibbitzing with two old friends.

    I’m so glad you’ve returned to a regular delivery schedule.. for a while there I worried you had “jumped the shark” on yourselves.


  6. Matt S says:

    Regarding “Uber News” – maybe this app would be good to try: https://sendtoinc.com/ You can email links, notes, etc to submit and people can comment and tag posts.

    But if you’d rather have something homegrown, I think giving it to an intern or new-hire would be a great little project.

  7. @Jason I don’t know if Colby is in to playing space sim games, but if you haven’t seen Star Citizen, check it out! From the guy behind Wing Commander, it’s got me interested in games again 🙂

    @Justin sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but going PSR1, is the right way to go. I have very little feelings with regard to coding style, as long as it’s consistent and PSR1 is just everywhere. Good move upgrading to L4 and getting some tests laid down, I’m one of the maintainers of Mockery, which L4 uses to provide the test doubles for the facades (e.g. Queue::shouldReceive(“push”)->once(), feel free to ping me if you have any questions around it’s use.

  8. Jason says:

    @nethy – Well, maybe, but it would have to be a teacher who’s really innovative, otherwise, it probably wouldn’t make for a very interesting interview.

  9. Jason says:

    @Rob Walling – Yeah, I’m about to buy the second season of Star Blazers on Amazon Prime. I’ve never seen it and it looks like something Colby and I would enjoy watching together. I can’t wait. 😉

  10. Jason says:

    @John Polacek – Wow, thanks!

    Also, I just emailed Sandy the link to the mobile bidding platform. She’ll likely be involved in fundraising for one non-profit or another sometime next year, so I’m sure she’ll be interested.

  11. Jason says:

    @Spencer Forman – I think we’ve probably jumped the shark a few times, but for some reason we keep coming back for more. 😉

  12. Jason says:

    @Matt S – I feel like I keep seeing startups doing stuff like this and they rarely seem to work out very well. This is one that I was thinking of:


    I guess now it’s dead:


  13. Jason says:

    @Dave Marshall – I’m sort of confused about what StarCitizen is exactly. I guess it’s because it’s not out. I just read the Wikipedia page and it sounds kind of like the next generation of Eve Online.

    Colby is dying to play Space Engineers


    But the problem is that he has a Mac, Space Engineers only runs on Windows and Parallels is giving us problems for some reason. What a pain. Why does nothing ever just work?!

  14. I also like to use the Jeopardy concept with classes. We even made a free app that lets you use an iPad or iPhone plus an AppleTV to put on a Jeopardy game with a group using your own questions: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ezgameshow/id601192407?mt=8

  15. Jason says:

    @Tom Eastmond – Interesting, I’ll check it out.

  16. @Jason yes, I imagine the RPG aspect is like Eve Online, but as far as I’m aware, Eve Online isn’t a full space sim, you kind of tell the onboard computer what to do, rather than managing throttle, yoke, weapons, shields etc manually with the keys and controls etc.

  17. I forgot to mention, I blame you guys for me getting the Cryptocurrency madness! Not bought any yet, but I’ve managed to mine some dogecoins 🙂

  18. Talking about 24 reminded me how much I liked that show.
    Regarding Richard Feynman, thanks Jason for giving me the bug about him. After watching the clip, I decided to read Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!. What a great read about an amazing genius! A must-read for all TZ fans! 🙂

  19. Andrea says:

    I thought Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! was an excellent book. The followup was not as good from a storytelling perspective, imo . Some of his lectures are on youtube. You can see the personality that was in the book come out in those videos.