Tom Ward by Tom Ward

Monday Links - Week 234

Questions I ask myself about working as distributed team

I’ve always been interested in what we can do to work effectively when people are remote, but never more so now that I’m nearly 5000 miles away. Some of the advice here echoes other sources (i.e. make an effort to keep all communication visible to the remote workers), but I’ve yet to read any advice about how to handle the timezone differences. At the moment I’ve been starting work at 7am CDT in order to maximise the overlap with GMT. JA

A Dark Room

This is the second ‘start-from-nothing’ HTML/JS-based game I’ve seen in as many months (the other was Candy Box). There’s definitely something engaging about they way the games unfold as you progress. I got bored playing Candy Box after a while and hacked the Javascript via my browser console, but I’ve been playing A Dark Room faithfully for a few days now. JA

Inbox Zero for Life

I’ve used the ‘inbox zero’ practice on-and-off for a few years, and when I manage to stick to it I do find that it really helps. This article takes that further by showing the specific keyboard shortcuts and implementation details (e.g. use stars for emails that need further attention) to make it work with the Gmail web UI. The only problem I have is that the Gmail web UI doesn’t really work well with multiple accounts, but maybe that’s a good thing rather than a problem; keep emails from a particular context totally out of mind until you choose to read them? JA

Continuous Design and the NoPSD Movement

This article describes how in a truly agile process the design aspect of the work is fully integrated into the story workflow with the bulk of the design work done in-browser. It suggests that if you’re not careful Photoshop files become “The Final Design” and the “design starts driving the product”. JM

Open Rights Group

With Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA’s PRISM and GCHQ’s Tempora programs, it’s surely never been more important to have a strong advocate for our digital rights. Joining the Open Rights Group today. TW

A 1 minute test suite, 6 months in

A few weeks back I wrote about rebalancing the testing pyramid in part to avoid the test suite becoming too slow. This article suggests that this tactic along with a few others is a way to keep your build running in under one minute. I think it might be time to do some more refactoring! JM

Building a mocking library

This is a video of a talk by Andy Lindeman at the Ancient City Ruby conference 2013. I think Andy’s test-driven approach works well and he provides a clear explanation of some of the key issues involved in writing a mocking library in Ruby. His example library is loosely based on the newer RSpec syntax discussed in this issue on Github. JM

Bland on brand

My house in Leyton is near enough to the Olympic Park that when concerts are held there, the sound drifts across the rooftops into my garden. On Saturday I could here the ‘Summer Stampede featuring Mumford & Sons’, reminding me of this article I’d read earlier in the week. A persuasive case as to how Mumford & Sons are ‘an assault on the very idea of music’ and ‘emblematic of the banality of evil’. Read it and weep. TW


I have 83,156 emails in my personal email account, spanning from the 1st of April 2004 until the present, and Immersion has let me get a sense of what that really means, by providing “a people-centric view of your email life using only your metadata”. It’s fascinating to step through time and see clusters of people come and go, corresponding to various stages of my life – my PhD, starting my first job, and even organising Murray’s stag do are all visible as the graph evolves. JA

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