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Software Weekly - 02/25/2019

Recommendations, word2vec, NewSQL, visual search, hard programming interview & more


Last week’s most popular episode: Store2Vec: DoorDash Recommendations with Mitchell Koch. DoorDash models resturants in N-dimensional vector space and uses that to generate recommendations. A lot of recommendation systems today are using this something-2-vector strategy.

Old favorite: Word2Vec with Adrian Colyer. Adrian talks about the word2vec model and deep learning in general and how deep learning is changing the tech and start-up space.

Find Collabs is a new product I have been working on.

Post your projects and find collaborators on Find Collabs. Whether you are an engineer, a musician, a designer, or an artist, Find Collabs is a place where you can meet people and build projects together.

If you have time, check it out, and please send me your feedback!

Hate your job? Or just kind of “meh” about it? STELLARES combines a conversational chatbot interface, a recommendation engine, and a human support team--creating a unique way to find job opportunities. Visit to get started.


What Is New About NewSQL? by Gokhan Simsek. What is NewSQL and how is it different from SQL and NoSQL? NewSQL strives to provide the properties of SQL and the scalability of NoSQL databases, so how is that possible? Dive deep into specific implementation and variants of NewSQL databases.

Old favorite: Why Is Storage On Kubernetes So Hard? by Gokhan Simsek. Why is storing state hard? And why is it hard to scale stateful containers? Great read so recommending it again.

MongoDB Stitch is a serverless platform from MongoDB that allows you to build rich interactions with your database. Use Stitch Triggers to react to database changes and authentication events in real-time. To try it out yourself today, experiment with $10 in free credit towards MongoDB’s cloud products, MongoDB Atlas, the hosted MongoDB Database Service and Stitch, by going to

Interesting Picks in Software Engineering and Architecture

How We Created a Visual Search Engine for Love this end-to-end design of the visual search algorithms (with code samples) and overall architecture. 

Serverless Functions In Depth. I love this article because it presents serverless to the front-end engineers, as well as to those writing client and web applications. We need more glue like Amplify (and not just Apollo GraphQL -- that's not enough).

Explainer: What Is Quantum Communication? This is what quantum internet will look like. Learn about quantum key distributions, repeaters, teleportation (yes seriously!) and more.

Don’t get clever with login forms. Great for anybody designing UIs, CLIs, or APIs. Great simple lessons on usability with great visual examples.

To Create An Evolvable API, Stop Thinking About URLs. API design is no magic art and here you can learn some lessons so you don't have to repeat the mistakes of those who came before you.

Extending Vector with eBPF to inspect host and container performance. Netflix's Vector is a host-level monitoring platform. Sadly there is no explanation of what eBPF is, so read this if you are curious: Learn eBPF Tracing: Tutorial and Examples.

Lessons from 6 software rewrite stories. I was extremely worried when I thought I was going to read about rewriting the same system 6 times, but this turns out to be an analysis about other companies' rewrite stories and lessons learned.
Reinforcement learning and optimal control. A work in progress book on RL. 

Digital Ocean is the easiest cloud platform to run and scale your application. Try it out today and get a free $100 credit–go to Digital Ocean is a complete cloud platform to help developers and teams save time when running and scaling their applications.

What's New in Tech

Programming Interview Questions Are Too Hard and Too Short. Most companies ask questions that are too hard and too short, providing weak signals in interviews. Triplebyte recommends asking easier questions. I add to that: ask easy reasonable questions and dive deeper into how the candidate thinks and solves problems.

AI researchers debate the ethics of sharing potentially harmful programs. First OpenAI decided not to release GPT-2, a text generation AI. This sparked a debate on whether AI could be dangerous and how dangerous. I agree that limiting one model doesn't really solve the problem and we need more systemic ways to tackle AI ethics and management.

How Google, Microsoft, and Big Tech Are Automating the Climate Crisis. AI, ML, and cloud-computing are helping drill more oil fields. Are we moving the needle in the right direction? Good read to spark some thoughts.

Nasty code-execution bug in WinRAR threatened millions of users for 14 years. Good news is only 13 people have used WinRAR since 2010.

Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was 'never supposed to be a secret'. Nobody reads those terms and conditions anyways but big tech might still need better corporate governance to avoid such 'errors'. 

Emoji are showing up in court cases exponentially, and courts aren’t prepared. "What does a crown emoji really mean?" In a few years, emojis are going to be part of government laws, proceedings, and potentially constitutions. Might want to make sure your systems are UTF-8 compliant because emojis are taking over.

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Hi there, I'm Abdallah. I am a software developer myself and love talking news, insights, analysis of software engineering, and bringing you interesting content from across the web.
If you enjoyed reading this newsletter, I hope you will forward it to your friends and coworkers. Your support for the show and the newsletter is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Abdallah Abu-Ghazaleh (@TheGhazStation)
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