Previous month:
May 2021
Next month:
July 2021

Jet stream

Today, I shook hands with someone who wasn’t a direct family member. First time in 15 months. I’m not one for handshakes. I take note it has happened and want to wash my hands as soon as possible afterwards. I needed to move towards life after the pandemic. This was a small step towards that. Random handshakes happen. Mental note, buy and carry pocket sanitiser. Then still wash my hands.

My work calendar now has tentative international travel dates. I’m not going anywhere until I’ve had my second vaccination, and the digital Covid vaccination passport is available. But now I have places to go to. I was reticent about agreeing to travel but it’s a matter of getting back on the horse.

While travelling I used to pack light, move fast and do so with purpose. Who knows what the airports are going to be like over the next few months? Pack light and wait. With purpose.

L-filipe-c-sousa-0nUcd4-pp5k-unsplashPhoto by L.Filipe C.Sousa on Unsplash

Amazon's brain, but portable

I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary of joining Amazon Web Services. More than half of this has been spent at home without any face-to-face meetings with colleagues. Or anyone else. I thought this would weaken my connection to the company. Surprisingly, Amazon’s corporate culture is so strong I’m more “Amazonian” now than I have ever been.

It’s not strong in the “cheer for the leader and wear the T-Shirt” way. It’s intellectually strong. One day you realise you are using the lingo and looking at everything through the prism of the Amazon decision-making system. Subconsciously, I start tagging work things with leadership principles. Are we diving deep in this meeting? I see the invention where is the simplification? Who has the ownership of what’s happening here? Who makes the decision and implements it? Is it me?

I’m a big supporter of the heuristics concept. Mental shortcuts that rely on prior experience from which you can make snap decisions. Now I take the time to see if the data is 70% of the way there first, heuristics getting a 30% weighting in the decision-making process. How Amazonian of me. Trust me, I roll my eyes at that last line too. (Or I used to.)

At some stage Jeff Bezos recognised he could no longer make every decision so he wanted a mental model that any employee could apply to a situation. Well, he built one. I can tell you that it silently installs when you least expect it to, doesn’t appear to need a reboot, and it works at work. It’ll be interesting to see what the software updates will look like after he steps away from the company in a few weeks.


Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash

macOS still has a few interesting tricks

Having lamented the bland state of the Mac in a prior entry I went out and ordered an M1 MacBook Pro during the week. What precipitated this was receiving a small piece of code that chugged on my (obsolete as of macOS12) MacBook Air.

A late-night Slack message to the developer asking her if she could use Grand Central Dispatch, so more of the weakling processing cores on the now ancient Intel CPU would do some work in parallel, turned out well. Those changes made; the application zoomed along.

This dramatic improvement, using an OS feature that is nearly a decade old, had me digging back into macOS to see what had changed since I stopped paying attention years ago. It was a quick read, not much has changed. But it still has some nice tricks up its sleeve so we'll carry on.

This will be my third Macintosh processor architecture transition. There was the 68K to PowerPC transition between 1994 and 1996. Then the PowerPC to Intel transition from 2005 to 2007 and now we are in the middle of the move to Apple Silicon. I enjoyed the 68K to PowerPC move and we went from System7 to OPENSTEP in the same five years, maybe I’ll enjoy this move too.

I suppose I had better go buy a dock for it.


Photo by Serhii Butenko on Unsplash