Hi, I'm Seth. I'm an engineering manager, an ardent—if not optimistic—proponent of ethics in the tech industry and intellectual honesty in management, and an avid reader of old books. I'm also a co-founder of Constructor.

  • My take on development best practices

    Edit: eight years of leadership experience later, I think this post is rather silly because it makes no attempt whatsoever to support any of the opinions, but I’m leaving it here as a reminder.

    December 8, 2013 - 2 minute read -
  • Amplifying expertise — and accelerating learning — through apprenticeship

    Organization is a means of multiplying the strength of an individual. — Peter Drucker

    December 8, 2013 - 2 minute read -
  • What does it mean to be a tech team lead?

    In journalism, a reporter writes a story and an editor edits it - reading through the whole piece, catching errors or omissions in writing or reporting, asking questions, and making suggestions at all levels - from how to catch and hold the reader’s interest to how to structure the story to how to smooth out an awkward paragraph or sentence. This is A Good Thing, because a) it’s always good to have someone else go over your work and b) the editor is usually the more experienced writer. In fact, it’s such a good thing that on the occasions when an editor writes a piece, it undergoes something called a “top-edit”, where it’s edited by another editor. This is because it would obviously be crazy to publish something without someone else having read and reviewed it. But in software engineering we do this all the time, and consider it a cornerstone of our hacker-ethos, meritocratic culture.

    January 21, 2013 - 3 minute read -
  • How to add NAT to an existing EC2 instance in an AWS VPC

    I’m in the process of moving infrastructure from the AWS public cloud into a VPC, and since my VPC has private subnets, I need NAT to allow machines in these subnets to open connections to S3, Ubuntu repos, etc. The VPC wizard can create a NAT EC2 instance for you, but I’m a penny pincher and didn’t want to dedicate a whole instance just to NAT - e.g. I also wanted to use it as my VPN server.

    December 11, 2012 - 2 minute read -
  • How the relay got its name

    I’ve always wondered how the relay got its name; I thought it was a strange moniker for an electromechanical switch. Reading The Information the other day, I finally found out. I had thought relays were originally invented to enable automatic circuit switching in telephone networks, but it turns out the telegraph was the necessity of their invention.

    November 17, 2012 - 1 minute read -
  • Weighing programming languages

    Try this: pick up a copy of JavaSript: The Good Parts ($14; 176pp) in one hand and a copy of The C++ Programming Language ($65; 1040pp) in the other. Now: not knowing anything else about them, which language would you rather use? Which language would you suspect has more sharp edges that you’ll have to arduously learn to avoid as you cut yourself on them, one by one, over the course of months or years?

    October 19, 2012 - 2 minute read -
  • Venn diagram fail

    Presumably, multiple individuals saw, interacted with, and approved this graphic for it to be in an advertisement, and none of them knew how Venn diagrams work. Amazing.

    October 14, 2012 - 1 minute read -