Distributed Systems Shibboleths

Shibboleths are historically a word or phrasing that indicate membership in a particular group or culture. Joey Lynch identifies some distributed systems shibboleths. In a way, shibboleths are used implicitly in many circles, but I rarely see them being used explicitly. The author identifies both positive (e.g. idempotent, crash-only, shard) and negative (e.g. consistent and available, exactly-once, i just need transactions, distributed lock) words and phrases that serve as shibboleths.

IBM’s asshole test

I don’t know if this really happened, or if this interview technique is really fair to candidates. The motivation resonates with me: Weed out assholes!

Mechanical Watch

Bartosz Ciechanowski has produced some of the best technical writing I’ve read on the web. This long post is a fantastical interactive description of how a mechanical watch works. The illustrations are superb, and link to the text via color coding. If you like this article, be sure to look at others in his blog!