Ash Furrow

Software, Design, Photography

Building Popular Projects

We’re seeing an explosion in the number of server-side Swift frameworks, which is awesome. The community needs to go in many directions to find out which ideas it should standardize on. Not all of these new libraries will be long-lived: some will fade out while others will become pillars of the server-side Swift community. Which libraries the community centres around won’t depend solely on code quality; it’ll depend heavily on community quality.

So if you’ve recently created a server-side Swift library (or if you want to (and statistically, you probably do)) then I have some suggestions on how to win the server-side Swift library arms race.


Writing Software

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so the saying goes, but it was built. That may not seem impressive until you consider the scope of Roman accomplishments in the context of their limited technology.


Empathetic Civilization

A few months ago, I wrote about normalizing struggle a discussion of failure and a call-to-action for everyone to be more open about that fact that they struggle (because everyone does).

Well, some science happened and it more than validates my viewpoint.


Make Sci-fi Great Again

When I was growing up, Star Trek The Next Generation was in syndication, Voyager was still new, and when I got home from school I could catch the final twenty minutes of Stargate: SG-1. I watched a lot of sci-fi TV growing up, and there was a good variety of it to watch. There were hopeful what-may-be shows like TNG, modern-day romps like SG-1, and exposés on humanity’s undoing like The X-Files. I wasn’t old enough to watch The X-Files and other darker shows, and as a consequence, sci-fi always had a sort of optimism about it.


The Wrong Binary

In a binary, anything is either zero or one. Right? Maybe not.


Letting Things Lapse

When iOS developers ask me for advice on how to get a job, something I often tell them is that they need a presence on the App Store. They need something with their name on it, to show prospective employers that they have the skills and grit to follow-through with an idea, from inception to polish. Having an app, even a simple one, on the App Store demonstrates an ability to ship software, which is what employers are interested in.

I know this because of my experience getting my first few jobs writing iOS software. Having a few apps on the store – simple ones, mind you – really helped me in interviews. I could point and say “look, I built this.” Those apps helped launch my career.

So you can imagine the mixed emotions I have about choosing not to renew my account.


Expectations for Open Source

There’s kind of an unwritten rule in startups, that you pretty much have to follow your employer’s CTO on Twitter. Lucky for me, I have the distinct joy of following dB, the CTO of Artsy, a very thoughtful person, and someone who has thought a lot about open source.

So imagine my surprise when I saw them tweet this.


Kintsugi for Code

Have you ever heard of wabi-sabi? It’s a complex idea from Japanese culture that surrounds the appreciation of the impermanent and the imperfect. I heard about it a few years ago, and finally took a deeper look by reading Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers.


Feels Antipatterns

We developers spend a lot of time thinking about what good and bad code looks like, but we don’t often take time to discuss what good and bad code feels like.


Just Say No

In the autumn of 2009, a young undergraduate student named me had taken on too many commitments. Way too many. In addition to a full course load, I was working two part time jobs, tutoring, leading a student association, and was (no joke) the Research in Motion “campus ambassador.” Too bad I was driving myself crazy. What was the problem? Well, whenever someone asked me if I was interested in doing something, I’d say “yes.”