I’d Echo that

That Thing’s portfolio write-up of their I’d Echo that campaign for Echo.


Why is 11am + 1 hour == 12:00pm?

I can never remember if noon is 12pm or 12am. I’ve always ascribed this to having grown up in Finland, where we use 24-hour clock. But it’s actually not that unreasonable to be confused, as this brilliant StackExchange answer explains.

I came across this while re-reading Zach Holman’s UTC is enough for everyone, right?.


  • “I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way did not become still more complicated.” — Poul Anderson. Also (incorrectly) dubbed Anderson’s Law.

  • Software engineering promotions: advice to get to that next level. A nice overview of how to think about promotions. I came across this in my research to define Echo’s principal engineer level.
    “Typically, being promoted up to the senior level is mostly based on gaining skills, demonstrating those, and delivering impact. However, above the senior engineer level, other factors come into play. … For example, your team might be busy shipping small, incremental features, that have little complexity, but decent business value. You almost certainly won’t be promoted beyond the senior level by just doing great work here.”

Three tips on how to persuade people to change their behavior

HBR: How to persuade people to change their behavior.

  1. Highlight a gap — point out where someone might have inconsistencies in “their thoughts and actions, or between what they might recommend for others versus do themselves”
  2. Pose questions — rather than statements (“junk food makes you fat”), pose a question: “do you think junk food is good for you?”
  3. Ask for less
  4. — gradual changes are easier to tolerate

  • Chris Zacharias: A conspiracy to kill IE6. I love this story from the history of the browser wars. The post reminds me of the old blog post by Rands on spotting the culture of a company. As a web developer who lived through years and generations of browsers, I do sometimes wonder if I don’t mourn — at least a little — the obsolescence of all my hard-won knowledge of browser hacks and quirks.

Meet the health tech apps supporting the NHS during Covid-19

Evening Standard: Meet the health tech apps supporting the NHS during Covid-19.


  • ERP for engineers gives a fascinating overview and history of ERP (enterprise resource planning) and the company that pioneered the industry, SAP. Like the development and adoption of GDS, ERP plays a significant part in the history of computerisation and the field of software engineering.

  • You (probably) don’t need Kubernetes.
    You know those old “Hello world according to programmer skill” jokes that start with printf(“hello, world\n”) for a junior programmer and end with some convoluted Java OOP design pattern solution for senior software architect engineer? This is kind of like that.

  • Will you survive the Tech Drought? Lucas McGregor suggests the lack of access to software engineers now limits businesses more than the lack of funds, and organisations are wasting this precious resource through mismanagement, “anti-work” (supporting legacy code and tech debt), and confusing agility with strategy.

  • pareidolianoun the tendency to interpret vague stimuli as something familiar.

  • Fresh produce, brought to you by robots. The cost of human labor required for indoor hydroponic farms has made their produce infeasibly expensive. Robotics and AI can cut down these costs by 80 percent. More significantly, these farms also use 90 percent less water than outdoor farms, require no arable land and alleviate the need for herbicides and pesticides.
  • Why washing machines are learning to play the harp. “Appliance makers believe more and better chimes, alerts, and jingles make for happier customers. Are they right?” While not the general gist of the article, I wanted to note two points. On the influence that sound can have on us:
    A wealth of studies in consumer psychology attests to the power of sound to affect our decision making. In one famous experiment from the ’90s, British wine shoppers bought five times as many French bottles as German bottles when French accordions played in the store; when an oompah band sounded, German wine outsold the French. Still other studies have suggested that slot-machine noises, often high-pitched and in major keys, can nudge gamblers to keep playing and can even encourage riskier bets.
    But then there’s the tragedy of commons of sound:
    Too many sounds, carefully designed though they may be, runs the risk of turning into an irritant, or worse. Dexter Garcia, a co-founder of Audio UX, pointed me to a 2010 article in The Boston Globe describing “alarm fatigue.” Nurses at Massachusetts General Hospital had become so bombarded by constant alerts, they ignored the critical beeps signaling a dying patient. The problem is pervasive: In a study at Johns Hopkins Hospital, nearly 60,000 alarms were recorded over 12 days—that’s 350 alarms per patient, per day, hammering staff ears.
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