by Asanka Herath

Why 'Strong Opinions Weekly Held'

Previously on this blog I wrote a short note on Why Strong Opinions Weakly Held. I’m trying to get something out every week. Hence the new blog title.


Visualizing A Million People

If your feature pisses off a million people what does this angry mob look like? Spoiler: We only get to 750,000.

#programming #process

Fart Limit

Can a fart be fatal? Let’s see what science and OSHA have to say.

#commentary #useless

Shannon Paper

Claude Shannon’s A mathematical theory of communication is an oft cited classic in information theory. Let’s dive in and try to tease apart the “why”s that are often overlooked when people build on top of the introduced theory. They are definitely things that I didn’t consider to be obvious without the benefit of reading the paper.

#privacy #math #programming

Sometimes It's the Interviewers Who Suck

I’ve done hundreds of interviews. I’ve also served in numerous hiring committees over the years. Tech companies tend to have cultures built around tech people interviewing other tech people, typically in what is not-so-affectionately known as the “Tech interview.” This is good because candidates would be evaluated based on their actual skills instead of keywords in their resume. Interviewers are in effect choosing their future coworkers which makes in interview serve the interest of both the interviewer and the interviewee.


On WontFixing Bugs

Large projects accumulate a large number of issue reports over time. This is normal. Typically for a “successful” project the rate of new issues being reported will exceed the rate of issues being fixed. Hence the growth.

But what are they to do about this ever-growing pile of bugs?

#process #programming

Deriving the Poisson Distribution

Where does the Poisson Distribution come from? A little bit of research1 tells us that the distribution was originally introduced by Abraham de Moivre in 1710 in an article called “On the Measurement of Chance, or, on the Probability of Events in Games Depending Upon Fortuitous Chance”2 (not the original title). A few steps that will get us there is laid out below. Let’s start with a simple “rate” problem.


Ten Years

It’s been ten years since I started at Google. The work anniversary fell on 6th of December. Ten years ago my wife and I made our way to Mountain View for my orientation; all excited for a brand new chapter in our lives. After spending a week in Mountain View / Palo Alto we both decided that California was not for us. But that’s beside the point. I was elated. This was pretty much everything I dreamt of as a kid growing up in Sri Lanka.

#commentary #career

Visualizing Internet Users

What does 0.3%1 of internet users look like? As of this writing the global population hovers around 7.7 billion according to the World Population Clock.2 Screenshot from showing the world population clock. The International Telecommunications Union “estimates that at the end of 2019, 53.6 per cent of the global population, or 4.1 billion people, are using the internet.”3 Screenshot from showing historical internet usage numbers as a percentage of the world population So a 0.

#commentary #programming

Things You Can Do With Neovim and Vscode That You Can't Do With Neovim Alone

This is the third time I’ve tried in earnest to switch to VSCode from Vim (or Neovim in my case) for reasons not all of which are relevant to this post. But I love Vim style modal editing and I’ve grown accustomed to some features that aren’t present or not well emulated in VSCodeVim. Enter VSCode Neovim. I was intrigued by their claim to integrate Neovim instead of trying to emulate Vim.

#vim #programming