Manfred Touron

OSMOSE Hackathon 20/21 april, 2019

Few days ago, I organised and hosted a Hackathon at Berty.

Two days of code and startup-design with friends, a new network, new opportunities, new ideas, and a lot of fun.

Who

  • Berty (me)
  • Osmose (Zooma & Zaraki)
  • La suite du monde (Adrien)
  • Busy (Ekitcho)
  • Independants (Loup, Norman)

Topics

  • Projects presentations
  • Discuss about “how to work together”
  • Focus on code

What we’ve done

  • Meet people
    • New friends
    • New colleagues ? :)
  • Refactor if the web radio of Osmose / La suite du monde
    • Using with Liquidsoap, Docker, Icecast, Golang
    • Plan to plug it with Discord / Telegram to interact with users
  • Automate “La suite du monde” processes (onboarding, federation, delegation, scouting, etc…)
    • With Airtable, Zapier, custom scripts
    • Leboncoin / Seloger scraping with Scrapy (Python)
  • Discussions about Blockchain
    • General discussions to raise the knowledge of everyone
    • Main net / Test net / Token Economy
    • Comparisons
    • Features planning
    • Blockchain-based project architectures
    • DPOS strategy for Berty
    • La suite du monde strategy
    • Osmose strategy
    • Busy strategy
    • Blockchains comparisons
  • Architecture of an event ticketing & wallet system based on the blockchain
  • Fun
    • Blobby Volley, Jackbox
    • Nom nom nom
    • IRL Cryptography/Steganography game (fake telepathy)

10 Minutes to get a job - mindmap-based live presentation 🕙

10 minutes to get a job, by 42

42 recently launched a series of conferences named “10 Minutes to get a job”, the title is a little bit counter-intuitive, because, the 10 minutes hard-limit is for the organization presenting its activities; the students have all the time they need after the presentations, with some fresh foods and drinks.

10 minutes to get a job, by 42born2code

This series of conferences is very successful, a lot of students looking for a job (or just curious) are coming in the room for the presentation, and a lot more are coming for the buffet after (not sure about the motivation for these ones). 😄

Berty’s first public presentation

It was something totally new for the Berty team, the first time we talk about the project publicly, and as the project is still under development, we selected pieces of information that can be shared and that are is relevant and “sexy” for the students.

With the constraints of “10 minutes”, we made the choice of using preparing a mind-map with facts, no phrases, no images, and then I made the presentation by going word by word, and by expanding each mind-map folder’s.

It’s a little bit more complicated than a more standard conference, as I have to concurrently speak at the microphone, read the slide, move the zoomed map, expand folders, and everything in less than 10 minutes. Luckily, I made it in 9:55s and the organizer allowed one question from the audience.

The setup behind Berty's mindmap-based presentation

The cool thing about this mind-map based conference is that at the end, there is only one slide, containing all the pieces of information and that everyone physically (and intellectually) present at that time should be able to explain again.

One slide is practical to capture with a smartphone, and this slide contains everything; this advantage is really cool and I think that I will use this technique again when I don’t need to focus on a specific topic.

Berty's mind-map based presentation

Improvements

I was very concentrated with the data that I totally forgot a lot of details :)

Personal notes for later:

  • Put at least my name, somewhere on the slide :)
  • Say who I am when I start talking
  • Don’t forget to add contact instructions

The buffet

I met 15 students, and my colleagues, Alex and Gody also met additional ones.

I was really happy to receive feedbacks from the students about the effectiveness of this style of presentation.

It was straight to the point, I like it

or

It was intense, I received a lot of motivational information, I want to know more now

My colleagues told me that a student asked her:

How are you so much energized, it’s impressive to feel so much energy

After the event

I made a lot of mistakes during the presentation and the preparation, but we also made some after :)

First, we forgot to create a job’s specific email address, it was fastly fixed, and the dedicated address (42@berty.tech) was shared to the students by the 42 staff (thank you Virginie!).

Why we attended this event?

Technically, we are not in the hurry of hiring anyone, but Alex and I, recently finished to read “Who”, and we decided to follow the concept of meeting people continuously, maintain a list of people with their talents, and contact them the day we are in the hurry of hiring someone.


Who: The A Method for Hiring

Geoff Smart, Randy Street


Additionally, we are also open to “the perfect match”, and last but not least, I’m often solicited by other friends and CEOs of the startups I audit, so it’s always useful to take some time to meet motivated students, speak with them,

Berty’s scorecards

Even if we are not actively looking for a position, we made the exercise of defining what kind of profile would make the difference enough to hire someone right now.

We formatted our job offers as “Scorecards”, which is the method suggested in “Who”.

See Berty’s Scorecards (work-in-progress).

Why I Trash V1 of My Projects (And So Should You)

Photo by Steve Johnson

Introduction

Do you code a lot? I do. Over the years I’ve written and open-sourced a lot of projects, many of which you can see here.

I’ve also worked on several important projects in companies, bootstrapped startups and other team-based projects, and audited several startups.

Now, a lot of the code I wrote felt right while I typed it – you probably feel the same way when you code. But then later, when I reviewed it, I found plenty of hiccups and gaps in it. And there was also a lot of code that could be polished.

No wonder then that at the end of almost all my early projects, I had to rewrite most of the code. Version 1 (V1) code didn’t really make it into the final product. It had to go out.

The Problem: Or How I Came Up with the “Trash V1” Rule

The fear of trashing code is certainly the number one reason for the technical debt. However, when you split your code you have way more chances to fail than to succeed.

Often, it’s tempting to spend a lot of time on a piece of code to “make it perfect”. But when you start a project, it’s hard to define perfection in a piece of code. You need the insight that only comes after you finish a version of the code to figure out what would make your code perfect.

If you try to make your code perfect from the start you know what will happen? It will be twice harder for you to trash it even if it’s faulty or just useless, for the simple reason that you’ve invested in it a lot of energy and passion.

I’ve been through all that. Most of my V1 code that I kept back in the early days was just regrets. Usually, I ended up rewriting everything, losing not just time, but adding more retro-compatibility constraints to the code.

You should never do that.

The “Trash the V1” Rule

Here’s where my rule comes in. It’s a simple rule. It consists of assuming that “nobody (not even me) knows exactly how we want to do the project.” Or, to put it in a different way, that not everybody is aligned with the final expectations for the project.

This rule is essentially an extra step that costs you only a few hours or days but that gives you an extra guarantee. The guarantee that you’ll be able to find the right code when following your roadmap.

At the same time, it’s also a good way to check if the project is interesting. You can consider it as a “trial period” during which you familiarize yourself with the project and understand it thoroughly.

Set this simple rule before you start coding. If you have a team, you should announce it to them before you get to work. This way, you ensure that nobody will lose time on an over-engineered, over-optimized piece of code that in the end fails to deliver the expected results.

Here’s a tip to make sure this rule really works for you: set a short time limit, let’s say 1 evening for a solo project or 2 days for a team project. For bigger projects, up to 1 week should be okay too, but the shorter the term, the better.

And here’s another tip: at the end of the proof-of-concept phase (PoC), even if the project is not yet finished, focus on the core value, on what makes it unique and better than the competition. There’s a chance that your project is already on its way to being “the best piece of software to achieve that thing” in the world.

Now, let’s take a step-by-step approach to implementing this rule. Follow these steps for best results, and to speed up your project too.

How to Implement the “Trash the V1” Rule

In the beginning, the most important thing is to stop trying to define all the specifications of what is yet an abstract project. Make the project as concrete as possible by focusing on what you know about it and only then define the missing specifications.

Step 1

Focus on what makes the project unique and write the core specifications. So, what’s special about it? It can be an original feature or a significant difference compared to an existing solution.

Step 2

Explain the rules to your teammates. Choose any additional constraint (time limit, framework/library/method to use) that can help keep you all focused.

Step 3

Remind your teammates that everyone should avoid doing early-optimizations and over-engineering.

Step 4

Code. Do it quickly, with the aim of creating a working version of the product. Don’t waste time on it.

Step 5

Trash this code. Yes, trash it. Actually, you can just archive the repository in read-only mode and consider manually copying some parts later. It brings you some peace of mind.

Now, you have something concrete and you can write better specifications and a more accurate plan. Technically speaking, you are also able to demo your idea to your coworkers, family, friends, or investors.

Step 6

Start a new codebase and write the V2 of the code. Ideally, this version should be the one you publicly release.

Conclusion

I use the “Trash V1” rule for every big or difficult project I undertake. I use it for personal projects as well as for team projects. Even if this rule seems more appropriate for project bootstrapping, it can also be applied to subparts or experiments in a later phase of the project.

Do you fear trashing code? You shouldn’t. Letting go of code you’ve written may not be easy but it’s beneficial.

If you overcome this fear and apply this rule, you’ll actually save time in the long run. In many cases, “Trash V1” will enable you to skip the first required rewrite that usually happens 6 months or 1 year into the life of the code.

So, make this rule a habit – trash version 1 of your code. It may be a bit scary at first, but you won’t regret it.

Automate ArchiveBox with Google Spreadsheet to Backup your internet

Introduction

I just discovered ArchiveBox on my GitHub feed.

ArchiveBox allows you to store copies of webpages at a specific time.

It is still new for me, but from what I see, my workflow will be something like this:

  • to store copies of interesting webpages that I may want to read again later, i.e., my bookmarks; and then, use these archives:
    • as a backup link when the main page is outdated
    • as a way of comparing how the webpage would have changed with time (diff)
    • to list my interesting links
  • to periodically monitor changes of webpages I want to follow over time, i.e., my public social profiles, or this site web

To make it easier for me to maintain, I want to update a Google Spreadsheet and never touch a shell anymore.

My setup

First, write some links on a Google Spreadsheet document.

Then, publish the document in CSV format.

And finally create a script that will fetch the links in CSV and run the archiver against those URLs.

Here is my custom Makefile:

And my adapted docker-compose.yml file:

Run make loop in a tmux or another process-backgrounding method.

Result

I now only need to add new links to a Google Spreadsheet and let my script do the rest.

Windows 10 Setup 🖥

Image made with Paint.exe

Introduction

I recently ordered a Microsoft Surface Book 2 with Windows 10. The last time I used a Windows for something else than playing games was in 2006.

About the “why”, here are some reasons:

  • to give a new trial, especially after seeing Microsoft becoming more and more “cool” company, in the Open-Source and Linux world,
  • to get out of my routine/comfort zone,
  • to be able to see how my different projects are running and are easily usable by a developer under Windows,
  • to put the same shoes that people I will try to help with my apps and projects,
  • for the challenge of having a very secure Windows configuration,
  • to have arguments if I need again to say that I don’t fit with Windows :)

I wrote this blog post while installing to try to be exhaustive. I hope this article can be useful for someone else trying to switch from Mac OS X to Windows, or for people interested in running Windows from a Security/Developer/Musician guy’s point-of-view.

(At least, it will be helpful for me for the next time I need to install a Windows machine.)

Windows Install

  • Disable anti-privacy options
  • Disable Cortona
  • Enable FaceID
  • Use a strong password for the pin, not a short number
  • Device encryption is now the default, well done Microsoft 👍
  • When the install is done, reboot, log in, and let Windows download and install all the updates (multiple reboots)

Apps & Settings

Not yet installed/tried

  • Affinity Designer or equivalent
  • Something that synchronizes screenshots in a Cloud Folder
  • Cinema 4D
  • Traktor
  • Lantern
  • Luxafor
  • OpenVPN / Shimo alternative
  • A good weather app, with rain notifications
  • FullContact
  • Airplay client
  • Steam
  • Mailplane
  • Notes.app
  • Encfs
  • Brain FM
  • Reason
  • Pixelmator
  • Inet
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Webex

Problems & Missing stuffs

  • Keyboard binding is hardcore
  • The default Trackpad is bad
  • Using an Apple Trackpad in Bluetooth is worst
    • even with custom driver
  • The Update system is annoying
  • The Driver system is complicated
  • I miss Quick Look
  • I miss Alfred.app
  • I miss the tree view mode of the Finder
  • I miss iTerm (I tried multiple alternatives, the best fit for now is the terminal built-in Visual Studio Code)
  • I miss Mailplane.app
  • I miss iMessages and other synchronicity applications with my iPhone
  • I miss the Screenshots keyboard shortcuts
  • I miss Notes.app

Good surprises

  • WSL is wonderful
    • but slow, with strange linking between the Windows filesystem and Linux
  • Paint 3D is fun (and sometimes useful)
  • Microsoft SongSmith is brilliant

Further Readings