I like Slack a lot. I loved and still love IRC, and chatrooms in general, because they are an excellent form of synchronous communication to a group of people. The nature of Slack, and IRC bouncers before it, enables the service to become a useful asynchronous communication form, as well.

However, I am concerned that many Slack-using teams have mismatched values and misaligned expectations for the novelty and conveniences that Slack provides. Although it may be searchable, chat logs do not live forever in a meaningful way. They should be treated as ephemeral, even if they technically are not.

An attempt at the Avengers: Infinity War dispersion effect on the Slack logo
An attempt at the Avengers: Infinity War dispersion effect on the Slack logo
An attempt at the Avengers: Infinity War dispersion effect was made.


Julian Pisoni asked me a while ago:

How do you Slack in so many different spaces and still have time to focus on work stuff? I want to chat more in [two Slack workspaces we share], but I have a hard time keeping up.

I thought for a moment and realized I actually do have a strategy that works for me. It wasn’t intentional at first, but in the last three years of explosive growth in the popularity of Slack, Discord, et al., I’ve had to be somewhat intentional about how to (dis)engage with the communities I’ve joined, built, and/or…

2020 was a rough year for the world. It was for C&S, too. While we’d decided in December 2019 to hold off on Abstractions until 2021 or 2022, we didn’t imagine that 2020 would be what it was — socially distant yet held together by the fabric that our profession of software enabled. 2021 is off to a raucous start but seems like it’ll be more like 2020 than any year before them.

This post is a quick, glanceable summary of our 2020 and what we’re imagining in 2021. Information about our Meetups, Slack, Heartifacts, Compensation Survey, and Workspace follows.

Before the pandemic

A friend from high school posted a meme on a social network in June 2020 decrying the actions of those who sought the removal of statues of Confederate States of America generals and other U.S. Civil War figures while also expressing support for flying the “confederate flag,” as an expression of “southern heritage.”

I’ve known this man for all but maybe my first eight or nine years on this planet but haven’t interacted with him significantly in person since we graduated from high school. We reconnected online many years later. …

Abstractions II was a special event in the history of Code & Supply. It proved that our stalwart, volunteer team could pull off a huge conference again.

The first Abstractions, held in 2016, was a lofty goal for us. Built on our combined decades of conference organization experience, we aimed to attract well-known names and create a platform for new speakers alike in the largest software-focused event in Pittsburgh in a generation. We did it, and Abstractions was highly praised.

Conference organizing at the scale of Abstractions is challenging for a volunteer team of our size. We always strive to…

So you’ve got a shiny new remote job but a dusty old office at home, if you even have dedicated space you can call an office! How do you create a space in which you can be the most productive? A lot of it is stuff but there are some important things that you may not think about.

I’ve been working remotely now for nearly two years and regularly worked from home for the previous 8.5 years, especially in the cold and snowy Pittsburgh winters. I’ve had various setups but I’ve identified a few things that are important for me…

I’m a workaholic. I don’t stop thinking about the tasks at hand, especially when there’s code involved. I am compelled by my own desire to create useful things and accomplish the tasks asked of me. Sometimes, though, this “gotta keep coding” mentality gets in the way. I disappear into my own world and emerge with something, hopefully something useful or clever, even if it’s 100 ways not to do something.

Suddenly remembering that I’m in a meeting and should be listening is jarring, like suddenly awakening from a dream or a hearing an obviously stuck valve during a concerto. I’ve…

It’s no secret that Andrew W.K. is one of my favorite musical acts. A long time ago, my mother asked me what kind of music he plays. I thought for a moment and said, “It’s fast, loud, positive… happy rock and roll about deriving enjoyment from everything in life.”

Andrew W.K. spreads a message of radical positivity in something that he describes simply as partying: anything counts as partying, regardless of if that something actually fun or something difficult yet formative in your life. Here are some choice lyrics:

When you’re down on your luck / You gotta do it

I don’t see a strong reason not to enable HTTPS for every website, other than it not being a priority because it works fine right now.

Many B2B companies’ web sites are basically just product information, with no user interaction beyond perhaps search feature and a Contact Us page. The Contact Us form probably submits securely to something like Hubspot, Google Forms, or Mailchimp. …

Tracking problems in an office can be an onerous and frustrating task. Some companies designate one person to be the central point of contact for everything from changing lightbulbs to asking the landlord to repair a roof leak.

One thing I helped start at a past employer was an issue tracker for problems around our office. We used Github Enterprise (GHE) and Zenhub, so, naturally, we created a GHE repo to track issues around the office. This process helped us manage problems and manage better what we raised to our facilities manager, who was our conduit to our landlord.


Colin Dean

Scholar, bon vivant, champion of the oppressed. Pittsburgh-based software engineer+architect+consultant and community builder seeking serenity. http://cad.cx

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