Jacob Davis-Hansson on technology

The United States Congress is an elegant stack machine

If you are familiar with stack machines, it turns out that you also understand the broad strokes of how most US legislative bodies operate.

Seeing the commonality will instill in you the sense of awe that only reading execution traces from an operational, quarter millennia old, computer can.

How we use Dynamic Programming to find the best price for our customers.

A friend of mine, I won’t share his name for privacy reasons1, told me he had an interesting realization one day. Thinking back to the projects he’d done for big banks before his current job, each and every one of his software algorithms had eventually ended up in The Guardian under a headline like “Giant Bank Inc. indicted for massive automated customer fraud system, AGAIN!”.

I gave commit rights to someone I didn't know, I could never have guessed what happened next!

(Spoiler: trusting your contributors works)

Some years ago, I polished up and released an abandoned project for storing financial data in Django. It let you declare “Money” fields on your models, dealing with proper storage and currencies for you.

My use case for the library, django-money eventually faded, but it ended up teaching me a useful lesson in trust and OSS abandonware.

Asynchronous transactional patterns

Transactions are not very hip anymore - so unhip, in fact, that people started building databases without them. Alas, as people who decided to try those databases found out, transactions remain a fundamental aspect of applications that don’t break horrifically.

Except, it turns out that even if you have transactions, it’s surprisingly easy to shoot yourself in the foot.

On professionalism in software

We like to blame the worlds governments, or the ominous Them, for the current mass surveillance society we live in. It's an easy way out - but pull the curtain aside and you and I both know there is a programmer sitting behind it.

We, the profession of software engineering, built the Orwellian future we now inhabit, and it is high time for a retrospective.

Brian Flanagan goes to Ireland

On march third, a young man named Brian Flanagan was refused entry into Ireland. The border police officer he happened to have been paired up with believed the occupation Brian cited as his reason for entry, “user experience designer”, was made up.

The end of the market

Markets are an incredible way to organize and share the spoils of labor, but in many aspects they are based on assumptions that no longer hold true. A dive into how the open source economy radically changes how we trade.