Avi Flax

Hallo Berlin!

I’ll be in London on business Tuesday through part of Sunday, then Berlin for 3 nights — let’s hang out!

So many fantastic insights and ideas in this phenomenal essay “Just” by Brad Frost on the importance of writing and speaking empathetically when attempting to help others learn.

I was just furiously scribbling angsty stream-of-consciousness notes to work through a tangled throbbing mess in my head… paused, looked down, and realized I was using a pink glitter pen.

🙃 #parenting

Bug-Driven Documentation

Documentation should be a first-class requirement for every feature of every software project.

If a feature is found to be missing (end-user or developer) docs, or the docs are missing some info, that’s a bug and should be treated as such: a ticket should be opened in the work-tracking system.

All docs start out insufficient and incorrect in some way — those are bugs. They can and should be fixed.

Let’s call it bug-driven documentation and let’s embrace it.

I randomly stumbled across Sean McMullen’s fantastic Souls in the Great Machine at my local library (the excellent @WhitePlainsLib). I couldn’t resist taking it home and re-reading it… and it’s such a pleasure. Ingenious ideas + great writing = magic!

I really wish my iPad would stop uninstalling my dictionary 😠

Note to self: next time I’m considering a job offer, part of my due diligence will be finding someone who used to have the same job at the same company, and ask them whether they’d recommend it — or not.

(Not related to my current job at Funding Circle, which is going great.)

The March for Our Lives Movement is about Life

I’ve been trying to come up with words to describe the experience of participating in the March for Our Lives in White Plains, New York on Saturday, and my mind keeps coming back to the Hebrew/Yiddish מחיה which is derived from חיים (life) and means something like “gives me life” but is (for me) a little more balanced between pleasure, satisfaction, and revitalization.

It seems poetic to me: this youth-led movement is literally about, fundamentally, life.

This all leads me to consider why supporting this movement is so meaningful to me; it seems to be at least partly that it brings together so many aspects of my identity: Judaism, social justice, political activism, parenthood, non-violence, feminism.

And you know what? Depression, too. Because it’s been hard to find any sliver of hope in the state of America today, and that has a real and direct impact on my emotional health. Participating in the march and supporting the movement have given me a bit more hope, which I desperately need.

The movement isn’t about me, of course, but given that this is my private corner of the Web that no one reads anyway, I don’t feel too bad to explore all this here.

Hopefully that’ll be the last time I accidentally quit Safari with ⌘Q when I meant to close a tab or window with ⌘W.

March for Our Lives is next Shabbat and we can make that work!

This new episode of the excellent @HadarInstitute podcast Responsa Radio, Is Protest Prayer?, is super timely given that @AMarch4OurLives is next Shabbat:

Rabbis Avi Killip and Ethan Tucker discuss the questions: “What are we doing when we protest?” and “Is protest different when it happens on Shabbat?”

BTW I’m very proud of my shul community at The Hebrew Institute of White Plains for formally and prominently encouraging and supporting everyone to attend the march in White Plains. We’re having a special kiddush beforehand and then walking over to the march together!

Oh look it’s Wednesday!

$ brew update && brew upgrade && brew cleanup


Results of my Weekend Reading

  • The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag » ★★★★☆
  • Superman: American Alien by Max Landis » ★★★★☆
  • Artemis by Andy Weir » ★★☆☆☆

I didn’t finish Artemis. I only got about ¼ through and gave up — I just wasn’t enjoying it. It was disappointing after how riveting The Martian was, but the story didn’t grab me and the writing felt rote and uninspired.

New Orleans, Feb 2018

I’ve been loving the new Feminist Frequency (@FemFreq) podcast, and after finally seeing Black Panther (which is magnificent) last night, I listened to the episode focused on the film this morning and I was greatly moved and informed by their reactions. Recommended!

I was in New Orleans for the first time a few weeks ago, and got this shot. It’s been my desktop background for the past week — there’s something transporting about it.

I’m very happy that on on #InternationalWomensDay I had the honor of adding Barbara Liskov to the Computer Pioneer Award page on (English) Wikipedia!

I’m grateful for the pioneering work of:

  • Ada Lovelace
  • Hedy Lamar
  • Jean Bartik
  • Grace Hopper
  • Fran Allen
  • Barbara Liskov
  • Jeannette Wing
  • Adele Goldberg
  • Susan Kare
  • Shafi Goldwasser

and the many more woman pioneers of computer science! I owe them my career and more.

Deckset 2 is out! A compelling upgrade to an excellent Mac app. It’s for creating slide decks with Markdown. (🤓🚨: Track changes to your talks in Git!) I’m excited to try the new customization features.

And notable: it’s yet another great Mac app leaving Apple’s app store.