a blog by Sara Farquharson

  • what i'm reading: April 21

    I got busy and then the world kind of collapsed. For a while I couldn’t care about much outside my immediate field of vision, but now I’ve settled into the new life of working remote and idly stressing about a different set of problems. I still have a job, might as well read more and try to get better at it.

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  • what i'm reading: february 11

    Instead of posting a reading list on Sunday I instead read 5 books, so while I feel like I haven’t gotten much reading done that’s not entirely correct.

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  • what i'm reading: February 2

    Hit the point where I need to start adding metadata to individual links, because I’ve posted enough reading lists that I can’t reliably remember where to find a particular article I want to go back to! Started looking at Hugo data templates but won’t have time to play with it for a while. In the meantime, more unordered lists:

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  • what i'm reading: Jan 26

    This felt like a slow reading week since I got sick and spent a lot of time not wanting to do anything more strenuous than play phone games, and didn’t finish either book that I’m working through. Sunday morning make-coffee-and-read-articles is becoming a relaxing ritual though.

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  • what i'm reading: Jan 19

    Last week I got access back to my company’s O’Reilly books subscription after a licensing hiccup, so I finally got back to Brendan Gregg’s Systems Performance! Still managed to find time for some other reading though.

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  • what i'm reading: Jan 12

    Instead of writing up my recent reading I spent most of today reading more things, which is not exactly how I intended this to work.

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  • what i'm reading: Jan 3

    Finally got my CI pipeline working with Hugo! Next step is to start writing something other than link posts, but in the meantime: here’s another link post.

    Even if no one else ever reads these posts this habit has proven invaluable to me, because it’s easier for me to share that interesting article I was reading the other day now that I have a list of them online.

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  • what I'm reading: holiday special

    What better time than holidays with the family to hide in your room writing blog posts? I got my work-provided login to O’Reilly’s online learning portal to work on my iPad without SSO, so now I have a lot more technical books available to me when I travel!

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  • what I'm reading: catch-up edition

    Due to my site generator woes, I went a few weeks without sharing what I’ve been reading. I have still been making a list though, and it’s enormous! This post took twice as long to compile because I had to revisit all these links to remember why I liked them, and also group into topics to hopefully make it more readable

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  • (framework) mistakes were made

    It took a long time for me to go from “I want to write blog posts” to actually, y’know, writing anything. Not due to any sort of writer’s block, but because the idea of designing a new website was so exhausting.

    Even once I decided to use a static site generator, I had to choose which generator, and then a template… Ugh! After four months or so I finally picked Hexo and tweaked a template to my liking.

    That turned out to be a mistake. How could I have done better?

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  • what I'm reading this week: Nov 23

    Continuing on my haphazard self-education tour around distributed systems topics and other random corners of the internet.

    • I feel like I learned so much from reading the transcript of this QCon panel moderated by Cindy Sridharan: The Promises and Perils of Eschewing Distributed Coordination. I had to look up what a control plane is, and took notes on interesting ways distributed systems have failed.
      • new things to look into: Anna key-value store, Jepsen test framework, Google F1 paper

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  • what I'm reading this week: Nov 16

    • I wanted to quickly check my intuition that Rust doesn’t have garbage collection and instead found this Steve Klabnik essay about that and a lot more. The takeaway I think is that Rust’s static memory management makes GC redundant?

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  • what I'm reading this week: Nov 9

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  • Review: Doing Good Better

    One of my lifelong values has always been making a positive impact on the world. For a long time I lived paycheque-to-paycheque, but I still tried to put aside a percentage of my income for charitable giving. When I got a full-time software job, my income tripled overnight—which meant so did my donation budget.

    This left me with an unexpected problem: now that I have more money to give, who should I give it to? Should I increase my monthly donation to the existing charities I support, or branch out to new ones? How can I do the most good with the resources I have?

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  • Women Unite Over CTF - Solving Challenges

    The winner of the Women Unite Over CTF, Jaime Lightfoot, quickly posted writeups about how she solved the challenges. These posts (networking challenges, reverse engineering, and Linux exploitation) are excellent for the same reasons I enjoyed the event in general: my main barrier to entry is not knowing what tools to use or what to look for.

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  • WTF is a CTF? A beginner's adventure

    Today I reverse-engineered binaries and pored over packet captures to find hidden information under a deadline, thereby checking another box in my quest to be the coolest person my 14-year-old self could imagine. This was all part of Women Unite Over CTF, an online competition hosted by a number of cybersecurity communities.

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  • what I'm reading this week: Oct 31

    These days I am reading a lot across many devices and then immediately misplacing the references. Instead, here are some things I found interesting this week.

    • The $10m engineering problem, blog post about how Segment cut their infrastructure costs by 30%
      • I found this fascinating! Hope to come back to it as I learn more about infrastructure design to see what else I can get out of it.

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