a blog by Sara Farquharson

what i'm reading: August 18

For a few weeks I felt too overwhelmed to write a link post, so now I am overwhelmed with my reading list. It seems all I do in these posts is complain that my reading list is too long, but I still find value in recording what I’ve read. Just need to get…better at it? Or acknowledge that I can’t fit reading everything that sounds interesting into my life, but not ready to admit that yet.

I have a lot of papers bookmarked, but have absolutely stopped reading them.


  • Started on Team Topologies in audiobook, which is probably not the ideal format. Especially when I’ve normally been listening while biking through the city, so I feel sure I have missed some details. I’m definitely thinking a lot about team structures and interactions though, and glad I’m absorbing the book in some fashion, though I may want to read through a physical copy in the future.


  • Holly Mintzer’s Legal Salvage was a fun near-future sci-fi with very realistic characters


Career advice

Learning new things

  • A programming community I’m a part in had a discussion on dynamic programming which quickly left me in the dust, so I ended up investigating stuff like memoization on my own.

  • Shortly afterward I encountered Dan Abramov’s tweet thread about how Dynamic Programming is an obscure term and felt immensely validated.

  • I’m trying to start saving links to some of the many, many articles I read while trying to learn a new programming thing, and one of the first I remembered was this from Sunil Sandhu on how to loop through arrays in React. I took two weeks off this React project and this all looks like a foreign language again.

  • At my Recurse Center mini-batch, I was really struggling with translating a feature in my original C++ code to Rust, even after I decided to implement it using the observer pattern, until I read Brooks Patton’s article on implementing the Observer Pattern in Rust. I’d found plenty of stack overflow answers on how to use reference-counting pointers and RefCells, but this was the first thing I read that made clear you have to clone the pointer when adding the observer. I still, uh, don’t fully understand how it works, but at least my code compiles.

There’s still a pandemic on, hey


  • I went into a rabbit hole of tarot deck art while writing a character creator for the Blue Rose RPG, which led me to this interview with artist Trung Nguyen about the beginnings of what became his beautiful Star Spinner Tarot deck.

  • Sarah Drasner’s twitter thread on a painting she started was amazing to me because I have always had artistic aspirations but 100% cannot paint at all. It’s a form of wizardry.

Doing technical things well