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Write-ahead logs, recommender systems and a clean start for the web - What our team is reading

At base, the idea was to keep each record in the database in a linked list of versions stamped with transaction IDs — in some sense, this is 'the log as data' or 'the data as a log', depending on your point of view.
Jorge Sancha
Co-founder & CEO
Aug 28, 2020
  min read
“When designing a game, Chen and Thatgamecompany’s process is to start by mapping out what the game should make the player feel, rather than by establishing game mechanics.”

I personally like how solutions evolve over time, and how sometimes using simple solutions is an effective strategy. That’s why I liked this article about how Mercadona is building a recommendation system for similar products to improve customer experience.

It explains the roadmap and different strategies they’ve been implementing, from using the “Levenshtein distance” metric to tokenizing and adding a score to product names. Additionally, the post has a wonderful use of emoji.

“Our responses in the United States to climate change over recent years and to the Covid-19 pandemic over recent months have been inadequate and dangerous, disproportionately harming the most vulnerable communities. Both responses have been characterized by delayed and disjointed government action, denigration of scientific evidence, distortion of truth, withdrawal from critical global alliances, and reliance on antiquated public health infrastructure and fragile health care systems.”

Reading brandur’s mailing list (one of my favorite coders) I found this paper about the postgres history. Didn’t read it fully but I found interesting the part when they talk about the Write Ahead Log.

“At base, the idea was to keep each record in the database in a linked list of versions stamped with transaction IDs—in some sense, this is ‘the log as data’ or ‘the data as a log’, depending on your point of view”

Today Kafka is the “new” paradigm and everybody wants to move to event sourcing but the reality is that those ideas are pretty old (40 years old) and it’s still really hard to extract useful information from data stored as an stream of events.

“It’s easier to stumble into building your resume in React with GraphQL than it is to type some HTML in Notepad”
“In the company’s most recent earnings call, Mr. Cook said, “We do not have a zero-sum approach to prosperity.” He added, “We are focused on growing the pie, making sure our success isn’t just our success and that everything we make, build or do is geared toward creating opportunities for others.”

It is probably just a nice sounding thing to say (specially in the midst of the 30% cut on app store revenues polemic), but a pretty smart defense too. This is from an article about how after 42 years to get to 1 trillion in value, Apple got to 2 trillion in value in 21 weeks.

For reference of scale: 1 million seconds ~ 11 days, 1 trillion seconds ~ 31709 years

“Trump blithely remarked, “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” He had in mind, of course, the coronavirus, but, as others have said, he might just as well have been referring to the American dream.”

Have a great weekend!

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Musings on transformations, tables and everything in between.