Gopher it

The web is getting faster but feeling slower, something which I have complained about loudly on Twitter but now some folks have put together data to back it up. The web is simultaneously a medium to transmit documents (e.g. an article) and an application platform (e.g. Jira). Anecdotally it seems to me like far too many publishers think of the web only as the latter. There are more and more websites which require significant JavaScript or other multimedia resources to render what ends up being a few paragraphs of text. If you don’t believe me, just visit the website for your local television news station with NoScript turned on. In my own way, I have been resisting this push by keeping this blog as barebones as neceessary to present the content you’re reading now. On a whim, I recently took this idea a little bit further by deploying a Gopher site (viewable over HTTP via a proxy).

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Reclaiming disk space from cargo's target/ directories

You never really appreciate disk space until it’s all gone. This morning I noticed that my laptop had come perilously close to exhausting all its available disk space. Oops! Normally I would prune some Docker images with docker system prune -f but this time around I couldn’t blame Docker, the wasted space was due to cargo, critical part of the Rust development toolchain.

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Using serde's deserialize_with to handle custom strings

I stumbled across a crate which implemented string parsing that I wished to incorporate into some of my serde.rs deserialization code. Unfortunately the crate in question, cron does not implement the #[derive(Deserialize)] macro on its Schedule, so I needed to fiddle with one of serde’s “field attributes” in order to move forward: deserialize_with.

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Building a real-time data platform with Apache Spark and Delta Lake

The Real-time Data Platform is one of the fun things we have been building at Scribd since I joined in 2019. Last month I was fortunate enough to share some of our approach in a presentation at Spark and AI Summit titled: “The revolution will be streamed.” At a high level, what I had branded the “Real-time Data Platform” is really: Apache Kafka, Apache Airflow, Structured streaming with Apache Spark, and a smattering of microservices to help shuffle data around. All sitting on top of Delta Lake which acts as an incredibly versatile and useful storage layer for the platform.

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Building an Azure Function to send IRC notifications with Rust

Delivering a simple payload to IRC is an ideal use-case for Function-based cloud computing. Last year when GitHub discontinued their service for pushing notifications into IRC channels, I had a perfect situation to couch-hack with a library I had recently discovered: Azure Functions for Rust

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Building and debugging a high-throughput daemon in Rust

The async/await keywords in modern Rust make building high-throughput daemons pretty straightforward, but as I learned that doesn’t necessarily mean “easy.” Last month on the Scribd tech blog wrote about a daemon named hotdog which we deployed into production: Ingesting production logs with Rust. In this post, I would like to write about some of the technical challenges I encountered getting the performance tuned for this async-std based Rust application.

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Reading RSS feeds from wacky protocols with newsboat

Much of the information I read during the day, not counting e-mail, comes from my RSS reader: Newsboat. Whenever I see an interesting blog post on Twitter or elsewhere, I habitually subscribe the author’s RSS feed. I recently stumbled across an interesting RSS feed which wasn’t served over HTTP, leading me to wonder: how can I subscribe?

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A terminal in your editor in your terminal

I discovered today that since version 8.1, Vim apparently supports spawning a terminal from within the Vim editor. This is a handy little feature that could make life easier for checking documentation, running tests, and so on.

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Writing Rust unit tests with async-std

I have been writing a lot of Rust lately and as a consequence I have had to get a lot better at writing unit tests. As if testing along weren’t tricky enough, almost everything I am writing takes advantage of async/await and is running on top of the async-std runtime.

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Hosting Remote Eng Management Office Hours

Suddengly managing a remote engineering team may seem like a daunting situation, one which many people are suddently finding themselves in as tech companies institute sudden “work-from-home” policies in response to the Corona virus. If you find yourself in this situation don’t panic. Managing remotely is not significantly different than managing in-person, and your already existing good management and communication habits will greatly help. Nonetheless, I thought I might be able to help newly remote managers by hosting an open office hours, with the first experimental session yesterday in the afternoon PST.

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