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Roblox is a gaming platform with a large ecosystem of players, creators, game designers, and entrepreneurs. The world of Roblox is a three-dimensional environment where characters and objects interact through a physics engine. Roblox is multiplayer, and users can interact with each other over the Internet. Roblox is not one single game—it is a syst…
 
Originally published November 4, 2016 Indie Hackers is a website that profiles independent developers who have made profitable software projects, usually without raising any money. These projects make anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to more than $100,000 as in the case with park.io, one of the services profiled by Indie Hackers. Courtla…
 
Key Values is a platform where companies are profiled with descriptions of their company values. These profiles describe features such as work-life balance, company culture, daily routines, and strategy. Lynne Tye created Key Values with the goal of building a small business that would make money through connecting job seekers to companies with a c…
 
FindCollabs is a platform for finding collaborators and building projects. Three months ago we had our first hackathon, with lots of projects being created and collaborated on. In an earlier episode, we showcased the first place winner ARhythm. Today’s show features two more interviews with winners from the first FindCollabs hackathon. Kitspace is …
 
Gaming is becoming mainstream. Popular multiplayer games such as Fortnite and Minecraft present players with a massive virtual world to explore, build, and compete within. Turn-based games such as Hearthstone and Magic are breeding a new generation of board game and card game aficionados. Social media networks like Twitch and YouTube have turned ga…
 
Africa is rapidly adopting the same software and hardware technologies that have transformed the western world over the last few decades. But access to computers and technology education is still uneven. Where there is access to computers, smartphone adoption often comes before access to laptops or desktop computers. Nelly Cheboi is the founder of …
 
Modern software consists of sprawling international networks of servers. Users contact these servers to access applications. Microservices talk to each other to fulfill complicated requests. Databases and machine learning frameworks crunch terabytes of information to provide complicated answers. Across this infrastructure, there is a lot of differe…
 
Apple operating systems are closed source. This closed source nature gives Apple an extremely successful business model–and a very different software developer ecosystem than Linux-based systems. Since Linux is open source, the information on how to manipulate the system at a low level is very public. The lack of information about low-level program…
 
If you operate a restaurant, you want to know how many people are inside your restaurant at any given time. You also want to be able to know your occupancy if you operate a movie theater, coffee shop, or apparel store. Knowing how many people are in your building can answer several business-related questions. Do you need to unlock an additional ent…
 
Napster, Kazaa, and Bittorrent are peer-to-peer file sharing systems. In these P2P systems, nodes need to find each other. Users need to be able to search for files that exist across the system. P2P systems are decentralized, so these routing problems must be solved without a centralized service in the middle. Without a centralized service that has…
 
Crocodile Browser is a fast browser built by Osine and Anesi Ikhianosime, a pair of brothers from Nigeria. I interviewed them 3 years ago, and in this episode I caught up with Osine to learn what he and his brother have been working on since then. Osine and Anesi have become friends of mine since we had a conversation several years ago. I met Osine…
 
In the tech industry, we have all grown to fear “lock-in.” Lock-in is a situation in which you have no choice but to pay a certain provider for some aspect of your computer services. Since computers are so fundamental to our lives, we sometimes have no choice but to pay the provider of that lock-in service. Think of a few service providers in your …
 
Ad blockers in the browser protect us from the most annoying marketing messages that the Internet tries to serve to us. But we still pay a price for these ads. We pay the bandwidth costs of requesting these pages. Our browsers are slowed down by these extra requests. Pi Hole is a hardware based ad blocker. Pi Hole acts as a DNS server for all of th…
 
Functional programming can improve the overall design of an application architecture. Runar Bjarnason has been exploring how writing in a functional style increases modularity and compositionality of software for many years. He is co-author of Functional Programming in Scala, a book that explores the relationship between functional programming and …
 
Originally published October 22, 2015 “The official motto that we have in our help manual is ‘Losing is fun!’ ” Dwarf Fortress is a construction and management simulation computer game set in a procedurally generated fantasy world in which the player indirectly controls a group of dwarves, and attempts to construct a successful underground fortress…
 
Originally published January 6, 2016 “The best computer science is the kind where the theory is inspired by some practical problem, you develop a better theoretical understanding of what you want to do, and that feeds back into better practice.” Brian Kernighan is a professor of computer science at Princeton University and the author of several boo…
 
Wearables are everywhere. In the medical field they are transforming lives. Haiyan Zhang, Innovation Director at Microsoft Research, created a wearable for a young graphic designer that developed Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is a condition that inhibits movement, and this wearable allows the Parkinson’s patient to write and draw again. Haiyan explained…
 
Professional hackathon programmers travel around the hackathon circuit, winning merchandise and small cash prizes. There are enough hackathons that some programmers actually do this as a full-time job. For example, Peter Ma, a programmer who describes himself as a “rapid prototype specialist.” Peter is a great programmer, and he has received lots o…
 
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter facilitate interactions between individuals. Every message I send to you on Facebook goes through Facebook’s servers before reaching you. This is known as the client-server model. Since the early days of the internet, engineers have always envisioned a peer-to-peer model, where I could communicate to you di…
 
Relay is a JavaScript framework for building data-driven React applications. Facebook open sourced Relay around the same time they open sourced GraphQL, and Facebook expected Relay to be the more popular of the two projects. However, the reality was reversed. Open source companies like Meteor quickly began to build GraphQL tools and a few businesse…
 
There are certain experiences when a product solves a problem so thoroughly and elegantly that it lifts a weight off of your shoulders that you didn’t even know was there. Dropbox did this with file storage. Slack did this with group collaboration. Zencastr does this for recording podcasts. Before I used Zencastr to record my podcasts, like most po…
 
We view our iPhones as inanimate objects. But when we see robots such as the Boston Dynamics machines that move with a motion that seems like an animal, the robot comes alive. We feel more sympathy and connection towards it. Today’s episode is about the distinction between inanimate machines and machines that seem alive. Peeqo is a robot assistant …
 
Engineers today have a variety of career options. You could go work for a large corporation, you could raise money and start a startup, you could freelance and move from job to job with freedom–or you could start a business with the goal of quickly becoming profitable. Courtland Allen was a guest on Software Engineering Daily a few months ago, when…
 
Many elderly people live with unhealthy levels of isolation. Social isolation is a problem for anybody, but younger people can use technology to alleviate their isolation with tools like Skype and Facebook. How can we bridge the generational gap and give elderly people access to the same technological tools that younger people find easy to use? Voi…
 
A biologist wants to study the genetic makeup of an organism. A pharmaceutical researcher wants to test the effects of an experimental drug. These types of experiments require a deep knowledge of the scientific domain as well as the lab techniques to produce the data that will eventually yield a result. Transcriptic is a robotic biology laboratory …
 
Every song you hear on the radio is written with a computer. Computer musicians mostly use synthesizers and samples to compose these songs. A sample is a snippet of recorded sound, sometimes taken from a songs, a movie, or another source. The more samples a musician has access to the better. SampleFocus is a platform where musicians upload and down…
 
Over the next few years, bots will pervade our lives more and more. These smart, conversational text interfaces provide a new way of engaging with the computer systems that we have been mostly interacting with through web and mobile app interfaces for the last decade. Bots are a necessary complement to the voice interfaces of the future, because we…
 
Software Engineering Daily was started a year and a half ago, based on what I learned from my podcasting experience on Software Engineering Radio. Last week, I interviewed Robert Blumen, the editor of Software Engineering Radio, about how that podcast is produced. In today’s episode, Robert interviews me about this podcast. If you are thinking abou…
 
When a human passes away, we create a tombstone as a memorial. Friends and family visit a grave to remember the times they had with that person while they were still alive. Memorial bots are another way to celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. A memorial bot is created by taking the messages sent by a deceased person and passing it thr…
 
There are multiple paths to constructing a piece of software from start to finish. An individual programmer can build an entire product from scratch in a couple days. A giant corporation can commission a project and delegate responsibilities to hundreds of people. An open source community can use the wisdom of the crowds to efficiently build an ope…
 
You have probably received a parking ticket that you felt was unfair, but instead of fighting it, you paid the expensive price to get rid of it quickly. Fighting a parking ticket sounds like it would be so time consuming that it is a better decision to just pay for it. When Joshua Browder was faced with this situation, his response was different. H…
 
Four years ago, I started volunteering for a popular podcast about software–Software Engineering Radio. For the next two years, I learned about the process of making a quality podcast about engineering. With its emphasis on preparation, timeless engineering principles, and attention to the listener, Software Engineering Radio continues to be one of…
 
Biology research at Microsoft is focused on three main areas: molecular programming, synthetic biology, and stem cell biology. At the intersection of biology and computing there are implications for health, medicine, and efficient computing techniques. The field of Biological Computation is in its early days, and there is still lots of work to be d…
 
Everyone has debugging stories. We have all had the experience of wrestling with a seemingly impossible bug for days until we finally come to a solution. In today’s episode, Haseeb Qureshi retells some of his favorite debugging stories: The case of the 500-mile email, Debugging Behind the Iron Curtain, and My Hardest Bug Ever. The post Debugging St…
 
Bot Day was an O’Reilly conference featuring talks from some of the leading figures in the bot industry. Before I attended Bot Day, I knew there were lots of applications for chatbots, but I didn’t realize how good the tooling has gotten–it’s very easy to get started with chatbots today so if you are a developer and you have a basic idea, I suggest…
 
Indie Hackers is a website that profiles independent developers who have made profitable software projects, usually without raising any money. These projects make anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to more than $100,000 as in the case with park.io, one of the services profiled by Indie Hackers. Courtland Allen is the creator, engineer, and…
 
Music collaboration software that works over the Internet is a software challenge that has not been fully tackled. On today’s Internet, users collaborate intensively on programming projects, journalism, and other projects, but the tools for collaborating on music online have not yet become popular. Blend.io is a social music collaboration tool–a gi…
 
The Simpsons is a classic, beloved television show. The scripts of The Simpsons have been made publicly available, and include dialogue, location, and character information. Todd Schneider used these scripts and other information sources as a corpus to analyze The Simpsons and find interesting statistics–such as who the most important supporting ch…
 
Mark Zuckerberg may be the most powerful person in the world. At no other time in history has a single human had such fine-grained control over the most influential tool for media. Today’s guests are Michael Zimmer and Nick Proferes, the creators of The Zuckerberg Files, an index of every recorded word that Mark Zuckerberg has said in text, video, …
 
Facebook users provide lots of information about the structure of their relationship graph. Facebook uses that information to provide content and services that are expected to be important to users. If Facebook knows who the most important people in my life are, Facebook can use that knowledge to serve me content that is more relevant to me. Jon Kl…
 
Drones will become a central part of our lives. Drones are delivering packages, surveying cell phone towers, providing wi-fi, or fertilizing crops. Drones are assisting humans in dangerous work, and serving as an entirely new computing platform, providing services that were previously nonexistent. Airware is a company that is building a full-stack …
 
MobyCraft is a client-side Minecraft mod to manage and visualize Docker containers. MobyCraft was created by Aditya Gupta. I met him at DockerCon, where he gave a presentation about his project. He also discussed his interaction with the Netflix team, who integrated MobyCraft with their container management tool called Titus. You can watch a video …
 
Pixar has made some of the most successful movies of all time: Toy Story, WALL-E, Monsters Inc, and many others. These movies are made with cutting-edge computer animation techniques that Pixar often has to invent in order to tell the story it wants to tell. Pixar has teamed up with Khan Academy to teach anyone who wants to learn the basics of comp…
 
Finally–the Android operating system has been put on an iPhone, and today’s guest is Nick Lee, who accomplished that feat. Nick works at Tendigi, a design and engineering firm. In the past, Nick has put Windows 95 on an Apple Watch. Why would you do something like this? In today’s interview with Nick, we talk about the technical challenges of bring…
 
At most universities, there is not a course titled “cloud computing”. Most students leave college without an understanding of distributed systems, cloud service providers, and the fundamentals of how a data center works. Kasper Nissen and Martin Jensen are changing that with KubeCloud, a small tangible cloud computing cluster that runs on Raspberry…
 
In order to use a remote desktop experience, software engineers have a limited number of options, and most of them are proprietary, like VMWare or Oracle. Remote desktop is a functionality that many engineers use every day, so it is surprising that the open source world has taken awhile to displace the functionality of proprietary software. In 2010…
 
18F is an organization that is building the 21st century digital government. In order to build online government services that have the high quality of modern cloud applications, 18F built Cloud.gov, a platform-as-a-service that can be used to stand up web applications for divisions of the government. Aidan Feldman helped build Cloud.gov, and on to…
 
Algorithmia is marketplace for algorithms. A software engineer who writes an algorithm for image processing or spam detection or TF-IDF can turn that algorithm into a RESTful API to be consumed by other developers. Different algorithms can be composed together to build even higher level applications. Diego Oppenheimer is the CEO of Algorithmia, and…
 
The Internet of Things is becoming a reality. Factories are being outfitted with sensors, temperature monitors, and other data gathering devices. In agriculture, farms are becoming more efficient thanks to soil monitoring devices and automated pesticide regulation. In our homes, refrigerators, alarm clocks, and mirrors are becoming “smart”. Steve B…
 
Most episodes of Software Engineering Daily are interviews with an expert about a technical software concept. Over the past year I have done a few experiments that are more editorial in nature, and both were very popular. The first editorial was about 10 Philosophies for Engineers, and the second was about how poker relates to software engineering.…
 
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