Brian Gilham

Engineering leader, husband, and father


Coronavirus: Pregnant in a Pandemic →

With my wife and I expecting our first child in roughly four weeks, the latest episode of Science Vs, discussing the risks for pregnant women and newborns, felt timely and reassuring.

We are complicit in our employer's deeds →

A reminder from Drew DeVault:

[…] if you’re a programmer already working at $company and you’re looking for a change, you’re better off than 99% of your non-technical friends. In tech, hardly anyone is “trapped” at a bad job; or at least we don’t have a good excuse for not trying for something better.


Ultimately, however, our decision to switch was driven by our difficulty in hiring new talent for $UNREMARKABLE_LANGUAGE, despite it being taught in dozens of universities across the United States. Our blog posts on $PRACTICAL_OPEN_SOURCE_FRAMEWORK seemed to get fewer upvotes when posted on Reddit as well, cementing our conviction that our technology stack was now legacy code.

This made me chuckle more than a few times. Spot on.

Welcome Back Blogging? →

The hobbyists (and one prominent pro — Seth Godin) profess that it’s the opposite that has the most positive impact on your life and mental health: short-form writing, and just getting your ideas out there. They’re correct.

Why Restaurants Are So Fucked →

Mind-blowing breakdown from Joelle Parenteau. We’ve tried to support some of our favourite local spots over the last seven weeks. It’s shocking how razor-thin the margins are.

Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You →

I really enjoyed CGP Grey’s latest video talking about staying sane, healthy, and productive during lockdown. Great analogy.

How Banksy Authenticates His Work →

Pretty ingenious.

That torn-in-half banknote though? Never mind signatures, embossing or wax seals. The Di Faced Tenner is doing all the authentication heavy lifting here.

Embracing Uncertainty →

Therefore, it has occurred to me that the problem is not the uncertainty. The problem is in working against the uncertainty. Of wishing and hoping and demanding that which is impossible to gain.

SmileBASIC 4 for Nintendo Switch →

I started programming with QBasic back in elementary school, so I can appreciate this being available on the Nintendo Switch for today’s kids. Trying to write code directly on a handheld console sounds like a nightmare, though.

What Social Distance Looks Like Across the World →

Filmmakers Jacob Jonas and Ivan Cash have created a short film, called A Social Distance, collecting clips from people in more than 30 countries.

In the self-submitted videos, people dance, play music, take us on a tour of their refrigerator, and introduce us to their pets. Edited together, these intimate moments create a synchronicity of humanity—a feeling of togetherness that’s difficult to conjure when you’re sequestered at home.

Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure →

Dr. Aisha S. Ahmad, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, shares some advice for adapting to long-term crisis:

Understand that this is a marathon. If you sprint at the beginning, you will vomit on your shoes by the end of the month. Emotionally prepare for this crisis to continue for 12 to 18 months, followed by a slow recovery. If it ends sooner, be pleasantly surprised. Right now, work toward establishing your serenity, productivity, and wellness under sustained disaster conditions.

None of us knows how long this crisis will last. We all want our troops to be home before Christmas.

The end of the beginning →

Almost three years ago, a group of us from TWG participated in management training offered by Jonathan & Melissa from the Raw Signal Group. Their lessons, insights, and values played a huge role in helping to shape who I am as a manager.

The latest edition of their newsletter hit on something I’ve been acutely feeling, this week.

That’s the challenge for all of us as we head into this next phase. The end of the hectic, new information everyday, everything swirling chaos phase. And into the middle part. The I’m bored, my family is bored, every day is Groundhog Day, and I am all out of ways to make chickpeas interesting phase.

Their appearance on BetaKit’s Black Swan podcast1, “Managers Are Not OK”, is also a really great listen. If you’re a manager and you’re struggling right now, I’d suggest checking it out.

  1. Full disclosure: TWG is a sponsor. [return]

After Social Distancing, a Strange Purgatory Awaits →

Juliette Kayyem, former Department of Homeland Security official, collected thoughts from folks in a variety of fields and shares a vision of what the world may look like after COVID-19.

The simplistic idea of “opening up” fails to acknowledge that individual Americans’ risk-and-reward calculus may have shifted dramatically in the past few weeks. Yes, I’d like to go meet some girlfriends for drinks. But I am also a mother with responsibilities to three kids, so is a Moscow mule worth it? The answer will depend on so many factors between my home and sitting at the bar, and none of them will be weighed casually.

Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self →

This gave me a much-needed laugh this morning.

Your definition of ‘a pretty big deal’ is going to change for sure.

GitHub is now free for teams →

GitHub just went in for the kill, announcing free unlimited private repositories, unlimited collaborators, and reduced pricing for their (few) remaining paid features.

We’re happy to announce we’re making private repositories with unlimited collaborators available to all GitHub accounts. All of the core GitHub features are now free for everyone.

John Horton Conway: the world’s most charismatic mathematician →

John Conway, inventor of the “Game of Life”, has died.

More than 24 years have passed since I first discovered Game of Life while pawing through book bins at the computer shop with my Dad. Farewell and thank you, sir.

This profile from The Guardian is a great read.

Reichenbergerstr 121 →

Miss working in the office with your team? This (beautiful) noise generator may be just the ticket. The creaky chairs are particularly fun.

Let's All Wear A Mask →

Maciej Cegłowski makes a compelling argument for why we should all be wearing a mask. This is the post to send around to your friends & family.

But in this essay, I want to persuade you not just to wear a mask, but to go beyond the new CDC guidelines and help make mask wearing a social norm. That means always wearing a mask when you go out in public, and becoming a pest and nuisance to the people in your life until they do the same.

A Lego Justin Trudeau Talks to Children About the Covid-19 Pandemic →

Tyler Walsh and his sons spent a week making a Lego stop-motion animation of Trudeau acknowledging the role of Canada’s children in this pandemic — their hardships and role in stopping the spread. Really heartwarming.

Coronavirus and Credibility →

Paul Graham on COVID-19, credibility in the news media, and remembering who lied to us.

But epidemics are rare enough that these people clearly didn’t realize this was even a possibility. Instead they just continued to use their ordinary m.o., which, as the epidemic has made clear, is to talk confidently about things they don’t understand.