Isaac Su

I practice writing things here.

Blogging vs Wiki-ing

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

I tried blogging from Standard Notes earlier this evening. It was a nice and satisfying experience to be able to whip up an entry just like any other note and simply hit Publish to Blog for it to be magically published to

I ran into a little snag when my note disappeared from Standard Notes (might've accidentally deleted) and now there was no way to unpublish the note other than asking the admin to help unpublish.

What was so different about blogging from Standard Notes compared to writing here?

It occured to me upon arriving here that in on typical blog platform, I get to start with a clean writing slate that then later gets automatically integrated back into a stream of posts.

Notes works more like a wiki, so I'm having to contend with a bunch of unfinished writings. It's just more mentally burdensome.

Defining my network

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Internet of 2018 is now actually an amalgamation of tens (hundreds?) thousands of internets each larger and more prolific than the one Internet that we had in 2006. This means the concept of an all-reaching big B blog is

  1. a myth, and
  2. a race to the lowest common denominator

This brings me to my attempt to define who I might be addressing in my writings.

Update 13 Mar: I'm putting this off in favour of simply focusing on writing for now


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

I used to blog. I used to blog with friends. We shared an MT3 instance. I was defacto webmaster. I'd write a blog, they'd read it; they'd write a blog, and I'd read it. We left comments on each other's posts.

It was exciting.

We wrote for each other. We had our very own captive audience in each other. We were our social network.

In the last few years, writing, for me, has been a struggle. I've now come to realise that writing was a means to connect with an audience. When that audience dispersed, so did the writing.

I guess I could start looking for an audience to write to, or I could write to a pretend audience.

We'll see.

Happy New Year.

Why OCaml

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Why OCaml

This was a nice talk to listen to on the way to work this morning about how the engineering team at Jane Street Capital think about OCaml, their reasons for picking it, and how it's worked out for them so far.

Not Google

Monday, 3 July 2017

Noteable excerpts from You Are Not Google

Regarding the Dynamo paper and Cassandra:

Having read the Dynamo paper, and knowing Cassandra to be a close derivative, I understood that these distributed databases prioritize write availability (Amazon wanted the “add to cart” action to never fail).

they did this by compromising consistency, as well as basically every feature present in a traditional RDBMS

Regarding Service-Oriented Architecture:

But by the time Amazon decided to move to SOA, they had around 7,800 employees and did over $3 billion in sales.

Regarding GFS and MapReduce:

But do you need to read and write back to literally thousands of disks? How much data do you have exactly? GFS and MapReduce were created to deal with the problem of computing over the entire web, such as… rebuilding a search index over the entire web.

Perhaps you have read the GFS and MapReduce papers and appreciate that part of the problem for Google wasn’t capacity but throughput: they distributed storage because it was taking too long to stream bytes off disk. But what’s the throughput of the devices you’ll be using in 2017?


I'm Isaac from Melbourne, Australia. There's a writer in me that I'm stubbornly trying to coax out of dormancy. This is the latest in a long series of attempts to do so.