How to Stay Up to Date with Trends in Tech
Ian Hellström | 23 January 2017 | 4 min read
As technology evolves at a rapid rate, it may sometimes be difficult to keep up. While I am certainly not the world’s leading expert on anything, I thought I’d share how I keep abreast of the latest developments in the industry.
For me there are a couple of topics that I am interested in:
- Software engineering and architecture
- Data tech, i.e. data engineering and data science
- Music business technology
My typical morning and/or evening routine involves using a few apps on my phone or tablet:
A close second is Hacker News, or rather the excellent Materialistic app. I prefer the look and feel of it to the bare-bones HN website. There is not much to say about HN that you cannot figure out yourself within the first five minutes of visiting it. What sets Hacker News apart from most tech pages is the quality of the discussions in the comments. Top notch!
Of course Twitter has a lot of information too!
Even though some people claim that RSS feeds are dead and gone, I still think they are useful. Here’s an excerpt of what I have in Feedly (in alphabetical order):
- ACM Queue
- Artima Developer Spotlight for news and publications on the Scala ecosystem
- ArXiv: research on distributed systems, machine learning, and ANNs hot off the press
- Communications of the ACM
- DataTau, HN for data scientists
- The Facebook Research blog
- FastML: machine learning for mere mortals
- The unofficial Google Data Science blog
- The Google Research blog
- IEEE Spectrum
- The Journal of Machine Learning Research
- Kyle Kingsbury’s Jepsen series on distributed systems
- The Microsoft Research blog
- The MIDiA Research blog on media technology
- MIT Technology Review
- Adrian Colyer’s Morning Paper
- Mark Mulligan’s Music Industry blog
- The Netflix Tech blog
- Assorted Science Daily technology feeds
I avoid anything that comes within a ten-mile radius of Data Science Central, but you may like to waste your time on there.
It’s not technical in nature but Alison Green’s Ask A Manager is worth a read anyway.
Note that most pages still have RSS feeds hidden somewhere in-between intrusive ads. If you can’t find one, don’t fret: Feedly can usually help.
I do not interact much with the community, but some Subreddits are bustling and the discussions can be lively.
Occasionally I feel like listening to people ramble about technology. That’s when I go to Podcast Republic to listen to some, well, podcasts. What follows is a selection of my favourites from best to good:
- Software Engineering Daily
- O’Reilly Data Show
- Software Engineering Radio
- This Week in Madchine Learning & AI
- Functional Geekery
- Partially Derivative
- Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality Radio
- Lightbend Podcast
- The devRant Podcast
An app I use mainly to save articles is Pocket, but I think it’s worth mentioning here because it comes in handy when you’re travelling and want to read while disconnected from the internet. Pocket’s recommendations are mostly clickbait but sometimes the app comes up with something worth reading. Instapaper does pretty much the same thing but it allows highlighting, which is kind of sweet.
Flipboard is one of those apps I’d really like to like, but it’s only so-so. Before switching to Flipboard I used to devour articles on Prismatic a lot as their content aggregation algorithms were way ahead of anything else I’ve seen so far. However, they had to close the service, and now I’m stuck with Flipboard who acquired Zite, which didn’t come close to Prismatic but it was at least decent. I hope something better than Flipboard comes along (and stays); News360 and Pulse don’t cut the mustard in my opinion. It would be nice to have an app check the web for me. As Homer Simpson says in his campaign to become Springfield’s sanitation commissioner: Can’t someone else do it?
From time to time I check out articles on Medium and Play Newsstand, or presentations on SlideShare. However, the SlideShare app (for Android) is atrocious: you can follow persons and companies of interest to you, but their slide decks never show up on the main page. What is more, the app is as slow as molasses in January.
What I can recommend is a subscription to Safari Books. It’s not exactly cheap, but you do get unlimited access to a massive library of books and videos. I’m a book fanatic and like flattened and inked dead trees in the house, but tech books have such a short shelf life that owning them in physical form is really not worth it. With Safari you also receive early access to books that are not yet published.
‘What about LinkedIn groups,’ you ask? How can I put this delicately? Ugh!
‘What about Facebook?’ Nope!
‘And Google+?’ You’re joking, right? Right?!