September 14, 2021

Goodbye and farewell, see you elsewhere

These are the archives of Fathom this, my personal weblog of piqued interests and tickled fancies. It’s 21-year mission: to make note of the strange new phenomenon that is the Web, to document my life and thoughts, and attempt to organize these findings in serendipitous and surprising ways.

When my web host (a company that over the years has itself been acquired many times) notified me that it was not going to be offering a comparable service nor migrating the servers, I decided that it was time to archive this site.

The blog got its start on Blogger in September 2000, originally as a blog called Too Many Things Undone, a more personal, English language complement to my first blog, Suodatin. Shuttering it in September 2021, twenty-one years later, seems both a lifetime ago and somehow fitting.

In any case, I had been blogging increasingly infrequently, with Evernote supplanting my self-built tool to take notes. But reading through a selection of my old posts, I can see I’ve also changed in how willing I was to share my thoughts publicly; I’m amazed at how open to learning in public I used to be.

Fathom this was published using a system that I built for myself (PHP/MySQL). It was for many years an active experiment in collecting, organizing and attempting to interconnect my notes and observations in interesting ways. I’ve added to it and changed it over the years. In the early years it mirrored my development as a software engineer. Reflecting on it now, I’m kind of amazed that it is still running after all those years.

In fact, up until last year, when my web host enforced a major upgrade of the version of PHP that they ran, I had to make very few changes. For the most part it just kept chugging along.

I archived this site by crawling every post, category and month and saving the pages as static HTML files. This meant making some decisions on how to simplify the layout and jettisoning all the dynamic features, such as search and filtering preferences. Losing those felt kind of bad, but I’m still pretty pleased with how well I was able to keep the site running in a much simpler form and not break most of the URLs.

I’m endeavouring to still write, but now in more long form pieces over at

April 20, 2021

January 26, 2021

I’d Echo that

That Thing’s portfolio write-up of their I’d Echo that campaign for Echo.


November 14, 2020

Why is 11am + 1 hour == 12:00pm?

I can never remember if noon is 12pm or 12am. I’ve always ascribed this to having grown up in Finland, where we use 24-hour clock. But it’s actually not that unreasonable to be confused, as this brilliant StackExchange answer explains.

I came across this while re-reading Zach Holman’s UTC is enough for everyone, right?.


November 13, 2020

September 4, 2020

  • “I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way did not become still more complicated.” — Poul Anderson. Also (incorrectly) dubbed Anderson’s Law.

June 23, 2020

  • Software engineering promotions: advice to get to that next level. A nice overview of how to think about promotions. I came across this in my research to define Echo’s principal engineer level.
    “Typically, being promoted up to the senior level is mostly based on gaining skills, demonstrating those, and delivering impact. However, above the senior engineer level, other factors come into play. … For example, your team might be busy shipping small, incremental features, that have little complexity, but decent business value. You almost certainly won’t be promoted beyond the senior level by just doing great work here.”

May 31, 2020

May 8, 2020

May 5, 2020

Three tips on how to persuade people to change their behavior

HBR: How to persuade people to change their behavior.

  1. Highlight a gap — point out where someone might have inconsistencies in “their thoughts and actions, or between what they might recommend for others versus do themselves”
  2. Pose questions — rather than statements (“junk food makes you fat”), pose a question: “do you think junk food is good for you?”
  3. Ask for less
  4. — gradual changes are easier to tolerate

May 1, 2020

  • Chris Zacharias: A conspiracy to kill IE6. I love this story from the history of the browser wars. The post reminds me of the old blog post by Rands on spotting the culture of a company. As a web developer who lived through years and generations of browsers, I do sometimes wonder if I don’t mourn — at least a little — the obsolescence of all my hard-won knowledge of browser hacks and quirks.

April 30, 2020

Meet the health tech apps supporting the NHS during Covid-19

Evening Standard: Meet the health tech apps supporting the NHS during Covid-19.


April 21, 2020

March 14, 2020

  • ERP for engineers gives a fascinating overview and history of ERP (enterprise resource planning) and the company that pioneered the industry, SAP. Like the development and adoption of GDS, ERP plays a significant part in the history of computerisation and the field of software engineering.

March 10, 2020

March 5, 2020

January 13, 2020

January 12, 2020

December 2, 2019

November 22, 2019

  • You (probably) don’t need Kubernetes.
    You know those old “Hello world according to programmer skill” jokes that start with printf(“hello, world\n”) for a junior programmer and end with some convoluted Java OOP design pattern solution for senior software architect engineer? This is kind of like that.

October 18, 2019

  • Will you survive the Tech Drought? Lucas McGregor suggests the lack of access to software engineers now limits businesses more than the lack of funds, and organisations are wasting this precious resource through mismanagement, “anti-work” (supporting legacy code and tech debt), and confusing agility with strategy.

September 27, 2019

September 24, 2019

  • pareidolianoun the tendency to interpret vague stimuli as something familiar.

September 19, 2019

September 13, 2019

September 10, 2019

September 9, 2019

August 20, 2019

  • Fresh produce, brought to you by robots. The cost of human labor required for indoor hydroponic farms has made their produce infeasibly expensive. Robotics and AI can cut down these costs by 80 percent. More significantly, these farms also use 90 percent less water than outdoor farms, require no arable land and alleviate the need for herbicides and pesticides.