In today’s post: Jon Skeet’s first steps with nullable types; Markdeep for publishing markdown online; Jerry Sienfield’s closed office door; Misinformation is a people problem; Reignite your motivation with a passion project; and, Who destroyed Three Mile Island?

Sharpen the Saw used to be an email newsletter of information I published for the professional development of software developers. Now it’s a series of blog posts. While targeted primarily at developers working with the Microsoft technology stack, content covers a wider range of topics.

Technique

Techniques: First steps with nullable reference types

Always a way to improve what you do every day.

From Jon Skeet’s coding blog, his investigation of the support for nullability analysis in the preview release of the new C# compiler. Jon applied the new compiler to his NodaTime project to see how much work would be needed to upgrade it when C# 8 is released. He found the process to be much easier than expected.

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Software

Markdeep

A new or upgraded tool can be a beautiful thing.

With a single line of code added to the bottom of a file, you can convert a regular markdown file into a web page that renders properly in any modern browser while still looking like a regular markdown file to local users. Even better, this supports features not common to Markdown processors - like showing a navigation sidebar.

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Being Professional

Jerry Seinfeld’s Closed Door

A great developer does more than just write great code.

An interesting story from the Seinfeld TV show - in order to make the very best show they could, the writers would work in an office with a closed door. Their goal was to create the very best working environment so they could do their best work - making a funny TV show. There are lessons here for every knowledge worker.

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Security

Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think

Staying safe online and writing secure systems are both harder than we think.

Fake news is a hot topic. Along with other forms of media manipulation, people are starting to think about how often and how easily people are mislead, why this happens, and what can be done to combat the problem. This interview highlights how misinformation has always been with us, but has gained additional traction with information flowing at the speed of the internet.

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Wildcard

How Passion Projects Can Reignite Your Motivation

Sometimes the answer is random.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, taking on a passion project can be a good way to regain the spark that brought you into the IT field in the first place. The trick is to find the right kind of project - one that excites you and that you can sell to your boss as well.

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Video

Who Destroyed Three Mile Island?

Take some time to feed your mind.

The nuclear accident at Three Mile Island is justifiably famous. But how many of us know what actually went wrong, and why? I knew some details, but not many. At the Developer Austin conference in 2018, Nick Means took his audience through the disaster and illuminates what went wrong, and why. If you’re interested in why systems go wrong, there’s a lot to learn from Three Mile Island.

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