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Joel Webber
Works at FullStory
Attended Georgia Institute of Technology
Lives in Atlanta, GA
6,610 followers|1,991,750 views
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Work
Occupation
Senior Bit Twiddler
Employment
  • FullStory
    Founder, 2012 - present
  • Google
    2005 - 2012
  • Lotus Development
    Intern, 1991 - 1992
  • Pixel Technologies
    1992 - 1994
  • Heuristic Park
    1995 - 1997
  • Holistic Design
    1997 - 2000
  • AppForge
    2000 - 2002
  • Innuvo
    2002 - 2005
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Atlanta, GA
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404.425.9779
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153 Ponce de Leon Ct Decatur, GA 30030 USA
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Email
Story
Tagline
Dad. Software Geek. Xoogler. Reformed Game Programmer. Drummer.
Education
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    Computer Science, 1990 - 1998
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Gender
Male
Birthday
February 3
Relationship
Married

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Joel Webber

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I try to avoid sharing "ra ra, yay Google" stuff, because it's typically overrepresented around here (surprise), and I haven't worked there in ~3 years anyway.

But this will be fantastic if it really gets built. In addition to simply being an amazing space for work, and all the great stuff about integrating with the environment, being good for biking and walking, and so forth -- I love the fact that they're designing much of this space to be public.

As a company grows, it can become nigh impossible to avoid the "Chocolate Factory" syndrome, where your employees become like Oompa Loompas shut off from the outside world. When you think about it, this is an obvious consequence of scale, as the "outside" of campus becomes inaccessibly distant. The obvious, if unusual, solution is to invite the community into your campus and its spaces. Fabulous idea.
 
Today we're submitting a proposal to redevelop part of our campus in North Bayshore. With our proposed plan, our campus could be more adaptable to a changing company, bring new life to the environment, save energy, and create a sense of community with bike paths and space for local businesses. Ultimately, we hope to create a space for people, nature and ideas to thrive. Learn more: http://g.co/go/y6pnk
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Tau-Mu Yi's profile photoJoel Webber's profile photoGiuseppe Seminara's profile photoSaptarshi Chakraborty's profile photo
3 comments
 
+Morgaine Fowle​ Indeed. From what I can tell, there's enough of a pull for more private work areas by Google employees that I suspect they'll figure it out. Or maybe they'll just issue everyone noise canceling headphones like I use to stay focused :)
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Joel Webber

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Sharing this less as a function of interest in React[-native] than for the interesting historical perspective it tickles in my brain.

At first the idea of react-native -- run Javascript and talk to the actual UI components at arms-length over an asynchronous queue -- sounds a bit odd. But if you think about it a bit more, it's interesting how much it has in common with mostly-forgotten UI architecture approaches like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeWS. Their goals were different, having more to do with the remote displays à la XWindows, but the architecture was similar.

I find it particularly fascinating that UI architectures conceived for big, expensive *nix workstations with remote network displays have come full circle to battery-powered devices in our pockets. And somehow they perform reasonably well.

Historical footnote: NeWS also kicked off the idea of speaking Display PostScript to the window server, which presumably influenced NeXT, which became OS X, which became iOS. Looks like Jobs liked their capitalization scheme as well :)
 
If you are into mobile development, you might want to check this out!

http://react-native.org/t/react-native-state-of-the-union/19/1
React.js Back in 2013 Facebook open sourced React.js, an open-source JavaScript library for creating user interfaces. In contrast to many other popular frameworks and libraries, React.js did not feature two-way data binding. Instead, at the heart of React.js is the idea to declare completely self-containing UI components. In other words: Components encapsulate everything they need to know for being able to re-render themselves at any time. ...
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Joel Webber's profile photoDaniel Egnor's profile photoRay Cromwell's profile photoMichael Haubenwallner's profile photo
14 comments
 
Oh my bad, I read Joel's post as about "react-canvas" because Joel mentioned NeWS,  and shipping JS as a kind of DPS system is what I'm raising concerns about. If a system has a well defined scenegraph structure,  that's fine, but if it is essentially an imperative batch of draw calls, that's a concern.
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Joel Webber

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Anyone here have much experience with Firefox 's built-in profiler? Have evidence as to its reliability or lack thereof?

AFAICT, it's giving me a combination of impossible (e.g., parent time << sum-of-children), and off-by-an-order-of-magnitude-or-more (e.g., simple things that take 1-10ms in Chrome registering as ~1000ms) results. I mean, I understand the edge-case pathologies of sampling profilers, but this just seems insane. Chrome's profiler produces very reasonable results on the same page.

This isn't the case I'm debugging, but it shows some of the oddities. This is me searching for "wut" on google.com in Firefox (top) and Chrome (bottom). Note how Chrome attributes ~200ms to Javascript, ~60ms to "(program)" (which I believe refers to time spent in native code), and the rest idle.

Firefox, OTOH, reports all ~6000ms as attributable to some Javascript function or other, which can't possibly be right (the browser was clearly idle during most of that time). And if you expand some of the more suspicious looking ones (e.g., _.h.Zka at 2931ms), the self times of their children actually do add up.

I can imagine how these times could be so badly misattributed, but has anyone else seen this profiler to be similarly wrong? Even better, do you know if there's one that does work correctly?
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Peter von der Ahé's profile photoBrian Slesinsky's profile photoJoel Webber's profile photoMichael Davidson's profile photo
9 comments
 
In my experience, slow script warnings are one-offs, and you won't necessarily find them by profiling. If it's reproducable, just breaking in the debugger before it happens is likely to show you a culprit (since it's either infinite recursion or a never ending while loop). In any case, using WTF to find if it's your code or their code might be enough. Good luck!
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Joel Webber

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 #IE
 
Stupid IE tricks, volume CMXVII:

Two fun ones today:

- On some <object> elements, the hasAttribute will occasionally be replaced with null. No clue why, but I checked all the code in the page I'm debugging, and no one mutates that property.

- IE<=9 disables the console when the dev tools are closed. This is well-known. What's less well-known is that the object's still around, but its methods appear to get replaced with bizarre objects that != null, aren't functions, and have no constructor or prototype. That's loads of fun to test for. You just can't make this shit up.

Internet Explorer, the Gift That Keeps on Giving™. Like Herpes.
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Garry Boyer's profile photoQian Qiao's profile photo
 
for(i in alert)
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Joel Webber

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This is just nuts. Is this an unavoidable consequence of a "race to the bottom" in hardware prices, such that even large, until-now-trusted, brands feel the need to pre-install incredibly dangerous crapware to make a few extra bucks?

To be clear, this isn't your garden variety crapware. It renders the machine trivially vulnerable to MITM cert attacks. I'd be shocked if this isn't exploited in the wild soon, if not already. There is precisely zero excuse for any company allowing software like this to be installed on machines they sell. Zero.

If we can't trust large, successful companies to vet the software that they pre-install for giant, gaping security flaws (not to mention being obviously shady), what the hell are normal people, who aren't going to wipe the machine and install Linux (or whatever) supposed to do to feel secure? At this rate, I'll be forced to wipe and reinstall every machine I setup for a family member. God, what a mess.
It looks like Lenovo has been installing adware onto new consumer computers from the company that activates when taken out of the box for the first time. The adware, named Superfish, ...
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Joel Webber's profile photoPaul O'Sullivan's profile photoMichael Comia's profile photoPeter Frandsen's profile photo
15 comments
 
Lol, probably also installed on Motorola devices. 
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Joel Webber

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I can't speak for anyone else, but personally I'll never look at mold quite the same way again. Try not thinking about what this is for a moment, and it's hard not to see the beauty in this.
 

Mold is surprisingly beautiful when seen up close

Russian photographer Nick Lariontsev made this cool time-lapse using macro lens to show how mold grows from up close. At this zoom level, something that normally disgust us transforms into a beautiful alien universe full of life.

Mold Time Lapse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsQHWj2RfXg
.
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Emmanuel Astier's profile photoAndrew Witt's profile photoSergey Shepelev's profile photoFlorian Loitsch's profile photo
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+Emanuele Ziglioli​ they are indeed, and among the tastiest mold!
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Have him in circles
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Joel Webber

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More +FullStory spam :)

Seriously, I actually am proud of all the little things we're doing to try and help everyone better understand their users, perhaps as much as the cool technology backing it all (my inner dork loves the latter, but the little touches are just as important).

The hardest part of doing this work with a small team is prioritizing. We have a mile-long list of changes, large and small, that we want to make, so we need any and all feedback to help us decide!
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Shawn Drape's profile photoJoel Webber's profile photo
2 comments
 
+Shawn Drape Good question. We're just now starting to figure out our plan for better communication and community-based support. A roadmap on Trello might be a good component of that.

We've also discussed the relative merits of Stack Overflow, Quora, Wikis, and other solutions for community-oriented support. I'd be interested to hear any and all opinions on the relative merits of these approaches (to be clear, we will of course always offer direct support, but a knowledge-base and questions/answers that everyone can contribute to would be a nice addition).
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Joel Webber

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Well, this is nice.

I'm not a huge fan of the "how much was raised by whom" slant to many TC articles (as opposed to, you know, who's actually making cool things and preferably making money doing so), but it's still nice to see a positive article about the ATL tech scene.

Minor nit: I've never once heard anyone utter the phrase "A-Town". You can say "the ATL" if you must.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/25/atlantas-southern-hospitality-is-winning-venture-investors/
Atlanta is home to the world's largest drive-in, some of rap music's greatest minds, and 71 streets named Peachtree. It's also the center of a thriving..
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Joel Webber's profile photoAndy Dillon's profile photoKelly Norton's profile photoJustin Owings's profile photo
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Come on +Joel Webber​, have you never had an A-Town Cream from Sublime!!? Go right now and get one ... also, bring me one.
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Joel Webber

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Here's one for +The Daily WTF. This is most emphatically not a good way to "remove your function hooks" on <object> elements.

    this.debug("Removing Flash functions hooks (this should only run in IE and should prevent memory leaks)");
    for (var h in f) {
      try  {
        if (typeof (f[h]) === "function") {
            f[h] = null;
        }
      } catch (e) {
      }
    }

Anyone want to guess what will happen if another script tries to do anything whatsoever with this element?
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Andy Dillon's profile photoIsaac Truett's profile photoJoel Webber's profile photoJustin Fagnani's profile photo
7 comments
 
I've been in pure JavaScript land since the beginning of the year, and I feel your pain. What a mess :(
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Joel Webber

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What is this, I don't even...

This is terrible and awesome simultaneously. Most reasonable people will probably find it just terrible. But if you've an appreciation for bizarre cultural amalgamation, and can manage some appreciation for 80s Scandinavian speed metal, you may enjoy it. Though you'll probably be slightly embarrassed about that fact :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDqaTXqCN-Q&index=1&list=RDnDqaTXqCN-Q
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Scott Wilson's profile photoJames Northrup's profile photoJoel Webber's profile photoJoshua Humphries's profile photo
9 comments
 
I was with it until she started singing :)
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Joel Webber

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http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/why-oklahoma-lawmakers-want-to-ban-ap-us-history.html

"Representative Dan Fisher, who introduced the bill, lamented during Monday's hearing that the new AP U.S. History framework emphasizes 'what is bad about America' and doesn't teach 'American exceptionalism'."

"Krieger complained that the framework portrays the Founding Fathers as "bigots" and suggests that Manifest Destiny was "built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority," rather than "the belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technology across the continent," as he put it."

Oh, for fuck's sake, what is wrong with these idiots (and thanks for making Georgia seem stupid once again alongside Oklahoma)? Do they seriously believe that history class is for teaching jingoistic propaganda? If you want kids to appreciate the good parts about this or any country, you have to allow them to be introspective about the bad parts. If you believe there aren't any bad parts, you need to lay off the Kool-Aid.
Conservatives say the test emphasizes &ldquo;negative aspects&rdquo; of American history.<br /><br />
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Public schools propagandizing to kids has been going on for over a century. So while this is a little more blatant and absurd, it strikes me as par for the course. 

I shudder to tally up all the wasted hours I spent in "social studies" and "history" through elementary, middle, and high school (including AP). The whole experience turned me off to history.

I probably learned more from reading a couple Michener books than I learned cumulatively in over a decade of public school history classes.
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Joel Webber

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Beautifully done. First rule of the golden ratio -- if someone claims to find it in nature or architecture, challenge them to explain the mechanism, then check their math. Apart from a few well-known examples (usually involving plant growth, and not a golden spiral), they're mostly hokum.
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Like many things, it is easy to fit patterns to the data after the fact, such as all the biblical numerology examples.
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Great selection, helpful and knowledgeable staff, and storytime is a godsend for those of us with little ones. They're also great about bringing authors in for book signings and to meet the kids.
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
We've been going to carpe diem since it opened, and have always loved it. I don't know where reviewers who didn't like the food went, but it must not have been the same restaurant. We've never had a problem with the service, either.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
2 reviews
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