Mark Smith's Linkblog

Monday 12th April, 2021 #

  • Anxiety Is in Your Body, Not Your Mind
  • The Ponzi Career -Looks at some of the latest crypto funding methods people are experimenting with, I think there is still some way to go before we figure out a way to do this that people will be comfortable with, buying ownership of people is going to be a tough sell given human history, and probably not a wise way to go IMO, but I still think there’s a lot of possibility in the crypto space
  • Got an email from Coinbase support earlier, they closed my ticket saying it was solved (automated email), when it clearly isn’t solved, I emailed them and their automated email reply said I couldn’t re-open the ticket and would have to open a new support ticket, so I did that, and received the same automated response as last time, with the same instructions, immediately followed by the ‘how did we do email’, same exact email funnel as last time, I tried the instructions again in case they had fixed their website, but it’s the same issue - Coinbase support is terrible, how can this company be worth $100 billion dollars when they can’t even help their customers to setup their accounts? My account is unusable - it appears to me this service is not fit for purpose, the only thing that does work is the captcha challenge I have to fill out on practically every request, honestly Coinbase currently feels very scammy to me at the minute
  • 🚀 Re-Post: Moving BBC Online to the cloud - I’ve re-posted several write-ups from the BBC recently, there are for sure others doing great work too, I’d like to read their write-ups, anyway this article is a great piece that describes their audit / cloud strategy, a good read if you are involved in any digital transformation projects
  • 4 Change Management Strategies for Digital Transformation - There’s a lot of movement in this space as companies move to the cloud, the truth is that digital transformation has been happening since we invented computers, but the scale is on a different level these days, and there’s a big effect both in the enterprise and across society at large, it’s great that companies are sharing their experiences
  • Everything You Need To Know About The Coinbase Direct Listing

Sunday 11th April, 2021 #

  • Obituary: HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh - It’s a strong obituary, and although he was somewhat in the background, when you look at his achievements, 70 years married, 4 children, grand children, great grand children, WWII, British Navy, Duke of Edinburgh Award, World Wildlife Fund, Industrial Society, International Equestrian Federation, over 22000 solo engagements, helping to navigate the Royal Family through very complex times, there’s a lot there that had considerable impact to people, that’s quite a life, RIP
  • Make your own online radio server in pure Node.js - Tutorial that takes you through creating a CLI based interface to a server that presents a simple webpage which can stream audio files to connected clients
  • suryamodulus/pm2-webui - PM2 WebUI, Opensource Alternative to PM2 Plus, Minimalistic App Manager and Logs Viewer - worth checking out this project even just for the ability to view the logs via a web UI
  • Don’t pick up! The rise and fall of a massive industry based on missed calls - It’s so interesting to read about markets and software companies developing in places where the dynamics are totally different, by the sounds of it that would have been a very fun place to work during that time
  • Serverless Playbook For Enterprises - Some high level tips about serverless deployments
  • Ink 1.0 – Open-source scripting language for interactive narrative - Interesting category of software that I wasn’t aware of, as games get more complex it totally makes sense to have software tools to build the narrative
  • Evaluating Modest SaaS Business Ideas (HN Thread) - Good list of questions to answer when evaluating projects, has some overlap with questions VCs ask in funding rounds

Saturday 10th April, 2021 #

  • Initial M1 support merged into Linux SoC tree
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-04-10 is out!
  • A lingua franca  'Frankish tongue'; also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages

Friday 9th April, 2021 #

  • Hackers are trying to sell stolen data from 500 million LinkedIn users - Another massive user data mess-up to go with the very similar Facebook user data mess-up - Aside from the fact that these are serious breaches, I’m struck by how these numbers are almost too big to even conceptualise, imagine being in 1950 telling someone that your company had 1/2 a billion customers, it just would not compute in that reality
  • 🚀 New Post: Experiments with the newsletter structure and content - A look at the most recent things I’ve been experimenting with in my javascript, technology and web development newsletter
  • 🚀 New Post: The evolution of my javascript, technology and web development newsletter - I look back at the past 21 editions and tracing the evolution to the present day
  • The Architecture Behind A One-Person Tech Startup - Great writeup of a Tony Stark level solo developer setup, very impressive, lots of similarity with my NodeJS architecture but since it uses Kubernetes it’s next level, includes diagrams and snippets of the various configs so you get a really good idea how everything is connected, and some good commentary describing architectural decisions, pro & cons, ultimately it’s a mostly self-hosted setup that supports multiple apps, load balancing, caching, logging, deploys, provisioning and a whole lot more
  • Wix and Their Dirty Tricks - Matt Mullenweg of Wordpress and Automattic takes aim at Wix for their tasteless ad campaign and shady business model

Thursday 8th April, 2021 #

  • First Public Working Draft of WebCodecs today - “The specification defines interfaces to codecs for encoding and decoding of audio and video. It does not specify or require any particular codec or method of encoding or decoding but provides JavaScript interfaces to implementations of existing codec technology developed elsewhere”
  • 7-Figure Small Podcast - The Rise of the Personal Enterprise - A look at one of the latest trends for self employed individuals, often something that freelancers move towards as they grow, includes some useful insight based on real world experience
  • Make is crap - Imagine a world where all software feedback was this good
  • HN Thread - Screw it, I’ll host it myself - I’m adding the HN thread because there are some useful comments there, it’s definitely not super easy to self host infrastructure yet, but I think in a few years these setups will be made a lot easier, especially when Kubernetes becomes for streamlined
  • Screw it, I’ll host it myself - Great developer writeup of his personal self hosted setup, including network diagrams and a fantastic list of apps that enable him to be fully self hosted and fully backed up
  • TikTok adds automatic captions to videos in accessibility push - Cool new feature, this potentially opens up the possibility of some interesting translation workflows

Wednesday 7th April, 2021 #

  • Apple to unveil new AR/VR headset later this year - There are a variety of approaches that companies are using in their AR/VR, the Apple approach: “Pass video of the real world through the visor and display it to the user, offering a ‘mixed-reality effect.’”
  • Why there really aren’t 2 million podcast series - The whole way through this article I was wondering about a specific statistic, then right at the end it mentions said statistic, then pulls a “you’ll have to wait for our next article”, needless to say that was a bit annoying, but there’s also some good info in there if you are into podcasts
  • 🚀 Re-post: Mozilla MDN Docs are going full Jamstack
  • 🚀 Re-post: GitHub Actions for custom content workflows
  • 🚀 Re-post: bbc/simorgh - Github repository for the BBC's open source ReactJS single page application - Used across the BBC World Service News websites, with tens of millions of users, these are some of their biggest websites - It's written in javascript and runs in NodeJS!
  • 🚀 Re-post: How the BBC World Service migrated 31 million weekly readers to an isomorphic react app - Pretty great writeup from the engineering team about their migration from a PHP monolith, it’s cool that they are running server rendered React now, they do a lot of great work when it comes to accessibility since their sites are published in so many different languages and are optimised to run in a huge variety of network connectivity conditions, I’d like to know more about the backend the new system is using, something the article doesn’t cover, did they change backend language? They mention it’s running on cloud infra, but where? And are they using serverless?
  • Why does so much news about the European Union still come out of London, even post-Brexit? - It’s a difficult situation for sure, and as the article points out it’s awkward, but from a technical point of view it’s a tremendous opportunity to build some really ground breaking media production workflows, there is already lots happening in this space notably from the BBC, and much of it is written up publically and open source
  • It’s been 10 days since I opened a ticket with Coinbase support, I only so far received an automated email with my ticket number, I sent them an email today asking if they had read my support ticket, about an hour later I received a “How did we do email”, not so good, also I read in a recent article about their direct listing that they had a public conference call before the listing (unusual apparently) because things were quiet, yet on their support site there is a popup that says they are experiencing “an increase in inquiries” and “there may be a delay in responses from Coinbase Support”, that’s quite a lot of mixed messages, looked on the website but there is no way to find out the status of the ticket, emailed them again but no reply so far
  • Make your own Smarthome Server with NodeJS - Now I’m thinking what awesome homemade NodeJS clients could be built :)
  • Google vs. Oracle: The ruling at the US Supreme Court - Quite a good summary of the case and what it means for software development and the software industry in general
  • fselect - Find files with SQL-like queries
  • Short discussion thread I had with author from yesterday’s link to the Web Browser Engineering book, centred around the possibility of a version of the book with the browser written in NodeJS, how awesome would that be? Hint: Very awesome :)
  • Clubhouse Discusses Funding at About $4 Billion Value
  • Coinbase Posts Blowout Q1 Profit of $730-$800 Million, Days Before Public Listing - I still haven’t heard back from their support team, it’s been 10 days now

Tuesday 6th April, 2021 #

  • 🚀 New recommendation from Ian Hamilton - I worked with Ian while at Signiant where he is Chief Technical Officer
  • NASA Startup Studio - “The NASA Startup Studio offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to launch the next big NASA spinoff. It is a unique program that pairs entrepreneurs (and those who want to be) with NASA technologies that are prime for commercialization.”
  • Web Browser Engineering - Web browsers are ubiquitous, but how do they work? This book explains, building a basic but complete web browser, from networking to JavaScript, in a thousand lines of Python.
  • Introducing Clubhouse Payments - The have implemented a very generic Stripe integration so users can pay creators directly, it will be interesting to see how people use the feature
  • Software Innovation Prevails in Landmark Supreme Court Ruling in Google v. Oracle - “An important victory for software developers”
  • Blogrolls - Making Writer Discovery Seamless - Medium is going retro and re-introducing a feature that was popular in the early blogosphere, I think it’s a cool idea, especially since they have re-imagined it somewhat, adding some automation so it’s easier to manage, I don’t really remember whether it was a feature I used very much back in the day, I had a blogroll on my blog but that’s something you generally just setup once and rarely make changes, and I suppose I clicked around a bit on other people’s blogrolls though I don’t remember it being ‘second-nature’, it will be interesting to see how it changes the flow of things
  • HN Thread on the Google vs Oracle Java APIs case, lots of interesting points raised in the comments
  • Yahoo Answers will be shut down forever on May 4th - The end of a long and storied internet era (of bad questions and even worse answers)
  • Supreme Court rules that Android Java usage is fair use in win for Google over Oracle

Monday 5th April, 2021 #

  • The NFT Canon is a go-to resource for artists and creators, developers, corporations and institutions, communities and other organizations seeking to understand or do more with non-fungible tokens
  • What really is the difference between AR / MR / VR / XR ?
  • Microsoft is supplying 120,000 HoloLens-based headsets to the US Army - The AR/VR space has been making steady progress in recent years but such a big government contract, ~$20 billion over 10 years, is probably an indication that the pace is about to increase, there are many companies making consumer products too, lots of applications such as training, heads up displays, and many sectors especially industrial and manufacturing, I’m interested to see what software tools and workflows will get built in these environments
  • 42 - the wildly improbable ideas of Douglas Adams - This looks amazing, a crowd funding campaign for a book that pulls together all the best bits and pieces from Adams’ notes, scrap books, hard drives etc, reading HHGTTG for the first time was a bit like if the philharmonic orchestra was smashed together with everyone of your all time favourite dinners you have ever eaten, I just devoured each book back to back in a reading mega binge, it was still to this day my best ever book reading experience
  • NASA Confirmation: Earth is Safe From Asteroid for 100 Years - Well that’s nice to know
  • LG confirms it’s getting out of the smartphone business - I don’t know that much about mobile development aside from as a user, but I guess the disappearance of a manufacturer is somewhat similar to the disappearance of a browser, but probably worse because you also loose all the hardware possibilities, and I always thought that LG had some interesting phone designs, especially the dual screen devices, a bit experimental, but it seemed though at some stage one of them would lead to something really novel
  • @antirez (Author of Redis) - “I look at the web today. Not as a programmer, but as a user of broken sites that are unable to obey the most basic rules of navigation and usability, terribly slow despite the hardware progresses. And I can only think that modern frontend development has failed.”
  • Facebook, Inc / Giphy, Inc merger inquiry, by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) - “The CMA has referred the completed acquisition by Facebook, Inc. of GIPHY, Inc. for an in-depth investigation, on the basis that, on the information currently available to it, it is or may be the case that this merger has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom. Facebook was given the opportunity to offer undertakings to the CMA to address these concerns. Facebook informed the CMA on 25 March 2021 that it would not be offering any such undertakings.”
  • Ingenuity helicopter is officially sitting on the surface of Mars - First non-Earth helicopter flight scheduled for 11th April, we will have the data back on Earth on the 12th, I didn’t know that the Perseverance rover had a nuclear power system
  • Trump wishes happy Easter to radical left crazies - Say what you like, it’s remarkably “on brand”

Sunday 4th April, 2021 #

  • 533 Million Facebook Users' Phone Numbers and Personal Data Leaked Online - That’s a lot of user data
  • Ride Home Podcast - (Bonus) Friday 04.02 Twitter Space - Special experimental live talk radio style episode, a bit rough around the edges but generally a very interesting discussion about the AR/VR space, with an unexpected appearance from AR/VR connoisseur Robert Scoble, I like this format quite a bit, it’s a nice complement to the main show, reminds me of some of the earlier days of podcasting when things were more informal and unprepared, it’s also fun to listen in to the show as it evolves
  • GitHub investigating crypto-mining campaign abusing its server infrastructure - Looks like it’s possible to get a repo to run a new action just by creating a PR, it’s not even necessary to have the PR merged, they don’t mention any way to stop it happening, and it sounds like it’s been happening for many months, surprising that’s it’s only surfacing now, looks like crypto based attacks are on the rise

Saturday 3rd April, 2021 #

  • Coinbase To Go Public on April 14, Announce Q1 Earnings Beforehand - They are opting for a direct listing rather than an IPO, by the sounds of this article there are several other factors that make this transition non-typical, anecdotally I have been waiting for a reply from their support team for over a week now, hasn’t been the best on-boarding experience
  • Chris Coyier writes his thoughts about The Deno Company - Looks like people are mostly interested in the native Typescript support, but for me that’s the least interesting part, the security part is much more interesting, but also there seems to be a very strong tooling set, and being able to import via urls is cool
  • Using media queries with JavaScript - Could be useful for example to only load a specific library on larger devices
  • Class static initializer blocks - For all the OO lovers out there, this feature gives you the ability to have some code in a class definition execute exactly once
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-04-03 is out!

Friday 2nd April, 2021 #

  • Apple rejecting apps that collect data for 'device fingerprinting' - The purge begins
  • From Express to Fastify in Node.js
  • Lex Fridman Podcast Ep #173 - Nic Carter - Bitcoin Core Values, Layered Scaling, and Blocksize Debates - I decided to not take notes on this one so I could really concentrate on the content, so I don’t have a summary, I can say though that it’s a great episode, very different pace and style to other recent crypto / blockchain podcasts I’ve been posting recently, it’s got a nice balance of the history, economics, politics and software development topics at play, and concentrates on the hear and now of Bitcoin, very pragmatic and practical with good explanations, you’ll be left with a clear view of the landscape and a good sense for what shape the near term Bitcoin future will have
  • TSMC Unveils $100 Billion 3-Year Plan To Fuel R&D, Chip Fab Expansion - Looks like it might be a response to Intel’s plans announced recently, their investment will be 5x that of Intel’s, that’s a lot of investment
  • Casio G-Shock GSW-H1000 smartwatch rocks Wear OS - It’s priced at $700, I’m curious about what the display looks like and what type of apps it has

Thursday 1st April, 2021 #

  • How We Enable Airbnb Team Members to Code Like a Mobile Engineer - The two things that struck me from this great writeup, is how important mobile is becoming in modern development, but also, based on how amazingly well thought out the training program appears, how different working at a startup and a medium sized company is compared to working for a large established tech giant, it’s literally two different worlds
  • Source Code Podcast - Fixing the internet one browser at a time - Interview with Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker that I found really interesting because she has a wealth of experience in open source communities, has seen things develop from the early utopian web to today, and leads an organisation that is unique in its approach, and is adapting to the modern realities of the world wide web
  • The Deck We Used to Raise Our Seed - Great to see a real world example preparation needed for raising funding
  • Here's How I'm Fighting Cryptojacking and Doing Good Things with Content Security Policies - Great writeup from a security researcher that looks at an old domain that was previously used for cryptojacking, the author buys the domain, does some analysis of the traffic still hitting the site and shows why it’s a really good idea to set a CSP policy on your website, including adding a report-uri
  • Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI - The indoor navigation called LiveView looks pretty cool
  • Enjin raises nearly $19 million to build Polkadot-based blockchain for NFTs
  • Node.js Certifications and Training Sale + New Preview of Testing Environment
  • How to Develop Your Talent Stack - I like the mental model the author describes in this article, it’s simple, makes a lot of sense, and is achievable
  • Almost a fifth of Facebook employees are now working on VR and AR
  • Incremental Static Regeneration - Its Benefits and Its Flaws - Good to know what this is since you hear people talking about optimising static sites a lot, article does a good job describing it, tldr some rather big disadvantages - “A pretty big footgun that ultimately is confusing for users, and frustrating for developers”
  • Facebook is making it easier to turn off algorithmic ranking in your News Feed - You’re in control again, wow such features!

Wednesday 31st March, 2021 #

  • Suez Canal - How did they move the Ever Given?
  • Unsplash is being acquired by Getty Images
  • Very off topic - London’s Top Hairstylists Predict The Biggest Trends For Spring
  • YouTube is experimenting with hiding dislikes to protect creators’ well-being - “It’s experimenting with hiding dislikes to discourage ‘dislike mobs’ from deliberately downvoting videos from creators and channels”
  • Google collects 20 times more telemetry from Android devices than Apple from iOS
  • Dapper Labs announced a $305 million funding round Tuesday from another batch of National Basketball Association stars and a venture capital firm backing its runaway hit, NBA Top Shot - The NFT run picks up more steam
  • Arm Announces Armv9 Architecture With Major Performance, ML And Security Enhancements - Securitywise they are introducing the concept of realms, which need to be supported in software, but offer the possibility of hardware level separation between trusted and untrusted data for running applications
  • Apple supplier Foxconn says chip shortage will curb shipments

Tuesday 30th March, 2021 #

  • Tim Ferris Podcast Ep #506 - “The Episode of Everything” - Interview with Balaji Srinivasan former CTO of Coinbase and General Partner at Andersen Horowitz - Seriously good in depth discussion on the future of crypto, super long range local and global implications, likely new applications, societal impact, there is so much in this episode, starts off with journalism and it’s perverse incentives, a better way with citizen journalists, and then goes off on a wonderfully colourful, insightful and mind expanding journey into crypto, just a pleasure to listen to Balaji talk at length about crypto because, presumably because of his time at Coinbase and Stanford, he has so fully internalised the crypto abstractions and dynamics and is able to paint such a vivid picture, past, present and especially future, that it all seems so obvious, inevitable and exciting - It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to discover that he is actually a time travelling alien from outer space
  • Substack is raising $65 million amid newsletter boom
  • Compare cities on quality of life, cost of living, salaries and more - Explore where to move based on your personal preferences - Looks like an interesting site to do research, here’s an example city page for London

Monday 29th March, 2021 #

  • Announcing the Deno Company - “We have raised 4.9 million dollars of seed capital”, “Deno will remain MIT licensed [...] We don’t believe the open core business model is right for a programming platform like Deno”, “Our business will build on the open source project, not attempt to monetize it directly”
  • PHP repository moved to GitHub after malicious code inserted under creator Rasmus Lerdorf's name - The http backdoor was inserted twice at a seven hour interval between both attacks
  • The Boat in the Suez Canal Is Still Stuck, But You Can Now Stick It Anywhere You Want With This App
  • Amazon's private labels - Everyone is totally up in arms about Amazon private labels, what’s going on?
  • Intel 2. 0’s customer dilemma - Some analysis and predictions about the Intel Foundry Service strategy, there are lots of internal communication issues to overcome
  • This Microsoft Flight Simulator mod features the cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal
  • Nigel Farage joins advisory board of green firm to act as a lobbyist and spokesman
  • Linus Torvalds worries kernel 5.12 might be ‘one of those releases’ that lands a tad late - “io_uring continues to have noise in it, this time mainly due to some signal handling fixes, that removed a fair amount of problematic special casing, but the timing certainly isn't great.”
  • Jack Dorsey is just trolling Congress with Twitter polls now - The inner web developer in me is trying to imagine the wow-that-poll-feature-sure-was-a-good-idea feeling that no doubt ensued
  • A16z Podcast Ep #630 - All about NFTs - Lots of good NFT related info, including a general discussion of crypto and NFTs, what is an NFT and what is not an NFT, NFTs for digital and physical goods, social tokens, converting a non-fungible token to a fungible tokens by fractualinizing it, owning parts of tv shows, social value correlated with the amount of times digital item is shared / replicated, the ability to prove that you were an early adopter / supporter

Saturday 27th March, 2021 #

  • Hic et nunc - public smart contract infrastructure on Tezos Blockchain, considerably more environmentally friendly than Bitcoin and Etherium, can be used to mint NFTs, still in alpha stage
  • What does it mean to buy a gif? - Quite a solid explanation of why NFTs make sense in the art world, tldr it’s really very similar to how the art world already handles limited edition numbered and signed prints
  • MDN localization in March - Tier 1 locales unfrozen, and future plans - They are retiring a bunch of incomplete locales, which will still be available for download, but separate from the main site
  • John Gruber - “Jack Rusher explains NFT’s in a way that actually makes sense”
  • Glen Greenwald reviews the congressional hearings, the government wants more censorship, it all sounds very bad, I like that Dorsey took the call from his kitchen, and that he pushed back against the interrogation, the description of Zuckerberg’s testimony is kind of classic and amusing, but weirdly I don’t think it makes him look bad, maybe robot Zuck is his way of pushing back, strange to see the generational gap so evident and in public, I’m interested to read some other angles on these hearings
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-03-27 is out!

Friday 26th March, 2021 #

  • Vercel Serverless Functions vs Cloudflare Workers
  • How to Create a Hybrid NPM Module for ESM and CommonJS
  • Signiant Acquires Lesspain Software to Enhance SDCX SaaS Platform - It’s cool to see my old employer doing some acquisitions, and also interesting to see it is building out a media focussed platform strategy - “Signiant is executing a true platform strategy by targeting software companies with complementary functionality that can be transformed into cloud-native SaaS”
  • Lex Fridman Podcast Ep #174 Anthony Pompliano - Bitcoin - I’m not very into war or the military so I didn’t expect to get into this episode as it started out with a discussion about the military and being at war, kind of heavy stuff, but the discussion turned to an informative and general in depth conversation about Bitcoin, some light hearted and fun banter about Elon Musk, NFTs and the possibility of the digital art market becoming bigger than the physical art market; and actually it was good to know a bit about his background after all
  • Téléchat - Saison 1 - Episode complet (4:41) - I wasn’t able to watch this all the way through
  • Cryptocurrencies - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - Though I do quite like John Oliver, I had to stop watching his show because deep down somewhere in my psyche I don’t believe his head is actually attached to his body, and honestly it freaks me out, in any case it’s a pretty good roundup of crypto, how about NFTs John?
  • How we approach moderation decisions - More and more companies are having to create moderation policies and teams, I guess it’s necessary these days, I’d like to know how these teams are going to avoid all the pitfalls the police forces of the world have fallen against, again and again, corruption, entrapment and even harassment have been common place, and there is no reason these new teams will not fall on the very same sword, but this time with algorithms
  • Indie Hackers Podcast Ep #197 Inside Zapier’s first acquisition with Ben Tossell of Makerpad - I enjoyed this episode because both Courtland and Ben have had very similar entrepreneurial journeys, having both had their community based businesses acquired by a large technology company, there are lots of great insights into what the process of building and selling a company is actually like, it’s also interesting because Makerpad is in the No-code space

Thursday 25th March, 2021 #

  • Zuckerberg suggests how to tweak tech's liability shield - He’s proposing that platforms should be required to demonstrate they can remove content at scale, great if you have already built your fortress, not so great for the rest of us
  • Intel Unleashed, Gelsinger on Intel, IDM 2.0 - Reviewing the recent Intel announcements, it’s a strong roadmap and re-organisation, it reminds me a bit of when Amazon created Amazon Web Services, but what’s interesting is that it’s for hardware rather than software, it might very well be setting them up for a very large growth trajectory in the coming years

Wednesday 24th March, 2021 #

  • Techdirt Podcast - The State of Trust and Safety - Interview with Alex Feerst, former Head of Trust & Safety at Medium - Platforms have evolved a lot in recent years and have exposed the human side of our interactions online, teams have formed to moderate, it’s a difficult and tiring job where many very difficult decisions have to be taken per day, and someone will be unhappy 100% of the time, other topics covered include consistency, unit economics of justice, the marching band beating up the football team, the mindset of being able to think about all the ways things could go wrong, problems turning inside out, the snake eating it’s tail, human subjectivity, the surprising frequency of things being described as ‘self evident’, social platform design, trolls being like fans but reverse polarity, blockchain and distributed technologies, the horsemen of the content moderation apocalypse, most content moderation issues eventually boiling down to a storage or payment issue, and a lot more - It’s a surprisingly casual conversation given the often difficult subject matter
  • Intel announces that it is opening some new factories and a ‘Foundry Service’ where it will manufacture chips for 3rd parties, supporting both x86 and arm architectures, they might even manufacture some of the new M1 chips for Apple - Interesting pivot given the state of the industry, if you can’t beat ‘em...
  • Understanding JSON Schema - eBook that “aims to be the friendly driving instructor for JSON Schema”
  • Medium is moving to a Substack style model, citing the fact that total readership has increased, but readership for it’s publications has not, so it is offering current editorial team voluntary exists via buyouts and plans to hire individual writers going forward
  • Venus Could Have Been Habitable for Billions of Years
  • Sovereign Writers and Substack - Ben Thompson analysis piece on the changing publishing industry, lots of great insight, the part that stands out to me is how the new system will be sustainable, especially because writers that do analysis, very often rely on regular journalists to report the news, but if they all become independent writers, then that is going to be problematic, which is probably why advertising is so prevalent - In the past many independent writers would have started their own media businesses, but it’s not clear that will happen if all the technology is outsourced to cloud software companies
  • Douglas Adams found writing torture - I can relate, also I am reminded that he died at 49, I can practically see that number when I stare into the distance, maybe by 49 I will be happily working on exciting web development jobs
  • Linus Torvalds on where Rust will fit into Linux
  • Quite a lot of people are not happy about RMS returning to the FSF’s board, based on this article it’s hard to tell who is hated more Trump or Stallman

Tuesday 23rd March, 2021 #

  • Please don't upgrade Docker without asking first (HN Thread) - There is a bit of a discussion going on around the latest Docker releases which do forced automatic upgrades, that in some cases break the installation, and there is some concern about how the Docker team has handled the situation, very relevant since many modern developer environments rely on Docker
  • Messaging platform provider Discord reportedly exploring sale at $10B
  • LXD is a next generation system container manager - Someone in an HN thread I was in earlier recommended this as an alternative to Docker
  • Building my own yahoo! pipes - Awesome writeup of using Node-RED to build some cool RSS feed scrapers and processors, includes some excellent screenshots of the workflow canvas so you get a really good idea of what is possible - I really would like to do some work with Node-RED, it looks like it could be a really useful tool to use in creating modern news workflows
  • OVH writes off another data centre – SBG1 – and reveals new smoking battery incident - More details about the big OVH fire, interesting if you are a sysadmin or live in the EU
  • Daily Overview - Dutch Tulips - It’s the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, flowers will be in bloom soon
  • Richard M. Stallman returns to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors - I once attended a lecture given by RMS in the UK at a university just outside London around 2004-ish, it was very good, very inspiring, he didn’t interact much with anyone before or after the lecture, he was very busy typing away on his laptop
  • Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sold as an NFT for an oddly specific $2,915,835.47
  • YouTube experiment will auto-detect products in videos and provide related content links - Good to see some actual innovation in Ad Tech rather than all the surveillance tracking, hyper linking video is pretty cool
  • Samsung bets big on foldable smartphones amid chip crunch - I’m interested to learn about web development efforts aimed at these new foldables, also they have mentioned that they are working on a double foldable phone, what is that going to look like?

Monday 22nd March, 2021 #

  • The Blob Opera - I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing when I recorded this but I think it turned out quite well all things considered
  • The infinite drum machine - Create beats using sounds from the everyday world - Pretty fun audio project
  • Comparing Tailwinds CSS and Bootstrap implementations of the same website - Article goes into some of the reasons for using Tailwinds CSS (I haven’t tried it) over Bootstrap (I’ve used it a lot), the most persuasive being, in my opinion, getting used to not relying on the framework’s components, and better handling of responsive design and dark mode
  • Richard Stallman is Coming Back to the Board of the Free Software Foundation, Founded by Himself 35 Years Ago
  • John Cleese (Verified) - “Hello! It is time you meet my alter ego "Unnamed Artist" I'm delighted to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm selling my 1st NFT. Though bidding starts at 100.00, you can “BUY IT NOW” for 69,346,250.50!”
  • 🚀 Some really useful comments about the latest edition of the newsletter on Indie Hackers, next week I’m going to try adding some subheadings in the intro section, hopefully it will make it easier to parse and navigate - Thanks @alexanderg :)
  • Google and the Age of Privacy Theater - Great article that looks at the Ad Tech privacy and tracking story, the new technologies being developed look likely to be discriminatory, enable scammers and liars, maximise engagement at all costs, lead to the creation of dubious recommendation algorithms, and might actually make tracking worse by linking activity to your email address - In addition there is this fact worth considering: “Even if you, personally, avoid being tracked, you still live with the consequences of an economy built on monitoring people’s behavior”
  • Time is running out to bid on an NFT version of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet - Current highest bid is $2.5 million by @sinaEstavi, all proceeds will be donated to. Give Directly, a charity that gives money directly to people living in poverty
  • Trump returning to social media with 'his own platform' in 2-3 months - However you feel about Trump it’s certainly interesting to see that the only way to be stable online is to have your own platform, fine if you are a millionaire, but what about regular people? Trump does SaaS will be super interesting to watch

Sunday 21st March, 2021 #

  • Recode Media Podcast - How Christina “Tinx” Najjar became a TikTok star overnight - I’m quite interested in finding out more about the so called “creator economy” because it seems that tech companies are making moves to grow this segment, so I found this an interesting episode, it’s not super technical but you get a very good picture of the major trends and forces at work, the interview with Tinx is followed by a general discussion about how creators are making money, the question I’m asking myself is if there is a place for freelance web developers in this new world or are the big platforms hoovering everything up for themselves?
  • Ride Home Podcast - Are NFTs bad for artists? - Brian and art circle connoisseur Ti Zhang discuss the many ways NFTs are actually disenfranchising artists rather than helping them, I had foreseen some of these issues and mentioned them last week, but there are a load more that I was unaware of, there are a few high profile artists where it's working great, but for average artists, there are scams, it takes away their ability to choose to participate, and there are even problems with the robustness of the NFTs, lots of problems that need fixing in this space, if you are into NFTs then this episode is a must listen
  • How the Irish became white - The mythologies of our societies are the software of the past, for all their inconsistencies, they have much much better longevity than any of the bits and bytes we write as software developers, that’s worth remembering; I once watched the queen of England be shown the book of Kells, she was visiting Ireland, I was watching the television in the reception waiting to go and do a software demo for some media execs, I wondered what it must be like to do a demo for a monarch

Saturday 20th March, 2021 #

  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-03-20 is out!
  • The #1 tip to familiarize with new JavaScript Codebases - If you are a programmer and are going to read one article today, read this one - It’s full of super practical advice and techniques to quickly analyse an unfamiliar codebase so you can get a rough idea of where all the hot parts are, and which places might need refactoring - Many of the techniques work in other languages or have equivalent tools

Friday 19th March, 2021 #

  • Apple warns Chinese apps not to dodge its new privacy rules
  • Justin Colaninno from the Github Policy team weighs in on the recent trend of open source projects changing their license because of new realities of cloud infrastructure - “the Open source-licensed projects with a non-profit home, neutral trademark ownership, and multiple significant contributors are less likely to face pressures to relicense” - It’s a good observation, but how many non-profit style open source projects actually exist and how do we create more of those?
  • John Gruber on the latest Intel ad campaign - “Intel is in trouble. For Intel to be Intel they need to be leading the industry. The best fabs, the fastest chips. Right now they can’t credibly argue that they’re the best at anything” - I’ve been enjoying reading his exploration and trips down various memory lanes on his blog, great content, though a bit difficult to follow, feels very much like a blog version of a Twitter thread, only there isn’t an actual ‘thread’ to link to
  • WP Engine Goes ‘Headless,’ Jumps into the Jamstack - Interesting to see managed Wordpress providers building jamstack friendly products, there is clearly value in combining static and database backed sites, I think the tricky part is that both solutions want to store the content in different ways, which makes collaborating on content a challenge
  • Are you using promises and async / await safely in Node.js? - Though async/await is now the preferred way to execute asynchronous code, there are still some gotchas in a few situations that are worth knowing about
  • YouTube Shorts arrives in the US to take on TikTok - Big news considering YouTube’s position in the video space, the article gives a good rundown of the major forces at play, good news for creators even if the initial version is lacking some features

Thursday 18th March, 2021 #

  • Ghost 4.0 - The popular NodeJS blogging platform has a new release with lots of new features centred around subscriptions and newsletters
  • Zora is a marketplace to buy, sell and trade limited-edition goods - These new NFT websites have some pretty weird (but interesting) ways of selling goods
  • V8 release v9.0 - The most interesting additions being RegExp match indices, faster super property access, and faster JS-to-Wasm calls in Web Assembly
  • Migrating Millions of Concurrent Websockets to Envoy - Great writeup from the Slack engineering team of their migration from HAProxy to Envoy Proxy, web sockets are amazing for anything real-time but there is added complexity because of the constant data moving in both directions, that makes debugging more difficult than REST APIs, their migration took several months but it was transparent to users, which is quite an achievement, especially because of the scale of their operation
  • Audacity 3.0.0 Released - Of interest to anybody that edits audio, the latest version has quite a major architectural change, projects are now stored in one file rather than a bunch of files, the new implementation uses the open source database SQLite3
  • Moore's Law for Everything - San Altman essay outlining some possible futures if we assume that AI will massively increase growth and plan accordingly
  • Set operations are coming to Javascript! Currently stage 2 proposal - Pretty cool, reminds me of high school and university maths classes - A Union B, A Intersection B etc
  • The Ultimate Ethereum Dapp Tutorial - How to Build a Full Stack Decentralized Application Step-By-Step - It’s relatively straight forward, the app actually is very similar to a web application, the main difference is that the handling code, called the smart contract, is executed when an etherium transaction is made rather than when a web http request is received, it’s still a bit unclear to me how all the pieces of such an app are deployed in a production scenario, but I can see how to build a basic proof of concept test app
  • Issues are being raised about how the meta data in NFTs are being stored, looks like the URLs of the artworks that get included aren’t very robust and could break quite easily if any of the provider / hosting / gateway companies go out of business

Wednesday 17th March, 2021 #

  • Shop Talk Podcast Ep #454 - All About Vite with Evan You - A conversation around the latest developments in frontend tooling trends, there has been a shift in the past year or so to use ES modules in development and only bundle for production, it’s generally a very informative episode as Evan is super knowledgeable in this space because of both the Vite and Vue projects - One thing that really stood out for me was their discussion of the recent community and development issues in NodeJS supporting ES Modules (22:48), it’s not a problem facing most developers but I get the sense it could be a bigger deal than some are anticipating, the entire episode is a good listen
  • 🚀 I had an interesting discussion on IH around backend languages, I think the difficulties with the NodeJS implementation of ESM might start to become a thorn, and to think that package management was one of NodeJS’s greatest features when I started on the platform back in 2014, it’s tough to have to support both client and server module systems, I hope we can find a way through
  • Changelog Podcast - Leading a non-profit unicorn - Interview with Quincy Larson of freeCodeCamp, wide ranging discussion starting with their philosophy of access to all, no matter sociology-economic status, or access to the financial system, with free as a core value, then the specifics of the platform that offers web development and now data science courses, and also covering their relationship with competing paid for online training, the move to a platform that is like a game but for adult learning, a recent push to create multi-language courses, with interesting git workflows enabling international collaboration, their organisation through facilitation rather than control, being wary of unrealistic deadlines and rushing which creates unnecessary compromises, working in parallel without blocking each other, and fund raising to build a robust, grassroots and impactful business model for the long term - It’s a refreshing take on building online resources, with a focus on access rather than profit, there’s a healthy amount of early web optimism in their approach which I like a lot
  • Unikraft - Build tools for creating specialised unikernels, could be used to run a very streamlined NodeJS runtime using QuickJS, for fast startup times and added security, which might be useful on some simple network based IoT projects
  • Buildroot is a simple, efficient and easy-to-use tool to generate embedded Linux systems through cross-compilation - Appears to be popular for creating hardware products that run embedded Linux
  • Re-post (2021-01-29): GameStop and the Real Market Manipulators - Has a pretty good explanation of the happenings in the markets the past few days, in short, lots of new participants have been trading via web tools such as Robinhood, which give access to trade to regular people, and it has exposed double standards, and raised serious questions about what constitutes market manipulation, and fundamentally every single trade is a form of manipulation - I see lots of parallels in many industries, this type of thing is happening all across the economy
  • eToro to go public via merger with blank check company at $10.4bn valuation - They are into trading crypto, commodities, stocks etc, relevant because of the recent GameStop situation, but I’m mostly linking to this article because I think their name looks quite cool
  • Intel’s 11th Gen desktop chips are here with faster speeds but fewer cores - I don’t claim to be super knowledgeable about chips, but the chip space is pretty hot at the minute with Apple shaking things up with the M1, so new Intel products are of interest, it’s the old chip crossed with the new chip, it’s a downgrade, but actually it’s an upgrade, it’s a totally new chip design, it’s for Desktop; no doubt it will be popular with the gaming bods that understand this better, but for the rest of us this transition looks kind of complicated
  • Re-post (2020-03-21): Wikimedia has decided to move ahead adopting Vue.js as their frontend framework - These are the folks behind internet giant Wikipedia, so it's a pretty big deal as far as web development goes, firstly because as great as Wikipedia is, they use quite an antiquated tech stack, so moving their website towards something more modern is going to be interesting to watch, but also because they chose Vue over React with some pretty good reasoning in my opinion
  • Wikipedia Is Finally Asking Big Tech to Pay Up - It is starting an commercial Enterprise version of Wikipedia, I have mixed feelings, I worry that such an amazing resource could be splintered in two, couldn’t Big Tech just contribute meaningfully to the original project?, how will they make sure the original Wikipedia doesn’t wither, but there are arguments on both sides, maybe the separation is a good way to shield the original project, anyway it will be interesting to watch how it goes, let’s hope they are transparent about the operation and willing to keep an open mind, the reality is that commercial organisations are a big part of society, good luck Wikipedia!

Tuesday 16th March, 2021 #

  • TikTok wants to keep tracking iPhone users with state-backed workaround - Apple will be introducing it’s new privacy feature in the next few weeks which will stop IDFA based tracking, there is a lot at stake since many companies rely on the tracking feature for targeted advertising, feels like it could be quite a major shift in the web with many unexpected consequences
  • Why we Decided for and Against Ubuntu Core - Interesting if you are at all curious about building hardware (IoT, Raspberry Pi), there are clearly a lot of unsolved problems in the space, quite a lot of potholes, dead ends, and perhaps even snake oil
  • Here’s Why the New USPS Mail Trucks Look So Weird - I think it looks futuristic and pretty cool, sure it’s a utility vehicle, but it would look totally fine in a movie set in 2041, maybe I am weird
  • The Gear I Use to Create My Perfect Portable Office - Dear santa...
  • The Best Portable Keyboards of 2021
  • NBA stars like Kevin Durant and Kyle Lowry are increasingly pouring money into startups for the thrill of investing and a chance to break down barriers for people of color
  • 🚀 Housekeeping Note: I have removed the newsletter signup form from newsletter blog posts
  • How tech workers feel about China, AI and Big Tech’s tremendous power
  • Sister with Transistors - Electronic musics unsung heroines - Look’s like it could be an interesting documentary

Monday 15th March, 2021 #

  • The Evolving Landscape of Prediction Markets - I’ve heard the term prediction markets mentioned quite a lot recently in conversations about NFTs, it’s another area where the Etherium blockchain is being used extensively, but the core idea is much older, there isn’t a huge amount of detail in this article but it’s a good intro to the space
  • 🚀 Re-post: Reasons to use NodeJS for developing your backend systems
  • The Advantages of Using Node.js - Caching, Scalability, and a Rich Ecosystem - Does a good job of highlighting some of the too reasons to use Node.js
  • Source Code Podcast - Hackers, trustbusters, and internet librarians - Particularly good episode this week covering the recent hacking of many small businesses, political appointments in the US and their effects in Tech, and a piece about the relevance of the Internet Archive in the modern web
  • Shipping Node.js at Netlify - Great writeup of the developer environments and automation in place at Netlify, they make extensive use of GitHub Actions, project/issues/PR templates, labels, commit message prefixes, and tools to handle dependency management, code coverage, testing, formatting, linting, and release
  • Another Podcast Podcast - Trying to understand Ad Tech - “Two people that don’t know much about Ad Tech, talking about Ad Tech” - Though they don’t have direct experience working in that sector, Benedict and Toni do actually know quite a lot about Ad Tech, mostly from an end user perspective, and that’s what makes their conversation interesting - Their backgrounds in politics and other areas of tech make for an insightful episode that covers the complexity of the current system, the relative obscurity of the tech that is used, the move towards privacy and removing 3rd party cookies, the moral issues worth considering, tracking on-device vs on servers, what is likely to happen when the new technologies are introduced and how they will impact many of the online services we all rely on - Worth listening to if your work is touched in any way by online advertising, or if you are an end user interested in becoming aware of some of the major forces that influence the world wide web

Sunday 14th March, 2021 #

  • 🚀 Some YouTubers are building their own infrastructure, is this the path of the future?
  • The NFT Craze Offers Easy Money - And Hard Copyright Questions - There are already examples occurring where 3rd parties are minting NFTs from artists content without their knowledge, I’m surprised that these NFTs are even valuable, I would have thought the artist would have to at least publicly mention creating the NFTs, like on their blog for example, before they would be sellable
  • Chris Messina originator of the Twitter hashtag concept, had an interesting thread about NFTs and ownership
  • Vitalik escalates ETH 2.0 merge as miners plan a 51% attack - I guess etherium isn’t a democracy, does it even make sense to think of it in that way?
  • Why we pay writers - Hamish McKenzie of Substack outlines the thinking behind Substack Pro, they are betting that writers are going to be creating the media businesses of the future
  • ECMAScript 2021 - the final feature set

Saturday 13th March, 2021 #

  • Microsoft’s Edge browser will match Chrome’s upcoming four-week release cycle
  • 🚀 Housekeeping Note: I’ve updated the blog RSS feed to not include newsletter posts, and I’ve also updated all newsletter posts to include the signup form so it’s easy to subscribe to the newsletter
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-03-13 is out!
  • Mystery buyer of $69 mn digital artwork known only as 'Metakovan'

Friday 12th March, 2021 #

  • Amazon EKS - Deploying a NodeJS app using Docker and K8s on AWS - Still a bit complicated but it’s definitely not as complex as it used to be, but you gain a lot of flexibility
  • The Guide To Ethical Scraping Of Dynamic Websites With Node.js And Puppeteer - Neat tutorial, one of the first web tools I built was a Perl web scraper that built a colour coded list of classified ads matching search terms and meta data, I would run the scraper a few times a day and it would find the most relevant posts, removing duplicates, it saved me a lot of time, so it’s cool to read about how to do it in node
  • List of named generations - I have been wanting to familiarise myself with all the generation names for ages, and so today I spent a few hours reading their Wikipedia pages, it’s utterly fascinating, there are loads more than I thought there were, there’s also a lot of interesting variations worldwide, it’s a bit like discovering where in the galaxy our solar system is located for the first time, but a zillion times better :)
  • Scripting with GitHub CLI - Some interesting tricks including viewing a git diff of a PR in your terminal, searching and selecting an issue, auto merge completed PRs, automatically creating releases based on tags, easily authenticate against and use the regular Github REST and Graphql APIs
  • NetApp Astra Brings a Data-First Approach to Kubernetes Deployments - I’ve worked with large NetApos storage clusters in the past and found them to be very reliable, so it’s interesting to see they now have Kubernetes specific products, with a DR and migration focus, it’s the first time I’ve seen storage vendors releasing Kubernetes-based products
  • Australian government investigates whether Apple and Google default browser settings, it is concerned about the range of options available
  • Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million - The piece is a collage called “the first 5000 days”

Thursday 11th March, 2021 #

  • We’re quite close to a time when build processes and frameworks aren’t as necessary for many types of web development because we have ES6 modules, Module CDNs and custom HTML elements - “Stackless websites”
  • ☹️ Reddit admins finally fixed my broken account, now they are giving me conflicting info, could result in a ban, what should I do?
  • More npm woes with new supply chain attacks - there’s a similarity with the notion of ‘tragedy of the commons’, which I was aware of, but heard again yesterday in a podcast, communities are difficult
  • Twitter plans to let anyone start hosting Twitter Spaces in April
  • Updates from the 81st meeting of TC39 - Feature proposals including temporal (stage 3), error cause (stage 3), array find from last (stage 2), module fragments (stage 1)
  • Tim Ferris Podcast Ep #504 - Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant) - I enjoyed this episode, I’m definitely not an expert in this domain, so it was very informative, though there were a few places where the argument reasoning seemed a bit off in the details, even if the conclusions were probably correct, which sort of breaks the flow of ideas making it harder to understand, but worth listening to if you are at all interested in the crypto space
  • Russia slowing Twitter over content standoff - It’s the start of internet russian roulette, that’s a game that is best not to play
  • Fire destroys OVHcloud data centre - I’ve read several news reports about this story, it’s interesting on many levels, OVH is one of the biggest hosting providers worldwide (#3), EU based, but we hardly hear about it in the tech press, they host a big variety of sites, from government cyber squads to criminal networks to gaming sites, and just regular websites, in total about 3.5 million sites have gone offline, each news report is reporting the event from a different angles depending on what segment they serve, an event like this has a very big blast radius

Wednesday 10th March, 2021 #

  • Releasing Docusaurus 2 support for i18n - It’s a static site generator tool that has become popular for creating documentation websites, and this latest update makes it possible to easily generate versions of your website in multiple languages, including right-to-left languages
  • Why popular YouTubers are building their own sites - some of these YouTubers get to the stage where they are small studios, creating digital effects and quite complex workflows, and so it makes sense for them to start wanting backup plans in place, I’m not sure that creating competing platforms is the best way forward, but I think the trend to want to build your own infrastructure is healthy, and it will be interesting to see what shape these new ventures take because they are building from a different angle than the old school studios and effects facilities
  • Kubernetes Infrastructure - Know the Inner Dev Loop - Article outlines a useful mental model to understand development environments, then explores the landscape of tooling available to Kubernetes based software development, I want to try these dev environments out!
  • GitHub Discussions now available for private repositories
  • The Perl Debugger Can Be Your Superpower - I’m a big fan of using debuggers, setting up a dev environment where I can easily run my code in a debugger is pretty close to the top of the list of priorities on any serious project, I currently favour debuggers in IDEs because though I like using the command line, when debugging I find having better visual tools makes it much easier to explore the code, but it’s good to be aware of the cli option especially for languages like Perl where using the debugger is not part of the culture and consequently the tooling is a bit lacking
  • Apple Podcasts to stop using 'subscribe', they will use ‘follow’ instead

Monday 8th March, 2021 #

  • How I earn a living selling my open source software
  • Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea
  • John Gruber on FloC - “Google is turning Chrome into an anti-privacy browser. It’s that simple.”
  • Microsoft starts testing Edge Chromium browser on Xbox
  • Linus Torvalds warns - Watch out for this unusually nasty bug in Linux 5.12 rc1 - This will most likely only affect developers that like to try out the latest release candidate builds, it’s quite unusual to have a warning like this, but necessary because possible disk corruption in some situations

Sunday 7th March, 2021 #

  • Seth Godin isn’t so into NFTs - “The trap, then, is that creators can get hooked on creating these. Buyers with a sunk cost get hooked on making the prices go up, unable to walk away. And so creators and buyers are then hooked in a cycle, with all of us up paying the lifetime of costs associated with an unregulated system that consumes vast amounts of precious energy for no other purpose than to create some scarce digital tokens” - I think the being hooked in a cycle part is going to be the same for any type of collectible, and maybe any type of value based system, but the energy consumption is definitely an issue
  • Daily Overview - Skyscrapers peeking through the clouds over Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Looks like it’s another synchronicity day for me...flying into a desert city is quite an experience, the views from the plane are simply amazing, I flew into Abu Dhabi a number of years ago for a project setting up some file ingest infra and workflows for the new Media City broadcast centre there, really enjoyed it, lovely people, music, food and culture, completely different in so many ways to what I had experienced until then, I remember watching a space shuttle launch on the TV, not sure it might have been a SpaceX mission, and we had just started working on a product called Media Shuttle, it was insanely hot, lots of folks wearing aviator sun glasses, lots of pickup trucks
  • 🚀 New Recommendation from Mike Nash - I worked with Mike while at Signiant where he was Solutions Architect, and Product Manager / Product Owner
  • Another day lookibg for projects on freelancer.com - شركة الجبل انترناشيونال للاستيراد والتصدير والتصنيع وتجارة المعدات الثقيلة والاستثمارات $500.00 – 1,000,000,000.00 USD /hr BIDDING ENDS IN 6 DAYS, 23 HOURS
  • initial Public Offering (IPO) - “Initial public offerings can be used to raise new equity capital for companies, to monetize the investments of private shareholders such as company founders or private equity investors, and to enable easy trading of existing holdings or future capital raising by becoming publicly traded”
  • Coinbase is going public - They are the biggest crypto exchange worldwide, valued at $100 billion, could be the largest market entrance since Facebook in 2012 - Until reading this article it hadn’t clicked for me that the whole purpose of going public is to raise capital, similar to raising seed funding, shows how much I know about building companies, but also it’s a sign that the information available about how the process of building companies is scattered and confusing
  • Jack Dorsey is so money - What Tidal and banking do for Square - I’m wondering how platformey they are going to take this, wouldn’t it be kind of neat if they had a menu of web services like AWS and GCP but centred around building infra for creator businesses?
  • Jack Dorsey - Bids reach $2.5m for Twitter co-founder's first post

Saturday 6th March, 2021 #

  • Beats in Space Ep #1084 - Dima Pantyushin & Sasha Lipsky - Quite an unusual mix for Beats in Space, but really enjoyed this one, it’s a mix of like american and russian musicals style music mixed in with recorded sounds of someone taking the metro
  • Who Really Writes Twitter’s ‘Trending’ Summaries - Interview with Joanna Geary who leads Twitter’s curation team, I find this interesting because I write a lot of summaries, especially for podcast episodes, that I post to the linkblog, many of which end up in the newsletter, I have developed several different approaches depending on the content but also the mood I’m in, it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that this activity is an actual job, it’s cool that they work along side algorithms, and it’s supper cool that it’s a human team rather than all algorithms, I’m really curious about the UIs and tools they use to get their job done
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-03-06 is out!
  • Antivirus Software Trailblazer John McAfee Accused of $13 Million ‘Scalping’ Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme - For those that do hold crypto and NFTs, probably worth noting that talking about it on social media could land you in trouble
  • What do you think about NFTs? - Lots of confusion still about this NFT alternate dimension we appear to have entered, as is evident in this thread
  • Kings Of Leon to release new album ‘When You See Yourself’ as an NFT
  • Jack Dorsey is selling his original Tweet as an NFT, current highest bid is $110000
  • At Least 30,000 U.S. Organizations Newly Hacked Via Holes in Microsoft’s Email Software - I don’t often link to security hacking/cracking stories but this one feels different to usual because it has targeted small businesses, and there are a massive amount of organisations affected, it’s difficult enough running a small business in normal times, add to that the current world climate, and this sort of attack is very shocking, commentators are saying that such an indiscriminate attack is very out of character for these state hackers/crackers, I wonder if small businesses in countries outside the US were also targeted, it will result in a big push to get people away from using their own infra and into the cloud, which might not be the most robust setup long term
  • jQuery 3.6.0 Released! - There isn’t a huge amount in this release apart from security fixes, but they mention that v4.0 is on the horizon, great to see that this very well used library is still going strong
  • Getting Started with OrbitDB - The thing that I quite like about this is that it reminds me of git, in the way that every user has a complete copy of the data, so it makes working offline possible, and having a local copy of the data just makes sense, I’m still a bit unfamiliar with how IPFS works, but reading this guide makes me want to try it out
  • OrbitDB - “OrbitDB is a serverless, distributed, peer-to-peer database. OrbitDB uses IPFS as its data storage and IPFS Pubsub to automatically sync databases with peers. It’s an eventually consistent database that uses CRDTs for conflict-free database merges making OrbitDB an excellent choice for decentralized apps (dApps), blockchain applications and offline-first web applications”

Friday 5th March, 2021 #

  • Om Malik on Square acquiring Tidal - “The official argument is that musicians, as entrepreneurs that are essentially operating small businesses, need a newer (and digital) way to monetize their work and audiences”
  • Jack Dorsey's Square is buying a majority stake in Jay-Z's music-streaming platform Tidal for nearly $300 million - This is hitting the headlines in a big way, lots of rumours about a possible play in the NFT space
  • HTTPWTF - The article covers some of the interesting, cool and occasionally weird corners of the HTTP protocol, also the httptoolkit web development tool hosted on the website looks to be quite useful, enabling you to view, intercept and modify requests, open-source with several paid for extended functionality
  • Turntable.fm is back from the dead - and now there are two - I hadn’t heard about them until now, seems like it could be an interesting and unconventional story
  • Is Substack the panacea local news is looking for? - Does a nice job of describing the changes happening in the news industry as journalists realise they can start their own hyper local digital publications, I think it’s healthy for people to be able to start their own businesses irrespective of the industry
  • Trump Can Return to YouTube Once ‘Risk of Violence’ Decreases, CEO Susan Wojcicki Says
  • Ethereum now an option on Amazon’s managed blockchain service
  • Google Chrome moves their release cycle from 6 to 4 weeks

Thursday 4th March, 2021 #

  • Google Cloud products in 4 words or less (2021 edition) - It’s great to see a list like this because it creates a lot of clarity in a sometimes confusing space, the GCP platform has really come a long way, one thing that stands out to me from this and looking at the AWS product set is just how far ahead these large platforms are of everyone else, it’s worth noting that the level of difficulty to get just one of these services working in a robust customer facing way is mind boggling, let alone hundreds
  • Browser maker Brave acquires privacy focussed search engine Tailcat - Much of the reporting is focussed on the fact that it’s in direct competition with Google, which is the case, but I think the interesting thing is the set of products that Brave is putting in place, the search will apparently allow customisation of the algorithms to avoid algorithmic bias, also interested to see how they will integrate with crypto technologies, it’s good to have some movement in this area

Wednesday 3rd March, 2021 #

  • dearMoon project - MZ & Elon Musk are looking for 8 crew members for a trip to the moon in 2023
  • For The First Time, Physicists Have Filmed The Oscillation of a Time Crystal - Sounds like something out of a Dr Who / Star Trek episode, in time crystals, also known as space-time crystals, there is a repeating pattern not only in the spacial dimension (same as regular crystals) but also in the time dimension because the atoms oscillate, spinning first in one direction, and then the other, and it happens at a constant frequency, they predict lots of uses in communication and radar/imaging technology - Electronic materials science is awesome sometimes, break throughs at this level in the stack could have huge impact, it’s also interesting that they call the oscillations ‘ticking’, oh yeah and the other thing that is totally insane crazy is that the video was filmed at up to 40 billion frames per second using an X-ray microscope!
  • Linux Foundation and RISC-V International launch free RISC-V training classes
  • Soundcloud is about to revolutionize streaming payouts, launching user-centric royalties for 100,000 indie artists - Super interesting to see movement in this area especially since given that NFTs are becoming so trendy, so I suppose this is in part the centralised platforms competing against that, one thing that I think is worth mentioning is that basing payouts on listening time might not necessarily be the best / fairest way, I have listened to a enormous amount of indie music over the years, and though I love so much of it, because many artists are making ground breaking contributions, some of it isn’t exactly the sort of music you would want to listen to at length, yet is very influential none the less
  • A Front-end developer using Figma
  • Split Testing With Netlify - I’ve been wondering what the best way to do split testing was for a while, this tutorial shows how to do it using Netlify tools, but the techniques could be implemented on other platforms too, essentially it involves using sub domains and setting a special HTTP header in requests which is used to direct traffic to your beta site, the cool part about the tutorial is it explains how to do opt-in testing where a user can try out the beta site by clicking a button in the UI
  • Spotify podcast listener numbers will surpass Apple’s this year
  • Microsoft Mesh feels like the virtual future of Microsoft Teams meetings - They have hired filmmaker James Cameron, Pokémon Go developer Niantic, and the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil to demonstrate what could be possible, I like the idea of using immersive 3D tools, not so keen on wearing these headsets

Tuesday 2nd March, 2021 #

  • State Of GDPR In 2021 - Cookie Consent For Designers And Developers - Quite a thorough writeup, looks like it’s not so obvious how to implement something compliant that doesn’t loose all your analytics data, and there’s a big chance you might need to change analytics solution, but there isn’t a lot of good explainer info online yet on the topic
  • John Gruber on email tracking pixels - Accordibg to the BBC 2/3 of non spam emails that are sent to users have tracking pixels
  • Grimes sold $6 million worth of digital art as NFTs - It’s clear NFTs are hot at the minute, but how do we know Grimes really minted these NFTs and not some rando trying to make a quick profit?

Monday 1st March, 2021 #

  • ☹️ Reddit: Organized Lightning - Hoping to read this later, too exhausted at the minute, I have mixed feelings about Reddit as some of you know, they were very central for most of my early web years, and I really gravitated towards their approach, I never had an account, only reading threads, so it’s made me really sad that when I finally created an account, that it’s broken, but it’s worse than broken, because everyone thinks I’ve been shadow banned, even though I haven’t, and the support team just don’t answer my emails, so much for “one of us”, turns out I never was, so seeing them valued at $6 billion, I’m happy for them because it’s Reddit! But it’s not the Reddit I thought it was, and maybe it never was that Reddit all along - I opened yet another support ticket with their support team earlier today, got the customary auto-reply, just waiting for the next email from them, hopefully from an actual human, just wanted to make a note of that here
  • A dev that is a year into learning web development was asking for some advice on what project to tackle next - I’m not sure if it’s the best advice in the world but it’s what came to mind
  • Will being a 'curator' become a job title to aspire to?
  • The Mars Helicopter is Online and Getting Ready to Fly - It’s wild that we’re about to get a sort of Google street view of the surface of the planet Mars, it will be taken by an small autonomous helicopter that we landed a few days ago, consider that the Martian atmosphere is 1% of that of Earth’s, the blades reportedly rotate at 40 revs / second!
  • I’ve been asking some questions about NFTs on Indie Hackers, mostly around ownership and copyright to try and figure out the mechanics behind these trendy financial instruments

Sunday 28th February, 2021 #

  • VIM for advanced users - the final article in the series, great continuation of the previous two articles, covers advanced topics
  • VIM for intermediate users - The thing that makes this tutorial worth the read is that it clearly describes the main abstractions, it’s the best round up of windows, tabs, buffers and arg lists that I’ve read, plus lots of other useful tips
  • VIM for Beginners - I found this tutorial for the intermediate and advanced articles but the beginner article looks pretty good too
  • Steve Jobs Stories on Clubhouse - The Computer History Museum organised this virtual event to celebrate what would have been Steve’s 66th birthday, several thousand attendees including Steven Levy and Ester Dyson, some fun stories
  • NFT License 2.0 - Why a NFT can do what no other creative IP can do - All this NFT stuff sounds cool but if you create some digital things, mint an NFT from those assets and sell that NFT, what happens as far as copyright? I find it quite confusing personally, anyway there is a special NFT license you can use, but I’m still kind of unclear on how it works in practice
  • NFTs and a Thousand True Fans - “NFTs contain highly trustworthy documentation of their history and origin, and can have code attached to do almost anything programmers dream up (one popular feature is code that ensures that the original creator receives royalties from secondary sales)”

Saturday 27th February, 2021 #

  • How to create and sell NFTs the easy way!
  • Complete Guide to NFTs - How to Create & Collect the Next Wave of Digital Assets
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-02-27 is out! It’s the Javascript Core Special Edition 💯
  • Looks Good To Me - Making code reviews better for remote-first teams - Great writeup from one of the BBC News developers
  • Facebook Drops BARS, a Video-Sharing Platform for Rappers - Lots of new and interesting social media apps being released at the minute, that’s pretty cool, I still remember when Yo! MTV Raps launched back in the late 80s, niche video apps are hot
  • Twitter pulls a Patreon - Casey Newton does some analysis of the new Super Follow feature Twitter has announced, he raises a lot of angles I hadn’t considered, looking at how it is likely to affect various professions of people in the public eye such as journalisms and WWE wrestlers, the feature has the potential to change a lot of dynamics in the work place

Friday 26th February, 2021 #

  • Lex Fridman Podcast Ep #162 – Jim Keller: The Future of Computing, AI, Life, and Consciousness - The slight awkwardness present during their first podcast episode together is mostly gone, replaced by a great rapport which makes for excellent listening, lots of really interesting topics covered but the highlight for me was listening to a world expert in computer chip design talking about human consciousness
  • The Another Podcast Podcast - Shopify and digital transformation - Benedict and Toni get into talking about digital transformation, a topic which has become very en vogue recently, I’ve been enjoying their podcasts because it’s nice to hear some brits talking tech, they have interesting angles because of much experience in the industry and their dynamic works well together
  • Biden Orders Broad Supply-Chain Review Amid Chip Shortages
  • Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets - Also announced it’s planning a groups feature

Thursday 25th February, 2021 #

  • Grow the IndieWeb with Webmentions - I like the idea of aggregating mentions on my site but finding an implementation that has both live data, is secure and mostly works without javascript isn’t so obvious
  • Australia passes law forcing Google and Facebook to pay news publications - I’ve read a dozen of these types of articles and none of them describe what the amendments are clearly, when they do mention it, it’s tacked on right at the end like some sort of scribbled post-it note, accompanied by hand waving, it’s like they are all deliberately avoiding talking about it, the whole thing stinks IMO
  • Google Cloud vs AWS Onboarding Comparison - A personal (and self-admittedly probably quite biased) writeup of the onboarding process of both providers
  • Teaching Web Dev for Free is Good Business - I’m slightly envious of Chris Coyiers’ effortless sales and self promotion style, somehow he manages to combine useful and promotional material into blog posts that hardly ever feel more than some bloke on the internet giving a few tips
  • Understanding V8’s Bytecode - Rather technical but short article that starts with a description of the compiling pipeline, then goes on to cover register / stack machines with an accumulator register, the v8 javascript bytecode instruction set and how to list it using node - It’s pretty weird to read assembly when you are used to higher level languages, but it’s useful to have at least a vague idea how that level of the stack operates because it can help in understanding how and why some of the lower level optimisations are implemented

Wednesday 24th February, 2021 #

  • Facebook got everything it wanted out of Australia by being willing to do what the other guy wouldn’t - Article that uses a film analogy to repaint the Facebook-Google-Australia situation as a gruesome hostage situation, it’s quite a good read and certainly entertaining with a bit of worthwhile analysis, the reality though is that Facebook just made the move that made the most business sense - It’s still unclear to me what the amendments the government is going to make are, based on the description in the article it sounds like a law that doesn’t actually do anything apart from add beaurocracy - “Facebook can now decide to offer different publishers whatever amount it wants, including nothing at all, without risk of penalty” - Whatever happens I sure hope aussie journalism industry survives
  • BBC Micro at 40 - How it inspired a generation of coders
  • JavaScript engine fundamentals: optimizing prototypes - Javascript objects are structured around prototypes, and as such lookups that walk to prototype chain happen very often, so it’s an important area of optimisation - The article does a quick refresh of the various javascript engine implementations, discussing the trade-offs inherent in each, looks at some examples of bytecode vs machine code in the context of optimising execution, and then covers the core part of the article on optimising prototype property access, including a great overview of classes, prototype based programming and the prototype chain; how the prototype link is stored on the Shape class rather than the instance, how ValidityCells are used to invalidate the inline cache, and why modifying Object.prototype during runtime destroys performance
  • Re-post: Nevada bill would allow tech companies to create governments
  • Square announces purchase of $170m Bitcoin - It had previously purchased $50m Bitcoin - This is Jack Dorsey’s other public company, he also is CEO of Twitter, it occurred to me how strange it is that all these companies are buying up Bitcoin in huge amounts (Tesla did similar recently), it’s like if companies were buying large amounts of gold bars, with some US state bills being passed allowing companies to create governments, I’m wondering if there isn’t a higher level trend starting to appear
  • Firefox release includes Multiple Picture-in-Picture and Total Cookie Protection - Watch several videos at once and enable separate cookie jars for each site
  • Android is now even safer, and 5 other new features - A lot of these features sound very cool, being able to schedule texts, maps dark mode, and I’d love to try the linkblog in TalkBack the new screenreader

Tuesday 23rd February, 2021 #

  • Ethereum isn't fun anymore - Well shit, looks like I’ve missed another ‘internet thing’, from what I’ve seen recently this thing actually looked kind of fun
  • Spotify to expand into more than 80 new markets
  • Booting the IBM 1401: How a 1959 punch-card computer loads a program - Worth a read for the historical perspective, and to realise how far the industry has progressed, also for the origins of the computing term ‘bootstrapping’ - I imagine that back in those days there were people as excited about punch card programming as I am about writing javascript in 2021
  • NFT Marketplace ‘NBA Top Shot’ Volume Has Exploded Over the Past Month - Digital collectibles appears to be on fire at the minute, I still have little idea why people would pay money for such things, but I thought the same about Bitcoin and now that’s at a mind boggling 50 000
  • Huawei Mate X2 - First Official Images - The latest foldable device, looks pretty cool
  • Spotify debuts new tools for creators to make interactive podcasts - Including tools to turn written content directly into podcasts, adding videos to podcasts, performing polls and Q&As

Monday 22nd February, 2021 #

  • Mysterious macOS malware discovered with M1 optimization, threat remains unclear - “Uses the macOS Installer JavaScript API to execute commands“ - It would be great to know more details about why how javascript is implicated
  • Mistakes I’ve Made as an Engineering Manager - Sarah Drasner shares some tips, well thought out and insightful, some are a bit counter-intuative, like the one about how people like to recieve feedback, I reckon it's a good article to read whether you are a manager or a worker bee