Mark Smith's Linkblog

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

Sunday 21st February, 2021 #

  • 20 years of orange cones - The history of VLC - I still remember how amazed I was when I first installed it, not only was there no cost, it played literally all the video files I had without needing to install any codecs, and it was cross platform, later I would find out it was open source, the’s a comparison to be had with Mozilla, though their funding from custom services and consulting, great project and I like their ethos of doing things because they are fun rather than concentrating solely on financial gains
  • 🚀 New Recommendation from Tony Vasile - I worked with Tony while at Signiant where he was Cloud Solutions Architect, Software Development Manager
  • 🚀 Housekeeping Note: I’ve updated the recommendation page so that each recommendation has a title so it’s possible to link directly to a specific recommendation using the title in a url hash fragment
  • Nyan cat, NFTs, $600k, everyone is Banksy now
  • How can you not be romantic about programming? - Great essay, well written, just the right length, distills an aspect of programming computers that I’d say all programmers will be able to appreciate

Saturday 20th February, 2021 #

  • JavaScript engine fundamentals - Shapes and Inline Caches - Deep dive into javascript optimisation covering general javascript compiling concepts, overview and comparison of the compiling pipelines in the various javascript runtimes (Google/v8, Firefox/SpiderMonkey, Microsoft/Chakra, Apple/JavaScriptCore), then looks at the data structures used to optimise property access and storage, gets progressively more difficult and requires you to hold quite a bit in your head, but if you go through it at a steady pace it’s very understandable, there’s a lot going on right below the visible surface where most developers spend their time, loads of very excellent diagrams peppered throughout - It’s amazing to me that we don’t have to spend our days worrying about anything at this level anymore, but good to be aware of the dynamics to avoid optimisation issues - I recommend a cup of tea to help you get through this one, perhaps some biscuits
  • What Peter Jackson’s original two-movie Lord of the Rings almost looked like - Hard to believe it is already 20 years ago that the legendary film trilogy was released, this article looks at the business and creative process that led up to the production, it’s an interesting read, the sheer size of this production is mind boggling, the amount of people, effort, money, coordination all to create some bits and bytes, I know a lot about the VFX tools and workflows, but I’m wondering what futuristic tools will evolve to help directors and producers with the pre-production process, I think that would be an exciting place to be
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-02-20 is out!
  • How to redirect URLs on Jekyll site hosted on GitHub Pages - Handy if you publish a page using the incorrect date and later need to update that page, setup a redirect so the page continues to load for people who click the old link
  • Australia’s ABC News shot to the top of the App Store charts following Facebook’s news ban - It would be cool if there were publicly available signup stats from independent media sources, as much as this is bad, there’s a lot of opportunity for media startups to build something new and exciting
  • 🚀 New Post: My approach to software planning and estimation - A brief description of how I approach project planning and estimation, with some useful articles and resources

Friday 19th February, 2021 #

  • Bitcoin hits new record of $50,000
  • MonolithFirst - Advocates for an approach to web development where you first build a monolith, learn the patterns and boundary contexts of your application, then either peel off parts into microservices or replace the monolith entirely with a microservices implementation
  • Changelog Podcast - Community perspectives on Elastic vs AWS - Handful of interviews with business owners, lawyers and developers that are in the open source community, really worth a listen if you are at all affected or concerned about the recent movement of several high profile Open Source projects including MongoDB and Elastic changing their license - Some great discussion about the dynamics at play, it’s a complicated situation with a lot of angles to consider, even if it seems clear cut initially, it really isn’t that clear cut
  • Facebook calls Australia's bluff - Some more analysis of the Australia-Facebook-Google situation, this time from popular social media newsletter writer Casey Newton
  • Node v15.9.0 Released - Some updates in crypto, fs, streams, perf_hooks, timers and tls libraries as well as an upgrade to libuv v1.41.0
  • Interview with Ryan Dahl, Creator of Node.js - Lots of stuff about Deno of course but also reasons for his preference for VIm, Python vs Javascript as a introductory language for learning to program, why he loves Rust and doesn’t expect to ever start another C++ project, and more...
  • The Bizarre Reaction To Facebook's Decision To Get Out Of The News Business In Australia - Really high quality analysis of the Australia-Facebook-Google situation, it’s a must read

Thursday 18th February, 2021 #

  • YouTube Shorts beta will launch in the United States in March - They have been testing the feature out in India recently and have had good results, it looks to be a response to TikTok’s similar product
  • Epic Games files EU antitrust complaint against Apple
  • Changes to Sharing and Viewing News on Facebook in Australia - Announcement from Facebook about how, because of new government legislation they have chosen to add restrictions to their service in Australia, they make a pretty strong case for their actions in the article - “People and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted” - It will be interesting to see how this affects Australians, sort of a large scale social experiment
  • 🚀 New Post: Hash links for individual linkblog items - The linkblog main page has a new feature, enabling linking to individual linkblog items

Wednesday 17th February, 2021 #

  • Emoji Version 13.1 - The latest set of emojis that will arrive in iOS 14.5 - I’m digging the beard gender equivalence, and face-with-spiral-eyes which I’m going to be calling ‘frazzled face’
  • What I Worked On - Paul Graham essay that takes you on a journey through all the stuff he’s worked on in his career, a interesting mix of programming, art and business, all taking place between the original dot com boom up until the present day, and it’s a pleasant read too
  • Front of the Front / Back of the Front - Chris Coyier comments on Brad Frost’s re-framing of frontend development - I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had in this area, but I’m not super into the tongue twister brain freeze naming they are using, I’d say clientside-frontend and clientside-backend might be better, but that’s still confusing, better just to have totally different names in the way that plasterer and brick layer are totally different roles, we just need to figure out where the walls are
  • GitHub - Pull request auto-merge is now generally available
  • Trello is redesigning its project management platform for a remote work future - This looks like a pretty major overhaul of the UI look and feel together with the introduction of several new ways to visualise the data

Tuesday 16th February, 2021 #

  • Tesla founder Elon Musk asks Vladimir Putin to join him for ‘Clubhouse’ chat - Wow that’s some serious social media buzz
  • What is the Difference Between MVP and POC?
  • France pushes for big changes to proposed EU tech regulation
  • Debates continue at Facebook whether to allow Trump to return to the platform
  • Show HN - Jam, an Open Source Clubhouse (w/ WebRTC)
  • Here’s a first look at Microsoft’s xCloud for the web

Monday 15th February, 2021 #

  • Can anyone moderate podcasts? - It’s a bit unclear from the article what the general sentiment is regarding moderation in podcasting, one thing to remember is that if you have mechanisms to deplatform the ‘bad guys’, you can be pretty sure that the ‘good guys’ will get deplatformed too, ultimately deplatforming is just a very inadequate band aid, but my impression is that a lot of folks see it as a solution

Sunday 14th February, 2021 #

  • Interview with Brian Blessed, it’s brief yet somehow paints a very vivid picture of what it’s like being him, covers a lot of ground, reading Beano as a kid, his father the coal miner, listening to classics on the radio, when Hitler died, asian Dr Who, being an adventurer, being loud when he wants to be, being quiet, space training, being friends with Kenneth Branagh - “Life is very colourful”
  • 🚀 My javascript / tech / web development newsletter for 2021-02-13 is out!
  • Apache Kafka - How Does It Work? - High level overview of the main functionality, quite a pleasant read, not too long

Saturday 13th February, 2021 #

  • Lex Fridman Podcast Ep #160 – Brendan Eich: JavaScript, Firefox, Mozilla, and Brave - Each time I’ve listened to Brendan Eich (creator of javascript, co-founder of Mozilla and Brave) on a podcast I’ve been super impressed, not only was he present at pivotal moments in the evolution of technology and the web, so his historical knowledge and insight is second to none, he’s just so good at structuring his thoughts and at talking, he hardly ever misses a beat, every single answer is thorough and he goes into just the right amount of technical detail without getting caught in the weeds, after listening to any of his interviews I feel a profound sense of clarity about technology and the web - Lots of great topics covered all listed with timestamps in the shownotes
  • Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm are reportedly nervous about Nvidia acquiring Arm
  • Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z to Launch Bitcoin Trust in India and Africa - The fund is worth 500 BTC ($23.6M)
  • Generate a presigned URL in modular AWS SDK for JavaScript - Tutorial demonstrating how to enable users to upload and download files directly to / from an S3 bucket, without needing their own AWS credentials

Friday 12th February, 2021 #

  • npm - Catching Up with Package Lockfile Changes in v7 - In a nutshell better performance as-well as deterministic and reproducible builds
  • Node.js Apache Kafka – Getting Started with KafkaJS - Modern cloud applications are based around event driven architectures, this neat tutorial posts in Slack each time an npm package is published -It uses Apache Kafka event streams and webhooks to create a scalable solution with decouple system parts
  • Apple iOS 14.5 will hide Safari users' IP addresses from Google's Safe Browsing
  • Generate thumbnails using Lambda from videos uploaded to S3 - Great tutorial that uses the AWS web UI rather than a framework, has detailed configurations, screenshots and explanations of the code used for each step - Very cool workflow

Thursday 11th February, 2021 #

  • Source Code Podcast - Inside Vimeo’s reinvention - I found this interview with CEO Anjali Sud really interesting because though I was aware that Vimeo was still around, I had no idea what the company has been doing the past 10 years, they were one of the first companies to have an online video product, and initially targeted film makers and videographers, but YouTube ended up dominating online video - Vimeo has pivoted sharply to being an enterprise tools company building SaaS products for businesses that need to create videos, and they are making tools for meetings, events, streaming, training and want to help bring video story telling to businesses all over the world - I liked Vimeo back in the day, they were always doing cool stuff, and I’m glad they are still around as a company
  • Laws being introduced in Australia aim to force big tech companies to pay for linking to local media outlets - “When an individual shares a link on their news feed, it’s “paid for” through all of their friends clicking on it”
  • Google News Showcase launches in the UK - More than 120 local, national and independent publishers have signed up so far
  • Tesla’s $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase clashes with its environmental aspirations
  • Facebook Is Said to Be Building a Product to Compete With Clubhouse

Wednesday 10th February, 2021 #

  • Indie Hackers Podcast Ep. #189 – Making $1.5M/Year Reimagining Local News with Chris and Bruce of WhereBy.Us - The guys describe their journey, from in depth local news research, to experimenting with events, press conferences, memberships and newsletters; balancing editorial, sales and events; having a diverse set of revenue tools, creating a repeatable process and turning it into a business that is the Shopify of newsletters - I really enjoyed this interview, it’s amazing to hear success stories like this in building and growing unique local communities
  • Foodtech startup Hoxton Farms raises £2.7 million to develop animal fat – without the animals
  • Horizontal scaling WebSockets on Kubernetes and Node.js - Pretty neat auto scaling solution that uses Prometheus to expose the total number of websocket connections on each node, then scales pods based on this value, thus guarantying the system will be able to handle increases in load gracefully
  • 7 Places to Host Your Jamstack Site
  • Disney Shutting Down Ice Age Animation Studio Blue Sky
  • Is Apple Banning Free Analytics SDKs? - Quite a lot of confusion about what the latest changes will affect, there is a possibility that lots of apps will need to update their analytics solution or risk facing a ban
  • Lex Friedman Podcast #159 – Richard Craib: WallStreetBets, Numerai, and the Future of Stock Trading - Looks at the recent WalkStreetBets and Gamestop Saga that caused such a stir in the trading markets, then moves on to talk about hedge funds, shorting, new ways crypto and AI could change the world of finance, aswell as more esoteric topics like running a startup and the meaning of life
  • The New Stack Makers Podcast: Ravi Lachhman and Frank Moley - How to Fight the Kubernetes Complexity-Fatigue Monster - Open table discussion covering the move away from Java in cloud native applications, core vs edge code, the shift in developer and infrastructure roles, emerging team dynamics, making mistakes, abstractions, helm for managing deploys and upgrades, managing software versions, and rolling your own vs vendor tooling
  • Twitter’s Jack Dorsey wants to build an app store for social media algorithms - There’s a reason Jack Dorsey runs 2 public companies, he’s got exceptional vision - I’ve been thinking for a while that social media companies would eventually host user algorithms, it just makes sense, but Jack’s vision of this future is so much more vivid and thought out than I had pictured, and he’s putting all the necessary pieces in place - A decentralised network with an algorithms marketplace, that sounds to me like an interesting future for social media tech
  • Follow the CAPEX - Cloud Table Stakes 2020 Retrospective - I had seen some of these figures last week and noticed the staggering amount of money Amazon has to spend to actually make all the money it makes, so it’s nice to read an article that confirms what I was thinking, and even does a comparison with regular non-tech companies, also the article uses the term hypercloud to describe the big cloud tech companies, that’s the first time I’ve heard that nomenclature - How long can hypercloud companies’ CAPEX keep increasing? What happens to pricing when it stops increasing?
  • Shopify Expands Its Checkout System to Facebook and Instagram

Tuesday 9th February, 2021 #

  • A beginner’s guide to NFTs - Non fungible tokens are used in the crypto blockchain world as an ownership proof for digital assets, and they can be traded in a Myriad of different ways including as part of automated transactions, they are the basis for a lot of the crazy discussions on the most recent Coin Talk Podcast that I included in last week’s newsletter - This article is a good intro and has some interesting examples that use NFTs to trade digital art pieces
  • ☹️ Reddit’s Valuation Doubles to $6 Billion After Funding Round - Reddit is a bot infested dumpster maskerading as a social media website, my account is still foobared, Reddit admins still won’t acknowledge that I even exist
  • Mark Cuban is co-founding a podcast app where hosts can talk to fans live and monetize their conversations - This story has it all, including podcasting, Cuban, Clubhouse, controversy, AI, stealth mode, billion, Twitter Spaces, Elon Musk, Spotify, Obama, Rogan and much more; in fact as far as I can tell, about the only thing that it appears not to have is crypto/bitcoin/blockchain
  • Blog with Markdown + Git, and degrade gracefully through time - Nice title, but also the topic covered is something people don’t often consider, but it’s very true, having your personal website accessible in a format that is robust for the long haul is super important
  • Twitter considering subscription fees to ensure 'revenue durability'

Monday 8th February, 2021 #

  • HN Thread - Making Sense of the Audio Stack on Unix
  • Making Sense of The Audio Stack On Unix
  • The After Open Source Era Has Started - The article makes the case that the progression has broadly been Proprietary (pre-1980) -> Free Software (1980) -> Open Source Software (2000) -> Shared Source Software (2020) - Article then lists the details of each era and makes some predictions about the future
  • The man who produced Steve Jobs’ keynotes for 20 years
  • A visual guide to SSH tunnels
  • DVD-Drive based Laser Scanning Microscope - Cool maker project, and perhaps could enable the ability to inspect chips to spot signs tampering

Sunday 7th February, 2021 #

  • Clubhouse Is the Anti-Twitter - I haven’t tried Clubhouse, it sounds like it could be interesting, it’s much more based around hierarchies and private rooms than Twitter, and Twitter has recently announced it’s Spaces feature which looks to be a response to Clubhouse, it will be interesting to see how things pan out, it’s cool to have some new movement in the social media environment
  • - The author recommends that all medium sized projects should include an architecture page to help devs quickly develop a mental model of the code base, which makes them better able to contribute
  • Coin Talk Podcast - Confessions of a Man Who Bought 20 Hashmasks.... w/ Ledger Status - I’ve never been super into crypto, but I like this podcast mostly because of the dynamic between the hosts and the guests they have on the show, they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they are clearly very into the crypto space, are very knowledgeable about it and their enthusiasm is entertaining - This episode sort of blew my mind a bit, if you are at all into building digital media production workflows and automation you might find this interesting too, there are a lot of very crypto and fintech nerdy concepts thrown about but they also interject every now and then to summarise at a high level what is going on, essentially you can do basically anything with etherium, which is kind of awesome, but on the other hand, you can do basically anything with etherium, which could be kind of risky, but maybe it’s just hilarious, or not, hard to tell, either way it’s the first time I’ve listened into a crypto deep dive discussion where my web developer spidey-sense got activated, no idea if it’s good or bad but there’s something interesting there for sure
  • From the election lie to GameStop - How to stop social media algorithms from hurting us - Looks at algorithmic amplification and suggests some ways we could create more balance by treating everything as transactions, and imposing existing financial instruments such as taxation and cap and trade
  • The year ahead - DevOps and Agile, bring on the automation, bring on the business involvement - Looks at the challenges facing most companies as they transition to digital, one of the biggest is implementing the CD part of CI/CD

Friday 5th February, 2021 #

  • The end of the Maher era at Wikipedia
  • Software Engineering Podcast - Cilium: Programmable Linux Networking with Dan Wendlant and Thomas Graf - Super nerdy conversation about the cloud native security solution, covering the historical context, decoupling your security configuration from your infrastructure, new tools emerging that are based on standard network protocols such as HTTP, REST APIs, JSON, gRPC and Kafka; the eBPF low level programming language that makes it possible to safely and efficiently reprogram the behaviour of the kernel, ways of extracting visibility and some forms of control from the kernel, adding extra functionality like encryption and authentication transparently between services, latency benefits as compared to existing ‘side-car’ proxy solutions, implementation details of the eBPF security solution, relevant use cases and a future where visibility, debugging and security can be implemented using application level concepts, across on-prem, vm, serverless, clusters, regions, service providers and legacy systems - the “universal connectivity plane”
  • Welcome, Facebook and Twitter - Seriously - Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie looks back at how he reacted to the announcement that Facebook and Twitter are getting into newsletters - I like that he’s writing publicly about it, still feels a bit awkward, especially finishing with the “we’re looking at you too” bit, but real life is awkward sometimes, I guess it’s genuine, as a Substack user my hope is that they announce some form of API soon, later today I’ll be preparing tomorrow’s newsletter, which will take several hours of copy paste, when with a bit of automation I could concentrate just on the writing part, anyhow I still like Substack
  • Docker donates Docker Distribution to the CNCF - “Distribution is the open source code that is the basis of the container registry that is part of Docker Hub, and also many other container registries. It is the reference implementation of a container registry and is extremely widely used, so it is a foundational part of the container ecosystem. This makes its new home in the CNCF highly appropriate”
  • What WebRTC means for you - Two weeks ago IETF and W3C finally published the standards for WebRTC, a protocol that’s most well known use case is video conferencing, this article reviews what it is, why it’s important, and looks at other possible areas it could be used
  • Cloud Native Series - The Cloud Native Landscape: The Application Definition and Development Layer
  • Cloud Native Series - The Cloud Native Landscape: The Orchestration and Management Layer
  • Google wants new rules for ‘critical’ open source packages - These would make supply chain attacks more difficult and generally improve security throughout the ecosystem, but the rules are onerous on the package maintainers - The article notes that open source should be more secure, but that assumes that people are actually looking at the code, something that occurs to me now is that it also assumes the people looking at the code are the ‘good’ guys, but isn’t it much more likely that the people looking at the code in a lot of detail are mostly going to be the so called ‘bad’ guys, where’s the incentive for the ‘good’ guys to be thoroughly examining the code?

Thursday 4th February, 2021 #

  • Sriram Krishnan is named as the latest general partner at renouned Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz - I’ve been getting into the a16z podcast recently, so this is relevant to me, it’s also interesting because Sriram has held product roles at Microsoft, Facebook, Snap, and Twitter - a16z recently announced they will start to publish a technology news section on their website
  • is a spiritual successor to Yahoo Pipes, a graphical interface to get data from the web and to manipulate it by connecting block - Looks like a very useful RSS feed processing tool, with a nice no-code UI editor, has a FOSS version so you can self-host, I’d really like to try this tool out, I can image lots of neat workflows that teams of journalists / writers could use to collaborate
  • Why I Still Use RSS - Though not as popular as years past, RSS is still used by lots of people, and lots of sites still publish feeds, it’s definitely a different experience to consuming information than social media, but it’s generic enough to be very versatile and is especially useful for remote / home working since many software tools also publish feeds, so you can consume news but also use it in collaboration workflows
  • Apple’s first VR headset reportedly includes a fabric design, a fan, and expensive price tag - This looks like an area that’s going to get a lot of attention in the near future, they have a 1000 person team working on the tech, it also could be a focus because Apple is looking to partner with companies such as Hyundai/Kia to work on the long rumoured Apple Car, at least these are the conversations happening at the tech rumour mill
  • Hyundai executives reportedly ‘divided’ over potential Apple car partnership
  • Kia will reportedly lead Apple Car project work under Hyundai Motor
  • The Relentless Jeff Bezos - Some great analysis and commentary on the Bezos transition, high level view of how Amazon impacted the world of retail and technology, it really is a very impressive company
  • The difference between the Node.textContent and Element.innerText properties in vanilla JS - Chris Ferdinandi’s bytesize vanilla JS emails are really great, super useful

Wednesday 3rd February, 2021 #

  • Product Manager vs Product Marketing Manager vs Product Owner
  • Prisma Cloud Reinvents the Firewall for Cloud Native Security - I’m seeing more cloud native security solutions on my radar recently, I read the marketing copy and it sort of makes sense but there’s clearly a disconnect between the features described and how the technology is implemented, these new security softwares are implemented at the application level instead of the more conventional IP and port based firewalls, so they operate on higher level constructs like Kubernetes pods and clusters, it’s interesting technology but it still feels a little bit wishy washy
  • Google Cloud vs Amazon AWS - Two vastly different profit pictures
  • Uber buying booze delivery company Drizly for $1.1 billion - Of all the Uber delivery style companies that never even occurred to me, alcohol delivery has got to be the most obvious, wish I’d thought of that
  • Recent root-giving Sudo bug also impacts macOS
  • Email from Jeff Bezos to employees - Jeff Bezos announces he will step down as CEO and transition to executive chair, it’s quite upbeat as far as memos go, he details many of the things the company has pioneered over the years, and it’s an impressive list, it will be interesting to see how the transition goes, he’ll still be involved but focussing on other moonshot type projects, my hope for Amazon is that they help incubate and grow other internet hosting providers so that we can build out a healthy and robust ecosystem, best wishes to Jeff in his new role
  • 🚀 Description of my freelance services - If you have some projects consider hiring me

Tuesday 2nd February, 2021 #

  • Definite guide to estimating software projects - This blog post has a basic outline of how to plan and estimate software projects that is pretty much how I approach projects, it goes into a lot of detail, and worth reading through if you are at that stage, also consider getting in touch with me, I could help move your project forward with my software development, consultancy and project management services, see the blog for details
  • A16z Podcast Ep. #620 - Developers as Creatives - Interview with Jeff Lawson the CEO of Twillio, who shares his perspective on what he is refering to as the 3rd era of software development called The API Economy, and how it is fundamentally changing many aspects of the industry and economy at large - Wide ranging conversation covering the observation that after 50 years a supply chain is finally emerging in the software industry, the huge progress that has been achieved in software development in general, the challenges of building at internet scale, the need for all companies to build software for differentiation, picking vendors and partners to help you build as quickly as possible, documentation as the ultimate marketing copy, how enterprise go-to-market strategy is radically changing, why developers are creatives to be treated as customers rather than just a strategy, the democratisation of developer tools, the shifting role of the product manager, and hackathons as a sort of dress rehearsal and process for discovering the best way for people to organise and behave
  • CAP Theorem - when designing computer architectures it’s a well known theorem - “It is impossible for a distributed computer system to simultaneously provide more than two out of three of the following guarantees: Consistency, Availability, Partition tolerance”
  • A memo to myself - Om Malik took a couple of weeks out to reflect on last year, and he describes in this post his writing plan for 2021, he’s such a great blogger, from what I think of vaguely as traditional blogging, reading and sharing links and writing thoughtful blog posts with analysis of current trends, each one of his posts from his most recent newsletter were just the right balance of information density and length, and the topics he plans to cover next year look super interesting, I’m really looking forward to reading his writings

Monday 1st February, 2021 #

  • Application Architecture - Best Practices for Future-Proofing Your Apps - Describes the Architecture Canvas which is a way to structure your code into foundation, core and end-user layers, then looks at some common anti-patterns and how to avoid them - Quite a lot of similarity with Domain Driven Design techniques, the scenarios are well explained using clear diagrams, enabling you to understand the high level approach without getting bogged down in the detail
  • UK’s Riverlane raises €16.4M; here’s how it transforms quantum computers from experimental tech to commercial products - Worth noting as it’s the first time I’ve seen an article about quantum operating systems, though there isn’t much written about the technology in the article

Sunday 31st January, 2021 #

  • pforret/progressbar - Easy, clever progress bar for (bash) scripts - This could be really useful for making install scripts that have nicely formatted progress bars, just add the command at the end of a pipeline
  • List of newsletter directories - These are directories where people discover newsletters, so if like me, you have a newsletter, it’s worth adding it to these
  • Practical Aspect Oriented Programming in JavaScript - I’m always interested in learning a bit about different coding paradigms, this one caught my attention because it has lots of similarity with how the Express middleware (IMO one of the best features) are implemented
  • Where should I run my stuff? - A neat diagram that explains when to use each Google Cloud Platform (GCP) product, it’s a great diagram but it sort of feels like things are getting quite complex these days
  • Top Facebook System Design Interview Questions (Part 2) - Interesting design challenges, I’m hoping to find time to watch these videos later
  • A Look at the Top Questions for a System Design Interview at Facebook
  • Cory Doctorow - IP - A detailed look at the current state of intellectual property, onboards by looking at the history of free software and the GPL, then looks at the importance of interoperability as it enables self-determination, citing modern examples such as Facebook and Google, and broadens the picture to talk more generally about copyrights, trademarks and patents (all of which fall under the IP umbrella), in the context of author and entertainment monopolies - Overall, paints a generally coherent picture of a very complicated area, and is clearly the product of many years of being immersed in the field, I feel like I will need to re-read this piece a few times for the core dynamics to settle in my mind - The standout quote which is a good pillar to explore from: “IP is any law that I can invoke that allows me to control the conduct of my competitors, critics, and customers”

Saturday 30th January, 2021 #

  • 🚀 Latest Newsletter: Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 30th January, 2021
  • Facebook reportedly plans newsletter tools after explosion in popularity
  • Accessing Eleventy Data on the Client Side - Shows how to pre-render some JSON during the build which you can then fetch from the client
  • 3 Ways to Render Server-Side Components with Eleventy
  • Netlify Edge Handlers - Short tutorial on how to use Netlify’s new edge handlers, which enable you to fetch dynamic data right before returning the static page to the user, and add that data to the page, the great thing is that because it happens at the CDN edge, if it’s done right, it can be very efficient since it’s using the very fast CDN internet connection and servers to get and process the data, rather than the users connection and machine which is likely to be much slower
  • Docusaurus 2020 Recap - Very popular framework for building statically generated documentation sites, this article looks at the latest features in v2, recent relevant published media, the community and future plans
  • How to Host a Static Website on AWS with HTTPS and CI/CD - Amazon can seem a bit complex now that there are so many services, so it’s good to read a tutorial focusing on the basics, one feature that would be great to add would be branch previews similar to Netlify

Friday 29th January, 2021 #

  • middyjs/middy - The stylish Node.js middleware engine for AWS Lambda - I think I’ve already posted a link to this library previously, it’s got a great interface which makes a lot of sense, middleware are one of the express primitives I really miss when I’m writing Lambdas, however I personally found the description of the promises in the interface a bit confusing, I’d like to try the library out on a real project
  • Capturing Hacker News Mentions with Node.js and MongoDB - Really neat tutorial on how to setup a data extraction pipeline using Node.js and the HN streaming API, the technique could be used in many different scenarios, the use of real-time streams is particularly cool
  • Newsletters are growing up and leaving the coop - Looks at Every a newsletter that has been built on Substack is breaking out into its own entity, I think it’s great that the Substack team is fully behind them, this feels like the way things should work more often online, hosting providers should be helping others to become hosting providers, so the ecosystem becomes more robust for all
  • Why does it take so long to build software? - Focusses on essential complexity and accidental complexity, then puts it into context by looking at the past, current and likely future of technology, well written and paints a clear picture
  • Cloud Native Series - The Cloud Native Landscape: The Runtime Layer Explained
  • Tim Cook condemns Facebook business model, says valuing engagement over privacy leads to ‘polarization’ and ‘violence’ - I really like Apple's vision, it sounds like the sort of world that would be pleasant to live in, the one thing that would make it even better, and I know this is very unlikely, is if they had that vision AND the software was open source, as we continue to integrate these softwares into our lives and especially when we begin integrating them into our bodies, this is going to become very important, what better time for Apple to transition to open source when it is flush with cash?
  • 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

Thursday 28th January, 2021 #

  • Cloud Native Series - The Cloud Native Landscape: The Provisioning Layer Explained
  • Hawk expansion will accelerate research combining simulation and artificial intelligence - There are some really interesting high performance computing use cases where combining AI reinforcement learning with classic simulation can speed up discovery, I’d like to learn more about the workflows they are building, this article looks at sheet metal production in manufacturing, explosion simulation in astronomy, and fluid dynamics simulation in aerodynamics and combustion
  • The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML - Looks at a specific example where having a simple HTML website that rendered well in any browser made all the difference, progressive enhancement is really important, more than we realise

Wednesday 27th January, 2021 #

  • Notes on Da Lat – The cool mountain city in the Central Highlands of Vietnam - Great photowalk by James Clark of a wonderful place I’ve been to before, he has one of those popups on his website, the RSS feed version doesn’t, lots of nice photos, and James’ classic laid back travel writing style
  • Reddit’s GameStop traders turn their attention to AMC stock - I’m mostly posting this because of the film industry connection, not sure what to make of it currently, seems like it’s going to be quite a big story, I don’t currently have an opinion aside from trepidation because of my recent ☹️ Reddit experiences with my account, feels a bit mobish
  • Cloud Native Series - An Introduction to the Cloud Native Landscape
  • Hank Aaron tribute - Interactive timeline of the Top-10 Career Home Run leaders since the beginning of the Modern Era - I heard about Hank Aaron’s passing a few days ago, but I don’t watch baseball anymore, so it was like watching a ship very far out at sea, but this timeline really reminds me of all my years playing baseball in my youth, collecting baseball cards, chewing 6ft rolls of gum, eating hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza, drinking Mountain Dew, and playing baseball console games, those were fun times - and wow Babe Ruth really was way ahead of his time
  • Substack vs. Revue - Comprehensive feature comparison from a group that know a lot about newsletters
  • Matt Mullenweg on Twitter buying Revue - “I’m a huge fan of the idea of better newsletters and Automattic was the largest investor in Revue”
  • SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Amazon’s Project Kuiper stir up a war of words over satellites
  • Shipping Jamstack like a hero - beware, it's cool - Run-through of how to setup a self-hosted Meli environment, it’s based on the Caddy server, that gets you a very similar environment to Netlify, with Github integration and deploy previews, the only major thing missing is simple serverless functions
  • Optimising serverless for BBC Online - Interesting writeup of a serverless architecture that is clearly offering many advantages at the BBC, including cost benefits, massive scaling capacity, very detailed request tracing for improved debugging, developer workflows that enable separate testing environments per pull request, and easy rollback in case of failure
  • How to Setup Your M1 MacBook for Web Development - Has a script to install a basic dev environment, for something a bit more comprehensive check out my dotfiles Github repo
  • Monorepo - Chris Coyier explains why his small team have moved back towards a monorepo from lots of smaller repos deployed as serverless functions, personally I’ve tended to have one repo for the website and one for the api in the past which has worked pretty well, I really like one of his monorepo advantages he’s called “growing old together”, there’s something kind of magical about that description
  • The Teeniest Tiniest Laptop In The West - “The GPD P2 Max is a hyper-powered cross between a palm pilot and an ultrabook”
  • leahneukirchen/nq - Unix command line queue utility
  • Twitter acquiring newsletter publishing company Revue - Interesting to see Twitter get into long form content and especially newsletters, I’m looking forward to see their product, it would be very cool if they had an API, Markdown support and automation tools

Tuesday 26th January, 2021 #

  • How I went from growing startups to buying them - Ray Sheth the founder of Decalab writes about his ‘SaaS Factory’ company, he has experience building companies in India and the US, and plans to share his experience buying and growing SaaS companies in the $1-10m annual recurring revenue (ARR) space, sounds like it could be an interesting journey
  • Our Journey to PostgreSQL 12 - Great writeup from the Coffee meets Bagel engineering team, just the right amount of detail with some illustrative architecture diagrams, you get a very clear picture of what a Postgres migration looks like
  • Instagram's New Professional Dashboard - A push to help businesses and creators monetise their content
  • Welcoming Open Web Docs to the MDN family
  • OWD 2021 goals - Outlines high-level objectives for Open Web Docs in 2021
  • Open Web Docs
  • Introducing Open Web Docs - With initial backing from Coil, Google and Microsoft and Igalia, this project is to support existing web documentation efforts like MDN Docs, they appear to have raised $500k already, so definitely an important project to watch, it’s good to see investment in places where it really matters like super high quality web platform documentation
  • Introducing Birdwatch, a community-based approach to misinformation - I don’t know how I feel about this, I like that they will have transparency of the data and that there seems to be a genuine wish to ‘do it right’ even if it’s messy at times, but I’m also cautious because when the community gets it wrong it can be spectacularly wrong, just ask the Star Wars Kid how he feels about community, I’m also still, after many months, trying to find out why my ☹️ Reddit account is corrupted/blocked, and they simply don’t acknowledge that I even exist, it looks like I have been banned yet I demonstrably have not been banned, so Twitter becoming like Reddit would be in my opinion very bad for everyone
  • Apache OpenWhisk is an open source, distributed Serverless platform that executes functions (fx) in response to events at any scale. OpenWhisk manages the infrastructure, servers and scaling using Docker containers so you can focus on building amazing and efficient applications

Monday 25th January, 2021 #

  • Fulfilling the promise of CI/CD - A lot of teams do continuous integration, but a lot less do continuous delivery, this article focusses on why that second part is crucial, though one thing it doesn't do is address the non-trivial problem of what to do with all the management people that help to run the current way of doing things
  • 🚀 Latest Newsletter: Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 23rd January, 2021

Sunday 24th January, 2021 #

  • 🚀 Self-hosted AWS Lambda and GitHub Actions systems
  • Drone is a Continuous Delivery system built on container technology- Drone uses a simple YAML configuration file, a superset of docker-compose, to define and execute Pipelines inside Docker containers
  • How to use GitHub Actions with your own self-hosted runner (aka build agent) - Self hosted runners look interesting, gives you a way to run Github Actions on your own infrastructure
  • Self-hosting serverless with OpenFaaS - Lots of cool features, enabling to run your own AWS Lambda
  • Using Bootstrap 5 with Vue.js
  • How Smashing Magazine Manages Content - Migration From WordPress To JAMstack - Interesting article that is very pro-Jamstack, Smashing Magazine ended up moving much of their operation to run on Netlify and using Netlify CMS, the article says early on that it didn’t get rid of Wordpress completely but doesn’t fully explain how it’s being used in their new setup, I’m curious to know more about that piece
  • ‘It’s not OK’ - Elastic takes aim at AWS, at the risk of major collateral damage - More about the open source license war happening, the thought that I keep coming back to is how did Wordpress manage to avoid this happen to them, they also offer their software as open source and have a managed service offering, and I want to know where does Elastic host it’s managed service offering? It’s almost like there should be a more rigorous separation between software companies and hardware companies, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the answer, because it could affect innovation

Saturday 23rd January, 2021 #

  • Survey claims 62% of Apple TV+ subscribers are on a free trial as Apple builds its content catalog - And apparently only 30% expect to continue with their subscription after the free trial ends, Disney+ had a 48% continue rate
  • How To Migrate From WordPress To The Eleventy Static Site Generator - The crux is to create an XML export from Wordpress, then run a special CLI tool on the export to turn all the posts into Markdown files, then you can easily re-style the site to build using Eleventy
  • How to Set Environment Variables in Linux and Mac - The Missing Manual - You can do a lot of cool things with environment variables on Linux / Mac systems, they are a core concept of the operating systems, this article covers many of the important angles
  • The Complete Developer's Guide to Airtable - This workflow tool has popped up on my radar a few times recently, I don’t know that much about it currently, hoping to get time to go through this article in more detail later
  • How I Build JavaScript Apps In 2021 - A fairly advanced javascript developer reviews his current very pragmatic approach to programming for the web, some insightful observations, good tips, I enjoyed reading this level headed piece that has been shaped by years of experience

Friday 22nd January, 2021 #

  • Turbulence continues in the world of Open Source Software - Elastic changes it’s license in an attempt to force AWS to change the way it interacts with their project, similar movements happened with the MongoDB project a few years ago
  • Maintaining JavaScript applications in the long term - Great writeup of the tech stack used by the developers of the OECD Data Portal, discusses the choices they made and migrations they undertook during this long running project, it’s an interesting mix of modern (D3, ESNext, Typescript) and boring (Backbone, JQuery) web development technologies with some good advice about how to test code and being careful with abstractions - I like their approach to using Typescript via JSDOC, and also their use of progressive enhancement to make sure the site is accessible to the wide ranging user base they have all around the globe
  • Stripe for Visual Studio Code - Some useful tools if you are a VSCode user, particularly the ability to trigger and view webhook events, Stripe dashboard access, and the snippets feature also looks cool
  • How to pick a Typeface for User Interface and App Design? - Has some handy tips about choosing a font for your UI, what is meant by the term ‘functional text’, the Il1 test, letter apertures, and has some illustrative examples

Thursday 21st January, 2021 #

  • Both darkmode and big font size accessibility options on the new site are awesome
  • now has dark mode
  • Valve and five game publishers fined millions for geo-blocking Steam games in EU
  • The Unauthorized Story of Andreessen Horowitz - Tells the story of how they have become incredibly good over the years of ‘going direct’ when publishing online, and they are apparently going to start a special tech section on their website, definitely one to watch, they are some of the Silicon Valley heavy weights, around in that marvellous period where TechCrunch became big, I’m excited to read what they have to say, I really hope they go full direct, and do away with any consent form popups, pretty please no popups :)

Wednesday 20th January, 2021 #

  • ipfs-shipyard/ipfs-deploy - Zero-Config CLI to Deploy Static Websites to IPFS - Pretty cool, supports lots of IPFS gateways including Pinata (which appears to be popular) and Cloudflare among others
  • Brave becomes first browser to have native support for IPFS protocol - Links starting with ipfs:// will load in the browser without requiring installation of a browser plugin

Tuesday 19th January, 2021 #

  • Traditional iPaaS Doesn’t Work for Software Companies – Here’s Why - Pretty good description of the world of software systems integration, anyone that has worked integrating software into enterprise systems will probably find this article quite a interesting
  • Matt Mullenweg - Thirty-seven - “I’m so thankful for the internet. It’s where I learned and practiced my trade. It’s where I connect every day with the most interesting and eclectic group of people I could imagine, a modern day Florence during the Renaissance. I hope to make a lot more internet and enable others to do the same.”

Monday 18th January, 2021 #

  • Why The Service Mesh Should Fade Out Of Sight - Short discussion about Kubernetes, Microservices and Cloud Native web development, raises the notion of Kubernetes being the dynamic linker of “legacy OSs” like Windows and Linux
  • Why we should review broken products instead of new ones - Really interesting idea, the author also suggests having re-occurring product reviews
  • Safari 14 added WebExtensions support - So where are the extensions? - Good summary of the current situation, Apple made the bar too high, compared to other browsers it's a lot more effort to deploy to, and costs money, and you don't even get the thing that users really want, which is the ability to use an extension on iPad and iPhone, so developers just aren't bothering

Sunday 17th January, 2021 #

  • JingOS The World’s First iPadOS-style Linux Distro - “JingOS is a full-function Linux based on Ubuntu. It can run desktop Linux apps like VS Code, Libre Office, etc. JingOS is a productive OS designed specifically for tablets” - Well that peaked my interest, I guess you could use it as a fully fledged development device

Saturday 16th January, 2021 #

  • MGM Is For Sale (Again) - If you are at all into films, this is a must read piece, some really good analysis, I didn’t know there was so much movement happening in the Studios business at the minute, MGM has a big library including the Bond franchise, a streaming property EPIX, production and distribution capabilities for both movies and television
  • Signal is down as rush of new users swamps secure messaging service
  • Apple considering premium podcast service to compete with Amazon, Spotify - Likely to be quite controversial, has the potential to change the podcasting landscape quite a bit
  • A Few More Thoughts On The Total Deplatforming Of Parler & Infrastructure Content Moderation - I’ve liked lots lots of the Techdirt pieces about the technology side of the Trump ban, and though this piece has quite a bit of factually correct tech details, I disagree with the conclusion, I think it misses the point, which isn’t imo even todo with content moderation, the reality is that there are only a hand full of hosting companies and they can be pressured easily to shut companies down, be it by government or general public sentiment, it’s way too easy to turn a company “toxic”, we are hearing about Parler because it’s high profile, but it could just as easily happen to a no name small company, and would we even know it had happened? It’s very difficult to complain when you’ve been deplatformed, it’s like cutting off someone’s water supply, or oxygen, it’s a very terminal move

Friday 15th January, 2021 #

  • 🚀 New Post: Cloud Native web application development: what's it all about? - Quite a long blog post, but if you are interested in cloud computing there’s lots of useful information, including how to think about building in a safe way, how to structure your code using Domain Driven Design techniques, and in this post I’m experimenting with a new way to include links from my linkblog, I’d love to hear what you think about it!
  • Monetizing open source - How Tailwind CSS has grown into a $2M+ business
  • Use Node.js with Docker and Docker Compose to improve DX - Relatively short and very readable tutorial showing how to run production and development NodeJS with Docker, and how to use Docker Compose to create several containers at once, so you can have other services, such as databases, configured and running next to your app
  • An introduction to the internet of materials (IoM) - Some interesting research happening at Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Lab, new materials that harvest energy via sound vibrations, and can perform simple computations, they list a load of futuristic use cases, including Post-it notes that you can talk to, very agileish
  • An intro to server sent events (SSE) - Similar to web sockets, but less complicated, but unidirectional, good for real-time updates to a UI for instance like counts, article includes some clear example code
  • 10 best practices to containerize Node.js web applications with Docker
  • Get Ready For ESM - Prolific NodeJS package writer Sindre Sorhus describes his planned approach to migrating from CommonJS the new ESM module system
  • The web components community group have been discussing the possibility of creating a new web components logo, sort of similar to how the HTML5 logo helped to promote that, it’s an interesting conversation, lots of things to consider

Thursday 14th January, 2021 #

  • The Gold Standard Checklist for Web Components - Working draft of a checklist to define a "gold standard" for web components that aspire to be as predictable, flexible, reliable, and useful as the standard HTML elements
  • Cloud software firm Veeva joins Ben & Jerry’s, Lemonade in becoming Public Benefit Corporation - I didn’t know about PBCs, according to this article they have a legal duty to balance interest of customers, employees, partners and shareholders, unlike of a C Corp which only has to maximise shareholder profit, it would be interesting to have more details about what that actually looks like in practice
  • UK Space Agency and Rolls-Royce Defence join to study nuclear power for space exploration
  • UK government assign 3 new digital bosses - There’s a 3 letter government tech organisation that sort of sounds cool, there’s a new 4 letter government tech organisation that is instantly forgettable, it doesn’t sound like they have a very cohesive plan
  • Asus announces Chromebook CX5 for play (q1 release), CX9 for work (q2 release)
  • Is Culture Stuck? - Some interesting thoughts about culture in our current period, explores films, music, and fashion, comparing today with decades gone by, as someone who has lived through the pre-internet to internet era, a lot of the authors observations feel relevant to me
  • Poland plans to make censoring social media accounts illegal
  • macOS Big Sur 11.2 beta 2 is out with full custom kernel support - The latest version of the OS includes the firmware needed to replace the kernel, which means we are a step closer to having Linux running on the M1
  • An Overview of the Most Exciting Proposals for the Web Platform Related to Web Components (2019) - Has a good description of the web platform and how the platform standards evolve via specifications written by the W3C and WHATWG, then covers some of the latest web components features - template instantiation, CSS shadow parts, constructable stylesheet objects, HTML & CSS modules, and scoped custom element definitions

Wednesday 13th January, 2021 #

  • Tech & the American Crisis - I’m struggling to find content about the Trump ban to post, not through lack of content, there is so much of it, but it’s all so horrible, I can’t even read more than a few paragraphs before I just don’t want to read anymore, I like a lot of what Om Malik writes, and this piece is quite thoughtful and I made it to the end of the article so it’s not too horrible, so I’m posting it
  • If it will matter after today, stop talking about it in a chat room - A short comparison between live chat and discussion based software tools
  • Intel unveils new 12th-generation Alder Lake chips as it plays catch up to Apple’s M1
  • Source Code At CES - All Tech Is Politics - Politics aside, if you’re into tech at all, there’s a lot of cool stuff in this CES roundup post
  • Extensions planned for NYC’s High Line - An l-shaped train is set to connect the elevated park to the just-opened Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station

Tuesday 12th January, 2021 #

  • Introduction to Python - I’ve been going through Flavio’s super streamlined Python course, the language is as I remember it, though after being in javascript for so many years, I’m surprised by how straight forward everything feels
  • Rocking 25+Web Design Trends In 2021😎 - Lots of trends, some very interesting, some feel a bit tired, but overall quite inspiring, my favourites were comfortable colors, 3d colors, gradient colour schemes, interactive 3d content, dark mode, hand drawn elements, chat bots, voice user interfaces, VR, micro interactions and animations, text only hero images, white space, full height homepage heros, using videos, blending photos with graphical elements, bold fonts and colors, and asymmetric layouts
  • The Slope Gets More Slippery As You Expect Content Moderation To Happen At The Infrastructure Layer - The last few days have been completely swamped with completely horrible content from pretty much every news outlet, so this piece is very refreshing as it’s a level headed calm analysis that focusses on the technology aspects (rather than the politics) and what all last few days events could mean for the internet
  • Lucasfilm and Disney revive Lucasfilm Games - I’m not hugely into gaming, my gaming years are long past now, I played video games in my teens, sometimes in arcades, and also consoles, they were fun times, I started tuning out when every game was a first person shooter, which I just find mind numbingly boring, for some reason this announcement seems really interesting to me, perhaps it’s a nice distraction from all the horrible social media the past few days, anything in a galaxy far far away would be miles better
  • Angela Merkel attacks Twitter over Trump ban - Several EU officials have raised concerns about free speech in the US, article also covers the ban of the Parler social media platform by every big tech company, interesting to note that in french ‘parler’ means ‘to speak’

Monday 11th January, 2021 #

  • Lenovo unveils ThinkReality A3 smartglasses with Snapdragon XR1 - This makes me wonder is VFX artists are going to be really into AR tech, especially all the 3D folks
  • Linus Torvalds rates his own words ‘incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man’ - Bit of a hyperbole title, he was being humorous, it looks like the next release is well on track
  • Michael Apted director and Seven Up documentarian dies at ages 79 - I really enjoyed watching the the Seven Up documentary series when I was younger, I learnt a lot about what it mean to be british from those pieces, I haven’t seen the last few of these, hopefully I will some day, I think it also turned me onto documentaries which I love watching, I didn’t know he also directed a Bond movie and the Chronicles of Narnia (how cool!), farewell and all the best Mr Apted
  • Super insightful Twitter thread from Steven Sinovsky about the launch of the iPhone in 2007 - Steve was President of the Windows Division at Microsoft back then, so he was really plugged into the state of the industry especially mobile, he describes the broad context of what was happening, all the disparate events that were to culminate in what was to be the iPhone, I remember a lot of it exactly as he describes, but I was only seeing it from an end-user perspective, so it’s wonderful to hear the full tech angle on that huge period of change, real life sure is interesting sometimes, I’m glad to have lived through that moment

Sunday 10th January, 2021 #

  • Should I introduce an API Gateway in my workplace? - I liked this article because, though it started out pretty much as I had expected, it ended up going down a path that I totally didn’t expect, but that was very insightful
  • Substack is adding new features in February - Theming to change the look of newsletters, sublists so writers can segment their members into groups, and a multipub tool so writers can have several publications under one account - I like new features but I personally desperately need some automation tools and markdown support; these additions although cool, are mostly just things that would make my life more difficult not easier
  • An Invisible Tax on the Web - Video Codecs - Looks at the AV1 codec which is being developed by a consortium of companies including Mozilla, Google, Cisco, Amazon, Netflix, AMD, ARM, Intel, NVIDIA, as an alternative to the ubiquitous H264 and it’s successor H265, it’s royalty free and has better compression
  • Just wanted to mention that although the individual articles on the BBC News site look great, and are a pleasure to read, the main page has a horrible popup that gets blasted in your face as soon as the site loads, thus accessibility fir the fantastic articles is quite low
  • ☹️ Reddit Profile Saga - When I visit the appeal suspension page there is a message saying: “You cannot submit an appeal - Your account is currently neither suspended nor restricted. If you are trying to submit an appeal for another account that is suspended or restricted, please log out and log in to that account. For other account issues, please visit our Help Center .” - So it seems my account is not in fact suspended, yet it looks exactly like it is suspended, and I can’t find a way to contact the people that run the website
  • Autonomous and Beautiful Home Devices - Matt Mullenweg describes the IoT devices that he would like to have; devices that look good, don’t have an app, can be easily replaced, that easily connect to the network and that you can be confident won’t stop working because of software incompatibility issues later down the line
  • 🚀 Housekeeping Note: I’ve added a link to the BBC News Science & Environment website to the list of example sites in my blog post - Web design that focusses on text content is the best
  • Nasa's Curiosity rover - 3,000 days on Mars - Great article and very impressed with the clean look of the BBC News site, no annoying popups, page loads fast and text is very readable on mobile devices, using up the entire screen, very pleasant reading experience

Saturday 9th January, 2021 #

  • GM unveils new logo - Short John Gruber post, he doesn’t like the new logo, ‘lower case letters aren’t serious’, my initial reaction when I loaded the page wasn’t negative, so I don’t dislike it, personally I don’t have an aversion to lower case letters, I don’t think lower case letters have much to do with seriousness, for me lower case letters have an air of creativity, there is something that’s a bit off though, I’m not quite sure, maybe it looks like a logo that you see on a HiFi system, somehow reminds me of audio equipment
  • The 2 Essential Ingredients of a Brilliant Title - Worth a read if you ever write technical blog posts
  • Painters Tape and Fault Tolerance - I read a lot of blog posts and a lot of those are about programming, this post from Chris Coyier is just so well balanced and encapsulates an idea so well, one of his best
  • Good News in History, January 9 - Trying to offset all the Reddit sad faces with some good news, the thing with real life is that it happens anyway, so best thing you can do is to note the bad stuff and move on to something a bit more cheery, try to find time to fix when you are more able and when there is possibility for change - Turns out of all things on this day in 2007 the iPhone was unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs :)
  • ☹️ Reddit Profile Saga - The Twitter thread where I’ve tried to contact @reddit, no replies from them so far
  • ☹️ Reddit Profile Saga - I’m being disappeared on Reddit, can anyone help or know what’s going on?
  • ☹️ Reddit Profile Saga - Possible bug with my account
  • ☹️ Reddit Profile Saga - Hello shadowban bot, what say you?
  • When Amazon switched from Sun to Linux - Twitter thread from Dan Rose, who was Director of Business Development at Amazon around 2000, describing the impact of the migration, worth noting there is some dispute of how much of a big deal it was in a related HN thread, they were fighting several other fires including a migration away from Oracle as their database provider, but it’s interesting nonetheless
  • Processing is a flexible software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts
  • Snowpack 2.0 - A build system for the modern web - This was one of the most popular new tools in the javascript ecosystem for 2020, it modernises the developer workflow by only requiring file bundling (webpack/parcel) for production builds, during development you use snowpack which relies on native ES modules, this makes development much much faster, and you only bundle right at the end, before shipping to production
  • ECMAScript 2020 - the final feature set - A list of all the new features added in 2020 with relevant links to the TC39 process which describe the various maturity stages used for developing new features
  • Twitter permanently bans Trump - I totally checked out of reading Trump tweets including any main stream media reporting on Trump tweets over a year ago, as soon as I see them I just continue scrolling, so I don’t have any of the negative associations that I would have, had I continued to read these, because of that this story feels super weird to me, I tried for a while to find the tweets he wrote, can’t find them anywhere, only enormous tidal waves from main stream, and the small snippets I have read here and there, which were always out of context, don’t actually seem all that bad - I hope people are okay and haven’t been hurt in these riots, but this story is freaking weird
  • Yes, vanilla JS does scale - Looks at some of the misconceptions floating around on tech Twitter, interesting for the purposes of developing some perspective

Friday 8th January, 2021 #

  • Building better new cities in Southeast Asia - I am a bit hesitant to link to this article because at first glance it seems very critical of the region, and I’ve been here for a while now and I see that life is _damn difficult_ for so many, they are having to build all these new developments in an unimaginable realm of chaos, they have to make a lot of compromises and progress is hard and slow, but it’s happening, and a lot of it is amazing - I’ve met the author of the article James Clark and he’s a nice bloke who’s been in the region much longer than me, and any comments he’s making are from a place of tremendous affection he has for all the places mentioned and their people, and his articles are heavily researched, with a lot of thought and effort going into them, so I think that some of what he’s saying is worth considering - I also think it's fantadtic because it puts the word out that progress is happening, and it’s interesting and it’s real life
  • Gaming Software Pioneer RAD Game Tools Now Part of Epic Games
  • Cloud Manager - A New Multicloud PaaS Platform Built on Kubernetes - The ability to run your applications seamlessly across cloud providers is going to be a big trend in the next few years because although so far we have seen costs mostly getting cheaper, that might not always be the case, it’s still relatively early days for cloud technologies, costs will vary over time, companies will get bought and sold, and there will be shifts in power dynamics in the cloud space
  • Jack Dorsey and Running Two Companies - Matt Mullenweg (Automattic, Wordpress) interviews Jack Dorsey (Twitter, Square), hoping to have some time to listen to this later
  • 🚀 Re-post: The coming revolution in freelance web development
  • No Meetings, No Deadlines, No Full-Time Employees - I read this and was really liking their approach, it sounds like the future of work, but then they list the hiring process, step 2 - unpaid project, which means they are just mooching off of others, that’s when I stopped reading, oh but it’s just a few hours you say, everyone is doing just a few hours, if people are working for you, you should be paying them otherwise you are taking advantage of them, and it’s unsustainable because somebody somewhere has to pay for those hours, and it often ends up being freelancers

Thursday 7th January, 2021 #

  • Guide on Collecting Feedback for your Newsletter
  • slowly falling in love with notion - Brad Frost reviews Notion, it’s a really well though out and nice bit of writing, I’ve been hearing and reading about Notion all over the place recently, in podcasts and on blogs, sounds like a great productivity tool
  • UK watchdog to investigate Nvidia’s $40bn Arm deal
  • Facebook and Instagram ban Trump for 24 hours - Apparently he posted messages he shouldn’t have, I’d like to see what he posted, can’t find any sites that have copies of the tweets, it’s timely for me because the past few days I’ve been fighting a apparent ban (though no way for me to find out for sure) on Reddit, they banned my account before I ever posted a single post!
  • 🚀 Housekeeping note: I’ve added links to some of the NodeJS working group repos to my blog post - Reasons to use NodeJS for developing your backend systems
  • The nodejs/next-10 group are working collaboratively on the strategic direction of NodeJS, here’s an interesting retrospective board that displays the wants of the various constituencies, i.e. end-users, application operators, application developers, library/package authors, organisations with investments in NodeJS, and NodeJS code maintainers

Wednesday 6th January, 2021 #

  • How freelancing will change under President Biden - Would be great if they made some policies that dealt with the awful way the recruitment process in tech is structured, which is a very real problem for freelancers
  • Open Source developer David Recordon announced as the Director of Technology for President Biden at the Whitehouse - I wonder if they’ll be running Linux Desktops, wouldn’t that be cool?
  • Create a tag cloud with HTML and CSS - I love tag clouds, I have one on the blog and I use it all the time, and this article is a light read with some nice examples
  • Challenges Concerning IoT - Highlights a bunch of important challenges, the most interesting that I hadn’t considered is the issue of bandwidth allocation that will arise later down the line when billions of devices are all operating based on a client/server architecture, basic activities like authentication might start to cause network congestion problems
  • Apple Watch can double as a vlogging viewfinder
  • This avocado armchair could be the future of AI Trained on images+captions from the internet rather than curated data sets, two new GPT-3 based AI models, DALL-E which draws images from imputed text and another called CLIP which selects generated images that best match inputted text are used together to create interesting artwork, could lead to AI with better understanding of every day concepts
  • Some Recent Videos About Websites That Are Pretty Good - Chris Coyier’s roundup of some dev videos he’s been watching, including why the web is a mess, recreating the Didcord sidebar, progressive enhancement, a look at modern javascript and a cssbattle - I haven’t watched any of these yet but Chris has great taste when it comes to frontend development and I wanted to add some frontend links, plus based on his descriptions they look interesting
  • Asahi Linux aims to bring you a polished Linux experience on Apple Silicon Macs
  • Amazon buys 4 jets from WestJet and 7 from Delta to expand cargo fleet - It currently rents planes and uses UPS and FedEx for moving packages across long distances, looks like it’s a good time to buy planes at the minute