- Mar Hicks on technology built to last — COBOL sounds more and more intriguing (honestly!)
- Ehsan Noursalehi on the new Microsoft Teams dynamic video conferencing mode — this looks amazing and I want it
- Ehsan Noursalehi’s Why Do We Interface microbook — short read, worth it, and the microbook idea is interesting too
- Obsidian — another note-taking solution (don’t mind me, just poaching ideas for Arc)
- Jessica Kerr on software development as a craft — or not; good food for thought
- Bryan Braun on his Music Box Fun project — quite enjoyed this (and it makes me want to make something similar, which is always a good sign)
- Doug Belshaw on working in public — great thoughts
- Alex Hope on finding Tony Abbott’s passport number on Instagram — a long read but oh is it hilarious and delightful
- Justin E. H. Smith on the philosophy of the Internet — fascinating throughout
- Bryan Braun (again) on web components — the past few years I’ve avoided frontend dev (I’m allergic to unnecessary stack complexity), but this post gives me hope
I ended up tweaking my Vim syntax highlighting earlier this week (after my first post), to be more in line with what Ben had posted. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far (with the disclaimer that all of this code is internal and wasn’t written with the expectation that it would ever be seen by anyone else) (and I’m also still fairly new at writing Go and Rust):
And some Rust, Go, and HTML:
These are certainly more soothing to my eyes, which was something I didn’t realize I needed. While these aren’t perfect in the least — with enough variation between languages to look almost like entirely different color themes, though I think I see that as a feature and not a bug — I’m happy with the tweaks for now and plan to stick with them.
- Austin Klein’s reasons for blogging — I blog for the same reasons
- Farnam Street on being a learning machine — a worthy goal
- Ben Kuhn’s list of programming essays — good collection (and if you have favorites that aren’t in his list, let me know)
- Bartosz Ciechanowski on lights and shadows — this along with his Gears and Tesseract posts are fascinating, with great interactive visualizations
- Min — minimalist web browser (and I’ll mention here that I’m veering closer and closer to spinning up my own WebKit-based keyboard-controlled extremely minimalist browser, so that I can have full control over the UI, but that also seems a little crazy)
Over the weekend I read Ben Kuhn’s post on syntax highlighting and thought the idea sounded intriguing, so I tried it out.
Here’s what I had before (and let me add that I was tweaking my Vim colors a few days before this, so this wasn’t technically my normal setup) (and let me further add that this is fairly old code and not anything particular exciting):
And after, where comments are bold and brighter than the rest of the dim code:
Hmm. This isn’t a perfect implementation of the idea in the least, but even so, I don’t know that I like having comments so predominant.
This does, however, give me several ideas for modifying my existing color scheme (or starting from scratch, which is feeling a bit more likely right now). Something more soothing, less garish. And still some way to make comments stand out more — italics or a somewhat brighter color, probably. (Sidenote: nvim-treesitter has caught my interest.)
- Ben Kuhn on your attention being your scarcest resource — thinking a lot about this lately since I tend to have too many plates spinning at a time (his blog in general is quite good, by the way)
- Matt Webb on a countdown zine site — this countdown clock idea is intriguing and now I’m thinking about using this idea on some things
- Jake Archibald on AVIF — a new image compression format I’d never heard of but which looks quite promising
- Apocalyptic West Coast fires — whoa (“hot coals the size of marbles falling from the sky”)
- Self-powered wireless keyboard made out of paper — though with electronics printed on it (still cool)
- The Handmade Network manifesto — I like this a lot (and would love to do more of this kind of coding)
- The Future of Coding weekly newsletter — fascinating posts and conversations, really digging this
- Ivan Reese’s Hest project — visual programming of sorts but with fascinating space/time travel aspects
- Logseq — an intriguing notebook system ala Roam (in the vein of digital gardens)
- Zig — still need more time to go through the overview here in depth, but I like what I’ve seen so far
- Hundred Rabbits on their tools ecosystem — several of their philosophies here appeal a lot to me, and I love how constraints (electricity, etc. in their case) lead to interesting ways to solve problems
- Brandur on small, sharp software tools — how to avoid getting cut on all the extra complexity (from using many small tools together)
- Carolyn Barber in Scientific American on how Covid can wreck your heart even if you haven’t had any symptoms — a bit terrifying if I’m honest, but obviously still important to be aware of
- Doug Belshaw with a quote from Joseph Tainter on the Ik of Uganda — the societal differences are striking (it’s basically everyone for themselves, starting at the ripe old age of three years old)
- Ratko Jagodic on his VR research using the forearm for both input and display — promising and exciting
Some quick thoughts about the project space I see myself working in (meaning personal coding projects that aren’t the productivity tools I mentioned before), both now and for the foreseeable future. To be honest, it’s mostly a roadmap for myself, posted here as part of working in public.
One of the areas in the project space is bookmaking tools: tools that help with making either print books or ebooks. What I’ve worked on in that area (and some of these are still in progress or in the future):
- Press — low-level typesetting (PDF compiler)
- Ink — higher-level typesetting
- Curves — programmatic type design
- Typlate — type design templates
- md2epub/Caxton — ebook compiler
- epubdiff — ebook differ
- Fledge — text processing shell
- Storybook — writing tool (covered under the productivity tools, yes, but I feel it fits in here)
The next area, somewhat related, is creativity tools: tools for making art, music, etc. I do realize that there’s a bit of overlap between the two areas — art can be used in books, for example. This is not a rigorous taxonomy.
What I’ve worked on:
While I haven’t done much in this area so far, the intersection of software and art has been calling to me more lately. I expect creativity tools to become much more of a focus for me, probably even more so than the bookmaking tools.
Last but not least, HCI. My master’s thesis is in this area, and much of my other work also touches on it in limited ways. (What I mean by that, I think, is that with projects like Trill, Curves, and Press, the parts that have most interested me are the interfaces. Also, those interfaces have been textual in these particular cases, but I’m also interested in other kinds of UIs.) So I plan to start building more proofs of concept and interface experiments — like the spatial interface ideas I mentioned several weeks ago.
- Robin Sloan on stock and flow — a little old but still good, on creativity
- Niklaus Wirth on lean software (PDF) — even older but also a bounty of wisdom
- Salman Ansari on his digital garden — good points, particularly (for me) the bit about being interested in lots of different things
- Anne Laure Le-Cunff’s digital garden — also good, and I’m reminded I still need to build my own public notes system
- Tiffany Matthé on being okay with not being extraordinary — hear, hear (and what a relief it is)