Weekend Reading — 🦅 Fly smarter, not harder

This week we talk software architecture: YAGNI, 80% ready, bad vibes, and LFI. We have some opinions about GPT, and 3 tools to screenshot and video demo your product.

Weekend Reading — 🦅 Fly smarter, not harder

ancient catbus “Fly smarter not harder”

Tech Stuff

The User Activation API What it is and how it works:

Together, this list effectively constitutes “user activation”. You’ll note the list of events above is really small. It’s restricted so that certain calls to APIs can only happen as a result of those very distinct end-user actions. This prevents end-users from being accidentally (or deliberately!) spammed with popup windows or other intrusive browser dialogs.

Jason Miller 🔥

With the new Navigation API, you can now show the native spinner + stop button for any asynchronous operation - all you need is a Promise.

Deno I've not jumped on the Deno train, but I like the idea of using browser methods for CLI tools.

React Email This looks interesting: most of the same features as MJML, a simpler JSX syntax, HTML and plain text rendering, and Tailwind CSS support out of the box.

Web Push for Web Apps on iOS and iPadOS The future is “write once, run on every device”, and it's getting closer with iOS 16.4 (currently in beta).

Apple calls them “Home Screen web apps” … OK … and they will support Push API, Notifications API, Badging API, and Service Workers. Also, allow 3rd party browsers to install them (since the engine is always Safari).

(Speculating that this might be a result of the EU putting pressure on Big Tech)

Shots Style up your screenshots with different mockups, frames, backgrounds, and options to keep things interesting.

ScreenRun What if you want to highlight different parts of the UI?

ScreenRun can take a screenshot and turn it into a short video that pans around and points out each feature. What if you want to upload to TikTok?

This video editor makes it easy to zoom and pan around — fit your video to different formats: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc.

It can capture screen, camera, and audio, or upload your own video. And you can overlay text, images, and stickers, and add background music.

Robin Syl 🌸

Roses are red, my code is a disaster
git push --force origin master

Eye for Design

Formulas for optical adjustments

A long-standing trope of the design world is that computers are bad at aligning and balancing the relative scales of elements. This is incorrect.

Avery Prometheus Rosen “How do you know you have failed utterly at #design and need to reconsider your choices?”


Dylan Beattie I swear by this:

One of the hardest things in software is accepting that YAGNI was the right decision... even when later it turns out that you are, in fact, going to need it.

I'll be spending a good chunk of today reminding myself that I went YAGNI in at least a dozen places on this project and after a year only one of them has so far turned out to be wrong.

LeaKissner 🤔

Because a friend found this useful yesterday:
Before tackling a problem, figure out whether it's the sort of problem where when you've solved 80% of the problem, you've solved 80% of the problem, or the kind where solving 80% means you've solved 0% of the problem.

This is especially important in security and privacy because that last 5% might be impossible.

archiloque Especially that last point:

We should replace "technical debt" by "bad vibes", so instead of convincing people to "pay down the technical debt" it would be about "removing the bad vibes" and I'm sure it would be much easier.

Also it would probably be more honest considering how some people decide what is and is not technical debt.

jessitron 👌

Replacing “RCA” (root cause analysis) meetings with
“LFI” (learning from incidents) meetings is spreading through IBM.

Machine Thinking

Bing: “I will not harm you unless you harm me first” It looks like the new Bing is two things:

Search UI that adds an AI summary to the search results (mistakes and all).

A chat UI that allows you to have full conversations and … well … read this post and judge for yourself. It's like AITA but with Bing as the main character.

❡ What I think is happening:

GPT has no working memory. To make it chatty, it needs your input along with the history of the conversation.

GPT can read a few thousand words, so long conversations have to be truncated or summarized. The GPT does the summarization.

Because the GPT has to understand your input, the (summarized) conversation history, and also do the summarization, it doesn’t take long before errors pile up, it goes off script, or stuck in a loop.

This was "fixed" last Friday by limiting conversations to 5 messages, which is the equivalent of fixing a memory leak by making the server restart every hour.*

(* Which is not a bad idea. Some memory leaks are hard to fix — eg OS, VM, 3rd party library — easier to build a server that can restart with zero downtime. It's called “resilience”)

What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work? A technical explanation of GPT that's pretty accessible — no need to know any Python or algebra, zero mentions of tensors.

It is long though, I read it in three parts. And it doesn't talk about ChatGPT per se, but rather the GPT behind ChatPGT, which feels like a clickbait to remind you Wolfram Alpha exists. Nonetheless, a good read.

Michael Gartenberg

The stages of playing with GPT-3:

(as was forwarded to me w/no attribution)


the zeroeth law of robotics is that a robot may not decrease shareholder value, or, by inaction, allow shareholder value to decline

Business Side

👏 I think some major changes are going to happen to search and social media in the coming years.

I don't think LLM will measure up to inflated expectations. It will not have quite the immediate world-changing effect on its own.

Rather, it will be a combination of things: big players reaching the point of maximum extraction, lost consumer trust, during major economic changes, and top that with AI.

All these factors together, something is bound to happen.

Marcus Hutchins :verified:

I actually think western social media platforms are entering somewhat of a death spiral. They're simultaneously losing users to TikTok and revenue to brands sponsoring influencers instead of buying ad space. They're being forced to find ways to get users to pay for the platform, undermining usability in the process. …

Zero-Clicks Study Looks at “zero-click” searches — when you do a search and find the answer in the search results, without clicking on any link:

The internet broke it Don’t attribute to malice that which can be attributed to “we lost ad revenue and laid off our reporters”:

And, so, a whole lot of people, especially young people who weren’t around for the chaotic move 15 years ago from a television-led media environment to a deeply flawed digital one — find it very easy to assume there’s some kind of large-scale conspiracy to not cover the literal mushroom cloud of toxic gas hovering over the midwest right now. Because what else could explain why CNN isn’t faster, better, and more interesting than TikTok?


Best security quote I heard this week:
"Do you want to mitigate against an auditor, or against an attacker?“

Frank Savaglio

All that time spent watching #StarTrek and wondering what they were doing pushing all those buttons on their consoles.

Now I know they are mostly entering their password and 2 factor authentication codes.

Everything Else


Lesser known Apple Watch Workouts:
Putting on a New Duvet Cover. 🛏️


“Pet peeve” implies the existence of wild, feral peeves as well


Quantum Computer Support Person: “Have you tried turning it on and off at the same time?”

:VantaCat: “HOLY SHIT”


the best way to describe my generation is, old enough to remember waterbeds, but not old enough to have ever fucked on a waterbed

Dr. Amy, Psy.D.

Someone on Facebook just referred to Beanie Babies as “90s crypto” and I think I need to go lie down 🤣

Tom Gauld “The Controversial Book”

Manqueman “I love this.” (Via)

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