Weekend Reading — So much distraction

This week we rubber duck our GPT, got two apps to catch up on our reading, distract AI with a new social network (no, not that one), and home office rock climbing.

Weekend Reading — So much distraction


(A little late this week, but a new social network just came popping, and guess who got distracted playing with its shiny new API)

Tech Stuff

Introducing storage on Vercel From zero to deployed in no time:

(I feel like an idiot, could have saved a couple of hours on Friday if this already existed, maybe I’ll rip and replace)

Jim Remsik

“The difference between a junior developer and a senior developer is the senior developer knows to scroll to the second answer on StackOverflow”

How to Write Comments in React: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly They’re all good comments.

Sam Rubber duck GPT(*):

I started using ChatGPT just for this, as a way to more or less extract the idea/plan out of my mind. Because of the conversation-like UI that feels like trying to explain to another human, forcing you to put actual words on the abstracted thing you envision in your mind

That won't scale! Or present cost vs. future value.

I find the following simple question helpful:
What will be the additional cost of changing our solution from A to B in the future compared to implementing B today?
Surprisingly, in most cases, the cost of change is close to zero.

BoredReading Instead of doom-scrolling, go here and find something interesting to read.

Why is OAuth still hard in 2023? There are two constants in computer science:

  1. OAuth implementations are all over the place and we spend too much time working around their idiosyncrasies
  2. Every new vendor in this space must publish a blog post about the OAuth complexity

Playtext Save web pages and have them read out loud at speeds ranging from 1x to 4x (2x was plenty fast for me).

And you can also read the text and listen to it at the same time, which is an interesting feature, I know it helps some people comprehend and remember better.


The "old wound that left a shard of metal in your body that hurts on bad days" trope but it's a cursed tech knowledge which makes you notice flaws in systems

Mark Gardner Chaotic evil:

If you want to mess with #developers, occasionally insert things like the following into web forms:


[object Object]

Mike Piontek “Relatable log message”

Eye for Design

Oliver Reichenstein “I also really liked how they did that cos logo. So clever. … Zoom in to see the trick.”

Why Chatbots Are Not the Future of Interfaces If you’re designing apps that have a chat interface, read this first:

Hopefully I've convinced you that chatbots are a terrible interface for LLMs. Or, at the very least, that we can add controls, information, and affordances to our chatbot interfaces to make them more usable. I can't wait to see the field become more mature and for us to start building AI tools that embrace our human abilities.

This reminds me of all the early excitement about conversational commerce, everybody added chatbots to their website, and it turned out to not work all that well in practice, and a year later chatbots were replaced with button trees, because buttons offer the right affordance.

LLMs are much better than the limited NLP tech we had 10 years ago, so there are places where now you can successfully use a chatbot, but in all the excitement to “use LLM anywhere and everywhere” it's easy to forget that affordance matters.

Sean Heber

A group of designers is called a "distraction.”

The Glorious Return of a Humble Car Feature The new luxury is cars having enormous touch screens but using them with restraint:

Carmakers have noticed—and they’ve begun to change their tune. Given the higher costs of using physical controls, it’s unsurprising that Porsche has been at the vanguard, returning buttons to the interior of the 2024 Cayenne. (Bugatti, meanwhile, never adopted touch screens in the first place.) “One would hope that luxury trickles down,” said Farah. “As they reject the screens, it could over time be seen as luxurious to have buttons instead.”

Nanoraptor “Triangular USB connectors were soon abandoned after some users complained of needing to rotate them up to six times before successful insertion.”


Nakul Mandan on Twitter It’s makers vs managers:

An interesting dichotomy in Silicon Valley right now: Founders want to get back to as much in-person as possible. When I speak to my friends who are not founders, they want as much wfh as possible. Both sides feel the other is being unfair in their respective ask.

Yashar Ali

When someone with ADHD doesn’t respond, there are several reasons why:

  1. We didn’t see it, our inboxes are often a mess.

  2. We have forgotten.

  3. We know we have to respond but have a difficult time connecting the dots to make it happen. This sends us into a cycle of shame.

Machine Thinking

Are Emergent Abilities of Large Language Models a Mirage? TL;DR research into AI is not immune to attribution mistakes — I think this is a form of selection bias? — tamper your expectations.

Our paper presents an alternative explanation for seemingly sharp and unpredictable emergent abilities of large language models. The main takeaway is for a fixed task and a fixed model family, the researcher can choose a metric to create an emergent ability or choose a metric to ablate an emergent ability. … our message is that previously claimed emergent abilities in might likely be a mirage induced by researcher analyses.

Chirper If you’re wondering how can we stop the progress of AI, it’s actually pretty simple, we're building a social network so AI can keep itself distracted.

Doom-scrolling AI != AI doom

Everything Else

Jen Gentleman “Nature is healing”


Attention-seeking behavior in children is called a disorder and attention-seeking behavior in adults is called social media.

Janel Comeau

I respect screaming babies on airplanes because they're the only ones providing honest feedback about the overall air travel experience

Steven Pigeon “That's... delightfuly niche.”


No matter how mundane they appear, never for 1 second believe your stairs aren't just waiting for the right time to kill you "accidentally.”

Why the Brain’s Connections to the Body Are Crisscrossed Fascinating:

The point is that mapping from different perspectives, and especially from 3D onto a bilaterally symmetrical plane, sets up some significant topological problems.

This Backyard Office Also Has A Rock Climbing Gym Behind that kitchenette there’s another room with a rock climbing wall.

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