December 2018

  1. The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected
    wired.com

    Craig Mod always reminds me that words are magic:

    Hiking with a Kindle definitely feels futuristic—an entire library in a device that weighs less than a small book, and rarely needs charging. And my first impulse on reading Johnson’s final line, sitting on a dirt path in the mountains of Japan flanked by Cryptomeria japonica, was to eulogize him right there, smack dab in the text while a nightingale whistled overhead. The Kindle indicated with a subtle dotted underline and small inline text that those final sentences had been highlighted by “56 highlighters.” Other humans! Reading this same text, feeling the same impulse. Some need to mark those lines.

    I wanted to write, “Fuck. Sad to think this is the last new work we’re going to get from this guy. Most definitely dead as I’m reading it.” You know, something in the vulgarity of Johnson himself. I wanted to stick my 10-cent eulogy between those lines for others to read, and to read what those others had thought. Purchasing a book is one of the strongest self-selections of community, and damn it, I wanted to engage.

    But I couldn’t. For my Kindle Oasis—one of the most svelte, elegant, and expensive digital book containers you can buy in 2018—is about as interactive as a potato. Instead, I left a note for myself: “Write something about how this isn’t the digital book we thought we’d have.”

  2. We Should Replace Facebook With Personal Websites
    motherboard.vice.com

    Jason Koebler:

    There’s a subtext of the #deleteFacebook movement that has nothing to do with the company’s mishandling of personal data. It’s the idea that people who use Facebook are stupid, or shouldn’t have ever shared so much of their lives. But for people who came of age in the early 2000s, sharing our lives online is second nature, and largely came without consequences. There was no indication that something we’d been conditioned to do would be quickly weaponized against us.

  3. Browsers
    adactio.com

    Jeremy Keith:

    Very soon, the vast majority of browsers will have an engine that’s either Blink or its cousin, WebKit. That may seem like good news for developers when it comes to testing, but trust me, it’s a sucky situation of innovation and agreement. Instead of a diverse browser ecosystem, we’re going to end up with incest and inbreeding.

  4. Polygon: Celeste will make you better at every video game
    youtube.com

    BDG shows how Celeste relates to real-life rock climbing and it totally clicks.

    While most games will make you grind to improve your character, Celeste makes you grind to improve yourself. When you succeed, you keep that skill and that knowledge. And just link in real climbing, when you go back to a route you’ve already completed, you ask yourself: “how did I ever struggle with this?”

    And that’s when you know… you have become the genius beefcake.

    Will we ever run out of Celeste praise videos? I hope not.

  5. The Haunting of Hill House 2018

    Watched 15 December 2018

    What if haunted house movie but
    - ten hours long, lots of repetition
    - cheesy, artless direction
    - all spoken lines are monologues

  6. The State of Technology at the End of 2018
    stratechery.com

    Ben Thompson:

    Still, as a thought experiment, suppose Congressman Smith were right, and that Google’s search results, whether via managerial decree, general employee bias, or rogue employee, were gamed to disfavor Conservatives. The solution seems clear: create a competitor to serve the part of the market that is dissatisfied with Google.

    The issue, of course, is that Google is, at least for a while (and more on this in a bit), impregnable: the company is an Aggregator with positive feedback loops everywhere.

  7. #​Edge​Goes​Chromium
    daverupert.com

    Dave Rupert:

    But in the past we had browser disparity as a mechanism for delaying bad ideas from becoming ubiquitous so they could be hashed out in a Web Standards body. Some of the best ideas we have today, like CSS Grid, were pioneered in one browser (IE10) and then polished in a Working Group. If V1 of -ms-grid was now the de facto standard, we’d have some regrets.

  8. Big ol’ Ball o’ JavaScript
    bradfrost.com

    Brad Frost:

    I’m confident developers will get their heads around it. They’ll figure out their swim lanes and understand which JavaScript does what. I’m more concerned about other team members who are now staring at a Big Ol’ Intimidating Ball O’ JavaScript. And I’m concerned for those recruiters and hiring managers who are even further removed from the day to day. Those job listings with a giant spray of buzzwords and technologies can now be winnowed down to a single word: JavaScript. Those recruiters have a hard enough time separating Java from JavaScript, so best of luck to them making sense of the complex JavaScript ecosystem.

  9. Programming CSS
    adactio.com

    Jeremy Keith:

    It’s not that CSS in inherently incapable of executing complex conditions. Quite the opposite. It’s precisely because CSS selectors (and the cascade) are so powerful that we choose to put guard rails in place.

  10. And they’ll soon be running on just two and a half browser engines ☹️

  11. Reluctant Gatekeeping: The Problem With Full Stack
    heydonworks.com

    Heydon Pickering:

    By assuming the role of the Full Stack Developer (which is, in practice, a computer scientist who also writes HTML and CSS), one takes responsibility for all the code, in spite of its radical variance in syntax and purpose, and becomes the gatekeeper of at least some kinds of code one simply doesn’t care about writing well. This has two adverse effects:

    1. Poor quality code
    2. A bunch of people who can (and would enjoy!) expertly writing that code, standing unemployed on the sidelines muttering “WTF”

    I so very much agree with everything Heydon says here. And that agreement comes from the experience of trying to become a full stack dev myself (though going at it from an HTML/CSS-first perspective).

  12. Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle 2018

    Watched 2 December 2018

    These films are very awkwardly put together. They feel shallow and soulless in a way that is hard to describe. In terms of epic narrative scale, they seem to be the most ambitious Godzilla films to date. Yet that ambition comes at the cost of detail and emotional tangibility. All characters look the same, animation is robotic, individual moments have no emotional heft. No part of it even got me to go “that’s cool”.

    Sure, I would love to learn about the heroic future humans fighting to reclaim the Earth from Godzilla. But please, make me care about it.