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  1. The Expanse, Season 5

    Watched 16 December 2020 – 3 February 2021

    This series has built so much, and gone so far. The transition from “Game of Thrones in space” to one of the most poignant human dramas in science fiction has been a true joy to witness.

  2. The X Files

    Rewatched 14 January 2021

    More exciting than I remembered, but still disappointing and, at best, inessential. It tries too hard, and also not hard enough. Like most TV-to-film adaptations, the texture feels wrong. Character-wise, the plot isn’t much more than condensed retreading of old ground. And worst of all, it shows too much! It’s certainly a big-screen adventure, but the desire for one-upmanship has the side effect of making the world, the conspiracies, and even the aliens seem small and shallow.

  3. Newsletters
    robinrendle.com

    Robin Rendle:

    It bothers me that writers can’t create audiences on their own websites, with their own archives, and their own formats. And they certainly can’t get paid in the process.

    The web today is built for apps—and I think we need to take it back.

  4. Drill Dozer

    Played 4 September – 19 October 2020 on Game Boy Advance

    There’s some interesting ideas and clever mechanics here, but I could never get past the clunky, sluggish controls. Movement expressiveness is limited to such a degree that neither platforming nor combat feel good.

  5. Workers Durable Objects Beta: A New Approach to Stateful Serverless
    blog.cloudflare.com

    Super interesting new stuff from Cloudflare:

    Durable Objects provide a truly serverless approach to storage and state: consistent, low-latency, distributed, yet effortless to maintain and scale. They also provide an easy way to coordinate between clients, whether it be users in a particular chat room, editors of a particular document, or IoT devices in a particular smart home. Durable Objects are the missing piece in the Workers stack that makes it possible for whole applications to run entirely on the edge, with no centralized “origin” server at all.

  6. Good Sudoku

    Played 23 July – 27 September 2020 on iPhone

    In just a few short weeks, this game took me from sudoku dilettante to completing Sunday “Pro 💀” puzzles in 20 minutes without hints (if I’m feeling patient enough). Good Sudoku has taught me more about sudoku than I ever thought I’d want to learn.

    Jan Willem Nijman said it best:

    This game is incredibly cyberpunk, like you just slam a new ai deck into your neocortex to kick ass at sudoku.

  7. Google blew a ten-year lead.
    secondbreakfast.co

    Will Schreiber:

    I haven’t installed MSFT Office on a machine since 2009. Sheets and Docs have been good enough for me. The theoretical unlimited computing power and collaboration features meant Google Docs was better than Office (and free!).

    Then something happened at Google. I’m not sure what. But they stopped innovating on cloud software.

    Docs and Sheets haven’t changed in a decade. Google Drive remains impossible to navigate. Sharing is complicated. Sheets freezes up. I can’t easily interact with a Sheets API (I’ve tried!). Docs still shows page breaks by default! WTF!

  8. Tenet

    Watched 26 August 2020

    A very cool sensorial experience, but emotionally shallow. It tries, but there’s too much time bullshit for character motivations and plot structure to survive. A movie made for endless YouTube explainers.

  9. The UX of LEGO Interface Panels
    designedbycave.co.uk

    George Cave:

    Piloting an ocean exploration ship or Martian research shuttle is serious business. Let’s hope the control panel is up to scratch. Two studs wide and angled at 45°, the ubiquitous “2x2 decorated slope” is a LEGO minifigure’s interface to the world.

    These iconic, low-resolution designs are the perfect tool to learn the basics of physical interface design. Armed with 52 different bricks, let’s see what they can teach us about the design, layout and organisation of complex interfaces.

    Welcome to the world of LEGO UX design.

  10. Google’s Top Search Result? Surprise! It’s Google
    themarkup.org

    Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin look into how Google search gives preferential treatment to Google’s own results:

    In Google’s early years, users would type in a query and get back a page of 10 “blue links” that led to different websites. “We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible,” co-founder Larry Page said in 2004.

    Today, Google often considers that “right place” to be Google, an investigation by The Markup has found.

    We examined more than 15,000 recent popular queries and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls “direct answers,” which are populated with information copied from other sources, sometimes without their knowledge or consent.

    When we examined the top 15 percent of the page, the equivalent of the first screen on an iPhone X, that figure jumped to 63 percent. For one in five searches in our sample, links to external websites did not appear on the first screen at all.

  11. Rick and Morty, Season 4

    Watched 11 November 2019 – 2 June 2020

    My diagnosis: Rick and Morty has gone too meta. I want to laugh because the show is funny, not because the writers are clever.

  12. Underwater

    Watched 11 May 2020

    Solid genre entertainment. Not much more than what I expected, but it’s well done, straightforward, looked cool. 90 minutes club!

    Kirsten Stewart has the best shaky hands I’ve ever seen on film. This movie is worth watching for her performance alone. The rest of the cast was… okay.

    In the end I was left with some questions: Was this at some point meant to be a Cloverfield sequel? Why does it look like it was edited for commercial breaks? Were the voice-overs really necessary? Was the girlboss-beat-drop end credits song picked by a focus group?

  13. Lumines Remastered

    Played 23 December 2019 – 15 January 2020 on Nintendo Switch

    It’s cool, but I’d rather just play Tetris.