🔗 DOS_deck

    Experience classic games with modern convenience at DOS_deck. With full controller support and a carefully curated game collection, enjoy timeless classics and hidden gems, readily available for instant play in your web browser on devices you already own.

    Filing this away to try later. Also interesting to see they’re using JS-Dos for this, the same thing being used by F5 To Run, which is cool.

    Via Ars Technica.

    🔗 So Many Default Apps

    Seeing everyone blog (yes, actually blog) about their default apps over the last two weeks has been absolutely wonderful. Robb has been doing a fantastic job maintaining an index of these posts, and has now added a network graph showing the links between them. Works great.

    🔗 Please, Expose your RSS

    100% this!

    It was only a year or so ago that I found out that RSS discovery was a thing (coincidentally-but-probably-not-really it was also a year or so ago when I first read Manton’s book which mentions this).

    Before that, if there was a site I wanted to subscribe to, and there was no RSS link on the page itself, I wouldn’t bother. Apart from thinking that I needed the link to the RSS feed to subscribe, I also got burned so often by sites that didn’t even have RSS that I just defaulted to assuming there was no way to read their site in my feed reader.

    Browsers are getting better at surfacing this though. Vivaldi now shows an RSS indicator in the address bar when it detects that the site has one. But it’s small, and I’m usually not looking at the address bar after entering the URL, so it’s easy to miss. Really, nothing beats putting a link on the site itself.

    Now, if you escuse me for a second, I just need to check that I’ve got a link to an RSS feed on my site…

    🔗 Google is moving Shopping List and other notes into one app to worry about, Keep

    This is somewhat good news, as Keep is a decent note-keeping app. But it’s also concerning because there’s now one major place to keep your data that Google might one day abandon.

    It’s striking seeing this line in the first paragraph. I use Keep for my shopping list. It works well, and it’ll be a shame if Google were to shut it down. But there’s also a risk of them being too focused on the app, where they cram some useless AI feature into it. Notion does this, and I wish there was a way to turn it off.

    🔗 Canada’s 84-year radio time check has stopped because of accuracy concerns

    Interesting article about how Canada broadcasted timing information via radio. Reminds me of the 6 pips played just before the news on ABC radio when I was a kid. I’m guessing they served a similar role.

    🔗 Age and the past

    One way to think about age – we become old when we think and talk more about the past than the future.

    Oooh. I feel a little seen. 🫣

    🔗 Using Web Components on My Icon Galleries Websites

    Lot of neat stuff referenced in this post, like htmx and web components. I’d like to try them in some capacity, like some small web project. Unfortunately, the only things I can think of building right now are things for my job.

    Greg Morris wrote an excellent post about personal blogging that resonated with me. I know this is something that I struggle with. There are many posts on my blog that are formal and impersonal. And I hate re-reading them: they’re super boring. On the flip side, seeing posts about my day (sans post about work), of photos and videos I’ve taken, are a joy to relive. I know these are posts I tend to prefer reading on personal blogs of others. I’ll try to write more of those.

    Related: Nobody cares about your blog, via. Skoobs.

    🔗 XML is the future - Bite code!

    I wanted to write something about fads in the software development industry when the post about Amazon Prime Video moving away from micro-services back to monoliths was making the rounds. A lot of the motivation towards micro-services can be traced back to Amazon’s preaching about them being the best way to architect scalable software. Having a team from Amazon saying “micro-services didn’t work; we went back to a monolith and it was more scalable and cheaper to run” is, frankly, a bit like the Pope renouncing his Catholic faith.

    I didn’t say anything at the time as doing so seemed like jumping on the fad wagon along with everyone else, but I have to agree with this article that this following along with the crowd is quite pervasive in the circuits I travel in. I did witness the tail end of the XML fad when I first started working. My first job had all the good stuff: XML for data and configuration; XSLT to render HTML and to ingest HL7, a non-XML format used in the medical industry, which we mapped to XML and passed through an XSLT to extract patient information (yes, we really did that!); XForms for customisable forms. We may have used XSD somewhere as well. Good thing we stopped short of SOAP.

    The whole feeling that XML was the answer to any problem was quite pervasive, and with only a few evangelists, it was enough to drive the team in a particular direction. And I wish I could say that I was above it all, but that would be a lie. I drank the cool-aid like many others about the virtues of XML.

    But here lies the seductive thing about these technology fads: they’re not without their merits. There were cases where XML was the answer, just like there are cases where micro-services are. The trap is assuming that just because it worked before, it would work again, 100% of the time in fact, even if the problem is different. After all, Amazon or whatever was using it, and they’re successful. And you do want to see this project succeed, right? Especially when we’re pouring all this money into it and your job is on the line, hmm?

    Thus, teams are using micro-services, Kubernetes, 50 different middleware and sidecar containers, and pages and pages of configuration to build a service where the total amount of data can be loaded into an SQLite3 database1. And so it goes.

    So we’ll see what would come of it all. I hope there is a move away from micro-services back to simpler forms of software designs; one where the architecture can fit entirely in one’s head. Of course, just as this article says, they’ll probably be an overcorrection, and a whole set of new problems arise when micro-services are ditched in favour of monoliths. I only hope that, should teams decide to do this, they do so with both eyes open and avoid the pitfalls these fads can lay for them.

    1. Ok, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. ↩︎

    🔗 Musk feels the heat

    A lawsuit, the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    (With apologies to the Simpsons).

    P.S. Like the new design of Birchtree.

    🔗 Reddit mods fear spam overload as BotDefense leaves “antagonistic” Reddit

    I wonder if anyone at Reddit’s C suite has ever been a moderator. That this API fisaco is affecting the tools that mods use to keep the community spam free and happy should give them pause. That they don’t care is an indication as to how detatched they are from those “on the ground”.

    🔗 Poor man’s team bonding: recurring Slack threads

    Could be a nice idea for blogs as well. Maybe for someone who’s trying to post at least once a day, but occasionally can’t think of something to write about. Not that I know anyone like that.

    🔗 Who killed Google Reader?

    Interesting piece from the Verge about the rise and fall of Google Reader, which was killed 10 years ago. I wasn’t a big Google Reader user, and I still believe that the death of Google Reader was ultimately good for the RSS format. But I know how much people loved using it and how devastated they where when Google decided to pull the plug.

    One thing that caught my eye was the executive’s comment about working on Google Reader being a waste of the engineers’ careers. Taking the comment at face value1, it doesn’t seem like a waste at all. Sure there were “only” 30 million users of Google Reader, but it’s obvious that they were passionate users of the service. And it would’ve been an honour working on something that elicit such a strong emotional response from your users, let alone being the one that started it all with the original prototype. I can’t imaging getting that same buzz by one of the thousands working on Google Search or Google+.

    1. I’m guessing the comment was slightly coloured by the fact that the person making it wasn’t too keen on Google Reader. ↩︎

    🔗 Double-screen ‘free’ TV will show you ads, even when not in use - Ars Technica

    What would you be willing to do for a free TV? If the answer is hand over information about what you watch,[…] how much money your household makes, what food and brands you like, and your race and be subject to on-screen ads at any time, then Telly’s got the deal for you.

    I understand that not everyone can afford a good TV, but the price here — tracking and a constant stream of ads — feels a bit too high. It occured to me that monitors can’t do this. If a company discovers that their monitor is tracking what the user is seeing, the manufacturer will get sued out of existance. Maybe having a monitor is the solution to a TV with zero tracking (they do need to be larger though). 🤔

    It’ll also be funny to see how quickly people get into this and disable all the ad/tracking stuff. I’m betting it’ll be done within three months.

    🔗 Cheating Is All You Need

    New post by Steve Yegge. I always enjoy his writing but please, can someone buy Steve a domain name? He changes blogging platforms so often it’s difficult to follow him (well I guess Twitter would have worked at one point).

    Via: birchtree.me

    🔗 CSS Wish List 2023

    I’ve wanted attr() to be more widely accepted in CSS values since, well, I can’t remember. A long time. I want to be able to do something like:

    p[data-size] {width: attr(data-width, rem);}

    I realize adding this would probably lead to someone creating a framework […] where all the styling is jammed into a million data-*attributes […], but we shouldn’t let that stop us.

    Is it too late to vote for this? I’d love to be able to do this for background images. Relying on JavaScript to get the URL from the attribute and style the element is such a hack.

    Via: Jim Nielsen

    🔗 The Windows 11 Trash Party

    There is no way to turn this news feed off. The best you can do is “manage interests” which kicks you out to msn.com to have you tell it what topics you prefer.

    Definitely not trying Windows 11. I hate software that pushes news onto you, unsolicited and with no easy way to turn off! I’ve have my news sources that I read and trust. I don’t want things pushed to me from sources with some commercial agreement that doesn’t have my interests in mind.

    🔗 You, Me, and UI

    Really enjoying these series of articles from The Verge about UI and UX design. Lots of facinating subjects there.

    Oh, I also flunked the logo colour test, getting 1 out of 8. I guess a career of chromatology is out of the question for me. 😄

    🔗 Children’s author Paul Jennings reflects on childhood, success and his writing process

    I’ve was a huge fan of Paul Jennings work when I was a kid. Everything he wrote that I read (or watched), I enjoyed. It’s been a while, but I’m sure I’d still like it if I read it today.

    🔗 Google is killing most of Fitbit’s social features today

    An amusing thought came to me while I read this: Google has an opportunity to play to it’s strength and act like the assassin for features or services. Don’t want to support something? Get Google to acquire you and inevitably shut you down. It’s such a unique niche that companies should be paying Google for this service.

    I’m not a Fitbit user, but I know how it feels to be burned by Google’s obsessive need to shut down things I find useful, so I can understand all the upset over this.

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