Weekend Reading — ⚔️ Pick fewer battles than that

This week we rate coffee drinks, guess the code creator, start a goat farm, reimagine the Spotify UI, and downscale our battle plan.

I don't follow many people on Instagram, so my timeline is very short and a couple of minutes into using the app, the algorithm runs out of friend updates, and starts surfacing content I engaged with before. Mostly pictures of kittens.

As much as 80% of my Instagram usage is looking at pictures of adorable kittens and trading images with the wife. She sent me this adorable kitten today, and I'm sharing it with you. Enjoy Kittens Instagram.


🪑 Design Objective

badidea Nostalgia be like:

youtube comment: this game was made back when pixel art was made by HAND, unlike all this hipster stuff today!

pixel artist in 1991: damn I wish I had some better tooling

Ethical Design Guide Resources for creating ethical products that don't cause harm.


🧰 Tools of the Trade

mailbrew.com Mailbrew wants to tame your newsletter subscriptions, feeds, and Twitter consumption. One daily digest to rule them all.

A Second Conversation with Werner Vogels This talk is mostly about S3, perhaps AWS's most pivotal service:

That was the fundamental thinking behind S3. Could we have built a complex system? Probably. But if you build a complex system, it's much harder to evolve and change, because you make a lot of long-term decisions in a complex system. It doesn't hurt that much if you make long-term decisions on very simple interfaces, because you can build on top of them. Complex systems are much harder to evolve.

Vale Vale is a linter for prose. Or Grammarly for your CI/CD. It works from the command line, Visual Studio Code, and GitHub Actions.

trailofbits/graphtage Semantic diff for JSON, XML, HTML, YAML and CSV.

react-hot-toast This is so far my favorite toast UI. It works no better or worse than other toast UIs, but with a delightful API. The clarity of intent in function names (toast.successtoast.error), and the simplicity of toast.promise for blocking interactions.

facet.ai Content-based image editing:

Facet understands how to mask everything from clothing, hair, and skin tones to textures and quarter-tone luminance ranges, freeing you up to focus on big picture concepts, instead of pixel-level edits.

Pit ☕🔥

The 4 strongest coffee drinks that energize you the best:

  1. Espresso

  2. Double espresso

  3. Short Macchiato

  4. Deleting the database in production


📓 Lines of Code

The Kilobyte’s Gambit Chess game in 1024 bytes of JavaScript.

Why is it so hard to see code from 5 minutes ago? Do you undo recent changes to remember what the code looked like a few minutes ago? Why can’t IDEs do that for us?

DoesNotExist.codes This game shows you a piece of code, and you have to guess if it was written by a person or GPT-2. As you can see, I’m not very good at guessing. Or maybe there's some other lesson here …

Consensus of travel direction is achieved by simple copying, not voting, in free-ranging goats What if we named consensus algorithms based on the animal behavior they mimic? Buffalo instead of quorum, Goat instead of leader-follower.

Goat Ops “I should quit my job and become a goat farmer”

  • Goats eat org charts.

  • Nobody ever needed to draft up a goat-milking requirements document.

  • Goats are basically the OG of continous delivery.

  • You'll never, ever, ever have to rebase a goat.

Zac Sweers “Debugging”


🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Teamwork

Things your manager might not know If you never managed people before, it's not obvious how to manage your manager. Julia explains how to do that:

When people talk about “managing up”, sometimes it’s framed as a bad thing – massaging the ego of people in charge so that they treat you well.

In my experience, managing up is usually a lot more practical. Your manager doesn’t (and can’t!) know every single detail about what you do in your job, and being aware of what they might not know and giving them the information they need to do their job well makes everyone’s job a lot easier.

Morgan Housel 💪

Heard a good phrase today: mental liquidity. The ability to quickly change your mind without being stuck on a particular world view.

natasha 💚

My love language is direct feedback and clear next steps


📈 Business Side

Matt Turck That's the best framing:

Little known fact: private equity star investor Jay-Z, famous for back to back high return exits to LVMH and Square among others, had a prior career in the music industry

(re: Square, Inc. Announces Plans To Acquire \n Majority Ownership Stake In TIDAL and Oatly, Vegan-Food Firm Backed by Jay-Z and Oprah, Mulls IPO)

Valuables Still confused about NFTs? There's a platform where you can “buy“ the very first tweet for a mere $2.5M. If you have that money to spend, it’s the ultimate flex. And also you get to pollute the earth but claim “it’s for the art.”

Akten analysed 18,000 of these tokens, finding that the average NFT has a footprint of around 211 kg of CO2 equivalent. That's the same as an EU resident's electric power consumption for more than a month, driving for 1000km, or a return flight from London to Rome.


🔒 Locked Doors

At Least 30,000 U.S. Organizations Newly Hacked Via Holes in Microsoft’s Email Software The cyber theatre is heating up:

The espionage group is exploiting four newly-discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server email software, and has seeded hundreds of thousands of victim organizations worldwide with tools that give the attackers total, remote control over affected systems.

Nik “Your threat model is not my threat model, hospital edition”


🏛 Politechs

Arizona advances bill forcing Apple and Google to allow Fortnite-style alternative payment options Arizona doesn’t want Apple and Google charging 30% tax on Arizona businesses:

The amendment specifically prohibits stores exceeding 1 million downloads from requiring “a developer that is domiciled in this state to use a particular in-application payments system as the exclusive mode of accretive payments from a user.”


🤖 Machine Inelligence

New AI ‘Deep Nostalgia’ brings old photos, including very old ones, to life This is both amazing and creepy.


⭐ None of the Above

fiona “if i had it my way, this is what spotify's design system would look like”

Garen J. Torikian “Glad they finally put an end to that time traveling monster. Did you know he’s not even a real doctor?”

A Cephalopod Has Passed a Cognitive Test Designed For Human Children Scientists tried the Stanford marshmallow experiment on Cuttlefish. But first, they have to determine Cuttlefish food preferences:

Scientists showed that common cuttlefish can refrain from eating a meal of crab meat in the morning once they have learnt dinner will be something they like much better - shrimp.

Killings by Police Declined after Black Lives Matter Protests “A study also found body-camera use and community policing increased in places with the most active movements”

These parts of L.A. barely felt the winter coronavirus surge. Here is why they were spared

When taken as a whole, these factors paint a tale of two surges — showing that the luxuries of location and privilege play an important role in one’s ability to avoid the coronavirus.

Kim Reece “An extremely important time management message,”

LGBT Identification Rises to 5.6% in Latest U.S. Estimate The average doesn’t tell the entire story. Only 2.0% of Baby Boomers identify as LGBT, contrasted with 15.9% of Gen Z. The biggest increase are people who identify as bisexual from 0.3% of Boomers to 11.5% of Gen Z.

itmegreggy “gonna tell my kids this was daft punk”