Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 1st May, 2021

Spotify, Puppeteer, M1, k8s, inline modules, Linux, PRs are bad, ffmpeg, container queries, ad tracking, video encoding workflows, marscopter, HTML, Facebook, NFTs for devs, stocks, FSF, Epic, SSGs...

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 2 instalment…

This week’s intro is super brief. Ultimately the world has to allow me to write these intros, or at least not disallow me from writing them. For this reason there is no intro from me this week.

I was still able to collect links, so I’ve included them bellow. Lots of really interesting pieces, but you’ll need to find your own way into the articles this week.

I do enjoy writing the intros, so hopefully the regular newsletter intro will be back next week.

That’s all from me this week…

I hope you enjoy the links!

As usual all the articles from the linkblog in chronological order are included below, which is also a good way to explore, there are some pieces there amongst the main summary items that didn’t make it into the main themes, but these are interesting in their own right, and often end up developing into something more substantial further down the line.

Special mentions

Stuff from me

Nothing from me this week :(

Stuff from around the web

Articles

Spotify to launch rival podcast subscriptions to Apple - It looks as if Spotify’s pricing model will be better than Apple’s with no charge to creators appleinsider.com #

Web Performance Recipes With Puppeteer - Programatically load your site using puppeteer and extract various performance statistics addyosmani.com #

John Gruber - “Apple’s M1 positioning mocks the entire x86 business model” daringfireball.net #

Ubuntu 21.04 Shrinks Kubernetes Footprint for Raspberry Pis, GPUs - Great for dev environments thenewstack.io #

tc39/proposal-js-module-blocks - Interesting proposal which would introduce the ability to create modules inline, which could then be passed directly into workers and worklets github.com #

Open letter from researchers involved in the “hypocrite commit” debacle (HN Thread) ycombinator.com #

Disadvantages of Pull Requests - Probably quite controversial, though the author does make a few good points that I hadn’t considered until reading this post arkency.com #

FFmpeg cheat sheet - A list of useful commands for the ffmpeg command line tool, so you can script lots of cool things with video github.com #

CSS Container Queries - Soon to be implemented in browsers, useful for sites that use components in the frontend dev.to #

Facebook v Apple: The ad tracking row heats up - Well written piece that summarises what’s happening in AdTech, good read if you are looking to catchup on the main issues and the move towards privacy online bbc.com #

As Linux 5.12 released, Linus Torvalds warns next version will probably be rather large theregister.com #

How Facebook encodes your videos - Very detailed engineering write-up of the video encoding pipeline from the Video Infra Team, it’s an impressive system operating at tremendous scale that automatically decides how to encode videos based on benefit-cost analysis, then uses an AI ML model which uses multiple decision points to prioritise encoding based on predicted watch time fb.com #

Marscopter - Successful 3rd flight - “On Sunday, the little chopper rose to a height of 5m before speeding off laterally for 50m - half the length of a football field.” bbc.com #

My current HTML boilerplate - Everything these days is focussed on javascript and to a lesser extent CSS, but there’s hardly ever interesting articles about HTML, so I found this an interesting read matuzo.at #

Spotify unveils subscription platform for podcasts - Looks like it will be cheaper for creators than Apple’s recently announced paid podcast subscriptions, but the features offered are somewhat different axios.com #

Zuckerberg launches new Instagram features for creators to generate revenue -They include creator shops for selling merchandise and a marketplace for matching up brands with influencers thehill.com #

Changelog Podcast Ep #438 - Let's mint some NFTs - The guys interview Mikeal Rogers of Protocol Labs, I decided not to take notes while listening, so I don’t have a summary, but the bottom line is that if you’re a developer and are into crypto even a bit, then this is a must listen episode, it’s the first proper developer centric NFT discussion I’ve listened to and they cover all the relevant tech at a good depth and throw around some fun development experience and ideas, by the end of it you’ll be wanting to get right into some crypto and blockchain projects changelog.com #

Reading Waves - Issue #1 - Newsletter that focusses on publicly traded tech companies, with weekly roundups of the best performers - “Your weekly guide to find stocks that have hit 52-week high” ghost.io #

FSF board frequently asked questions (FAQ) - The FSF sent this out earlier today to their mailing list, they are trying to strengthen their governance, and I suppose because of the recent events around the re-appointment of Richard Stallman to the board of directors, it’s an attempt to increase transparency, it’s a good move, I enjoyed reading their FAQ and also the page about the board member responsibilities, they are very well thought out and well written documents, I’m not very familiar with how governance type mandates are defined, and theirs looks like a good example for anyone in similar territory, but it’s also good timing IMO, one thing to note is that Richard’s role has changed considerably, he no longer has the board breathing down his neck, and no longer has to manage staff, it will be interesting to see how things will be in a year fsf.org #

Epic Games lawsuit - Academics from Harvard, Stanford, UCL, and more testify against Apple - It’s nice to see UCL part of a list of prestigious universities (rightly so, it’s a fantastic university), some good quotes and opinions, though the piece includes an economics department giving advice about computer security, which seems a bit dubious 9to5mac.com #

Mighty wants to ‘make Chrome faster’ by streaming a browser from the cloud, starting on macOS 9to5google.com #

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s Fourth Flight planned for April 29th slashgear.com #

Netlify has a new solution to slow build times and it’s called Distributed Persistent Rendering or as I like to call it “Fancy Caching” thenewstack.io #

What Should Static Site Generators Be Called? - The author isn’t too into the term Jamstack and so does a little exploration of other possible ways to name the architectural style, I think some of what he is saying is worth considering, the current name doesn’t really highlight the best features peakzebra.com #

How to Use ECMAScript Modules in Node.js - It’s definitely worth familiarising yourself with how ES Modules work in NodeJS because they are likely going to start getting popular soon, most of the articles I’ve read have left me a bit confused but this article actually does a very good job of summarising the usage and pitfalls, it’s still a bit complicated but it’s not that bad dmitripavlutin.com #

What's Next, The Future of Node.js - Joe Sepi, Michael Dawson and Bethany Griggs - A short video presentation of the general structure of the NodeJS community, the current and future state of NodeJS and the best and easiest places to get involved youtube.com #

Node Todo will guide you through your first contribution to Node.js core nodetodo.org #

Podcasts

TC39 Podcast interview with Guy Bedford - I enjoyed hearing about Guy’s journey as an independent open source developer, being a digital nomad, creating the jspm & SystemJS projects (among others), and how he became a TC39 delegate, also glad to hear the podcast now has a sponsor :) tc39er.us #

Indie Hackers Podcast Ep #203 – What You Need to Know About Bitclout with Mubashar Iqbal - Quite a thorough discussion about the pros and cons of this new crypto people trading website, I admit the idea sounds interesting but it still feels scammy to me, like some sort of strange protection racket, and the best excuse for it seems to be “well this is probably happening anyway”, which might be the case but doesn’t justify it, maybe there’s a different way to do something similar that doesn’t feel so fundamentally wrong share.transistor.fm #

Changelog Podcast Ep #438 - Let's mint some NFTs - The guys interview Mikeal Rogers of Protocol Labs, I decided not to take notes while listening, so I don’t have a summary, but the bottom line is that if you’re a developer and are into crypto even a bit, then this is a must listen episode, it’s the first proper developer centric NFT discussion I’ve listened to and they cover all the relevant tech at a good depth and throw around some fun development experience and ideas, by the end of it you’ll be wanting to get right into some crypto and blockchain projects changelog.com #

——-

Thanks for reading!

@markjgsmith

Mark Smith‘s Newsletter is a weekly roundup of some of the best javascript, tech and web development links published to my daily linkblog.

If you liked this newsletter you might like my blogdaily linkblog or experimental podcast :)

I’m a freelance web developer, consultant and automation engineer, consider hiring me!

Have a great weekend and a fantastic next week!