Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 6th February, 2021

NFTs, NFTs, NFTs, SuperTwitter, Rapers, VIM, Jobs Clubhouse, MarsCopter, Curators, Tracking Pixels, GDPR Cookies, VR, Spotify, AB Testing, Figma, Soundcloud, TimeCrystals, MoonTrip, Brave, AWS, GCP

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 2 instalment…

This week is all about NFTs. Even as I write this, on Saturday morning, I’m seeing more news worthy NFT stories in my feeds. Jack Dorsey is selling his original tweet as an NFT, Grimes sold some of her art for $millions as NFTs, and Kings of Leon are well into it too.

There’s a huge amount of confusion about these new and trendy crypto financial instruments. I’m also confused about them. It’s starting to feel like a tulip mania situation.

I’m running very late on preparing this week’s newsletter so I’m writing this short intro now before curating the links, so at least something will get sent out. Scanning through, there’s lots of NFT stuff, but there’s actually a load of other great stuff too from earlier in the week, that I had completely forgotten about. It’s amazing how time flies.

I really enjoyed putting out last week’s Javascript Core Special Edition. If you are here for the javascripts then well worth checking out last week’s special.

I hope you enjoy the links!

Special mentions

Stuff from me

Nothing from me this week

Stuff from around the web


Twitter pulls a Patreon - Casey Newton does some analysis of the new Super Follow feature Twitter has announced, he raises a lot of angles I hadn’t considered, looking at how it is likely to affect various professions of people in the public eye such as journalisms and WWE wrestlers, the feature has the potential to change a lot of dynamics in the work place #

Facebook Drops BARS, a Video-Sharing Platform for Rappers - Lots of new and interesting social media apps being released at the minute, that’s pretty cool, I still remember when Yo! MTV Raps launched back in the late 80s, niche video apps are hot # 

Looks Good To Me - Making code reviews better for remote-first teams - Great writeup from one of the BBC News developers #

Complete Guide to NFTs - How to Create & Collect the Next Wave of Digital Assets #

How to create and sell NFTs the easy way! #

NFTs and a Thousand True Fans - “NFTs contain highly trustworthy documentation of their history and origin, and can have code attached to do almost anything programmers dream up (one popular feature is code that ensures that the original creator receives royalties from secondary sales)” #

NFT License 2.0 - Why a NFT can do what no other creative IP can do - All this NFT stuff sounds cool but if you create some digital things, mint an NFT from those assets and sell that NFT, what happens as far as copyright? I find it quite confusing personally, anyway there is a special NFT license you can use, but I’m still kind of unclear on how it works in practice #

Steve Jobs Stories on Clubhouse - The Computer History Museum organised this virtual event to celebrate what would have been Steve’s 66th birthday, several thousand attendees including Steven Levy and Ester Dyson, some fun stories #

VIM for Beginners - I found this tutorial for the intermediate and advanced articles but the beginner article looks pretty good too #

VIM for intermediate users - The thing that makes this tutorial worth the read is that it clearly describes the main abstractions, it’s the best round up of windows, tabs, buffers and arg lists that I’ve read, plus lots of other useful tips #

VIM for advanced users - the final article in the series, great continuation of the previous two articles, covers advanced topics #

I’ve been asking some questions about NFTs on Indie Hackers, mostly around ownership and copyright to try and figure out the mechanics behind these trendy financial instruments #

The Mars Helicopter is Online and Getting Ready to Fly - It’s wild that we’re about to get a sort of Google street view of the surface of the planet Mars, it will be taken by an small autonomous helicopter that we landed a few days ago, consider that the Martian atmosphere is 1% of that of Earth’s, the blades reportedly rotate at 40 revs / second! #

Will being a 'curator' become a job title to aspire to? #

Grimes sold $6 million worth of digital art as NFTs - It’s clear NFTs are hot at the minute, but how do we know Grimes really minted these NFTs and not some rando trying to make a quick profit? #

John Gruber on email tracking pixels - Accordibg to the BBC 2/3 of non spam emails that are sent to users have tracking pixels #

State Of GDPR In 2021 - Cookie Consent For Designers And Developers - Quite a thorough writeup, looks like it’s not so obvious how to implement something compliant that doesn’t loose all your analytics data, and there’s a big chance you might need to change analytics solution, but there isn’t a lot of good explainer info online yet on the topic #

Microsoft Mesh feels like the virtual future of Microsoft Teams meetings - They have hired filmmaker James Cameron, Pokémon Go developer Niantic, and the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil to demonstrate what could be possible, I like the idea of using immersive 3D tools, not so keen on wearing these headsets #

Spotify podcast listener numbers will surpass Apple’s this year #

Split Testing With Netlify - I’ve been wondering what the best way to do split testing was for a while, this tutorial shows how to do it using Netlify tools, but the techniques could be implemented on other platforms too, essentially it involves using sub domains and setting a special HTTP header in requests which is used to direct traffic to your beta site, the cool part about the tutorial is it explains how to do opt-in testing where a user can try out the beta site by clicking a button in the UI #

A Front-end developer using Figma #

Soundcloud is about to revolutionize streaming payouts, launching user-centric royalties for 100,000 indie artists - Super interesting to see movement in this area especially since given that NFTs are becoming so trendy, so I suppose this is in part the centralised platforms competing against that, one thing that I think is worth mentioning is that basing payouts on listening time might not necessarily be the best / fairest way, I have listened to a enormous amount of indie music over the years, and though I love so much of it, because many artists are making ground breaking contributions, some of it isn’t exactly the sort of music you would want to listen to at length, yet is very influential none the less #

For The First Time, Physicists Have Filmed The Oscillation of a Time Crystal - Sounds like something out of a Dr Who / Star Trek episode, in time crystals, also known as space-time crystals, there is a repeating pattern not only in the spacial dimension (same as regular crystals) but also in the time dimension because the atoms oscillate, spinning first in one direction, and then the other, and it happens at a constant frequency, they predict lots of uses in communication and radar/imaging technology - Electronic materials science is awesome sometimes, break throughs at this level in the stack could have huge impact, it’s also interesting that they call the oscillations ‘ticking’, oh yeah and the other thing that is totally insane crazy is that the video was filmed at up to 40 billion frames per second using an X-ray microscope! #

dearMoon project - MZ & Elon Musk are looking for 8 crew members for a trip to the moon in 2023 #

Browser maker Brave acquires privacy focussed search engine Tailcat - Much of the reporting is focussed on the fact that it’s in direct competition with Google, which is the case, but I think the interesting thing is the set of products that Brave is putting in place, the search will apparently allow customisation of the algorithms to avoid algorithmic bias, also interested to see how they will integrate with crypto technologies, it’s good to have some movement in this area #

Google Cloud products in 4 words or less (2021 edition) - It’s great to see a list like this because it creates a lot of clarity in a sometimes confusing space, the GCP platform has really come a long way, one thing that stands out to me from this and looking at the AWS product set is just how far ahead these large platforms are of everyone else, it’s worth noting that the level of difficulty to get just one of these services working in a robust customer facing way is mind boggling, let alone hundreds #

Google Chrome moves their release cycle from 6 to 4 weeks #

Ethereum now an option on Amazon’s managed blockchain service #

Is Substack the panacea local news is looking for? - Does a nice job of describing the changes happening in the news industry as journalists realise they can start their own hyper local digital publications, I think it’s healthy for people to be able to start their own businesses irrespective of the industry # is back from the dead - and now there are two - I hadn’t heard about them until now, seems like it could be an interesting and unconventional story #

HTTPWTF - The article covers some of the interesting, cool and occasionally weird corners of the HTTP protocol, also the httptoolkit web development tool hosted on the website looks to be quite useful, enabling you to view, intercept and modify requests, open-source with several paid for extended functionality #

Jack Dorsey's Square is buying a majority stake in Jay-Z's music-streaming platform Tidal for nearly $300 million - This is hitting the headlines in a big way, lots of rumours about a possible play in the NFT space #

Om Malik on Square acquiring Tidal - “The official argument is that musicians, as entrepreneurs that are essentially operating small businesses, need a newer (and digital) way to monetize their work and audiences” #


No podcasts this week


Thanks for reading!


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!