Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 13th March, 2021

OrbitDB, NFTs, curation, Coinbase, Torvalds, EdgeOnXbox, Google FLoC, Perl debugger, Github, K8s, BYO infra, SSGs, OVH fire, TC39, Twitter Spaces, NetApps, stackless sites, NodeJS scripting, Etherium

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 2 instalment…

The NFT related stories from last week continued with more from Jack Dorsey selling his first tweet for $2.5 million, Square acquiring Tidal and artist Beeple selling one of his artworks for $69 million.

A bunch of smaller stories including Edge on Xbox, bad vibes for Google FLoC, Docusaurus SSG i18n support, the OVH data centre fire in France, Russian government throttling sites as punishment, TC39 meeting, and storage provider NetApps releasing a Kubernetes focussed product.

However the standout story for me was about YouTubers wanting to build their own infrastructure because it’s the beginning of an entirely new wave in the media production space. Exciting times ahead.

Also in this issue, cool tech with OrbitDB a decentralised database that uses IPFS, developer tooling for Kubernetes based environments, and lots of cool tutorials: the Perl debugger, scripting GitHub cli scraping websites using NodeJS and deploying NodeJS apps to Kubernetes on Amazon EKS

Lots of interesting randomness in the linkblog this week that didn’t make it into the newsletter because it’s kind of off topic, fun music, strange job postings, bizarre synchronicities, stories about flying into a desert city, IPO info. You might want to check it out.

I’ve had some success in discovering what was wrong with my Reddit account, I’ll write about it next week as I’ve ran out of time writing this intro!

I hope you enjoy the links!

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Special mentions

Stuff from me

🚀 New Recommendation from Mike Nash - I worked with Mike while at Signiant where he was Solutions Architect, and Product Manager / Product Owner #

Stuff from around the web


OrbitDB - “OrbitDB is a serverless, distributed, peer-to-peer database. OrbitDB uses IPFS as its data storage and IPFS Pubsub to automatically sync databases with peers. It’s an eventually consistent database that uses CRDTs for conflict-free database merges making OrbitDB an excellent choice for decentralized apps (dApps), blockchain applications and offline-first web applications” #

Getting Started with OrbitDB - The thing that I quite like about this is that it reminds me of git, in the way that every user has a complete copy of the data, so it makes working offline possible, and having a local copy of the data just makes sense, I’m still a bit unfamiliar with how IPFS works, but reading this guide makes me want to try it out #

jQuery 3.6.0 Released! - There isn’t a huge amount in this release apart from security fixes, but they mention that v4.0 is on the horizon, great to see that this very well used library is still going strong #

Jack Dorsey is selling his original Tweet as an NFT, current highest bid is $110000 #

Kings Of Leon to release new album ‘When You See Yourself’ as an NFT #

What do you think about NFTs? - Lots of confusion still about this NFT alternate dimension we appear to have entered, as is evident in this thread #

Antivirus Software Trailblazer John McAfee Accused of $13 Million ‘Scalping’ Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme - For those that do hold crypto and NFTs, probably worth noting that talking about it on social media could land you in trouble #

Who Really Writes Twitter’s ‘Trending’ Summaries - Interview with Joanna Geary who leads Twitter’s curation team, I find this interesting because I write a lot of summaries, especially for podcast episodes, that I post to the linkblog, many of which end up in the newsletter, I have developed several different approaches depending on the content but also the mood I’m in, it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that this activity is an actual job, it’s cool that they work along side algorithms, and it’s supper cool that it’s a human team rather than all algorithms, I’m really curious about the UIs and tools they use to get their job done #

Jack Dorsey - Bids reach $2.5m for Twitter co-founder's first post #

Jack Dorsey is so money - What Tidal and banking do for Square - I’m wondering how platformey they are going to take this, wouldn’t it be kind of neat if they had a menu of web services like AWS and GCP but centred around building infra for creator businesses? #

Coinbase is going public - They are the biggest crypto exchange worldwide, valued at $100 billion, could be the largest market entrance since Facebook in 2012 - Until reading this article it hadn’t clicked for me that the whole purpose of going public is to raise capital, similar to raising seed funding, shows how much I know about building companies, but also it’s a sign that the information available about how the process of building companies is scattered and confusing #

Seth Godin isn’t so into NFTs - “The trap, then, is that creators can get hooked on creating these. Buyers with a sunk cost get hooked on making the prices go up, unable to walk away. And so creators and buyers are then hooked in a cycle, with all of us up paying the lifetime of costs associated with an unregulated system that consumes vast amounts of precious energy for no other purpose than to create some scarce digital tokens” - I think the being hooked in a cycle part is going to be the same for any type of collectible, and maybe any type of value based system, but the energy consumption is definitely an issue #

Linus Torvalds warns - Watch out for this unusually nasty bug in Linux 5.12 rc1 - This will most likely only affect developers that like to try out the latest release candidate builds, it’s quite unusual to have a warning like this, but necessary because possible disk corruption in some situations #

Microsoft starts testing Edge Chromium browser on Xbox #

John Gruber on FloC - “Google is turning Chrome into an anti-privacy browser. It’s that simple.” #

Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea #

Apple loses $2 trillion market capitalization for the first time in 2021 #

Apple Podcasts to stop using 'subscribe', they will use ‘follow’ instead #

The Perl Debugger Can Be Your Superpower - I’m a big fan of using debuggers, setting up a dev environment where I can easily run my code in a debugger is pretty close to the top of the list of priorities on any serious project, I currently favour debuggers in IDEs because though I like using the command line, when debugging I find having better visual tools makes it much easier to explore the code, but it’s good to be aware of the cli option especially for languages like Perl where using the debugger is not part of the culture and consequently the tooling is a bit lacking #

GitHub Discussions now available for private repositories #

Kubernetes Infrastructure - Know the Inner Dev Loop - Article outlines a useful mental model to understand development environments, then explores the landscape of tooling available to Kubernetes based software development, I want to try these dev environments out! #

Why popular YouTubers are building their own sites - some of these YouTubers get to the stage where they are small studios, creating digital effects and quite complex workflows, and so it makes sense for them to start wanting backup plans in place, I’m not sure that creating competing platforms is the best way forward, but I think the trend to want to build your own infrastructure is healthy, and it will be interesting to see what shape these new ventures take because they are building from a different angle than the old school studios and effects facilities #

Releasing Docusaurus 2 support for i18n - It’s a static site generator tool that has become popular for creating documentation websites, and this latest update makes it possible to easily generate versions of your website in multiple languages, including right-to-left languages #

Fire destroyer OVHcloud data centre - I’ve read several news reports about this story, it’s interesting on many levels, OVH is one of the biggest hosting providers worldwide (#3), EU based, but we hardly hear about it in the tech press, they host a big variety of sites, from government cyber squads to criminal networks to gaming sites, and just regular websites, in total about 3.5 million sites have gone offline, each news report is reporting the event from a different angles depending on what segment they serve, an event like this has a very big blast radius #

Russia slowing Twitter over content standoff - It’s the start of internet russian roulette, that’s a game that is best not to play #

Updates from the 81st meeting of TC39 - Feature proposals including temporal (stage 3), error cause (stage 3), array find from last (stage 2), module fragments (stage 1) #

Twitter plans to let anyone start hosting Twitter Spaces in April #

More npm woes with new supply chain attacks - there’s a similarity with the notion of ‘tragedy of the commons’, which I was aware of, but heard again yesterday in a podcast, communities are difficult #

We’re quite close to a time when build processes and frameworks aren’t as necessary for many types of web development because we have ES6 modules, Module CDNs and custom HTML elements - “Stackless websites” #

Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million - The piece is a collage called “the first 5000 days” #

Australian government investigates whether Apple and Google default browser settings, it is concerned about the range of options available #

NetApp Astra Brings a Data-First Approach to Kubernetes Deployments - I’ve worked with large NetApos storage clusters in the past and found them to be very reliable, so it’s interesting to see they now have Kubernetes specific products, with a DR and migration focus, it’s the first time I’ve seen storage vendors releasing Kubernetes-based products #

Scripting with GitHub CLI - Some interesting tricks including viewing a git diff of a PR in your terminal, searching and selecting an issue, auto merge completed PRs, automatically creating releases based on tags, easily authenticate against and use the regular Github REST and Graphql APIs #

List of named generations - I have been wanting to familiarise myself with all the generation names for ages, and so today I spent a few hours reading their Wikipedia pages, it’s utterly fascinating, there are loads more than I thought there were, there’s also a lot of interesting variations worldwide, it’s a bit like discovering where in the galaxy our solar system is located for the first time, but a zillion times better :) #

The Guide To Ethical Scraping Of Dynamic Websites With Node.js And Puppeteer - Neat tutorial, one of the first web tools I built was a Perl web scraper that built a colour coded list of classified ads matching search terms and meta data, I would run the scraper a few times a day and it would find the most relevant posts, removing duplicates, it saved me a lot of time, so it’s cool to read about how to do it in node #

Amazon EKS - Deploying a NodeJS app using Docker and K8s on AWS - Still a bit complicated but it’s definitely not as complex as it used to be, but you gain a lot of flexibility #


Tim Ferris Podcast Ep #504 - Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant) - I enjoyed this episode, I’m definitely not an expert in this domain, so it was very informative, though there were a few places where the argument reasoning seemed a bit off in the details, even if the conclusions were probably correct, which sort of breaks the flow of ideas making it harder to understand, but worth listening to if you are at all interested in the crypto space #


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.

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Have a great weekend and a fantastic next week!