Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 19th December, 2020

Valley exodus, Slack, cool repos, personal websites, knowing shell, Tesla huge, Torvalds-style, Amazon Robotaxi, Privacy, MDN Jamstack, MS on M1, EU rules, Facebook Super, FB vs Apple, videos+podcasts

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 1 instalment…

I’ve been creating my work Portfolio this week and I surprised myself by how many projects I had worked on. There was some interest in the sponsorship program, which is a bit exciting. I spent quite a lot of time speaking tech in french, also quite exciting. Some significant increase in website traffic which is again quite exciting :)

I wrote an aggregation blog post, I guess you could call it a series, about choosing your web development stack. It’s neat when you can thematically link together several posts, there’s a nice feeling of completeness that arises. Yesterday on Indie Hackers I discovered people were interested in hearing more about my “Minimals” projects, so there might be another series sometime later down the line.

This week it feels like some large shifts might be about to happen with some big tech legal stuff going on in the US, new EU tech regulations and Facebook and Apple having a very public spat about the future of web advertising


I hope you enjoy the links!

Special mentions

Stuff from me

🚀 New Post: Choosing your web development stack - There are lots of considerations when choosing a stack, this article will give you a broad view about web development so you can hopefully make some good choices

🚀 Portfolio - I’ve added a portfolio page to the blog that has a selection of some of the web development, workflow/automation solutions and devops projects I have worked on over the years

🚀 New Post: The art of the minimal example - In praise of minimal examples I’ve added a “Minimals” section to my Portfolio, and in this post I explore the concept and why it’s a useful technique

Stuff from around the web


Oracle moving headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin Texas

The dark reality behind Slack’s billion-dollar sale to Salesforce - Society needs to find a better way for small and big companies to co-exist, there is too much brutality

meli - Open source platform for deploying static sites and frontend applications - Sort of like Netlify, but self-hosted

Make it Personal - Nice article that’s gets to the core of why building your own personal site is a worthwhile endeavour, makes me want to make my site look more fancy, but I’m kind of happy with my minimalist boring, mostly text websites, for now I’m concentrating on the content, at least the homepage has some mountains in the background

Become shell literate - Concise and well written piece about why knowing how to use the shell can be extremely productive, with some neat pipeline examples to illustrate - As a side note, what a fantastically readable minimalist text based website

Tesla may soon be as big as all other automakers combined - Looks at how insane the auto maker market is at the minute, with an outstanding gif that shows how market cap has evolved over the past 20 years for the biggest companies

Linux 5.10 - Linus Torvalds sends out the release plan - It’s so cool that we can see into the governance of this project, Linus gets a lot of push back for being rude/offensive, but in this case I really like how he communicates the plan to everyone, I wish the Linux project had some NodeJS code in it, It would be so cool to contribute

Amazon Zoox unveils self-driving robotaxi - Looks pretty cool, with carriage style seats that face each other, no driver and can reach speeds of up to 75mph

Mozilla launches campaign in support of Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 privacy features

FTC orders Amazon, TikTok owner ByteDance, Discord, Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp, Reddit, Snap, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube to explain how they collect and use personal data

MDN on GitHub - Interesting to see Chris Coyier comment on the recent move of MDN Docs to a Jamstack + Github architecture, he runs css-tricks which is another huge web development docs site

Microsoft unveils new native M1 support for many it it’s Microsoft 365 for Mac apps, including One Note, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook - They have all been rebuilt to be Universal apps, working on multiple architectures

AWS shifts focus to removing system complexity and observability - They want to focus less on developers and more on operators, more “systems thinking”

Minimal safe Bash script template - Some useful bash techniques presented in this writeup

Tech Giants Face New Rules in Europe, Backed by Huge Fines - Two major new bills that focus on illegal content and anti-competitive behaviour

Facebook is creating a Cameo-like tool that lets you interact with celebs - It’s a video streaming app reportedly called Super, with interactive tools like tipping and digital gifts, ability to sell products, sounds cool, I like the name too

Next.js CI / CD on AWS with GitHub Actions

Facebook Wades Into ‘Fortnite’ Maker’s Dispute With Apple - Things are really heating up between big tech companies, this article does a good job of presenting the facts without too much commentary, it’s a complicated situation where some companies want to modify users behaviour to make money, now an increasing amount of users want to modify *their* behaviour, which looks much like a circular reference bug (to me at least!), I hope we can somehow avoid an arms race to the bottom, I think the big picture is that we need a world wide web that is a pleasant experience, imho consent form popups plastered everywhere are not that, but also, modifying users behaviour to the point where you are tricking them, that's not ok either

goldbergyoni/nodebestpractices - The Node.js best practices list - Huge number of best practices curated by the community

Github removed all non essential cookies from it’s websites so it no longer needs cookie popup consent forms - Thank you!


Google Sheets for Developers - Honestly I found this talk a bit confusing in how the information was presented, but I like the example use case, collecting data into Google Sheets and using scheduled cloud functions to create charts and a slide deck and sending these out via email, I could see how something like this could really streamline weekly team meetings


Protocol Source Code Podcast - Why video might be the biggest thing since the internet - Interview with Phil Libin who has held CEO positions at Evernote, All Turtles and most recently mmhmm, he believes we are entering completely new territory in the way we use video online, with new ways of collaborating, an increase in asynchronous communication, the rise of new platforms and a hybrid physical/digital future, I found his vision and perspective enlightening


Thanks for reading!


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Have a great weekend and a fantastic next week!