Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 23rd January, 2021

Deplatforming, Apple premium podcasts, MGM for sale, iPad-style Linux, Safari extensions, product reviewing, Kubernetes as linker,, iPaaS, IPFS, VCs, gaming, darkmode, OSS woes, stack writeup

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Surprise it’s season 2! It just feels like a good time to i++ :)

As mentioned in last week’s edition, there are a bit less links this week, but the quality I think is high. Lots of great links to a very varied selection of javascript, tech and web development articles.

As for me, I’ve continued my push to get my LinkedIn profile looking good. I’ve had a few more recommendations and skills endorsements in from old colleagues that I re-connected with over the week. That’s been nice, thank you. The skills endorsements section is starting to look good, with my film industry background showing through. One downside of doing several years of solo dev work, that I’m discovering now, is no endorsements for my most recent skills. Hopefully that will start filling out over the next few months as I continue freelancing.

The ☹️Reddit profile Saga continues, my ☹️Reddit account is still broken.

I just discovered that the link to this in last week’s newsletter intro was incorrect, and that all the newsletter URLs so far this year have been incorrect too! Arrgh! Hopefully this should be fixed going forward. It’s easy to make mistakes when putting the newsletter together under time pressure.

The most inspiring post this week goes to for his birthday reflection, really cheered me up reading that, there are a lot of wonderful things happening on the web 🙂, happy birthday Matt Mullenweg!

The big story this week is the incoming Biden administration in the US has made some changes to the website, with a focus on accessibility. They’ve added font sizing and a darkmode tools, both great features! It will be interesting to see their approach to tech and web development over the coming weeks and months.

The Brave browser introduced support for IPFS, the InterPlanetary File System. It’s a peer-to-peer protocol similar to BitTorrent which enables you to store files in a decentralised way across computers. The cool thing is that you can create static websites on IPFS. I’m thinking to publish a version of the linkblog to IPFS, using a CLI tool, wouldn’t that be cool?

A story just in today as I write this is the continued issues between open source projects and hosting providers, in this case it’s Elastic that is changing the license on their project because of actions AWS has been taking, but there have been similar moves by other Open Source projects in recent years, notably MongoDB. Elastic search is one of the technologies I want to learn in 2021. I think this is a big deal, and the industry needs to work towards a resolution. It’s worrying when foundational software in your stack gets modified in such a big way.

That’s all from me this week…

I hope you enjoy the links!

Special mentions

Stuff from me

I didn’t write any articles this week

Stuff from around the web


A Few More Thoughts On The Total Deplatforming Of Parler & Infrastructure Content Moderation - I’ve liked lots lots of the Techdirt pieces about the technology side of the Trump ban, and though this piece has quite a bit of factually correct tech details, I disagree with the conclusion, I think it misses the point, which isn’t imo even todo with content moderation, the reality is that there are only a hand full of hosting companies and they can be pressured easily to shut companies down, be it by government or general public sentiment, it’s way too easy to turn a company “toxic”, we are hearing about Parler because it’s high profile, but it could just as easily happen to a no name small company, and would we even know it had happened? It’s very difficult to complain when you’ve been deplatformed, it’s like cutting off someone’s water supply, or oxygen, it’s a very terminal move

Apple considering premium podcast service to compete with Amazon, Spotify - Likely to be quite controversial, has the potential to change the podcasting landscape quite a bit

Signal is down as rush of new users swamps secure messaging service

MGM Is For Sale (Again) - If you are at all into films, this is a must read piece, some really good analysis, I didn’t know there was so much movement happening in the Studios business at the minute, MGM has a big library including the Bond franchise, a streaming property EPIX, production and distribution capabilities for both movies and television

JingOS The World’s First iPadOS-style Linux Distro - “JingOS is a full-function Linux based on Ubuntu. It can run desktop Linux apps like VS Code, Libre Office, etc. JingOS is a productive OS designed specifically for tablets” - Well that peaked my interest, I guess you could use it as a fully fledged development device

Safari 14 added WebExtensions support - So where are the extensions? - Good summary of the current situation, Apple made the bar too high, compared to other browsers it's a lot more effort to deploy to, and costs money, and you don't even get the thing that users really want, which is the ability to use an extension on iPad and iPhone, so developers just aren't bothering

Why we should review broken products instead of new ones - Really interesting idea, the author also suggests having re-occurring product reviews

Why The Service Mesh Should Fades Out Of Sight - Short discussion about Kubernetes, Microservices and Cloud Native web development, raises the notion of Kubernetes being the dynamic linker of “legacy OSs” like Windows and Linux

Matt Mullenweg - Thirty-seven - “I’m so thankful for the internet. It’s where I learned and practiced my trade. It’s where I connect every day with the most interesting and eclectic group of people I could imagine, a modern day Florence during the Renaissance. I hope to make a lot more internet and enable others to do the same.”

Traditional iPaaS Doesn’t Work for Software Companies – Here’s Why - Pretty good description of the world of software systems integration, anyone that has worked integrating software into enterprise systems will probably find this article quite a interesting

Brave becomes first browser to have native support for IPFS protocol - Links starting with ipfs:// will load in the browser without requiring installation of a browser plugin

ipfs-shipyard/ipfs-deploy - Zero-Config CLI to Deploy Static Websites to IPFS - Pretty cool, supports lots of IPFS gateways including Pinata (which appears to be popular) and Cloudflare among others

The Unauthorized Story of Andreessen Horowitz - Tells the story of how they have become incredibly good over the years of ‘going direct’ when publishing online, and they are apparently going to start a special tech section on their website, definitely one to watch, they are some of the Silicon Valley heavy weights, around in that marvellous period where TechCrunch became big, I’m excited to read what they have to say, I really hope they go full direct, and do away with any consent form popups, pretty please no popups :)

Valve and five game publishers fined millions for geo-blocking Steam games in EU

Both darkmode and big font size accessibility options on the new site are awesome

How to pick a Typeface for User Interface and App Design? - Has some handy tips about choosing a font for your UI, what is meant by the term ‘functional text’, the Il1 test, letter apertures, and has some illustrative examples

Stripe for Visual Studio Code - Some useful tools if you are a VSCode user, particularly the ability to trigger and view webhook events, Stripe dashboard access, and the snippets feature also looks cool

Maintaining JavaScript applications in the long term - Great writeup of the tech stack used by the developers of the OECD Data Portal, discusses the choices they made and migrations they undertook during this long running project, it’s an interesting mix of modern (D3, ESNext, Typescript) and boring (Backbone, JQuery) web development technologies with some good advice about how to test code and being careful with abstractions - I like their approach to using Typescript via JSDOC, and also their use of progressive enhancement to make sure the site is accessible to the wide ranging user base they have all around the globe

Turbulence continues in the world of Open Source Software - Elastic changes it’s license in an attempt to force AWS to change the way it interacts with their project, similar movements happened with the MongoDB project a few years ago


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 :)

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Have a great weekend and a fantastic next week!