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Saturday 26th August, 2023 - Bingeing the Past and Building the Future (Issue #129)
This week is all about building the future while being informed, but not imprisoned, by the past.
Hello and welcome to my newsletter!
Another season 2 instalment…
It’s podcast week in the newsletter this week. An avalanche of incredible content exploring many important topics of the day. The internet is social, but building this social layer is very very complicated, so many strands all running in parallel.
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If you’ve been reading the last few issues of the newsletter you’ll be aware that this month I did a feature branch merge extravaganza, and completed a new notes feature. That was great, but I also ran out of build minutes on Github. I’ve been using the notes feature of my static site generator almost non-stop, but without the ability to build the site, there’s been no way to publish anything. Kind of a downer.
Anyhow rather than press on writing code, there are tons of things still todo, I decided to hold back until the next billing cycle. I don’t want to repeat the feature branch merge extravaganza that happened last billing cycle. That wasn’t much fun. Juggling 25 feature branches rapidly gets confusing. So I changed gear and decided to listen to lots of podcasts and experiment with the new notes feature. Merging back in blog posts, links and notes won’t be an issue.
By the way you can see those experiments here:
Or at least the ones I managed to publish before running out of build minutes.
Co-incidentally I discovered the Andrew Keen Podcast and since he’s been publishing episode after episode of technology related content this past week, I’ve been on a bit of a binge. I have a hazy recollection that Andrew used to be a war correspondent from the BBC, but looking at his bio on Wikipedia and his website, that’s not the case. I guess I’m miss-remembering or maybe he just sounds like an old war correspondent. He certainly has the gravitas. I’m finding it a bit odd, because though the stuff he does has quite a mainstream daily show kind of vibe, and I don’t really do anything mainstream, only consuming podcasts and blogs, I’ve been surprised by how much into his show I’ve been. The old media hat vibe is very listenable for some reason, like listening to BBC Radio 4. I don’t know what it is exactly. Perhaps I needed a bit of a break from the relentless fast paced tech this week.
I decided to add a special Keen On Binge section to this week’s issue because I couldn’t choose. Andrew isn’t the fastest talker in the world but his analysis is very often on point and he’s eminently good at asking poignant questions that get to the core of an issue.
These were the ones I was super into:
David Winer: On the origins of blogging and other disruptive self-publishing technologies (Keen On Podcast) https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hamtlZW4ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/OWRjMzJmNGEtM2JhOS0xMWVlLWJlZWMtYmIzNjkzM2I0OTI1?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQrBc
Jemima Kelly: Why podcasters should never read advertisements on their own shows (Keen On Podcast) https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hamtlZW4ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/NzA2NGUxMmUtM2RlMy0xMWVlLThiODEtYTM5MGM3NmExOTY1?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQmRs
Keith Teare: What history teaches us about the history of venture capitalism (Keen On Podcast) https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hamtlZW4ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/N2JhZWVhMmEtM2RmMi0xMWVlLThiMjktZTM1YzgyYTE0MzYw?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQ9gc
Behnam Tabrizi: Silicon Valley Playbook for Existential Success (Keen On Podcast) https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hamtlZW4ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/NTQ1ZjdkZDYtNDA3Mi0xMWVlLWIwOWQtNmY0M2Q1MjkyMzQ2?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQlhM
Ethan Zuckerman: History of blogging, the Arab Spring and why there will never be another Twitter (Keen On Podcast) https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hamtlZW4ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/M2M3YjA5NjQtNDExOC0xMWVlLWFhMGItZGZiMGU3YjZhZTI3?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQ-AM
Robert D. Kaplan: Can there be liberty in the greater Middle East (Keen On Podcast) https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hamtlZW4ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/NTZmOTcwZWEtNDEyOC0xMWVlLThmYjktODMwNWVkYTg2NTgw?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQ1gs
Andrew isn’t even a sponsor, though if you’d like to be one, happy to have you Andrew :)
And now on with the regularly scheduled programming…
The Lost Library Of Alexandria (The Rest is History Podcast) - I wanted to include a history episode for a bit of diversity, and this is a wonderful piece about the city and mythic library. Fascinating stuff, like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. Books are cool, old books even more so. Reminded me of my university days when I’d spend an afternoon at the British library. Libraries are just so fascinating. https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYWNhc3QuY29tL3RoZS1yZXN0LWlzLWhpc3RvcnktcG9kY2FzdA/episode/MjQ0MmE1OGEtM2ZhOC0xMWVlLWE3MGQtNmZlYmVlMDVjNGVj?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQix8
An aberrant generation of programmers Ep#11 (Changelog & Friends Podcast) - Looking at the software industry from a generational perspective is really interesting. The demographic numbers are astounding, with the growth in the industry unmatched by virtually any other profession. It’s unsurprising that we run into generational issues. This episodes does a tremendous job outlining these, it’s a great discussion. https://changelog.com/friends/11
One tech’s bold idea: AI is the new atomic energy. Nationalize it. (Politico Tech) - Fear of AI is definitely running pretty high at the minute. Should we look at other times in our past where we had to impose limitations on technology? Are these comparisons overblown? https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjYXN0LmNvbS95MnJxWWJwNA/episode/NmYxYTMwNzUtZDFjNS00YjFjLWEwZDItYmE0NDI2YWY4YzMz?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQqCI
Enshitternet: The old, good internet deserves a new, good internet (Cory Doctorow Podcast) - A classic Doctorow piece, comes in with a bunch of comparisons and analysis that give some historical perspective while also highlighting that we are going through a big moment of change online. Folks have been crying the things-were-better-in-the-old-days song for a long time, but maybe this time it’s actually different. Maybe it really is worse this time, on the other hand perhaps it’s the biggest opportunity we’ve ever had to get it right this time. https://craphound.com/news/2023/08/21/enshitternet-the-old-good-internet-deserves-a-new-good-internet
Mythical computers and super apps (Vergecast Podcast) - David Pearce delivers another great episode about strange and wonderful special purpose computers, built out of strange materials, and then moves on to the new trend to turn everything into super apps, what even are these hero’s of software? https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vdmVyZ2VjYXN0/episode/MmMxY2I1NWMtNDlhZS0xMWVkLWE2ZGMtM2Y3ZWJmZjE5NzQx?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahgKEwjY2KybxveAAxUAAAAAHQAAAAAQlic
The Debanking of Nigel Farage (What Bitcoin Did Podcast) - I’ve been a bit of a fan of Nigel Farage since I saw some of his speeches at the European Parliament more than a decade ago, standing up eloquently putting forward his arguments. I don’t agree with all his politics but I like his style. So it’s really interesting to see him stand up for regular folks who get badly treated by the banks. It’s impossible to function in society without a bank account, and it happens to many many people. I can’t think of a better person to help move this important cause forward. https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/the-debanking-of-nigel-farage
What Nostr Did with Ben Arc (What Bitcoin Did Podcast) - I find Nostr really interesting technology. There’s a lot of great things being built with it. It reminds me a lot of RSS, both the simplicity of the protocol, but also the enthusiasm in the developer community that is organising around it. I hope we find a way to smooth some of the sharp edges, because like with RSS, though it’s fantastic technology, it’s not very accessible for normal non technology focussed people. Anyhow there’s a lot of great ideas in this episode to quench your thirst for great developer content. https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/what-nostr-did
Is friend.tech Good or Evil?(Bankless Podcast) - A discussion about the new hot website where you can buy and sell your friends. I’ve seen a few of these types of websites over the past several years. They make me uncomfortable. They also highlight how degenerate humanity is for the first time. The truth is that this is happening in some shape or another anyway just not as openly or obviously. This week seems to be a lot about the past, so it’s good to hear from those in the crypto space building the future. Maybe we need to be OK with the mainstream. The social layer of the internet is very important, are we going to learn the lessons of the past or are we doomed to repeat the mistakes over and over? https://www.bankless.com/is-friend-tech-good-or-evil
The Looming Demise of the 10x Developer - An interesting and thought provoking piece that explores the thesus that there is unavoidable inter-generational conflict in the software industry, brought about by how the industry grew in the early days. https://blog.testdouble.com/posts/2023-07-12-the-looming-demise-of-the-10x-developer
Don’t Build A General Purpose API To Power Your Own Front End - Quite opinionated piece that proposes a different way to build smaller scale website + API deployments. It's a way to side step a lot of complexity. As with most things, it's a trade off, but I think the author makes some good points which are at least worth considering. https://max.engineer/server-informed-ui
We Need Deep News - Doc Searls known for his involvement in reporting on the early open source movement, has been covering the changing landscape of the news and radio sector. He's got a longer view perspective which is a good thing because we technologists have a tendency to build things that don't solve the fundamental problems. https://doc.searls.com/2023/08/18/we-need-deep-news
Lots more interesting links on the daily linkblog about all sorts of wonderfully interesting things. Please check them out:
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