Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 29th May, 2021

Node in the browser, AI experts, Linux Apps on Windows, Apple vs Epic, Amazon buys MGM, Bitcoin in PayPal, NodeJS and e-commerce, Eleventy Serverless, planning Road-trips and Central Banking Systems

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 2 instalment…

You might recall from last week that I was on a job. That continues and it’s awesome. Web development is great, my brain just loves to be immersed in it. I can’t get enough of it.

You might also remember that “the world” was doing its best to do what the world does. Well that certainly continues and the notch turning had only just gotten started. Things sure have gotten harder as the week progressed m, problems ranging from internet access issues, device power issues, hosting provider issues, everything closing down issues, just to name a few. With one hand the world gives, and with the other it’s hitting you on the head with its latest stick, both seemingly completely unaware of the existence of the other.

I hesitate to mention it here, I mean could things seriously even get worse? Probably. Saying nothing just doesn’t seem right though.

I’ll end my rant here. The link bounty is lighter than usual this week, that’s the best I could do. Here’s hoping we get through these rapids, and the newsletter will live another week.

I’ll end with some light hearted emojis:


That’s all from me this week…

I hope you enjoy the links!

As usual all the articles from the linkblog in chronological order are included below, which is also a good way to explore, there are some pieces there amongst the main summary items that didn’t make it into the main themes, but these are interesting in their own right, and often end up developing into something more substantial further down the line.

Special mentions

Stuff from me

Nothing from me this week :(

Stuff from around the web


Introducing WebContainers - Run Node.js natively in your browser - This looks interesting, uses web assembly to run an entire NodeJS dev environment locally in your web browser! #

The race to understand the exhilarating, dangerous world of language - An international crack team of 500 AI experts is being assembled to build the future of open source trained language models, my concern here is that we’ve been training arguably the best intelligences in the known universe (ourselves! aka humans) for like a really really long time, and we still have so many issues across society, what makes us think that somehow we will be able to do a better job than evolution, with entities that can learn the game Go, which is more complicated than chess, which is itself very complicated, from first principles, in a matter of hours, and then beat all known existing entities, on the plus side maybe it will be fun and we will get to know each other better #

Microsoft support for Linux GUI apps on Windows 10 coming later this year #

App Store Arguments - Ben Thomson does a roundup of all the arguments from the Apple s Epic trial, lots of interesting angles, the one thing I kept wondering about for some reason as I was reading this piece was whether it would be fun to run a small App Store, one where I selected and vetted all the apps, it would have a very distinctive atmosphere, ambiance, and the selection would be based around what I know about and find cool, why doesn’t Apple make it possible for me todo that, in a safe and secure way? #

Amazon to buy MGM Studios for $8.45 billion - I’m very interested in this deal, and especially how Amazon is structuring its media business, it feels like it really could result in some cool stuff being made, kind of mind blowing to watch the tech giants doing a take-over of old media right in broad daylight, but it’s less like a take-over and more like when an ageing actor who’s career has faded a bit, gets cast in a really cool new film and they then hit legend status, but here it’s at a company level that it’s happening #

PayPal to Let Users Send Bitcoin Off PayPal - Certainly looks like crypto is going mainstream in quite a big way #

Vendure - A headless GraphQL ecommerce framework built on Node.js with Nest & TypeScript, with a focus on developer productivity and ease of customization - Looks pretty interesting, might be worth taking it fir a spin if you are building e-commerce / store web applications #

Eleventy serverless (eleventy cloud) thus far - Zach Leatherman gathers together his thoughts and notes about the serverless future of Eleventy, it’s cool to see a lot of motion here, there are exciting new architectures and patterns being built, I’m very much into Eleventy, though recently I’ve been finding that it’s starting to feels slightly more complicated than I’m comfortable with, hopefully that will get ironed out with this new direction #


The Art of Manliness Podcast - How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip - Ah the great outdoors, wild, wonderful and occasionally very very wet, loved this episode! #

Conversations with Tyler Podcast - Mark Carney on Central Banking and Shared Values - I usually find finance type stuff kind of boring, and in some sense this episode is a bit boring, but for one I really like Tyler’s questioning style, it really suits his personality, but also his questions are just so good, so well chosen and thought out, the more I listened the more I started to see similarities between what Mark Carney was talking about and software development, the system he had been building wasn’t something like a Facebook video encoding platform, instead it was the central bank monetary system, and many of the properties they try to optimise for like redundancy and resiliency make prominent appearances in software development, they also have similar design philosophies, like building in layers, and I found the discussion around modern finance very interesting as monetary systems integrate crypto and blockchain into their systems, there aren’t many industries where essentially there’s nothing ‘real’, it’s all just collections of abstractions, finely tuned imaginary instruments, it will be interesting to see if the introduction of crypto makes the sector a little less dull, my brain just can’t handle the dullness, anyway it’s a good interview, a Canadian that occasionally sounds english and even at times irish, presumably from his years as the Governor of the Bank of England #


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!