Zed Industries - Zed is now open source »

I’m a reluctant Visual Studio Code user. It’s got a lot of great design ideas but it’s so slowwwwww and I miss the speed of something like Sublime Text. Zed (from the makers of Atom) is an editor that prioritises speed but copies a lot from vscode. It’s just missing vscode’s massive extensibility, but now it’s been open sourced maybe that will change? One worth keeping an eye on.

Why Platformer is leaving Substack - by Casey Newton »

This is pretty huge - Casey Newton’s is taking his newsletter off of Substack because of its ridiculous policies on hate speech.

In 2023, we added more than 70,000 free subscribers. While I would love to credit that growth exclusively to our journalism and analysis, I believe we have seen firsthand how quickly and aggressively tools like <substack’s newsletter promotion features> can grow a publication.

And if Substack can grow a publication like ours that quickly, it can grow other kinds of publications, too.

All the Types of Science Fiction - McSweeney’s Internet Tendency »

I think I’ve read most of these books. My favourites are:

  1. Basically Mein Kampf

  2. Bomb Cock 2: Mutually Assured Destruction


  1. The Turing Test, but sexy

Old Made Good

“Stop the glorification of busy”


Old Made Good is a vintage shop in Nashville that takes boring old prints and makes them a thousand times better they’re extremely My Shit. Their Instagram was an instant-follow for me.

Galerie »

Wes Anderson has started a movie club/streaming site, where each month’s films are curated by different people like Mike Mills and Ari Wegner. So kind of like Mubi used to be? But it’s $10/month and the films are only streaming in the US. Cute idea but kind of a shit deal for non-US people.

Hugo to Wordpress. And Back Again

In the middle of 2022, my tech restlessness took over and I felt like I needed a change. It had been years since I looked at Wordpress in any serious way and I was curious to see what had changed under the hood there (answer: probably a lot if you’re using it as a CMS for a complicated site but as a lowly single blogger using it for personal writing, not a lot!). Plus, there has been a bit of movement in terms of using sqlite as a WP backend which feels like a pretty great step forward to me? So over the course of an evening, I moved my blog from Hugo back to Wordpress. I stayed on there for about 14 months, switching back last week. Let’s talk about the experience.

The WP ecosystem is great. Apps like MarsEdit make it so easy to interact with your blog - uploading images and dropping them into a blog post is very straightforward. Having a client on my phone meant that I could write and publish blog posts from anywhere. And the organisation of posts inside of Wordpress is incredibly simple. And the search! Oh my goodness, so great. Loved all that.

But the spam is unreal. Wordpress is basically unusable without an Askimet account to scan every comment. And even using sqlite as the backend and not running an entire MySQL server for my extremely low-traffic blog felt a good bit safer, every interaction is still run through PHP which is still way more of an attack vector than I’m comfortable with (if you want to spike your anxiety, try Vladimir Smitka’s WordPress installer attack race where he documents a Wordpress blog being compromised during installation 😬).

Writing and publishing on Hugo, on the other hand, is much slower and more convoluted. Let’s be generous and say it’s “deliberate”. There’s no phone client that lets me publish blog posts from wherever (not that I ever actually did that, but it was a nice option to have). Publishing can only really be done on a computer1. Want to embed an image in your blog post? You need to handle the resizing yourself, upload it to a static folder, then figure out the magical markdown incantation for referencing the image, but remember to remove the static part from the URL you put in because that gets stripped when the files get published. The whole thing is actively user-unfriendly.

But what you get in return is content that is truly yours. It’s not stored off in a service on another computer somewhere, where you pray you have a decent backup system. The files that make up this website are on my computer, and my computer is automatically backed up on my NAS. And I keep everything in a private GitHub repo as well for triple redundancy. And because everything is just markdown files, it’s dead simple to just display this image differently if you want. For example, my reading/ section is just markdown files, same as the main part of my blog. It’s just rendered differently there because Hugo makes that so simple.

And let’s be honest, the stuff I’m publishing on this website isn’t exactly breaking news, so maybe I can afford for the process of getting things written and published to be more deliberate. In fact, it’s something I’d like to aim for. Something that struck me while copying across the blog posts I’d made in Wordpress back into Hugo was how not-deliberate my writing was. I’d bang something out without a second thought and maybe, maybe go back and fix any typos I spotted (but mostly I did not).

Anyway, my point here is that Hugo isn’t perfect but it’s pretty great for my needs. Are you reading this, future-John who is currently thinking about moving off to something else? Say it with me: Hugo is pretty great for my needs.

  1. Obviously this is a giant generalisation - for example, prior to moving to Wordpress, I was running a build pipeline in a locally-hosted Jenkins that would detect any changes to my blog’s GitHub repo and automatically build and deploy the Hugo site. So it can be done, but this is a whole step beyond what most people expect from software in 2024. ↩︎

 The Internet Is About to Get Weird Again »

Across today’s internet, the stores that deliver all the apps on our phones are cracking open, the walls between social media platforms are coming down as the old networks fail, the headlong rush towards AI is making our search engines and work apps weirder (and often worse!). But amidst it all, the human web, the one made by regular people, is resurgent. We are about to see the biggest reshuffling of power on the internet in 25 years, in a way that most of the internet’s current users have never seen before.

It’s happening dot gif

The 50 best albums of 2023 | The Guardian »

Bookmarking because I’m trying to collect as many recommendations for new music as I can. As I write this (21st December) they haven’t revealed their #1 slot, but if I was a betting man, I’d say it’s going to be Lankum’s False Lankum.

Update (24th December): I was right!

“If buying isn’t owning, piracy isn’t stealing” – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow »

But without Sony’s complicity in designing a remote, irreversible, nonconsensual downgrade feature into the Playstation, Zaslav’s war on art and creative workers would be limited to material that hadn’t been released yet. Thanks to Sony’s awful choices, David Zaslav can break into your house, steal your movies – and he doesn’t even have to leave a twenty on your kitchen table.

Moving country multiple times will change your relationship to physical media. I got rid of over 2,000 DVDs in 2012 because I couldn’t face the idea of packing and unpacking two dozen boxes of little shiny plastic discs one more time. But now in 2023, I’ve started buying physical media again because streaming is a fuckin dumpster-fire and even “buying” digital media is a minefield.

Maybe instead of spending money on blu-rays, I should invest that money in bigger hard drives for my NAS.