A regular hand-picked selection of the most important links in web dev and design.

Subscriber updates

Feb 22Mixed Signals
Feb 21Big Bezos
Feb 20Character Assassination
Friday, February 16, 2018 

Out Like a Light

We must immediately cease development work on the Medusa emoji.

You Spin Me Round


First up, Epic Spinners [github/epicmaxco] offers CSS spinners you can easily integrate into Vue.

svg-grabber [chrome.google] lets you preview and download SVG assets from a site.

Blotter.js [blotter] is a JavaScript library for drawing weird, cool text effects on the web. I like this a lot.

A look at HTML5’s controversial Encrypted Media Extensions [blog.logrocket].

And Takehome [takehome] is a better way to create coding challenges for job candidates.

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay


Prodigy [prodi.gy] offers fast, efficient machine learning.

NoDock [nodock] is an open-source full-stack environment for your Docker projects.

How to find empty files and directories from the command line [davidwalsh].

A guide to setting up authentication for Node apps via Passport [sitepoint].

You can get data from Faraday-caged, air-gapped computers. Just use magnetic fields [cyber.bgu]. Magnetic fields! Every time! How do they work?!

BuckHacker [motherboard.vice] searches through exposed AWS servers. You do not want to rank well on this search engine.

Oh, and Is-Vegan [github/hmontazeri] is a JavaScript library for checking whether a given ingredient is vegan. You never know!

Tick ToC


Tips and themes for keeping up with a changing job market [sitepoint].

11 tips for designing high-converting landing pages [blog.prototypr].

How to create a table of contents in InDesign [redokun].

How product studio Postlight approached a rebrand [trackchanges].

Thiel’s in Motion


A new iOS bug will crash your iPhone if it receives a particular text character [theverge].

At this point, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is pretty much just an incubator for Internet of Things botnets [motherboard.vice].

Embedding a tweet is copyright infringement, a United States court has ruled [eff].

Peter Thiel is moving out of Silicon Valley, heading all the way to Los Angeles [qz]. Apparently there are too many liberals in the Valley, and it costs too much. Wait, too much for Peter Thiel!? I don’t want to know how much that is.

How to exploit Facebook’s algorithm to annoy your friends and influence people [buzzfeed].

Leeroy [leeroy] is a decentralized Twitter clone built on the Ethereum blockchain. Micro-tipping for content you like, no central authority, no one enforcing any content standards. This is either an amazing or very non-amazing idea.

“Physicists created a new form of light” [motherboard.vice].

And a handbook for nailing your next tech interview [github/yangshun].

Time is Running Out

Everything else (apps, fun tools, gaming, culture, funny stuff)

A round-up of great longreads for the weekend [versioning.substack]. So yeah, if you could get those all read and absorbed by Monday, that’d be great.

SoYouLearn [soyoulearn] is an advanced spaced repetition learning platform.

Purdue’s microbots [motherboard.vice] - very tiny robots who just jump around all over the place - are terrifying.

Today in marketing: Black Mirror’s got a new site that’ll tell you how long your relationship has left [theverge]. This is a bit silly, and may reduce the length of fan’s relationship with the show.

Here’s a weekend project - beat this mysterious Steam game and win a Bitcoin [motherboard.vice].

Finally, The Incredibles 2 trailer looks quite good indeed [youtube/disney-pixar].

There is Versioning for another Incredible week. I’m off to help my friend Peter move house. I’m worried our relationship doesn’t have much longer!

I’ll have some more for you next week. Hopefully you’re exactly 1 Bitcoin richer by then, good luck!

Curated by Adam

Friday, February 16, 2018 

Weekend Longreads #2

Just what you need, more content!

Feb 16, 2018

Get Smart


How things at Facebook went from good to absolutely awful: Zuck’s two years of hell [wired].

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for apocalypse in New Zealand [theguardian]. I read this before work today and all I could think was, “I should really renew my passport ASAP.”

Paper jams are the “ultimate challenge”. The New Yorker goes deep on the jams [newyorker].

What Atari was really like, according to women who were there [kotaku]

Blaise of Glory

Entertainment, miscellanea

An appreciation for a superhero I’d never heard of: Modesty Blaise [theatlantic]. She sounds like a badass!

Finally, a love letter to the screenshot [gossamer].

Enter the world of high-speed drone racing [newyorker].

Even moar reads coming at you soon! I hope your reading list is healthy, but not too intimidating; I wish you luck.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 

Danger! High Voltage

5 bits of content I enjoyed recently

If I were you, I would:


The Power by Naomi Alderman [goodreads] is an absolutely gripping book - the kind of thing you’ll stay up late to try to finish. Premise: one day, women (all around the world) find they’re able to generate electrical power from their bodies and cause pain or death. Turns out, such a change has some pretty profound, chaotic effects to society.

The Unbeatable Deck of Ronan Shin by Kiyash Monsef [wizard.limo/unbeatable-deck]. This is a lovely, heartfelt short story about two friends in high-school who share a love of a Magic: The Gathering-like card game, and a bully tormentor.

As good as the story is, the distribution method is more interesting - you could either buy this as a limited Risograph printed book (it’s sold out now) or print it yourself. That’s it, no Kindle edition, no online reader - just print. This is a Robin Sloan-affiliated thing, so of course it’s good.


A Futile and Stupid Gesture [netflix]. An incredibly fun film following the rise of National Lampoon Magazine, and the two weirdos behind it. I wasn’t alive when Lampoon rose to prominence but I wish I was. The film - directed by David Wain - also has a pretty big cast if you’re into weird comedians: Will Forte, Jon Daly, Matt Walsh, Joe Lo Truglio, Paul Scheer, and more!

The Good Place [netflix] is the best sitcom about the afterlife I’ve ever seen. It’s not an obscure pick, so I won’t repeat the premise, but the impressive thing is how thoroughly the show changes the formula from season-to-season, even episode-to-episode. Also: Ted Danson. Yes.

Listen to…

Dissect [dissectpodcast]. I spent the last two weeks greedily consuming this podcast whenever I could. Dissect is one guy who obsessively researches and explain a single album: from the history behind it, its influences, the musical theory underpinning the production, the lyrics, right through to the aftermath. It’s kind of like an extended Song Exploder [songexploder], a podcast you should also check out. One of the things I noticed early on was that the episodes are entirely free of irony - which is hard to come by these days.

The particular season I listened to and enjoyed thoroughly was about - deep breath - Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Kanye’s definitely a polarizing figure, so this may not be for everyone. The first season, if you’d like to avoid ‘Ye, covers Kendrick Lamar’s How to Pimp a Butterfly.

There’s the first edition of these dealies, I hope the content interested you. In the future, these will be subscriber-only, but I opened this one up to everyone cos I’m nice.

I’m also glad I started off with an edition containing a Kanye link, good to get over that hurdle nice and early.

If you’ve consumed some amazing content recently, please get in touch! That would apply even if I weren’t doing these. Otherwise, I’ll have some more in about two weeks - so you have that long to get through these ones!

Friday, February 9, 2018 

Billy the Kidder

How did you celebrate International Yell at a Social Media Network Day?

Read All About It

New thing alert

I just posted up a free update full of weekend longreads I recommend you take a look at. I’ll be updating this once a week with stuff I think will float your boat. Here it is, for your perusal [versioning.substack]. Enjoy reading it all, or at least adding it to your guilty “to-read” list, in the knowledge that many people will be in the same boat!

Shows Promise


First up, with Rawss [github/wix] you can use CSS variables in any browser.

React CSS Themr [github/javivasco] offers easy theming for CSS Modules.

Nice React Layout [github/ekros] lets you create nice Flexbox-based layouts, sans actual Flexbox knowledge.

Obnoxious CSS [github/tholman] is a set of animations and guess what - they’re quite obnoxious.

SitePoint alumnus and general legend Louis Lazaris talks through using default parameters in functions, something you can now do (in ES6+) [css-tricks].

Rollup now has code splitting [medium/rollup].

Async/await and Promise.all() make a powerful team [dalejefferson].

Lessons learned in a year focused on all things accessibility [alistapart].

You Can Count On It


The top 1000 most-depended-upon npm packages [gist.github].

Nact [nact] is Redux but for the server.

And redux-offline-queue [github/inspireNL] is an offline queue for Redux, useful for handling requests or actions while an app is offline.

Speaking of, how to detect and handle connection issues in Swift [dev].

An intro to AWS Fargate, used for deploying containerized apps without needing to handle the underlying servers [learnaws].

Codela [codela] looks like a great way to learn programming via online challenges.

Fake It Til Ya Make It


FakeClients [fakeclients] generates fake clients with fake business needs you can use to practice your logo design. Or get an idea for a business!

Print design tips for the digital age [read.compassofdesign].

Something Screwy


GrubHub drivers are contractors, a judge has ruled [techcrunch].

UK lawmakers went to Washington to yell at social media executives (to do more about bad info and fake news) [bloomberg].

Facebook’s testing a downvote button [theverge]. If only they’d rolled it out earlier, it would’ve saved those lawmakers the trip.

Lenovo’s recalling 5th generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops that were built before November 1 [arstechnica]. Why? There’s a loose screw that may cause a fire.

WhatsApp has brought in a payments feature to India [theverge].

Twitter made a profit in Q4 2017! [theverge] It also lost users!

Looks like visitors to porn sites are doing quite a bit of involuntary cryptocurrency mining [motherboard.vice].

With new features in Chrome that’ll point out the insecurity of HTTP sites, Google’s pushing everyone to HTTPS [security.googleblog]

Not content with dominating literally every other aspect of life, Google’s is now pretty keen on becoming a travel powerhouse[quartzy.qz].

Productivity articles on Medium are a dime a dozen, but this one on lessons learned from a digital detox is worth your time[medium/swlh]. Remember to print it out and throw away your computer for maximum productivity, of course.

Shonky Kong

Everything else (apps, fun tools, gaming, culture, funny stuff)

John Perry Barlow’s 25 principles of adult behavior [kottke]. I think I do four of them.

You can make your own Snapchat custom lenses! [theverge]

A look at the 157 new emoji that’ll hit your devices in the second half of 2018 [blog.emojipedia]. I’m in Australia, so I’m obliged to react to this by saying “KANGAROO!”. But I’m a New Zealander, so I’m equally obliged to say, “what, no kiwi?” (The bird, the fruit is well incorporated.)

The King of Kong “star” Billy Mitchell says his disputed Donkey Kong records were not faked via emulation [arstechnica]. Meanwhile, tomorrow, I’m definitely going to watch The King of Kong for the 20th time.

A CAPTCHA designed to keep humans out [humansnotinvited].

FInally, here’s a neural network that will insult you, after being trained on a corpus of Reddit comments [roastme]. “I don’t need a computer to insult me, I’ve got my wife!” - Rodney Dangerfield, if he were still alive.

And that is all for the week, the first one entirely on the Substack platform. Thanks again for all your support! Thanks also go to the 100 people who jumped in and gave their suggestions for how they’d like Versioning to go. I’ll report back Monday with the feedback, and the plan from here on in.

Have a good weekend, make sure you read all of those longreads I sent through. Otherwise we’re not friends anymore!

Curated by Adam.

Friday, February 9, 2018 

Weekend Longreads

For you to pore over, or just to add to your Pocket queue and feel guilty about

Feb 9, 2018

The first in an ongoing series…

Get Smart


After seeing a million smart devices at CES, Benedict Evans has some thoughts on how smart homes may work down the line [ben-evans].

Then Ben Thompson uses the Apple HomePod as a jumping off point to discuss Apple’s strategy and why the company may be entering its “middle age” [stratechery].

Forget about AI, the real story of the future will be IA - intelligence augmentation. Get ready to become a centaur[jods.mitpress].

Meet the woman who started Sci-Hub, an open access academic resource whose piratic existence makes academic publishers sweat, and sue [theverge].

How file sharing broke Usenet [motherboard.vice].

Culture Vulture


This interview with Quincy Jones has been widely shared, but rightly so - it’s stunning [vulture]. He has the air of a man who just doesn’t care what anyone thinks (but in a good way!). There are many swears in that one, in practically every answer.

Excellent musician, showrunner and Lando Calrissian: A profile of Donald Glover [esquire].

An appreciation of Iain M Banks [sciphijournal]. This is useful since being reminded of him after SpaceX’s launch earlier this week.


Seriously, more?

Finished those?

Here’s Locus Magazine’s 2017 recommended reading list [locusmag].

Then help a MetaFilter user fill out their cyberpunk reading list [ask.metafilter].

A regular hand-picked selection of the most important links in web dev and design.