Weeknotes #4

Back from Mexico and I cleared out my RSS reader

April 17, 2019

In early March my wife and I ventured down to the southern tip of Baja, Mexico to a town called Todos Santos on our first kid-free excursion since… well.. since the kids arrived five and a half years ago. The Pacific coastline was remote enough you could look and see nothing for miles. Listening to the ocean crash, we sat poolside at our fancy hotel, drank mezcal, and read fantasy novels. I bathed in the sun’s rays under an immense towel to protect my translucent Irish skin. We ate the best ceviche of our life under a palapa in someone’s backyard restaurant.

Returning to work was abrupt to say the least. I’ll spare the details but it has been a small mountian of stress since mid-March. Which for me translates into weeks of eating shitty foods, getting shitty sleep, not excercising, and my back going out. It’ll take some effort to undo, but I’ve been working on digging out.

Good news though, this week I may have stumbled into a new non-computer hobby! Recently a group of friends have started riding gravel bikes. Also some of my coworkers ride gravel bikes. Also my kids got bikes for Christmas (my 3.5yo daughter is very good at biking). Buying a bike is extremely stressful. So may makes, models, components, and options. After much searching, a real nice gravel bike showed up on Facebook Marketplace and I snatched it up. I don’t know where I’ll find the time to bike, but I’m hoping to force myself to leave the compound for some mid-day rides.

Beyond work and acquiring new hobbies, I’ve been indulging my normal hobbies. Overwatch, some Apex, and that new Tetris 99 game provokes visceral utterances. I’ve had a small burst of blog posts. And, as you’ll see below, I cleared out nearly 1000+ unread items in my RSS reader. It could be some pent up frustrations from work, but I find good escape in clearing out unread queues.

[Read]

This is an incredibly overdue list of Web-findings. Since this is an overwhelming amount of links (even for me), I’ve grouped the links up by interest.

Accessibility

The first lump of links is about the current state of Accessibility. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts but if you work on the Web please read these posts.

  • The WebAIM Million (WebAIM)
    There was a damning study issued by WebAIM. In an audit of the top 1,000,000 sites, 97.8% of sites had detectable WCAG 2 failures. On one hand, this is entirely unacceptable and on the other, I’m guilty as well. We’ve got to do better.
    • Fighting uphill (Eric W. Bailey)
      I empathize a lot with Eric Bailey’s response. As someone who cares about accessibility, this study is soul-crushing and I’d love to find way out of it.
    • The web we broke (Ethan Marcotte)
      Ethan’s response to WebAIM’s post offers a great first stepping stone “What’s one thing I wish I understood better about accessibility?”

Web Development

Here’s a collection of neat web development centric reads I encountered.

Popular Science

I’m a sucker for pop-sci and welcome more recommendations. Here’s some interesting bits I came across.

Working Better

This year I’m trying to look into how we work and how I can work better, both from a productivity standpoint but also an ethical standpoint.

🆒 Projects

Remember when the web was cool and people made 🆒 stuff (not just corporations)? Yeah. Me too. Here’s some cool stuff I found.

  • Bradshaw’s Guide for Tourists in Great Britain and Ireland (1886 Edition) (Paul Robert Lloyd)
    Paul Robert Lloyd is recreating a 1886 tourism guide on the web and that makes me very happy. It’s also beautiful and filled with vintage illustrations. Reminds me of DayTrip but from 1886.
  • Prospiracy Theories (Scott Alexander)
    I love these “prospiracy” concoctions. Making regular ol’ facts sound like salacious Nazi-UFO Ancient Jesus Illuminati Astronauts is very much in the vein of what I find entertaining. /via Chris Coyier
  • Accessibility Posters
    Nice initiative from the UK Home Office to create a little cheat sheet for how to create web content for people of various disabilities (not just vision impairment).
  • How to write a video game story (Colin Campbell)
    Colin Campbell takes a course on writing video games. There are a lot of interesting constraints about writing for games, namely non-linear narrative. I found this very helpful as I daydream about making my own games. It’s not as simple as it would appear from the outside. WARNING: The comments on this story are weird, vindictive, and jealous-sounding as numerous people show up to talk shit about Colin’s instructor who has never actually shipped a video game.

[Watch]

HONDA e Prototype (Fully Charged)
This Honda e Prototype gives me hope that electric vehicles can be ubiquitous and radical. Also some prototyping lessons in here.

How Animators Created the Spider-Verse (WIRED)
This behind the scenes look into how Into the Spider-Verse warms my soul. It’s got everything from carrying out a visual design language, prototyping, and even touches on how AI and Machine Learning can help improve and speed up the artistic process.

React Performance: Identifying Wasted Renders (Anastasia Lanz)
Anastasia Lanz shows off a simple trick in a 3min video on how to reduce render calls in a React App. I love the brevity and practicality of this quick tip.

[Listen]

I did quite a few podcasts and sadly lost an episode of Aside Quest in a recording malfunction. Don’t worry it’ll be back. You should listen to all the Shop Talks, but these two particular episodes keep rattling around in my head…

  • Maintaining Vue.js with Evan You (ShopTalk)
    It’s not every day you get to interview the maintainer of the JS library you’re using. Vue ticks a lot of boxes for me and after this episode I think I’m more and more infatuated with Vue.
  • Blocks and Browsers (ShopTalk)
    With the advent of Chromium Edge, Chris and I get into a heavy conversation about “Browser Diversity”, how browsers will compete going forward, what about Mozilla, and Opera is now advertising this new thing called “Web 3” 🤔