Kurt Harden’s hunt for the perfect album continues. I have to say, this is fast turning into a great playlist for Apple Music or Spotify. 🎵

Cup of coffee on my desk. Pen and paper ready. Text editor open.

My three essentials for weekend hacking on code.

Dark to light

After years of using Solarized Dark as my preferred colour theme for coding, I’m starting to find that I’m now preferring a lighter themes for when I’m writing code. Solarized Light for Sublime Text and Bluloco Light for VS Code.

Solarized Dark is still my preferred color theme for the terminal though.

Goodbye Stoop

After a couple of weeks using Stoop, I’ve decided to remove the app from my phone.

The app itself is a novel idea for those who want to read their newsletters outside of their day to day email, but there were a few gripes I had with this app.

The design of the app itself didn’t work for me. The carousel-style of newsletters at the top and the list of newsletters at the bottom wasted a lot of space in the user interface. I would have prefered just a list of newsletters that I could scroll through.

The thought of having an app for newsletters only available on a mobile device was too restrictive. If there’s one activity I don’t mind doing on multiple devices, it’s reading. At least with my newsletters delivered to my inbox or to Feedbin’s newsletter address, I could catch up with newsletters regardless of what device I was near.

Stoop is a nice idea, and might work for those who simply can’t afford to be without their mobile device, but I don’t want to be tied to my iPhone for the sake of a few newsletters.

Michael Wade reminds us that slow can be more.

The perfect album

Sent a few suggestions this morning for the perfect album to my buddy Kurt in Ohio. Suggestions included Bloc Party, Oasis, Massive Attack and Eric Clapton.

Anyone else care to chip in with suggestions for the perfect album?

The web industry debate rages on

The debate about the use of Javascript in the web industry and the role of the front-end developer continues after Chris Coyier’s post, The Great Divide and now a follow-up from Rachel Andrews.

There is something remarkable about the fact that, with everything we have created in the past 20 years or so, I can still take a complete beginner and teach them to build a simple webpage with HTML and CSS, in a day. We don’t need to talk about tools or frameworks, learn how to make a pull request or drag vast amounts of code onto our computer via npm to make that start. We just need a text editor and a few hours. This is how we make things show up on a webpage.

HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points by Rachel Andrews

Rachel’s post reminds us though that while Javascript frameworks might be all the rage at the moment, we’re neglecting the foundations of the web, HTML and CSS. And how they can still be used to educate those new to the process of creating websites.

Maybe as an industry, we should still be focusing on these fundamentals. Not just for those new to the industry, but for everyone in the industry.

Scaling back

I’ve been scaling back on some things recently.

  • Canceling subscriptions for products and services. Most of these are from the time when I freelanced, but I simply don’t require these anymore.
  • Removing unecessary apps from my devices. Each device has a designated purpose now so I only install the apps I need for each device.
  • Unsubscribing from feeds and newsletters. Again, most of these date back to freelancing, but there are also a few others in there.
  • Limiting myself to a couple of hours each week for projects/products. A couple of hours is just enough time to make some progress for the week.

Feels good to be getting rid of some clutter.

Commonmarks now deployable to Heroku

Over the last couple of days, I put the finishing touches to the Commonmarks application so that others can deploy it easily to Heroku. The reason I went down this route is that self-hosting Commonmarks is a something I want people to be able to do, but I’m not at the stage yet where Commonmarks can be quickly deployed to any SAAS platform or even your own server. Going down the Heroku route was a short term solution.

If you take a look at the top of the README file on the Commonmarks Github repository you’ll see a Deploy To Heroku button that you can use to deploy. You’ll need a Heroku account to do this. The add-ons needed for the application to run are free including the dynos required to run the application. I’ve been running Commonmarks on a free dyno for over a month now without any problem.

This brings me to the next step. I’m now working on Commonmarks as a hosted bookmarking product that anyone can sign up for if they don’t want to run their own version of Commonmarks. I appreciate there are people on both sides of the fences, but there are probably more people who want to go with the hosted option than the self-hosted option. I’m not looking to have this running for another couple of weeks, and I’ll be initially opening up with a small beta to get feedback.

Updates will follow.

Driving to work this and I caught a small glimpse of what would have been a great sunrise. I drove on thinking how good it would have been to just stop and take it in.

Finally all done with the bait store. Now Drew is looking for his next mega build!

Tolkien Exhibition in New York

I would love to have seen the “Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth” exhibition in New York.

The picture depicting Bilbo’s conversation with Smaug was the first the image I seen of Tolkien’s books as a kid. I might not be able to get to New York for this, but it might be time for a re-read of the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

via kottke.org

Benefits of the daily diary

Good advice from Derek Sivers on keeping a daily diary:

It works best as a nightly routine. Just take a minute and write at least a few sentences. If you have time, write down everything on your mind. Clear it all out. But if you miss a night, make time the next morning to write about the previous day.

Benefits of a daily diary and topic journals by Derek Sivers

I also like his idea for topic journals.

For each subject that you might have ongoing thoughts about, start a separate “Thoughts On” journal. Whenever you have some thoughts on this subject, open up that file, write today’s date, then start writing.

Benefits of a daily diary and topic journals by Derek Sivers

Commonmarks update

Just a little Commonmarks update for those interested. I’m working on the password reset over the next few days. By then I should have a working single-account version that people can deploy with a Heroku button.

After that I am going to then focus on a multi-account option for those who don’t want to host it themselves. The timeline for this is a couple of weeks, but I will have a limited set of invites for those interested. I’ll make the announcement on Micro.blog first.

With my day job taking me down the JavaScript route on a daily basis, it’s good to break out the text editor at night and write some Ruby code for Commonmarks. It might just be a simple Ruby on Rails bookmarking app but hopefully in time I can build a few more interesting features for it.

Stoop for newsletters

Recently, I’ve been scaling back on the number of newsletters that I subscribe to. Some are due to a lack of interest in the newsletter topic and some I just don’t read anymore.

Of the newsletters that I am sticking with though, I subscribe to them through Feedbin’s secret email address. Lately, though it feels like I’m merely scanning over my newsletters instead of reading them. I’ll star them to read later on, but most of the time I never do.

Stoop is an app for iOS and Android that allows you to subscribe to newsletters and manage what you have and haven’t read. I think this might just be the right tool for the job when it comes to newsletters. It leaves me to scan my RSS feeds as usual without missing anything, but it also keeps me away from my email. Sure it’s another app on my phone, but it’s for reading. So, that’s not really a bad thing.

Bait store still a work in progress but Drew’s making good progress. 👍🏻 B670A8EC-1C96-4C1F-BE0A-51A51BDECDBB.jpg

The four-day work week is good for gender equality

Another benefit to the four day work week.

A four-day week, such as that proposed by Wellcome, could have a profound gender effect. Women at the company who have children will be free to spend one day a week with them and, crucially, remain on the same footing as the rest of their colleagues. And the radical change could extend beyond the Trust’s own staff: Men with kids at the company would be able to commit to a day of childcare as well, meaning that their partners would be freer to make their own choices about part-time vs full-time work.

The four-day work week is fantastic news for gender equality by Cassie Werber for Quartz

Good news across the board it seems, however, the four day week is a hard-sell to many companies. I think it will be a long time before we see this gain traction across the wider global workforce.

Still loving Musish

After a week of using the open source Apple Music web player Musish, I’m still a fan.

The familiar look and feel to the native Apple Music apps as well as having the benefit of access to all my Apple Music data through a web interface means I can still listen to music while I’m working.

It also means I can conserve the battery on my iPhone and I don’t need to rely on a good network signal if I need to stream any of the albums I want to listen to.

Don't just think it ...

Write it says our man in Arizona.

Another Super Bowl for the Patriots?

Gutted to see the Saints go out like they did last night with the non-call on Robey-Coleman’s pass interference. It definitely changed the outcome of the game from there onwards. Running up to that point in the game though, the Saints could have definitely handled a few plays better than they did.

I didn’t see the AFC Championship game, but I was disappointed in that one too with the result. It sounded like a great game, but I would have loved to have seen a Saints-Chiefs Super Bowl.

The Rams need to up their game for the Super Bowl. They took too long to get going against the Saints. The Patriots won’t be as forgiving.

I think it will be another Super Bowl win for the Patriots. 🏈

Just noticed a change in the Feedbin web UI on my phone and desktop this morning. I don’t know the full details of all the changes, but I definitely like what I see.

Drew with the first part of his Lego Ideas bait store. Even at this early stage, some of the detailing on the build is fantastic. C3B8E307-7C52-4128-804A-F4CCD3BD6368.jpg

Great advice from Michael Wade to remember to do the small things.

Nicholas Bate and his daily investments. Still a favourite blog of mine.

For those interested, I’m still working on a startup screen and Heroku deploy button for Commonmarks. I’ll post an update when I’ve finished these additions.