Weeknotes 2024.08

Last week was focused on client work (i.e. research and workshop) and a bit of branding. Topics that peaked my interest elsewhere were Databases, Antithesis, AI’s deployment problem and a few other things.

Last week was mainly devoted to my first workshop in quite a while. This also meant I had to renegotiate a couple of priorities, but it was worth it!

I almost forgot how facilitating and participating at the same time can take its toll on someone. Good thing is, once you get some inertia, the going gets easier.

To relax, I worked a bit on the BackstageWorks branding. It’s trickier than you think, to come up with something that is decidedly unobtrusive and a banger at the same time.



Mounting a SQLite database as a filesystem. Via WebDAV. Genius! Exposes each table as CSV, TSV, JSON and JSONL. (via)

DuckDB v0.10.0 is here. You can now attach MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite and read/write data to multiple databases transactionally 🤯 — if this isn’t witchcraft, I don’t know what is?!

Some ex-FoundationDB people took their lessons learned in testing it and created a new company. Read the whole thing. It’s a lesson in product management and engineering. The solution they came up with is genius and totally obvious in hindsight. Those are usually the best traits a product can have.

“AI has a deployment problem”. When two articles explore this from different angles and reach similar conclusions, you know the smoke could come from a fire. Big Think explores the leadership aspect and why the answer is a mixture of “can’t” and “won’t”. The New Stack looks at the Software Delivery aspect, incidentally the “can’t” part of the first article. AI models have come a far way, but there is a reason why it’s mostly stuck in trial mode.

Interaction to Next Paint becomes a Core Web Vital and half the internet goes ape-shit for various reasons. I mostly look at those metrics only when the frontend seems lacking to pinpoint why it may feel this way.

How to center a DIV. Queue the jokes, but in 2024 we have so many ways to do it, the web might be overcompensating.

Paying people to work on open source is good actually. No need to apologise for the rant, Jacob, you hit the nail on the head, in the right tone.

Hackers are using ChatGPT to improve cyberattacks and Fixing security vulnerabilities with AI are two sides of the same coin.

Generic backdoors for law enforcement violate human rights. Let’s see whether this throws a wrench into efforts of law makers to force such backdoors. It should, but you never know.

Chris Eidhof and friends released The SwiftUI Field Guide to visually explain how the layout system works. A small part of me was hoping they were working on a way to target web applications with SwiftUI, but I take this as well 😉

The Verge now also covered the AI crawlers issue in a different way to mine. Related is another article/podcast episode on how copyright lawsuits are a thread to the AI industry. Will it make the industry go extinct? I don’t think so, there are clear-cut legal ways to do what the industry is doing in legal limbo.

Recent betas of iOS 17.4 lost the ability to install web apps on the homescreen. Apparently only in the EU. If this is deliberate and not a bug related to enabling side-loading, it’s pretty childish. Not to mention stupid, since this feature was introduced in macOS recently.

I like this shift in thought about exclusivity. I always thought a better strategy for companies that have services and a platform is to go a variation of tick-tock: you make the best service on every platform, then you improve the platform to be the best for using the service. Without any unfair practices like private APIs. This way you keep competitors on their toes, whether they compete with a service or a platform.

Air Canada must honour refund policy invented by their chatbot. They turned it off now 😂

Broadcom kills free VMware ESXi. Not sure if they will regret that at some point. The free ESXi is used by many enthusiasts, so many people into virtualisation know their way around ESXi. That will change now, so ESXi will lose an advantage.

Turns out iMessage is not popular enough in the EU to be regulated. Pretty much matches my experience. The only way Apple can convince people to use it more, is better, transparent RCS support, which ironically would be required if they were regulated. Knowing Apple, the latter would have been a mess.

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny dies in prison. The timing makes this suspicious.

Now that I see this style, there are already a couple of improvements I’d make next time. Let me know what you think!