Weeknotes 2024.11

Research and admin dominated the week. Linked topics include Swift, JavaScript, DataViz, Data Journalism, AI, UI, Petulant Corporations, Scientific Breakthroughs and potential loss of those, and finally the benefit of a second language.

Things get busier and busier, but I guess that is a good thing for a business.

BackstageWorks is currently wrapping up some administrative changes (as per usual taking longer than expected and beyond our control) and finishing the CI saga.

Astro, SvelteKit and Eleventy vie for my preference and the answer even for me might be “it depends”, with all three keeping their spot on the stack.

Speaking of Svelte, of course I decide to adopt it, while a major change is looming (v5). I’m getting too old for this 😂



Swift 5.10 is out and “accomplishes full data isolation in the concurrency language model”. Also check Donny Wals’ article.

Swift Tooling: Windows Edition. It’s cool to see the Swift ecosystem evolving beyond Apple platforms. VSCode seems to be the go-to environment at the moment, once you use Swift outside the beaten path.

Eloquent JavaScript, 4th Edition is out. It’s one of the better books on JavaScript. I’m tempted to re-read this edition, to see what I should know, but don’t. (via)

Interesting ideas in Observable Framework. Mike Bostock is calling it Observable 2.0. It’s the static site generator for data heavy things that we didn’t know we needed. If you’re into dashboards, data reports or data apps, you should take a look into it.

NICAR 2024 Tipsheets & Audio. The data journalism conference will become a permanent fixture on my calendar for sure. (via)

The GPT-4 barrier has finally been broken. Nice listing of the contenders by Simon, all of which have pros and cons compared to GPT-4. Simon also points out the lack of transparency of each of the models. Not sure about the vegan label though 😂

Sometimes, a Button Just Wants to Look Like a Button. What else is to say about it?

Quite frankly Apple is behaving like a petulant child and the costs in form of lost good will and public image will be paid longer and harder than any short term loss due to the DMA. At what point will penny pinchers and overzealous legal departments learn to value these higher order effects properly?

Scientific studies may get lost if publishers go bust. The main culprit is the lack of backups and the switch from paper to digital distribution. The monopoly on papers by some journals is the real issue. As many open science advocates have argued over the years, the system needs a fundamental rethink.

New Breakthrough for Matrix Multiplication. The gain seems tiny, but as soon as this method hits the various libraries used for matrix multiplication, the sheer number of applications for this calculation will easily push it into saving billions per year.

Unionised YouTube Workers Laid Off During City Council Meeting. How to destroy employer branding in one easy step. Not that there is much of an employer branding left, if your workers require formal unions anyways.

Full disclosure: I hate unions, because they will become just another entity for power grabs and corporate politics. What I hate more, are business conducts that make unions seem necessary. Unions are a sign of leadership failure.

Benefits of a second language on the brain. Not learning a second language earlier is one of my biggest regrets in life, if not the biggest. If the benefits of using a second language on a daily basis, especially on the aging brain, are only half of what they seem to be, it’s turning a convenient skill into a healthy habit.

That’s it for this week. Cheers!