Been a busy week, forgot to post these on Monday. A couple of fun projects below if you own a 3D printer and are a bit of a nerd.

  • A Tale of Attempted Censorship in Three Acts: One bit of news to open, then onto the fun tech stuff. Censorship and book banning is on the rise in the US as the country has lurched rightward. This post offered a little bit of hope, as long as the censorship push doesn’t extend to private enterprises. Also, Maus is phenomenal. If you haven’t read it, you should. My copy has been proudly displayed on a shelf for almost 20 years now.
  • E-Ink Dashboard for Home Assistant: If you’re using Home Assistant, I wrote up build instructions for a simple e-ink dashboard that can display sensor data or anything else you want from your Home Assistant server. The writeup on my projects blog includes source code. Feel free to fire questions my direction on twitter. If you don’t know about Home Assistant, it’s an open source software package for automating your home - think controlling smart switches, lights, heating, etc.
  • JWST Hanging Wall Model: This is my next project, a simple wall hanging to decorate my workshop in the basement. It’s inspired by the optical telescope element on the James Webb Space Telescope. If you haven’t been following along, read up on the telescope - it’s an amazing feat of engineering and science. Can’t wait to see what they’re able to observe with the new instrument. (I’ll have a writeup of this on my project blog when it’s finished)
  • One of my other sabbatical projects is to build an app. I’m still deciding and sketching out what it will be, but I’m using this time to evaluate languages and frameworks. I’m leaning toward javascript and node, but one of my big concerns is the cognitive overhead of getting started. So many decisions have to get made up front with packaging, deployment, etc. In other words, multiple rabbit holes to get sucked into, wasting time and, frankly, causing me to abandon side projects. So, I was excited to see @assaf’s work on, which is a clever framework for API services (primarily) that makes a lot of sane, opinionated, default choices. Playing around with this more this week.
  • SvelteKit: Another framework I’m looking closely at is Svelte and their attempt at a set of sane defaults, SvelteKit. We used Svelte for a POC project in my last gig and, after a brief learning curve, I really enjoyed working in it. Simple syntax, speedy, and avoids some of the mental overhead of React (though I still like that, too). The Svelte lead was just hired by Vercel, so that’s hopefully a sign of increased shipping velocity and long term stability for the project.
  • Making the web better. With blocks!: Joel Spolsky’s introduction to a new standard they’re sponsoring called the Block Protocol. Modern blog engines organize text into this idea of blocks. These might be simple like a “paragraph” block up to something fancier like a “spreadsheet” block. Right now, blocks are proprietary to the platform you’re using. The Block Protocol is attempting to make them interchangeable across platforms.
  • and egui: One last dev trend I’m noticing is the growing use of Rust in lots of different client side scenarios. These links are to two frameworks, one shared from @assaf’s newsletter (which you should all subscribe to) and one shared by a former colleague. The common theme is Rust’s language features coupled with WebAssembly’s growing ubiquity. Another example: Disney Streaming is using Rust in their ADK - Mike Hanley and team did a great writeup a while back.