This week we cover creator perspectives on TikTok, building 3D assets for games and content, new programming languages, and the usual dash of crypto/blockchain on top.

Have any feedback/thoughts on this week’s list? Hit me up via Twitter or email (sujal@ this domain with the www).

Reads

  • How An OG YouTube Creator Thinks About the Rise of TikTok: MKB knows video content - easily one of the best channels on YouTube, both in quality and authenticity - so his perspective here is really interesting. I’ve been watching a lot of Twitch lately (for work reasons, interestingly enough), and have heard similar thoughts from the big streamers. I never go to TikTok (or more likely Instagram Reels in my case) for anything useful. If I want to learn something or look something up, I’m going to a search engine which will likely take me to YouTube. There’s really no question.
  • TikTok and Oracle teamed up after all, but concerns about data privacy remain: Privacy remains complicated in a multinational service. Of course TikTok engineers in China can access data in their global datacenters. What compels them to take on extra cost of having strict data sovereignty policies for US users? Is a US data sovreignty law something that what we want?
  • DALL-E, the Metaverse, and Zero Marginal Content: We’re building a video game at POL, and easily one of the biggest costs in time and actual cost is art and content. I keep thinking about this piece from Ben Thompson when working through those timelines and plans. I would also note that images have a pretty standardized set of formats that are largely interoperable (i.e. converting from JPG to PNG is easy with a known loss/gain of information). 3D models and textures are a little more complicated. Ran into that at Disney, too, as we thought about unifying art pipelines for content across ads and tv animation. That feels like an important predecessor to a DALL-E for 3D models/assets. Is FBX enough for that step? Do we have enough open source or accessible examples to build a DALL-E for 3D models?
  • Bear market will last until crypto apps are actually useful: Mark Cuban: I agree with Cuban on this, and believe Metacrafters could be one of those useful use cases.
  • Crypto traceability and market rules agreed by EU lawmakers: A sign of things to come - strong KYC requirements in the EU, at least on paper, with no minimum transaction size.

Code & Tools

  • Bun: This was a fun find - several newsletters highlighted this one. I’m going to try this out with our main platform at work, just to see how good compatibility is at the end. What seems nice is that they have a lot of the “glue” dependencies built in, so there are fewer foundational decisions I need to make as a developer around bundling, ESM module setup, etc.
  • Zig: Bun’s documentation claims it’s so fast in part because it’s implemented in Zig. Zig’s author describes Zig as a “a system programming language intended to replace C.”. Bold ambition. Also, it feels like we’re living through another new era of programming languages inspired by the ease of JS but with the robustness of C/C++/etc. Rust, Zig, Swift… lots of basics to relearn when switching languages, but the performance and correctness upsides seem worth it.

Maker & Home Automation

  • DIY Light Up Blinky Bow Ties Kit - 10 Pack: I picked up one of these kits from Adafruit to have a little craft time with my kids and their cousins. The kids loved it, super simple assembly with no soldering or real wiring required. Everything was done in about 20 minutes, including helping the younger kids. I wish they had a few more colors for the bows, but the kids were really happy. They’re still rocking their bows in their hair or as bow times hours later.
  • Neopixel Ring Lamp: Speaking of Adafruit orders, my son and I are going to give this project a shot. Requires some 3D printed parts and some soldering, but it looks like a nice desk toy. With RGB LEDs and a Raspberry Pi Pico W powering it, could also use it to display information about the weather and other data through a nice, Apple Health style ring readout.