I went into a small rabbit-hole this weekend, around other work and a nice family day on Saturday at Fenway. Assaf linked to Gleek, which got me looking into similar tools. I think in terms of outlines, and the diagrams I do in Keynote or Paper or whatever usually start out as an outline. Gleek/Mermaid/etc. let you create diagrams through a text outline, using a syntax similar to Markdown. This is perfect for me - I love Markdown (it’s how I author this site). The three tools I played with the most are below in the Code & Tools section. I will say I ended up coming back to Gleek because I liked the look & feel of the diagrams the best.

Reads

  • Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech: Mike Masnick wrote this in 2019 but it just hit my feed this week. The piece resonated with me - when you boil Web3 down to pure technology, it’s all about forcing everyone to think in and, more importantly, build in protocols, creating shared burdens and shared benefits. Masnick touches on this a little toward the end of the article. I’d love to see this refreshed for more modern blockchains that have lower transaction costs (and thus fewer negative externalities).
  • Below MSRP and Only Getting Cheaper: The GPU Deluge Begins: Crypto, especially intensive Proof of Work blockchains, were driving demand for high end GPUs. GPU prices have been coming down as the market has cooled. This link gives the best context, even though it’s from June. Prices continued falling into July, so the general trend is holding. Might be a good time to build a gaming rig.
  • Facebook’s growth woes in India: too much nudity, not enough women: Buried in this piece are some notes about gender-biased family rules on internet/mobile use, which I imagine are bigger factors than the piece makes out, but the whole piece serves as a reminder to know your market.
  • Performance comparison: counting words in Python, Go, C++, C, AWK, Forth, and Rust: I’m still working on my Rust skills. Thought this was a fun but also very useful article on language differences, gave me a different lens to look at some Rust behaviors. The Rust entry comes with 3 different implementations. I’ve learned a few things from the descriptions in the article, am looking forward to finding a little time to dig into the code. Hacker news comment thread is good for this one, too.

Code & Tools

  • Gleek: This was my favorite of the text -> diagram tools. A slightly richer syntax and a nice visual design for the diagrams. My only issue was having some trouble with layout, but I was able to produce service architecture diagrams that I needed for my team.
  • Flowchart.fun: This is a lightweight tool that has a sponsorship model (~$10/year at time of this post). The free diagram was a little too plain for my tastes, but I did prefer the syntax to Mermaid.
  • Mermaid: This tool was way more flexible at the cost of a much plainer visual output. It’s still quite usable, but I was dipping into the docs a bit too much for my liking. Unlike Gleek, this is open source.

Maker & Home Automation