Busy travel week - while the new variants are worrisome (and pushing me back toward more masking), it’s nice to be able to get back to the places I love. Let’s get to the links.

Reads

  • The future of cars is a subscription nightmare: Just a straight “nope” to this from me. It irks me enough that my car requires an Audi-managed cell connection to use the remote features of the car. This is an expensive subscription, rivaling my cell phone bill (for a single line).
  • Tesla Remotely Extended The Range Of Drivers In Florida For Free… And That’s NOT A Good Thing: This article is from 2017, reminding us that horrible ideas seem to come from Musk at least as often as his good ideas do. I really hope this is regulated out of the market… (though, the comments in that article indicate that perhaps this model already exists in other industries… ugh.)
  • Tweet from @KathrynTewson: “See, right here, here’s the problem with “code is law.” If the code is the law, then the funds weren’t stolen, because the code allowed it to happen.” So many things to figure out in this space. Related question: how decentralized do you want things to be?
  • Du Minitel à l’Internet: In French, a brief history of the Minitel, France’s homegrown smart terminal that pre-dated widespread adoption of the Internet. I studied this (a little) in school - was fascinated by the idea that the government would launch something like this. My French is rusty, so I didn’t read most of this (full disclosure), but the charts are accessible with rusty French, and are worth looking over. This wasn’t cell phones, but it also wasn’t a tiny service for the era.
  • No-code isn’t scalable. Our learnings at FINN going from 1000 toward 100,000 car subscriptions: This has also been a topic of conversation at work. Airtable and Retool look great on the surface. I feel similarly about Vercel, too, for that matter. I’m used to being able to twiddle all the knobs, but I also used to have teams big enough to support knob maintenance. Life is tradeoffs, best to go into these decisions with intention. That means having an exit plan or metrics that can trigger the “time to move off X” conversations.

Code & Tools

  • Snippets in Visual Studio Code: I’m sure most folks know this, but you can create your own snippets in VS Code. I use them to author this site in Markdown, to put in the bullets for each entry with the correct formatting, for example.
  • Using Text Shortcuts: Speaking of shortcuts, Apple has the ability to define them across the OS so you can use them in any app. They’re not quite as coding friendly as they are in VS Code, but I use them to simplify things. For example, just typing in &myz will expand out to my zoom link for my personal meeting room. I never have to look it up.
  • Replibyte: Assaf linked to this in his newsletter this week. Guess what I’ve been doing a lot of this week as we get closer to launch…

Maker & Home Automation