RSS turns 20 →

Dave Winer:

I announced here on Scripting News that the final RSS 2.0 spec was out. But! — no one had a problem with it. I guess we were ready to go to the next stage, with a clear way forward. And RSS would go on to eat the world, to steal a phrase from a well-known tech pioneer.

I started using RSS via Safari when macOS Tiger was released in April 2005. I then moved to NetNewsWire in March 2006 when the number of feeds was slowing my browser. My news, blog, and web reading have changed for the better. I now use Reeder on all my devices via Feedbin sync.

Cheers to Dave for creating RSS and another 20 years of a decentralized web.


Choose Boring Technology →

Dan McKinley:

The problem with “best tool for the job” thinking is that it takes a myopic view of the words “best” and “job.” Your job is keeping the company in business, god damn it. And the “best” tool is the one that occupies the “least worst” position for as many of your problems as possible.

Shiny new tools are irresistible and can sometimes solve problems in a better and more elegant way, but most times a proven and limited stack is what you need.


Leadership is a Privilege

You shouldn’t be leading if:

  • You see it as a right.
  • You think people should be grateful.
  • You think of it as a burden.
  • You think you are owed.
  • You expect to be recognized.

Leading is not for everyone, and that’s fine. Not everyone should be leading, especially if they only want to advance their careers. I believe that leading is a vocation parallel to being an individual contributor. It doesn’t make one role “better” or “worse.” They are just different and equally important. Hence I believe that just because you choose a leadership role shouldn’t mean you are to be paid more than an individual contributor.

Leadership and individual contributors’ roles need to be financially comparable. They should be based on the impact on the overall team and company and not because of the role.

When leading, I am grateful for those that grant me the privilege to lead them. I know that that privilege can be withdrawn at any time. I’ve made more mistakes while leading than those listed above, but I strive to do my best to continue growing so that I can enable others to do the same.

Deleting Cookies and Data

Safari for iOS 13 introduced a cool feature that closes tabs automatically for users after a day, week, or month. When helping non-technical users with their phones, I tend to enable this feature which they appreciate since most have hundreds of tabs open at a given time – some admit to even doing the closing manually regularly.

It would be great if Apple added a way for users to have more options for deleting the following data, either manually(selectively) or automatically from their browsers:

  1. Web browsing history: After a certain amount of time has passed. [Yes, insert joke here].
  2. Cookies and other data that websites store.

One workaround available today for deleting selective browser history more easily is to delete said data via Safari on macOS if you have the same iCloud account on both devices.

Web browser history is easy to select by date and delete all at once. On iOS, you can only do all via the Settings app or one by one. The Safari history on iOS could add an option to the context menu that deletes “all newer” or “older than” links from the selected one. Here where that could be added here.

Cookies could have two additional options with different potential benefits:

  1. Deleting based on the date websites were browsed; or
  2. Deleting based on the time since the user’s last visit to said website.
  3. Deleting all cookies upon closing a tab.

On macOS, the website cookies and data are not organized by date but in alphabetical order. Which makes selectively deleting items a cumbersome job. Every few months, I periodically delete; all-knowing, I’ll need to log in to a bunch of websites I use regularly. It’s not great, but it works.

Just having better options to do this manually would be a huge win, even if not automatic, since auto-deleting stuff for the user can probably bring tons of unforeseen issues.

Something else I wouldn’t mind managing more easily is past Wi-Fi networks.

eBooks are being held back

Howard Oakley:

[…] few eBooks offer any advantage in use over their physical equivalents. eBook readers are still incredibly primitive, and won’t even let you refer to two or more sections of the book at the same time. You can’t photocopy them, copy quotations, or do anything remotely advantageous. What should have been a liberation from the printed page turns out to be the imposition of more restrictive rules.

Jason Snell:

I prefer to read on it than to read on an iPad or iPhone, which is why I keep buying Kindles even though I could definitely read on an iOS device without any trouble. The reflective E-Ink screen is more pleasant for long reading sessions, and the fact that my Kindle isn’t full of push notifications and Twitter apps helps it be a distraction-free reading environment.


Amazon’s approach to Kindle software updates has been erratic at best and absent at worst, and he’s right that using a Kindle “feels like trudging through soft sand.” The interface is inelegant and in so many ways unchanged from its original release in 2007, just months after the iPhone arrived on the scene. Typography on the Kindle is still mediocre, despite minor advances like support for custom fonts and (in limited cases) the elimination of force-justified text. Even support for library borrowing is hidden, because Amazon really wants you to buy books.
It’s the lack of a proper app story that stings the most, I think. I’d love a version of the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Athletic for my Kindle—the real apps, with the ability to read the latest stories. I know that my E-Ink Kindle screen isn’t going to give me vibrant color or animation, but it could certainly show me the text, which is what the Kindle excels at.

Andrew Albanese writing for Publisher’s Weekly(via DaringFireball):

Under Macmillan’s new policy, which is scheduled to go into effect on November 1, public libraries are allowed to license a usinge discounted, perpetual access e-book for the first eight weeks after a book’s publication. After eight weeks, libraries can purchase multiple two-year licenses at the regular price (roughly $60 for new works). Librarians, however, say that not being allowed to license multiple copies upon publication unfairly punishes digital readers, and will only serve to frustrate users and will hurt the ability of the library to serve their community, especially if other publishers follow suit.

“Libraries are prepared to pay a fair price for fair services; in fact, over the past ten years, libraries have spent over $40 billion acquiring content,” the ALA report reads. “But abuse of their market position by dominant actors in digital markets is impeding essential library activities that are necessary to ensure that all Americans have access to information, both today and for posterity. If these abuses go unchecked, America’s competitiveness and our cultural heritage as a nation are at risk.”

Wi-Fi 6’s Claims Are Real

In tech, it’s hard to discern marketing buzz from factual data. After struggling for months to get a reliable Wi-Fi performance at home through the use of different equipment, software optimization, setting tweaking, etc., all problems went away with a single device: Amplifi Alien with support for Wi-Fi 6. Here’s a good review of the Amplifi Alien.

In a matter of minutes after setting up, I was able to get 3x better performance with a single device than with two Amplifi HDs or with enterprise-grade UniFi equipment (UniFi Security Gateway, Switch, and AP) both on iPhone 11 Pro, which has Wi-Fi 6 support and devices without it.

Chris Hoffman from HowToGeek on Wi-Fi 6:

As usual, the latest Wi-Fi standard offers faster data transfer speeds. If you’re using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5.

Wi-Fi 6 accomplishes this through more efficient data encoding, resulting in higher throughput. Mainly, more data is packed into the same radio waves. The chips that encode and decode these signals keep getting more powerful and can handle the extra work.

Better battery life for your devices through Target Wake Time and better performance in crowded areas:

When the access point is talking to a device (like your smartphone), it can tell the device exactly when to put its Wi-Fi radio to sleep and exactly when to wake it up to receive the next transmission. This will conserve power, as it means the Wi-Fi radio can spend more time in sleep mode. And that means longer battery life.


Wi-Fi tends to get bogged down when you’re in a crowded place with a lot of Wi-FI enabled devices. Picture a busy stadium, airport, hotel, mall, or even a crowded office with everyone connected to Wi-Fi. You’re probably going to have slow Wi-Fi.

The new Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, incorporates many new technologies to help with this. Intel trumpets that Wi-Fi 6 will improve each user’s average speed by “at least four times” in congested areas with a lot of connected devices.

Only 15% of the Basecamp operations budget is spent on Ruby →

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Everything I’ve talked about so far is infrastructure we’d run and pay for regardless of our programming language or web framework. Whether we run on Python, PHP, Rust, Go, C++, or whatever, we’d still need databases, we’d still need search, we’d still need to store files.

So let’s talk about what we spend on our programming language and web framework. It’s about 15%. That’s the price for all our app and job servers. The machines that actually run Ruby on Rails. So against a $3 million budget, it’s about $450,000. That’s it.

Let’s imagine that there was some amazing technology that would let us do everything we’re doing with Ruby on Rails, but it was TWICE AS FAST! That would save us about ~$225,000 per year. We spend more money than that on the Xmas gift we give employees at Basecamp every year. And that’s if you could truly go twice as fast, and thus require half the machines, which is not an easy thing to do, despite what microbenchmarks might delude you into thinking.

“Ruby can’t scale” or “Ruby is too expensive” my ass.


Your Deadline Will Be Affected

Cleanup takes time. No matter if it is refactoring, fixing bugs, updating supporting libraries, adding the proper documentation, or test coverage to your code. There is no way around this.

It will affect your deadlines today or sometime down the road. The difference is that today, it’s your choice to make.

Thinking that you get away with this is just naive. It just can’t happen. Not unless you give up on the project or decide to rewrite the whole project, which is an entirely different problem.

Balancing the feature and fixes needed with the necessary cleanup work is difficult. It’s hard. You are not alone in having to make these choices. Making those calls is hard, whether you are the developer, internal or external client, product owner, or even an end-user. The work is needed. Sooner or later, it will become inevitable, and the choice won’t be yours.

There aren’t many options other than just “doing it.” Just as it’s not wise to argue the existence of gravity, you can debate whether it exists. If you try to debate this, you will have the wrong time.

It’s been proven repeatedly that all the money in the world can’t get you off the hook. There are enough examples to go around.

What makes you think you can get away with it? Is it hubris or inexperience, or do you get an adrenaline rush from living on the edge? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you should figure out a way to do it sooner rather than later and make communication front and center since your team, clients, or users need to understand and give you the necessary support.

When did work-life balance become such a bad thing? →


The term work-life balance has taken a beating lately. It seems to be a favorite punching bag for grandstanding about what you really need is integration or that balance is a mirage anyway. Wat?

Balance simple means that each portion of the system has a sustainable weight which keeps the composition in harmony. Going down a pedantic, semantic rabbit hole of “well, actually, work is part of life, ergo seeking balance is wrong” is some perfidy circular logic.