Links for September 2023

Sun Oct 01 2023E.W.Ayers

1. Zig and 'Data Oriented Design'

One of the greatest joys in life is learning about a new programming language. Some articles about Zig.

2. My month in databases

3. Products

3.1. Zed

I've been using the Zed editor for a few months, I like

missing features keep me bouncing back to vscode:

I don't think the UI will be clean for long: I can already see it getting cluttered as they add new features.

What's the endgame for Zed? VSCode reimplemented in Rust? No, they are pivoting to be much more LLMey. They just released a Bloop-like semantic search feature. So going more for the 'future of coding' angle.

3.2. Fantasy Retro Consoles

pico-8 is a fantasy retro console. I enjoyed this supercut of games for it.

Clockwork make adorable retro-futurist hacker hardware. Take my money. DevTerm (Review), GameShell, uConsole.

Omg there is a whole world of fantasy retro hardware:

3.3. My dream phone

I would love a fantasy-retro pixel-art phone. The main thing would be having a simplified screen to save battery and to simplify the graphics.

Of course, this will remain a dream because there is no way my banking, messaging, maps, travel apps will ever support this. These don't have open APIs so I can't write my own retro clients for them.

The Light Phone might be an option, but the design doesn't excite me, and it's supposed to be a supplement to your main 'cocaine phone'.

What draws me to these things? Part of it is nostalgia: I always desperately wanted a gameboy as a child. Another part is I feel modern apps and websites are worse than the retro equivalents I grew up with.

Meanwhile, these ramshackle retro apps load instantaneously. They are thoughtfully designed, because they are constrained to getting all content and UI into a chunky pixel grid and have to carefully craft the UI. They are not interested in tracking you or making money so they just show the content.

I know that inescapable economics has driven us here. I yearn for the time when app designers and users were on the same team.

To be fair:

3.4. New phone

I just got a Samsung Galaxy Flip 5. The hardware is incredible. It feels like I'm in the future.

Android is good, I don't miss iOS. The main problem is that the OS is having an identity crisis about whether it is Google or Samsung. This manifests as confusing behaviour: