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Me, On The Screen: Race in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

I am a big fan of Austin Walker — I love his writing, and the way he GMs games on Friends at the Table. In this piece from 2013 he explores and contextualizes the importance of inclusive representation in games and play through the lens of Animal Crossing. Seeing this is even cooler being familiar with the hundreds of hours of actual-play he has coordinated and helped to produce since it almost all highlights the importance and power of representation.

Other people’s weeknotes

A list of people’s weeknotes. Weeknotes may be peak-blog. I adore them.

10 Nonhumans That Are Legally Humans

A list of things that are legally recognized as humans but that aren’t actual humans.

The ultimate guide to DuckDuckGo

A list of all the things DuckDuckGo can do for you.

Application Holotypes: A Guide to Architecture Decisions

A list of holotypes which help to form the basis of a taxonomy for web applications.


These next two items go hand-in-hand and absolutely fascinate me. Things like this make me want to go for a PhD just because I’d love the time to write thousands of words about what it takes to bring the physical to the digital…and exploring what it then takes to physically maintain the digital” replication of the physical object.

Hand Job Zine and Mass Digitization Files

A collection of zines exploring the labor of digitization (and who does that labor).

Dancing the flip-flop

flip-flop (n.) the process of pushing a work of art or craft from the physical world to the digital world and back, often more than once.

That’s pretty abstract. Here’s an example recipe:

  1. Carve a statue out of stone. PHYSICAL
  2. Digitize your statue with a 3D scanner. DIGITAL
  3. Make some edits. Shrink it down. Add wings. STILL DIGITAL
  4. Print the edited sculpture in plastic with a 3D printer. PHYSICAL AGAIN

Link logging

CSS: From Zero to Hero

The crashiest crash course for all things CSS. Covers all the basics — you won’t be ready to tackle all the things, but you’ll be good to go for most things.

How Many .com Domain Names Are Unused?

Some key features:

There are currently 137 million .com domain names registered.1 Of these, roughly 1/3 are in use (businesses, personal websites, email, etc.), another 1/3 appear to be unused, and the last 1/3 are used for a variety of speculative purposes.

My take away, as always, is that the internet is REALLY big…but only a little itty bit of it sees a meaningful amount of traffic. Leading us to…

Why isn’t the internet more fun and weird?

Three things MySpace got right

  1. To make a page on MySpace, all it took was text in a textbox.
  2. The text could be words or code.
  3. Anyone could read the words and see the code.

Continuing, later:

The internet is the great equalizer (1996). People used to believe that. Today, it sounds sarcastic.

We — the programmers, designers, product people — collectively decided that users don’t deserve the right to code in everyday products. Users are too stupid. They’d break stuff. Coding is too complicated for ordinary people. Besides, we can just do the coding…so why does it matter?

I’m all for making the internet weird again. It is something I’m trying to get more cozy doing here, on my personal website.

And if you want to do that (make the internet weird again) we should preserve folks’ ability to get their feet wet, and their hands dirty on the web!

HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points

However, when it comes to frameworks and approaches which build complexity around writing HTML and CSS, there is something deeper and more worrying than a company having to throw away a couple of years of work and rebuild because they can’t support a poorly chosen framework.

When we talk about HTML and CSS these discussions impact the entry point into this profession. Whether front or backend, many of us without a computer science background are here because of the ease of starting to write HTML and CSS. The magic of seeing our code do stuff on a real live webpage! We have already lost many of the entry points that we had. We don’t have the forums of parents teaching each other HTML and CSS, in order to make a family album. Those people now use Facebook, or perhaps run a blog on wordpress.com or SquareSpace with a standard template. We don’t have people customising their MySpace profile, or learning HTML via Neopets. We don’t have the people, usually women, entering the industry because they needed to learn HTML during that period when an organisation’s website was deemed part of the duties of the administrator.

Neopets forever.

Also, read this thread, then read it again…and then maybe a 3rd time.

Decentralization is Not Enough

This (medium) post does a great job spelling out the pitfalls of a lot of the new wave of web tech that is purported to be saving” the web, or whatever. It is groovy if you a nerd…but essentially this new tech is just helping to build a walled garden for nerds. Sure anyone” can join…but very often you must be this nerd to enter. I think this is a very real issue for the IndieWeb community, too.

Leaving the web-punditry-zone now.

A few early marketing thoughts

I’ve been re-assessing my freelance work, and found this post from Julia Evans to be wicked timely.

I’m not really certain if I should be doing any marketing, to be honest, and if I should be doing any, I’m not sure what kind I ought to be doing.

The 26,000-Year Astronomical Monument Hidden in Plain Sight

On the western flank of the Hoover Dam stands a little-understood monument, commissioned by the US Bureau of Reclamation when construction of the dam began in 01931. The most noticeable parts of this corner of the dam, now known as Monument Plaza, are the massive winged bronze sculptures and central flagpole which are often photographed by visitors. The most amazing feature of this plaza, however, is under their feet as they take those pictures.

The plaza’s terrazzo floor is actually a celestial map that marks the time of the dam’s creation based on the 25,772-year axial precession of the earth.

I’m hooked. Also, are they gonna make a 3rd National Treasure movie? I’m ready for it.

All of this NPM bruhaha has me wondering, what does a better solution look like? NPM has always been a reason I’m wary of modern JS dev. The whole ecosystem seems contingent on NPM as its central rail — what happens when it is bought, hacked, or just flakes? I pretend that quicklisp does it better, but I am really not sure, tbh. Is a centralized package manager always going to be a or even the central point of failure for a wider ecosystem? I regularly use a bunch of different package managers across a few different languages, is one better than the other? At the end of the day is their a better model to follow?

In reply to: Libraries that speak loudly - Shelf awareness

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1831), Victor Hugo noted that, in the late Middle Ages, printing threatened architecture as the dominant mode for the church to convey cultural meaning. The book of stone, so solid and so enduring, was to give way to the book of paper, more solid and more enduring still.” Put the book and the building together, and you have the potential for structures of almost overwhelming significance.

In reply to: An Architectural Defense of D.C.'s Boxy Buildings - CityLab

Call it the virtue of architectural monotony: a relentless horizontality where commercial canyons recede into the distance. One stretch of cliff might be granite, another one concrete or tile or glass. But as the city’s core has filled up in recent decades, the materials have come to serve as seemingly interchangeable wrappings for squat containers of leasable space.

The result? An awkward yet oddly endearing terrain where, absolutely, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

No description provided. I will be better about this in the future!

Peekaboo! We spent the better part of the day exploring Portland. Spring seems to have sprung! 🐣 🌱

Cubist microservices

I’ve been reading about microservices lately. We’ve been talking about migrating some common features of our apps and services from impromptu shared libraries over to proper microservices at work.

Martin Fowler describes a microservice as a set of common architectural characteristics:

In short, the microservice architectural style [1] is an approach to developing a single application as a suite of small services, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API. These services are built around business capabilities and independently deployable by fully automated deployment machinery. There is a bare minimum of centralized management of these services, which may be written in different programming languages and use different data storage technologies.

Wanting to wrap my head around what these could look like and how they could be re-used across multiple projects I wrote two really tiny, sort of stupid microservices myself.

The UUID generator does just that. When called, it generates one UUID and returns that UUID as either plain text, or JSON. Check it out! smallandnearlysilent.com/uuid/

The password generator is just a tiny bit more complicated than the UUID generator. When called, it returns a set of random words. By default it returns 5 random words, but you can specify how many words you would like, and if you would like them as plain text or as JSON. Check it out! smallandnearlysilent.com/battery-staple/

If I end up using them in an actual project one day I’ll probably need to clean up the response formatting a bit.

Neither of my microservices are all that grand, but it has been fun thinking of client/server architectures in terms of microservices. Generally speaking, I’m a fan of simple…or minimal…lightweight. Microservices can help to break a HUGE project into smaller chunks. This fragmentation of capabilities leads me to wonder if software development is entering a sort of cubist phase.

😐

…well, not truly cubist. We’re not talking abstract reconstruction, Gertrude Stein or Picasso here, but I’m intrigued by the way microservices can be used to disassemble a large piece of software and then be used to sort of reconstruct it from the outside. Projection v sculpture? Where microservices are used to project functionality that had previously been hewn into a single block of code.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Mostly I miss being able to talk about critical theory and shared close reading, so I try to force that onto my rather non-theoretical worky-job. My coworkers mostly want to focus on the work at hand, which I suppose makes sense. :grimacing:

I’ve been day dreaming about going back to school, or joining a book club, or starting a podcast (which is also an intriguing idea because I like editing audio). In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying writing here, more, and I’ve been reading a lot.

Some things I’ve recently read/started to read/listened to:

  • Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1, by a whole bunch of folks (the layout of the panels here is phenomenal)
  • Hellboy Vol 4: The Right hand of Doom, by Mike Mignola (I’m a sucker for Hellboy)
  • Valerian & Laureline Vol. 1: The City of Shifting Waters, by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin (méh to bad, but supposedly a classic of sorts. I like the coloring, though. If they fall into my lap I’ll probably read more)
  • Space and place: the perspective of experience, Yi-Fu Tuan (for the millionth time)
  • Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, Derrida
  • Binged all 11 Saga Thing episodes on Njal’s Saga!