Improvised Life is a blog maintained by Sally Schneider. Sam introduced me to it recently (specifically, to her post on tailoring clothes quickly with extra buttons and magnets), and I was delighted to realize that she actually wrote my favorite cookbook as well, The Improvisational Cook.
See Sam’s flapjack on Recipes for Food. I couldn’t ever seem to get flapjack right until this recipe.
Read “Eric Hu Will Not Take Web3 For Granted” on the Zora blog.
I think crypto…is an amplifier: if you’re a libertarian asshole, it’s going to help you become an even more libertarian, more asshole-y person. But if you believe that the people that help you out should be taken care of, and that we can have a place where we could take care of our friends, and our friends can take care of us, and it’s not about fighting over scraps and the narcissism of small differences, we can take part.
I think this is pretty spot on. So maybe people’s opinions of whether Web3 is going to be “good” or “bad” on the whole comes down to whether they feel optimistic or pessimistic about humanity at large. IDK.
I think when people are like, ‘Oh, Web3 is going to liberate people’, I get really angry. I’m like, ‘Dude, when you say that, it just makes us all more lazy; we just expect that Web3 is going to be inherently better than Web2’.
No, this is a conscious choice. We have to make protocols that aren’t trying to be extractive—all of that takes effort. I have full faith in Web3’s ability to do some amazing things, but I also have full faith in humanity’s tendency to just become selfish once it gets to a certain point. Web3 has a lot of promises it can offer, but it’s not going to happen automatically.
Also, Eric mentions that some people prefer using the term DISCO (Distributed Cooperative Organization) instead of DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). I like this, much prefer DISCO. “Autonomous” makes it feel very robot-y. “Cooperative” is much more human.🕺🏻
Twitter can make it seem like the Web3 “war” is purely binary. But there are so many more nuanced takes out there, including this interview and others. Thx SB for sharing it with me.
Read “There’s More Than One Way to Share Your Design Work: Four fresh takes on the portfolio” on AIGA Eye On Design.
They spoke to Carly Ayres, Prem Krishnamurthy, David Reinfurt, and Gemma Copeland about their approaches to an online portfolio / website. Gemma spoke a bit about how we designed and built her site together, it was a lot of fun. See her site gemmacope.land, or take a look at the GitHub repo. BIG thanks to Howard Melnyczuk for fixing a bug I totally missed. 🤦🏻♀️ 🙏
Just finished the article “Ontological Design Has Become Influential In Design Academia – But What Is It?” by JP Hartnett for AIGA Eye on Design, via the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group chat.
This is somewhat related to the previous post, the “we are our experiences” concept. But much more formal than my ramblings, better philosophical underpinnings for sure!
I’d heard of ontological design but hadn’t really dug in to it. This article is a useful dive in.
In very few words (specifically professor of design theory Anne-Marie Willis’s words, not mine): “Design designs us”. In more words, from Hartnett’s article:
A human being cannot exist independently of its surrounding environment — it is not possible to be without being-in-the-world. Being, then, is always relational: with everything that surrounds us, including the full complexity of the completely designed worlds that we inhabit. This point is crucial for ontological design theorists: design doesn’t just perform certain functions — a car transports you from A to B, a poster displays information, etc. — the interrelated totality of designs construct the world through which humans are brought into being and come to be defined through. Human beings, in turn, design the world, which, in turn, designs them… and so on. The process is circular, like an endless loop.
And on the consequences of embracing ontological design in practice instead of relegating it to theory and academia:
One welcome outcome of an embrace of ontological design theory would be the death of the individualism that has plagued the design profession — “iconic” designs, individual designers, celebrated in isolation as they usually are in design publications — don’t make any sense in this context.
That would be welcome indeed.
I don’t quite see how it can happen unless there is a true revolution in the way we talk and think about design—more holistic and less about singular problems, more collective and less individual—but maybe circumstances are ripening for such a change.
This Lemon Olive Oil Cake from the Food Network is fabulous. It didn’t get quite as dark as their picture, maybe need to turn the heat up a little? At any rate, it was so tasty, and useful because I was out of butter. Didn’t make the candied lemon slices because… it seemed like a faff. Totally great without it anyways. Might be worth sprinkling poppyseeds over top next time.
Would also like to make the lemony Bosworth jumbles from this Guardian page soon.
Edit 18.06.21 — I made the jumbles, glazed them with the same icing sugar + lemon juice glaze from the cake recipe above. They were divine, and so very easy. The texture was like a delicate shortbread, but they hold together so well because of the muffin tin. I did butter and flour the tin, but that’s because mine is old and beat up. You might be able to get away without it.
I missed these two articles by Tom MacWright from last year.
Second-guessing the modern web, 10 May 2020
If not SPAs, What?, 28 October 2020
In both, he outlines few upsides and downsides about the single page app (SPA) approach to websites and has a few points that I have really struggled to articulate in the past.
There is a swath of use cases which would be hard without React and which aren’t complicated enough to push beyond React’s limits. But there are also a lot of problems for which I can’t see any concrete benefit to using React. Those are things like blogs, shopping-cart-websites, mostly-CRUD-and-forms-websites. For these things, all of the fancy optimizations are trying to get you closer to the performance you would’ve gotten if you just hadn’t used so much technology.
I’ve dabbled with React and Vue in small side projects and experiments. But the point above is the big reason I’ve never taken the time to sit down and learn either of them properly. For almost every client site I’ve ever done, it just didn’t make sense to make it an SPA.
And I’m not 100% sure, but I think this might contribute to longevity. Some of my clients are still working with the same sites I built for them nearly 10 years ago, a few with just minor security-related updates in the meantime and no other maintenance strictly required. That’s not to say that those sites couldn’t use a “lick of paint” to bring them in to the 2020s; the point is that they work. And for organizations working on really tight budgets, or budgets that fluctuate wildly due to public funding, stability is really important. They can’t afford a developer on retainer to keep things running smoothly.
But of course the SPA vibe is pretty attractive, particularly for cultural orgs. MacWright has some decent alternatives suggested in “If not SPAs” including Turbolinks, Barba.js, and instant.page. Will also mention MoOx/pjax since I’ve used it before for page transitions with very good results, but probably won’t use it in the future as it hasn’t been updated in a while.
And again, there’s the rub. The more non-native scripts, plugins, etc I use in a project, the more likely that it’s going to be a major headache (and thus major time/money for the client) for me to change things down the line if or when that bit of tech is no longer supported or has changed significantly.
Read Letting go: my battle to help my parents die a good death by Kate Clanchy in The Guardian, published 6 April.
They don’t know if she will ever come off [the ventilator], but if she does, they say, she will live a very limited life in a nursing home. “We must hope she dies,” says my dad when I put down the phone. My parents are devout atheists: they believe there is no God and therefore we must live well. So do I. We pray.
This is probably one of the more moving things I’ve read in the past year. I came across it via Kate’s Twitter profile where she often shares poetry by her students.
Book recs for the list.
From an old friend: On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
Recommended to me due to relevance with the pandemic, and since the book came about as Biss was navigating the birth of her first child.
Biblio (secondhand) | Graywolf Press (publisher, US) | Fitzcarraldo Editions (publisher, UK)
From a new friend: Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
Recommended to me in relation to mundane creative acts, the quiet and everyday, solitude and maybe domesticity, but not in the 50s please-your-husband-and-the-neighbors sense.
Biblio (secondhand) | The Stinging Fly (publisher, IE) | Riverhead books, imprint of Penguin Random House (publisher, US)
I’ve hosted this site with NearlyFreeSpeech.NET (NFSN) for a few years now and have always been happy with their service.
It’s super bare-bones and no-nonsense—probably not the right platform for people or orgs that need more hands-on support or maintenance, so not one that I usually recommend to clients—but it does exactly what I need it to at just about the lowest cost out there (about $1.96/mo for my site at time of writing). This blog post by Blake Watson is a decent introduction to what they’re like as a host.
They don’t have a flashy website and aren’t ones to post often on their blog, but they did recently post a response to the extremists that have been trying their luck on the platform post-insurrection in no uncertain terms.
We’ve received quite a few emails (and signups) from them in the past week or so. They appear to believe that “free speech” means they can say whatever they want without repercussions. (It does not.) They expect us to agree with them about that. (We do not.) And they believe they’re entitled to our reassurance and, in some cases, assistance. (They are not.)
We have zero time and even less energy to waste on such nonsense. It is also difficult to express the full magnitude of our disinterest in passing some Internet Randolorian’s “free speech” litmus test.
It’s worth reading in full, read “Free Speech in 2021” on the NearlyFreeSpeech blog.
They know what they’re about, as they say they’ve been in the game for 20 years. This post reinforces my satisfaction with them as a hosting provider.