Changelog News – Episode #4

Spicy designs, more open source opinions, privacy-focused services, the real cost of context switching & jqq


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Anthony Hobday has 37 ways to spice up your designs, James Bennett has opinions on open source and PyPi security, Alicia Sykes compiled some awesome security/privacy options, ContextKeeper layouts out the real price of context switching, and Nick Nisi tells us all about jqq. Bam! Bam! Bam!


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What up nerds, I’m Jerod and this is Changelog News for the week of Monday, July 18th 2022.

You might be wondering why this super short episode of The Changelog is in your feed.

It’s our new, experimental Monday News brief companion to the regular
long-form interview show you know and hopefully love.

Early reviews are positive. Like this one from Justin Dorfman:

Whatever this is @jerodsanto, I want more.

Thanks dorfman! Here’s some more for ya:

Erik Kennedy submitted a new post by Anthony Hobday called 37 Easy Ways to Spice Up Your UI Designs

Side note: You, too, can submit articles and projects to be features on Changelog News. Find the form at

Changelog Weekly subscribers clicked the dog doo out of this link, because everybody likes to spice their designs up a notch.

Anthony writes, “Ever been working on a design that feels too plain? Let’s look at a few dozen simple ways to spice things up. Get ready to bookmark this page, because you’ll want to reference this list in the future. It’s unbelievable how many incredible pro-level designs feature solid foundations plus a few techniques listed below.”

Bookmark away for the next time you could use some spice.

James Bennett writes, Yes, I have opinions on your open source contributions

This is a reaction blog to Armin Ronacher’s post that we covered last week. Remember that one? Congratulations: We Now Have Opinions on Your Open Source Contributions

Armin was not happy with how the Python Package Index declared his package “critical”, soon requiring 2FA and who knows what else in the future. James disagrees with a lot of what Armin said, so he wrote it up.

Side note: Reaction blogs, remember these? So cool, so fun.

James has a lot to say on the matter, so I’ll just include one snippet to whet your appetite: “If you believe nobody has the right to ”demand” an open source maintainer do something or abide by some policy or restriction, then that ends the argument in more ways than people are appreciating. If you just want to say “nobody can demand I do this”, then OK, but you also can’t demand PyPI — which is an open source project, too — do any particular thing or abide by any particular policy you’d like, which more or less removes any grounds you might have had to criticize their account security approach. They don’t owe you anything and don’t have to do what you want them to do, the end.”

Follow the link in the show notes to read his full argument.

Alicia Sykes compiled an excellent list of awesome privacy & security-focused software and services.

The repo’s intro paragraphs says, “Large data-hungry corporations dominate the digital world but with little, or no respect for your privacy. Migrating to open source applications with a strong emphasis on security will help stop corporations, governments, and hackers from logging, storing or selling your personal data.”

That’s the story of my life. No respect!

In this list you’ll find everything from essentials like password managers & private browsers to home automation and voice assistants to encrypted cloud storage and file drop utilities. Good stuff.

We all know what it’s like to get ripped out of our flow state, but what’s the real cost of interruption and context switching?

According to a new post on the ContextKeeper blog, it takes at least 10-15 minutes to get back into the “zone” after an interruption. And it can take more than that if the task is particularly complex and/or you’re low on mental energy.

If you’re interested in improving how you spend mental energy through the day, the author suggests David Rock’s book Your Brain at Work. He also lays out some handy techniques to rebuild context after task switching so you can get back to moving fast and taking names.

Most of us have heard of and used jq. But have you heard of jqq? I hadn’t, until Nick Nisi told me about it during our Today I Learned segment on JS Party.

Have you ever heard of another tool called jq?

jq for searching in JSON?


It’s like a query language, so it kind of ties into what you were talking about a little bit… But it’s for JSON files. And so you can type the syntax and search through a JSON file, and get out like a specific piece of ,that you could modify in the JSON file in different ways… But when I use that, I constantly have to have the reference open to figure out what I’m actually doing. There’s also online tools that let you like paste some JSON in one side, and then write a query, and it’ll show you the results on the other side. Kind of like a tool that you’d use for doing regular expressions. And that’s really cool, but kind of marrying the two of those together is a tool that I just found the other day called jqq. And it is a visual wrapper around jq, that kind of does the fzf type thing where as you’re writing out your query, it’s live showing you like a preview in like virtual text of exactly what would get returned by what you’re querying as you go. So you can kind of use that as a nice tool to build out your jq syntax, or your jq query, and in real time get that feedback.

That sounds super-useful, because I’ve never found jq syntax to be good for me… Or how do I say it…?

I didn’t want to say it…

Easy…? Well, just for me; it’s not like blaming anybody. It just doesn’t make sense in my head. I’ll just cat my JSON and pipe it into grep and find what I’m looking for. Or open it up in Sublime Text, which handles JSON files quite easily, and do Command+F inside of there.


Because every time I have to use jq, I have to feel like I’m learning the query language for the first time, because I use it infrequently. I think if I used it daily, it would be less so. So it sounds like this is really great for discovering how that query language works more in a tactile way.


That’s what’s new for now. We’ll be back in your podcast feed on Friday. I don’t want to overly hype Friday’s episode, but let me say this: if you watched WeCrashed on AppleTV+… you know, the fictionalization of the rise and fall of WeWork with Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway… if you watched that: we have a special treat for you. If you didn’t watch it, you’ll still enjoy the episode… or maybe binge watch it before Friday? Your call. Totally your call.

Either way, we’ll talk to you then.


Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚

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