Casey Newton platformer.news

What really happened at Basecamp

Casey Newton interviewed a half-dozen Basecamp employees, as well as David Heinemeier Hansson (Basecamp co-founder) to write this account of recent events.

How a list of “funny” customer names triggered an internal reckoning. The controversy that embroiled enterprise software maker Basecamp this week began more than a decade ago, with a simple list of customers. Around 2009, Basecamp customer service representatives began keeping a list of names that they found funny. More than a decade later, current employees were so mortified by the practice that none of them would give me a single example of a name on the list.

Discussion about the list and how the company ought to hold itself accountable for creating it led directly to CEO Jason Fried announcing Tuesday that Basecamp would ban employees from holding “societal and political discussions” on the company’s internal chat forums. The move, which has sparked widespread discussion in Silicon Valley, follows a similar move from cryptocurrency company Coinbase last year.

Employees say the founders’ memos unfairly depicted their workplace as being riven by partisan politics, when in fact the main source of the discussion had always been Basecamp itself.

Seriously loving the writing coming from Casey on Platformer since his departure from The Verge.

Tooling sli.dev

Slidev – presentation slides for developers

The motivation for building Slidev:

I always found myself spending too much time styling and layouting slides when using apps like PowerPoint / Keynote / Google Slides. Whenever I need to share code snippets, I would also need to use other tools to generate the highlighted code as images over and over again.

So as a frontend developer, why not solve it the way that fits better with what I am good at?

Looks slick: themeable, hackable, and you write your slides in Markdown. 👌

Teleport Icon Teleport – Sponsored

Comparing SSH keys - RSA, DSA, ECDSA, or EdDSA?

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What’s worse than an unsafe private key? An unsafe public key.

The “secure” in secure shell comes from the combination of hashing, symmetric encryption, and asymmetric encryption. Together, SSH uses cryptographic primitives to safely connect clients and servers. In the 25 years since its founding, computing power and speeds in accordance with Moore’s Law have necessitated increasingly complicated low-level algorithms.

As of 2020, the most widely adopted asymmetric crypto algorithms in the PKI world are RSA, DSA, ECDSA, and EdDSA. So which one is best? Well, it depends.

SQLite unixsheikh.com

SQLite is the only database you will ever need in most cases

SQLite is so hot right now.

Even if you start out small and later need to upscale, as long as your web application can run on the same machine as the database, which it can in 99% of the time, you can just upgrade the hardware to a beefier machine and keep business as usual.

The only time you need to consider a client-server setup is…

Awesome Lists github.com

A collection of services with great free tiers for developers on a budget

This repository offers a collection of services with great free tiers for developers on a budget. Because not everyone has 20$ per month to spend on app or database hosting for every single side-project.

Nowadays, a lot of services are offering really good free tier more than enough for testing small apps and even put them in production. They are just waiting to be used by you.

I got a kick out of their FTDD acronym: Free Tier Driven Development

 Vanessa Sochat cacm.acm.org

10 best practices for remote software engineering

What does “developer productivity” mean to you?

At face value, when we think of developer productivity we might think of effectiveness in time management, communication, and task completion. Although we are drawn to personal workflow or time management tools, and learning secrets to improving our productivity, ironically this quest for the holy grail can sometimes take us off course and be a detriment to our productivity. … As a developer of scientific software, and one who has transitioned to working remotely before any stay at home orders, I have slowly learned to optimize my own productivity by focusing exclusively on well-being.

Thanks to Vanessa for summarizing what she’s learned. Here’s a sample…

Establish routine and environment. Small details about your working environment, or lack of a routine, can hugely throw off your workday, and thus your productivity. You should generally pay attention to the lighting, noise level, and comfort of a work space. If you find yourself distracted by anything, you might consider changing your environment.

This will likely pair well with JS Party #169: Work environments & happiness

Windows github.com

WSLg brings Linux GUI apps to Windows in a fully integrated fashion

WSLg provides an integrated experience for developers, scientists or enthusiasts that prefer or need to run Windows on their PC but also need the ability to run tools or applications which works best, or exclusively, in a Linux environment. While users can accomplish this today using a multiple system setup, with individual PC dedicated to Windows and Linux, virtual machine hosting either Windows or Linux, or an XServer running on Windows and projected into WSL, WSLg provides a more integrated, user friendly and productive alternative.

WSLg strives to make Linux GUI applications feel native and natural to use on Windows. From integration into the Start Menu for launch to appearing in the task bar, alt-tab experience to enabling cut/paste across Windows and Linux applications, WSLg enables a seamless desktop experience and workflow leveraging Windows and Linux applications.

Microsoft’s engineers just keep crankin’ out the hits.

WSLg brings Linux GUI apps to Windows in a fully integrated fashion

Marko Živanović markozivanovic.com

Screw it, I'll host it myself

Marko Zivanovic has had enough of letting other people own his data:

Owning your data is more than just having backup copies of your digital information. It’s also about control and privacy. It’s about trust. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust a lot of services with my data (the ones I do are few and far between).

How does he replace all those hosted services?

I created a simple diagram to roughly show how my personal setup works. Before you say anything – I’m aware that there’s a group of people that wouldn’t consider my self-hosting as pure self-hosting. I’m using Vultr to host my web-facing applications and not a server in my house. Unfortunately, the current situation doesn’t allow me to do that (yet).

This all looks like a lot of work to pull off, but maybe it’s worth it?

Screw it, I'll host it myself

Luca Rossi refactoring.fm

The true meaning of technical debt 💸

This is an excellent article about understanding technical debt:

It is a fact that, over time, all development teams get slowed down by the existing codebase. But why? Is it because maintenance is inevitable? Or because we could do something better in the first place? Or both?

Luca argues that technical debt is introduced as a by-product of disagreement, which itself is a by-product of two phenomena: wrong design, and rapid evolution. Thoughtful stuff. Well worth your time.

Feross Aboukhadijeh wormhole.app

Wormhole – Simple, fast, private file sharing ✨

Wormhole lets you share files with end-to-end encryption and a link that automatically expires. So you can keep what you share private and make sure your stuff doesn’t stay online forever.


Our #1 goal is speed – you should be able to get a share link in less than 2 seconds with the absolute minimum number of clicks.

That’s why Wormhole supports instant file streaming. There’s no need to wait for your files to finish uploading before you can copy the link and send it to your recipient. The recipient can start downloading even before the files have finished uploading.

Wormhole uses super fast peer-to-peer transfer to send files directly to the recipient when possible. This improves speed and security – especially when transferring files over a local network, like when you just want to get a file from your phone onto your computer.

In addition, Wormhole stores your encrypted files on cloud servers for 24 hours so the share link will keep working for your recipient even after you close the Wormhole site.

Stack Overflow stackoverflow.blog

How often do people actually copy/paste from Stack Overflow? Now we know

April Fool’s may be over, but once we set up a system to react every time someone typed Command+C, we realized there was also an opportunity to learn about how people use our site. Here’s what we found.

TLDR; one in four users copy something within five minutes of hitting a page. But this blog post (and accompanying podcast episode) goes deep into the details and lays it all out for you with pretty charts.

SQLite phiresky.github.io

Hosting SQLite databases on GitHub Pages

The benefits of such a setup are numerous, especially for small sites and side projects:

Hosting a static website is much easier than a “real” server - there’s many free and reliable options (like GitHub, GitLab Pages, Netlify, etc), and it scales to basically infinity without any effort.

The how is also super interesting:

So how do you use a database on a static file hoster? Firstly, SQLite (written in C) is compiled to WebAssembly. SQLite can be compiled with emscripten without any modifications, and the sql.js library is a thin JS wrapper around the wasm code.

There’s more to the story, and the resulting solution is also open source.

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