Chuckellania for October 13th, 2021

Published on Saturday, October 16, 2021

Why are developers to inclined to rewrite others' code?

One possible explanation:

It's not that developers want to rewrite everything; it's that very few developers are smart enough to understand code without rewriting it.

I don't think that's all of it, though. I think there's also a misguided belief that, if only you had written the code, it would be better.

Ah, a rural vs. urban debate.

I don't think either is inherently better; they're different tradeoffs.

Do you like infrastructure? Fast Internet? Stores within walkable distance? Public transport going every five minutes? You might find that cities can be quite nice.

Do you like peace and quiet, clean air, cheap housing, vast areas of land? Rural is great that those (duh).

Don't move to the city and complain about the noise; don't move to the countryside and complain that packages don't ship in two days. That's not societal failure; that's the very choice you've made.

A decent thread on how much 'hip' technology you should be using.

The temptation will always be there, but great artists ship. If the choice of technology lets you ship faster, cheaper, or better, great, but if don't choose it for its sake.

Marco goes further:

I’d go even further: nothing in your stack should be cool.

Build your own cool app atop the most boring, reliable, established tech stack you can.

If you can’t find a massive site/service using a tool at full scale in a primary function, don’t use it yourself.

I believe he has previously phrased this as "never be a library's biggest user", and that's a great rule of thumb.

One counterpoint is: attracting talent for old, un-cool technology can be hard.

True, but I've also fou the opposite to be true as well: the kind of talent who only wants to work on hip technologie is not the kind of talent who sticks around to maintain the codebase they've created.

A great crescent shot of Mars.

Visual Studio 2022 for Mac has moved significantly (entirely?) towards using AppKit/Cocoa for its UI; the 2019 version had previously made some smaller steps in that direction. This is notable because new AppKit apps are becoming rare, and because some other Microsoft teams don't seem to hot on native UI any more.


(I'm literally typing this in VS 2022 for Mac, but that's more because I'm weird, not because that choice makes much sense.)

Teams, in particular, is frustratingly poor with seemingly basic stuff like text input (and accessibility). It's also terrible at scrolling/searching through message history, for a number of reasons, but primarily because it always seems to want to fetch old messages live, rather than storing a local cache. Scrolling often gets stuck for a while as it's fetching messages. Sometimes, it also scrolls back to the entire bottom. Sometimes, it keeps scrolling back to one particular message, even as you're trying to get to a different one.

Electron is kind of a larger topic, and while I don't fully agree with Fred's take, it is worth a read.

William Shatner is traveling to space for a few minutes, and while I have qualms with the privatization of space faring (fine, but you can't decrease public budgets and then complain that those public agencies accomplish less than they used to), I say more power to him.

Bummer for those who are wearing a red shirt, though.

Thoughts on Ive's website. (Spoiler alert: I'm not too happy.)

And some discussion on Ive vs. Forstall regarding iOS UI design. That one's a little trickier.

On the one hand, I feel the skeuomorphism hadn't just gotten old, but had also deterred developers from making designs that feel at home.

On the other hand, did you know buttons can have shapes, and if they do, it makes them easier to tell apart from labels? Because Apple apparently no longer knows this. It took them between iOS 9 and iPadOS 15 to figure out that multitasking on the iPad could work much better if they add a little button at the top of each window. What an amazing invention.

Next year's Apple Watch Series 8 might add another size.

My hope is this will add a 37mm model.

So far, we've had 38/42, then 40/44, and now 41/45 models. Each of them have been compatible with their bands; the current 41 still supports 38 bands, and the old 42 works with the current 45's bands. However, we've lost one of the strong points of the Apple Watch on the way there: it's small!

If they add a third model that's 37mm, that would fix it. Naturally, it would come with compromises: less space on the screen (or a higher density of logical pixels), and probably worse battery life. But, small and cute.

I watched Dune, in perhaps the first time I've been to the movies since 20091

For context, I've never read the book, and did not see the 1980s one featuring Sting and Patrick Stewart2. I vaguely knew it was about a desert planet, and of the insect-like "ornithopter" flying vehicles.

It's good! Great world-building, great production values. Very immersive.

My only beef is that many scenes were 70% longer than they needed to be. Especially towards the end, I did feel a little "there's more? Why?".

It's 155 minutes, and I wonder if it would have been a better film cut if down to 120.

  1. I thought it was 2012, because I watched the film 2012 (alas), but that came out in 2009. And I did watch Avatar afterwards. So, who knows.

  2. Who was at the time very confused about Sting