January 15, 2024 at 8:02 AM

Trying out cross-posting to Micro.blog. I’ve had an account there since the beginning but never have hooked it up to anything. Let’s see how it goes.

I really prefer owning my own corner of the web, but Micro.blog does the best of just about every host I’ve found at letting me tweak and own my content. Easy to come and go as I please. Just the way the open web should be!

JT on Micro.blog →

Artifact is Shutting Down

January 14, 2024

Kevin Systrom:

We’ve made the decision to wind down operations of the Artifact app. We launched a year ago and since then we’ve been working tirelessly to build a great product. We have built something that a core group of users love, but we have concluded that the market opportunity isn’t big enough to warrant continued investment in this way.

Sad to hear this, but not a surprise. I liked Artifact but didn’t end up making it a part of my daily habit. We did some custom work for Air Mail to be included in the app as well but it never drove much traffic at all. Something “a core group of users” love sounds like a small batch of regular users to me.

News and information remain critical areas for startup investment. We are at an existential moment where many publications are shutting down or struggling, local news has all but vanished, and larger publishers have fraught relationships with leading technology companies. My hope is that technology can find ways to preserve, support and grow these institutions and that these institutions find ways of leveraging the scale that things like AI can provide.

I still agree with this. Something I’m continuing to work on as well.

Week Notes: January 12, 2024

January 12, 2024

It’s been a very eventful January so far. A few notes from this week:

  • My son wants to be a YouTube gamer. Great! Luckily I have most of the gear needed for him already, but we needed to get a capture device to get the Xbox audio and video recorded. Trying out the Elgato HD60 X. So far it’s working perfectly. Fun project to try and figure out.
  • Picked up a copy of High Performance PostgreSQL for Rails. Scanning through it’s a lot of review for me, but some interesting pieces. Glad this exists.
  • Playing with various simple content managers this week. Trying to get some inspiration and ideas for a project. Stumbled upon Bear Blog. Nice little app!
  • Apple Vision Pro pre-orders begin next week, January 19th. It’s very often there’s an entirely new platform to build for. Cautiously optimistic about this one.
  • Set up a new project on Render. The platform has really improved a ton since the last time I used it a few years back. Having ‘projects’ to group services together is really nice. I don’t love that I have to pay $19 per user for a team access though. Especially if it’s just me, why am I paying $19/mo just for the privilege to use the platform? This project has a team of 3 so I’m paying $57 per month just to use the service. Not ideal for a small business. The rest of the services will have to be much cheaper to justify the extra expense over Heroku..
  • Also spent time experimenting with Kamal on Digital Ocean, Linode, and Hetzner. Overall a very nice solution and super easy to set up. Pairing this with a fully-managed database service seems like an attractive option.
  • What a mess of drama over the past week regarding the HEY calendar rejection then approval of the app. We’re working on another app of our own and have taken many steps to avoid this type of scrutiny.
  • And lastly, it was quite a week for football coaching changes! Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, and Nick Saban all out. Saban on his own terms. I presume not the last we’ll see of the others…

Cold weekend ahead in Texas. Stay warm out there… 🥶

BBEdit 15

January 12, 2024

A new major upgrade release of my daily driver text editor for as long as I can remember. Instant purchase.

The major new features include:

A new Minimap palette shows a high-level overview of the active text document. This facilitates visualization of the document’s overall structure, as well as navigation within larger documents.

A nice addition, most editors have had this for years now. I don’t use them myself, but good to see. It’s a bit strange to me to have this in a separate floating window that requires more window management.

BBEdit 15’s joins BBEdit’s unique “worksheet” interface to ChatGPT, so that you can have conversations with ChatGPT right in BBEdit itself — no application switching or awkward copy/paste from a web browser.

Using ChatGPT in a worksheet is cool and works very nicely. Certainly more convenient than opening up a browser. They also can save as text documents so you can keep them around. They’re in markdown format, so easy to preview as well. Some sort of AI feature is table stakes these days for editors. I really wish they would go a step further and introduce some sort of “Copilot” like is available in VS Code for inline code suggestions and features. Someday..

Make a Damn Website

January 8, 2024

Louie Mantia, Jr.:

In the last 15 years, many people (myself included) were drawn to third-party solutions for presenting ourselves. For our résumés, LinkedIn. For portfolios, Behance and Dribbble. For blogging, Tumblr, Medium, and Substack. Instead of forums, Discord and Slack. But despite each of these advertising some amount of autonomy, in reality you have very little.

By centralizing not just your content, but yourself, on these sites, you rob yourself the opportunity to be more authentically you. In addition, a peer or competitor might appear next to you. It may not be great for you to have your competitor one click away from your own profile.

Therefore, I believe it’s everyone’s imperative to genuinely invest in making websites again. For ourselves, for our businesses, for our interests.


January 6, 2024 at 11:22 AM

Updated the site feed to include a JSON feed, and now supporting just basic status feed posts. (like this one!) I like the idea of just being able to post simple thoughts, without concern for titles and specific formatting.

Week Notes: January 5, 2024

January 5, 2024

Kicking off this year’s blogging challenge with some notes for this week of January 2nd. I’m keeping some thoughts as I work throughout the week of what comes up, what I’ve learned, and what I’m reading.

  • First week back after an extended vacation. Working after a break is amazing. I love what I do, and it’s a good reminder to be excited about what I’m working on. Need to take more breaks!

  • I’m removing Twitter share links from our site. I wanted to replace it with Threads, but there seems to be no way to directly share a link to a new ‘Threads’ thread that I can find. It seems that they really do not want news and links posted easily yet. One of the nice things about old Twitter was how easy it was to share things to it.

  • Ended up replacing the Twitter share button with a generic ’native’ sharing control that uses the browser’s native control for doing so. This seems like a better idea than supporting one or two specific services. Just let people do what they want. Here’s a gist of a Stimulus controller to use native browser sharing menus.

  • We’re working on using AI-generated voices to read articles on Air Mail. It’s a fascinating process. Rolling out an internal test for this weekend’s issue and if all goes well will roll this out to subscribers in the coming weeks. I’m using a service called ElevenLabs to do the heavy lifting on the AI side. A very nice service and API to interact with.

  • For the new year, I’m starting out with some new structures for how the teams meet and collaborate. I really do resist regular standing meetings but we need to have a few to keep on pace. Without a regular cadence, it’s too much ad-hoc for me.

  • Upgraded two of my apps to use Turbo 8 betas. Just making sure everything is stable for now, but really looking forward to using the morphing pieces in some future functionality.

  • A nice post by Brad Gessler on the Fly.io blog about Turbo 8 tips and gotchas: 8 Turbo 8 “Gotchas”

  • My Hey email account was upgraded to use the new Hey Calendar feature. As I expected, it’s very thoughtfully put together and has some nice unique features I’ve not used before. It’s going to be a tall order to replace my use of Fantastical, but I’m giving it a fair shake.

  • We’re building an activity feed for one of our apps, and it was fun to research how ActivityPub works behind the scenes of Mastodon. This post from 2018 seems to be mostly still relevant and is really handy as a reference.

  • I’d love to make Air Mail fully ActivityPub compatible some day. Would be pretty cool to follow authors, topics, or a general feed directly from the publication on federated apps and sites.


Happy 2024

January 2, 2024

🎉 Happy New Year. Starting off the year with something old but newly energized: blogging. I’m going to treat this more as a personal traditional blog again. Just posting what I’m interested in, and sharing things I’m working on along the way. Casual and simple for now.

No promises for how long this will last, but going to try it out again. Let’s see how I do..