From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Principal Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

The Devil’s Plan is such a good follow up to The Genius. I think this might be my favourite TV ever.

There should be a way to tell the YouTube algorithm that I want it to radicalize my kid into loving reading or the wonders of space.

I’m going to have to write up a longer review, but the ZSA Voyager is incredible. Better in every way than the Moonlander with the same great configuration software. Best keyboard I’ve ever owned.

What’s the probability of finding a four-leaf clover in a box of Lucky Charms: Learning Binomial Probability with Lucky Charms

Looks like the reigning command line champion right now is OCRMyPDF. So happy that something exists.

It’s crazy how difficult it is to find good software to OCR a PDF. Everything has a subscription, or it’s “Enterprise” with a thousand bells and whistles. I just want a searchable PDF… I don’t need to enter into a relationship.

Through our ongoing commitment of providing a seamless and user-friendly experience on our platform, we are thrilled to introduce our brand new Cookie Banner.

The words “thrilled” and “Cookie Banner” should never appear together.

I’m not sure who first had the idea to milk an oat, but it was a good one.

“The Raspberry Pi 4’s USB Type-C power port is not compliant with the USB Type-C specification, and it will not be able to be powered by supplies that are compliant.”

But… why?

Someone transcribed all of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. A lot of these still hold up well, if you edit for the casual misogyny. Kids are loving them.

Can we get some of these machine learning models to power progress bar completion? I swear there was a time when Apple shipped progress bars that wouldn’t reset halfway through.

I was about to write a review of Bear 2, but Michael Lopp just did it better. I also live in Bear. This update has been all upside. Every part of the app is better.

Things I never thought I would have to Google: “Fascism, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism for kids.”

You can never predict where the conversation with the 7-year-old will go.

Bear 2 is out. I’ve been using the betas for the last few months and I can’t say enough good things. Delightful the whole way through. I live in this app.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the birth of a social network in possession of users, will cause gross people to buy and sell followers.

Search result offering to sell Threads followers only a few days after launch.

Wow! It looks like Fly.io added the ability to auto-start and auto-stop machines with their command line app (fly launch). This makes it so nice to quickly deploy a new app and then have it suspend on low traffic.

FastMail added a button right at the top that finds and clicks the unsubscribe button for you. This is amazing.

Photo of spam with an underlined 'Unsubscribe' link right at the top of the email.

I mailed a letter today. In all this furor about the “internet” I forgot how cool it is that you can stick a stamp on something, put it in a box, and it goes to the other side of the country.

✴ Lemons

Alex Russell in an amazing screed about JS-heavy frameworks:

These technologies were initially pitched on the back of “better user experiences”, but have utterly failed to deliver on that promise outside of the high-management-maturity organisations in which they were born.

This whole article mirrors my increasing sense of the failure of rich JS web apps. I don’t know if I’d go as far as Russell to suggest that this was deliberate, but I do agree the world of SPAs has not turned out as promised.

But even as the complexity merchant’s well-intentioned victims meekly recite…

Continue Reading…

It’s amazing how fast we’ve gone from “ugh, AI is going to destroy the world” to “ugh, I can’t believe there isn’t an AI that can just do this.”

The kid: “I’m daring. I’m not afraid of anything. Except cheese strings.”

For full effect, it helps to read this interview with the Reddit CEO in the voice of Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2. What a terrible communicator.

You could solve a lot of problems in Star Trek by making the doors manual.

Star Trek: Resurgence is a must-play for any Star Trek people. The format fits Star Trek perfectly. A great old-fashioned story. 5/5 would play again.

This is the first Apple keynote in more than a decade that I just totally forgot was happening. Can’t tell if that’s because I’m so busy right now or if I’m not excited by the headset. Maybe they finally improved the SwiftUI docs.