From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Staff Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

Campbell Scott playing Tim Cook was the best thing about Jurassic World: Dominion.

✴ Arduino

I’m years late to this party, but the Arduino is so cool.

I’m a software person. I have almost no hardware experience outside of a high school class decades ago where we built hardware logic gates.

But, my kiddo has been falling down the Ghostbusters rabbit hole and he really wanted to make a ghost trap with blinking lights, sounds, and doors that open. It sounded like a perfect excuse to learn some basic electronics.

I bought the Arduino Starter Kit for like $100 CDN and it came with:

  • A microcontroller
  • LEDs to blink
  • Piezoelectric buzzer for beeping
  • A servo to open the ghost trap (naturally)…
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They say I should continue to hold because my call is very important to them, but I’m starting to think they might be lying. is a really nice SLA calculator. I always need a really nice SLA calculator.

My six-year-old, in disgust: “Ugh, like, why don’t we have flying cars yet. I thought last year for sure we’d have flying cars.”

As a parent, there’s nothing more fulfilling than when your son turns to you and tells you that he loves playing Ghostbusters with you because you look just like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Me: “Who do you think would win, a black bear or a human?”

6-year-old: “Well… the human could just build a house in the black bear’s habitat and it’ll die off.”

Savage. 🐻

Ben’s 83rd Postulate: Most text processing problems will inevitably lead to a programmer saying out loud “Ugh, fine, I guess I’ll use a regex.”

Thought: I need to get a yoga mat.

30 minutes later…

Well, the mats from this factory have the improved multi-cellular rubber, so I definitely need that.

“The U.N. Security Council is meeting on Friday at 3 p.m. to vote on a resolution condemning Russia and demanding immediate withdrawal of troops. Russia is expected to veto the resolution.”

Hmm… this seems like a loophole that maybe should be closed.

I love libraries like mock-fs. I think it’s almost always better to mock at the persistance layer than to do custom mocks for every call to something stateful.

If you had asked my teenage self what areas of Philosophy would be critically important to society in 2022, there’s no way I would have put money on Epistemology. But here we are.

The transition to ECMAScript Modules feels like it’s going to mirror the move from Python 2 to Python 3. This is going to be bumpy.

✴ 1Password 8

1Password’s major rationale for moving from AppKit to Electron has been speed of development. They want to ship fast, and they don’t want the cost of supporting another native platform in AppKit. Allen Pike has a great rundown on this argument:

Slow is a dangerous place for a product company to be. Slow product teams tend to be outcompeted by fast ones. We complain about how Figma and Slack don’t feel native, but why are most of us using Figma and Slack? We’re using them because they outbuilt and outcompeted their native competitors. There are so many things that could improve in these…

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Wordle 201 2/6


Taco Bell announced a subscription service for tacos. I’ve said for years that Subway should do this, if only so that they could call it a SUBscription.

Lucky first try on Wordle. Yep, this is going to be a thing.

Wordle 193 3/6

Now Reddit’s doing the thing where they do a hard push for the app. I don’t get it. I’m interacting with your thing (in this case I even followed a link).

Does an app really benefit you so much over the website that you want to discourage me from using the web?

“NFTs are an occasion for commerce masquerading as art, just as so many ostensibly meaningful experiences of the 21st century turn out to be occasions to spend money masquerading as life.”

This is the best article on NFTs yet.

V for Wikipedia remains one of my absolutely essential iOS apps. It’s been on my homescreen for years. It’s beautiful, fast, and a ridiculously useful bridge to the world’s knowledge in Wikipedia.

For those doing Advent of Code in TypeScript, uvu is a really nice tiny test runner that works well with single-file scripts.

I showed my 6-year-old Jurassic Park. He seemed mostly bored by it. Crushed. 🦖

Contrary to popular belief, covering anything with chocolate does not make it automatically better.

Me: “The Lincoln Cathedral is really, really old. It was made in…”

5-year-old: “1997?”

Me: “1072…”