Simply Jonathan

Author Archive

Syntax highlighting is a waste of an information channel 

Interesting thoughts from Hillel Wayne on how to get more from syntax highlighting.

Being context-aware is usually a good thing; the difficulty often arises when determining context: either it’s done automatically, with all the errors inherent in trying to guess that, or it’s a manual process, at which point it becomes something that you have to get in the habit of using (or not, as often ends up being the case). But I definitely think there’s something to the idea.

Joining GreenMobility

I don’t blog a lot, but when I do, it’s apparently to say that I’ve got a new job. After four years at Veo (née Sportcaster) I’m super excited to be joining GreenMobility, a 100% electric car sharing service, on 1 February 2021.

Over the past few years I’ve changed a lot about the way I conduct myself in the world; I’ve changed my diet, I’ve become much more focussed on reuse instead of buying new and I’ve made a conscious effort about flying less (which was not exactly made difficult with the state of the world for the past year, but the plans were already in place before that). I had also come to realise that if I did decide to move on from Veo, it would be to work with green technology, and GreenMobility fits that to a tee. (As a coworker at Veo remarked, it’s also helpful that I don’t have to learn new company colours, but when I joined Sportcaster the company colours were red and white!) It’s also a fun change for me to be able to work on something that I actually use on my own time; much as Veo aligns with my interest in football, I have never had a use for the product outside of Veo-related activities. I still do, and will continue to, prefer bicycling and public transport over individual car riding, but GreenMobility has come in super handy for the times when a car is needed, and replacing more use cases where people would ordinarily use their own gas-powered cars is exhilarating.

When I joined what was then called Sportcaster the company looked much different than it does today: I brought the head count up to 7, we all fit in a single room, and there was no product. There was, however, a lot of ambition and potential, and today Veo is a company with 100 employees spread across half a dozen countries across the world, with a product that’s being used by some of the largest (and a lot of not so large!) football clubs in the world, including my beloved Brøndby IF and Chelsea FC. Veo just closed a €20 million funding round and I wish them all the best for the future.

Local-first software 

Permanent location of 'Local-first software'

Interesting deep dive into popular modern applications’ performance from a perspective of offline-availability, ownership and longevity, with a proposal for a new (to me) model, Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDT).

I remain unconvinced that something like the hyper-collaborative experience of Google Docs can be replicated under anything except an always-online paradigm; on the other hand, I have yet to see that experience used productively – it’s a good demo, but not very useful in my eyes.

How to disable Netflix’ auto-play preview functionality 

I’m late to the game, but Netflix recently added a long overdue toggle to prevent those blaring previews.

This also prompted me to check for YouTube, and they have a similar toggle, although it’s for some reason only available on iOS [and iPad OS, presumably].

Local First, Undo Redo, JS-Optional, Create Edit Publish 

Intriguing flow described by Tantek Çelik. I think fully offline is a fantastic goal, but I always fear that the practical problems of syncing algorithms get in the way (some changes simply aren’t mergeable).

I for years have been trying to find something to replace WordPress, which has turned into a tool that offers far more functionality than I actually need for my lowly blog, at the expense of making publishing far too complex. Static site generators are interesting (even if they sometimes seem over-engineered), but I really want something I can post to from multiple locations.

Old CSS, new CSS 

Permanent location of 'Old CSS, new CSS'

I’m a few years younger than eevee, but I can relate to most of the struggles here, and it very much mirrors my experience, frustrations and all.

The biggest myths about the next billion internet users 

Interesting article by Payal Arora in Quartz about dispelling some of the techno-optimism applied to the developing world.

Although it starts out with the sentiment The shocking result from years of studying how the global poor engage with new applications is that they are like us, I found some interesting revelations regarding ways of showing status and feeling special on Western social networks.

Programmer migration patterns 

Super interesting, albeit completely unscientific, look at the history of programming languages, and the way different categories of programmers have switched from one to the other.

Chelsea’s squad woes

After the defeat against Arsenal yesterday, a lot of people have been quick to point out the passiveness of the squad. I stumbled upon Jonathan Wilson’s post-match write-up in the Guardian.

Wilson makes a fine point about the mismatch of the squad of players and the manager. Some of it is a little lazy I think – declaring that David Luiz and Azpilicueta are emphatically 3-at-the-back players is a bit of an easy point to make in hindsight, when only one manager has ever played either of them in such a system – but a lot of Chelsea’s players do seem better suited to a 3-4-3, and it is certainly the case that Chelsea have been performing poorly for far too long now.

Sarri-ball is thrilling to watch when well-implemented, but the constant changes in managers – and, more importantly, mangers’ playing style – at Chelsea make it difficult to assemble a squad that can carry a playing style out. As Wilson says, ‘Chelsea’s squad has actually over the years proved remarkably accommodating to change, at times seems almost to have thrived on chaos’, but it seems it may have finally started to buckle.

I like Sarri’s style, and I hope he can get Chelsea playing that way. But if he’s having a hard time motivating this group of players, maybe he should have a look at his available alternatives.

Effective Mental Models for Code and Systems 

Some great advice from Cindy Sridharan on how to write code optimised for others to read, that greatest of Knuthian pursuits.

This is Simply Jonathan, a blog written by Jonathan Holst. It's mostly about technical topics (and mainly the Web at that), but an occasional post on clothing, sports, and general personal life topics can be found.

Jonathan Holst is a programmer, language enthusiast, sports fan, and appreciator of good design, living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe. He is also someone pretentious enough to call himself the 'author' of a blog. And talk about himself in the third person.