Weekly Reading

Peter Wilson's The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History is proving to be a really fascinating read, albeit a slow one. I got incredibly side-tracked recently by Pokemon Shield which was released last week (It's really good) and haven't had a chance to make much progress on it, but ~300 pages in and I already feel like I've learnt a ton. This isn't an easy read by any stretch of the imagination so slow progress is to be expected, I suppose. I'm going to have to pick up something nice and easy to read afterwards as a palette cleanser.

While reading's been slow on the book front, I came across a ton of interesting articles last week, so let's start with some of those.

Milecia wrote a great article on the value of having non-tech hobbies. If you're anything like me, you probably spend a fairly significant amount of your day looking at a computer screen, or working on tech related or enabled projects in your free time, you might even be making excuses for it, such that you need to keep up to date with the latest trends or It's not technically work. I think it's worth remembering that there's a whole world out there away from your screen, personally, I find reading really rewarding and over the last ~18 months I've really enjoyed getting back into some semblance of fitness by swimming, running and doing yoga. Remember, work will be there waiting for you tomorrow, look after yourself today and don't burn out.

Everything is amazing, but nothing is ours, or so Alex Danco claims. What he's saying makes sense, over the last decade we've increasingly shifted into a digital service based economy, we no longer own our files or the documents we create. That's not always a bad thing but as systems become increasingly interdependent we stand to lose sight of what ownership means. Maybe that's where the next big opportunity lies?

Sexual harassment on the internet sadly isn't something that's new - but kids using the only fashion marketplace Depop are becoming victims of sexual abuse and predatory behaviour thanks to a lack of foresight and care by the engineering teams behind the platform.

Martha Kirby, a child safety online policy manager with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said Depop is precisely the type of platform that attracts pedophiles.

“Perpetrators migrate to wherever there are sites with young people,” she said. “It’s quite common for this to happen on newer platforms.”

Depop are by no means the only problematic platform here, as the article highlights, but that does not remove them from the culpability of creating a platform in which pedophiles can target and harass children.

That brings me to Stacy Kvernmo's recent article on CSS Tricks, It's my job, and yours. It is our ethical and moral duty to do better in our marketing, in our design and in our general web space in particular. There's really no excuse not to.

If you've been reading these posts over the last few months you may recall that I've read a few of Mark Lawrence's books this year. Mark recently shared on his blog that one of his trilogies has just been optioned for TV and goes on to share exactly what that means. Spoiler alert - there's a lot less money in something being optioned than you probably thought.

The world continues to go to shit, with Venice once again dealing with record floods.

Are you a painter? Be more thoughtful in choosing your brushes, and don't buy mongoose hair brushes. Why shouldn't you? Over 100,000 mongooses are killed every year for their hair.

Addicted to tech? Maybe you should put that "mindfulness" app down.

In that case, Buddhist apps, rather than curing the anxiety created by our smartphones, just make us more addicted to them and, in the end, even more stressed.

We live in a surveillance state, but that's only getting worse as Amazon builds it's own private surveillance network thanks to hundreds of thousands of gullible idiots. Harsh words, maybe, but we're all responsible for the world we live in, so stop giving tech giants access to surveil your property and your neighbours.

I came across a great article on building semantic sidenotes, something I may have to look at soon, I'd like to make some general design improvements to this site as I continue to post more regularly(I definitely need some sort of blockquote formatting 😬).

Anyway, back to that hobbies article, I think it's time to step away from this computer and go for a walk.