Andy’s discoveries and musings — Issue #2

Andy Piper
7 min readFeb 8, 2021

Well, if the “new” world of newsletters is going to be any, for me, it’s likely to be a slow burner.

I remember Roo’s Letter was a fun weekly distraction, and Benedict Evans has had one for the longest time… Going even further back, Delicious used to post a weekly summary of links on my Twitter feed for me. These days, I bookmark / curate links into several Flipboard publications of my own, and otherwise, I Tweet (a LOT). For the last several years I’ve wished I never lost the habit of blogging / longer-form writing, and although I’m kicking off 2021 in a better mindset, I still often find it hard to get back to. Also, when I do choose to write something longer now, I’m faced with a (self-inflicted) choice of trying to decide between my WordPress site, Medium, or DEV.

All of this is to reflect on the fact that my first issue 10 days ago, was probably less engaging than I could have made it — for example, I could at least have added some context as to why what I was sharing, was interesting to me at the time. I’ll try to do a little better at that, if I keep this thing going, it is still just a personal experiment.

I would genuinely be curious to know whether a) you took a look, either via a web link or through subscribing, and b) whether you find a format like this in any way useful. Is this all too “Back to the Future”? Tweet at me.

One more thing — my first issue came out late on a Friday, this one is going on a Monday, largely because I didn’t get around to finishing it on Friday, and then put my laptop away. I’ll try to be a bit more consistent over time, but I’m thinking a Monday delivery might work best (not least because it means I’ll have a podcast link to share, see below).

Longer-form content from me, this week

I’ve been podcasting with my friends Michael Martine and Michael Rowe since back when I worked with them together at IBM and we were 3D internet / Second Life / gamification / social business pioneers. Our original podcast, Dogear Nation, ran 200 episodes, and the current show is over 300 episodes now — I’m an occasional guest host at the moment, since calendars do not always align. Fun show on Friday, just myself and Michael Martine.

Episode 307 — Remember What’s Important | Games At Work dot
Developing community, connecting with people & helping in Elite Dangerous & at work. AI filters and games. Spinach that emails & swapping windows.

Links I found interesting

I’m always curious to know what the rest of the world thinks about Twitter, and the EFF and Cory Doctorow in particular are heroes of mine. I’m interested in where Project Blue Sky goes. I love Twitter, and I also love the open web. I can see the challenges in a federated system, but there are also so many exciting opportunities.

Twitter and Interoperability: Some Thoughts From the Peanut Gallery | Electronic Frontier
Late in 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey floated “Project Blue Sky,” a plan for an interoperable, federated, standardized Twitter that would let users (or toolsmiths who work on behalf of users) gain more control over their participation in the Twitter system. This was an exciting moment for us, a…

Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious, Twitter and Revue are a thing now, and Daniele had an idea…

Daniele on Twitter: “Recipe: organic newsletter sans word salad 🥗 📥 Ingredients (yields a weekly newsletter): • 1 set of OAuth credentials • 1 v2 #TwitterAPI endpoint, ripe • 1 @revue API, freshly acquired • Code to taste Prep:👇 🧵”
“Recipe: organic newsletter sans word salad 🥗 📥 Ingredients (yields a weekly newsletter): • 1 set of OAuth credentials • 1 v2 #TwitterAPI endpoint, ripe • 1 @revue API, freshly acquired • Code to taste Prep:👇 🧵”

I was a long-term Acorn/RISC OS, and then, Linux and Open Source and free software zealot; these days I use a Mac, a Windows laptop, and a Raspberry Pi 400. They are all excellent, and Microsoft is a very, very, very different company than it was when I left university in 1997. Very good and very reasonable piece here from my mate Alan, on last week’s drama around the Pi adding a Microsoft repo to the default setup.

(I switched to VS Code as my default code editor a couple of years ago, fight me about it)

Pitchforks set to Stun ·

It’s just a month into the new year and we have our first controversy in the Linux community for 2021. In a recent update to Raspberry Pi OS, the official operating system for the diminuative computers, a new repository was added to the default install. This change means new and existing Raspberry Pi devices, running the officially maintained and blessed Operating System will check in with an additional software repository when updated, which will offer more software to the consumer.

Some quick hits

Sequencing your DNA with a USB dongle and open source code — Stack Overflow
It takes the most exquisite measurements you can imagine, recording the changes in current associated with different bits of DNA.

Organize Your GitHub Stars With Ease | Astral
Astral is the best way to manage your starred repositories on GitHub using tags, notes and a powerful search feature.

3.0.0 —
Today I’d like to announce Homebrew 3.0.0. The most significant changes since 2.7.0 are official Apple Silicon support and a new bottle format in formulae.

Bebo chief reveals plan to take on Facebook and Twitter — BBC
Michael Birch sold Bebo for $850m in 2008, but now plans to revive it with a focus on profiles.

Street Fighter 2 turns 30 years-old •
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter II punching and kicking its way onto Arcades! ??Who was your favorite character from the original cast?

Let’s do some politics…

The people who let Putin get away with persecuting Alexei Navalny (opinion) —
Vladimir Putin can afford to get away with the persecution of the Russia opposition leader Navalny because the people and countries that condemn his repressive tactics still are willing to do business with him, writes Garry Kasparov. The Russian president’s impunity will only grow unless there are rapid repercussions for his criminal acts, beginning with targeted sanctions, he says.

Britain’s reputation has taken a battering over Brexit — and Boris foresaw it all |
On 19 February 2016, in the lead up to the referendum on British membership of the European Union, Boris Johnson had …

And now for some music…

I started following Alex Cornish as a result of listening to a podcast called Song, by Toad, and hearing one of his songs, back in ~2008. And then I found him on MySpace. And then I discovered he was playing a gig in west London, not too far from me, and I went along, and he recognised me and said “I know you from MySpace!”… ah, those crazy early social days. He’s now many albums in, and he’s a friend of mine. Big fan of Alex’s stuff. Check him out.

So Long to Looking In, by Alex

So Long to Looking In by Alex Cornish, released 06 November 2020

Silly and fun things :-)

Surfing duck: Pet becomes local celebrity at Australian beach — BBC
The duck — called Duck — has become renowned locally for his daily forays into the sea.

Coding kitty — The cat that has a habit of singing while coding | Product
Typical Friday stuff, for your fun. Coding kitty, really? The cat, that has a habit of singing while coding. There’s even a button to make the coding kitty cry because his code doesn’t work after 8 hours of debugging) Meow, script kitty…

(ICYMI) a little further back…

On Tilix and D: An Interview with Gerald Nunn — The D
Joakim is the resident interviewer for the D Blog. He has also interviewed members of the D community for This Week in D and is responsible for the Android port of LDC. Gerald Nunn is the developer…

That’s it for this week, let me know if you found it useful!



Andy Piper

Tinkerer and Dreamer. Interests: Open Source | Fediverse | Community | LEGO