Meta Letter 09 – Hardware + Kev = Disaster

Hey there 👋 and welcome back to another issues of my absolutely rubbish fantastic newsletter, The Meta Letter. I can’t believe it’s been a month since we last spoke. Even with lockdown being in effect here in the UK, the time has still flown by.

So, how are you doing? Have you been up to anything interesting this month? If you have, reply to this email and let me know about it – I’d love to hear from you!

Anyway, enough pre-waffle, shall we get on with this month’s issue or what?

✨ A new look

If you’ve been subscribed to this newsletter for while, you will notice that I’m slowly iterating on things and making small improvements here and there.

Last month I spoke about re-branding the newsletter from Craving Coffee to The Meta Letter. This month, as you can see, the newsletter itself has a new look. But that’s not all I’ve been doing, dear reader. Oh no! I’ve also launched a new website to accompany this newsletter.

Check out my new website

It’s pretty simple at the moment, but it works well and I’ll continue to chip away at making it better. If you have feedback, please do reply and let me know.

📝 From my blog

I haven’t actually written that much on my blog this month – I’ve been too darn busy with work (thanks for that, hackers!) I did write a few interesting posts though:

Life after WhatsApp; Becoming A Messenger Nomad
TL;DR – Talking about WhatsApp alternatives after they decided to share all our data with Zuck the Crook. I also discovered that Telegram isn’t as secure as I thought it was, which was interesting.

Evolving My Newsletter
TL;DR – I’m starting to get an idea of what I want to do with this thing now. This post talks about my future plans for The Meta Letter.

My Thoughts On Micro.Blog
TL:DR – I took Micro.blog for a spin, and to be honest I wasn’t all that impressed. Do you use it? Am I missing something?

Upgrading My Desktop PC
TL;DR – I haven’t upgraded my desktop for around 8 years so it really needed doing. Since I was involved, the whole thing was very likely to cock up. ⚠ Spoiler – I did, in fact, cock it up!

That’s pretty much it from my blog for this month. Like I said, it was a quiet month in terms of content. I have, however, been working on tweaking the user experience of my website. Like the newsletter, it’s an evolving thing and I’m really happy with it at the moment.

👨‍💻 Around the web

The Internet has not disappointed this month, let me tell you. The problem I’ve had for this issue is witling the list down to just a few picks as there’s so much great content out there.

An 18 year old kid re-created MySpace
I can’t tell you how happy I was when I read this. People of a certain generation will remember MySpace – if you’re of a more youthful disposition you may not remember it though. It was the original social network; a glorious piece of web engineering that brought people together on pages dripping with gifs and HTML marquees. Ah the good old days! The new site is called SpaceHey and you should definitely check it out!

Disqus is a privacy vortex of doom (who new ?‍♂️)
I’ve had my concerns about the lack of privacy that Disqus offers for years, and reading this excellent post by Supun Kavinda really cemented that in my mind. 76 HTTPS request, 11 trackers and selling your reader’s data to 3rd parties – it makes for some very interesting reading. If you want my recommendation, use Commento instead.

Popey has Messaging Overload
Alan Pope of Canonical and Ubuntu Podcast fame wrote a great post on how he has to use multiple messaging apps due to the various circles he runs in. As I mentioned above, I recently deleted my WhatsApp account, so this resonated with me. Even though I don’t use any Facebook products, I still have a number of messaging apps that I use as well. It would be great if we could all unify under a single tool, but let’s be honest, it’s never going to happen. Shame, really.

There are so many other posts I could link to this month, but I think I’ll save some of them for next month’s issue so I definitely have something to share. Don’t want a slow news month to scupper my newsletter! ?

🧐 Meta Picks

I have a couple of fabulous meta picks for you guys this month. If you don’t know, meta picks are things I have found useful or interesting, like GitHub repositories or websites.

Super Tiny Icons (GitHub)
I’m sure many of you are familiar with services like FontAwesome – it’s basically a “font” you can embed into your website that gives you various icons; most people use them for things like social icons. Problem is, FontAwesome is really heavy and adds a lot of load to your website. So what do you do if you want to use SVG icons, but don’t want the hassle of loading the entire FontAwesome library?

Well, use Super Tiny Icons of course! This is a collection of really small SVG icons that you can use on your web projects for all kinds of things. For example, the Twitter logo is just 414 bytes. Yes, BYTES.

Colormind Website Palettes
I’ve always found it really hard to choose a good looking colour scheme for my websites. That’s pretty much why I tend to stick with blues and greys – they’re simple and safe (and my favourite colour is blue, so that helps). Colormind generates random colour palettes and creates a demo landing page so you can see that palette in action. It’s really useful as a testing ground for website colour palettes. I’ll definitely be using it in the future.

💭 Meta Thought

Before I end this month’s issue of The Meta Letter, I’ll leave you with this thought…

Gummy worms have more bones in them than actual worms.

Mind. Blown. Right! 🤯

Anyway, that’s a wrap for this month, folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed this issue. If you have any feedback on the website or the new design of this email, please do reply to this email and let me know. That’s the only way I’m going to know if what I’m doing is improving things, or just annoying you fine people.

If you know anyone that you think might like The Meta Letter, please forward this email to them, or send them a link to the website, it’s metaletter.net.

Until next month; Kev, out.