Instagram is dead

What a wonderful piece of writing by Om Malik:

It was a wonderful gathering place for photographers to showcase their work and build an audience. Not a day goes by when some photographer friend or the other bemoans how Instagram is no longer a place for photography. 

When I started out as a photographer-hobbyist a decade and a half back; Flickr was the platform where photographers form beginners to pro flocked and shared their creativity. I learned what mistakes I was making, composition, lighting and most importantly met people and have made life long friends. I was still on my blackberry which worked perfect to communicate and plan photo shoots but I always wondered, now that we have an iPhone, when will Flickr move to this new platform and bring this art to millions of more people.

Well, Flickr missed the boat and in came instagram and I was so excited to share my pictures and improve. But it looks like the platform that we all loved, is take a 180 degree detour.

What’s left is a constantly mutating product that copies features from “whomever is popular now” service — Snapchat, TikTok, or whatever. It is all about marketing and selling substandard products and mediocre services by influencers with less depth than a sheet of paper.

Clearly, instagram isn’t asking “Why” this product/platform exists, but are more focused on the “What”.


I recently moved to glass and so far it has been one of the best experience that I have had in a very long time.

Carbon, a new programming language from Google, aims to be C++ successor

Existing modern languages already provide an excellent developer experience: Go, Swift, Kotlin, Rust, and many more. Developers that can use one of these existing languages should. Unfortunately, the designs of these languages present significant barriers to adoption and migration from C++. These barriers range from changes in the idiomatic design of software to performance overhead.

Carbon, a new programming language from Google, aims to be a successor to C++.

Carbon is fundamentally a successor language approach, rather than an attempt to incrementally evolve C++. It is designed around interoperability with C++ as well as large-scale adoption and migration for existing C++ codebases and developers.

Google came out with Go a decade back and has been an excellent project with a very clean implementation. It took someone like me a few days to write basic code to a couple months to write an CLI based application.

Carbon is Open-source and will be independent and community project. I haven’t worked on C++ for about ~15 years now, but excited what Carbon can bring to C++. Will be giving this a try for sure.

Bun

Kind of excited about this project and its prospects:

Bun is a modern JavaScript runtime like Node or Deno. It was built from scratch to focus on three main things:

Start fast (it has the edge in mind).

New levels of performance (extending JavaScriptCore, the engine).

Being a great and complete tool (bundler, transpiler, package manager).

I’m most excited about this aspect of Bun:

The goal of Bun is to run most of the worlds JavaScript outside of browsers

Apple Apps enterprise ready?

Apple announced new features for their messaging platform. While all of us can enjoy editing and unending the messages and complain that Twitter can’t get a simple editing feature; there is something else that no one has mentioned yet.

Even Apple Mail now boasts about Unsend Mail, Schedule Mail and a better search.

With these simple features, Apple Messages, FaceTime and Mail apps are now set up for enterprise use. If you use Apple Gear across your organization (or maybe a higher percentage of users have Apple), you are now looking at using these apps to replace Teams or Zoom as your communication platform.

IconFactory’s WorldWideWeb

I absolutely love IconFactory’s apps. I use at least 2 or 3 of them on almost a daily basis. Iconfactory’s developer Craig Hockenberry announced a new app recently and it home for me.

The Mac and Web have a long history together. From the very beginning, Mac OS X included the ability to run an Apache web server by clicking a Start button

About a decade ago, things started to change. Since then it’s gotten harder and harder to start a simple web server for testing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I eventually found a way to do it using AppleScript, but as Apple continues to remove open source components from its standard macOS distribution, this workaround isn’t likely to last.

It’s simple and yet powerful. Reminded me of my college and work days when starting an apache or IIS server and hosting your PHP application was the way to go about developing your app.

FYI, this works on macOS, iOS and iPadOS.

gqt

Off late I have been dealing with API at work and home, REST and GraphQL. Came across this fantastic utility today – gqt. It’s a simple GraphQL client, but runs in the terminal. Using this in Visual Studio Code’s Terminal is so helpful when you don’t have to switch windows while working.

Give it a spin.

Markdoc

Came across Markdoc today, made by Stripe.

Stripe is know for its excellent developer documentation – well it has to be, its probably the most important feature for the company. If you go through their documentation is not just a good reference guide, but they also allow you to interact with it to get a feel on how to use the API effectively.

Stripe built their own content authoring system and have now released this as an open source project. It supports Markdown which makes it a joy to use this tool. The tool looks great too.

The tool is so easy and pleasing to use, that I have been using this to simply write my notes 😊

Drama at Twitter continues… 🍿

Well, everyone wants to make sure they get a fair deal: Elon Musk says Twitter deal on hold pending details on fake accounts; shares sink 9%.

Elon Musk announced Friday that his Twitter deal is on hold until he receives more information about how many fake accounts there are on the social media platform.

In a follow-up tweet around two hours later, Musk added that he was “still committed to the acquisition.” Twitter’s stock plummeted 18% in premarket trading following the initial announcement, but trimmed some losses after the second tweet.

Ever since Elon Musk made his intentions clear, it’s been entertaining to watch this unfold.

The Hinderberg Research published an article: We See a Significant Risk That The Twitter Deal Gets Repriced Lower:

1. Nasdaq Has Plummeted ~17.6%, Implying A Twitter Price of ~$31.40 Per Share Without a Deal

2. Twitter Reported Weak Quarterly Results And Disclosed It Had Overstated Its Users (Again) Just 3 Days After Accepting Musk’s Offer, Suggesting Further Downside That Has Not Already Been Priced In, Should Musk Walk Away

3. Musk Indicated He Will Sell His 9.2% Twitter Stake Should a Deal Not Consummate

But, I did not expect this at all: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal says he fired key execs due to ‘challenging’ economy.

Kayvon Beykpour, who’d been head of product at Twitter since the acquisition of Periscope fired off a few tweets when this news broke out.

Kayvan Beykpour had done a tremendous job and played an important role to set up a good product strategy for Twitter.

Bruce Flack the other executive who was laid off took very little time to update his Twitter Bio.

Not sure how Twitter Inc. is reacting to this decision.

mitmproxy2swagger

Came across an interesting library (or tool) – mitmproxy2swagger that reverse-engineers REST API just by running the web app and sniffing traffic in the background. Once you are done, the tool allows you to download a yaml file. Open up the file in Swagger and voilà! Beautifully formatted API endpoint. Can be useful to document API for your application.

Pretty fascinating.

Moving away from 1Password

I have been using 1Password for a very long time. However, for the past year or more, I have come to rely on Safari (on macOS, iOS and iPadOS) to suggest me strong passwords, storing them for me and ultimately, me making a manual copy/paste to 1Password.

Last month, I turned off my auto-renew on 1Password thinking it gives me 6 months to transition over. I have been using 1Password for Username/Passwords and URL and Backup codes. I have never used 1Password to sore my credit card information. In fact, I was a late adopter of that and just waited until ApplePay came out. I now have one credit card info stored in my Safari for those websites that still don’t accept ApplePay.

Exporting data from 1Password and importing them into Passwords (or iCloud Keychain) was easy – but of course there are a few curve balls. There are two things you need to ensure

  1. Make sure all your passwords in 1Passwords have a URL (better if they are valid URL’s)
  2. iCloud Keychain does not like quotation marks (”); this is something you will need handle them

But once you are ready, you can export your passwords form 1Password by selecting the vault and then navigating to File > Export > All Items...

1Password will ask for your Master Password. And before hitting the done button make sure you change the file format to “iCloud Keychain (.csv)”.

Now, remember those quotation marks? You can now edit the csv file and look for them and reset those passwords – yup thats a manual process. I had a few, so I logged into to those applications, changed my password and let Safari handle them for me. Once this was done, I went and deleted those entries in the csv file.

Now import the CSV file into iCloud Keychain from System Preferences -> Passwords. Hit the three dots at the bottom of the window and select “Import Passwords…” and select your csv file.

An important step after you do this, is to disable 1Password extension on your Safari browser on all your devices. This will help you focus on using Passwords. On your macOS, you can simply type “Passwords” in your spotlight search and it will bring up the Passwords manager. I wish Apple makes these things consistent and bring them on iOS and iPadOS too.

The best part of the transition was that I have probably opened 1Password once. The transition has been super smooth.

Now I hope there is something for 2FA as well.