John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

It’s newsletter time again. Themes this fortnight: react hooks are tricky, capitalism is tricky, pretending to be a mean-spirited goose is as straightforward as you’d like.


If you’re not using SSH certificates you’re doing SSH wrong
A compelling case for changing how you manage SSH access to all your boxes at work. Assuming of course you’re not living in the wonderful serverless future where everything is perfect, especially access control.

The Iceberg of React Hooks - Sandro Dolidze - Medium
React’s useEffect and useRef Explained for Mortals
React hook double header. Both are really helpful for learning about the edge cases. Well, maybe not edge cases, but the things that aren’t obvious copy/pasting out of stack overflow.

Remaking Celeste’s Lighting
I like clever game development tricks and I love Celeste which means you get this link.

The Product-Minded Software Engineer
One of those thoughleaderish lists of theoretical properties of ideal software developers. As far as those things go it’s pretty decent.

Business & Management

WeWTF, Part Deux
Having shared what is now the first post of the ever expanding WeWork Hot-take Universe I’m obligated to share the second one too. I hope they round it out into a nice trilogy.

BLUF: The Military Standard That Can Make Your Writing More Powerful
Write better by getting to the point first, then fill in the details. This post makes the case for that by doing that. There’s some good examples of reworked slack and emails to show you exactly what that means.

The Power of “Yes, if”: Iterating on our RFC Process
After the proceeding link I now feel really guilty about my meandering writing style. I’m sure I’ll get over it. Not the writing style, the guilt. Anyway this one is about how to write and respond to tech architecture proposals.

Want to Do Business in Silicon Valley? Better Act Nice
When I first read this post I had a bit of a brain-fart about VC. For an industry that talks a big game about contrarian thinking, you sure do get punished for falling out of line with behavioural norms. Anyway, don’t say mean things in California, near rich people, or both.

The China Shock Doctrine
Ignoring the unnecessary shade thrown at Chomsky and Klein, this is a really cogent critique of neoliberalism from the right. It gives me some kind of hope that a new, reasonable centre position in politics could re-emerge.


I Am The Horrible Goose That Lives In The Town
The best few hours of my week so far was pretending to be a goose and tormenting a little town. Enjoy this literary ode to the experience. You should play this game.

Why grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana lose weight playing chess
Apparently playing chess at an elite level is physically demanding. Imagine the injustice of getting into serious chess as a kid to stay off the sports track, only to learn you’ve got to get back on the sports track anyway.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a masterpiece until it’s a franchise movie
This is a review of my second favourite Star Trek movie. I don’t know how or why this drifted into my bookmarks this week, but it’s good to be reminded that it exists. Watch it if you haven’t. Re-watch it if you have.

An Oral History of ‘Snake’ on Nokia
Oral history: check. Gaming: check. Retro technology: check. Of course this was going to make it into the newsletter.

Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Is Not the Capitalist Anthem You Think It Is
“The song’s underlying idea about the hopelessness of a capitalist system that’s built to trap so many into lives of crime and poverty has largely been lost”. I guess this is accidentally the “pinko edition” of the Hecate newsletter.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

Spain builds submarine 70 tons too heavy after putting a decimal in the wrong place
You’ve pretty much got the gist of it by reading the title.

Thanks for reading. You can find this issue online here.If you know anyone who might enjoy these emails, feel free to send them to hecate.co/newsletter