Blog / Roundup: unnecessary words, how React is like Windows 1.0, a long boardgame, mapbox, hacktoberfest, gource, and a soothing time-lapse

September 28, 2017

Getting ruthless with unnecessary words - Graeme M

An insightful, and very practical, blog post by Parliamentary Digital Service on the benefits of cutting and editing content. One of the biggest challenges I find with writing content is trimming and cutting down, but this addresses some of the questions that I should be asking myself more and more. A great read.

This has happened before - Murray S

In this article, Benjamin Pollack, explains how React is very similar under the hood to Windows 1.0 GUI programming. I didn’t do any Windows 1.0 programming so I don’t feel like I suddenly “get” react because of this revelation. I have done a bit of windows GUI programming in my time though, for the Windows 2000 / XP era, so some of the things that Benjamin mentions do ring a bell with me and I hope they’ll give me some toehold on the react model when I do start exploring it properly. The article also reminds me of Bret Victor’s excellent “The Future of Programming” talk: all the interesting ideas are already out there, we’re just rediscovering them.

The boardgame that takes 1500 hours to complete - Elena T

If you’re feeling brave, you could try to assemble a group to play this monster game set in North Africa in WWII. If you and your group meets for three hours at a time, twice a month, you’d wrap up the campaign in about 20 years.

Mapbox’s new kind of map: it’s about time - Tom S

When finding places nearby on a map, the “X minutes” radius around your location is never really accurate, it assumes we can pass through buildings and traffic from A to B as a straight line, just like a ghost might. In this post, Peter Liu from Mapbox, shows a “time map” that removes geography and skews points of interest on the map to the actual walking/cycling/driving distances, while preserving the direction of each place. Try it yourself here: and switch between the different transit modes.

Hacktoberfest - Charlie

Automatic free t-shirt for those working on public repos. I’ve done this two years in a row and the t-shirts have both been excellent. 10/10 would recommend.

30 days time-lapse at sea - Tom S

A mesmerising time-lapse from a container ship, starting at the Red Sea and finishing in Hong Kong. Worth watching as full screen - just sit back and admire the journey for 10 minutes!

Gource - A software version control visualization tool - Chris H

This is a nice tool for visualizing the evolution of a software project. I enjoyed trying it out on a few of the bigger projects I’ve worked on, give it a go!

Track of the Week - Carrie B

Everything by Low is pretty spectacular but Try To Sleep is outta this world. If I was Kylie and you were Jason and we were getting married on Neighbours in 2017, this is what I would be coming down the aisle to. THAT is how good this song is.

Low - Try to Sleep