Hey! I’m Farai and this is my codelab(‘s newsletter). This week I:
- Introduce myself.
- Introduce the newsletter.
- Share what I worked on this past week,
- What I hope to do next week.
Who am I?
I’m Farai Gandiya, a Computer Science graduate who’s been unemployed for just under 3 years! And given my misreading of the Lindy effect, seems like the longer I’ve been unemployed, the longer I’ll be unemployed as it gets harder to find a job as time goes on. It doesn’t help that my portfolio is trash and I’m terrible at following throw, meaning my projects are an incomplete mess.
Why The Newsletter?
One piece of advice I’ve read but never took on was to start a newsletter. I disliked newsletter since they felt so needy and they clutter my inbox. I also hate how they don’t have an HTML/RSS archive and how resources are gated behind them. I get that it’s free content, but my complaints are also free so that cancels out right?
Tangent: Unexpected Kindness
One time, I wanted a resource from someone so I signed up to their newsletter. When I did, they asked what I wanted to accomplish which caught me off guard. I initially used a public mailbox from Mailinator, but I was so desparate that I made a throwaway email. I told the creator that I didn’t care about the newsletter and I would unsubscribe after getting the resource. I also wanted the resource since I’ve been struggling to find a job and thought content creation would help.
The response surprised me
They jokingly thanked for the honesty and offered to review my resume. I was so floored with kindness that I vow to copy it as well. I haven’t used the resume review yet, but I will.
Why I Made A Newsletter Now
Given all this, why do I have a newsletter? Well, I’m running out of options and I’m realizing the value of newsletters. With a newsletter, I can avoid the noise that comes with algorithmic feeds so you have a greater chance of noticing me. With that attention, I can share some insights and update you on whatever projects I’m working on.
No good reason, but I like how it’s free.99 and it’s run by a human. I figured that I should spend less time making my site and more time actually making content.
What Are You Working On?
This week, I worked on my personal website, a post on optimizing GIFs, my experience with KaiOS and I shared some links.
The Personal Website
I might write a post and some so I’ll keep it brief. Over the pandemic, I’ve constantly re-designed my website, starting from scratch each time just to realize that I did it properly the first time. It uses Hugo which is really fast and comes with a lot of built in features. That comes at the expense of features, but I really can’t do slow, which is why I struggle to use Notion #zing!
I used the Recursive font since it was variable and fun. An issue I had in using it was Safari kept flashing the font unlike the other browsers. Turns out Netlify tells browsers not to cache by default, though it doesn’t explain why other broswers don’t have these problems. To fix this, I discovered the
immutable cache-control header which tells the browser to cache it forever. Rather dangerous, but it’s fine since Hugo does cache-busting so each change in a file results in a unique filename.
I would have shown you, but I couldn’t be bothered to set things up to show you, let alone make a GIF on it. Speaking of GIFs…
Post on Not Using GIFs
I was working on a post arguing why you shouldn’t use GIFs (pronounced yiff) anymore because of the alternatives, like WebP, AVIF and videos. As I was making it, I realized that I made a huge error in my comparisons so I have to start over again.
I had a lot of fails making that post, but I won’t put them in the final. I’ll make it bonus content for my Patreon instead. Ironic how the refined quality is free, yet the crap that got me there costs money.
Earlier I mentioned how I wante to make a GIF showing the Webkit bug. I remembered that I was working on this post and realized that I could use modern formats. Sadly, HTML emails are stuck in 1999 so I can’t use multiple image formats (outside WebKit), let alone videos (Climate Town made me realize this [VIDEO]).
What I Published This Week
Just thoughts on two links I’ve found online:
I nearly forgot this, but I had a livestream on my Twitch @faraixyz where I tried to make Tic Tac Toe in an hour. This is a part of a new series where I try to make front end things in an hour.
The site’s I make will be on YouTube once I get too it, but for now it’ll be on Twitch VOD. As for my attempts, they’re on GitHub.
I failed to make Tic Tac Toe, but I plan to attempt Hangman on Monday.
I’m partly using a KaiOS feature phone since my iPhone screen went bust, and it’s impressive yet frustrating. Impressive in that web apps work well on such a small screen; frustrating in that there’s a reason touchscreens are the dominant technology among phones.
I’ll publish full thoughts eventually, but the camera is bad and I’m worried by the longevity since it’ll never get a system update so I can’t leverage newer web features.
Ideas for The Coming Week
- I was commissioned to write a post, but I’ve neglected it for a while (4 months). I should probably finish it.
- Add colors to my site.
- Add data for a couple projects.
- Make a site which gets RSS feeds from YouTube. Had it once, but I wanna remake it.
Long Term Ideas
I’ve got so many, but these are some that are always on my mind:
- a podcast going into computer bugs/information system flaws. In the style of Well There’s Your Problem, without humor or friends.
- a big series going through web technologies. HTML, CSS, JS, Web Developer Concerns and Extras. Worried how doing this will make me seem far smarter than I am given I don’t have the authority to speak on it. Unemployed for 3 years remember!
- a Youtube channel for the site.
- a YouTube channel that’s more Computer Science oriented. Main series for it will be looking at how file formats work, starting with gzip.
- a course on how to use Hugo the static site generator.
- a series on making the most profitable farm in Stardew Valley, which happens to be one of the data projects.
I’ll have way more but this is what’s on my mind.
1270 Words Later…
Wow, you read all this? Thanks. If you can, consider supporting my work. I really need the money, especially since my laptop is falling apart and I seriously need a new one. The laptop also struggled while I was streaming the hour make. Please help me get another one.
Note that this is my first newsletter and it’ll be crap. I’m getting real tired now as this newsletter is real long. I guess I’ll learn this stuff as I go. Now I need to introduce the newsletter on my blog.
Until next week!
PS: You can read emails in an RSS reader with Feedbin‘s email relay. Also, the CSS cascade is great! #justsaying.