New iPads

Apple iPad Pro M4

New iPads last week. OLED, Finally! Be it a high-resolution monitor with deep blacks or e-ink, screens the most important part of a piece of tech for me. Screens are what we're viewing the world through with these devices. I want a new iPad for it, but I can't get myself to need one.

I'm running a 2018 iPad Pro, the first that dropped the home button and came with a lush 120Hz refresh rate. Incredible how it still feels like a device from the future even without an M chip.

I love my iPad. It's a great device for consuming content of all shapes and sizes. I could probably get a lot of work done on it if I decided to invest in it—just no coding. I use it daily, the size and weight makes easy to throw it around the house with the lightweight Smart Keyboard Folio (my only gripe with last week's upgrade is they discontinued it). Fatih Arslan makes some good points in his hymn for the iPad.

I'm looking forward to the day I'll have a thin, futuristic slice of OLED in my hands. But for now, my 6 year old iPad is just too good.

Consume less, create more

A fun read on why we should spend more time creating, and less consuming.

The real tragedy of modern technology is that it’s turned us into consumers. Our voracious consumption of media parallels our consumption of fossil fuels, corn syrup, and plastic straws. And although we’re starting to worry about our consumption of those physical goods, we seem less concerned about our consumption of information.

We treat information as necessarily good, and comfort ourselves with the feeling that whatever article or newsletter we waste our time with is actually good for us.

How I take notes: Structure with Now Next Notes

I rely heavily on taking notes. I don't necessarily take notes to refer to in the future, they're part of my thinking process. Writing things down brings clarity and tranquility.

After years of iA Writer I recently switched to Obsidian. But this article isn't about tools—I'll will write about that in the future. Here, I want to talk about structure. How I structure notes isn't tied to a specific piece of hard- or software and can be applied in many contexts.

Read more

Solving MySQL 5.7 authentication method problems in Laravel

Last week I was setting up al old Laravel project that required MySQL 5.7. I installed DBngin so I could have the legacy MySQL version up and running alongside the modern MySQL 8. Smooth sailing so far, until my Laravel app wanted to connect to the database.

SQLSTATE[HY000] [2054] The server requested authentication method unknown to the client

It took some googling to find a solution that worked. Most solutions recommended changing the authentication method in MySQL, but this was already configured correctly for me. What I had to do was explicitly configure a socket for MySQL to connect with. I added the following to my .env file:


Replace 3307 with the port number you configured your MySQL server to run on.

More than blogrolls

The latest edition of Matthias Ott's Own Your Web (which I recommend subscribing to!) points out that there are a lot of blogs out there, but they can be hard to discover. As a vessel to help others discover blogs, Matthias recommends curating a blogroll.

Blogrolls are great. I have one too! But I don't think they're enough. The visibility of a blogroll is limited to people that visit your blog and are curious enough to poke around. The content of a blogroll is limited to blogs you consistently follow, but individual posts are worth sharing too.

Lots of blogs do this: Chris Coyier occasionally shares links his thoughts intertwined, Freek's blog is a mix of original articles and links, and I've come across a lot of unexpectedly interesting articles through larger blogs like Daring Fireball or Kottke. Some have a separate RSS feed for sharing content, like Jim Nielsen's notes.

In the same edition of Own Your Web, Matthias shared a link to an article titled Curation is the last best hope of intelligent discourse . Joan Westenberg argues that with the rise of AI and algorithms, human curation is more important than ever.

Human curators can distinguish between nuanced arguments, recognise cultural subtleties, and evaluate the credibility of sources in ways that algorithms cannot. This human touch is essential for maintaining the integrity of our information ecosystem. It serves not only as a filter for quality but also as a signal for meaningful and trustworthy content amidst the overwhelming noise generated by AI systems.

Aside from its importance, an algorithm is not going to surprise you. I could listen to Spotify's Discover Weekly recommendations all day, but my taste wouldn't widen.

So, go forth and multiply content! Share what you find interesting, start a conversation, surprise your readers, and let the small web flourish!

Choosing a frontend framework

A question I've gotten a few times after my talk or sharing Svelte by Example is which frontend framework I'd choose these days.

Here's the good news: these days you can't really go wrong with any of the major frameworks—at least from a technical perspective. React, Vue, Svelte, Angular… all have incredible teams, contributors & ecosystems backing them. Your frontend framework will not be the limiting factor of your architecture.

Choose a framework based on the non-technical needs of your team. If scaling up your team is important, React might make more sense because of its popularity on the job market. On the other hand, if your team hates the mental model of React, don't feel pressured to use it regardless of its popularity. Choose your framework based on how it aligns with your team's programming values, not performance needs. (Unless you're building a Bloomberg terminal.)

My preference these days: I'm split between React & Svelte. (That is, when I'm working on a project I deem worthy of a JavaScript-heavy interface, for others I still prefer vanilla JS or Alpine.) I like them both because they each have a distinct direction. React is as JavaScript as a JavaScript framework can be, while Svelte stays as close to HTML & the DOM as possible. What they have in common is they've chosen a slice of the stack, and double down on enhancing it. I prefer tools with distinct directions.

De-atomization is the secret to happiness

Nat Eliason writes about how we're making it hard for ourselves to become happy by reducing activities to hyper-focussed but anemic versions of them.

We separate “I’m working” and “I’m playing.” We want to make everything extremely efficient, so we opt for going for a run alone instead of trying to link up with people along the way. We need to “be productive” so we don’t work from a coffee shop with friends.

How to get composer to suggest users to install a dependency as a dev dependency

Last week I was installing a mocking framework with Composer and got the following prompt:

$ composer require mockery/mockery
mockery/mockery is currently present in the require-dev key and you ran the command without the --dev flag, which will move it to the require key.
Do you want to move this requirement? [no]?

How cool! I didn't know you could hint Composer to suggest a dependency to be installed as a testing dependency.

After further inspection, Composer determines this based on the tags used for the package

If you add dev, testing, or static analysis keywords to your package's composer.json, Composer will prompt users to install it as a dev dependency.

"name": "spatie/tabular-assertions",
"keywords": ["testing"]


From The Tao of Pooh:

Remember when Kanga and Roo came to the Forest? Immediately, Rabbit decided that he didn't like them, because they were Different. Then he began thinking of a way to make them leave. Fortunately for everyone, the plan failed, as Clever Plans do, sooner or later. Cleverness, after all, has its limitations. Its mechanical judgments and clever remarks tend to prove inaccurate with passing time, because it doesn't look very deeply into things to begin with. The thing that makes someone truly different — unique in fact — is something that Cleverness cannot really understand.

Think of this next time you write Clever Code.