May the Fourth be with you! It’s been a while again, but I’m here with some more links, and also a bit of a longer reflection to start off the Weekly today.

Coffee in Mexico City

I spent a week in Mexico City last month. In the morning I would walk around Roma Norte, the neighborhood I was staying in, looking for an espresso to start my day. At one point I found a coffee shop that just really spoke to me: I walked in, smiled, and was excited to order. Stepping back and looking around, I could only think of this snippet from Ezra Klein’s interview with Kyle Chayka that I linked to back in January:

Kyle Chayka: The generic coffee shop has become my Moby Dick. It was just this strange, uncanny experience I was having that as I traveled around the world doing these freelance magazine assignments, I would land in a particular city, whether that was Tokyo or L.A. or Berlin or Beijing, and I always managed to find a particular style of coffee shop. It was this minimalist box of a cafe with white subway tiles on the walls and midcentury Scandinavian furniture and handmade ceramic mugs with nice cappuccinos in them. And this was not the work of a parent company. It wasn’t a Starbucks. It wasn’t a global chain. Instead, it was all of these completely independent coffee shops, baristas, entrepreneurs, who had decided to mold themselves into the same aesthetic. So I started wondering what connected them all together…

Chayka: They were authentically connected to something, but it wasn’t to the geography of the place. It wasn’t to the realities of Mexico City or the aesthetics of Chinese culture in Beijing. What they were really connected to was our culture that we’ve developed on the internet. So we feel this authentic connection. We feel they’re connected to our identities and our preferences. But I think the preferences that they connect to are the ones that we have developed online that come through platforms like Instagram or Yelp or Google Maps.

Klein: That ability to have much more familiarity as a traveler going around the world — it can be kind of wonderful, but it makes it much more difficult to find that confrontation with new experience that helps you discover new things that you like.

Actually experiencing this phenomenon that I’d listened to a conversation about a few months before was disorienting. There’s nothing wrong with finding a place that I like, resonate with, and which feels comfortable, but part of travel is also getting out of your comfort zone, and I’m happy I was able to be mindful of that tension.

Technology and Society

  • MKBHDs for Everything (Ben Thompson): Somehow this is the first time I’m linking to Ben Thompson even though he’s one of my favorite bloggers and podcasters out there. A great post from Ben about how AI has the potential to shift the balance of power in other industries in a similar way to how the Internet has transformed media over the past two decades.
  • Losing My Hands (Jason Liu): A powerful reflection on purpose and work ethic in America post-pandemic. I really enjoyed the asides with philosophy and book recommendations throughout Jason’s personal narrative.
  • Being quitely radicalised by being on holiday (Matt Webb): Travel can open our eyes to different perspectives and ways of living. I don’t agree that it would be easy to “just… take the essentials out of the for-profit bit of the economy”, but I do think that as automation continues to improve the productivity of individual workers society should be re-evaluating whether higher productivity should be the goal in and of itself.

Programming Languages

  • Swift for C++ Practitioners (Doug Gregor): A fantasic series currently with seven parts introducing Swift from a member of the Swift core team. I find Swift to be a really interesting language, and learning about it through the lens of someone who also has a lot of respect for C++ was an interesting perspective when most proponents of more modern languages tend to view C++ with derision.
  • Zed Decoded: Async Rust (Thorsten Ball and Antonio Scandurra): I haven’t worked with Async Rust, but showing how the runtime can be integrated so deep into macOS was a very interesting read.


  • What makes a great technical blog: As someone who writes a technical blog, I enjoyed the food for thought here.
  • Memo on Celestial Time: The sci-fi geek in me really enjoyed this: dealing with timezones in computer systems is tough enough on Earth — just wait until folks have to make sure things work properly on the Moon too!
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