Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

Weeknote: 18 September 2023

I’m sending this weeknote to the newsletter as well, just so that the email subscribers have some context for why it has been relatively quiet over the past couple of weeks. The short version is that I’m working on print versions of my books.

Links at the end.


My focus over the past couple of weeks has been twofold:

1. The new web dev setup

Working on figuring out more straightforward and less complex ways to implement test-driven web development, with bundling as necessary, but without a framework. I’ve been documenting this work as a project setup template on GitHub, which I’m also using for a couple of my own projects.

I’ve figured out a slightly simpler and more capable ways of handling coverage reports for the Continuous Integration side of the setup, which I haven’t implemented in the template yet, but other than that it’s reached the point where it’s covering a lot of bases.

This little project has helped clarify quite a few of my thoughts and ideas on web development, which I’m hoping to write a lot more about in the coming weeks.

2. The print edition of my books.

A sample print of the hardcover edition of Out of the Software Crisis

I’ve been working on the typesetting and design for hardcover editions of both Out of the Software Crisis and The Intelligence Illusion.

The test printing came out better than I expected, although there are a number of fixes and adjustments I have to make.

My plan is to get Out of the Software Crisis out first (doing one book at a time minimises errors).

Some day soon I’ll put up a pre-order page for it—doesn’t look like Payhip is going to work, so I might have to resort to a single-use Shopify site—but the long term plan is to get it out into regular print book distribution, so you could order them through your preferred book store. I still don’t know if I can pull that off, but it’s starting to look likely.

Very excited about this.


Most of my reading lately has been documentation related to the web dev project above or the print editions, but I also had the pleasure of reading through this Master’s thesis: Framsækin bókaútgáfa: Útgáfustefna smærri forlaga og áhrif á bókamarkaðinn.

I guess that would translate as Progressive book publishing: the publishing policies of smaller publishers and their effect on the book market.

It’s in Icelandic so won’t be accessible to most of you, but if you are curious about the overall shape of the Icelandic book market, and you do know some Icelandic or are willing to risk auto-translation nonsense, it’s worth a look.


Still continuing my quest to re-watch or watch all of John Carpenter’s movies. Still have ways to go, but I will say this: boy is his body of work uneven. It’s an odd mix of great movies, interesting experiments, forgotten gems, fun trash, not-so-fun trash, and a bit of genuine weirdness. Still digesting and I’ve got several movies to go, but it’s a lot of fun, overall.

Also did a bit of a Cronenberg re-watch. The problem with David Cronenberg is that he began as a genuinely poor to mediocre director who made up for it with vision. His movies pre-Videodrome are either genuinely bad or mediocre with sparks of brilliance.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Scanners, for example—who doesn’t love a well-executed exploding heads scene?—but when I was a teen I had it on VHS tape recorded after John Woo’s The Killer. (You could get four hour VHS tapes and if you were the type to record and share movies you could usually squeeze two on one of those without them looking worse than the usual VHS awful.)

This meant that most of the time I watched Scanners, which I did several times as a teen—remember, only weirdos don’t like exploding head scenes—I also watched The Killer. Whatever you can say about the narrative handwaving and plot shortcuts John Woo takes in it, the overall movie is just a perfect execution of the formula with impressive acting by the two male leads.

And Scanners? Not so great.

Videodrome is better, much better—it’s a fever dream of a movie—but it’s The Fly where he really comes into his own as a director and after that the level of quality in his work is much more consistent and always interesting.



You can also find me on Mastodon and Bluesky