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

Disasters are Distracting but work has to continue

I’m trying a new thing with my weeknotes. Instead of one monolithic note, I’m going to try to post the work, watching, and link notes separately, even though the newsletter will continue to get the aggregated version.

A distraction for a day

If you follow news in any way, it’s likely you’ve noticed that a volcano erupted close to the town of Grindavík here in Iceland. It seems to be winding down at the moment, which is becoming a pattern with eruptions in the area, but for a while it seemed possible that we would be witness to an entire town being destroyed.

It doesn’t feel entirely appropriate to immediately continue with the strategic review series, not in the least because my mind needs to settle a bit before I wade back in.

Aside: the BBC and a few other international news sites have been calling Grindavík a “village”. The words “village”, “town”, or “city” are legal constructs in most countries and aren’t usually defined strictly based on population but instead on governance. Iceland doesn’t have villages but instead have “sveit” and “sveitarfélag” Essentially, we have unincorporated communities (sveit) and incorporated towns (sveitarfélag), and Grindavík is incorporated. There is no history or tradition of something in-between such as a village. So, it isn’t accurate to call Grindavík a village even if it might qualify as such in the UK.


I’ve been trying to figure out where I am and where I’m heading. The strategic review series is my way of trying to paint a picture that I can use to guide and plan my work.

So far it’s ten thousand words of analysis and review and I still have to review Uncluttered, Yellow, and an assortment of smaller experiments I did.

I also have to write up an overall strategy that pulls everything together.

All of this requires more focus than I have today, but I do know what the highlights and core points will be:

  • Teachable is either a garbage service whose reputation is vastly inflated or it’s a service whose quality is in a decline. Much of the UX is awful. Reliability is iffy. Customer service is effectively non-existent, even for paying customers. I’ve only been using for a couple of months, so I don’t know yet whether this is a steady state or a trajectory. Either possibility requires a different response. Their “all-in on AI” strategy implies a decline.
  • Positioning Uncluttered around test-first development was probably not the best idea, even though I do sincerely believe that it’s the only sustainable approach to software development (web or no). Web developers just don’t do test-driven dev. I know this from the research I’ve done, but ignored it (don’t ignore your research folks). Repositioning it around just plain testing (i.e. this is how import maps help you test things that are otherwise hard to test) shouldn’t require a big rewrite, but it does require some rewriting. I’ll also have to dial down the sales page as a big chunk of the benefit of import maps is, IMO, in test-driven development.
  • Yellow showed me that podcasting or video might be more doable for me than I expected. I have the equipment and the training. It’s mostly a matter of ROI.
  • I need to rethink my website strategy. It needs to be more unified, and I would like to find a way to deliver the ebooks and the courses through my own site and not be beholden to Teachable’s courseware or Lemonsqueezy’s file delivery.
  • I also need to rethink my topics. Stepping back up to the higher level approach I had with Out of the Software Crisis seems to have resonated more with readers than the more web developer-oriented topics I’ve been inching towards lately. And it might pay off to revisit the note-taking and knowledge management research and write more about that.
  • I suspect that a more productive approach to web development as a topic would be to write free or open source software – small projects – and then write about how I did them.
  • And, yeah, I would like to have at least one software project of my own going this year. I don’t know yet exactly what or what for, but I’d like to have a software project where I make the decisions, designs, and where the mistakes are novel ones that I invent and not the usual run-of-the-mill mistakes.

I need to take these thoughts and form more cohesive ideas and plans out of them. That’s the job for the next few days.

You can also find me on Mastodon and Bluesky