Tom MacWright



Joanna Newsom’s new album, Divers, is all I’m listening to this month. It has all the force of Ys but ramps up quicker and with more experimentation. Sapokanikan especially keeps climbing and sounds good loud.


  • On Writing Well. This book seems geared toward people who want to write as a profession: some of the advice is about keeping motivated and productive when writing long-form. This is pretty different than most style writing I’ve read, which is focused on minutiae and grammar. It also recommends using the word I and the first-person. I’ve tried to never use the first-person, but I’m reconsidering it.
  • Spam Wars. I follow Kreb’s blog and his book does not disappoint: it’s well-researched and structured like an early Crichton novel.
  • 24/192 Music Downloads: another brilliant piece of writing on audio and signal theory from the Xiph project’s Monty.
  • Early lessons from the micro-purchase experiment: David Zvenyach was one of the main collaborators in the DC Code project and is brilliant: I hope the micro-purchase experiment is remembered as the first major move toward smart procurement.

Most software projects depend on other projects. Using Conway’s law, we can restate this to say that most people depend on things built by other people.

Embracing Conway’s Law is the best piece of cultural/technical writing I’ve read in a while: I’ve only started to appreciate the value of vendorizing projects and the cost of relying on external dependencies.

The resource curse, also known as the paradox of plenty, refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.

Resource Curse: I heard of this term via Robinson Meyer’s ‘Not Doomed Yet’ newsletter, which is also recommended.

If you wonder why you don’t see your idea already out there in the world, it’s because your idea didn’t work the hundreds of other times someone tried it.

So you want to reform democracy Joshua Tauberer (another pivotal member of the DC Code effort) is a bit grumpy and a little flippant but as a reaction to the constant moonshot theories of civic hackers, it’s necessary.


  • Introducing Mapbox Studio: this is the product of more than a year of work, 3,000 tickets, 1,500 pull requests, and work from every corner of Mapbox. It was a lot of work, and it’s a relief to have it out the door. I worked on TileMill and skipped Studio Classic, instead working on projects like Mapbox.js during that time. This return to application-building in the new world of modern JavaScript and well-considered libraries has been awesome. The world of the web is getting somewhere: not where I expected it to go, but especially from a user’s perspective, things are getting better.