Tom MacWright


What to say about this month - well, I’m a few days late to the Recently, because I’ve been pretty busy! Things are good. Building products is fun but also a lot of work. Pretty excited about what I’m working on. Ready for winter to end.


I enjoyed reading Ross Barkan’s What to Do About Police, though it’s bound to generate some controversy. Barkan is, I think, a geniunely ‘center’ or balanced commentator, if you consider the political spectrum of major American cities as the guide. He also has a sense for reading polls and knowing people enough to identify surprising but true disconnects between what we think people believe and what they do.

There’s a strangely libertarian tinge to the leftist arguments around defunding and abolishing the police. The NYPD budget is described as “bloated” in the same way a Manhattan Institute scholar might refer to the Department of Education. To pay for non-violent responders, mental health clinics, and other community-based organizations that could reduce the need for violent police interactions, the department itself must be slashed so the money can be made available.

And I agree with a lot of his critiques of the left, despite being in it - especially identifying the libertarian underpinnings of leftist thought.

A legal AI that’s wrong 10% of the time would be, in prac­tice, no better than one that’s wrong 90% of the time, because either way it can’t be trusted.

Matthew Butterick is suing GitHub over Copilot, their AI-powered code completion, and a Renaissance man and wrote about AI in classrooms, which eloquently argues against AI in that context and others.


I’m very late to this one, but I’ve been watching Search Party, which is a real grab-bag of styles and genres. It’s good, but maybe not exceptional. I think a lot of the TV produced now is so heavily invested in aesthetics and soundtracks and, generally “vibes” and Search Party is a show that’s interesting just because of the plot. It looks fine, but not exceptional. It’s not cool, and the lighting looks like mainstream TV. But it’s occasionally really clever.

Also, in between watching and listening, revisiting this Do Make Say Think song & performance. It’s so great:


Following the thread of crazy guitar music past Polyphia and Hella, I inevitably ended up at Chon. Another great band, especially in the way they balance the heavy and acoustic elements.


Elsewhere, I’ve been building and building with Val Town, most recently a val that finds the nearest Citibike parking dock with open spots, so I can use it from Apple Shortcuts. It’s been fun! I’ve been working on a tricky project to move Val Town’s internals to Deno and adding better isolation between execution and the host environment. Luckily, it feels like we’re in the right place at the right time - there are a lot of new V8 Isolate-based JavaScript runtimes coming to the surface, standards emerging for them like WinterCG, and frameworks built for them like Hono and Remix. The last mile - isolation, code bundling, and communication - is still the wild west, and that’s what I’ve been building.

Columbus Ohio

I did a tiny bit of traveling this month. Besides that, I’ve been busy! So much to do.