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Mall living, Dennis Bergkamp, and dev perception

Listening to

99% Invisible 332: The Accidental Room. There a little bit of history about the origins of malls which is, in itself, really interesting. This whole concept of a mixed-use ‘town square’ hasn’t entirely come to fruition, but you can understand and appreciate the best intentions of malls even if you dislike them in practice.

The bulk of the episode is dedicated to Michael Townsend who ended up living inside a mall. Like, not just in a shop in the mall, but actually hidden away within the structure of the building. It sounds ridiculous that they pulled it off, but he and a small group of friends managed to create a proper living area in this small section of the complex which had been unattended (and unintended?) entirely.

Anything that they could buy from the mall to decorate, they would, with a few exceptions — they brought in their own couch and China hutch in broad daylight. “We avoided the night,” explained Townsend, “and we worked with the ebb and flow of the mall. We were just part of the living organism of its daily activities.”

I particularly liked this story as I’ve been to the mall it’s about, in Providence, Rhode Island. I wish I’d known about this before going – not because the mall-house is still around, but because it would’ve added an interesting story to an otherwise mostly forgetful visit to a Cheesecake Factory and a vibrating massage chair. (Though actually, that cheesecake was ludicrous). It’s a big building, but it’s still baffling to think that someone could live in it for years before getting caught.


Dad Bod Rap Pod 62: Hard to Earn retrospective. It’s simply a chat about the Gang Starr album “Hard to Earn“, my second favourite Gang Starr album, and while there’s nothing revelatory in the chat, I do enjoy hearing people talk passionately about great music that I also enjoy, so this is a solid episode for me. If nothing else, it gave me the impetus to listen to the album in full for the first time in a long time, and I can confirm that it still knocks (obviously).

Reading

This ode to Dennis Bergkamp. I’d struggle to articulate exactly why I love Dennis Bergkamp, so thankfully this piece does it for me. It’s more than the first touches, the flicks and turns. It’s the aura of Bergkamp that is so satisfying to watch. Though also, the flicks and turns. I’ve spent years trying to recreate that goal against Newcastle in some form or another, but of course it’s utterly impossible for mere mortals.

See also that goal against Argentina. And all the others, come to think of it. Pure class.

Dutch football, and indeed, Dutch culture, has a preoccupation with the concept of space, partly down to the fact that they don’t have a great deal of it to go about. Rudi Fuchs, director of the Stedelijk Modern Art Museum in Amsterdam, notes: “[The Dutch] measure space very quietly, very precisely, and then order it in detail. That is the Dutch way of seeing, the Dutch approach to space: selective detail. It’s a natural, instinctive thing for us to do. You see it in our paintings, our architecture, and our football too.”


Dev perception by Jeremy Keith. A typically Jeremy Keith kind of Jeremy Keith piece, which I found myself vigorously nodding along to. All about the (mis)perception of what other developers are using in their day-to-day on account of constantly seeing articles about exciting new technologies..

The result is that what’s being written about is not a reflection of what’s being widely used. And that’s okay …as long as you know that’s the case. But I worry that theres’s a perception problem. Because of the outsize weighting of new and exciting technologies, a typical developer could feel that their skills are out of date and the technologies they’re using are passé …even if those technologies are actually in wide use.

I feel it. I also feel this:

Ultimately what matters is building something—a website, a web app, whatever—that best serves end users. If that requires a new and exciting technology, that’s great. But if it requires an old and boring technology, that’s also great. What matters here is appropriateness.

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