Interesting Things #56 — So long

TL;DR: This is the last issue of Interesting Things. Read on.


When I started Interesting Things, I was in the middle of a year-long sabbatical from work. Covid-induced, sure, but it was an opportunity to take a break, do some random things, scratch an itch or two, and try new stuff. One of which was writing my own accounting software (!). Another was a newsletter.

A few months after starting Interesting Things, I went back into the job market and started working again on a new project. I managed to keep going at the newsletter. For an entire year, in total.

But over time, things change. Priorities change. Perspectives change.

This project I’m currently on is a full-time endeavour and it’s taking up a big majority of my attention. My discretionary time is now at a premium. And scarce. (Some personal things also popped up too.)

Partly, I don’t have the energy and motivation to keep at the newsletter anymore. Partly, I want some of my own time back. Or perhaps they are the same thing. In any case, the outcome is the same.

All things come to an end. And for now, this is the end of Interesting Things. It’s been a great and enjoyable journey. I learnt many interesting things and read lots of great content and articles. I will look back on this time fondly, and apply what I have learnt for the times ahead.

A great and wonderful thanks to all of my readers. Thanks for putting up with my emails week after week. I hope they weren’t too intrusive, and I hope you found some interesting content in amongst the stuff I sent you.

Is this good bye? For now, yes. For ever, I don’t know.

(Who knows what the future might bring? Maybe in a few years time I might take another sabbatical and, in a fit of restlessness, start Interesting Things up again. Stranger things have happened. If you want to be notified of such an occurrence, please subscribe to Interesting Things or my blog. Disclaimer: You might not receive anything for years, or at all.)

May we meet again. Thank you, so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Beng Tan


Using a game engine to write a graphical interface to the OpenBSD package manager — Why I ended using a game engine to write a GUI program for OpenBSD and how well it turned out. (hn)

The triple dot syntax (…) in JavaScript: rest vs. spread — How these mechanisms work and why they are not operators. (hn)

Keytap3: check if your keyboard can be eavesdropped through a microphone — If you are able to recognize parts of the text that you have typed, then your keyboard is vulnerable to acoustic eavesdropping attacks. (hn)

Using a RPi as a display adapter — Many people carry different kinds of video adaptors… I carry a slightly bulky one: A RPi3. (hn)

I don’t know how to build software — It would be beneficial to start thinking about programming more from personal experience, and less from theoretical models. (hn)

Rust is hard, yes, but does it matter? — Imagine what would happen if we were to use Rust in a large team (say tens of people) that deals with a large codebase. (hn)

When Should You Over-Engineer a Project? — Learn when to over-engineer a project to ensure a successful rewrite and high velocity with the Jobs to Be Done framework. (hn)

Case Study: How many colors are too many colors for Windows Terminal? — It’s only optimized to handle up to 20 distinct colors in the general case. (hn)

You Don’t Need A UI Framework — Developers often reach for UI frameworks hoping that they’ll save a bunch of time. Unfortunately, things rarely work out this way. (hn)

This High Schooler Invented a Low-Cost, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm — A seventeen-year-old put his spare time during the pandemic to good use designing an accessible device that doesn’t require brain surgery. (hn)


Cloud Pricing Comparison: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud Platform in 2022 — Must-have insights into cloud pricing you can use to cut your cloud bill and get maximum value out of public cloud services. (hn)

Tech workers in Latin America want to make Spanish the primary language of programming — Non-English speaking developers are getting more coding jobs than ever but Spanish can only get them so far. (hn)

The case for consolidation — The world appears to be full of people who will pay a premium for a consolidated collection of tools, packaged and bundled into a neat little suite. (hn)

How I ran my startup… from Russian prison — Suicidality, inspiration and fundraising while being threatened by 20 years in prison. (hn)


From ancient oaks to walking yews: the story of Britain’s great trees, forests and avenues — Stories behind some of the country’s most loved and unusual trees. (hn)

Below Antarctic ice, a giant groundwater system — Scientists have announced hundreds of interconnected liquid lakes and rivers below Antarctic ice, with implications for climate change. (hn)

Breakthrough Discovery of the One-Way Superconductor – Thought To Be Impossible — In superconductors, a current flows across a wire with no resistance, which means inhibiting this current or even blocking it is hardly possible. (hn)


Eating one-fifth less beef could halve deforestation — Model suggests that switching to microbial ‘meat’ can cut carbon emissions. (hn)