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#2 — June 2024

  • Planted:

A lot has happened since January. In no particular order...

Joining Membrane

Earlier this year I started exploring Membrane, building small programs like the feedback form in my garden and a solar eclipse countdown. Then a couple months later I joined Membrane!

I ended up here thanks in no small part to writing in public about what I’m looking for in my next, next-next, and next-next-next jobs. +1 point for blogging.

The episode with Juan on is where I first heard about Membrane—worth a listen if you’re interested in the architecture (persisted QuickJS runtime, Rust+WASM, etc). Juan worked on it as a personal project for several years before pairing up with Justin as co-founders and transitioning from project to product (startup). Our aim is to create a really nice experience writing internal tools with TypeScript.

I plan to work in public on Membrane with lots of tweets and blog posts. If you’re interested in trying it out, I’d love to pair and get your feedback—reply to this email (or DM me on Twitter), and we can set up some time.

Learning Rust

I started learning Rust, which I was already interested in and now have solid motivation to act on. I plan to accidentally learn some Computer Science along the way.

I’m also starting to dig into WASM, which we’re using for the Membrane Web IDE (egui Rust code compiles to WASM).

Book club, meetup, conference

Future of Coding book club

A handful of us started a book club in the Future of Coding community. The first book we read was A Small Matter of Programming by Bonnie Nardi. I wrote down some things I found interesting in the book.

Initial interest in the book club was good, but to sustain it over time we’ll need new member energy—so come join! Or just join the FoC Slack community because all sorts of interesting conversations happen in there.

Browsertech NYC in March

I also went to and wrote about a Browsertech meetup in NYC in March. The browsertech newsletter and podcast have become favorites of mine. I hope I can make it to the next NYC edition. World’s Fair

Last week I was at the World’s Fair in SF. I had the ticket leftover from a generous education budget at my previous job, and I was mostly interested in learning about agents.

To that end, there were interesting talks and workshops from Lance Martin, Eno Reyes, Morgante Pell, and plenty of others. I also started prototyping a simple Membrane agent. Membrane already has a few core building blocks for agents—built-in memory, standardized connection to tools (APIs, timers), and really good observability—so that should be a fun area for us to continue exploring.

There were many other engaging talks, like Justine Tunney and Stephen Hood from Mozilla speaking about llamafile, which just works on almost any hardware completely locally (like, running llama3-8b on my M1 Macbook on-an-airplane locally). They also announced funding for sqlite-vec, which will run vector search on a SQLite db (incl. in WASM).

Working outside a tech hub

I also moved from Brooklyn to Cincinnati for my partner’s work earlier this year. I hadn’t been to Ohio before moving here, but Cincy is a legitimately Cool Place. The unsure looks I got at the conference in San Francisco last week after answering the “where are you coming from” question reminded me of this DFW quotation from Getting Away from Already Pretty Much Being Away from It All:

I’m fresh in from the East Coast to go to the Illinois State Fair for a swanky East-Coast magazine. Why exactly a swanky East-Coast magazine is interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at these magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90% of the United States lies between the Coasts and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish.

So I’m starting to accrue perspective on working in software while living outside a tech hub. There aren’t weekly meetups like you have in NYC and SF, but there are engineers around if you look closely! And you can start your own meetups (something I’d like to do soon). I’ll also fly into NYC every couple months to go to a meetup and catch up with friends. Plus, I’m just leaning more into making connections online (e.g. FoC book club). I’ll also try to attend at least a couple conferences per year.

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- Pete


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