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Secret Lab


One cool tune, one cool thing, one cool quote. Every week.

Music selections are also in this convenient Spotify Playlist.

Week 52
Mild Blood by Broken Back
Backgammon I am super late to discovering this game. But I had the fortune to be taught by a very collaborative player, and we had a couple of excellent games where we supported and discussed each others turns as we played. One of the best gaming experiences of my life.
“Becoming a good engineer is about collecting experience. Each project, even small ones, is a chance to add new techniques and tools to your toolbox.” ― Addy Osmani
Week 51
We Are All Insane by AWOLNATION
Mythic Quest The show has really found it's stride in season 3. It's consistently excellent and isn't afraid to grow characters whilst building towards a season ending that shakes up everything, and more importantly, everyone. Again.
“All sorts of things can happen when you’re open to new ideas and playing around with things.” ― Stephanie Kwolek
Week 50
Take My Breath Away by Giorgio Morodor, Fous De La Mer remix
Motion One prototype bindings for React my favourite tiny animation library built on the Web Animations API now has react bindings that work beautifully in preact. I am smitten and beyond delighted...
“I'm not interested in the most rich, innovative, connective, advanced & profitable user experiences today” ― @asallen on what you're really saying when you say "I'm not a gamer"
Week 49
Open Season by Josef Salvat
1899 series on Netflix. Created with the surest of hands, the story and mysteries keep unfolding and unfolding and the layers become increasingly mystifying and intriguing. Delightfully unpredictable, and yet the disparate threads come together and it eventually makes sense.
“Your current habits are designed to deliver your current results.” ― James Clear author of Atomic Habits
Week 48
If I Be Wrong by Wolf Larsen
Wednesday series on Netflix. Not only is it delightfully dark and funny, it's also by turns thoughtful and demonstrative of the dangers of presuming to know everything. Despite their often monochromatic stylings and preferences, it's characters live in and cope with the messy greyness of the real world.
“There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons.” ― Denis Waitley
Week 47
Hush by The Marias
Generation Tech YouTube series. Insightful analysis and discussions of Andor as each episode was released.
“Freedom is a pure idea. It occurs spontaneously and without instruction.” ― Karis Nemik / Andor
Week 46
Ten Girls by Circe
Extra Punctuation YouTube series. Smartly opinionated takes on games, their common mechanics and practices, and the industry in general.
“100 million dollar games are incapable of being understated and chill. 500 people being worked to death in crunch time are in no position to make a stress relieving game.” ― Extra Punctuation on why AAA game studios can't make cozy games, even if they are the new game trend.
Week 45
Where'd my eyes go? by SAVI MINDS
Andor tv show. Again. It's escalating beautifully and elegantly, with unexpected reveals. I rewatched every episode again this week and continue to be impressed and obsessed with the nuanced storytelling and performances.
“Social media doesn't make people stupid, it makes stupid people more visible.” ― anon
Week 44
Aim at Heaven - Mixed by Erik Lucas
The Peripheral tv show. I've long been a fan of the book(s). This adaptation is everything I hoped they'd do with the story and the world(s). The acting, production, storytelling is top notch and I am 100% onboard and waiting impatiently for Lowbeer to show up.
“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not to fight the old, but on building the new.” ― Socrates
Week 43
Niamos! (Morlana Club Mix) by Nicholas Britell
Andor is the best Star Wars show yet created. The interactions, the character building, the sublime acting, the almost unbearable tension. Dialogue scenes are more tense and exciting than action scenes, and the action scenes themselves are already next level. Disney has finally got a handle on Star Wars.
“The axe forgets, but the tree remembers.” ― Arvel Skeen / Andor
Week 42
Come 2 Me by Johnny Goth
Signals Redux. Following my curiousity and experimenting, I ended up recreating fully typed Redux Stores in six lines of code using Preact Signals.
“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” ― Mae Jemison
Week 41
Now I'm In It by HAIM
Preact Signals Bringing true reactive state to Preact. Simple and elegant to use, wildly performant. This is how react state should always have been.
“Don't take criticism from someone you wouldn't take advice from” ― Anonymous
Week 40
Calm Down by Rema
Mysterious Benedict Society Season 2. There is something so deliciously deliberate in the acting, in the styling, in the way the characters talk that is sublimely compelling.
“If you're not failing 90% of the time, then you're probably not working on sufficiently challenging problems.” ― Alan Kay
Week 39
Bitter Sweet Symphony by Deco
The new Valorant match-making system is now matching not only on skill, but players that violate community guidelines with other players that are violating the same guidelines. The end result is everyone is happier as they're matched to people with the same social norms and ideas of acceptable behaviours.
“I love this so much - all the a-holes, racists, and sexist pigs are gone!” ― my daughter playing Valorant on the new match-making system and ranking to gold in 2 days.
Week 38
Save Your Teams (remix) by The weeknd, Ariana Grande
Framer Motion declarative animations for react apps. Once you grok linking variants to state you can create animations that rival and often surpass native apps with relative ease.
“Pacifism is not passivity. It is the active protection of all living things in the natural universe.” ― Hemmer / Star Trek Strange New Worlds
Week 37
Chauma by PothOles
Dynamic Island UI design from Apple. I'm predicting this will be wildly influential and become the direction of UI/UX design for the next few years.
“Science tells us what is, and what we should do. Stories make us want to do it.” ― Leading earth scientist on why narratives are just as important as facts.
Week 36
Legion of Dawn by Sarah Schachner
The Resort TV series. It starts off funny yet the characters are oddly unlikable. As the series progresses and things steadily get both wierder and more delightful, characters experiences are carefully revealed and their resulting behaviour makes sense. By the end you love all the characters and want to see many more adventures from them.
“Growing up in the 50's the iconic figures were Einstein and Walt Disney, people who did things and invented new things.” ― ILM documentary on influencer culture, picking the right role models, and the trickle down effects on society.
Week 35
You're the one for me by Digital Farm Animals, Great Good Fine Ok
Disney Touchpress App Despite not being updated for years it's still a joy to interact with and browse it's content.
“Everything works out in the end. And if it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” ― Anonymous
Week 34
Blinding Lights by The Naked And Famous
Industrial Light and Magic documentary on Disney+. Once you get past the self-promotional aspects it's a beautiful and engaging view into the people and culture of the company that shaped our collective childhood imaginations.
“The brilliance of John Dykstra was that he could do everybody’s job. He would go into the model shop to blow off steam and make models. He could process and develop film. All the people he hired were all jack of all trades.” ― ILM documentary
Week 33
Beyond the Great Plains by Sarah Schachner
Prey is a predator movie that is finally better than the original in every way. More please.
“This is as far as you go. No more. This is it.” ― Naru / Prey
Week 32
Deadly Valentine by Charlotte Gainsbourg
The Sandman on Netflix is not only great adaptation, it updates the comics to live in the new now to the betterment of the story and characters.
“Your child is not ignoring you, they’re waiting for you to enter their world.” ― child psychologist
Week 31
How Long by Tove Lo (from Euphoria)
Amusement Labs YouTube channel, dedicated to detailed breakdowns of the engineering and technology behind theme park rides and attractions.
“Password must contain a symbol, a number, an emotional arc, a centralized theme, a big set piece, a male lead struggling with inner demons & a strong female character.” ― @Eden_eats
Week 30
I'll be fine by Gioli & Assia
MacBook Pro. My work equipped me with a new 16" MacBook with an M1 Pro processor. Astonishing piece of hardware - huge bright screen, oodles of power, and 10+ hours of battery life. Never going back.
“You have to be odd to be number one.” ― Dr Suess
Week 29
All That Really Matters by ILLENIUM, Teddy Swims
PWA Freedom. Creating your own Progressive Web Apps for fun, not having to go through app stores or involved processes. Just putting your code on your device.
“Your Wii is not thirsty, it does not want orange juice.” ― Actual documentation in the Japanese Nintendo Wii user manual, accompanied by a diagram.
Week 28
Shape Of Your Heart by JODA, Jono Grant, Darren Tate
Motion One A tiny animation library built on the Web Animations API. I love discovering and experimenting with elegant solutions like this.
“It's in the act of making things that we figure out who we are.” ― Austin Kleon
Week 27
True Romance by Tove Lo
Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 Despite the ridiculously long title it was excellent, paying off so much and making us remember why we love these characters so much. I cried, the kids cried. So great.
“Reward the curious.” ― work discussion on how to structure an app / experience.
Week 26
Do I Wanna Know? by CHVRCHES live on TripleJ
Konami Code becoming pervasive throughout random systems across the world as the kids who experienced it grow up and exert their influence.
“I like to think of myself actually as not a code writer, but an author. I just use zeros and ones instead of words.” ― Keys / Free Guy
Week 25
Diamond Veins by Olympic (feat Sarah Rebecca)
JPL designed Curiosity Rover wheels that spell out JPL (Jet Propulsion Labratory) in their tracks using morse code, meeting the NASA requirements of being able to view the tracks and determine distance travelled in the cheekiest way possible.
“Consistency is a reach” ― me to my therapist discussing the moment to moment experience of ADHD.
Week 24
Radio by Lana Del Rey
Nova code editor by Panic. I'm really enjoying the sheer speed and responsiveness, and the thoughtful design and affordances. You can feel the care and attention to detail emanating from every pixel.
“Make it work, then make it beautiful, then if you really, really have to, make it fast. 90 percent of the time if you make it beautiful, it will already be fast. So really just make it beautiful!” ― Joe Armstrong
Week 23
Deal With It by Riz Ahmed
Ms Marvel. Whilst they never call it out directly, this is the first ADHD Marvel super-hero. Combined with Moon Knight exploring childhood trauma and mental health - this year I’m feeling super-seen.
“There is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest of bears and the dumbest tourists.” ― Forest ranger at Yosemite National Park on why it is hard to design the perfect garbage bin to keep bears from breaking into it.
Week 22
Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Kate Bush
Stranger Things Season 4. Exactly what we wanted from the show. Reintroduction to our favourite characters, introduction of new and interesting characters, and a slow delicious build up of tension until we get to the glorious nail-bitingly tense moment of Max running for her life from Vecna to the sound of Kate Bush.
“Software is a social service. It’s for other humans.” ― @boffinAudio / Hacker News
Week 21
Nice to Meet You by ScottDW, Drew Alexander
Three Robots: Exit Strategies. The first episode of season three of Love Death + Robots is a hilarious and deeply scathing indictment of tech millionaires/billionaires smug conviction of their own superiority, which history proves directly manifests in their demise. 5 stars. Would definitely watch their demise again.
“Humanity had all the tools to heal their wounded planet and save themselves. But instead they chose greed and self-gratification over a healthy biosphere and the future of their children.” ― K-VRC / Three Robots: Exit Strategies
Week 20
Mehdi in Paradise by Guts
Star Trek Strange New Worlds is by far my favourite Trek series, with the most interesting crew and inarguably best captain. It’s also a refreshing change to have standalone episodes without an all encompassing season long story arc.
“Right up until the very end, life is to be worn gloriously. Because until our last moment, the future’s what we make it.” ― Captain Pike
Week 19
Softcore by The Neighbourhood
Vite and Vitest. Last year I discovered Snowpack and thought it was developer delight, but Vite has surpassed it. Not only is it fast and well supported with a huge community, the testing tools use the same exact configuration and environment as development. This is a creator happy-place.
“Even if I'm not real, this moment is. Right here, right now. This moment is real.” ― Buddy / Free Guy. Nailing not just the core concept of the movie, but of life in general.
Week 18
Alive by Rüfüs Du Sol
eX-SI. Not just a clever wordplay on XSI, but a delightful historical archive of SoftImage history and work created with it.
“Strive for excellent work, not perfect work. While excellence is attainable with effort, skills, and strategies, perfection is an unrealistic standard.” ― Princeton University student advice
Week 17
Achilles Heel by Man Without Country
Lazy Blender Tutorial - Moths. One minute of enlightenment and pure chaos. One of the most delightful tutorials I’ve ever seen for anything.
“One of the most frightening things I've ever heard is when someone pointed out the existence of uncanny valley implies that at some point there was an evolutionary reason to be afraid of something that looked human but wasn't.” ― @DUSKdev
Week 16
See You Again by Rüfüs Du Sol
Publishing version 11 of this site. The curse of a design eye is your taste is always evolving, so you’re never happy with your own website.
“Asstrovert” ― An extrovert who criticises introverts for being introverts.
Week 15
god.drugs.u by Luna Shadows
React Transition Group library that makes coding CSS entry and exit animations in react apps declarative and elegant.
“I started doing things I cared about, and then my career started going well again. It’s mysterious how that happens” ― Ethan Hawke, Design Matters podcast
Week 14
Our Origin by Armin van Buuren, Shapov
Everwild. The art style of this game is gorgeous, and the core gameplay mechanics of healing & growing are a welcome change from all too ubiquitous fight mechanics.
“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.” ― Jamis, Dune.
Week 13
Pipes by HVMP
Formula One 2022 season. The new technical regulations have wildly changed up the field and delivered thrilling wheel to wheel racing. Finally.
“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.” ― Interstellar Movie
Week 12
Let Me In by Rezz, fknsyd
Apple Universal Control is finally released.
“Every machine is a smoke machine if you operate it wrong enough.” ― Hidden on a circuit board by an anonymous designer
Week 11
Death Stranding by CHVRCHES
Horizon Forbidden West. It’s beautiful and engaging, epic and personal. Everything that was annoying or confusing in Horizon Zero Dawn has been polished and improved. Happily losing hours in this seemingly alive world.
“Secrets...are the very root of cool.” ― William Gibson
Week 10
Slow Burn - Sugar Jesus Remix by Jenny Mayhem, Sugar Jesus
Club 5:30. Getting up early, having a quick shower to wake up, and then spending the next two hours whilst everyone else is sleeping following my whimsy, learning and creating for myself.
“When engagement is your only metric you’re going to end up re-inventing addiction” ― @keithmadams
Week 9
Follow by 0171
AirPods. I am finally onboard with these and finding them exceptional, particularly for video conferencing.
“Just heard someone say "At least if I die and go to hell I won't have to look at JavaScript again". LMAO. Where do you think JavaScript came from?” ― @ctrlshifti
Week 8
See The Sun - Aurosonic Remix by Matt Darey, Kate Louise Smith, Urban Astronaughts, Aurosonic
Disney Studio Lab. Building new things from new technologies in new ways. What more could you want from a job than doing exactly this!?
“The value of the prototype is the education it gives you, not in the code itself” ― Alan Cooper
Week 7
Never Dance Again - Battle Tapes Remix by Sunset Neon, Battle Taps
Disney Filmmaking Process. The process is fascinating, but the presentation of it in this site is phenomenal. Kudos once again to the Disney Animation website team.
“The bar is lower than you think. Show up and do.” ― DAPS | Director
Week 6
Violence - Club Mix by Grimes, i_o
Drone Lightshows. Intel puts 500 custom made drones into the sky at once and it’s starting to feel like the demoscene in the sky. The future is retro-rad.
“The greatest con, that he ever pulled... was making you believe... that he is you.” ― Revolver movie discussing everyone’s id/ego and how it holds you back.
Week 5
Alive by Atella
MacOS Performance Tweak. In the Photos app preferences turn off both Memories: Show Holiday Events and Show Memories Notification. Huge performance boost as it stops neural analysis tasks running in the background on your CPU (M1 Macs have dedicated neural engine hardware and are thus unaffected).
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Week 4
High Enough by K.Flay
Chicken Joe from the Surfs Up animated movie. He’s both chill and resourceful, sees only the best in everyone and everything, and truly lives in the moment. Joe is my spirit animal.
“Having little understanding of themselves, they have little respect for themselves, and are therefore easily influenced by others.” ― The Tao of Pooh
Week 3
Frozen by Madonna, Sickick
Allbirds Sneakers. I love these shoes and wore my first pair of these to destruction. This week I bought two more pairs from the Auckland store and their in-person service was exemplary - I’m now a life long fan.
“You can only get so far without a tribe” ― Boba Fett
Week 2
What Else Can I Do? / Encanto Soundtrack by Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz
BunnyCDN. A really fast and surprisingly inexpensive CDN that isn’t built as yet another layer on top of other peoples cloud infrastructure. A delight to use, and now hosting all my sites including this one.
“Do the best you can, try to live it down” ― David Fincher
Week 1
The Motto by Tiësto, Ava Max
Encanto. The story, the animation, the joyous colour, the music. THE MUSIC. The best thing out of Disney Animation since Tangled.
“When you are young people tell you to follow your dreams, when you get older people get offended if you even try” ― Ethan Hawke