A retro animated gif of a world spinning in 3D.

Old dev yells at cloud

Another retro animated gif of a world spinning in 3D. You can never have too many.
An animated gif divider with rainbow colored animated dots and a black background.

"I'm a professional cynic but my heart's not in it".

Blur - 1995... you probably already knew that.

Ramblings of a middle aged, late blooming, web developer. Who also happens to love humanities. And humans. And also would like to not be evil. I can't promise an update schedule, but I do my best both to not write for the sake of writing and for that to not mean never writing. I sometimes edit as I go and don't clarify it. Embarassing, I know.

Interlude: This ain't a blog post

June 7, 2024

Well hello there, potential reader. You may have not noticed because who the hell do I think I am, but I've been off this site thingy for quite a while. And I'll do it again.

But hey, I am here now, and before I forget again I wanted to drop some notes for myself about unfinished projects, perfectionism and why I refuse to upload this site to my Github (besides the awful awful fear of my boss seeing it). So here we go:

  • I was inspired back by the gorgeous, gorgeous works of some creators around here. I have some bookmarks on my work PC of eye catching websites I wish I was doing instead of applying Material Design to yet another app. None of them hold a candle to the sense of wonder some projects here spark. We have so many cool tools nowadays, I wish we could drop the sameness already
  • But one issue with the whole inspiration thing is that it gets me in a very ambitious mode. I'm no longer just typing on the browser and vibing. Suddenly I want proper transitions and a sort of design system and maybe I should start source controlling this. And well, If I'm prone to abandon a hobby when I allow myself to just wing it, you may imagine what will happen if I turn it into a project. So I negotiated a middle ground. I downloaded the thing. I'm editing on a proper IDE. But I draw the line at source control. I do not need the green squares. I'm fine.
  • But then again, what's the worst that could happen if I get a bit ambitious? It looking bad? It's fine. I promise myself, and you, it's fine and it'll be fine. My dad was one of the best at what he did. And the piece of advice I remember most from him was precisely NOT stopping doing stuff you love just because you're not the best. It's fine.

So hey, let's put this thing upside down once more. May need more galleries, maybe more javaScript. Definitely more sparkles. Let's go.

Chapter 2: About a girl

February 12, 2024

I hear one thing very often in both big corporate and small business stories when they recall how they product became a success: there was a gap in the market. This thing, whatever it was, did not exist until we did it, until we thought about it. I'm skeptical every time I hear it. There's a lot of us and most times a couple of people have already had the same idea as you. Of course originality and innovation are real things. But guess what, most times I'm right: whatever you think no one did before you was done. Just maybe on the wrong time, or place, or poorly executed or who knows. That's the most plausible scenario most of the times. But still it's said a lot. And it's not only about markets and products that you hear that same thing, though. I've heard it, and said it as one of the multiple explanations of how stereotypes establish and blossom. And of why things that seem evident to me now, in the year of our lord 2024, were not as clear when I was growing up. And today I want to talk about that. I'm thinking about a particular stereotype: the belief -nowadays only held by either very clueless or very unkind people- about gender gap in software related jobs being a matter of preference. "Girls just don't like computers that much". As someone who was once a very into computers girl, I have lots of thoughts and I'm about to proceed to make them your problem.

I grew up mostly in the nineties and when I talk to younger people I already have the old lady list of things that did not exist when I was their age. There's the obvious ones: smartphones, wi-fi,social media, roombas (you can tell I'm already having trouble coming up with examples here, forgive my ripe old lady memory). I also don't want to talk (a lot) about those (today). Or, conversely about the cool things we did have. I was thinking today about the things I would've said (and probably did say at some point) did not exist on a broad cultural level.

I've fallen into the trap of making broad statements like "no one pushed technology as a career opportunity for girls", "no one knew what software even was". Those things are never true. There was always someone who did. And that's the thing I want to ramble about today.

There's a (truthy) consensus about women pioneering in computer science until around the time the personal computer became a thing and became strongly marketed towards boys.You know a thing I don't recall at all? PC marketing. I do recall some other things: all my computer lab teachers were women. I secretly mocked one of them for years for anticipating a future in which we'd all walk around with a computer in our pocket. She did it in a very enthusiastic and prophetic speech that started with her pointing out the fact that the smallest device to listen to music she had as a little girl was bigger than a PC. I hope she's still alive and I hope she's doing great. I played games, lots of games. I saved money in a plastic bottle to get a Sega Megadrive (we called it Genesis here). One day there was enough money. Only years later it was revealed to me that my grandpa would secretly put money there when he visited. I don't think my grandpa knew or understood what a Sega Megadrive was. Then again, I lived in a kinda sheltered environment. My parents were extremely careful not to push harmful gender stereotypes, I mean, they still did, but they tried. And they did like their children having hobbies. And also, since there was not a lot to do with a computer back then, most of what I did was write, and my parents did love that.

I do remember video games marketing being gendered. And I do remember how lots and lots (and lots) of games that included character customization or selection had maybe nine male options and one female. If any. Fun anecdote: I thought Tails from Sonic 2-3 was a girl for the longest time. I was a bit bummed to learn he's not.

But then again, I loved my not-so-little devices. There was a spirit of exploration I don't think modern interfaces allow. I could irritate my writer dad by activating clippy (or any other of the other word guys). I could “animate” my text in Word (remember that? What was THAT about? Random software came with the PCs we brought home. My dad's new computer when I was like 13? came with a gazillion game demos: Tomb Raider, Yoda Stories, Alone In The Dark, Comix Zone. It was a party. The one at my mom's came with a guy that installed all the things and left us a CD with a couple of games including a Mario Kart ripoff I adored. It had one girl character to choose, her car was pink. Penelope Glamour vibes.

I write all of this trying to make sense of something that I think a lot about: I was deeply invested in knowing about computers, video games and whatever the little elves inside the computers were doing. I remember mentioning that when we talked about career opportunities at school. I had learned a programming language at school and loved it, even though I did not understand what those were used for. Still, software development as a job was something that was never brought up as a plausible thing I could do. I was told that the only computer related major that even existed was engineering and that it involved a lot of math. I sucked at math. Fun fact: there's a computer science major in my country's biggest and very great public university. It already existed back then. I found out about it maybe five years ago. Oh, and there's also a whole ass tech oriented public university here too, founded in 1948, also extremely great.

As a young adult looking for a job I'd filter out the programming languages having no idea what they were or meant. I just knew those jobs were inaccessible to me, and they clogged every site, they were always first on the list..

It took seeing another woman, a very bright classmate I had, breaking into software development for me to find out that yes… I could actually learn that. And to then find out what that even meant. I was fascinated when I learned JavaScript fundamentals because I knew about the things! The logical operators, the data types, ifs and elses. I had used those ages ago to try to make my own conversational UIs back when I don't think that was a thing with a name (it surely, surely was. Please be patient with me, remember the whole point is how much I did not know about this).

Remember how I talked about how both companies and humans have a bias that makes them think something did not exist just because they did not see it? (or at least that was what I attempted to do in the first paragraph). A mantra for me all this years was that no one was promoting software development for young girls. And reader, Clarissa. Remember her? Is who Melissa Joan Hart played before Sabrina. She explained it all. She wore the most exquisitely ridiculous 90s fashions. Had lots of pajamas with cool patterns. And she had a computer. No idea how she was marketed elsewhere, but at least here the fact that she had a computer was highlighted in the commercials. With today's insight I know, or suspect, that Sabrina knew software development (and from what I picked up from the couple of clips and episodes I saw before starting this word waterfalling, she also had some electronics knowledge.

Still from the 90's show 'Clarissa Explains it All', it depicts the title character sitting at her kitchen table wearing an embroidered denim button up shirt with black details.
Not one of her looks is not iconic.

She made her own games, turned her PC into a TV (somehow), fed her words used in poetry to make it come up with her homework. Clarissa aired where I live years after it was released. When I was about 12. So it was there just in time to spark my interest when I saw it and boy I saw it. So, then again, why didn't that stick either.

I'm a one person sample so I can't claim my personal experience as the default, but still it gets my attention. It's not impossible for it to be totally a me thing. But it's a thing I think about a lot so there's no harm in looking for answers as long I don't get obsessed.

So, ya know what? It's time for a rewatch. A couple of things I noticed just watching some clips and a couple loose episodes is the language. Yes, she does stuff, but I don't feel it's ever explained how or why she has that knowledge. Also, it does not seem to rank high among her many interests. I remember driving being her thing. And fashion. And music. But that girl spent a lot of time on the PC. Do I have a conclusion? Of course not, just this vague idea it'll be fine to dive a bit into this 90s nostalgia show. And also the certainty all these things I'm just now thinking about have already been covered in articles, essays, videos, you name it's by people way smarter than me. I'm clearly not that smart. It took me 35 years to find out I did not have to be an engineer to work in IT. But I feel it's at least not completely a me thing. The gender gap runs strong on the industry, stronger among people my age and, continuing to be anecdotal I did see lots of my boy friends go into those jobs I'd filter out. But hey, I have fun with my little thoughts in my little head, so maybe a couple of months from now I can actually write something a bit more researched about tech literacy in Clarissa explains it all. For today, I hope you have a great week. I'll keep you posted, whoever you are, if you happen to be someone.

Chapter 1: I've already had all my fun

November 25, 2023

I'm immensely sorry for you, reader, if you find this today. Because I plan to write and save as I go and maybe drop it and continue later. I'd recommend checking in a couple days.


I've been working as a web developer since 2018. I learned programming in a bootcamp. And then noticed some things I already knew. I had Pascal classes on high school, lots of fun, did not now that was programming. In an early interview, a very nice tech lead mentioned that Logo, that cute little turtle thingie they made me play with in kindergarten and elementary school was also programming. Did not know that either.

I did was an early and heavy web user (mom, dad... very sorry about the phone bills). The nostalgia tinted glasses remember a sense of awe over how things looked. Nowadays, not even the awwwards winning sites sparkle much joy in me, but back then I'd tell people things like "You HAVE to look at The Strokes website. It looks as an old TV!"

Screenshot from The Strokes website around year 2004. It's a Flash site. On the image you can see a vintage TV with a menu on the right side and a picture of the band in the screen
I mean... this. It looked like this.

No idea how those sites worked, how annoying it was to other people, nor how usable. Maybe those are things we do better now, don't know enough to either confirm or deny this. But nothing is stopping us from not making everything look and feel exactly the same.

I find it often that we do be having an usability argument to be visually boring. Well, people are already accustomed of the floating button to be here, and this icon meaning this, all the little things should be at the expected place. We don't want to give any cognitive load to the user. If he can navigate without even having to read what the thingies say, even better.

Beg to differ here. Because yes. Some apps and features should be as intuitive and non-having-to-thinkable as possible. I should not have to struggle to find the "Freeze my bank account, I have just been phished" button. Or download three apps to be able to book a medical appointment. Funnily, those are not mostly the fields on which I see the whole user friendly shennanigans being applied. It's mostly very non emergency stuff. Why should I not think before making a superflous purchase? Or enroling on an expensive online course? Or accepting a four hunred pages long User Agreement that may or may not include a clause that sells all my personal data and also my dog's soul to everyone willing to buy it? I know the answer to this, I promise, you do not have to tell me, it's rethorical.

If your industry has a Star Wars sounding term to refer to the practice of using certain patterns to trick the user into doing something they don't want to because of habituation, maybe, just maybe, you should rethink your industry's practices. Maybe instead of Dark UX we should call it a scam.

Oh, and also, I like people to think a lot. I like decisions to be deliberate and informed. Saving time and effort is sometimes crucial and also sometimes comfortable and that's fine too. I wonder anyway, in many cases, what are we actually doing with the minutes we save by not having to read what the icon button says and if it's actually our lives that those things are making better.

Look! I think I actually finished on one sitting. Reader, if you exist, have a lovely saturday.


November 24, 2023

I'll use this page to braindump thoughts I have about my job that are not popular at my job. Will probably arrange it in proper posts in a bloggy fashion but not tonight. I should sleep soon and Im writing from bed. So today it's going to be just some notes and maybe I'll elaborate on them some other time

  • Not every problem can be solved throwing an app to it and some problems have already been solved brilliantly centuries ago. To know if your project is helpful consulting the people who work and/or study the field you want to "disrupt" and the users you want to "help" should be a must.
  • All of us in this industry are a Theranos waiting to happen. No, I won't elaborate today.
  • Every single one of your DEI statements or policies start to smell weird when accesibility is deprioritized. Also when working long hours and overtime is seen like a necessary evil. It leaves people behind.
  • There totally can be software emergencies. If your software is making planes crash, or not allowing people to access healthcare or draining people's bank accounts causing mass panic and peril... that's an emergency. A company losing sales for one hour is not an emergency. An ad campaign not returning the expected value? not an emergency. A game launch has to be delayed? not an emergency. The arrow button looks weird? You know what I'm going to say.
  • In the best case scenario most of us will reach old age one day. And I hope we're not treated the way the IT industry treats old people. You may also someday struggle to catch up with technology. If you're working on it now, the non-savvy user should be considered too. Also the user that's not accustomed to your hip and cool communication style. And for gods sake, companies, hiring people over 30 is not gping to make you explide. I promise.
  • Not giving an user any access to the chance of communicating directly with an human person or hiding that option as much as you can is plain mean.
  • It's immensely sad that the only way some companies can be convinced to do the minimum effort to be decent is by stating it by law. At the same time, stating things by law is important and necessary in all cases. Speaking of which rights should never be confused with "benefits".
  • Cult practices should not be applied on workplaces... nor anywhere. Can't believe I even have to say this.