Peter Lyons

Where I Get Tech News in 2024

June 29, 2024

I share links to tech articles and projects somewhat regularly in work slack, and a teammate recently asked how I keep up with industry pulse and trends. I'll snapshot my current resources even though it will quickly become outdated, but I also want to talk a little bit about the how things changed drastically in the last two years or so.

So the basic narrative is:

  1. I got pretty deep into node.js back end development between 2011 and 2018 and was very dialed in ~2016
  2. Things changed after COVID and after ZIRP with twitter, stackoverflow, and reddit all experiencing major permanent disruptions
  3. I have a new set of information sources now but it's unstable and chaotic and disappointing

My current somewhat disappointing setup

Key points here, more details below.

Noticeably absent from this suite of tools is any kind of RSS reader. I don't have one I like anymore and it's tragic. I'm also much more OK with keeping looser tabs on things these days as I have both a full-time job and a very involved side business running Focus Retreat Center so I just can't dial in like I did a decade ago.

A brief description of the peak circa 2018

Most of my tech news came from twitter and I followed a great set of accounts that meant almost every project, startup, product ever discussed in work slack or at a tech conference was something I had at the very least already heard about and most likely read a few paragraphs to have the basic elevator pitch. I'm sure at this point I could have named from memory 50 people active in the node.js ecosystem and mapped dozens of companies and relationships.

I had a very dialed-in set of RSS blogs subscriptions and used feedly extensively to track dozens and dozens of high-quality tech blogs.

I was very active on stackoverflow answering about 1600 questions mostly about node.js and used it extensively for technical problems but also for finding experts in particular topics and sometimes following them on social media directly.

I was on dozens of smaller slack communities affiliated with either specific meetup groups, specific industry groups like independent consultants or freelancers, particular topics of interest, etc. I didn't track all of these super closely, but I could scan across them periodically and find interesting stuff.

I went to conferences more regularly including 4 trips to Strangeloop, a couple of node.js conferences, a few rust conferences, and some for work. I belonged to many meetup groups and went somewhat frequently. I lived in Boulder at the time so the local tech scene was small but robust enough. I frequented Code & Coffee at Dojo4 and Github in Boulder.

Elon and enshittification

Elon ruined it. Twitter kind of imploded and the ads are now intolerable and it's way too much politics and arguing. I still have my account but very rarely read it and basically stopped posting. Several people I love reading still seem to only post to twitter and I'm basically waiting and hoping to find a better way to get their writing.

Reddit also had a meltdown right around the same time. I didn't really use reddit for tech stuff though. I know about a few subreddits but they were kind of a last resort for me, usually on very niche projects like awesomewm or hammerspoon. I did use it a ton for maker stuff and specifically /r/ergomechkeyboards. It went away when reddit leadership screwed with moderators/API leading up to the IPO circa 2023 and I never migrated to any of the proposed alternatives. It's kind of back to normal now but feels slightly less active.

Stackoverflow is kinda done and LLMs are mostly replacing it for coding work. It's still a useful repository knowledge base but I think it's mostly a read-only archive at this point.

Feedly got enshittified with bizarre UI, a steady stream of nonsense no one wanted nor asked for in what was at one point a polished, text-forward web app with excellent keyboard shortcuts. I bailed out when I literally could not understand the UI because it was so design-heavy bizarre with strange expand/collapse behavior and lost all its visual hierarchy. I have tried a bunch of terminal-based TUI RSS clients but they're all quite lacking. Even the oldest most mature ones would consistently crash for me on basic use cases. All the new ones in rust or go usually show some promise but have a long roadmap to build before they are conveniently usable. There probably is a good RSS reader out there but I have not yet found one or had enough time and motivation to re-curate a good blog feed.

I work from home and only do long drives every few weeks, so my podcast info is usually months old by the time I listen to it.

It's kind of sad at the moment. I would love to get another good RSS setup going and fill out my mastodon feed better, but time will tell.