Speed of Light Turns 10

Holy living fuck, my blog is ten years old today! That’s right, on May 1, 2010 I took the wraps off my new website and tweeted about it to make it official. Ten years and 686 posts later, here we are. To celebrate, I want to do a quick look back at ten of my favourite posts — kind of a greatest hits of the blog. They’re not necessarily the most popular posts on the site, more of a hitchhiker’s guide to my last ten years of writing.

  • The iPad Review, April 2010. Astute readers will note this post is actually from before the blog officially launched, but this was because I wanted to have a few meatier posts on the site before going public. There was a month or two where I beta tested the site privately with some friends before tweeting about it.

    This post was probably the first “good” post I wrote in that time, a lengthy and hearty review of what was at the time a pretty exciting device. I’d never written a review like this outside of school projects, so this was exciting new ground for me. (See also Thoughts on Thoughts on Flash for another post of similar vintage.)

  • Calca Review and Interview, July 2013. This post was a big deal for me, as it was the first one to get linked to by Daring Fireball, prompting me to quickly dissolve into an excited mess. At the time, my blog was pretty obscure and didn’t have many readers, but after this link? Well, it remained mostly pretty obscure and didn’t gain too many readers, but boy what an exciting afternoon.

  • Walking Around in My Thoughts, February 2016. This is it, this is the post, what I consider my favourite and perhaps the quintessential post on Speed of Light. Of all the words I’ve written on this site, this collection is the one I’m most proud of.

    It feels like all the writing I’d done on the site until this point only mattered so much as to bring me to this post. My writing until here served to sharpen my thinking skills, to explore my ideas with words. And that’s kind of the point of that post itself, actually: I was thinking through my writing, and I finally got to a point where those exercises bore fruit and I could distill the ideas into one post (er, two posts).

  • Don’t Kill Time, November 2012 and Don’t Kill Time 2, January 2017. These posts are maybe my two other favourite posts on the site, not necessarily because they’re my best writing, but because they express an idea that’s really stuck with me: time is precious and a lot of the tech world feeds and profits off it — to our serious deficit. Time flies when you’re powering surveillance capitalism, so don’t!

  • Writing Every Day March 2016. This post emblemizes an era of this site I like to refer to as the Great Writing Season of 2016, or more colloquially as “Jason’s gonna try to blog every weekday, indefinitely, and we’ll see how that goes.” In short, it went terrifically! For a few months in the Spring of 2016 I wrote more or less a post every weekday. They varied in topic, tone, length, and quality, but it was an energizing time for me as a writer. What started as a sizeable list of post ideas quickly became a wellspring of new areas to write and think about.

    In the time since, I’ve tried to recapture the stride I had in 2016, but I’m reminded writing is hard, and like all creative endeavours, it privileges those with the means, time, and mental wellbeing to devote to it. I just haven’t had that winning combination since.

  • Thoughts on Thoughts on Bret Victor’s Learnable Programming, May 2013. You didn’t think you were going to make it through a post about Speed of Light without seeing at least one mention of Bret Victor, did you? Ahh, 2013 was a good time to be a BV superfan. This was a fun post, summarizing and reacting to lots of reactions to Bret’s Learnable Programming essay. Eventually, this post landed me a job at Hopscotch!

  • Dynabook and the App Store, February 2015. You didn’t think you were going to make it through a post about Speed of Light without seeing at least one mention of Alan Kay, did you? In this post, I distilled much of my thinking about Alan’s work and vision, and why it’s so strangely misunderstood and misremembered. Sadly, I’m not sure the world has got the hint yet. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  • A Whimsical Walk Around Austin Kleon’s Brick Notes, August 2017. Frankly, I wish I did more of these sorts of posts over the years. It’s just me, describing a crapload of links I’d clicked on from a given starting point. Ambling on the web like this used to be one of my favourite things to do, back when people blogged about things and not everything existed on Facebook or Twitter’s servers.

  • How to Read a Lot of Books, October 2016. In recent years, this blog went from mostly tech posts, to mostly books posts, as I spent most of the last decade rekindling my love of reading books. This post was one of many book related posts with the sly goal of encouraging more of my tech friends to read more books (full books, on paper, including fiction, and ones authored by not-white-men). I don’t know if I ever changed anybody’s mind with this (or any other) post, but here’s one of my shots.

  • 1000 Books, November 2015. The first of many of a post I look forward to making every year: what books did Jason fall in love with over the past 12 months? I’ve been slowly cataloguing my reads on this site since 2015, as part of my life-long goal of reading 1000 books (since I started counting). I’m about 200 books in at this point, but this post chronicled my first year.

And there it is, ten of my favourite posts from my last ten years of public writing on this site. My style has changed, the topics have varied, but I’ve pretty much always enjoyed doing it.

If you’ve been a reader since the start, since today, or any time in between, I want to sincerely thank you and I hope you’ve enjoyed it thus far.

Speed of Light