A boxed MacBook Pro with M1 chip.
A boxed MacBook Pro with M1 chip.

Two days after Apple started selling the new Apple Silicon M1 Macs in their stores, I threw my nearly two-year-old 2019 MacBook Air and its charger into my backpack and marched to my nearest premium reseller* to embark on an exciting and only moderately expensive journey into the slightly unknown.

After a slightly awkward dialog at the shop where I had to clear up whether I was looking for “training” or “trade-in” (masks have a huge detrimental effect on accessibility, but not many talk about it), out I walked five minutes later with a brand new MacBook Pro 13" with Apple Silicon M1 under the hood. …


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I guess it’s a tradition now. Every year I sit down on a random December night, either before or after my birthday and reflect on my… fuck-ups. Depending on the scale of collateral damage each leaves behind, I then categorise them into successes and failures, the latter of which I learned over the years to regard as mere stepping stones to an eventual success. As my mom always used to say, every kick in the ass is a step forward, and if I go by that rule, eventually I’ll get there, wherever that is, so yay me.

In 2020 I realised, among other things of course, that I have a voice, and it’s a pretty unique one. I use humour the way I know how to, often unapologetically, overly dramatised and not rarely enough in convoluted sentences that trigger every breathing editor’s itch to put a full-stop literally anywhere in the sentence, just so I don’t lose 50% of my readers half-way. But hey, I learned to write, you learn to read, that’s how it works, right? Don’t shit on my style. I only blog because doing stand-up would give me a heart-attack, and I don’t know about you, but if I learned one thing this year, the year that half the world wants to forget, erase, annul and never ever remember, is that I want to live, and I like to live because good things do happen to those who wait, even if that involves waiting four excruciatingly painful years to see orange buffoons like Trump, lose. …


Sunrise on the Irish Sea showing the rays of the sun reflecting on the water.
Sunrise on the Irish Sea showing the rays of the sun reflecting on the water.
Howth Sunrise Hike 2020 by Attila Vágó

Turns out, the most used words of 2020 are not great words to remember. Between lockdown, furlough, self-isolate and social-distancing it would appear there’s not much else left to remember. According to my team-mate Graeme Taylor, however, the word that better represents this year is pivot, and it got me thinking, he is probably on to something.

Ole Kirk Christiansen pivoted from making furniture to building toys, turning Lego into an intrinsic part of generations’ worth of pop culture. Steve Jobs turned his unsuccessful NeXT vision and willed it into what Apple is today. Slack was never meant to be a business software company, but Stewart Butterfield pivoted and the success their game never saw was turned around, and propelled into one of the top valuable software companies today. And then there’s of course, Queen.


Two slices of toasted bread, a knife and some Nutella. A toast notification in the bottom right corner.
Two slices of toasted bread, a knife and some Nutella. A toast notification in the bottom right corner.

I love toast. For someone who loves toast, I have’t made one in 9 years but that’s because I don’t have a toaster, so I kind of have an excuse. But toast is great. A bit rough on the outside, soft on the inside, smells great in the morning, and goes well with anything! It’s a bit of a bummer that I don’t get to write about actual toast, but the UI component someone very “creatively” called toast.

The perfect web storm that brew the toast

The abridged version of the toast’s history is basically as follows. Mobile OS developers such as Android and iOS wanted to provide notifications to the users. The thing popped up from the bottom of the screen, a motion which was very similar of a toast popping up from the toaster when ready — so toast it was called. …


A ton of yellow rubber ducks with red beaks.
A ton of yellow rubber ducks with red beaks.

There are extremely few things in life that make me want to throw rubber ducks in unrestrained fury against a solid wall. It’s a short list that consists of dry burgers, Iron-Man dying (seriously, Marvel?!?), gin and tonic without enough gin, and the exotic yet completely inaccessible labelling of components on the modern web! I can’t deny that three out of those four are beyond first-world problems. That last one, however… I’d argue that’s as universal as it gets. Well, for anyone who uses the web that is.

Among the trillion other things I do with my life, accessibility audits are one of them. Just to provide a bit of context, an accessibility audit is basically yours truly trying to use the website or web app with a (number of) screen reader(s), running a bunch of AXE tests on it, verifying contrast, and navigating via the keyboard only. Running an audit for me is a little bit like a very good multi-sensorial play at the theatre — like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, for instance. It leaves you with a plethora of feelings. Running an audit is very similar. It’s fun, enlightening, jarring, and thought-provoking. …


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That’s a genuine question, believe it or not, and I almost find it surprising myself, asking it. There is no denying, having been a JavaScript-based developer for quite a long time now, I had my moments of unshakeable borderline religious belief that JavaScript will eventually take over a huge portion of application development. It’s already a multi-purpose language, and while snobs will call it “just a scripting language” — which it technically is — it has proven its versatility and approachability many-many times. On the web, on mobile (Ionic, React Native, PhoneGap, JQuery Mobile), desktop (Electron, Node-Webkit), embedded, etc. Purely objectively speaking, JS can do a lot, and has done so for nearly 2.5 decades now. Kudos to Brendan Eich and all the other key contributors. We all shall be eternally grateful! …


Pink Martini — Dream a Little Dream album front sleeve
Pink Martini — Dream a Little Dream album front sleeve
Pink Martini — Dream a Little Dream album front sleeve

I like Martini. It’s by far my favourite drink. It has a certain class, associated cinematic history, and to all my Untappd followers’ surprise, a tad more alcohol than any of the hundreds of beers I ever had the pleasure of trying. Having said that, I almost never have Martini neat. It’s always on the rocks and it never comes unaccompanied, which brings me to what this long-winded introduction into my alcoholic beverage consumption habits aims to preamble— Pink Martini, the band, the music, I grew up with.

Finding a Pink Martini LP in sealed mint condition in a shop is getting increasingly difficult. To find it at a bargain price of 9.99 that’s nearly unheard of, so naturally, I had to get it. “Dream a little Dream” while an unlikely contender for the best ever album they ever produced — in my soul that spot is already taken by “Splendour in the Grass” — it still very much fits the Pink Martini recipe: a sweet, soothing cacophony of emotions, cultures, decades and music styles. …


A stack of open books all over the floor.
A stack of open books all over the floor.
Photo by Natalia Für

Every decade or so I find challenging myself into becoming something, or at least making a decent attempt at it. Ten years ago it was becoming a software developer, and in 2019 pushed by circumstances and gentle nudges of my own curiosity and conscience I decided to take a serious crack at writing. You know — a novel.

Roughly a year later, I finished it, and can consider it my “pandemic success story”. While half the world was stockpiling bog-rolls, I was piling pages upon pages, which incidentally may or may not eventually become bog-rolls themselves, but that is entirely beside the point. Success, while some might argue, is primarily personal, and writing this book, this novel, was a personal endeavour to me. The prospect of it becoming a New York Times best seller, a straight to Amazon mediocrity, or an obscure limited edition of something that only my friends and that one weird person ever bought was mostly irrelevant, and it still is. What was infinitely less irrelevant though was my journey as a person, writer, and character throughout the writing process. …


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Stories. One after another. I mean that’s what songs really are, right? An artistic take on life expressed in no more than 8 characters. Sure they climb up and down the octaves like little ants on tiny ladders, but ultimately the poetry of sound is born out of just a handful of primitives. To think of it, it’s mind-boggling, to listen to it, it’s transporting. Someone else’s world, their stories, their feelings in your living-room. You find that they’re suddenly yours as well. You didn’t buy the rights to listen to her life when you handed over your hard-earned cash for that new Brandi Carlile album, nah, it’s far more than that. It’s a ticket to that special corner of her thoughts and soul. …


The author blurred out in an empty London street
The author blurred out in an empty London street

I guess, this is it. Every moment is a culmination of moments before. Like words, moments are singular, linear, progressive events all exponentially growing into increasingly both simple and complex constructs of time. Some we live, others we remember. Much of it, like the morning breeze or the evening sunset comes and goes, never to return and often never to become memorable. Tomorrow, it will be a different morning breeze, and a different sunset. Our home called Earth will not be in the same position, as neither will the entire solar system, as it was yesterday. …

About

Attila Vágó

Writer of code, blogs and things that live on the web. Pragmatic doer, Lego fan, Mac user, cool nerd. JavaScript and Flutter enthusiast. HMH.engineering editor.

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