Gorilla Recap 3

4th installment of Gorilla Recaps. This week we had a look at the life of Vera Molnar, built a Linktree clone and pondered a bit about sketching as a practice. We read about micropayments on Twitter, and how to grow your newsletter.

Gorilla Recap 3
Pattern created with weighted random probabilities.

Hey everyone 👋 there's been quite a few new subscribers to the newsletter! Thanks for signing up and joining along for the ride! This newsletter goes out every Monday, and sums up everything Gorilla that's happened in the past week.

It seems that just like a work of art, a website is never really finished.

One of the posts from last week had quite a few quotes from other sources, which I included as screenshots. Visually that didn't really work well, hence I made this custom block-quote to make things a little bit more readable.

Readability has been my main concern with all of the changes in the past weeks; I want to make it as easy as possible for folks to digest the stuff that is post on the blog. Although there's some style guidelines that blogs should generally follow, they're not necessary applicable in every context.

For instance, you should use a font-size of 20px, larger fonts are easier to read. You should use serif fonts, because they're marginally easier to read as well. Line width shouldn't exceed 600px, or the text becomes hard to read. But now the text is so large and clunky that the user has to scroll every couple of lines, which is kind of bad when you're trying to explain something technical that requires a least a few sentences to be explained.

I feel like I've arrived at a balanced layout at this point. What do you think? Let me know if there's anything that could make the posts easier on the eyes.

Gorilla Articles

We got 3 posts in total this week!

As promised in last weeks newsletter, I published a post on Vera Molnar, with a specific focus on her earlier life and the events leading up to her working with computers for the first time. I learned a lot while researching, and had a lot of fun doing so feeling immensely inspired afterwards.

The Art of Vera Molnar 1947-1974
Vera Molnar is one of the pioneers of what we know today as Generative Art. She was one of the firsts to dare and use computers for the purpose of making art. In this article we have a look at her rich artistic career and how she paved the way for the computer artists of today.

For the Tech-Thursday post (let's call it Tech-Thursday shall we?), we have a look at how to build a little Linktree-like page where you can showcase all of your social media links:

Goodbye Linktree - Building a Beautiful Linktree Clone from Scratch
In this post we’ll learn how to build our own personal Linktree clone. Throughout, we’ll have a look at the CSS flexbox and how it can be used to create responsive designs. A complete example is included at the end.

As for Sunday, we have a little bit more of a philosophical piece on why Sketching with Code is a fundmanetally important practice!

I've recently gotten into a better headspace, fixed my sleeping schedule (sorta) and been able to put more thought into my sketches. I haven't spent much more time on sketching per se, but I've been trying to go to make the sessions really count when I do.

Which made me think of all the facets there are to sketching, and why it's an wrothwhile endeavour to pursue:

The Importance of Sketching with Code
Sketches are more than just little artworks that you hack together in your bedroom. They’re ongoing conversations that you have with the yourself and the machine. It’s important to explore them, gain new perspectives and ultimately contribute to something larger than yourself.

Gorilla Sketches

Initially, Blöck was actually supposed to be an animated piece. But I was under a bit of a time crunch, and wasn't able to figure it out. Blöck turned out fantastic however and I'm happy about that.

For the animation, I wanted the grid to expand and contract in a sort of organic manner. I tried a couple of things and found a method that I like, which actually doesn't need that many lines of code.

I also spent a considerable amount of time last week on pinterest, searching for inspiration and patterns. I came across this beautiul quilt by Bauhaus textile artist Gunta Stötzl:

A colorful quilt by Bauhaus textile artist Gunta Stötzl
Art quilt by Gunta Stötzl

I love it! The colors, the patterns, the composition. Everything about it just works for me. Now I need to know how this could be recreated a generative manner. Evidently, it's a grid, but how do we choose the color for each patch? When you create a physical quilt you probably start from one of the top corners and work your way downwards, and you make color selections based on previous colors. Some colors become more likely to be chosen others become less likely.

Can I emulate this with weighted random probabilities that determine which colors get select? Here's my experiment from yesterday:

It's nowehere near Gunta Stötzl's quilt, but I feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Interesting Reads

Twitter per post Micropayments

More news about Elon and his plans for Twitter. One of his ideas is a per article micropayments, basically paywalled content where people have the option to purchase single posts for a fee, instead of having to subscribe. The article debunks why this isn't a good idea and why it doesn't work.

<em>Micropayments</em>. Elon Musk thinks he’s got a “major win-win” for news publishers with…<em>micropayments</em>.
After all, who would news companies rather trust their revenue to than the guy who calls them a “relentless hatestream”?

Running a successful Newsletter

Since starting this newsletter last month, I've been actively looking into other newsletters, just to see what they're doing.

I came across Substack's Grow series, where they showcase some of the succesful writers on the platform and what they did to get to that point. Rob Henderson states that consistency and sticking to a schedule is one of the most important things:

Grow: How academic Rob Henderson spun a side hustle into a primary income by sharing his ideas
Rob Henderson is a faculty fellow at University of Austin who says Substack is a primary source of income and a testing ground for ideas and his forthcoming book

Three posts a week has been tricky but I'm slowly finding the groove of things, planning ahead is key!

The self-hating Web Developer

In a post from 2015 Joe recounts his career as a web dev and his falling out with the craft, because it was deemed to be a lesser form of programming. Towards the end of the post he summarizes his advice in one sentence: Find something that you think is interesting and pursue it both passionately and unapologetically.

The self-hating Web Developer by JoeQuery

Tip of the Week

This week I learned about the Flesch reading ease test. It's a way to measure how readable English text is and is calculated with the following formula:

The formula then produces a number that indicates how readable a certain text is: higher numbers mean it's more readable, lower numbers are less readable.

There's this online tool with which you can crawl your blog and check how readable each one of your pages is:

Music for Coding

Discovered this one in the recommended section while listening to Hyakkei's Okurimono album from last week. TOTORRO is an Mexican instrumental math rock band:

And that's it for me this week! See you on Thursday! Cheers and happy sketching!