Notes

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  • 2020

    • Oct

      • 24

        • 10:33

          I continue to hold out hope that Apple will ship a 14″ laptop redesign akin to the 16″ they released last year — perhaps with the ARM transition. I love my 13″… but it’s just a hint too small.

      • 22

      • 21

      • 13

        • 20:15

          The iPhone 12: in which Apple finally returns to the best form factor the phone ever had. (And the Mini is closest to its best incarnation: the original SE.)

      • 12

        • 19:58

          After spending a year in aperture priority, I finally graduated this evening to manual mode with automatic ISO. It’s lovely. (And the Sony α7R IV, which I first tried out via rental exactly a year ago, is still just the best.)

      • 11

        • 17:30

          What I actually want for my website: an opinionated(-but-matches-my-opinions, of course) site generator written in Rust which acts like a static site generator but has a tiny server with a tiny CMS and uses Glimmer for its templating engine.

    • Sep

      • 30

      • 24

        • 09:21

          Every so often, I try to switch back to Sublime Text from VS Code, because Sublime is so much faster and lighter-weight. But the feature gap is just too big at this point. What I still — desperately — want: an editor with Code’s extensibility, but truly Mac-native and fast. (Onivim and Nova: both interesting, but not quite there in various ways.)

      • 23

        • 19:53

          Finally finished the Ruby chapter in Seven Languages in Seven Weeks and started into the chapter on Io… and am reminded why Io delighted me so much from the first time I encountered it half a decade ago. It’s just so incredibly elegant!

      • 22

        • 20:15

          I spent more time on this ~2,000-word post than any I’ve published in the last year. Net, I probably wrote around 8,000 words to get it down to the correct 2,000 in the end. And I’m still barely satisfied with it. Writing, people.

      • 20

      • 16

        • 20:02 — 

          Mere Orthodoxy — “defending nuance and word counts on the internet since 2005” and my favorite Christian publication anywhere period at this point — has launched a Kickstarter! I’m proud to have been published in its pages a few times over the years, and hope that this crowdfunding campaign succeeds such that I can actually be published in its physical pages in the years ahead.

      • 11

        • 08:37

          I miss Bee. Jira Cloud is fine, not great… and doesn’t work with Jira Server. le sigh

      • 07

        • 15:54

          Podcast pet peeve: interview hosts who talk over their guests, and don’t even bother to smooth it out with a light edit. It makes it really clear you’re not actually editing at all, and frankly shows a lack of respect for both the guest and the listeners!

    • Aug

      • 30

      • 29

        • 12:50

          On the defense (mounted too often) of someone’s ill behavior online that I know this person in real life and he’s not like this”: the internet is part of real life and what you do online is inescapably a part of your character.

      • 22

        • 11:27

          A reader replied to my previous note and informed me that Laravel’s Blade templates have components with slots” built in. Good for Blade! Now we just need everybody else to catch up…

      • 21

        • 16:35

          We really, really need server-side template languages to catch up to, you know, 2014, where components are a thing and you can do this:

          <Quote @src={{this.book}} @loc='p. 123'>
          Look ma! Content *within* a *component*!
          </Quote>
          

          Nunjucks/Jinja macros are the closest I’ve seen and… they’re not even close in terms of expressivity. This is why people build things with React/Vue/Ember/etc. just for server-side stuff: because the DX is miles ahead.

        • 09:20

          I’m ridiculously excited to sit down and listen to the whole of Christopher Tin’s newly-released To Shiver the Sky — an album I backed on Kickstarter back in early 2018. Worth the wait? YES.

      • 19

        • 21:06

          Almost fifteen years since the first time I encountered an RSS feed (and therewith XML), I actually spent the time tonight to learn what <![CDATA[...]]> is.

          Related: I believe I have (finally!) finished fixing my Atom feed output all the way. 😅

        • 09:42

          I can’t really listen to podcasts or watch talks and work at the same time. I also can’t watch talks and walk or run at the same time. What I can do is listen to talks and walk or run at the same time. But there are a lot of great talks I want to learn from!

          Solution: youtube-dl plus Overcast Premium’s file uploads feature. Boom.

      • 13

        • 13:54

          I just tried to switch to Slack and ask a colleague a question, and I could not for the life of me figure out why it wasn’t working: everything else I hit was.

          …then I remembered that I blocked Slack for the next hour and a half so I’d stay focused. 😂

      • 08

        • 17:36

          Finally decided to pick Seven Languages in Seven Weeks. I guess I’m finally going to have to spend more than twenty minutes with Ruby. 😅 (I’m mostly excited about Prolog, Clojure, and Haskell.)

        • 09:29

          Trying out something new this weekend: spending some time doing a weekly review, along similar lines to what Ben Kuhn does… if a bit more limited on the time allocated to the review.

      • 06

        • 08:13

          GitHub desperately needs better tools for conversations on issues, pull requests, etc. The new Discussions are a good start — but not enough. Give us threading, for goodness’ sake!

      • 04

        • 21:46

          Started reading Mary Midgley’s Evolution as a Religion for the September episodes of Winning Slowly. This is going to be quite the ride.

          (Let’s just say that her grasp on the problems of evolution-as-religion is better than her grasp on the nature of religion itself.)

      • 01

        • 13:57

          I find it incredibly annoying that Kobo audiobooks (unlike Audible?!) do not allow you to load the books you’ve purchased onto an MP3 player. WHYYYYYY?

    • Jul

      • 31

        • 20:32

          Reading Eric Gregory’s Politics & The Order of Love at the recommendation of an internet acquaintance. I’m… cautiously hopeful?

      • 30

        • 06:40

          Reda Lemeden, from whom I got the idea of This Week I Learned in the first place, on his own experience of the same challenges:

          But I remain convinced this is a habit I’d like to keep — if anything, it helps me rebuild confidence in my ability to follow through commitments of this kind.

          I had to make different choices by circumstance, but intellectual work as a kind of discipline is something I cannot affirm more heartily.

      • 28

        • 18:40

          Got our daughters iPods Nano — pre-touch screen! — and it’s delightful to watch them learn how to use this old” technology.

      • 25

        • 14:21

          For the technically minded among you: I just made some small tweaks to the site’s design… and you should note that you can always see what I’m up to and why by just reading the Git history.

      • 18

        • 07:12

          As I’ve been working working to build this site into something flexible and robust enough to handle all the kinds of things I want to do with it, I keep coming back to wanting to be able to define custom content types, and to easily compose them together. Markdown is great as a text authoring format, but it’s not rich enough for many things we do.

      • 17

        • 06:40

          If your love” for God or his church church leads you to scorn the ordinary Christians you know… you actually love something else. Idolatry comes in many guises.

      • 16

        • 12:30

          A thing about Apple Music that I absolutely hate: when you click Play on a recommended album or playlist, it changes the other recommendations. What if I wanted to try more than one of these?

    • Jun

      • 28

        • 15:59

          In semi-related news: my fingers are remembering how to play somewhat more complex things on the piano again, and it’s been really, really good for my soul.

        • 15:53

          Just published the last issue of my newsletter. It’s been a great run, but time to focus on other things — not least so I can actually finish some of those other things!

      • 27

        • 18:25

          This year’s updates to SwiftUI have me actually a little happy I didn’t make more progress on rewrite over the last year. The story is much, much more complete and robust. Hopefully I can use it to build that much more quickly this year.

      • 19

        • 17:00

          I was hoping for a pleasant afternoon implementing a markdown-it plugin for line blocks” to support poetry. It was… not a pleasant afternoon.

          markdown-it is fast, but between its API design (:shudder:) and its mostly-missing docs (:sigh:) it’s terrible to work with. I quit.

        • 13:00

          Honestly, seriously wrestling with the fact that I’ve made a little progress on the rewrite web app this year and no progress on the iOS app this year. How the heck am I ever going to finish this thing at this rate?

      • 15

        • 15:08

          On the American political parties today:

          When someone walks up to me and asks, So who do you serve, Moloch or Mammon?” my answer is and must be — very simply — “Neither.”

      • 14

        • 17:50

          Making good diagrams that work well across screen sizes and in both light and dark mode takes a really astounding amount of work. (The essay for which I discovered this only manages the light/dark mode part of that and it was still kind of ridiculous!)

      • 07

        • 21:03

          Back at my week-level bullet journaling. It’s always helpful (even when I don’t get through everything on my list); I just need to make it stick!

    • May

      • 24

        • 11:46

          It astounds me that there is no text editor on iOS which gets everything right (like syntax highlighting) for writing about programming, and in fact none which do everything right on modern iOS, including keyboard and now pointer support, Files support, and syntax highlighting.

      • 17

      • 16

        • 09:00

          Status: I’m back to desperately wanting my own site engine. 11ty is incredibly flexible, and that’s great… but it gets slow very quickly if you’re generating large amounts of output. I will not shave this yak. I will not shave this yak. I will not…

      • 13

        • 20:27

          Next thing I’m thinking about with rewrite (while trying not to over-think): design systems! I want to build this in a scalable, maintainable way.

        • 08:11

          Last night I threw away almost all the build config I’d been blinded by this spring while working on rewrite: webpack config, TypeScript integration, you name it. What I have left: a simple bunch of npm scripts that I can run in parallel in different terminal sessions:

          {
            "scripts": {
              "clean": "rm -rf dist/*",
              "build:static": "cp static/* dist",
              "build:css": "sass --load-path=./node_modules src/style.scss dist/style.css",
              "watch:css": "sass --watch --load-path=./node_modules src/style.scss dist/style.css",
              "build:elm": "elm make src/Main.elm --output dist/app.js",
              "watch:elm": "watchexec -w src 'elm make src/Main.elm --output dist/app.js'"
            }
          }
          

          It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done just fine for the things I’m actually working on — rather than things I’ll need eventually — and that’s exacty the right balance at this point.

      • 12

        • 10:15

          TypeScript: it’s regularly absurd or weird, and I am frustrated regularly by so many things about the type system… but nearly all of them come down in practice to this works this way because JavaScript and JavaScript developers.”

      • 10

        • 20:31

          A thing that has gotten way better since the last time I was messing with MIDI stuff: almost all hardware supports USB out now, instead of needing insane MIDI-to-USB adapters.

      • 09

        • 10:37

          Having used the iPad Magic Keyboard for a couple weeks now, and having typed on the one on the 16″ at a store a few months ago, I’m officially ready for this to be an external keyboard for my desktop Macs, too. It feels really good.

      • 08

        • 21:20

          Dear readers (and listeners-to-music!): I thought I had nothing to share from today’s composing… but I was wrong! I made some progress! If you saw the Day 5 post when it went up, pop back over and give the update a look’n’listen.

      • 06

        • 14:28

          Status: just emailed my old composition professor at OU asking for recommendations on orchestration books. ♬ The one class I really wish I’d taken while studying composition.

      • 05

        • 08:10

          A pain point for would-be readers with the way I’ve designed this site: there’s no easy way for people to subscribe to just one specific topic at present. I can generate per-topic feeds… but I’m already seeing painfully-rapid growth in build times.

      • 03

      • 02

        • 13:35

          Things fancy cameras cannot help with: setting your 𝑓-stop too low so you don’t get everyone in focus.

    • Apr

      • 29

        • 06:34

          New approach to goals: write a little every morning, work on rewrite a couple evenings a week. Trying to make massive amounts of progress is hard right now for a variety of reasons, but if I can make a little progress every week I’ll get somewhere.

      • 28

        • 21:07

          Apologies to folks who just got a bunch of posts in their feeds again. I finally figured out how to get Eleventy to treat my post dates correctly.

        • 20:45

          Weird but true: I really, really love writing docs. It’s always one of the most satisfying parts of any project for me.

      • 26

        • 09:00

          Between my new This Week I Learned entries, an interest in having all my notes in one place, and a desire to actually use my notes system more effectively I’m trying something new with my reading: notable things I read (and my comments on them) will now live in Bear instead of Pinboard. I expect this will help a lot with active review of my reading notes. (I may go ahead and do something I’ve thought about for a while and pull all of my Pinboard notes over to Bear, too!)

      • 25

        • 16:07

          I just updated the first entry in my This Week I Learned” series because I realized I’d left off a couple items I meant to include — the first items I bracketed for inclusion, in fact! What can I say? It was a long week. 😅

    • Mar

      • 30

        • 21:26

          Almost nothing makes me as irritable as tendentious or hagiographical histories. Don’t glamorize or villainize the people of the past: tell the truth.

      • 28

      • 25

        • 21:12

          Trying out cursor support on iPad OS 13.4 for the first time this evening, as well as having remapped Caps Lock to Ctrl (as it should be), and… the experience is simultaneously incredibly delightful and really, really weird. Weird in a good way, but weird.

      • 21

        • 17:21

          Perhaps the single most-broken thing in iOS’ Files app: the fact that you cannot specify a default app to open a file in. An arbitrary app wins. It’s infuriating.

      • 08

        • 19:42

          Status: working on figuring out how to wire up Elm and Rust-via-WebAssembly using webpack. I’ve spent the last four years in Ember and before that I was wiring up Gulp. So this is new. 😅

        • 16:13

          Quick Git tip: if you’ve manually edited your Git configuration file and removed a given remote, you may find yourself in a spot where you now have a bunch of branches associated with that remote… which you cannot delete. The only way (I could find) out of this problem was to re-add the remote, and then run git remote rm <the name of the remote>. That deleted the remote and all the references to its branches

        • 10:34

          Wanted: something like The Archive, but for iOS. Bear is beautiful and I love it, but I want my notes on disk because then I can do anything with them from anywhere — not just what one app can come up from. (And yes, a document object model like people dreamt of in the 90s would also solve this well, but for today I’ll take what I can get.)

          And yes, this is what I’m working on with rewrite.

      • 05

        • 20:46

          I’m not quite sure how this had never occurred to me before the last week or so, but I ordered some refills for my current favorite gel pen and it only at that point occurred to me that I could put those refills in a different pen case. 😂 At some point I’ll have to try that.

        • 14:35

          One of the critical things Jira gets wrong — besides just generally having pretty bad information architecture — is that it treats issues as a tree instead of a graph. But that’s often not how projects and tasks actually relate to each other!

      • 01

        • 18:09

          After digging in further: Zig is not doing quite what Rust is. It is an updated C, which eliminates some of the worst foot-guns, but fundamentally does not try to eliminate memory-unsafety… which profoundly disappoints me, even if I still wish Zig success.

        • 14:33

          Zig is the first language that I’ve seen which seems interested in seriously playing in the same space as Rust.

          And it does it in a substantially different way, which I like! It feels (reading docs) kind of like a doing the kinds of things Rust does but with C instead of C++ as its direct competitor.”

    • Feb

      • 29

        • 16:41

          I really, really wish GitHub had a slightly lower entry point for Teams/Organizations. I’d like to do everything for rewrite in a single organization on GitHub, rather than all under … but $25/month is frankly kind of steep for one developer. I’d be happy paying $10/month for just organization management, with the jump to $25 for supporting multiple developers. As is, though… GitLab looks appealing, whatever its other weaknesses.

        • 15:38

          This feels good. Substantial increase of January’s time and mileage… despite the fact that this ended up being something like the 4th snowiest February on record along the Colorado Front Range! I spent a loooooot of time running in the snow this month.

          image of February Strava stats, much higher than January's
        • 11:30

          A quick sketch of an idea which I hope to test out by the end of the day: the best way to handle responsive” routing in an Elm app — for a master-detail view where the master view isn’t visible when at a detail route on screens below a sufficient size — is to just use a port and send a message on screen size change.

      • 28

        • 20:03

          Parenting is without a doubt both the most rewarding and the most tiring thing I do, full stop, bar none. My daughters are amazing, and also they are full-fledged humans with all their own wants and needs… but still very little practice as yet at being humans.

      • 23

        • 17:25

          I’ve spent a good chunk of this afternoon working through and tweaking and fixing some things about this website, and as much as I like 11ty, at this point I would love to be doing this work in Elm instead. A tool like elm-pages seems very appealing.

          As for why: I just spend a lot of time sad about JS sorry bro that’s undefined stuff and templates being totally type-unaware. Even something like Gatsby + TS would probably be better here, but Elm’s rigor and top-to-bottom integration of types and rendered HTML and CSS would be a huge win for the way I build websites.

      • 20

        • 08:15

          I just got curious so I looked up: Winning Slowly has published 120 episodes in the last 6 years! Sloooow but steady (as is only right 😂). Averages out to ~20/year, which is surprisingly high given the last couple years, but we were churning them out fast those first couple seasons.

      • 19

        • 20:21

          This is, perhaps, a little odd, but: one of the little things I’m most excited about with Winning Slowly right now is that — at long last, and years overdue — we’re actually doing something with Patreon. We’ve had it, and had minor benefits for it for a long time. Now we’re taking it seriously: keeping it up to date, publishing extra materials there, etc. Crazy talk, I know!

      • 18

        • 13:20

          One thing that makes me eager to upgrade to the next-gen iPad when it comes out (…and I’m actually seriously contemplating the 12.9″ this time around) is how fabulous it is to be able to do the entire workflow for things like cameras on it with just normal cables.

          It is already my default device for photo editing (Lightroom on iPad is 💯) and I think it’s going to be my default for podcast editing after having done Winning Slowly 8.03 in Ferrite. (To anyone interested in podcasting, I’d absolutely recommend Ferrite over anything else out there at this point. The experience of editing a podcast with that app and an Apple Pencil is just phenomenal.)