Monthly Recap: February 2023

View of San Francisco from the Bay Bridge

Major updates

Trip to Carmel where we stayed in an AirBnB in the woods

  • No internet: board games, reading, sleeping early
  • Fortunately got back in time before the storm closed the roads

Tara’s school was off for a week, went to a great camp by Peninsula Youth Theater — and put on a short play at the end (“The reluctant dragon”)

Minor updates

  • Visited Treasure Island (finally, after over a decade of living here) for a friend’s 40th birthday party
  • Slightly better eat/sleep 🤞
  • Saw a bunch of snow on the peaks
  • Got an annual medical check-up done after a few years’ break (all good)
  • Visited Michael’s after many years with Tara — it’s still around and still a “craft-y wonderland”

Watched/read/made/listened

  • Gosford Park (re-watched) — discovered the music of Ivor Novello
  • Read “Digital Minimalism” (plan to practice some of that this year)
  • Tried out a family board game: Dragonwood
  • Knives out (re-watched)
  • And then there were none (the old version!)

Monthly Curations: February 2023

A 5Hz GPU in Minecraft
A 5Hz GPU in Minecraft

Dotfiles & Vim

My “dotfilesrepo is a decade old now, and it has been interesting to see a progression through

  • .vimrc (ye olde days)
  • init.vim (“modern” vim)
  • init.lua (All-in on Lua with NeoVim)

(is there a moral to this story? perhaps “don’t be surprised at how much practices and tools change over time”, and “try to identify things that don’t change”)

Observe

I had the opportunity to use this excellent tool/service/platform over the last month.

I won’t go into details about features etc (maybe later?) but the part that impressed me was how the core concept of breaking down everything into “resources” and “streams” was reflected at all levels.

It’s one thing to represent logs and metrics and so forth this way. It’s another thing to have it show up in how billing is handled, or diagnosis in response to support questions.

It is an example of a deep, recursive metaphor. I am reminded of “everything being a buffer” in Emacs, or “everything being an object” in Pharo, etc.

This comes up in other domains too — a tradeoff between this sort of uniformity and simplicity of structure, and a more “surface-level simplicity” that hides complexity of structure.

The latter can’t be extended, can’t be accessed or customized, but tends to win out (unfortunately) — so it is rare and pleasing to encounter something that can.

Tools for Thought

If you like “this sort of thing“, you should watch this talk by Mark Bernstein.

It talk isn’t a TED talk, it isn’t on StrangeLoop, but it might be the best overview of this area yet.

Touches on lost tools, lost ideas, some things you thought were recent but aren’t, etc.

Full set of slides here.

If you’re still curious, I’d suggest looking at his homepage, and plug the excellent tool that he’s been building and improving over decades, Tinderbox.

Some screenshots of slides1, to whet your appetite:

  1. Though, as he points out, given the pitiful computational power of that era, the ideas are much better than the way they appear as demos on old hardware.

Monthly recap (January 2023)

Street lamp at a park at dusk

Major updates

New year, new beginnings: joined a bunch of very interesting people doing very interesting work at Luminary Cloud

Minor updates

  • Dishwasher, dryer and a toilet all failed on one weekend and all had to be replaced; became a family fun event
  • On eating places nearby: bummed to find that Pastis closed down, mentally replaced it with La Boheme nearby. Also, discovered Fabrini’s as an alternative to Hobees
  • Cough/cold for a few days
  • Doing the Caltrain commute
  • A ridiculous amount of rain
  • Had a long library trip, and a very enjoyable at Tara’s school

Watched/read/made

  • Mitchells and the machines (I loved this — also had a good “technology lesson”)
  • Clue (the 1985 movie — surprisingly, Tara liked this too!)
  • Avatar (yes, watched it with 3-d in the hall)
  • Ivy & Bean (on Netflix … not a fan, the books are way better)
  • Wolfwalkers (enjoyable short animated film)
  • The Duke (one of those classic humorous/satirical/whimsical movies, highly recommend)