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Links #115

Vadim Kravcenko on aging code and the wisdom of old code. This was really good, and it’s not a viewpoint I see often. “The longer your code has been around, survived different cataclysms (read: business pivots), and evolved, the more robust it is. The team that has built it before you had time to debug, to optimize, to improve — the code has accumulated years worth of bugfixes that are in places you cant even imagine.”

Amy Harris on being “a single and childless woman in a church that is so focused on marriage and child-rearing.” A good perspective on family.

Daniel Huffman on making Blender relief maps less Blender-y. I’ll admit to liking the aesthetic of those maps, but that’s looking at them as art; from a cartographic angle, yes, it’s a bit much. This also made me want to make more maps in Blender.

Loz Blain on an underwater bicycle. Cool.

Mandy Brown on the practice of bookending your work days. I’ve done something vaguely similar to this (well, half of this) and it’s been helpful. I think one of the most helpful techniques I’ve adopted at work has been keeping a log of what I work on. When I come back the next day, or even just from lunch, it’s so much easier to pick up where I left off. Externalizing memory makes context refreshes smooth.

Jonathan Beebe on how JavaScript got good. Yep. I really enjoy writing JS these days.

And I’ll like it even more if this do expressions proposal makes it into the language. I’ve wanted this (instead of those awkward nested ternaries) for a while. Hope it happens!


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Links #114

Chris Burnell on an /interests page. Cool idea. I’ve added one. (I have a small list of my interests listed on my about page, but I like having more space to talk about things — even though it carries an increased risk of becoming exceedingly boring.)

Tracy Durnell on how developing taste requires intentional attention. I especially like the push/pull idea. And other people’s recommendations are how I find pretty much all the books I read these days.

Modal, a programming language based on string rewriting via substitution rules. A little mind-bending.

Anna Andersen on how some people ended up accidentally running for president of Iceland. UX matters!

Alin Panaitiu’s woodworking projects. Every once in a while I think about ditching tech and becoming a carpenter instead. The fact that I haven’t built anything with wood since I was seven has not stopped me from thinking this.

Jan Nicklas’s text-box-trim examples. Ooh. I like this. I hope browser support comes around.

Michelle Barker on using color-mix to generate shades of grey. Cool. I need to spend some time playing around with newer CSS features.


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Things on my mind #11

  • The length of the list of books I want to read: so incredibly long and growing longer almost every day, all while the number of days I have left on this earth continues to shrink. I’m more aware of this than ever. I’ve started making lists of books I want to make sure to read before I die. (I will add here that I have no reason to believe my death is imminent.)
  • I need to get outside more often. It feels good.
  • For a while I was stalled on reading The Power Broker and Shift Happens (because of length, and because they’re physical books and I’m not as good at reading long physical books these days), but then I set myself a goal of ten pages per day per book and it has made all the difference.
  • I got a Boox Palma. I tried to like it. I failed. I returned it. The resolution was noticeably worse than on my Kobo Libra, I couldn’t find an app that gave me what I wanted (page numbers + custom fonts), I didn’t like the fiddliness of it being a full tablet, and after a handful of page turns it looked like a bad photocopy. I still read on my phone 99% of the time, but the Kobo Libra is the best ereader I’ve found so far.
  • A mouth is kind of like a third hand sometimes.
  • A few weeks ago I retypeset my “Will I Leave a Legacy?” song in MuseScore. Way fun. I like typesetting music.
  • Gathering these thoughts into a single post (vs. writing individual posts) means I’m less likely to go deeper into any one of them, especially in this list format, where I’m effectively constraining myself to a single paragraph per topic. Maybe I should go back to smaller posts.
  • Thinking about whether I should start writing weeknotes on here again. (I see weeknotes as different from these things-on-my-mind posts, though I realize there’s often some overlap.)
  • I hit my first year mark at Planet Labs.
  • Apparently LOTR isn’t on my reading log, which surprised me. I must have read it before I started tracking. Thinking about reading it again, partly because I want to read it as an adult and partly to have it on the reading log.
  • Periodically I wonder how I can do more good in the world. I don’t know what the answer is. My brain wants it to be some kind of project, something I can make, but I suspect most of the time it’s more in the vein of being kind to those around me and mourning with those who mourn and offering a listening ear. The good news: I can do that regardless of how flared up my back is. (Because the back pain does limit what kinds of projects I can work on.)

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Links #113

Molly White on the good old days of the web. Life outside the walled gardens is nice and relaxing.

Terence Eden on what a blog post is. Yep. Makes me wonder what other forms of posts are out there in the possibility space.

Ash Huang on how she drafts a book. Something like this might be a good fit for me.

Rachel Kwon on technology. “Sometimes it feels like being able to take photos so easily means we also end up creating a lot of lower value photos that don’t take up much physical space but do take up mental energy to delete, deduplicate, etc.” Managing family photos: something I feel is super important but I am also not very good at it. (Currently using a folder for each month, and I rarely dedupe or delete photos. I back up [not regularly enough] both to local external hard drives and to Backblaze B2.)

Stephen Band on typesetting responsive sheet music with CSS Grid. Interesting.

Maria Farrell and Robin Berjon on rewilding the Internet. Late to the party on this one, but it’s good and still very much worth reading.

Oliver Burkeman on generative AI and human connection. This is good. I agree.


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Four new art pieces, including one at the end for Mother’s Day.

Follow Thou Me:

Follow Thou Me

That Ye May Stand Spotless:

That Ye May Stand Spotless

That It May Turn to You for Your Salvation:

That It May Turn to You for Your Salvation

I’ve a Mother There VI:

I’ve a Mother There VI

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Links #112

Cory Dransfeldt on personal websites. I don’t think I ever get tired of reading about personal websites, to be honest.

Rachel J. Kwon’s collection of articles about personal websites. “A collection of articles that to some degree answer the question ‘Why have a personal website?’ with ‘Because it’s fun, and the internet used to be fun.’”

Evan Bush on new research suggesting that birds and mammals are probably self-aware, and several invertebrates, too. I don’t know how well-established this all is (perhaps it’s been debunked), but vegetarianism certainly does sound a bit more appealing now.

Richard Holman on doing something daily. The times I’ve actually finished writing stories have almost always been when I’ve had a daily regimen, whether that’s a word count goal or a set number of minutes. Without the daily, I don’t write.

Alan Jacobs on rational choices. “The intellectual/political monoculture of the modern university leads to an intellectual/political monoculture in the major media companies, and when you combine that with the many ways the internet has disrupted the economic models of all the arts, you get a general environment in which interesting, imaginative work is not just resisted, it’s virtually prohibited. All the incentives of everyone involved are aligned against it.”

Henrik Karlsson on thinking through writing. Some useful advice.

Veronique on blogging frequency. “There’s this part of me that always feels like I’m bothering people if I blog every day.” Same here. I also liked the quote from Winnie Lim: “instead of always feeling so hesitant because i feel so weird, i am just going to focus on being the fullest version of myself.”


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Booknotes 3.10

Nonfiction

  • The Disappearing Spoon, by Sam Kean (2010), about the periodic table. Enjoyed the heck out of it. Fascinating throughout, with lots of interesting history about the discovery of various elements and other tidbits.
  • Beauty Sick, by Renee Engeln (2017). An important corrective to my mental model, with what seems like good advice on what to do and what not to do.
  • A Molecule Away from Madness, by Sara Manning Peskin (2022), about cognitive neurology. Also fascinating and hard for me to put down. Maybe not as great for my hypochondria, though. But still very much worth reading.

Fiction

  • Children of Ruin, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (2019, science fiction), second in the Children of Time trilogy. It’s been five years since I read the first one, so my memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I think I liked this one about the same. Looking forward to Children of Memory. (And Tchaikovsky remains one of my favorite writers. I’m delighted that he’s so prolific.)

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Four new hymn prints, experimenting with some new styles.

Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace hymn print

I Am a Child of God:

I Am a Child of God hymn print

Silent Night:

Silent Night hymn print

Come, Follow Me:

Come, Follow Me hymn print

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Links #111

Rachel Andrew on her aphantasia. Fascinating.

Aaron Francis on doing literally anything. I’ve found this to be true. Spending even a single minute on a project is often enough to get momentum to keep going.

Microsoft has open sourced MS-DOS 4.0. Ah, nostalgia. I can’t remember if I started with version 4 or 5, but it was around that time.

Robin Rendle on displaying language-specific quotes in CSS. Cool. I didn’t know about this.

Ben Abbott (a friend from high school) on stewardship of the Earth. “The first law of ecology is that everything is connected to everything else. As it happens, this is not unlike the first of God’s laws.” Agreed.

Étienne Fortier-Dubois on colonizing other planets and cultural diversification. Enjoyed this.

Jay Hoffmann on what he calls the analog web. “These websites don’t exist with any necessary agenda. They are handmade, and at times, even a bit weird. But they represent a person in some way; an interest, an ideology, a hobby, or nothing more bold than a point of view. Because they are distinct and imperfect, these sites can resist the wave of generated content heading our way.” I really love the analog web (or the indie web or the smol web or whatever you want to call it).

Andy Allen and Thomas Williams on sound design in software. Fun. Working on the web, I don’t usually get to do anything with this, but I think I’d like to.

Jason Kottke on Francine LeClercq’s cross-stitched CCTV footage. Love this. I’ve long wanted to play around with doing a cross-stitch implementation of some of my symbolic religious art.

Jules Bernstein on a new vaccine strategy from UC Riverside that looks promising. Oh, I hope this works out.


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Four new art pieces, with style experiments on some of them.

Come unto Christ II:

Come unto Christ II

In Your Mind and in Your Heart III:

In Your Mind and in Your Heart III

Into the Mount Oft:

Into the Mount Oft

Pray Always II:

Pray Always II

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