• The rain season officially ended. Gone is a month of rainy weather cool-ish weather and here are blue skies and 30+ degree weather. That’s still a good 10 degrees cooler than Houston summers, but you’re outside / exposed to it more in Japan than in the US so it feels hotter. Autumn, please hurry.
  • Went to Handy, a Home Depot-lite over the weekend and picked up some new storage and picked up a cooler to use this summer. Trips to Ayase are always fun because the streets are so wide and there’s a lot of green, it reminds me of being in the US. Looked at the BBQ’s – really thinking about getting one. Since we have a farm and a field next door for neighbors on one side, BBQing out front shouldn’t be a problem.
  • I read an interesting article It’s time to start writing. It’s mostly about how Jeff Bezos and Amazon have banned PowerPoints and has a culture of writing instead. Writing has two benefits: it clarifies your thinking and it creates a history of why decisions were made. Clarity through writing is something I think of a lot at work lately as I’ve been writing more specs and documentation.
  • Justin linked me to an article from a decade ago called Stop trying to delight your customers. The title alone has some solid advice in it. People use your service because it saves them time/money/provides value – not because it causes delight. The focus on “providing delight” vs solving a problem causes a lot of startups to miss their product market fit. You don’t need a whizzbang SPA to start when a simple server-rendered form will solve the problem. Expectations of software has risen in the past decade, but if your app solves a painful enough problem your customers won’t care if it has some rough edges.

I rarely finish books that I start reading. Usually I’ll get what I need out of it, plan to finish it, and start a new book in the mean time. Some may shake their heads in disbelief, but I don’t think this is a problem.

While I feel like retain “a lot” of what I read, a few months down the like and I usually only remember the gist. I’m wondering if I couldn’t retain more details if I were to take notes when I read. Writing down notes physically on paper is an option, but transcribing them so I can easily reference them becomes a burden. My handwriting is also horrible as I write with paper so rarely.

One thought that comes to mind is to setup a personal wiki where I can just store anything and everything, including notes on book and articles that I read. I could easily link/categorize content. I don’t necessarily want to make everything I read and write fully public and managing which page are private, which are public could become a chore.

The other thought is, I have this blog why don’t I just write what I learn here. Start interspersing notes about books / magazines that I read here on this blog. It should help me retain more of what I read as well as help people discover new and interesting topics.

Used the Suica on my Apple Watch to pay for parking the other day. Felt like pure magic and reduced the stress of finding change/putting change in my wallet. Can focus on driving. ❤️

  • With a couple of public holidays lined up, we had a 4-day weekend. While the covid numbers aren’t spiking in Kanagawa too much, it still doesn’t feel safe to go out and about We mostly kept close to home.
  • I got a haircut for the first time since just before covid started. Everyone wore masks (as you’d expect, this is Japan after all), not much talking (woo!), and a shave to boot. Even in normal times I don’t like going to the barber, but I’m always happy I went and wonder why I don’t go more often right after I finish. Humans are funny.
  • I just found out about Svelte this past week. It’s been a revelation for building reactive apps. Moving reactivity from runtime to compile time is so smart. Rich’s talk Rethinking Reactivity is really worth a watch if you do any frontend development.
  • To learn Svelte, I’ve started to build a small app with it that I’ve been wanting for a while: A photo blogging client using IndieAuth/Micropub. So far I got the basic layout (using Tailwind.css) and the IndieAuth workflow setup. Once it’s ready y’all be the first to know.

Podcasting is perhaps the last bastion of the open web. Where the distribution system isn’t centralized into a single large tech company’s systems. Yes, those big tech companies run directories, but they’re all powered by the same open technology under the hood – rss. Which is quite surprising as Podcasting was popularized by Apple and the iPod. One might argue that the Apple of the early 2000’s is different than the Apple of today and they’d be right. But despite the podcasting boom, they don’t seem to have any interest in closing the podcast kingdom.

I want to help the health of the open web with the next service that I build. While I try to figure exactly what that service will be, I do what I can to help by blogging and mostly syndicating what I write to social media.

Building a service around podcasting or starting a podcast may seem like the simplest way to help reinforce the open web and build a fun new service. But I’m not a podcaster and, most importantly, the world needs another audio blog by a white 30-something software engineer as much as I need a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

But the open web doesn’t need a new service to make it strong again. It’s easier today than ever before to setup your own site using open source software and start publishing. What it needs is more people participating. More people. Writing more. In more places.

Blogs didn’t die because Google killed reader. Blogs died because people starting posting their content on social media and not their own site.

And so, to help the web, I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing this past year. I’ll think. I’ll read. And I’ll write. But under my own domain.

Apple has made an announcement that by 2030 they’re entire business, including the Macs and iPhones you purchase will be carbon neutral. This is a great step in the right direction and I’m glad to see Apple taking the lead.

Sometimes I get disappointed with macOS and think that my next computer may be a  Thinkpad running Linux. But it’s moves like this that help keep excited about supporting the company. Between the ARM Macs and climate change leadership, Apple’s future is looking brighter than ever.

  • I don’t think I’ve seen the sun in over a week and the forecast is for rain and clouds for the next week. This isn’t a complaint because once the rainy season is over it’ll be hot basically all the time. (Update: Saw some blue skies and it’s hot 🥵)
  • I watched a french documentary called Antifa: Chasseurs de Skins. It’s about the anti-fascists in Paris who fought the neo-Nazi gangs in the 80’s. You can watch it here.
  • Sent in my FPCA (Federal Post Card Application) so I can get an absentee ballot this fall. Thankfully I can submit it all by email. With sending mail to the US being difficult / delayed right now, I worry a bit about sending in my actual ballot this fall.
  • I ran for 30 minutes for the first time in a while. It’s still cool enough to run with a mask on. Using some nice homemade masks that my MIL made me so they’re not hot.
  • In a discussion on writing engaging technical content on HN, someone linked to a lecture from the University of Chicago about writing outside of academe. The crux of the message is: those rules you were told about writing (use short sentences, don’t start sentences with “and”, or “but”, only use active verbs) don’t make sense and are anti-patterns. When you’re writing in school, you don’t think it, but you’re literally paying the teachers to read your work. Outside of school, your writing must provide some value to the reader or they won’t read it.
  • Three-day work week this week thanks to a couple of public holidays giving everyone a four-day weekend. Looking forward to having a couple extra days off, but not quite sure what to do with it.

I’ve been trying to master the tools I use on a daily basis better. Some of that is learning how to do things with them that I don’t know how to do them presently.  For example “validate and prettify this JSON”.  Usually it’s a quick trip to some json linting service online, copy/paste/validate. I know it can be done locally and I’ve done it locally in the past, but muscle memory takes time to retrain. But if I can manage it one task at a time, I’ll be a pro in no-time.