This past week was the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. I found this article “Hiroshima” on the New Yorker that goes into detail about the actual experiences of survivors in the days and weeks afterwards and it’s sobering. Not just because of single event, as they’re all sobering, but the sheer volume.

It’s a long read (~100 pages) and well worth your time. What’s more is that it’s not based on long-ago recollections. This article was originally published in August 1946.

  • I gave a presentation about towncrier, a utility to help generate changelog files in Japanese. Summary of the talk is as follows: For each branch that you’re working on, you create a changeling file e.g. 12345.feature.rst. When you run towncrier it will group changelog files based on the type (feature, bug fix etc…) and prepend it to your changelog file. Having those changelog files in your branch makes managing multi-branch staging/test branches. And since you can put whatever you want in the content of the changelog file, you can add release instructions, which makes manually/semi-automatic deploys easier.
  • On my run on Monday morning, I ran towards Sakaigawa river. I used to live on the other side of it and run along it regularlly. I was hoping to run on it longer than I did, but it was about 0.5 – 0.75km further than I had anticipated to get there. On the way back, one of the houses close to the river’s rooster started crowing. I’m sure the neighbors love that.
  • Went to Ikea by car for the first time. Still getting used to Japanese highways and learning where lanes come and go, so it’s always an adventure. The cafe was as busy as ever, but they didn’t have any meatballs :(. Slowly getting used to the ACC (adaptive-cruise-control) and LKA (lane keep assist) on my Honda Freed. ACC and LKA combined and it drives itself down the road. Looking forward for this all to be over so can do some road trips.

  • 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.