• The slugs for “The Week” posts are in the format “YYYY-WEEK_NUMBER”. The idea being I’ll be able to go back and see exactly what week #36 of each year was like. Nice and simple. I always thought there were 52 weeks and for the past few weeks I’ve been noticing that I was going to get 52 before January 1st. And indeed this post’s slug is 2020-53. Surely I must have fudged the numbers. Double checking with Python’s datetime seems to indicate that 53 is indeed, correct.
    Python 3.8.2 (default, Aug 25 2020, 09:23:57) 
    [Clang 12.0.0 (clang-1200.0.32.2)] on darwin
    Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
    >>> from datetime import datetime
    >>> datetime.now().isocalendar()
    (2020, 53, 1)
    

    The isocalendar documentation says that 53 is a valid value. I thought that maybe it was because this year was a leap year? Or had my teachers lied to me about the whole “always 52 weeks in a year” thing? They already lied to me about “i before e except after c” as a gospel of spelling which, turns out, is wrong just as much as it’s right. Even something like “52 weeks except when January 1st falls on Wednesday” or something equally half-correct half-the-time would have been nice. But I digress. According to the docs:

    The first week of an ISO year is the first (Gregorian) calendar week of a year containing a Thursday. This is called week number 1, and the ISO year of that Thursday is the same as its Gregorian year.

    TIL

  • I tried to visit my favorite Starbucks next-door in Fujisawa. When we pulled up, the parking lot was much emptier than usual and the drive-thru was closed. We’ve been pretty good about cafes (at least by my own judgement) – eating outdoors the vast majority of the time and not visiting places that are crowded. Turns out one of the staff came down with covid-19. Not worth the risk. The new strain seems to be spreading quite well in Japan at perhaps the worst possible time New Years, which spiritually like Thanksgiving is for Americans.

  • Christmas marked the last day of work for the year and until the 5th of January. Very grateful to have a week off. Leo got the Anpanman Language Field Guide Super Deluxe from Santa. It’s an illustrated book with a pen – and when you touch the pen on the pages Anpanman says what what’s called in English or Japanese. Each page has a different scene too e.g. in the city, around town, in the forest, the kitchen, or even body parts and the like.

    Leo had originally borrowed this toy from a friend a few months back and he played with it almost non-stop. Keeping Leo busy is nice, but more importantly it help increase his English vocabulary as well. Since borrowing it he would mention the toy at least once a week. Go Santa!

  • With a week off I’ve been thinking to blogging, privacy, data-ownership, and the indie web. I think I’ve come up with something that could be very cool. I’m a little afraid I’m going to end up building “the best custom setup for blogging” instead of “blogging” and just using WordPress, but it will scratch some itches. I don’t want to go into detail until I’ve built a bit more of it and proven the concept to myself and or have something to show.
My Unusually Normal Life in Taiwan Amid the Global Pandemic by Tim Culpan (bloomberg.com)
As videos circulated of rebellious Americans refusing the most basic of precautions under the pretense of freedom, Taiwan shook its collective head and nodded at what real freedom looked like: the ability to have a drink at a bar without fear of catching a deadly airborne illness.

I get this same feeling, even from Japan. I wish the government hadn’t let the Olympics dictate their lack of action – we could have been the same as Taiwan and New Zealand.

I’m not sure how much of it was “father of a toddler” and how much of it was “global pandemic”, but 2020 felt hard.

While I’ve been fortunate enough that work hasn’t changed for me – instead of going in to the office once a week (by choice), I just don’t go in to the office and I haven’t been to Tokyo since mid-February. We already communicated entirely with Slack with the only change being that people now hop into voice/video calls more readily than before. BeProud continues to be a fun place sling Python.

I started running regularly midway through the year with small gaps here and there. Thus far I’ve managed 64 runs totaling 317.6km. There’s still a week left and I’m 15km away from my 50km distance goal this month, so those numbers will increase a bit.

This year I started on a path for digital independence and to control my own data. I moved my email from a gmail account made a couple of months they opened to my own domain hosted with Fastmail. If Google were to lock me out of my account for whatever reason, I should be mostly unaffected.

After many years of having no blog and no home on the internet, last year I began experimenting with blogging/tweeting with micro.blog. I slowly remembered how much fun it is to have a home on the internet – somewhere that you can call your own. And this year I moved to a self-hosted WordPress (for now) blog. The community on micro.blog is great, so I still post there with my blog’s RSS feed.

I also started to try working in public more. I haven’t release anything yet, but I began collecting my notes, thoughts, and learnings here and in my notebook.

2020 also marks when I became aware of the impact of digital waste. As a web developer I’ve known that websites have been bloated for a while and it frustrates me to no end. But until this year (and thanks to Gerry McGovern I hadn’t connected was the link between data transfer and energy consumption. This led to me writing two articles: Designing Sustainable Digital Products and a guide for migrating your Digital Ocean droplets to sustainable regions powered by renewable energy.

This new awareness also led me to try and reduce the data-transfer and requirements from my own website. I made a custom theme that uses system fonts and minimal css (though there’s still too much).

Looking forward to the new year I’d like to double-down on low-energy blogging and websites. Not just for my own blog, but potentially as a service. I’ve started collecting my thoughts about how such a system could work to maximize privacy and minimize energy consumption in my blogging engine notebook.

Blogging makes the internet fun again and in 2021 I’d like to help people re-discover and remember that fun.

  • It’s not everyday a man goes to war, but this week started my war with the crows. I usually try to keep on good terms with them because crows are smart, their beaks are ginormous and I stand out – they know where I live. They started razing the trash.

    Like most trash areas in our neighborhood, ours is a collapsable green box made of green netting with an aluminum frame. Before we moved here a truck backend in to ours and broke / deformed our top. More over, most trash spots are on flat ground, our’s is on a small decline. With the decline unless the sides are square crows and pick at the trash from the gap between the ground and the frame. Since the truck hit our trash, when the box is square there’s a crow-size hole to let them come and go freely from the top.

    The provisions that the neighborhood associated put on helped – the panels tied to the netting kept the crows at bay. But they were just thin styrofoam and degraded after a couple of months. Rather than get more thing styrofoam that looks temporary, I took matters into my own hands. I found some nice hard plastic (like you’d make a lawn sign out of, but thicker) and tie-wrapped it to the netting so that it extends a bit beyond the frame closing most of the gaps. I’m happy to report we won the first battle. Let’s see how it continues to hold up.

  • I found Website Carbon Calculator and added their small bit of JS that calculates the carbon cost of each page load and displays it in a widget. It’s down at the very bottom with my recent checkins / categories and such. Check it out.
  • It’s almost Christmas. I’ve finished my shopping and everything that hasn’t already arrived should arrive in the next day or two. As has become tradition, I send my dad a BBQ’d brisket from Salt Lick. Expressing the cold pack of meat to Washington costs almost as much as the meat itself. I wish they shipped to Japan.
  • The last time I went to the Salt Lick was with my dad. We got the all you can eat, which doesn’t have any to gos. But somehow my dad managed to get a container of bbq to go, took it back with us to the hotel, put it in the freezer, and took it carry-on with him 5-hours back to Washington. Maybe this is where I get my sense of optimism, that anything’s possible if you just give a go.
  • We went to the beach for the first time in what feels like forever. Didn’t go in to the water, but just to enjoy the views. Winter Shonan is the best. The crowds from Tokyo are gone and it’s just locals and surfers – it’s great. We usually go with the entire family around the New Year. I think it’s because when we used to live in the US, we’d visit for the new year, and the one place we always missed was Shonan and Enoshima, so we’d always visit.
  • I’m thinking of moving Past Projects to the wiki. Moving into the wiki would keep in line with my digital garden concept. All listy type stuff goes into the wiki. On the other hand, this could become a blog + profile style site in the future (really just moving the blog off the front page), and in such a case keeping past projects with a similar style as the rest of the site is desirable.
How and why I stopped buying new laptops (LOW←TECH MAGAZINE)
Being an independent journalist – or an office worker if you wish – I always reasoned that I needed a decent computer and that I need to pay for quality.

This is article about How and why I stopped buying new laptops from Low Tech Magazine about reducing your environmental impact by avoiding the upgrade cycle and using your old (or used) laptop inspires me to continue using mid-2014 Macbook Pro as long as possible.

The author favors older Thinkpads because of their repairability. Repairability gave me a pause when I originally purchased my laptop. Thankfully it hasn’t been a problem yet, but I fear it may take my machine before it’s time.

I haven’t been posting all of my runs to my blog lately, but this week I managed to catch the sunrise and the sunset at almost the same location. Yokohama is the best. 🇯🇵

Sun goes up.

The Sunrise in Yokohama

Sun goes down

The sunset in Yokohama

Codeberg.org (Codeberg.org)
Codeberg is founded as a Non-Profit Organization, with the objective to give the Open-Source code that is running our world a safe and friendly home, and to ensure that free code remains free and secure forever.

I haven’t used Codeberg (a GitHub alternative), but their copy on front page strikes me.

No tracking. Your data is not for sale.
All services run on servers under our control. No dependencies on external services. No third party cookies, no tracking.
Hosted in the EU, we welcome the world.

Using external services for every last thing, you end up with your data being spread out amongst multiple (unknown to you) vendors, each with different security-implications / privacy policies / regulations all across the world. It makes your service more brittle (increased points of failure) and less secure (increased attack vectors). Seeing a service make this central to their product is refreshing.

Focusing on privacy and hosting in non-US owned/operated datacenters in the EU will be a competitive advantage when going up against the US tech companies in the future, if it isn’t already.