I enjoy using Tot for temporary working notes. I also enjoy using Boop for manipulating text without having to go to the terminal. What would be awesome is a tool that will combine the two.

Well, not every day you had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake around here (was originally reported as 6.0).

I got a bit restless this morning and just eager to get my second vaccine shot, so I’ve put together a maxination countdown to show me how many days I’ve got to wait. I’ll probably be spending most of the next month looking at it.

I had the opportunity to play Wingspan yesterday. Still in the process of learning it — I don’t play a lot of these sorts of board games — but so far it’s been quite enjoyable. There’s also an extension which includes Australian and New Zealand birds which would be fun to try.

Some Notes About the Covid-19 Situation

Now that the vaccines are here and are (slowly) being rolled out, and that Covid zero is no longer achievable in any realistic sense, the pandemic seems to be taking on a bit of a different vibe at the moment. I am no longer religiously watching the daily press conferences as I did in the past. They’re still occurring as far as I know, and I do appreciate that the authorities are showing up every day once again to brief the public.

But I’m starting to get the sense that people are generally loosing interest in it now. Well, maybe “loosing interest” is the wrong way to say it. It’s not like it’s something that could be ignored: if you don’t get affected yourself, you’re still bound by the current restrictions in some way. Maybe it’s more like it’s starting to slip into the background somewhat.

Slowly the we’re-all-in-this-together collectivism is morphing into one of personal responsibility. Except for the need to keep the medical systems from being overwhelmed, it’s now up to the individual to take care of themselves, whether it’s by masking up and social distancing, or by getting vaccinated. Everyone that I love has done just this: they’re got their shots when they could and are generally being very careful. But there are people out there that are not. Even some of my friends parents are hesitant to get the vaccine, either waiting for Pfizer (they’ll be waiting a while) or just being suspect of the vaccine at all.

I also think that the success of the lockdowns before the delta variant has lulled people into a sense of security that is no longer present anymore. The latest lockdown has largely failed, and now it’s immunity from the vaccines that will have to protect us. I hope these people that are not taking this seriously realise that the protection that comes from collective actions will no longer be around when the virus comes for them.

You would have thought that by working from home for a year and a half, and predominantly communicating through text, that my writing skills would improve in some way. After re-reading a pull-request comment I wrote 5 minutes ago, I’m wondering if there’s been any change at all.

It’s a real shame that the powers that be insist on keeping the arcane stupidity of country-based copyright restrictions with the move to digital products. Why can’t I buy a Kindle version of a book because the country code in a database is AU instead of US? So frustrating!

AWS Lambda function names can only be 64 characters long.

  • 23 characters are used for the stack name
  • 25 characters are used for the Step Function name
  • 4 characters are used for the environment

Leaving me with only 12 characters for the actual name of the function.

Hmm, UV index expected to reach 4 (moderate) today, and 5 in a few days time. Might be time to dig the hat out once again.

For the last two months, I’ve been working on a Mac app to automatically import my blog posts into a Day One journal. I think it’s now in a state for others to start taking a look at. So if this is something that interests you, please feel free to give it a try.

If it wasn’t for the use of an all-caps style, this Daring Fireball post would be a perfect reference for which words to capitalise in a title (open it in a feed reader or view the page source to see what I mean). 😄

About 5 years and 3 employers ago, I was working at a government agency building an admin console for a home grown messaging system. This messaging system, which was around 30-years-old, was built for purpose and pretty reliable. But it suffered an outage one day, and when I leaving, there were plans to replace it with something off-the-shelf from an outside vendor.

Yesterday, I got a message from a contact that is doing some consultancy work there. Apparently the home grown messaging-system system was still going strong, and the admin console I built was still being used.

I guess software really does live for ever.

Abound two months ago, I started feeling some strain in my wrist with my old keyboard, so I replaced it with an ergonomic one. Good news is that strain seems to have settled down, but I’m still adjusting to the new layout even now. Hopefully not too much longer before I do.

Really not much going on at the moment. Just a whole lot of waiting. Waiting for my next vaccine shot. Waiting for the state to reach 70% vaccination of those eligible. Waiting for restrictions to start easing. Just… waiting.

On Confluence

I’m sorry. I know the saying about someone complaining about their tools. But this has been brewing for a little while and I need to get it off my chest.

It’s becoming a huge pain using Atlassian Confluence WISIWIG editor to create wiki pages. Trying to use Confluence to write out something that is non-trivial, with tables and diagrams, so that it is clear to everyone in the team (including yourself) is so annoying to do now I find myself wishing for alternatives. It seems like the editor is actively resisting you in your efforts to get something down on paper.

For one thing, there’s no way to type something that begins with [ or {. Doing so will switch modes for adding links or macros. This actively breaks my train of thought. The rude surprise that comes from this shunts me out of my current thought to one that tries to remember the proper way to back out of this unwanted mode change, which is not easy to do. There’s no easy way to get out of the new mode, and simply leave the brace as you typed it. It seems to be that the only way to disable this is to turn off all auto-formatting. I never need to create new macros by typing them out, but I do use h3. to create a new headings and * to bold text all the time. In order to actually type out an opening brace, I have to turn these niceties off.

The second issue is that it’s soooo sloooow. For a large page, characters take around a second to appear on the screen after being typed. This does not help when you’re trying to get your thoughts down on the page as quickly as they come to you. You find yourself pausing and waiting for the words to catch up, which just slows your thinking down. And I won’t mention the number of errors that show up because of this (to be fair, I’m not the best typer in the world, but I find myself typing out fewer errors in an editor with faster feedback than the one that Confluence uses).

I appreciate the thinking behind moving from a plain text editor to a WISIWIG one: it does make it more approachable to users not comfortable working with a markup language (although I also believe this is something that could be learnt, and that these users will eventually get comfortable with it and appreciate the speed at which they could type things out). It’s just a shame that there’s no alternative to those who need an interface that is fast and will just get out of the way.

Working on some JavaScript which is using ES modules (i.e. import) without needing Webpack to bundle it into a single, minified file. In fact, I don’t need any tooling at all. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think web development is starting to be cool again.

On Apple's Media Release Gymnastics

I started listening to the latest Talk Show, where John Gruber and MG Siegler discuss Apple’s media release of the class action settlement. Releasing it to the major media outlets in such a way as to spin the guideline clarification as a concession to developers, even though nothing has actually change, is genius if true. I imagine that’s why Apple’s PR department get the big bucks.

But I wonder if Apple has considered the potential blowback of this approach. I might be naive here, but I can’t help wonder whether these media outlets publishing that Apple hasn’t actually conceded anything will eventually realised that they have been had. Would that affect the relationship between the two in any way? Say Apple wants to publish some good news and expect these outlets to maintain the favourable air of their release. Would they do it?

Then again, it’s most likely that nothing will really change. There’s little trust lost between the two anyway, and if this gymnastics actually happened, Apple knows it. Also, it sounds like Apple’s media release has had the desired effect of reaching those in the US government applying anti-trust pressure on the company. They probably think it’s worth the credibility they have burned with these outlets, if any1.

One thing that seems clear though: this is doing no favours in addressing the trust lost between Apple and their developers, no matter how much clarifying this release does.

  1. I realise that I’m probably so far removed from how much the general zeitgeist knows or cares about the relationship between Apple and their developers, so even expecting that these outlets know that they have been had is a huge assumption. [return]

If anyone else needs another reason why they shouldn’t use Twitter threads as a substitute for blogs, I only just discovered today that you need a Twitter account to read them. Attempting to view a thread when not logged in throws up a login box.

So glad it’s Friday today. It’s been a heck of a week, both at work and with the current Covid situation here. Unfortunately, due to the current lockdown, there’s not going to be a ton of relief from the weekend, but at least the rest would be welcomed.

It’s hard coming up with a good name for something. There has only been a handful of times a name has felt right. Every other time, the name I give a project or website has always felt sub-par.

It also doesn’t help that I usually feel this way after I bought the domain name.

My bad spelling is going to be the end of me someday. I’ve been racking my brain trying to find out why a test wouldn’t work, trying various things to find and fix the problem. The cause: a miss-spelt header in my test harness. That missing ‘e’ cost me three hours today. 🤦

I know everyone is entitled to a break, and it’s probably just as well it’s happening now, with not much going on in the world of tech. But I do feel a little lost with Stratechery and Dithering off the air this week. Ah well, just a few more days to go.

It’s a sad reality that as the demands of software systems go up, and more libraries and services are available for you to use, your job slowly turns from building systems from the ground up to one where you’re just gluing things together. Less programming and more configuring.

Post Of Little Consequence

I’m wouldn’t call myself a regular poster on this blog. I don’t have a goal of writing a post a day or something. But I do want to keep it up with some frequency, and post at least one item a week. I realised today that it’s been a week since my last post.

However, due to the current lockdown, very little of note has happened over the last week. Apart from work, TV, reading, and doing a few personal projects on the side, there really isn’t much going on. So it was hard to come up with something that was interesting to write about.

So I’m playing my post-about-how-difficult-it-is-to-post post, which is what you are reading now. In short: there’s nothing spectacular that’s going on at the moment.

That said, I did start three drafts that I thought about publishing. It felt a little strange posting them individually, so here they are as bullet points:

  • I’m completely recovered from the side effects of the vaccine now. I did have a sore arm for about a week, and actually saw to the doctor about it, but he said that it took him about a week to get over it as well, so nothing to worry about here. Incidentally, this was a day after seeing the same doctor about renewing a prescription, making it the first time in my life I went to the doctors two days in a row, which I guess is something. Now just need to wait 11 more weeks for my next dose.
  • I’ve got a research task at work today, meaning no podcast listening at work today.
  • Related, I find it relatively easy to listen to music and podcasts at the same time I’m writing code, but as soon as I need to write prose (documentation, copy, or writing a blog post), I have to turn the music off. I guess my mind needs complete focus when writing English sentences, probably because it’s an area that has been underdeveloped somewhat.

Anyway, that’s what’s happing at the moment. Hope I didn’t waste too much of your time 🙂

Argh, thought I would have dodge the side-effect lottery for the AstraZeneca vaccine, but nope! This morning started OK, with just a headache and a sore arm, but as the day is progressing, the symptoms are slowly becoming more like the cold. I expected this to occur but, yeah, wish it didn’t. In any case, I hope it clears up by tomorrow.

Not helping matters is that my backyard neighbour is using a chainsaw to do goodness knows what 😒