Cape Shank, Vic. Taken today. A feast for the eyes and ears (and maybe a tasting for the other senses as well). #mbnov

🔗 github.com/charmbracelet/vhs

This little tool is awesome. It allows you to easily make GIFs of a command line session from a text-based DSL. I tried it on the full screen TUI app I’m working on and it worked flawlessly.

Now wondering if I could use it for automated testing. 🤔

Pro-tip: add challenges.micro.blog to your feed reader to get the daily challenge word for Microblogvember delivered to you through the magic of RSS (I keep forgetting that you can do that).

Urge to buy a Nintendo Switch: 4/10

It’s holding steady at the moment but it’s been rising slowly over the last couple of months. I figure it won’t be too long before it starts rising again. #mbnov

Day Trip: Macedon And Trentham

I had the pleasure of taking the day off today and going for a few walks around Macedon and Trentham. Being someone that’s really into keeping with a routine, I try to do these walks at least once a year. It’s been somewhat delayed this year, due to work commitments, but with the public holiday tomorrow, I thought I was a perfect time to get outside and do them before summer rolls around.

Below are some photos of each of the walk.

Macedon

The first walk was along the borders of the Macedon Regional Park, following a self-plotted course, more-or-less, along the Bendigo railway line. It’s a little difficult at times, maybe bordering on dangerous (and possibly not super legal either), so I’d probably wouldn’t recommend this. But since it follows the rail line pretty much the entire time, it’s a good opportunity to catch up on some train spotting.

I realised today that it’s been 10 years since I first walk this particular trail. I’m wondering if it might be time to retire it. As nice as it is, there are certain aspects of it that are getting a little tiresome. Plus it’s always boggy, even during the height of summer, meaning that you’ll usually get your socks wet and your pants dirty when you walk it. Even so, walking it is always a pleasure.

Trentham

Following a brief lunch in Kynteon, it was time for the second walk: The Domino Trail in Trentham. This is a rail trail that travels through some really nice forest. Last time I did this, more than a year ago, the path was closed as a severe storm brought down a number of trees and I was unable to do the entire path. Fortunately the trees were cleared and the path reopened.

I caught the rain a few times and much of the track was quite boggy given the decent amount of rain we’ve received, but overall, it was a nice day out.

Opinionated Tips for New Micro Bloggers Coming From Twitter

or, How I Use Micro.blog

To all new-comers from Twitter, welcome to Micro.blog!

No doubt you’ve received the welcome message from Jean with links on how Micro.blog is different from Twitter, but you’re probably still wondering how to get the most out of Micro.blog. And while I’m not claiming to have all the answers, I’ve put together a few tips for how I get value from writing here.

First, the thing that took me a while to appreciate is that Micro.blog’s not so much a social media platform, at least not in the traditional sense. I mean, it certainly can be described as one, and if your goal is to connect with others online, it works just as well as any other. But in essence, it’s closer to a blogging platform, albeit one with social aspects tied to it. When you write a post, not only would it appear in the timeline of those that follow you, it will also appear on your own blog. So an option before you is to lean into this. Treat your blog as your own space on the web. Get a domain name and share it with others. Style your blog as much or as little as you want. Take a look at the plugins to see what you can add to your site. You don’t have to do this right away, but it’s well worth considering if you hope to get the most out of writing here.

Second, write naturally. You’re not feeding an algorithm here. There’s nothing like trending topics or recommendations that takes what you write and throws it around the network. Instead, you’ll get something better: real humans reading and replying to your post. So write for humans. If a post needs to be longer than 280 characters, then it can be: no need for threads here. Also, adding hashes in front of words does nothing other than make what you write harder for others to read.

Finally, write for yourself. The cheap endorphin rush you use to get from likes and retweets will never come, so you’ll need another way to get pleasure from writing here. What works for me is to write for myself. If I write something, I do so with the expectation that no-one else will see it. Of course, you’re writing on the open web so others can certainly see it: try not to be too much of a jerk. But even if no-one else does, as long as I get something out of what I write, that’s all I ever need.

Of course, how and why you use Micro.blog is ultimately up to you. After all, you are the one paying $5.00 to use the service (and yes, in this case, you are the customer here, not the product). So make sure you use it in a way that works for you. And it may take a while before you find the utility you’re looking for. I’d advise patience here. You will not find the short-term rush you’ll get from Twitter. Before you is a slower path. But it’s one that can lead you towards a much better and fulfilling experience of writing online.

Happy blogging.

Rail work beginning in earnest. A large work train carrying ballast and track sections has pulled in:

Series of SSR locomotives

They had to close the road and pedestrian level crossing. I thought it was because they were doing work on them, but it’s probably because they’re blocked by this train:

Pedestrian level crossing blocked

Setting up a GitLab instance in Linode. Got to this point in the instructions:

Instructions for setting up GitLab with the command to find the password missing

Oh, the command to get the password is missing. Well, I guess I’ll need to find it myself. 😏

EDIT: Turns out I didn’t need to. I just reset the root password to something else.

If I’ve asked you to review a pull request I’ve raised, please be clear in your comments. Don’t just point out things that I got wrong, take the time to guide me to a way to make it right. Clear Is Kind.

I’ll try to do likewise on the pull requests I’ve been asked to review.

Places hiring for senior software developers shouldn’t bother offering perks like free food or table tennis. I’d be happy with a promise of no more than 20% of the week in meetings and being on an interview panel no more than once a month.

I’ve stopped using the Substack app for reading newsletters. Not because I didn’t like the app. It’s sort of been an unconscious drift away from it. I guess my default reading and discovery patterns only require NetNewsWire and a plain old web-browser.

Finishing off the last part of my tech knowledge setup which is to regenerate the web version when I make a change to the source markdown. I’m using GitHub Actions to do this. Basically, when a change is pushed to the Git repository, an action is fired which will checkout the current site, run the tool to render the new site from the source markdown, commits any changes to the web git repo, and pushes it back to GitHub to be hosted by GitHub pages.

Learnt some potentially useful techniques of GitHub actions along the way. For example, checking out a different than the one of the action. To do this, you’ll need to create a Personal Access Token, pass it in as a secret, and use it with the checkout action.

There is some fine tweaking left to do — pushing changes to the source file which will not result in changes in the generated web version will cause the action to fail — but I think that’s a good stopping point for tonight.

Seeing a lot of retweets from @marco with screenshots of gambling apps ads on people’s iOS product page. Ugh! What a terrible user experience. It’s bad enough seeing these ads on TV. Did Apple foresee this happening when they rolled this ad placement out?

More track works going on, this time involving this pile of ballast in some way.

I can tell myself that I shouldn’t look at another CMS, but I know that I’d just wouldn’t listen. So to save us all time, this is what will happen. I get until the end of Friday to give it a try. If I like it, I move over. Otherwise, I won’t spend any more time on this.

My health insurer had a “cyber attack” recently in which some pretty sensitive data was stolen. They’re sending email updates every few days about it. It’s looking pretty serious: things taken like personal identifying information (PII), Medicare number, information about claims, etc. were taken. Fortunately, it doesn’t look to include payment information, so no need to deal with that.

At this stage, I think I might be one of the lucky ones, relatively speaking. Yeah, seeing PII being taken is annoying. And apart from routine dental work, I haven’t made any medical claims which could potentially be used against me. So for me at least, this is not as bad as it could have been.

But I can see this being a pretty serious breach of trust for some.

🔗 Slow Roads

Endless driving game in the browser. Pretty frickin’ well done. There’s also a Medium post on how it was put together.

(via. Ars Technica)

Just thinking about all the documents I need to write for work. Half the time they’re fill-in-the-form type documents with an informal workflow tack onto it. Fill in the tables or pre-made gaps in this wiki page, mark it as draft (usually by typing “Draft” somewhere), post a link to it on Slack so that others can review it, wait for feedback or approvals to trickle in in the form of Slack messages or inline comments. It’s all so… manual. 😫

I know that software houses have tried to build meta-tools to make these sort of template-plus-workflows documents easily convertible to apps. I think Microsoft was the latest one to do this. I wonder why they never caught on. 🤔

In a spot of bother this morning. We’ve got sprint planning coming up this afternoon and I have virtually no tickets organised. There might be something in the tech debt backlog I can pull out, but probably not enough for the full two weeks. 😥

Never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually looking forward to the hackathon work is putting togeather. Spent the morning writing notes and coming up with ideas for the pitch I’ve signed up for.

I guess it shows that I’m excited about it, probably for the first time ever (I’m generally pretty blasé about hackathons). Truth is I’ve been thinking about the problem the pitch is trying to solve for a while and it feels good that the opportunity to work on it has come up.

We’ll see how the teams are organised, but hopefully it’ll be accepted.

Follow-up to yesterday’s post: Adam Fusco and I had a bit of a test of this over at social.lol. Turns out when you send a private message, the reply defaults to being private as well. This also applies to replies of replies. Private messages can’t be boosted either. Good to know.

I came this close to sending the Mastodon equivalent of a DM today. That it works by simply setting the visibility of a toot made me wonder if the recipient would need to explicitly do likewise on the reply. This uncertainty turned to concern, and I end up not sending anything.

📺 The Early Days of id Software: Programming Principles

YouTube recommended this conference talk by John Romero on how id Software did their game development during the early days. Watched it last night, and I really enjoyed it. Amazing how much they got done with what they had.

🔗 Pocket Casts Mobile Apps Are Now Open Source

Wow, I did not expect that. Although I probably should have since it’s owned by Automattic now.

Dealing with tables in Obsidian reminds me that as much as I think I like working with tables in markdown, the truth is that I really don’t.

Wonder if it would be easier with that alternative markdown table format that the Linux community uses. One where rows are laid out over multiple lines - where each line is a separate column - instead of horizontally with the pipe character.