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PSA: Need oversized sheets of graph paper for mapping out that dungeon crawl (or the pile of Terraform you inherited)? Search of 'quad blotter pad'. You can get them in 12"x17".

Yeah, yeah, Advent. Call it Dreariest of Code for March, or Scariest of Code for October.

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I wish the Advent of Code happened in, say, March or October. Challenges getting harder colliding with a major Holiday isn't ideal. is my recommendation this week for an entertaining, educational way to spend an hour.

Found a rich vein of specialized technical information that would have been very useful if I'd found it six months ago. I think my search chops are good, but this happens enough that I wonder.

Today's post-meeting mind cleanser: Gerald Finzi, Eclogue Op. 10. Many good performances on YouTube.

I often have a half-dozen personal projects in semi-progress, stalled on something (research, learning the right bit of math/CSS/framework, or whatever). @simon 's talk, "Increase your productivity on personal projects with comprehensive docs and automated tests," has given me a bunch of ideas, and pointed to some features of Github worth exploring. It's not language or framework-specific.

A good use of 25 minutes if you use github.

After being on my phone silent for the last two years, the CA Notify Covid-19 exposure tracking app alerted for the first time tonight, reporting an exposure window of Monday-Tuesday. Not worried, since I was masked when indoors. Nice to know that it works.

I have performed an unscientific survey of people who are working in coding and cybersecurity to see what language they use most often.

The result: profanity.

Surprised that there so few Google hits for "performative jargonizing"

Just noticed: Haven't heard a peep about NaNoWriMo from my network this year. No plans, no intents, no best wishes.

"They decided tech was a major power center that needed scrutiny and needed to be taken down a peg, and this style of coverage became very widespread and prominent in the industry."

Recent events aside, big media has been dunking on tech for a while (often with good reason). Here's an insider making claim that the dearth of positive coverage was a deliberate policy decision at the NYT that others copied.

Tech note: Faced with a pile of stack traces, some of which differed by uninteresting bits, using Levenshtein distances to cluster them worked quite well. The outliers popped out quickly.

Still doing Pomodoros and want some good background music? YouTube has several performances of Penguin Cafe Orchestra's, "Numbers 1-4". Stringing three together runs about 24 minutes.

My favorites:

I am going to say a thing about content warnings that is something I learned while writing on AO3.

A content warning is really a content *label*. It gives readers a tool for filtering things both ways: to positively select and to positively avoid. It is heavier-weight than a tag, which can also serve the same purpose, but on a platform where the default is *broadcast*, it adds an important affordance.

Please put content labels on possibly-unwanted potentially-stressful content.

Instead of the morning wake-up Sudoku or Wordle, I've starting using those minutes to learn a few new keyboard shortcuts and tricks every day. This morning, Ubuntu desktop navigation. This next week, vim buffers and tmux.

Collecting Mastodon explainers and on-boarding walk throughs to hand out to friends. If you've found some good ones, please share. is on the list at the heavy end. Looking for lighter.

The migration from Twitter is a weird mixed bag. It's an excuse for several cleanups (interests, followers, personal sites, ...) and the burst of nerd energy is a rush. But it's also sad to be leaving a lot of non-technical folk behind. Mastodon may be an easy move for us, but at present it's a hurdle for many who aren't at least tech adjacent.

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