Weeknotes 2022 W18:
Back to work

May 2​–​8, 2022
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I am back to work as of last Friday. My tendinitis is still causing issues, but it’s much better than before. I’ll need to keep an eye on it, so I don’t overexert myself.

Now that I am typing with my hands again, I can properly make typos once more, such as “dentinitis,” a teeth disease I thought I invented, but which is real and appears in literature from the mid-to-late 1800s. Fun!

I’m pleasantly surprised that I still did not catch COVID-19, despite hanging out with multiple people the last two weeks. The nice weather means plenty of time spent outside, which carries much lower risk of infection.

Not too many gremlins this week, as I’ve not really used computers much!

Restaurant service in Berlin keeps being odd. I had two very different experiences recently:

There has been little progress on my personal projects, for tendinitis reasons.

I’m hoping that the implementing equality in Ruby article gets published in the next two weeks. It’s been about 4 months in the making.

My bytecode implementation of Lox has not made progress and I unfortunately left it in a rather messy state, and I’m not sure how to continue with it. Project handover is always problematic — apparently even when handing over to your future self!

I am also not sure whether my choice of Crystal was the best one: implementing the VM in a high-level language with static typing and good runtime features like garbage collection makes the first seven chapters so easy that it feels like cheating. The chapters 18, 19, and 20 are either irrelevant or trivial. A lower-level language (like C, C++, Rust, or Zig) would be more appropriate for getting a better grasp of how a VM does its magic.

This is not to say that Crystal itself is a bad language — I’m liking it a lot, and it’s very convenient.

Robin Rendle’s note on Sequential websites is interesting and touches on something I rather dislike about web pages in general: they’re a continuous blob of text. We’re so used to that by now, that it’s hard to even convey what exactly the problem is with that.

Compare with books: books have separate pages that you can flip through. They’re not a continuous blob of text. When I’m reading a book, and want to refer to something I read earlier, I can visually remember where that was, like the bottom of a verso page a few pages back. I remember the physical location of paragraphs I read earlier, and so I can strategically navigate back quickly, for example by only paying attention to the bottom left half of the previous 10 pages.

Web pages don’t work like that: if you want to scroll back to where you read something, there typically aren’t any “landmarks” to guide you.

See also Horizontally scrolling multi-column layout: a retrospective, which removes that problem to some degree by dividing the text into columns. (Unfortunately, resizing the browser window reflows the text inside the columns, which moves those “landmarks” around as well.)

I’m playing with the idea of budgeting a handful of hours per month dedicated to useful and interesting projects, especially those that align with my ethical and ecological ideals. If you’ve got any such projects, and you think my input would be valuable, please reach out!

Let’s talk entertainment:

Not being able to use your hands is so boring. Nonetheless, I restarted No Man’s Sky the other day — I think I hadn’t properly played it since 2017, and it sure has improved. It’s still quite grind-y, but that’s the nature of the game I think.

Also, I broke my 50-day Wordle streak. Noooo.