Weeknotes 2023 W02:
Exploding head

Week of January 9th, 2023

This has been a mostly uneventful week.


After years of absence, I experienced exploding head syndrome again this week. For me, EHS (as we people in the know call it) manifests itself as a loud sound, like a gun being fired close by as I’m falling asleep.

It used to freak me out — as you might have suspected. Now that I can recognise it for what it is, I’m rather okay with it!


Speaking of falling asleep: A while ago, while in hypnagogia, I came to a profound understanding of how Berlin Xmas disappear. This, according to my profound insights, is how you clean up a Berlin Xmas market:

  1. Take a giant trash bag (like, 200m in diameter).
  2. Use a giant shovel to scoop up the entire Xmas market (in one go) and dump it into said trash bag.
  3. There is no step three.

How easy!

The threshold of sleep sure is a wild place.


For no particular reason, I made buttons in HTML/CSS that really feel like buttons:

The trick is to give them a two-pixel box shadow right below. On mouse down, remove the box shadow, but use CSS translation to move the button down by two pixels. Easy, but so satisfying.


My emails have been piling up in my inbox. There are a couple of Nanoc issues that need to be looked at, but I can’t find the energy for them.

I’ve also not worked on any other side projects this week.

In general, Nanoc doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Still, the time investment takes out time from other things I could be doing, whether it’s working on experimental side projects or just relaxing.

I’m continuously less inclined to keep improving Nanoc (or doing maintenance work on it) for free. I’ve already spent a gargantuan amount of time building Nanoc and bringing it to the level of quality that it has. The result of that effort I’ve given away for free, and the reward has primarily been, ehhh… let me check my notes… more bug reports and more feature requests.

I need to be clear and say that I am grateful for the support I’ve gotten from the Nanoc community. Building Nanoc has been psychologically very rewarding. It has gotten me sailing smoothly through a few job interviews as well. It has also taught me a large amount about software engineering — more than some jobs have.

However, when I take a look at the economics of maintaining Nanoc at this point, things don’t look so great. What I’ve been investing in it lately (in terms of time) doesn’t justify what I get out of it. I’ve been fortunate to do some paid Nanoc work in the past few years, and I can say that being paid to work on Nanoc really makes a difference.

I’d love to have a way of reliably getting paid for the work I do on Nanoc, whether that’s in a crowd-sourced way or being employed somewhere where Nanoc maintenance is part of my remit.


At work, I have been working on the topic of authorization, and realized how well Prolog (and/or Datalog) fits the topic of authorization policies. Perhaps I’ll write up my experiences in a short article. Prolog is an interesting language, though finding appropriate use cases is a challenge.

I will admit that the reason I wrote up some Prolog code and shared it with my coworkers is in part to show off. But only in part.


Entertainment:

I finally, for the first time, watched the original Spider-Man trilogy — the one with Tobey Maguire — and it’s good fun, if not a little cringey at times. The first movie in the series is from 2002, and oof, the CGI has not aged well. I suppose I’m just so used to better CGI that the suspension of disbelief is failing me! Also, I’ve had a spider dangling above my TV screen for a while, which created a very on-brand setting for watching the movies.

I also watched The Suicide Squad (the 2021 movie). It’s enjoyable, though very gory. It also reminds me of how shallow DC Comics’ characters often are; stylistically very different from Marvel.


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Week­notes for week of January 9th, 2023. Browse the weeknotes archive, get these week­notes via email or subscribe to the web feed.