The notes – May 6, 2018

Unclogging the blog pipes here…

Think better

I feel seen – Satisfaction and progress in open-ended work:

For more open-ended problems, much of the challenge lies in figuring out what to do next. These rich questions offer deep satisfaction on longer time scales, but without a clear sense of progress, each day ends ambiguously. Was today good? Will these tinkerings add up to anything? In what timeframe? Who knows. Ultimately: what structures around progress, self-correction, and operations can help us in open-ended mode?

Times Jason Kottke or Austin Kleon wrote about thoughtfully engaging with the news: Things you notice when you quit the news, A tip for a better media diet: delay reading the news, You can be woke without waking up to the news.

Code better

I revisited thinking about code on my iPad again this weekend. On the one hand, the status quo continues: you can type programs in, but you can’t navigate, compile, or run them on the device. Textastic, Working Copy, Codea, and Swift Playgrounds continue to exist and continue to set a high standard but leave me wanting. I did make it further using CodeSandbox than last time I tried. If you don’t mind living entirely in a mobile Safari tab, you can do non-trivial things with JavaScript!

Related: Muse is a prototype for an iPad-based thinking environment and I want this running on a dozen iPads spread across a big table in a well-lit room. The demo video and accompanying essay are full of great ideas.

SRE School: No Haunted Forests:

You’ve heard the euphemism tech debt, where like a car loan you hold a recurring obligation in exchange for immediate liquidity. But this is misleading: bad code is not merely overhead, it also reduces optionality for all teams that come in contact with it. Imagine being unable to get indoor plumbing because your neighbor has a mortgage!

Preact – a cool way to understand React as a UI runtime is to look at smaller, single purpose implementation of the concept. To my surprise, much of React’s API surface area is about delivering values to components, passing those values to components, and letting the component help decide if it should re-render. All implemented in two not-so-tricky functions which handle render components.

Listen better

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – fresher than it is essential, carries the vibe of the movie nicely.

Ben Folds Five, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner – I forgot how strongly this album starts, “Narcolepsy is a real gem”.

New-to-me band whose whole catalog I’m celebrating: The Middle Kids.

Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride – meets but does not exceed expectations.

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