Atoms - Scarysize
My microblog, best consumed as a RSS feed: atom.xml
You can reach me at franz [at] omg.lol
- 2023 / Jun 05 / 10:43 CEST Mitchell Hashimoto writes about approaching large technical projects. In his post he emphasises the importance of tangible results. Making every small iteration visible to keep yourself motivated. You’re not always building something visual like an UI. For those cases he suggests automated tests. I really like that! What helps me is having a frictionless, but manual way to deploy my project to a place where I can show it others. Even if it’s just an empty HTTP server starting up, showing “Hello World”. This allows you to get every small hack out of the door with ease.
- 2023 / Jun 02 / 13:24 CEST Bye bye Reddit. I’ll especially miss /r/AskHistorians, /r/explainlikeimfive and the awesome bakers over at /r/Breadit.
- 2023 / Apr 17 / 21:39 CEST I haven’t had hot-reloading for my Clojure project until last week. Working on a frontend project the week before, reminded me how powerful fast feedback loops can be. Make a change and instantly see its effect. No restarting a server or rerunning a query. Those break your development flow. They’re just un-fun. Now for the http-kit based project I expected it to be a bit of a hassle to get it working. But the Clojure world doesn’t treat code reloading as an afterthought. Added a middleware behind an environment flag and it-just-worked.
- 2023 / Mar 30 / 14:33 CEST It’s Hack Week at Spotify. I’m having a blast building a Backstage extension for Raycast. Raycast is an alternative to Spotlight, the launcher/search bar thing on macOS. The API’s design is well thought out. You get just enough levers to not feel constrained. But not too many to confuse you when considering an implementation. There’s a right way or no way. Awesome platform to build on.
- 2023 / Mar 24 / 15:33 CET Today I learned about the “Minto Pyramid Principle”, a tool for clear and efficient communication. That lead me to untools.co, collection of methods around problem solving, decision making and communication.
- 2023 / Mar 19 / 15:35 CET My NLP experiment for parsing recipe ingredients is going so-so. I’ve used both tensorflow and scikit to implement a CRF model for labelling. Tensorflow has been a mess, it’s complicated to approach if you don’t have ML expertise. I still haven’t figured out how I can pass multiple features for a single token („word“) into the model. The crfsuite wrapper of scikit makes that really easy. Throw in a python dict and off you go. Really shows how a specialised API can help beginners to get started. The keras/tf API basically has to work for all things ML, making it extremely generic (and thus flexible). On the upside both experiments had me look into the data itself much closer. I have a good grasp of what needs to be cleaned up, normalised or removed. That paved the way for a hand-rolled approach. Regex all the way down. A big thanks goes out to Tom Strange and his model guide.
- 2023 / Mar 12 / 17:36 CET „There is a pattern. Malthusians raise the alarm about resource or environmental problems and then attack the obvious technical solutions. Malthus had to attack birth control to predict overpopulation. Holdren and Ehrlich had to claim fossil fuels were scarce to oppose the extension of fertilizers and industrial agriculture to poor nations and to raise the alarm over famine. And climate activists today have to attack natural gas and nuclear energy, the main drivers of lower carbon emissions, in order to warn of climate apocalypse.“ from Apocalypse Never, M. Shellenberger
- 2023 / Mar 11 / 09:27 CET Chris Voss explaining empathy and specifically separating it from sympathy was interesting. We frequently talk about empathy, but actually mean sympathy. As in “being on your side” (sympathy) vs “I can see where you’re coming from” (empathy). Agreement (sympathy) vs understanding (empathy). Source: Chris Voss on the Lex Fridman Podcast [8:47]
- 2023 / Mar 08 / 21:53 CET Cory Doctorow on the „Enshittification of Platforms“.
- 2023 / Feb 28 / 09:11 CET Things I’ve read in the past week, that are worth sharing: People can read their manager’s mind, The Power of “Yes, if”: Iterating on our RFC Process, 35 Lessons from 35 Years of Newsletter Publishing. Looks like I need to implement list support for my blog.
- 2023 / Feb 24 / 12:29 CET Apparently iCloud+ now comes with bring-your-own-domain for e-mail. That’s kind of huge. It both supports catch-all and dedicated addresses. I’ve been mostly using Fastmail for this. But you have to add a separate mail account (+ password) for every address of your domain. With iCloud+ you can manage those custom addresses within Mail directly. The setup DNS setup is the same as for most e-mail providers, two MX records, TXT and CNAME and off you go. Excited to see Apple supporting something as open as DNS.
- 2023 / Feb 20 / 13:15 CET Jira has a command palette, you can open it by hitting “.” (dot). Then just type in what you want to do (assign, move, close etc.). Substantially improves working with Jira, if you’re a keyboard person. It feels much more responsive this way. And you don’t have to search around the cluttered UI to find the right button.
- 2023 / Feb 17 / 10:08 CET I’ve been looking into extracting structured data from recipes recently. Especially on parsing ingredient phrases in something useful like ingredient name, quantity and unit. It’s a rabbit whole of NLP and dubious SaaS services. The NYT posted about how they used a linear-chain conditional random field model to extract data from their recipe archive. There’s even some code on Github. Sadly, but understandably, they don’t provide training data or a pretrained model. Time come up with my own!
- 2023 / Feb 13 / 20:36 CET “This project is "Stable" (no longer "Active").” That is one of the best things to read on an open source project. Makes me much more confident in adopting it as dependency. Quote comes from clojure.java.jdbc.
- 2023 / Feb 09 / 21:45 CET Started working on a small app that’s scratching my own itch. A web app to scrape and clean-up cooking recipes. Still riding the Clojure train for that one. Has been my „biggest“ clj project so far. I keep coming back to it, especially the structural editing makes writing and updating code such a joy. You can find the app over at pretty-recip.es (yeah I had to buy that domain)
- 2023 / Jan 23 / 19:53 CET Today I witnessed layoffs for the first time from the inside. While not being affected myself, it was (and still is) a horrible process. Sitting there waiting whether you get an e-mail from HR or not is torturous. Reading the messages of people losing their job makes it so real. There’s a lot of criticism about how companies implement the decision to let people go. While a lot of that is valid on a case by case basis, there’s just NO good way to do this. Other than not doing it. There’re good and bad reasons leading up to the decision, but the implementation is always going to suck.
- 2023 / Jan 20 / 10:43 CET First time working on a vscode extension for Spotify Hackdays. The docs explain the process and anatomy really well. One major downside is that you can’t use ESM modules. So you end up with a mixture of imports and requires. What a mess. Also went through the source code of the markdown extension that vscode is shipping with. It feels overly complex, gives me Java vibes.
- 2023 / Jan 18 / 11:17 CET This „blog“ reads a bunch of blocks from a single Notion page. If a block starts with a date, it will get published to the Atom feed and the website. The block parser is really dumb right now. It only supports paragraphs and links.
- 2023 / Jan 17 / 09:50 CET “Extreme questions to trigger new, better ideas” makes some good proposals. Makes you reconsider whether you’re building the right thing. Whether your organisation’s structure has purpose. Whether your processes make sense. It’s one of the downsides of doing everything iteratively, you tend to lose a sense of direction.
- 2023 / Jan 05 / 18:53 CET I have been gambling around with the Crystal programming language a bit. It’s quite fun and productive. The stdlib has a lot of stuff, reminds me of Node.js. Docs are great, the cli is easy to use. What’s lacking is better editor support. The vscode extension is just way too slow. Cross-compilation is also giving me a bit of a headache, though I’m mostly used to interpreted languages and those running on VMs. I’m keeping an eye on it!
- 2023 / Jan 05 / 00:00 CET Welcome to my microblog. Let’s see how this pans out. The inspiration comes from Brandur‘s Atoms.