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Shorter more fleeting thoughts.

Note #63

There are some days when writing for this website comes so easily, and other days where it is a chore. I don’t know the difference between the two.

Today things are coming easily.

Note #62

It’s easy to complain about things, and too often I find myself taking the easy road. We have enough of that in the world: let’s pick a different path.

Note #61

🕶️ color-scheme is a CSS property that affects the “theme” of a website. You can use it to quickly switch a page to dark mode with:

html {
  color-scheme: dark;

It’s pretty neat, but it only applies to certain elements. You can use it on html to set the scheme for the entire page, and on some form control elements like input and select.

Note #60

I added notes to this site in 2021, but I don’t think I’ve ever settled on what a note is. For what purpose do notes exist?

I’m going to meditate on that this year. Maybe I will come up with something that is useful for me and anyone else who stumbles upon them.

Note #59

I’ve been digging into web components recently and open-sourced two components today:

Both of them follow the “HTML web component” pattern of adding interactivity to their children without touching the shadow DOM.

I think there is a lot of potential in this pattern, so I’m excited to explore it with more components.

Note #58

I just landed a PR that standardizes all of the dates in my content. Based on my testing, there should only be a few older articles affected by this change.

My hope is that the new format provides a more accurate indication of when content was published or updated.

Note #57

After a four-month hiatus, I got my website running on Windows again. The runtime: out of memory error that I encountered went away after I installed a larger solid-state drive.

I’m glad to have the issue resolved, but it’s crazy to me that memory could be the reason why a static-site generator falls over. I guess this is the world that we live and work in now.

Note #56

I have to update two Chrome extensions, but I’m dragging my feet because the release process is so involved. I’ve been spoiled by services like Netlify that handle all of that for you.

Note #55

I created a Threads account yesterday in the ongoing pursuit of finding a Twitter-like experience that is a net positive for me. The app looks neat and works fine, but there are two big issues:

  1. There is no way to surface content from non-verified users (i.e. normal people)
  2. There is no way to view only posts from accounts you follow

In its current iteration, Threads is an app for eavesdropping on Instagram influences, celebrities, and brands.

I don’t see how that provides lasting value to most people after the launch excitement fades.

Note #53

I added a new gardens section to the site. This will contain evergreen resources on a particular topic that are organized by how recently they’ve been updated.

This seemed a more natural solution than updating old articles and tampering with the RSS feed. Let me know what you think!

Note #51

I released a new design for 2023 this morning. I don’t think there is enough for a full write up, but I’m going with a new “less is more” philosophy.

If you have any feedback, feel free to reach out:

Note #50

I ran into an issue this morning where Astro stopped working on my Windows machine. 2.0.9 is working on MacOS but gives the following error in Windows:

runtime: out of memory: cannot allocate 4194304-byte block (4030464 in use)
fatal error: out of memory

I don’t think this is an Astro issue, since nothing has changed since it was last working. I don’t know of anything that changed in my enviroment, but maybe there is a memory leak somewhere causing me to run out?

Note #49

My wife has informed me that “Up the INSERT_NOUN” is not a common phrase. I first heard it in my folk-punk days, and I had assumed that it was more common. Live and learn!

Update: She has since told me that she thought it sounded like a vulgarity.

Note #48

There was an interesting Slack thread at work today discussing how to meet and make friends as an adult. A lot of folks chimed in and shared their experience and some things that have worked for them.

As a Christian who is active in a church community, I’ve never encountered these challenges. But I’m empathetic towards those who have: meaningful in-person relationships are necessary and increasingly difficult to find.

Note #47

Reflecting on the recent situation at Twitter, Dave Rupert wrote:

Now we are barn-less. Silo-less. Wandering open pastures for the next watering hole.

Wherever you end up I want to offer an idea; you are the value. Your ideas, your insights, your compassion, your ability to help someone in need, your dumb puns and dank memes; that’s what’s valuable.

That’s encouraging to me, because I have the autonomy to choose a platform or build one that suits my needs. This site is an example of that.

But what about the folks who are unable? Even if they realize they are the value, where are they to go? I’m afraid the options are limited; they’re stuck trading a frog for a toad.

Note #46

YouTube is rolling out handles for their channels, and I was able to snag @seanmcp. There are a lot of Sean McPs in the world, so it always feels like a victory when I get to a handle first. Is that petty? 😅

Note #45

For a long time I avoided using the .mjs extension with Node.js because it felt odd. But after years of fiddling with package types and CLI arguments to get it to run ES Modules, I’ve come around to “Michael Jackson Script”.

I’m looking forward to the day when ESM are the default in Node.js, but until then: viva la .mjs.

Note #44

I’ve added a bookmarking feature to the site! When you’re looking at an article or note, you’ll see a little bookmark icon to the top right. If you toggle that, it will save the page in localStorage and highlight it whenever you browse articles or notes.

I know that I’m going to find this useful, and I hope that you do too! 🔖

Note #43

This morning I spent some time trying out SvelteKit for the first time, and… it did not go well 🙈

I say this as a big Svelte fan, but it feels like Kit was designed to be unpleasant to use. Complicated patterns at every turn, and an undecipherable build for the uninitiated.

My hope was that SvelteKit would be a great tool to build projects in Svelte (that is what it says on the tin), but I guess I’ll need to look elsewhere.

Note #42

I‘ve been a big fan of since it released. However, recently I noticed that when you want to convert a sandbox to a GitHub repository, it requires access to your organizations too.

I’m happy to give them access to my GitHub account, but I do not want to give them permissions to edit repos at Khan Academy. This seems like strange oversight from the CodeSandbox team. 🤔

Note #40

This is the first note created by Netlify CMS in production 🚀

Note #39

Today I added Netlify CMS to the site in order to make it easier to add notes. I may expand the feature for articles in the future.

The most difficult part of the process was the limited control over file slugs. Notes are numbered and incremented, but there wasn’t a good way to do that with Netlify CMS without adding a new field. Oh well. Hopefully the ease of use will trump the annoyance of unnecessary data.

Note #36

I added a new feature to the site called “stars.” When it is enabled, you can add a little star anywhere on the site by tapping. I’m planning to write an article about why I wrote it, but in the meantime let me know if you have any feedback on the feature:

Edit: Stars are dead. Long live bookmarks!

Note #35

This week I gave a talk titled React Bug Catcher: Tools and strategies for debugging React apps at React Global 2022. It was a good experience, but I really underestimated (again) how much time it takes to prepare a conference talk. ⌛️

Note #32

I started watching Brian Vaughn’s Deep dive with the React DevTools profiler to learn more about using the React Profiler, but there are a bunch of general tips for creating more performant React applications as well.

Watching it was a good use of 37 minutes!

Note #31

In doing research on debugging, I’ve found Diomidis Spinellis’ Effective Debugging to be really insightful. It’s chock-full of helpful tips and real-world examples that illustrate the recommendations well.

If you are looking for a general book on debugging, then I highly recommend it.

Note #29

I have enjoyed working with React for the past few years; it always felt like the right level of abstraction from working with the actual DOM. That being said, I have also become wary of how error-prone React hooks code often becomes. Solid.js feels like it uses a lot of the ergonomic parts of React while minimizing confusion and errors.

– Nick Scialli in Solid.js feels like what I always wanted React to be

Note #28

Today marks the end of a chapter and the start of a new adventure. Onward and upward! 🦄

Note #26

20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20 Years as a Software Engineer by Justin Etheredge of Simple Thread made it to the top of Hacker News, and there were some interesting insights from the article.

There is no “right” architecture, you’ll never pay down all of your technical debt, you’ll never design the perfect interface, your tests will always be too slow. This isn’t an excuse to never make things better, but instead a way to give you perspective. Worry less about elegance and perfection; instead strive for continuous improvement and creating a livable system that your team enjoys working in and sustainably delivers value.

[Watch out for the 0.1x programmer] who wastes time, doesn’t ask for feedback, doesn’t test their code, doesn’t consider edge cases, etc… We should be far more concerned with keeping 0.1x programmers off our teams than finding the mythical 10x programmer.

If you are using your tools, and you don’t love or hate them in a myriad of ways, you need to experience more. You need to explore other languages, libraries, and paradigms. There are few ways of leveling up your skills faster than actively seeking out how others accomplish tasks with different tools and techniques than you do.

Good written communication is one of the most important skills for any software engineer to master.

The article is worth the read (warning: a few vulgarities).

Note #25

Every time I use esbuild, I’m impressed with its simplicity and speed. This new generation of JS tooling is really exciting!

Note #24

Google Chrome has been crashing on me without warning the past two weeks, so I’m going to give Microsoft Edge another try. Nice to see that there are more extensions available in Edge Add-on store.

Note #23

Pop quiz: What does the following evaluate to in JavaScript?


Answer: 6. Here JS treats the string as a type of array which itself is a type of object. Who knew!

Note #20

Netlify is moving their React UI component library to Tailwind CSS:

what started with organised PostCSS gradually grew to become a complex and entangled global CSS architecture with a lot of specificity and overrides. … the added tech debt it introduces makes it difficult to keep shipping fast without adding any regressions. Besides, as the number of frontend developers contributing to the codebase also grows, this kind of CSS architecture becomes even more difficult to work with.

To accomplish this, they set a deadline, divided the work across their front-end guild, and tracked their progress on GitHub. They added some internal tooling for visual-regression tests and to make building class lists easier, especially for conditional cases.

Read more about Netlify’s adoption of Tailwind CSS here

Note #19

If you wait until you are feeling productive, you will never be.

Note #18

One of the things I miss most about Windows when working on macOS is the window management.

I’ve tried a few window management apps in the past, and today I’m giving Rectangle a spin. So far, the keyboard shortcuts feel logical and the app isn’t trying to do too much.

We’ll see how it goes!

Note #16

I enjoyed reading Hacker Christianity by Ben Hoyt. It’s nice to ready perspectives from the intersection of Christianity and programming. I’ll be on the lookout for more like this.

Note #15

Today I learned that in Vim :w stands for “write” and is not a weird alias for “save.” That’s much easier to remember.

Note #14

I added a /uses page to keep track of the extensions and programs that I use everyday. Nothing is revolutionary, but there are a few extensions and user scripts that I find helpful.

Note #13

github1s is the coolest thing that I have seen in a while. By changing the url of any GitHub repository, you can open the repo in a VS Code browser. This is begging for a userscript to add a link to every GitHub repo {% emoji ”🤔” %}

Note #12

When I was teaching, teachers had a popular aphorism: “You really know something until you have to teach it.” Today I learned that this idea was given the term “the illusion of explanatory depth” (IOED) by psychologists in 2002.

Further reading: [0], [1], [2], [3], [4]

Note #10

To find the date a file was created in Node, you can use the fs.stat or fs.statSync methods and look for birthdate. See this answer on StackOverflow.

This might work differently based on your operating system, so your mileage may vary.

Note #6

I added a new section to the site called “Bookshelf”. This was modelled after David Rupert’s bookshelf, with the additional ability to include notes for each book.

I’m really enjoying the ability to add features to my site as needed.

Note #5

🚀 I released a new version of eleventy-plugin-emoji this morning. Two minor changes: 1) the filter now supports a label, and 2) the default class name is now eleventy-emoji.

Note #4

Nunjucks and Liquid have different methods for passing arguments to a filter.

In Nunjucks, it’s:

{{ 'value' | filter('arg') }}

In Liquid, it’s:

{{ 'value' | filter: 'arg' }}
Note #3

Each note is a simple markdown file. All the data necessary to render on the screen is set at a higher level, so it’s super simple.

Edit: Okay, I needed to add a date field.

My favorite part of this setup is that I can commit a new note through GitHub, which automatically triggers a Netlify build.

Note #2

Why messages? I really like the idea of preserving content that would otherwise be shared on social media on my own site.

It’s definitely not the most popular option (in fact, I doubt anyone else will read these), but I think it’s the right decision in the long run.