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And a happy new year!


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    After reading some of Alan Kay’s comments on media (in a broad sense), I went with some instantly actionable resolutions: quit Netflix, quit Facebook, stop reading the timeline on Twitter, block some distracting web sites.

    It’s partly to facilitate my goal of creating more time for undistracted work and reading, partly because I got tired of being manipulated into being a media consumer, and partly because I need to set an unambiguous example for my daughter - if I don’t want her to get sucked into this stuff, then I shouldn’t be either.

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      Do it. After a month you feel super weird and you realise that despite not being connected to the fire hose the world carries on.

      Also, it makes you appreciate the things you do give your time to a lot more when you do, like a new movie, etc… I was starting to just not be excited by anything anymore because I could just watch whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Now when I see a movie coming out I really want to see I actually feel really excited about it. You become more selective. Nowadays I honestly only look at doc web sites, lobste.rs, and occasionally hacker news and the reddit home page. There’s nothing else I consciously open in a browser. You become more invested in the things you do decide to give your time to. You also lose the whole incessant feeling like you’re not keeping up with everything pretty quickly.

      I don’t think I’ll ever go back as it’s been over a year now.

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        This is the sort of results I’d like to get. The never-ending torrent of information and content created negative feelings for me, in addition to being a time sink.

        This actually carries over into the real world as well in the form of too many consumer choices. Luckily, where I live (New Zealand) the choices are limited, and I’m often grateful for that.

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        A book I recommend along these lines is definitely Deep Work by Cal Newport. Highly recommended.

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          Thanks, I’m going to read it.

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          because I need to set an unambiguous example for my daughter

          I don’t think it would work as simple as that. You daughter is going to be exposed and sucked in. Given that it takes conscious effort and discipline to go against the natural tendency to fall for the infinite-scroll, just seeing your dad not doing it won’t be enough. It’s still better than seeing your dad doing it, though.

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            I totally agree, and the point is for me to have a leg to stand on with regards to enforcing boundaries. It’s much easier to point out that mum & dad don’t do it either than to create some sort of justification for why we can do it and she can’t.

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            Good luck! Mind sharing links to some of those comments?

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              It’s a bit hard to point to a specific comment. He touches on it in this interview: https://www.fastcompany.com/40435064/what-alan-kay-thinks-about-the-iphone-and-technology-now

              He also made some comments in HN discussions:

              https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15269014 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11944999 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11945066

              I wouldn’t say that these comments changed my perspective, but rather that they nudged me when I had some time to think about how I want to spend my time, which made me make the little bit of effort to ditch social media and Netflix. The point is, I’m not sure that Kay’s comments are the best source of information if you want to understand the manipulative nature of modern media (although I’m not sure what other sources to recommend).

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              I quit facebook and other centralised social media a few months ago. I use mastodon and have been pretty happy with the level of discourse and interaction. Though it can still be distracting.

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                Distraction is the primary concern with regards to media for me, so I think I have to stay away from Mastodon too. I enjoy thoughtful and thought-provoking discussions which are not biased towards quick responses, but I haven’t really found any online media that facilitate this sort of interaction (other than email).

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              I’m not considering any hard resolutions as such, but I am considering a few changes in focus

              • I’d like to focus on taking care of myself a lot more this year, getting more sleep, exercise, and better food. This is going to be priority #1
              • I’d like to start shifting towards more consistency in creating/side-project output, as opposed to being bursty about it. This will be subservient to other goals and life in general, but it’s nice to have a target to aim for.
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                I decided to spend a year away from Twitter. I hope this will nudge me into more side projects and experiments with solo web publishing

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                  I found quitting twitter was pretty easy once I uninstalled the app from my phone. Desktop wise I still click on the occasional link but I no longer consume timelines, and haven’t posted in over a year.

                  Good luck!

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                  No well-planned resolutions yet, but basically I want to day job less and side projects more. I enjoy my job and working with my colleagues immensely but need to make physical and mental time for other things.

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                    I’ve been thinking to freelance in web development after $work for a couple of years now, I might just do it this year but I have no idea how to get the first clients. I’m also a backend person, I really can’t do frontend. So suggestions on how to do this are welcome.

                    Saving up for a small server (think Intel nuc or HPE MicroServer) and fully automate my local development environment. Also fully automate acc and prd environments.

                    I want to start swimming again, maybe take the bike more. In the end I want to start jogging again, but I’ll have to start slowly as my knee is fubar. All these things should be combined with the kids, I want to spend more time with them as well.

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                      Having done freelancing for two years now, most of my contracts have come from people I know. Just mention to them that you’re open for contracts, word of mouth can go a long way sometimes.

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                      I’m normally not a huge fan of sweeping changes for the new year. I find it better to make resolutions gradually throughout the year and set up my schedule to make it easier to stick to them. But I came up with a couple of new year resolutions I really like:

                      • Review all the podcasts I listen to on iTunes.
                      • Write reviews of all the software engineering books I read last year.
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                        1. To stop drinking coffee for at least 6 months. I started this already in December. It seems to me that coffee (and interestingly, not caffeine particularly) causes something of an ADHD and very poor sleep patterns on me, and I’d want to test if there’s any noticeable effect with a longer pause.

                        2. I have a small company through which I’ve done book projects (a Rust book for Packt written by me exclusively, another Rust book edited to completion) and consultation gigs. I want to make a product or two that brings in money in 2018, with a clear longer term goal of freeing myself of forced labour.

                        3. Already gave up Facebook in December, but will continue to strip sites and services that bring me no value. Reddit would be nice to drop, but dropping that is a big thing these days.

                        4. Continuing with 3., I’d like to bring down the number of technologies I’m supporting for myself. Practically, that would probably mean dropping Android for iOS and Windows for Linux.

                        5. Double down on Crystal (the programming language).

                        6. Properly learn Racket (the programming language).

                        7. Learn to play classical guitar.

                        2 and 5-7 require significant effort, and 2 requires significant luck.

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                          To stop drinking coffee for at least 6 months. I started this already in December. It seems to me that coffee (and interestingly, not caffeine particularly) causes something of an ADHD and very poor sleep patterns on me, and I’d want to test if there’s any noticeable effect with a longer pause.

                          I quit coffee from November until a few days ago. While I’m not sure if it was long enough to fully “recover”, I found a few things:

                          • Coffee definitely affects my sleep negatively. Even 1 a day, earlier than 11am, reduces the length and quality of my nighttime sleep
                          • The dependence annoys me (feeling like crap before my morning coffee isn’t fun)

                          However, I had to return because kinda opposite to you, being without coffee made it difficult to concentrate. I would just endlessly procrastinate, browse websites, etc. I felt like I hadn’t been in “the zone” since November. The moment I had a sip of that sweet black nectar on December 27th, I was back in the zone and pumping out code like no other.

                          So, unfortunately, I’m returning to it.

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                            To add to this, I have ADHD, but usually don’t drink coffee (instead I take meds).

                            Recently I had a cup of coffee with a coworker, and spent the rest of the day in hyperfocused mode, though a bit jittery from the caffeine. It’s definitely a similar feeling to what I have with my medication.

                            I’ve heard that ADHD meds work for people with ADHD, but have the opposite effect when you don’t. Maybe the effects of coffee are similar

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                          My new year’s resolution is to have a better resolution ready for 2019.

                          Also maybe loosing some weight.

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                            2560x1600 at 2x DPI scaling so I can have nice font rendering on a screen small enough to hold.

                            But, serious answer:

                            • more, better sleep
                            • oh god actual exercise I suppose
                            • stop trying to work hard and work productively instead
                            • get rid of all the junk in my flat and put up at least one flat pack bookcase
                            • make my career actually go somewhere
                            • release my still-unreleased side project before rather than after the game it’s based on completely dies
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                              1. Earn any amount of profit from a side project. Even if it’s just $1.

                              2. Invest 20% or more of my after tax income (was my only 2017 resolution and succeeded)

                              3. I know I had a 3rd one last night but I was drunk and can’t remember now. –Edit– now I remember, it is to abstain from refined sugar as much as possible (again). Did this successfully in 2016, fell off the wagon in 2017.

                              Happy new year!

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                                Happy new year! My resolution is largely a single thing:

                                Quit work on open-source projects.

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                                  What is your reasoning for this?

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                                    One shouldn’t have to consider the possibility of getting swatted for contributing to an open-source project.

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                                      Struggling to understand how it is that you believe this is a likely outcome.

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                                        I came down to the conclusion that it is unlikely, but given that a communities’ individual

                                        • harassed my university
                                        • tried to sabotage my thesis
                                        • doxxed me
                                        • published slanderous claims about my person with my full name attached to it on the internet

                                        it’s reasonable to think about what the next escalation steps will be.

                                        In the end, I found myself thinking about steps to maintain my safety. That’s probably a good time to leave abusive and harassing environments.

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                                          That’s horrible! What caused such a psychotic escalation?

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                                            • I offered to work on improving the documentation/website of a programming language, especially for people new to the language.
                                            • I got the response from leadership that it’s not needed, because “there are no beginners out there, everyone already knows Scala.”
                                            • I then announced that I would spend no further effort on it, based on this response, and similar ones.
                                            • Leadership then acted like they never said it.

                                            That’s basically when the harassment started.

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                                              I got the response from leadership that it’s not needed, because “there are no beginners out there, everyone already knows Scala.”

                                              With an attitude like that, there certainly will be no beginners.

                                              I believe you’re making a mistake in conflating this to all open source projects, but I can understand how the PTSD can cause that.

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                                                Yes, that’s my impressions as well.

                                                Documentation shapes a community just as much as a community shapes documentation:

                                                If your documentation is poor, you will only attract users (and contributors) which are fine with poor documentation. And with users (and contributors) that are fine with poor documentation, improving documentation will never be a priority.

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                                  make enough money doing part time handiwork so I can afford a laptop with more than 2gb of ram

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                                    Happy new year! “2013” still sounds futuristic to my old brain. But in the last few weeks of 2017, I had three goals form out of the blue:

                                    1. Eat less (skip breakfast, and maybe eventually also lunch). Saw this on Lobsters.
                                    2. As much as possible, migrate my personal systems from Intel x64 to ARM-based. Starting the year with Raspbian, hoping to end the year with OpenBSD. ARM is going to be huge?
                                    3. Finally get to grips with VLANs, VPNs, host file blocking, and firewall rules in pfSense, to properly separate IoT and personal devices on my family home networks.
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                                      Talking to customers. Finding more ways to talk to customers. And building things at the same time. In the past, i’ve Always found it hard to do both at the same time.

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                                        Starting and finishing the beach body insanity workout and possibly doing the asylum one. With 2 kids being born pretty close together my dad bod is quickly getting out of control. Wife’s already almost done the insanity workout, and it’s worked awesome for her.

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                                          • Actually starting and finishing side-projects
                                          • Moving whole nuclear family to Switzerland, already in progress
                                          • Quit social media, Facebook is done, Twitter underway, Reddit is a tough one but underway
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                                            To take better care of my flesh-vessel.

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                                              More money, more health, more “side” projects done.

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                                                More goals than resolutions but here we go: