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    Recovering from the cold that hit me this week.

    Either a short cycling trip or going to an exposition of the faculty of arts with our daughter.

    Getting a 1TB Intel 660p NVME SSD to replace the old 500 GB SATA SSD in my NUC.

    We’ll probably also visit my parents.

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      Do you find the form factor of a NUC to be particularly useful for anything? They seem neat but I’ve always figured I’d rather have a normal server in my closet or pay for a cheap cloud server somewhere.

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        Do you find the form factor of a NUC to be particularly useful for anything?

        Actually, we use them for nearly everything at home :). My Linux desktop, my 5y/o daughter’s machine to play gcompris and program her Micro:Bit, and as our NAS (since we do not need redundancy). The latest generation NUCs typically have modern Intel features (e.g. my NUC8i5 is quad core, had an m.2 slot with NVMe support, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C), they are typically well-supported by Linux, they are small and quiet, and they have something for most segments (Celeron, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7). Finally, they are also competitively priced.

        To me, the NUC is the Mac Mini for Linux.

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      For once I’ve got a couple of fun things to share:

      • Rearchitecting a calendar application and starting to put serious hours into it
      • Buying a van to convert into a camper/house (might happen on Monday instead but I’m still counting it)
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        Really nice article, very complete!

        What library did you use to generate those svgs of the people (with mostly purple tones)? I remember seeing a release announcement for it a while ago but I forgot to save it.

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          In terms of self hosting I found Phabricator to be nicer than gittea, even if I did have to spend a little more for the server to run it. Have all the tools to manage a project right in one place was a huge benefit and the underlying git still worked just as well.

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            It’s a different workflow, but it’s great. There’s a lot of tooling available (e.g. Mozilla is IMO overdoing it with the automation that requires some secret metadata that manual diffs do not have) but typically you can use it in a completely ad-hoc way: for FreeBSD, sometimes I do git diff just on the index with some set of directories, sometimes it’s between branches, sometimes git show instead. I just upload it through the web form and it’s great. Reviewers/committers apply it with plain patch and commit to SVN. No branches to keep around and delete, no mail bullshit, just a nice webapp for reviews.

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            I’m a mess! Pretty tired (training and working a lot, and sleeping badly), but I also want to do so many things while having no time.

            On friday evening and saturday: Participating in a running competition (I am running 150 and 300m), going to a party, picking up a new contact lenses, picking up my racing bicycle which is repaired, athletics training. I also want to write an article about the conjugate gradient method, build a minimal Linux live CD (see this submission) and try if I can make an install script (probably based on arch linux installation guide). I also have two running projects of making a nixie clock and making a path tracer. But I also have to a lot of chores on sunday (groceries, cleaning, washing), and my GF is coming over…

            I don’t understand how people get to do any coding while working full-time :(

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              I don’t understand how people get to do any coding while working full-time

              A lot of us don’t.

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                I code outside of work for maybe 20 hours a year, burst over a few weekends. It’s not much.

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                  Yeah, it’s just not a thing I get to do much any more, between work that is non-coding, and home, where there are two little people who demand basically all of my time and energy. I am idly kicking around the idea of building a basic iTunes replacement (because word on the street is that the new “Music” app will no longer support my use-cases), as a way to get back into Apple platform development; but realistically, coding time will likely be supplanted by “sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine decompressing time” until the girls are less demanding.

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                    Swinsian might be able to replace iTunes for you. I certainly don’t mean to discourage you from scratching your own itch, though; that’s bound to be more fun and rewarding :-)

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                  I don’t understand how people get to do any coding while working full-time :(

                  Slowly. And with a massive TODO file.

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                    I don’t understand how people get to do any coding while working full-time :(

                    There’s a reason why I rarely code for the FOSS projects I’m involved in as a hobbyist. I just can’t code for 8 hours and then 2 more at a reliable pace. I can be helpful, answer questions and triage, though.

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                      making a nixie clock

                      That’s a very fun project! How much are you building yourself? If you are buying most of the parts it’s definitely the type of thing you can knock out in an afternoon after work.

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                        I’ve bought the actual nixie tubes, but I still have to buy the driver parts. I’m mostly following EEVblog’s approach, but I don’t want to have a wifi-connected thing, so I’ll probably buy a high-accuracy RTC chip or breakout board.

                        I have no experience with high-voltage stuff, so I’ll probably just buy a boost converter module that boosts the voltage enough (though it would be fun to design a switch-mode boost converter myself… and I still might decide to go down that rabbithole). Then I still have to design the PCB itself, and get it manufactured. So I’m thinking more in terms of months than in terms of afternoons ;)

                        If you made one and have some tips for me, I’d be happy to hear them!

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                          I ended up following something pretty close to https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Nixie-Clock-for-Absolute-Beginners/ And I just didn’t go through with the last step of soldering it all down. This was pretty early into my EE tinkering phase so I tried not to overcomplicate it.

                          The engineering of it can be made pretty simple so I’m not sure I have any tips on that front, but if you want to show it off I’d put some extra time into thinking about your casing. I got much better feedback on mine once I put it in a 3D printed box to hide the components.

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                        path tracer

                        Ooh! What for?

                        I don’t understand how people get to do any coding while working full-time

                        Magic. For me, I see it as I’m either learning something new I can then use for work, or working on something that’s different enough that it doesn’t feel like work.

                        Hence HW projects.

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                          It’s cliched but you’ve got to make the time (and you’ve got to want to do that, and fair enough if you don’t!). I like to go to a cafe for breakfast on at least one day each weekend, take the laptop, and tap out a bit of code. I don’t get a lot done, but it’s more than nothing, and it adds up.

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                          I’m going to spend the weekend in a log cabin by a cute damn near a small town in rural New England! I haven’t done any creative work lately so I’ll probably spend my time trying to write some world-building for a D&D campaign I’ve been running.

                          If anyone has suggestions for world building resources (in particular things that work offline) I’d appreciate them!

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                            I placed some Bluetooth beacons around my apartment building, so I plan to build something that does something with whatever data the beacons manage to see / collect.

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                              Using estimote beacons – they should only really pickup info from my devices since they are registered. Yeah, I guess sorta the point is to show that one can place random tech on water pipes in common areas and no one really will give it a second look. Yes, I also wonder if I can use them to sniff for other devices that might come and go. It’s all for fun and to scare myself a bit.

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                                Last I heard about BT beacons was some startup that gave them away at a ton of hackathons, but since then I haven’t seen anything about them. Is there still better hardware for this stuff now and are there any use cases you’re considering? I could never get them to work well, nor think of anything interesting or productive to do with them.

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                                  I think Estimote is all about asset tracking. I’m hoping to learn more about them this weekend. :D

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                                    How did working with them go? I’m starting to scope out ideas for my next project.

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                                      Got sidetracked and wasn’t able to do anything beyond setting them up in Estimote’s cloud service, and sticking them behind utility pipes.

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                                    I think as companies adopt the SIG mesh spec beacons (and general low-power sensors) are going to come back around. Proximity is a big limitation.

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                                    I’m planning to do a similar project. What equipment are you using?

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                                      I’m wondering if that sort of thing needs permission. Or are you going the “asking for forgiveness is easier” route?

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                                        Probably ask forgiveness if anyone ever finds them

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                                      These guys are User Interface Gods in my opinion. The tool isn’t for the newbie at all but it’s a monster in the hands of a professional. I love these improvements.

                                      And they clearly also like to have some fun. I absolutely adore the fact that the text anti-aliasing drop down uses the appropriate setting on each setting, i.e. the text that says “No hinting” has no hinting while the text that says “Full hinting” has full hinting - all in the same drop down.

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                                        These guys are User Interface Gods in my opinion

                                        Gods, period. Painful to make a plugin? Make an IDE. Painful to support a language? Make a language.

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                                          I have been using IntelliJ in anger for years and I find none of it intuitive or even powerful. Also, I waste at least 30 minutes each day when it is “Indexing….” Eclipse had a reliable incremental compiler 15 years ago, IntelliJ still does not have one. I never understood all the hype around it tbh.

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                                            I’ll admit that IntelliJ has its faults, but once I picked up a few tricks with it I found it to be immensely helpful in my Scala work. Compared to just a text editor the type checking and hinting alone is a huge productivity boost, and I find the indexing helpful for jumping around quickly between relevant bits of code. Is your codebase extremely large? Even on my laptop indexing only took a few seconds at most.

                                            That said, the compiler does still need a bit of work and there’s certainly a learning curve to it. Still, I’m glad I spent the hours to get used to it. Never tried Eclipse for Scala though, after hearing everybody’s complaints.

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                                          Some small things Saturday morning (fixing snooker cue, checking car/bike over for problems), before heading to the Sailing Club for a weekend campover.

                                          Saturday is aimed at the youth members, with a fun packed afternoon. Not sure how much I’ll join in with that as I have some maintenance to do on the IT systems in the clubhouse, but the kids should enjoy that. Then it’s BBQ, Controlled Burn of Rubbish (aka, campfire), and hopefully a midnight sail with everyone which should be fun. Sunday is then the Flying Fifteen fleet day (that’s the fleet my dinghy is in!) which looks like it’ll four decently long races for us, and hopefully a good turnout of the fleet/club on the water. Not going in expecting to place anywhere in the races, but to have lots of fun.

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                                            What type of maintenance do you need to do to a cue? I’ve inherited responsibility for some communal billiards supplies and am reasonably clueless.

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                                              IanPaul, so glad you asked. Most people in charge of billiards/pool equipment simply ignore it forever.

                                              First, some vocabulary: https://www.pooldawg.com/article/pooldawg-library/anatomy-of-a-pool-cue

                                              Here’s my list of maintenance items, higher priorities towards the top.

                                              1. cracks in the shaft? put the bumper of the queue against the ground, hold the shaft with one hand (about 3/4 of the way up) and with the other hand grasp the ferrule and gently try to “fold it over” in each of the cardinal directions. Any cracks will reveal themselves in this way.

                                              2. The tip assembly

                                              • Is the tip missing?
                                              • Try to pull the ferrule off of the shaft by both pulling and twisting. It should not come off nor indeed have any give to it at all–it should be married to the shaft.
                                              • The tip should have radial symmetry.
                                              • The tip should be free from burrs. (There exists a special rasp or file for removing burrs.)
                                              • The tip should not be too worn down. (Ask more than one of your players–opinions vary!)
                                              1. The cue should not make any sounds when you hold it in the middle and shake it. There are weights hidden inside the handle.. if they are rattling around, consider getting glue inside there.
                                              • I’ve seen cues with missing weights.
                                              1. The cue should not wobble or jump when you lay it flat on the billiards table and roll it–though it will necessarily take a curved path, an orbit around some point beyond the tip..
                                              2. The bumper should be secure.

                                              You’ll note that my list doesn’t mention the ‘joint’.. The cues I shoot with don’t have that part–the shaft and handle are all one piece. I speculate that this ‘joint’ should be solid–that is, functionally invisible–while the cue is in use!

                                              (EDIT: fix outline)

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                                                Cor! Super useful stuff there. I’m only just starting out in the world of maintenance with them, having owned them for about a decade and played regularly for 3-4 years of that.

                                                In my case we’re just retipping them, albeit not very successfully given the tip flew off second game after replacement. Also been shaping them with sandpaper but think I need a proper rasp for it possibly, getting some burrs left behind and also shaping it freehand is quite the knack it turns out.

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                                            This is a really fun post! I’ve been a little afraid to dive into SymPy after being very confused by Mathematica but this makes it seem much less intimidating.

                                            Does anyone know what syntax highlighter was used for the code blocks? I loved how all the variables were different colors, made it very easy to read.

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                                              Work: Finishing testing for our Argo Workflows deployment. We’re using it to run an evaluate a bunch of untrusted containers so I have to pay a lot of attention to security models that I don’t fully understand. It is the really satisfying part of the project where it’s mostly wrapping up loose ends before actual users get to use it though, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

                                              Personal Software: Finally ran ethernet to my old desktop so I’m going to turn that into some combination of a Nextcloud instance and a Kodi server. Any advice on self hosting storage would be appreciated, never committed this hard to it before and I’m hoping to get my family onto it so I’d like resilience.

                                              Other: Tank shoes. I want to find a way to mount tank treads onto shoes. Like those old heely shoes, except with tank treads and power. Goal is to get version 1 done this week, which would be taking a premade kit and gluing it onto an old pair of sneakers.