Threads for flbn

  1. 16

    Stop using laptops. For the same money you can get a kickassssss workstation.

    1. 27

      But then for the time you want to work away from the desk you need an extra laptop. Not everyone needs that of course, but if you want to work remotely away from home or if you do on-call, then laptop’s a requirement.

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        Laptops also have a built-in UPS! My iMac runs a few servers on the LAN and they all go down when there’s a blackout.

        1. 2

          Curious in which country you live that this is a significant enough problem to design for it?

          1. 5

            Can’t speak about the other poster, but I think power distribution in the US would qualify as risky. And not only in rural areas. consider that even Chicago burbs don’t have buried power lines. And every summer there’s the blackout due to AC surges. I’d naively expect at least 4 or 5 (brief) blackouts per year

      2. 8

        i get that, but it’s also not a very productive framework for discussion. i like my laptop because i work remotely – 16GB is personally enough for me to do anything i want from my living room, local coffee shop, on the road, etc. i do junior full-stack work, so that’s likely why i can get away with it. obviously, DS types and other power hungry development environments are better off with a workhorse workstation. it’s my goal to settle down somewhere and build one eventually, but it’s just not on the cards right now; i’m moving around quite a bit!

        my solution? my work laptop is a work laptop – that’s it. my personal laptop is my personal laptop – that’s it. my raspberry pi is for one-off experiments and self-hosted stuff – that’s it. in the past, i’ve used a single laptop for everything, and frequently found it working way too hard. i even tried out mighty for a while to see if that helped ((hint: only a little)). separation of concerns fixed it for me! obviously, this only works if your company supplies a laptop, but i would go as far as to say that even if they don’t it’s a good alternative solution, and might end up cheaper.

        my personal laptop is a thinkpad i found whilst trash-hopping in the bins of the mathematics building at my uni. my raspberry pi was a christmas gift, and my work laptop was supplied to me. i spend most of my money on software, not really on the hardware.

        edit: it’s also hard; since i have to keep things synced up. tmux and chezmoi are the only reasonable way i’ve been able to manage!

        1. 6

          Agree. The ergonomics of laptops are seriously terrible.

          1. 7

            Unfortunately I don’t think this is well known to most programmers. Recently a fairly visible blogger posted his workstation setup and the screen was positioned such that he would have to look downward just like with a laptop. It baffled many that someone who is clearly a skilled programmer could be so uninformed on proper working ergonomics and the disastrous effects it can have on one’s posture and long-term health.

            Anyone who regularly sits at a desk for an extended period of time should be using an eye-level monitor. The logical consequence of that is that laptop screens should only be used sparingly or in exceptional circumstances. In that case, it’s not really necessary to have a laptop as your daily driver.

            1. 6

              After many years of using computers I don’t see a big harm of using a slightly tilted display. If anything a regular breaks and stretches/exercises make a lot more difference, especially in long term.

              If you check out jcs’ setup more carefully you’ll see that the top line is not that much lower from the “default” eye-line so ergonomics there works just fine.

              1. 2

                We discuss how to improve laptop ergonomics and more at .

                (I switched to a tablet PC, the screen is also tilted a bit but raised closer to eye level. Perhaps the photo in the ‘fairly visible blogger’s setup was setup for the photo and might be raised higher normally)

            2. 2

              That assumes you’re using the laptop’s built-in keyboard and screen all day long. I have my laptop hooked up to a big external monitor and an ergonomic keyboard. The laptop screen acts as a second monitor and I do all my work on the big monitor which is at a comfortable eye level.

              On most days it has the exact same ergonomics as a desktop machine. But then when I occasionally want to carry my work environment somewhere else, I just unplug the laptop and I’m good to go. That ability, plus the fact that the laptop is completely silent unless I’m doing something highly CPU-intensive, is well worth the loss of raw horsepower to me.

            3. 2

              A kickass workstation which can’t be taken into the hammock, yes.

              1. 1

                I bought a ThinkStation P330 2.5y ago and it is still my best computing purchase. Once my X220 dies, if ever, then I will go for a second ThinkStation.

                1. 3

                  A few years ago I bought an used thinkcentre m92. Ultra small form factor. Replaced the hard drive with a cheap SSD and threw in extra RAM and a 4k screen. Great set up. I could work very comfortably and do anything I want to do on a desktop. Including development or whatching 4k videos. I used that setup for five years and have recently changed to a 2 year old iMac with an Intel processor so I can smoothly run Linux on it.

                  There is no way I am suffering through laptop usage. I see laptops as something suited for sales people, car repair, construction workers and that sort of thing. For a person sitting a whole day in front of the screen… No way.

                  I don’t get the need for people to be able to use their computers in a zillion places. Why? What’s so critical about it? How many people actually carries their own portable office Vs just doing their work on their desks before the advent of the personal computer? We even already carry a small computer in our pocket att all times that fills up lot of personal work needs such as email, chat, checking webpages, conference calls, etc. Is it really that critical to have a laptop?

                  1. 4

                    I don’t get the need for people to be able to use their computers in a zillion places. Why? What’s so critical about it?

                    I work at/in:

                    1. The office
                    2. Home office
                    3. Living room

                    The first two are absolutely essential, the third is because if I want to do some hobbyist computing, it’s not nice if I disappear in the home office. Plus my wife and I sometimes both work at home.

                    Having three different workstations would be annoying. Not everything is on Dropbox, so I’d have to pass files between machines. I like fast machines, so I’d be upgrading three workstations frequently.

                    Instead, I just use a single MacBook with an M1 Pro. Performance-wise it’s somewhere between a Ryzen 5900X and 5950X. For some things I care about for work (matrix multiplication), it’s even much faster. We have a Thunderbolt Dock, 4k screen, keyboard and trackpad at each of these desks, so I plug in a single Thunderbolt cable and have my full working environment there. When I need to do heavy GPU training, I SSH into a work machine, but at least I don’t have a terribly noisy NVIDIA card next to me on or under the desk.

                    1. 3

                      The first two are absolutely essential, the third is because if I want to do some hobbyist computing, it’s not nice if I disappear in the home office.

                      I believe this is the crux of it. It boils down to personal preference. There is no way I am suffering to the horrible experience of using a laptop because it is not nice to disappear to the office. If anything, it raises the barrier to be in front of a screen.

                    2. 2

                      Your last paragraph is exactly my thoughts. Having a workstation is a great way to reduce lazy habits IMNSHO. Mobility that comes with a laptop is ultimately a recipe for neck pain, strain in arms and hands and poor posture and habits.

                      1. 6

                        I have 3 places in which I use my computer (a laptop). In two of them, I connect it to an external monitor, mouse and keyboard, and I do my best to optimize ergonomics.

                        But the fact that I can take my computer with me and use it almost anywhere, is a huge bonus.

                1. 11

                  first day of my first big-boy job today! pretty stoked, even though it’s just onboarding stuff today.

                  1. 2

                    Good luck! What area/tech-stack?

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                      Oh my! A week passed and I’m just now catching up on everything… it’s agency work, so I’m involved in a lot of creative product work but as far as the stack goes, TypeScript and Next.js, which I really enjoy working with! I feel sooo lucky :)

                  1. 2

                    this is a really nice article and i appreciate the youtube links, will definitely watch later. i was wondering if you planned on having a demo up and running soon or a repo to plug? sometime later this year i want to build a stream on my own personal site and am planning on building it with phoenix/elixir. it’s a rather complicated task but i like biking and would be interested in creating a client that i can stream and play my music on so that other’s can listen while i ride without getting copystruck + it seems like a fun side-project!

                    edit: i found the link! should’ve probably waited before sending this comment in but i was a little hyped to see someone building a similar project out in the open!

                    1. 3

                      Thank you for the kind words! Sure thing: it’s up and running at

                      Sounds like a cool project; hope you’ll share it here :)

                      1. 2

                        for sure, this sort of thing is exactly what excites me about the web!! i’m probably younger than a lot of the people on here but i think it’s probably the same feelings other generations talk about when they reminisce on the old web. it’s cool that even though there are tools out there for people to bootstrap projects like that instantly (i.e. twitch and yt) but building it yourself is part of the fun, in my opinion. i was mostly inspired by the creator of this site who has his own personal stream set up.

                        1. 2

                          I agree! This is the fun stuff. I love to pop open a beer and watch Joshua hack away on his old Mac. So mellow and relaxing…

                          1. 2

                            Sorry but who is Joshua?

                            Brilliant website btw. Have been listening to it intermittently while at work. Much better than listening on youtube and watching the uBlock counter go up every second.

                            1. 2

                              Sorry but who is Joshua?

                              jcs, whose stream was mentionned by flbn.

                    1. 1

                      i just got my first full-time job out of uni, hoping to hop on an elixir project! i onboard next month, so i’m full-time avoiding coursework and spending most days becoming an ~alchemist~

                      1. 1

                        i also need to spend some time thinking about relocating. the job is fully remote, but most of my coworkers will be living in nyc. i have no idea where i want to end up (it’s EST based). i’m finding it incredibly stressful, so i might end up moving back home with the rents for a little after graduation to spend more time figuring it out.

                        i have this delusion where i want to spend ~3 months subletting a place in different cities until i fall in love with wherever i’m at. any tips for scouting out locations for relocation?

                        1. 6

                          A few, based on my own personal experiences of 15 years spent moving every 2-3 years:

                          • 3 months seems short. I’d personally say 6 at least. 1 year isn’t too long a time. You’re young, at least I assume so. You’re making a plan for the next few years at most. Plans change, be flexible. You have plenty of time. Enjoy living in these places, don’t feel like there’s an end-goal you have to rush towards.
                          • Have a few ideas for what sort of cities you want to live in and what priorities you have… but also expect to be surprised and have your priorities changed. Always allow the unexpected to intervene.
                          • Relatedly, you might have to kill your darlings. I spent years dreaming of living in Seattle, moved there for 6 months and hated it.
                          • Learn to pack light and be willing to live a bit rugged, especially with regards to furniture. Getting rid of and replacing furniture is generally far easier than moving it, and Craigslist is an infinite source and sink for reasonable-quality Ikea stuff. Moving is already expensive and complicated, simplify it as much as you can.
                          • Assuming you’re in the US, get out of the US at least for a little while. The change in perspective is breathtaking.

                          Moving back in with parents and figuring life out for a few months honestly sounds like a pretty reasonable thing to me. There’s no point in stressing yourself out with arbitrary goals you’ve set for yourself.

                          1. 1

                            thanks for the lovely and thoughtful response! i’m not exactly sure what constitutes ‘young’ but it would be my first time out of the house since living at university. like i said, it is a delusion – upon further reflection, 3 months does seem really short!

                            i resonate with your feelings about Seattle. it’s actually number one on my shortlist. i visited a couple years back and thought it was beautiful and found the people i interacted with to be extremely kind. would you be willing to expand a little bit more on why you didn’t find it to live up to your expectations? it’s not the first time i’ve heard someone say that!

                            that 4th bullet point seems wise. i actually felt this earlier last year, as i moved around quite a bit between apartments in the last four years. i had to sell multiple couches and bed frames; in the end, i ended up using some of the extra time i had during the pandemic to build my own super portable bed-frame. it taught me about carpentry, but best of all, it can fit inside my sedan!

                            presently, i am waiting to onboard and see how i handle the time management. once i feel more comfortable, i’m going to commit to moving out. leaving the united states sounds wonderful, but i’m just not sure how the time zones would work out. my twin sister is waiting to hear back from a fullbright scholarship that would place her in europe. i’ve been secretly considering following her abroad! additionally, she’s waiting for graduate school responses to roll in, which i could also follow her through. i’m super stoked on the new job, regardless of where i end up :)

                            1. 4

                              would you be willing to expand a little bit more on why you didn’t find it to live up to your expectations? it’s not the first time i’ve heard someone say that!

                              It may or may not have been largely situational. I’d just graduated from grad school, barely, which left a very sour taste in my mouth. I’d just gotten the news that my dad had (fatal) cancer. I had no terribly good job prospects, and I was leaving behind a bunch of friends I didn’t appreciate enough until they were gone. I low-key hated living in the city where my school was and wanted to get the hell out. So Seattle seemed like a good bet.

                              If I’d gone to Seattle and landed a cool job with a lot of money and found neat people to hang out with, it might have worked out okay. Instead I ended up mostly-broke with a temp job doing phone tech support, paying 50% more money than I had been for an apartment the size of my old bedroom, and an extra $150/month just for some place to park my car within five miles of it. It was noisy, cramped, annoying, and doing literally anything was difficult, expensive, or both. I had no prospects, was rapidly learning how little grad school had prepared me for an actual job, and was watching the only two friends I knew who lived in Seattle go through the process of no longer being friends with each other.

                              So I took a shitty job that would at least pay me money and get me out of there, since there were no job opportunities anywhere even remotely where I wanted to be anyway. Entirely accidentally it landed me near my parents when I needed to be, in the city I’ve loved for the last 7 years.

                              The food was absolutely amazing though, and I loved my neighborhood. I’ve visited it once or twice and it was weird but nice. Maybe I should go back and try again sometime. I miss the mountains.

                              1. 2

                                I’d like to second that three months is too short. I’ve been moving around most my life and a year is how long it takes to settle in and then enjoy being settled in a bit (although it may take longer if you don’t have uni / work to bootstrap from) if you stay 6 months you will regret leaving too early and if you stay 3 months you will just burn the candle from both ends and get stressed. Just my 2c.

                        1. 23

                          Helping my colleagues from Ukraine fleeing war and my colleagues from Russia fleeing sanctions settling in, establishing residency and incorporating new LLCs and getting their bank accounts set up so they can get back to a somewhat normal life.

                          I have to defer other tasks for later. Much later.

                          1. 3

                            any way for others to help you out with this?

                            1. 2

                              Nope, I got it all handled for the time being. Bureaucracy can be overwhelming at times, but I have tons of experience with it, so that helps. Thanks for the offer though!

                          1. 2

                            this isn’t a command but check out goyo and limelight, which pair nicely when trying to emulate a distrationless writing tool like iA writer.

                            1. 3

                              Pencil is suggested as well. I use Goyo + Limelight + Pencil to get a decent email composing environment for Himalaya and its Vim plugin.

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                                oh wow, this is super sick. i normally tweak my config manually to get some of these results when i find myself doing some longer form writing. thanks so much for this shout!

                            1. 3

                              Everything a little bit worse than the previous design. Just what I’d hoped for. Oh, and a paid subscription service. Is Mozilla into satirical performance art now?

                              1. 14

                                this shock is always the case for big redesigns, in my experience. to spin off your comment in a more positive manner, i’m willing to point out some things i actually like about this change. in my case, i really enjoy the new console. it’s much more intuitive and placed directly in the article, as opposed to the aside element they had before. also, the table of contents on the right is great! have you gotten a chance to mess around with the new docs? what’re your biggest gripes?

                                1. 8

                                  I acknowledge the grumpy tone of my comment. 😁 The thing that threw me instantly was the main body merging visually with the two side bars. I do like the new compatability table, it is easier to grock quickly. I have no idea what the console is?

                                  Like you say, any particular gripes I have I will get used to. The real thing that rubs me the wrong way is that there was absolutely no need for another redesign, and the article linked is full of marketing buzz-word garbage to justify it. I wish Mozilla would spend its time and resources on things other than the pointless (repeated) overhalling of something that was absolutely fine to begin with. (Since when is five years a shocking length of time to leave a design in place!?)

                                  MDN is not marketing a product, it hosts documentation. Its purpose isn’t to wow customers with its shiney <div>s - it’s where I go to look things up. It’s a place of work, not a bilbord. To that end, I value consistency and a lack of visual pretension.

                                  1. 3

                                    MDN is not marketing a product, it hosts documentation.

                                    Well, at one point I believe the MDN team was actually in the reporting hierarchy of marketing. And because it’s historically been not just generic web docs but also documentation for Mozilla tech and products, it’s been a part of the marketing/branding efforts.

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                                      and what’s the revenue upside of merely hosting documentation? can’t have that in this economy.

                                2. 4

                                  Everything a little bit worse than the previous design. Just what I’d hoped for.

                                  This, but earnestly. Be thankful it’s only a little bit!