Threads for stig

    1. 1

      Changing to thinner strings (11s) on my acoustic guitar. It makes it a bit easier to play some of the more complicated chords.

      Building a shelf to hide a couple suitcases at top of a cupboard, so I can get them off floor in my hallway.

      Going to Christmas party at my sailing club in the evening. Possibly last sail of year tomorrow, or tidy the club house if the conditions are not favourable.

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      I hope to do a bit of AoC, if I can keep focused.

      Aside from that - recovering from post-vaccine illness and trying to drag myself out of the anxiety spiral I’ve been dealing with most of this year.

      I sorely miss back when tinkering on homebrew programming languages, pixel graphics engines and old-school genart actually felt meaningful and fun!

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        I sorely miss back when tinkering on homebrew programming languages, pixel graphics engines and old-school genart actually felt meaningful and fun!

        Have you tried teaching?

        Kids spent two hours tinkering with and playing a “game” (actually a joystick test) we’ve made using a small screen and a single joystick module. Just keep the dot aimed at the moving square for long enough to score a point a respawn it a little bit smaller elsewhere.

        If I’ve thrown in generated art, such as different target shapes, they would’ve been ecstatic. ;-)

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          I actually worked teaching CS (at my country’s analogue of community college) for about a decade! I enjoyed teaching, but got tired of struggling to cope with constant budget cuts and the kind of institutional dysfunction that arises from that.

          The most fun teaching task I’ve ever had was when I got “rented” out to an elementary school which had a special class for autistic kids, some of whom wanted to learn to programming. It was terrific fun. We wrote, among other things, a hilarious version of Snake in Pygame.

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            You probably have some sort of youth centers where they would happily give you a room, time slot and a steady influx of young people interested in programming with no need for them to pass tests afterwards. You can usually also select your preferred age bracket. The only downside is that it’s probably not really paid because even in northern Europe it’s still capitalism.

            I for one would also be super interested in texts or videos about the kind of procedural game assets that would be useful on 160×120 3.5” screen with 125 MHz CPU without a floating point unit.

      2. 1

        AoC here, too. I’m going for rankings, never made the leaderboard but had a few < 1000 this year at least. Probably need to do more prep to have a real chance.

        Hope you feel better!

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          Thanks. Physically I’m already fine again. (Of the five covid jabs I’ve had so far, only #2 and #5 made me ill - I literally had no side effects from any of the others). Anxiety and depression have been climbing all year (before you ask: Yes, I am in therapy), and unfortunately I’m less sure that will ever really go away again. I’m absolutely terrified about what’s going to happen to me if I get replaced by AI and no longer have any economically useful skills to sell.

          This is the first time I ever do AoC, because it’s the first December in many years where my work schedule has left me time for it. I’m not really going for the leaderboard - I’m not generally a very competitively inclined person. Or I suppose that depends on your perspective: I want to beat the puzzles, but I don’t particularly care about whether I can do so faster than others. (I felt the same way back when I was younger and healthier and did open-water swimming: I liked pitting myself against the elements, not the other swimmers).

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            I’m absolutely terrified about what’s going to happen to me if I get replaced by AI and no longer have any economically useful skills to sell.

            Interesting. I would love to devote more of my time to playing guitar, travelling, and spending time with friends and family. Call me an optimist but I really think we need to get away from this idea that everyone needs to work for a living. Why should we, if AI can do all the (tedious/dangerous) jobs? Bring on Ian M Banks’ Culture :D


              I’d love to live in a sci-fi utopia, but unfortunately I don’t. What I worry about is that this tech might devalue software, knowledge work, etc. … but it won’t devalue food, shelter and energy. Since the only reason I can afford the latter is that I can sell the former, that means if everything I can do becomes worthless, then I’m going to be cold and hungry. (And, on a more personal level, bummed out that I can no longer contribute anything meaningful to my community - this doesn’t have to be wage labour, of course, but I can’t “contribute” much if everything I can do can be done better by an AI anyway).

              Sure, my country has a social safety net - but that’s predicated on a lot of things, including a large middle class that pays taxes from their salaries. If a very large proportion of everyone in the information/knowledge sector has their economic livelihood destroyed, then that social safety net isn’t going to hold.

              Also - they’re not exactly automating away the tedious and dangerous tasks with this tech. They’re automating away creative activities (art, music, programming, etc.), leaving humans to deal only with either the tedium of quality-controlling AI-generated extruded products, or competing with each other for jobs where robots are too expensive.

              (I don’t know how far we actually are from this. Also, I am prone to anxiety, and it’s entirely possible that I’m competely overestimating the risk.)

    3. 2

      Of 30 chapters in “Crafting Interpreters” I have 7 left. Bytecode VM function calls is next.

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        I’m just starting this! My team’s working through and discussing chapter 4 this week. I was pleasantly surprised that the scanner code in that chapter looks extremely similar to the JSON parser I implemented many years back.

    4. 1

      We had to cancel our son’s 12th birthday party on Sunday due to the inclement weather, so currently my weekend is a hot mess.

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      Hanging around in Sapa, Vietnam

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        So jealous. I got back from three weeks in Hong Kong less than a week ago, and we’re having the coldest November in over a decade. I’ve lost count of the number of layers I’m wearing.

    6. 1

      M-x sql-postgres in Emacs, or psql if that’s not available for some reason.

      I don’t have direct SQL access to our production RDS DBs, but we have an PgAnalyse instance that I can use to answer some questions. I like it, though I haven’t used any of the other tools mentioned here so don’t know how it compares.

    7. 2

      Rediscovering what I do for a living. After 3 sunny and warm weeks holidaying in Hong Kong, it’s brutal being back in cold and dark north England.

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      This post feels like it’s missing a discussion and conclusion.

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      Articles like these get confusing because “TDD” means a lot of things to a lot of people, and so you end up debating what “TDD” means rather than whatever testing strategy is being proposed. (see also: Single Responsibility Principle)

      Setting aside that, as well as the unreferenced definitions of “unit test”, the advice in here isn’t bad:

      • Test outside-in - agreed. The purpose of testing is to reduce the risk of something not working, so you should test what you think should be working from the user’s perspective

      • Don’t over-isolate your code (I believe “over isolate” is what the author means) - generally, I agree, but I don’t think Docker is the unit of isolation. Mocking a third party API client is fine. I think the point being made here is a good one, in that you cannot confidently refactor across the boundary of tests.

        e.g. you can refactor something such that your browser/e2e tests all pass, but such a refactor would wreak havoc for your unit tests. Thus, each test creates a boundary over which refactoring will become difficult. The fewer isolated unit tests you have, the fewer the boundaries. But, testing is about managing risk, so the completely elimination of isolated unit tests is likely not the way to go.

      • Don’t make changes without a failing test. Generally agree here, too, for the reasons stated. You need to know that your test is testing the right thing (see a post I wrote on this for more)

      • Tip #4 isn’t a tip and is confusing - I think the author is conflating “design of the software” with “infrastructure in AWS”. I would agree driving the design of your software entirely by tests is not realistic and could result in severe over-testing if you need to drive decisions like caching or performance entirely by writing tests. But it’s a nice idea, I guess.

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        Articles like these get confusing because “TDD” means a lot of things to a lot of people

        For me, it will always mean Transport Tycoon Deluxe (and practically mean the open source version).

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          That is a powerful association given TDD and TTD are different acronyms. Is that a ringing endorsement for TTD?

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            Yes, TDD just reads as a typo for TTD to me. OpenTTD has consumed a lot of my time over the years and the outcome has always been happiness. I cannot say the same about TDD.

    10. 4

      Still vacationing in HK. We’re over jet lag. Meeting one of my wife’s childhood friends and her family at a park this afternoon. Hopefully her kids will hit it off with ours!

      Found a great guitar at a fantastic price, and trying to find out if I can get it home. It doesn’t come with a hard case, so Ba refuses to take it in the hold. It’s just a bit too big to take as hand luggage, so I’m trying to find out how much it would be to buy a seat for it, but BA is not very helpful. You have to phone them, but most of the time they don’t pick up. I got through yesterday, and left some details. Apparently they’ll get back to me within 72 hours…

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        Have you considered having it crated and sent as air freight? HK certainly will have plenty of air freight providers.

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          Yeah, I looked into it and that appears to cancel out much of the price difference. It’s not a one-of-kind guitar, but a fun mass-produced one, so I’ll pass this time. I’m sure to come across others like it in the future.

    11. 1

      Second week in HK. Pretty much over jet lag—and recovered from the cold! We’ve been close to our hotel in Mong Kok most of the time so far, but hoping to make excursions further afield this week. Have found two great guitar shops nearby 😅

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      First week holidaying in HK with family. We are continuing our quest to get over jet lag. Regretfully son (11) has caught a stinking cold, so we’re spending a lot of time at the hotel resting. I did however manage to get to Tom Lee Music in Tsim Sha Tsui to try some guitars, since I left mine at home.

    13. 3

      Not strictly test related but this reminded me of speaking to a chap at RedHat, about 20 years ago, who said he struggled to meet feature freeze deadlines. His workaround was to ship known buggy code and immediately raise release-blocking issues against it.

    14. 2

      Getting over the worst of the jet lag so we can start enjoying our Hong Kong vacation

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      Great post! Will keep a link to this for future reference.

      In particular it explained why I always get confused by ours/theirs during rebase. (I never resolve conflicts during merge, I rebase the “other” branch first.)

      Also the difference between HEAD^3 and HEAD~3 was interesting. I thought they were synonyms until now.

    16. 2

      Filing expenses for last week’s business trip to Canada, and packing for a three-week vacation to Hong Kong starting Friday. I was an expat there for a year, and my son was born there, but for reasons we haven’t been back since 2012. I gained my “1 year streak” for learning Mandarin on Duolingo today, and I’m really excited to start applying it later this week. Also excited about seeing the place again—and what the almost-12yo thinks of it :-)

      Any suggestions for must-do things in HK?

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        I’ll be flying to HK a week after you!

    17. 3

      Got laid off at work.

      Will be looking for opportunities.

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        Sorry to hear that! What will you be looking for?

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          Thanks! I am looking for senior backend roles.

          Long term goal is to move into systems programming, but for now will be happy with building backend infrastructure.

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      Packing & preparing for trip from UK to Canada for work. Not looking forward to the long flight, nor the anticipated jetlag, but willing to put up with it to hook up with my teammates in meatspace for the first time in 4 years :-)

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        UK -> Canada is actually not as bad as you’ll find out. Really Canada <-> Europe is pretty ok because of the 6-7 hour difference. Things just generally line up nicely.

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          Yeah, it’s still going to be a very long day. I have a 3+ hour wait for a two hour coach trip to the offsite venue once I land in Canada. Expecting to have a sore tush as I’m not used to sitting for that many hours. (I use a standing desk at my home office.)

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      Where do retries fit?

    20. 2

      Throwing a Minecraft Live watch party for son(11) and a friend. We shopped lots of Minecraft-themed food today, and I’m baking a pumpkin pie (or pumpkin flan, as we call it in the UK) tomorrow.