2022-01 Diary.. thing

with tags diary 2022 -

Based on historical evidence, this blog update should not exist, and yet, here it is (and you are, which is a surprise).

January, 2022

First month using the new method was interesting and full of activity and perhaps even some positive surprises.

The first 3 weeks was adjusting to the new reality of the new focused rituals and work life and at times it was challenging to avoid setting into familiar patterns related to work. This lead to some internal conflicts, but I think I managed to channel that out into the diary and various “lists” of what to watch out in the future. It was all worth it, at the start of February I am starting to discover what this all means. Maybe it’s start the beginning of the trip, but I’ll take even these changes.

Just need to be careful to also have some “no brain” rest now and then. Somewhat challenging when brain wants to brain. Who is writing this blog if not the brain you might ask? Well, it’s me, the skeleton, trapped in the flesh suit and offering a motive rotating pedestal for the brain, so that it can brain.

Notable changes this month

House hunting plan has taken a slight pivot and we’ve been looking even farther afield seeing as nothing really keeps either of us rooted in the capital area. Might even move to a rental flat first in the new place before continuing the house hunting on site.

Otherwise most focus areas are still on track, and I have also started chipping away at couple of larger items that I’ve been denying existence of for far too long. Overcoming the anxiety for these was an interesting experience (it’s still an ongoing process).

Accidentally also kind of decided to try to make 12 specially curated playlists this year. One for each month of this.. blog.. blarg.. thing. Not taking too much pressure on this though, but should have stuff for at least 4 or 5 so at least those.

An friendly headhunting session ended up pushing me to think about what would it take to switch from my current employer and what kind of battery of questions I could use in the future for any prospective offer. I’m not planning to switch at the moment, but it’s been ages since I thought about these things, and I’m certainly in a very different place now as a person than I was in 2015. Ended up with quite a surprising list, which I’ll need to return to later (privately).

Passion and work/life balance (or lack of)

(this segment wanted to be written, so I’m letting it)

This process has simmering for a long time, but I think that the new methods and rituals have helped me to arrive into a way to actually approach the problem, namely: how to deal with frustration about changes into codebase that you have sweated for over many years.

In many ways, I’ve had to remind myself that while working on a commercial project, no matter how much effort you have spent into the codebase, it is still not your codebase. Someone else will set the standard of “acceptable” and “good enough” quality (you know what I mean).

I was for a long time (at least a decade) in a mode that the first idea that I wake up with is related to some problem to solve at work, and many times the last idea at the night was also one. Only weekends sometimes offered some kind of actual pause from this, but otherwise it was a very single minded mode. I can’t really help it, give my brain a problem and it goes all tangential on it until the problem has been reviewed from multiple points of view to understand ramifications of all possible changes (all the ones that I can imagine at least). In many ways it is a gift, but in other ways it is also a curse.

Now that I have a method to break the cycle in a constructive manner (thinking about other things than work things as the first and last thing), it has given me better perspective on my somewhat unhealthy relationship to “the codebase”.

There might be some benefit of having people feel passionately about code, but at the same time it is also very consuming for those people and not sustainable in the long term.

During January I have been constructing a “check-list” and adjusting my manners of approaching code reviews in general, and perhaps communication as well. I’m still at the start of this journey, but I am seeing results already so this seems like a path worth taking.

Since brain wants to brain, one tool that I’m using is letting it brain all over the PR, but instead of writing the findings/suggestions into PR comments, I direct them into a text file. This allows “brain to brain”, and externalizes the thoughts and feels about “wrongness” and yet I can fool brain by only taking the actually important findings and forwarding them. It’s still difficult to decide on what is “actually important”, but I think I’ll get better with time. Bugs are of course “actually important”, but everything else that has bearing on future maintainability, difficult abstractions or adding complexity in places which does not require it (inherently) is all iffy and subjective.

What remains is an efficient process that allows me to get rid of the brain frustration in a constructive manner, and leaves subjective assessment and analysis of “quality” to someone who is much more of an owner of the codebase that I will ever be (i.e., employees of the client who also act as the authoritative quality gates).

Lessons learned in 2022-01

  1. There is a lot of Finnish language music that I find pleasing (I have stayed away from it, but perhaps now am more open to it). I blame UMK, the eurovision song contests and Spotify.
  2. You can experience queueing in line also digitally. i.e., your browser will be “parked” with a countdown before allowed to move forward, so that the back-end system doesn’t get overwhelmed (I think). I wish I could talk with other people waiting in the same queue, or at least look at them with an unapproving stare to make sure they will not jump the queue. Maybe this is the killer app for metaverse.
  3. Spotify has helped me expand my musical horizons significantly. Even if sometimes I feel like a hobo going through troughs, looking for empty cans to return to the shop, scouring random playlists. (it is great). I just feel very sad that they feel that being a podcast platform is more important than being an music platform (I am open to switching to something else eventually, but it will be a difficult process).
  4. I don’t have the motivation to learn Android to solve just one personal problem. However, I have found methods of reducing the scope of that one problem to minimum. Perhaps in the future I’ll try again.
  5. How to use the car ventilation in a mode that didn’t use AC, but was just enough to keep moisture from condensing (trying to conserve the battery when the only reason to dry the car is to charge the battery, and it’s winter).
  6. zstandard is ridiculously fast (I knew this already, but it’s now even faster than when development started)
  7. Using an older Android phone as dedicated Spotify player might just work. Remove all other software from it, and reboot once a while, and presto, no need to run Spotify native client ever again on anything that actually matters.
  8. Trust your instinct when reading code. If it smells fishy, there are historical learnings that your feel is based on. Even if you can’t immediately prove what is wrong, write the feeling down and which line caused it, for later.

Messages to future-self

  1. You don’t need pomodoro if you prime your day with a feeling of progress. Brain does not care what the progress is about, or how much of it happens. Just something that brain can see and that is enough.
  2. Don’t act surprised when the only google hit on an issue is an article from your old blog from 12 years back on the subject. (ended up not listening to my advise though, and solved the problem in a completely different way)
  3. Finding new weird places is great
  4. Wake up early to bypass telephone queues

Games

Mostly in holding pattern until the big ones hit in February (HFW, DL2:SH, D2:TWQ).

  • Infiniitode 2
  • Borderlands 3
  • Destiny 2

Music

Playlist of the month is Traffic, which allowed me to use a somewhat narrow filter on techno and while would work much better as a proper mix, it is what it is. If you haven’t yet quit Spotify, you can find it -> https://open.spotify.com/playlist/384F9jfdhzpoUTEtWyJirs

Other choiceful selections:

Books

(finished in January, mostly modern sci-fi, but also managed to slip in one classic too)

Links

Other

Fuzzy warm feelings of the month I think was this:

Tämän suunnitelman toteuttaminen ei olisi mahdollista ilman sinua. Suuret kiitokset, että tuet työtämme |FNAME|*.

January’s “you’re not even trying, are you?” -prize goes to this:

I am Mr. Jeff the Chief accountant of a reputable Security Company here in the United Kingdom.

Conceptual art that you may use as you please:

  • Metaperse: it’s a more realistic name for “metaverse”. Related to multipasking
Written by Aleksandr Koltsoff