here

Monday Scribbles, 20th August 2018

I'm not doing weeknotes but this is weeknoteish. I got the itch to jot down a few of the things that have made me happy this past week.

1. Working on an address book thing.

My continued attempts to dial back from social media have lead me down the path of letter writing. Which I haven't done yet because I wanted to improve my handwriting first. Now that my handwriting is a little better I've turned to the other problem of not knowing anyone's address.

Along with that I also need a bit of a lead up to send someone a birthday card. Facebook's day before "Hey it's so-and-so's Birthday tomorrow" or worse "Today, why not wish them a good day" isn't giving me enough heads-up. Worse still if I need to post something to another country.

Writing birthdays on the calander isn't much better because I only look at the current month. Which is fine if someone's birthday is in the 2nd half, but should it be on the 2nd or 3rd, well I'm sorry but I'm only seeing it when I flip the page. Again, too late.

I had a look at a whole bunch of online address book things, none of them worked quite right. They were very much in the spirit of reminding you on the day so you could send them an email. Or they were about integrating with your online calendar. I try and keep my calendar for work meetings and such like.

I know I'm fickle.

Digging a little deeper only got me into the territory of business software. Which was all about chasing up leads and closing the deal. They were pretty robust on the "This is when I last contacted this person" and prompting you to "reach out" to them. To help cultivate your customer/business relationship was the big selling point.

I took this as an excuse to put off writing even longer. Instead I started building an online address book that also tracked birthdays. One that worked how I wanted it to work. It's almost finished and I'll write about it more when it is, repeating all I've written up there I'm sure.

Anyway, the point of all that is I've enjoyed the process of using Issues and the Projects board on github. Something I've been doing more and more of on my own projects no matter how small and trivial. As soon as I go "Oh, I need to do such-and-such" I drop it in as an Issue, even if I then go on to write the code moments later.

I enjoy the process of moving the task from "To do" to "On deck" to "Doing" and finally "Done". Along with making changes on small GitHub branches when before I would have slapped them straight onto Master.

I've gotten more used to this process over the last year or so and I can see it coming through in my day job. I'm now not only feeling like I'm a good computer code developer but also a disciplined one.

Or I'm just getting old.

2. Bulma

Related to the above, I got tired of Bootstrap as a CSS frame work and wanted something newer, cleaner. Something which didn't depend on javascript. After looking around for a while I settled on https://bulma.io/ which seemed to tick all the boxes.

Like many CSS frameworks I've played with, it turns out the actual CSS I want is the one they use for their own documentation rather than the CSS itself.

3. Javascript

Even though I use node and ES6 for pretty much everything backend, I've taken to trying to make the whole front end as javascript free as possible. Or at the very least make it all work without javascript with the idea of adding "progressive enhancement". Then never getting round to actually adding it.

Often javascript was about solving validation and menu drop-downs. Both of which seem to now be better handled in native HTML and CSS.

The other thing javascript wanted to solve was not having to submit a whole page to the server when needing to add or remove elements. Which makes sense when pages were slow and covered in trackers, adverts, frameworks and goodness knows what.

Turns out if you don't weight your pages down with all that crap and stick with a "no javascript" rule, reloading pages doesn't actually take that long.

4. I rediscovered the monkey jesus postcards I had printed, and they made me laugh all over again

Postcards of Monkey Jesus

This is your reward for getting this far.

5. Mastodon

Like everyone else I'm on Mastodon. I'd pretty much given up twitter anyway, rarely posting and having some code running that deletes my own tweets after 48 hours.

I like this quote from Warren Ellis' newsletter that Phil Gyford pointed me to...

"The novelty about Mastodon is that it’s federated. You can create your own Mastodon “instance,” like a state, that then connected to the united states of Mastodon. But, of course, everybody joins an already existing instance, because who the fuck wants to spend time creating their own state?"

With Brexit and everything else going on in the world we're kind of trained to think that we can only belong to one state. We are not allowed to be European, we have the be British. By being British we have to reject everything else. Eying with suspicion people with duel passports, because they are somehow breaking the rules. They have an escape velocity that we don't.

Which is of course all bullshit thinking.

And with Mastodon unlike Twitter, you can feel free to join as many states as you like. You don't have the same friends on each unless you connect to them over and over again, but that a positive rather than a negative. Currently I live on a large mastodon.social state and a few smaller one. One about bots, one centered around photography and a small D&D roleplay instance.

I can view the local timelines, the federated timeline and switch around which "state" I currently want to live in at will.

While with Twitter I'm stuck on one giant landmass with everyone else, no matter how well I curate my lists and mutes.

* * *

That's enough Monday journal scribbling. More than I was planning anyway.