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rollcat’s web page.

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Domain names

Hello, my name is rollcat, and I like playful domain names.

What I don’t necessarily like is hoarding stuff (especially when it comes with a recurring expense), so instead I’m going to just throw this idea out here, in the hope that someone will do something playful and interesting with it: a domain name that starts with some form of a negation, followed by one of those fancy new gTLDs, for example: donttry.engineering, without.style, never.forsale, forget.makeup, or unnecessary.website.

There are over 1500 TLDs! The possibilities are endless. Try searching on Gandi or Hover.

Sync vs async work

This is a reflection on PG’s famous essay, “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”. The fact I’m writing this while in the middle of producing a live stream is only a tiny bit ironic.

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Why getopt?

I use getopt almost exclusively in all software that I write by myself, and often insist on using it when collaborating with others, even when the language convention is to use something else.

The reason is simple: getopt is a part of the user interface, and user interfaces should strive to be simple and consistent. As an end user, I find it jarring when, for example, I have to run a script by specifying the interpreter by hand, or when the language-specific extension is a part of the file name. This is an implementation detail which should not concern me - the #! should take care of that for me. Similarly, getopt is over 40 years old, is supported nearly universally, and is easy to understand both for the user and the programmer.

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Observation: most calendar software I regularly use (the default apps on Mac & iOS; World Time Buddy, & some others) is not great when dealing with events that end past midnight. For example, in WTB I can’t select a range outside the 24h period spanning the “home” time zone; Apple’s apps show the event on the next day as if it was scheduled ON that day (which Calendar Timeline doesn’t do); etc.

I consider this an accessibility problem, where accessibility is defined as “making your software accessible to everyone”.

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Docker: ls without ls

Quick tip: if you want to inspect the filesystem of a running Docker container, but it doesn’t even include a shell, let alone ls, you can do the following:

docker export some-container | tar -tf -

You can also print out the contents of a single file with tar (omit the leading slash):

docker export some-container | tar -xOf - etc/some/file.txt

Runaway complexity

Last week I had to work on a Django app again. Since Python is a very portable language that works on many different platforms, of course I’ve had to work on that in a Docker container, in a Linux VM in Qemu, on an arm64 Mac running macOS. Also because the official Docker for Desktop app is somewhat annoying, I’ve been giving Lima a try. Also because the standard Django development web server doesn’t offer the best debugging experience, I’ve been running an alternative server through django-extensions.

I’ve counted at least 8 distinct software vendors so far in that paragraph. When I’ve hit a bug that completely killed my productivity, it was far from obvious which one to look at. Let’s take a dive and see what happened.

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Quick tip: soundproofing your homelab

Quick tip: if your home server happens to be a humble PC tower, rather than a rackmount blade, you can insert a layer of styrofoam or bubble wrap underneath it, to reduce the noise transferred from the fans & hard drives into the floor or the desk.

One day: a fanless server, with all SSDs and no HDDs.

The Old Computer Challenge v2: Conclusion

Today marks the last day of the challenge.

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The Old Computer Challenge v2: Day 4 Summary

Short update on the challenge: all the smart home stuff is so annoying.

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The Old Computer Challenge v2: Days 1&2 Summary

Days 1&2 of The Old Computer Challenge v2! I found that being almost constantly online during the working hours actually takes a lot away from the challenge - I’ve had to make a few adjustments.

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