Daily notes for 2023-07-14

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What I’m thinking ๐Ÿ”—

Yesterday I quoted Joan Didion:

“I write entirely to find out what Iโ€™m thinking …”

… and this morning I found myself replying to a comment on micro.blog. I am not even sure how I ended up on there, but I did, and saw an interesting comment, replied, and had a brief exchange, and it was pleasant, because micro.blog has that kind of vibe. A few days ago Luke warily noted the existence of “the HOA” on Mastodon, and I completely got what he was talking about.

Mastodon was never going to remain immune to a very Twitter-like kind of discourse creeping in, and as Twitter continues its descent that will only get worse. Some of Masto’s design choices will make some of the worst Twitter excesses and abuses harder to replicate, maybe, but there’s nothing the lack of quote toots is going to do to blunt the fundamental nature of Twitter discourse, which is reductive and loud. That’s what happens when you give primates 500 characters to get an idea across and limit them to their thumbs to express it. Sorry. I didn’t write the rules.

micro.blog has managed to avoid that, partially through software design and partially through community governance. What’s really amazing to me is that I remember sometimes things would get sort of bad for someone and they’d get a little spikey or prickly, and others support them through their spikeyness or prickliness. It feels like there’s a community there.

All to say, I used to pass micro.blog posts through to Mastodon and got to kind of double-dip on communities. Maybe I want to try that again.

A small thing ๐Ÿ”—

Poking around my micro.blog profile I saw that I had a bunch of things linked in the little socials bar my theme provides, including LinkedIn and GitHub. I got rid of those links and that felt pretty good. I also stopped paying for a LinkedIn account, and that felt great. Then I went through the pages I have set up on micro.blog and got rid of job information.

It is sort of strange to be in this mental space where I really like my job and also feel pretty good about disentangling it from everything. I think that over the past several years I spent so much time fretting about what I was going to do next, and wanting to make sure I had all the self-marketing infra built out, that it just seemed normal to let things blur.

Now that I’ve been through the last year, I think:

  1. The intersection of what makes me great at work and what people on Mastodon want to read about is probably a very small set. I have nothing interesting to tell you about what I do for a living that you could copy from a code snippet or run in a container to try for yourself.
  2. It wasn’t a good idea to pay for LinkedIn all those years, but I am keeping my free account because that’s where people who have a lead will think to look for you, and where you can keep up with people you met at work and care about but have not formed an outside social bond with. The job search stuff, though? The special messaging? Just not necessary.
  3. I think I will hold the line against blending the socials and the work again. Meaning, no linking to my LinkedIn profile, no linking to my GitHub profile, maybe the occasional post about things that are work-related, but just setting aside the idea that my web presence is a content marketing exercise for the product that is me. As a strict question of ROI, it wasn’t there. If the matter comes up again, anything that might have helped will still be there to help if I want it. I don’t need to make more inventory. As a question of mental health, it wasn’t good for me.

On the last few bits, it’s just another gift I got from Puppet. I went in there figurative hat in hand, and I’m glad whatever I did during interviews worked; but confidence, humility, and a sense of self-worth all exist in a curious sort of balance that is different for me today than it was ten years ago. Taking something that brings me joy — fiddling with web stuff — and putting the anxious weight of helping me find work or feel more prepared to lose work wasn’t a good formula for me. Because when a thing you love takes on a work aspect, when do you get to stop thinking about work?

Like, if I were a professional web developer or designer or writer, then my web presence would, unfortunately, need a certain kind of attention, I guess. At least to my standards. But I’m not. I’m just this leader/director/works in tech/“seems like he came from somewhere else and could possibly end up there again kind of guy.” I think if you just started reading backwards you could learn some useful things, and if anything you found made you decide I was not hirable, that’d be awesome. And there’s perhaps a small chance I won’t bother to cultivate into a larger one that at least the way I seem to approach my transient obsessions, oblique references to political annoyances, and amateur web engineering tasks is good marketing for my particular je ne sais quoi in a way that bleating about my passion for the business/IT partnership, good process, and container technology is really not.

Anyhow, this is a good time. I will enjoy it.

The Playdate came ๐Ÿ”—

I’m not sure what to say about it beyond that besides “yay, it is here!”

It’s a little smaller than I imagined, it feels a little better crafted than I imagined — I really like it as an object — and it is perfect for the use case my Nintendo DS used to occupy, as a thing on my desk I would use to reset between meetings or when I had a little time to kill but not enough to start something new.

The one downside: My first season 1 game drop arrived around three in the morning and it started flashing on my bedside table, waking up Al who sleepily tried to press buttons to just make it stop before giving up. Her struggles woke me up enough to think to stick it in the bedside table drawer.

Otherwise, happy to have it. Maybe I’ll write more as more games come in and I form more of a thought.

Pausing to appreciate ๐Ÿ”—

The matter of remaining Intel MacBook Pros in the fleet came up at work. We’ve been steadily dredging them out as they age out, but a few remain. As I talked to the leader who was asking me to do something about a pocket of them in his group, it wasn’t hard to empathize at all. I had a 16" “one down from the very best” Intel on my desk, and when I put the M1 mini in it made a startling difference. I sold the mini and got a Studio, and I think the best thing I can say about it is that new Studio models haven’t caused me to bat an eye. It’s just smooth and steady. Performance improvements are just an abstraction to me. I don’t think about it being a computer because it just does what I want without making me wait.

A few years into the Apple Silicon Age, I still feel a little amazed. The Studio is the best computer I’ve ever owned, and my 14" Pro is my favorite laptop ever. It’s very strange to me that when I think “what would I like next” the two things that come to mind right away are:

  • An iPhone mini with all the lenses
  • An iPad Pro with a landscape camera

The former isn’t going to happen, and I think that means the right iPhone for me is a Pro Max, because I’m doing the Pro for the camera and it’s already too large, so might as well just go for it. The latter … eh. I made a go of full-timing on an iPad, at least as my mobile computer, and it didn’t take. I named my 11" Pro “Evolutionary Niche” because it’s good to take camping or traveling, but I’d just rather use a regular laptop most of the time.