Joe Woods

Published on 2020-11-30

November 2020

Hi there!

It's been a great month. I've spent a whole lot of time working on projects this month, but also a lot of time working on myself. I feel like a lot of these things I'm doing are just laying the foundation for even more cool things to come, and it's an exciting feeling!

I hope you're doing well too.

Music

I published another blog post with tiny reviews of songs which came out recently, which you can find here. Here's the playlist:

Life

I've found a new digital home on a Mastodon instance: @tjwds@merveilles.town. I've been posting there way more often than Twitter! This instance is a great group of encouraging folks, and I feel like my increased output of work that I find fun and exciting is because I would be so happy if I was a tenth as cool as the folks I've joined in this club.

I've also started playing the first game that I've found I can actually enjoy in Japanese, 塊魂アンコール — or, in English, Katamari Damacy Reroll. Really, I've played this game and its sequels and spinoffs so much that I could play it without understanding the text on the screen, but I've learned that I can actually follow things relatively well. And this is seriously the perfect game for learning the Japanese words for things, because you pick them up with your katamari and then it tells you what you just picked up in the bottom right corner in katakana, not kanji!

Programming

Before I get to some of those projects Merveilles has spurred me on to do, I've also been able to make really great strides on failbetter. In addition to a little bit of tooling to automate some of the more tedious tasks, I've finally gotten the migration to a point where I'm happy with, so it finally feels like the timeline I've set for myself is on track. Exciting stuff!

This month, I built an extremely simple static site generator. I've been using this as a personal wiki, where the questions or knowledge I've accumulated can be put to be shared or stumbled across hopefully well into the future. One such article is my collection advice about how to really get into using Anki for personal knowledge reinforcement! And of course, I'm super proud of the simple but clearly cohesive style I put together for this project.

Finally, I went to very silly lengths to create a tixy.land script that I was happy with. tixy.land is a creative "code golf" playground, where you can modify the color of a small grid of pixels from red to black to white in only 32 characters. This hack is a combination three realizations: that I could both break the character limitation, that I could make frame-by-frame animations of bitmaps, and that I'd seen that color scheme somewhere before.

I fell in love once and almost completely.

Reading

This month, I read Design for Cognitive Bias by David Dylan Thomas, a wonderful, short, semi-introduction to investigating perspective in the design of all things. It was jovial and jubilant, and definitely a fun read. Thomas is also in Philly, so all of the references to actual projects in Philadelphia were also lovely, some of which I already had had a very small outsider's perspective on. I highly recommend it!

I also started reading Nginx: From Beginner to Pro by Rahul Soni. I have a few issues with the book, and I don't really think I'm an nginx beginner, nor do I think this book will make me a pro, but I've been learning some things, if not things that are adjacent to but not the core knowledge one needs to be an nginx expert.

As for fiction, I've been working through The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. I'm not done yet, so I'm sure I'll have more to say about both of those books next month!

failbetter

This month, failbetter published the cute but sad quick fiction "Order For Friendship" by Yash Seyedbagheri, as well as the clever and dark "The Monster under Building A" by Anne Louise Pepper.

Some other stats

This month,

That's it! Thanks for reading. Feel free to get in touch with me any time at joewoods@fastmail.com.