bjoreman.com

January 30, 2023

Morning routines

Maja - our miniature dachshund - has very firm opinions on the way things should be.

This morning, she bounced out of bed as soon as I started making breakfast, had some water, then went over to the door to show that it was time to go out. That over with (and dark shadows in various corners thoroughly barked at), I went on with my breakfast expecting her to go back to bed. But no, instead she came rushing over, jumped at me to get my attention, backed off a bit and barked. Walking toward her to see what it was all about, she backed off, barked again, and ran over to the door to the living room.

Of course.

🐶: It took some work to get the stupid human to the right position, but now it is on the couch where it should be, so that I can curl up in its lap and sleep some more. Tea drinking and light computing is allowed, but do not rush to be anywhere else, okay?

January 29, 2023

More noise

The new noise is the old noise. My journey with Mynoise has continued since last time I wrote about it, and it is all good. I have tried to vary my choices a little bit, and so the fireplace now gets quite regular competition from distant thunder (with rain, of course), and sometimes sea waves too.

I did make one detour through a japanese garden as well, but that was a bit too much of a real soundscape. Pleasant to bet sure, but I noticed it too much.

The dog is doing Sunday evening right as always - curled up into a ball next to me on the couch, gently snoring every now and then, sometimes getting up and stretching a little before curling right back up again. I have had a slightly slow and grumpy day myself, but it seems like I managed to finally shake myself out of that mood with a little bit of weekly review. That in turn led me to knocking a few small actions off of my lists, and suddenly everything felt better again.

Reviewing reviews

It is not that my weekly review is very large or demanding, but my checklist for it has gathered enough items that it is starting to feel large. On average, I can burn through the review quite quickly, but if more than a few items demand more thinking and doing, it can certainly become a much longer exercise all of a sudden.

What I am trying to do in response is to spread review-like thinking throughout the week. Not in a scheduled way, but rather simply remind myself that reviewing things is always an option - and a good one too - when choosing what do to next.

The other trick is of course to remember to let the review generate actions rather than feel actions should be performed right away as the review happens. This I am decent at, but some things require a good think-through to generate actions. I guess I could also put in "think about" actions, and add to the project list of course. But when a review point starts spawning thoughts, it feels good to be able to dive in to that for a while, capture what wants to be capture, and then come back up, rather than trying to put something all too brief into an action or a project.

Thinking takes time and focus, who knew?

So; when in doubt: review.

Cotting along

This is the second day of writing my post in Coteditor, and my impression is still very, very good. Compared to other text editors I have used the last few years, it is so wonderfully, refreshingly, relaxingly native. The settings pane is full of actual settings! With check boxes and options, instead of a sea of JSON you can edit however you want. It seems to do everything I did with Sublime text, and I also like the look better. The default colour scheme feels both familiar and new. My one problem at the moment is deciding which font size I want. The default 13 points does feel a bit too small for my eyes, but it also somehow looks more pleasing than when I bump the size up a few notches?

Oh, it supports scripting too (and auto save of versions, and respects system settings for tabs if you want it to). And has actual builtin help, something so often missing in apps that I forget it ought to be there.

There should be a badge web sites for Mac-assed Mac apps could use.

I still have not managed to find a way to give the project any of my money, guess I will have to dig deeper.

(The dog briefly woke up to investigate suspicious barking in the distance outside. This was very taxing, it did not manage to make its way back to the couch cushion and instead fell asleep on the back of the couch next to the window. Good to be right at the observation post if the alarm is raised again, I suppose.)

January 28, 2023

Klotterplanket

Niclas started writing, writing about, among other things, how we used to write in the comment section of our friend Martin's site. That old site has been gone for a long time now, but as a response, Martin suddenly made the entire comment archive available.

The first post is from May 1st, 2001, the last one from May 20th, 2007. Nine megabytes of nostalgia, as Martin put it. Most of it more or less completely meaningless to almost everyone, but to about five people, it's as if someone had rediscovered our entire chat message history from six years. There are a lot of short, silly messages, of course. But also rather regular outbreaks of longer ones. (Yes, often written by Niclas.) So, it is almost like our combined micro- and macroblogging history of six years?

Six years, and not a single ad or attempt to switch to an algorithmic timeline.

Niclas ran a very small regular expression and figured out that I was the most frequent poster overall. I wonder how my posts spread over time, since I started writing more or less regularly on my own site a few years into the age of Klotterplanket. On the other hand, that was always a different thing, the texts for the ages (cough). Klotterplanket was where we talked, with the occasional other person dropping by, probably bouncing off of the compact atmosphere of random thoughts, references, and in-jokes.

Martin: was there a particular reason the history ended where it did? I have no clear memory of how or why that particular era of martingunnarsson.com ended. Perhaps it was a move to a different hosting provider? Perhaps space ran out?

In any case, it was great fun while it lasted, and surprisingly fun to scroll through the archive and read random bits here and there.

I guess Klotterplanket was more or less what I did instead of having a serious BBS, IRC, or message board phase.

Keyboard meta

Feeling the urge of the mechanical again, I sat down to write this on my Mac mini with my Corne keyboard rather than sticking with my Air as usual. I did have to hunt around a little bit to remember where I put the [ and ] characters, but on the whole it comes back very quickly. It is still very, very nice to both have my hands further apart, and to need to move my hands so little to hit every single key and combination. And I do not look down for reference.

I still like it a lot. But I think I am over the feel of these quiet switches. They feel a little too heavy, and a little uncertain, almost as if they were not quite as smooth as intended.

Yes, I could probably dive in and start exploring lube and things, but I think the simple fact is that I just bought switches with a tad more force required than I really wanted.

I wonder if I already have some others in store which would suit me better?

Of course, I need to try out the planck as well and see how that feels after this long a break. I am fully prepared to fall in love all over again.

One small annoyance with this board is that I need to unplug and replug it into the USB hub to get it going any time I reconnect to a computer. I think this is a power draw issue, and I have started wondering if there is anything I can do about it. I think I will try disabling the OLED screens and perhaps generally just shrink my outrageous firmware. After all, I grafted so much stuff onto my base layout that I had to fight for quite some time to actually be able to fit the firmware into the storage available on the board. The things one will do to get really nice animations and other stuff one can then proceed to never so much as glance at.

Text app meta

I dismissed yet another registration popup from Sublime text and suddenly remembered reading in the latest newsletter from the Ergodox EZ people about a small and free Mac text editor called Coteditor. Free, open source, available through the Mac app store, and a very nice icon to boot. So that is what I am looking at right now, and I really like what I see. Nice colour scheme, font choices, syntax highlighting right out of the box. And, quite unlike Visual studio code, it is a Mac-assed Mac app, and so my shortcuts for linking text of course worked right out of the box.

I do hope there is some way I can give the project money if I keep liking it this much.

January 27, 2023

Friday flow

I have already posted more here in 2023 than I did during all of 2022. I have not compared how many words I have written, but my gut feeling is that the relative word count at least matches the relative post count.

I need to rebalance. Again. As usual. I have picked up a little too many things and think it is time to try and introduce some more actual downtime again.

Yes, same procedure as every year. If I was good at this, I would not have to write and think so much about it.

Also as usual, I do not think the balance is that far from right. It just needs a little nudging, perhaps a reprioritization or two.

It has been a tired day, despite some surprise sunshine. That probably means I should do as little as possible tonight.

Best parts of the day: Finishing up pretty much all planned work, and a surprise coffee break with the great people of the Kodsnack Slack.

January 26, 2023

Ikaruga

An impulse purchase twenty years in the making.

I think I first read about this game when it was released for Gamecube in 2003, back when I still followed gaming news with even a little bit of regularity. It seemed to be an intense, well-crafted classic 2D shooter with some unique ideas, which felt uncommon then and still does today. I never played it, but I clearly filed it away in my mind, should the opportunity to play it ever turn up.

A year or two later, I got to borrow a Gamecube. I think I got close enough to purchase that I was actually holding the game in my hand in a store. I guess it felt strange to buy a game for someone else's console, and when I later got a Wii I guess … I do not know 🤷🏻‍♂️

Clearly, having a Switch sitting around was the trigger it took. I was thinking about getting some more games suitable for quick bursts of play, and for some reason Ikaruga picked that moment to come roaring back into my mind:

Ikaruga, in vertical mode on a Nintendo Switch Ikaruga, in vertical mode on a Nintendo Switch

Made for arcade machines with a vertically-oriented screen, the game supports screen rotation and was thus perfect to slot the Switch into the Hoverbar for.

So what kind of game is it, anyway? Ikaruga is a classic scrolling shooter where you control a small space ship shooting its way trough waves and waves of enemies coming at you in various patterns, broken up by boss fights every now and then. Enemies and their bullets are either light or dark, and your ship and bullets can also change between light and dark at the press of a button. A bullet of the other colour kills you - no energy bars here - while bullets of your current colour are absorbed and gather power for special attacks. You will be switching colour very often to stay alive, and there is a puzzle-like aspect of planning and reaction to make it through the encounters. You have three lives, and five levels to battle through.

So far, I have reached the second level. I may never see the fifth, and at least so far that does not particularly bother me.

I read somewhere that the game felt like a shooter lovers' love letter to shooters, and that rings true to me. Plays are intense, brief, and unforgiving, but also feel fair. I run out of my three lives in a few minutes tops, but it always feels like I lose because I did not play well enough, not like the game pulled some cheap trick on me. I look forward to repeating, doing a little bit better next time, and to eventually look at the early stages and have a hard time understanding why I ever had a problem with them.

It looks very good too, in a very … sharp way. All lines feel razor sharp, designed for screens of much lower resolution and displayed at 1:1 pixel ratio rather than scaled or stretched. It feels luxurious, somehow, to have a big arcade machine game running so effortlessly on this little screen hovering in front of me.

There are even little hints of a story, so quick that you blink and miss them. Completely out of the way, just the way they should be. Just little hints of a world and a character.

I bet that my total play time is less than an hour, and that it will grow very slowly, but I deeply enjoy what Ikaruga is and does.

I think I should play more old-school shooters.