putative (a)

generally thought to be or to exist, even if this may not really be true


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Copacetic (a):

very good or going very well

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plenty of it

When, on a bright May morning in 1953 Huxley had swallowed four-tenths of a gram of mescaline, he had been watched by a researcher who had recorded his responses to the drug. He had seen books glow like rubies; a slow dance of golden lights; flowers shine with eternal life. When the researcher asked Huxley how he felt about time, he had replied with clarity: “There seems to be plenty of it.”

Ann Shulgin pioneered the use of psychedelics in therapy, The Economist

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logical or assignment

When I write code I don’t expect it to ever have an audience; I’m not accustomed to sharing or collaborating on a codebase. I’m also guilty of refactoring and rewriting everything while I write it rather than planning ahead or saving small issues for a full review at a good milestone. I like to think I’m getting better at this but I’ll often reach for terse snippets instead of clean, readable examples.

In that vein here’s a neat, new-ish JavaScript pattern I always want to use but usually forget.

Sometimes you want to

  1. append to an array if it exists
  2. or if it doesn’t

I used to write something like

const o = {};
const key = 'a';
const x = 'new value';

if (o[key]) {
} else {
o[key] = [x];

with the new logical assignment operators in ES2021, that last bit could be cut down to the un-grokkable but attractively short:

(o.key ||= []).push(x);

This initializes o.key to [] if it hasn’t been done already and then pushes onto the result.

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so much to pay for

how do I save when there’s so much to pay for?

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – Hand to God

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vocal point

Certain voices stick in your mind. It could be the tone or the surprising emphasis on certain syllables. Sometimes a timbre or an unusual gutteral inflection.

I swear I read an interview with John Darnielle where he recommended “staying out of the results” but I can’t find it now. I can hear him saying it though!

Stay owt … … of the re-sUlts

To me this means having a dispassionate relationship with your work and the effect it has on others. For an artist with a passionate fanbase like The Mountain Goats it’s classic “Death of the Artist” at play – your work will resonate in ways you can’t, and shouldn’t, predict.

For someone like me, it’s about working on something that resonates for me and assuming those vibrations will find a home – even at another wavelength – with others.

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Hocket (n)

a spasmodic or interrupted effect in medieval and contemporary music, produced by dividing a melody between two parts, notes in one part coinciding with rests in the other

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or console.log()

When debugging JavaScript I often find myself swapping arrow functions to old-school ones simply to log variables. But there’s no need! console.log returns undefined so one can simply OR a console.log call to get it to print out before the real return!

promise.then((response) => console.log(response) || response.data.test);

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my wheel

I may be just reinventing the wheel, but it’s my wheel!

Hammerspoon: Handling Windows and Layouts

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The real-life impact of our technical decisions really hit home to me once again: my Mom had trouble volunteering and participating in her local community because somebody shipped the optional chaining operator in their production JavaScript.

The Optional Chaining Operator, “Modern” Browsers, and My Mom

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photos are just screenshots you take of real life

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making slides with eleventy

I’ve previously used Tom MacWright’s big tool to make simple, text-heavy presentations with from plain HTML and a sprinkling of JavaScript. As someone who deliberates over slide layouts and procrastinates practice by tweaking text alignments it’s very helpful!

Preparing for a talk on the static site generator, Eleventy, I wondered if I could apply the same concepts to building a slide deck as I have for my Eleventy sites. The main benefits to me were to allow slides to be written in Markdown and provide a base configuration to sprinkle extra Eleventy magic like shortcodes in the future.

I tried a few approaches to massage the Markdown input into the format that made the most sense for Eleventy. I rabbit-holed a few times with the HTML transformations required and hacking the copied version of client-side big.js into something I fully understood.

Is it better than big? I don’t think so. Was it fun to build? Yes. Will I use it in the future? Probably!

Check it out over at eleventy-little.

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interactively delete all node_modules folders

npx npkill

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macOS keyboard shortcut for dictionary and thesaurus


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karl pilkington

I keep thinking about Adam Buxton quoting Karl Pilkington.

People don’t like it if they think you’re trying too hard

It’s part of a podcast on Adam’s craft of writing silly jingles and he’s describing an encounter years ago where Karl gives him some advice at the XFM radio station.

(In that same episode Adam notes the value of sticking at something – persistency!)

I’ve started listening again to the recordings of Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant & Karl Pilkington from their weekly show on XFM from the early 'aughts. I’m sure I’ve listened to the whole archive at least once – there’s an air of deep familiarity about the whole thing. Last night one comment stopped me in my tracks and made me feel old. In his usual laconic drawl Karl recounts being stopped in the street by someone asking if he practices meditation and “knows how to breathe.” There’s a pause and Karl says

I’m thirty

As well as being hilarious it’s shocking to me that Karl was just 30 as his fame was growing due to his exposure via proximity to Ricky.

Strange things can make you reflect on time passing, I guess this is just one for me.

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Data journalism in a nutshell

There are some interesting things about this chart!

Habits of highly effective HN submitters

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Interactively update all node modules

yarn upgrade-interactive --latest

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instapaper bankruptcy

I love taking longform articles and newsletters over to Instapaper for some calm, distraction-free reading. But my backlog of articles was gnawing at me. Would I ever read everything in there? Probably not. I occasionally tried the “read a random article” in a vain attempt to slice through some ancient article artifact from 2019 but it was like bailing a boat with a teacup – a flood of pushes from my browser would offset any work I could skim away.

I have three solutions to this problem:

  1. Be more mindful about what I save – will I actually read this?
  2. Be more ruthless about not reading something if it doesn’t pique my interest in the first few paragraphs.
  3. Wipe out the backlog! There’s a helpful “Archive All” option. Since invoking that I feel so much better.

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wrong information

“We, and I personally, believe very strongly that more information is better, even if it’s wrong. Let’s start from the premise that more information, more empowerment, is fundamentally the correct answer"

Eric Schmidt

I can get behind this in an “information just wants to be free” sense but it’s a strange position. If we could easily classify and label wrong information as such then the existence of it could help explain actions and feelings. But that classification is hard and takes time, meanwhile that wrong information may be causing irreversible damage.

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Q: Sometimes it takes me forever to finish a comic because I’m constantly going through phases of “this is good, ppl wanna read this” vs “wow my stuff is trash and no one will want this.” Do you get phases like this? How do you stay motivated?

I think you’re essentially describing my base-level mental state while making comics. I honestly can’t imagine going through the process of making a book with unwavering confidence and self-satisfaction. It’s difficult, but I think the key to managing these kinds of “bi-polar” thoughts is to be as objective as possible. Make sure you’re not deluded in either direction, and try to evaluate your work in a way that’s critical but not defeating. I also think it’s useful to not obsess too much about how people will receive the work, and to instead focus on just making it as satisfying to you as possible.

Adrian Tomine

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files & folders

But even after presenting students with every metaphor in the books, Colling still isn’t positive that his students get what he’s talking about: “It feels like I’m having some success, but yeah, sometimes it’s hard to tell,” he says.

Without any point of reference Gen Z are struggling to grasp traditional file systems – File Not Found

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Plangent (a):

(of a sound) loud, reverberating, and often melancholy.

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Sententious (a):

given to or abounding in excessive moralizing

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Get bundle identifier for macOS app

osascript -e 'id of app "Name of App"'

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Split-second feedback

It feels nice to feel wanted and equally bad when you don’t feel wanted, even if the matrix through deciding you’re unwanted is literally “the numbers are the same or slightly lower than before.”

I personally (and presume others do too) find myself adding way too much stock to people’s willingness to do these things naturally - if someone doesn’t retweet something, it’s a split-second decision likely based on whether it immediately made them laugh or happy, or resembled something they deeply care about. That split-second decision is genuinely meaningless to them - they can (and will!) move on almost instantly. Still, in the grand scheme of content, these minor social media moves are so significant to people in such an outsized way that I believe drives them a little bit insane.

How Our Need For Attention Online Drives Us Crazy – Ed Zitron

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slowly nodding

“Someone said: ‘Well, you do it now, don’t you? Because you’ve got the costume’. I was just slowly nodding,” says Denson.

Sometimes you find yourself with the costume, slowly nodding.

‘A Loveable Anarchist’: The Oral History of Mr Blobby

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Peripatetic (a):

Walking about or from place to place; traveling on foot.

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being wrong

I should emphasize that this is not investment advice and I am probably wrong? Like, one, I’m wrong about every prediction I make, and, two, in this case there keep being articles quoting professionals saying “this is going to be a wild one” and you should probably believe them instead of me. I am just laying out my thinking here so we can understand how I’ll be wrong.

Matt Levine

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Run Prettier on all files in a repo

npx prettier --write "**/*.js"

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Convert YouTube videos to podcast feeds


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Douglas Coupland on ending Zoom calls

I’ve been Zooming a lot this year, like everyone else, and I always end my calls by closing the lid of my laptop. Maybe that’s all death is: the laptop closing, nothing cosmic, just a gentle click as we stop using our app.

I love this. It’s like putting a landline handset down on or snapping a flip phone shut.

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Vituperative (a):

a vituperative spoken or written attack is full of angry criticism

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Pushing an empty commit

git commit --allow-empty -m "Trigger notification"

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Sastrugi (n):

parallel wave-like ridges caused by winds on the surface of hard snow, especially in polar regions

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The sound of running water appears to stimulate dam-building, and the sound of a leak in a dam triggers them to repair it.


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re/starting a blog

Whenever I stumble upon a personal blog with years of archives and I feel a wave of jealously. I wish I’d committed to my false-start blogs in 2005, 2010 and 2015. I can’t help but look at others’ entry dates spanning back in time, sometimes measured in decades and think that it’s too late. It feels pointless to commit to a personal blog in 2021.

But what’s stopping me? I hope to still be around in a decade and more. If I can’t go back and start in 2010 why not start now?

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