a blog by Sara Farquharson

  • Virtual Party Space Devlog #3: Making web games

    Today I started making a 2D game to use as a front-end, and learned how to make isometric tile maps.

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  • what i'm reading: November 8

    Have spent more time on home-improvement projects than article-reading in the past few weeks, but it felt like time to pull the plug on the current list of stuff-to-read. It has been hard to focus on tech stuff during the tension of the US election. Coming up in the next few weeks I expect to be distracted by Desert Bus For Hope and the Worldbuilders end of year fundraiser, so I shouldn’t get my hopes too high about a reading resurgence until the holidays.

    Just learned about libro.fm as a non-Amazon source for audiobooks, but I also just used up a big cache of Audible credits so may take a while to really make use of it.

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  • what i'm reading: October 18

    I spent all of yesterday defrosting my fridge instead of writing a blog post, but on my list of things to do both of those things count as accomplishments. I’m making a tiny bit of progress on my backlog of half-completed ideas.

    I’ve been following along with the protests in Nigeria via Twitter, but don’t have any good links to share about it except the #EndSARS hashtag.

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  • what i'm reading: Oct 4

    I spent a lot of September in a bit of a funk with regards to reading, especially technical topics. I also started building a Slack bot on a whim, so a lot of time I would otherwise have devoted to reading and collating links went instead to poring over API docs for the Bolt library and various AWS services. Hope to write a post about that soon!

    I spent today merely curating the things I’d already read, leaving next-week-Sara a massive reading list that I’m sure she will have time for. In the meantime, I’m going outside today while the autumn weather is still pleasant!

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  • Why I use a Bullet Journal

    I first started using the Bullet Journal system in August 2016, and over the past four years I have filled up one-and-one-third dotted-grid notebooks with to-do lists, habit trackers, and…well, mostly those two things.

    It should have been a lot more notebooks, but I’ve never managed to maintain the journaling habit for more than six contiguous months, and any attempt to incorporate Pinterest-worthy artistic features to my system has quickly withered. Nevertheless I remain a strong proponent of the Bullet Journal and find it an essential component of accomplishing my goals. Why is that?

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  • what i'm reading: September 6

    Oh no friends, I found a huge cache of unread links in my inbox. On average I spend four to eight hours putting together these posts, much of it reading articles that I’ve collected throughout the week. Time to be ruthless about what I consider interesting enough to give my attention to!

    Hoping to resume streaming code on Twitch soon. Sundays seems like a likely time slot, so long as I can reign in my article reading to something manageable.

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  • what i'm reading: August 30

    Latest batch of reading tipped me over the threshold of having to look up the etymology of “footgun”, which seems to be everywhere in programming language discussions. As jargon I think this term is memorable but ineffective—before looking it up I assumed the meaning was “pointless extra feature that sounds cool but is impossible to use properly”, vs the intended meaning of “feature that will lead users into trouble”.

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  • Lessons learned from a Recurse Center mini-batch

    A few weeks ago I impulsively applied for the August mini-batch at the Recurse Center. I’d been idly daydreaming about attending Recurse when traveling to New York seems feasible again, assuming I could figure out how to make it work with my job. I then realised that the one-week mini-batch would only require me to take a week’s vacation, and this year’s virtual events meant I wouldn’t even have to tack on the stress of travel!

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  • what i'm reading: August 20

    Was feeling ambitious after my last post and immediately started reading more of my bookmarks. Also took the time to note down all of the books I read last week, since my Kindle failed to mark them as read in Goodreads. Technology, never as convenient as you want it to be.

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  • what i'm reading: August 18

    For a few weeks I felt too overwhelmed to write a link post, so now I am overwhelmed with my reading list. It seems all I do in these posts is complain that my reading list is too long, but I still find value in recording what I’ve read. Just need to get…better at it? Or acknowledge that I can’t fit reading everything that sounds interesting into my life, but not ready to admit that yet.

    I have a lot of papers bookmarked, but have absolutely stopped reading them.

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  • what i'm reading: July 19

    Over the past few days I’ve been seeing trickles of experiments with GPT-3, the new machine-learning text-generation algorithm from the team that published GPT-2, but I haven’t found a good article about it yet. Based on the excerpts, I am starting to suspect everything I see on the internet of being generated by AI.

    This link post was written by a human, I swear.

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  • what i'm reading: July 12

    Starting to feel a little more on top of life—I restarted my bullet journal and exercise routine this week! Too early to see if it’ll stick, but feels nice for now.

    Despite that, I don’t feel particularly on top of my reading list. Have yet to solve the work laptop problem and have the nagging feeling that I’m losing links from…my iPad maybe? I also have a bunch of actual blog posts half-written that…someday I will get to. Someday.

    A friend of mine started doing charitable donations every Sunday, so I’m taking it as motivation to set up more recurring monthly donations. Last week I added WISH Drop-In Centre, and this week will be The Human Utility. What ways are you finding to do good in the world?

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  • what i'm reading: July 5

    Catching up on a lot of links from mailing lists I’m subscribed to at my work email, but haven’t found a better way to do it than emailing the most intriguing links to myself.

    I’m now fully set up to stream coding on my Twitch channel, but instead of writing code I spent 6 hours reading articles for this post. I suspect I need to curtail my Twitter time again to get on top of all the things I want to do in life.

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  • what i'm reading: June 28

    For some reason writing these link posts takes an incredible amount of time—I intended to write a bunch of code today and instead read a few articles, segments of several books, and set up a Twitch channel. (Guess I can’t really blame the latter on this post.)

    At some point I will have to figure out a convenient method of communicating all the links I read on my work computer to my personal laptop, but that’s now a problem for July.

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  • what i'm reading: June 14

    Put a custom URL on this blog, that’s something.

    Continuing to read a combination of political and tech industry news, as protests continue but are deemed no longer newsworthy, and COVID is on the rise again as communities go back to pretending everything is normal. Welcome to the new normal.

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  • what i'm reading: June 6

    I, like most people I know, have been a little distracted from technology-as-usual by a constant feed of police brutality. It’s been a jarring reminder that some people don’t have the luxury of ignoring racial injustice, and that we should all be working harder for equality every day. I’ve been donating money to community organizations and researching my local police department’s history of using force, how about you?

    I still read a lot before I heard about the protests, and continue to poke at tech stuff on occasion for my own mental health. Stay safe out there. Black lives matter.

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  • what i'm reading: May 24

    Finally caught up with my reading list backlog, which is good because I subscribed to three new mailing lists last week and maybe now I’ll have time to read them.

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  • what i'm reading: May 19

    My giant reading list backlog is on the verge of preventing me from opening new links, so here’s an annotated list of things I’ve read since April. This isn’t even all of it.

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  • what i'm reading: until May-ish

    Posting my last reading list sent me on a reading kick, and I finally found the motivation to dig through circa 4 months of newsletters full of links. If I’m going to keep at this pace I need to post reading lists more often, or they will all be 100 links long.

    In fact this list is mostly from April; I have yet to sync my reading list for May from phone to computer.

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  • Refactoring Legacy Javascript: Part 1

    Enter the haunted forest My workplace has the expected share of legacy code, and one piece nestles at the heart of a major product I supported for years as a developer. This very successful product dates back to when the company was a frantic handful of developers trying to do too much work in too little time, and by the time I joined the company it had attained nigh-on haunted graveyard status.

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